IL PADRE DI DELIA
English version Italian version
Two pairs of shoes
Some time passed, maybe a year, maybe two; I don’t remember. The work at the work site was now slow and even in the fields the work was almost done. The government had not provided the funding necessary to continue. The municipal administration was trying to find work but there was not much that they could do. Without money from the government, it was impossible to continue. The pot-war boom was almost over. In Settefrati, emigration, which had already begun in earnest, really picked up steam. There was a long line of people going to the municipal building to request a permit to emigrate. The mayor used to come to our house often to take counsel to my father and my uncle. He did not want to give up, but it was clear he felt quite demoralized. There was a depressing atmosphere in the village.
My parents still had their house and we were still doing ok. A big holiday was coming and I, as always, I would want a new dress and new shoes. However, that was only a dream. No dress or shoes before the Canneto holidays! In the meanwhile, we were getting ready for the wedding of a relative; the future bride had chosen me to be part of her bridesmaid party. I would have an important spot during the entire ceremony. It was the first time I had been chosen for such an honor. I couldn’t contain my happiness. My fertile imagination ignited immediately and I had a mischievous smile. I was thinking about the day that I would be walking in the procession with the bride and that a young knight would escort me. I imagined the bride in her white dress. Who knows, maybe one day I… would wear a white dress too. As soon as I saw her I was going to tell my friend Edda, I was about to tell her all these things but she said them first; the bride had chosen her as well. It was a pleasant surprise. We were very close and our relationship was always very smooth. Very exciting days followed that meeting. We talked about the way we would walk with the bride, what to say and where to look. And every time we had different ideas. There was still the problem of what to wear and there weren’t many choices. I tried on dresses for the wedding picking among the few dresses I had. I chose one that was pink crepe with white polka dots. It was very cute, with short sleeves and a round collar. One of my aunts in America had sent that to me. My shoes were not new but they would go for now. The day before the wedding, the activities and preparation seemed endless. Edda and I went to the house of the bride to help, as it had been established. I went back home late in the afternoon. I found my mother in the kitchen; actually, she was walking towards me with two boxes in her hands. She opened them and with a smile, she showed me their contents. Inside them, there were two beautiful pairs of sandals, one beige and one light yellow. I looked at them and the more I looked at them, the more beautiful they looked to me, but I could not understand why I had two pairs. My mother laughed and she said “Your father went to Sora to buy new sandals for you and for me”. Dad had gone to Sora and not to the market… ? Two pairs of sandals…? I was very confused. I sat next to my mother. She said “Which ones do you like better”. I said the light yellow ones.
“No” she said “take the beige ones; they will look better with the pink dress”. Finally I understood: one pair was for me and one pair for my mother. My father knew when I wanted to make a good impression tomorrow when accompanying the bride. Not only had my father made a special trip for this purpose but also he had considered me with the same high importance as my mother. He loved me in his own way; he just did not know how to show it. That day no demonstration was needed; what he did was enough. My father loved me. Knowing that made me feel strangely light. I couldn’t have been happier. I took those shoes and ran to my cousin to show them to her. She was also pretty surprised when I told her how I got them. The day of the wedding, not everything went as planned, “but it didn’t matter” I said to my cousin. I had a pair of new shoes that my father had bought for me.
Delia Socci Skidmore