When I Make Myself Imagine
I am Carmella, the pretty, shy Sicilian girl in my homeroom with the long, thick, shiny black hair and brown eyes that never meet your gaze. Who is engaged to Lino. She is fourteen, he is twenty six, works in the factory, speaks no English. My parents would be thrilled if I was Carmella, politely and quietly engaged to a "nice Italian man" who will take care of her.
I am Carmella. I can imagine sitting in her front parlor, the plastic covering the furniture squeaks each time I move. And the parents and grandparents chat with the nice young man in Italian, no, Sicilian dialect. They drink espresso with Vov or maybe open a bottle of grappa. And the clock on the wall tick-tick-ticks whenever there is a long silence. The fat black and white cat who doesn't like him climbs into my lap and I stroke its fur patiently while it purrs.
My future husband looks very old to me. I try very hard not to sigh, because that would disappoint my parents. If I am Carmella, I am good, and do what is expected of me.