Often, when I am walking to the bus stop, or out at the Supermarket, I reach for my mobile. “I should give my Mother a call and ask how she is”, I say to myself.
Will my Father pick up the phone? I’ll hear that customary pause as he listens, still not quite believing that a voice could possibly come out of this instrument.
“Hello?” he’ll say questioning. Daring a voice to come through. “Hey, it’s me.”
“Ehh, Joe. How are you?” I can hear his face lighting up with delight. I can’t remember him ever doing the things modern parents are supposed to do.
He never came to any sport I, or my brother, did. He was a great gardener, and for most of the year his garden filled our dinner table with its bounty. Yet neither I nor my brother can grow a thing. We even have trouble growing weeds. But there is that smile in his voice, always happy to hear from me. I should call them.
“Ehh, Joe-uzzo.” My Mother will say calling me the same name she has since I was a child. I should call and ask if they have been going to their Italian Club gatherings where they eat the food of my youth and play cards in the afternoon before heading home for a nap.
I should call and ask what they had to eat at the Club. Was it Lasagna with my Mother’s creamy, béchamel sauce? Did they share any homemade fennel and pork sausages? As a boy we often helped fill mile after mile of pigs intestine, then my brother and I would sit and watch them hang in my Father’s garage.
Did they dessert on my favourite Torta di Ricotta?
Or did she make her famous canoli with their crunchy outer giving way to a soft, sweet, irresistible interior. It was Juliette giving way to Romeo, Troy to Helen, Cleopatra to Mark Anthony.
I should call and let her know how their Grandchildren are going. It hasn’t been easy with the eldest since the divorce and I feel quite responsible for it in many ways.
I should call, but what would we talk about? Was it all so predictable? However, it does feels like such a long time since we last spoke.
I should call them now. I know it’ll be a bundle of small talk, but isn’t that what life becomes sooner or later? It isn’t so much what is said as just saying, just hearing, just listening, just filling in the bits between hello and goodbye.
I should call them now, except when I look at the mobile I remember it’s been almost 4 years since they passed away. I place the mobile back in my pocket and hurry on to the bus stop.