I have been busy working on a cookbook of my favorite Italian and American recipes, so have not had much time to post. But below is the Prologue to my novel, ORANGE PEELS and COBBLESTONES, for those of you who have not read the book.
“You better not wait any longer,” John said to his friend after an hour had elapsed. They’ve just posted another delay.” The friend had driven John and his wife Marietta to Kennedy Airport. At the gate Marietta sank down with their one year-old baby in the only seat available while John went to check once more on the status of the flight to Los Angeles.
“The problem is mechanical. They don’t know how long it’ll be before it’s fixed.” John was clearly frustrated but Marietta didn’t mind the extra time on the ground. She dreaded what might be in store for her once she was up in the air. Her first flight, when she was ten, had been traumatic, and she was afraid of the memories left within the clouds. Would they come to haunt her, knowing what she planned to do? Or would they come to her aid, give her the courage not to be afraid and not fail?
She also worried about the plane crashing. She cringed at the thought that her daughter might not have a full life. And the idea of dying before she saw her mother and sister again was too painful to bear. She’d never be able to ask the questions she’d been rehearsing for months, the ones that had plagued her ever since she was a little girl. They pestered her at every significant event in her young life. She knew it was no way to live – happy and sad at the same time. The vast emptiness she felt inside her was the worst. It masked the past where those questions lay buried like soldiers in unmarked graves. Someone had to come forward and identify them in order to grieve properly.
When Marietta married John he’d filled a part of that hole. But since giving birth to Anna, the questions surfaced with a vengeance. Hard questions. Not the kind you’d normally ask others, certainly not the kind you could ask your mother. How would Stella react when Marietta confronted her? They were family, but...
Family – Marietta smiled warmly at the sound of the word. In California she had the beautiful promise of family, her family. But then, family had torn her apart. She no longer trusted it. Would it betray her again as it had once before? Or would it welcome her back permanently, the way she had hoped for all these years?
The announcement to board finally came. The young parents gathered their sleeping child along with their belongings and entered the long corridor that led into the plane. With the engines roaring and the lights dimmed, Marietta leaned her head on John’s shoulder and instantly fell asleep. She dreamed not of her mother Stella but of her grandmother handing her a slice of bread spread with olive oil, of her cousin Lucia waving her orange peel in the air urging her to come out and play. She dreamed of her lost childhood a world away.