Mostly rambles, few brambles
Tag Archives: family
“Act normal,” you tell yourself, trying to regulate your heart rate and your salivating, “like you buy giant sandwiches all the time.” The deli line lurches forward and you force yourself to take a deep breath. Everything here smells like Italy, or at least the part of Italy that smells like Olive Garden.
The patron ahead of you thanks Giuseppe personally. “Giuseppe,” you think, looking over the at the little raisin of an Italian man behind the counter with such kind, grandfatherly eyes—eyes that said “I make all of my pasta, my bread, and my heart medication entirely from scratch.”
You tell Giuseppe your name and his face lights up. “My child,” he says to you, and you feel an immediate kinship. It’s like they say: when you’re here you’re family. His waifish frame totters around the with the six-foot box before laying it across the counter. He opens the lid with such care you’d expect the it to contain a sacred parchment or a baby made entirely of glass, but instead you lust over this marvel.
You notice a twinkle in his gaze, but maybe that’s just olive oil. “Looks like it’s all there,” you tell him, without consulting with your tape measure.
It’s a big sandwich, and a big moment. Giuseppe is proud to send his creation off into the world to party. He nods his head and closes the box back up, not once asking you to show him a corroborating invitation or guest list.Giuseppe trusts you. No part of him said, “You don’t look popular enough for six-feet worth of friends. Three-feet? Maybe. We’ll talk.”
You know that you’re almost home free, almost able to spend your entire spring break watching reality TV while slowly devouring this one massive sandwich, the flavor log chugging over pillow mountains, through couch-cushion canyons, and various model train paraphernalia en route to your sweaty mouth. Giddy now, you can almost feel your muscles starting to atrophy in a state of true relaxation. You open your wallet, but the contents spill onto his counter. All of the photo inserts, they’re all of you, you vain greasy loner! A pang of fear rifles through you. Would Giuseppe rescind his offer, refuse to purvey this scary-good-looking, goba-ghoulish delight to someone who would hoard it all for himself, away from the public?
Will Giuseppe force you to lie to him, breaking your heart as you heap on detail after detail about your fake brother’s return home from the fake galactic army and his fake requests to be sated with the Earthly delights of fresh bread, Italian meats, and oh-so-many prostitutes. “And, Giuseppe,” you say, your smile masking your pain, “you know how those prostitutes can eat.”
Of course , Giuseppe knows how prostitutes can eat—he’s runs a deli for God’s sake.
Giuseppe seems oblivious to your spilled wallet as he hunts and pecks his way across the cash register. You gather up your photos, ashamed that you’d forgotten about replacing these, but somehow managed to formulate potential answers regarding prostitute preferences and the nuances of space diplomacy.
The transaction proceeds without any more narcissistic hitches. Giuseppe, the ever-thoughtful pseudo-grandfather, follows you out and helps you strap it to the top of your Ford Fiesta: a car clearly not for those whom host parties or for anyone concerned with their passengers’ comfort.
Tonight, as he’s falling asleep in his shoebox bed after a dose of his heart tonic, you imagine Giuseppe will think of his masterpiece and the gathering crowd appreciating his baby as much as he does. Though you may be a photogenic loner only concerned with yourself, you would never dream of robbing Giuseppe of that solace.