June 6, 2015


Dear Madeline,

I am exhausted and eternally grateful for the life I have in America. I am also feeling deeply appreciative of American men. I don't understand at all the narrative my mother was writing when she decided to have children with an Italian, and later another longer, heavier relationship with another Italian. For this to be of any appeal you truly must have a self destructive nature. We accept the love we think we deserve.

My father is a man full of contradictions with an incredibly difficult character about him. I think he was expecting an attack from me and he has been quite "on guard." His attitude leans towards righteous and arrogant, and he's made sure I know he is entirely proud of himself. As I mentioned in my first letter, he also spends too much time concerned with my appearance and style and finds it appropriate to dress and objectify me. Considering the relationship we don't have, this is not appropriate behavior. I'm not sure if it would ever feel appropriate to me. But this is the Italian way. He is controlling and he looks at the world as if his truth is The Truth to a degree I have not felt the energy of before. So far we have only had one major meltdown together (though I've had a few on my own) where I had to leave a crowded dinner table mid-meal. Something racist, something homophobic, something something. I denied his company for the rest of the day and for most of the one that followed.

I was plagued with the feeling that I could not spend any more time with him. Certainly I could survive the 7 days left with this man, but at what cost, for what purpose? I hear voices of some people I keep close telling me to keep an open heart for the remainder of my stay and I hear voices telling me to Get The Fuck Out because I Don't Owe Anybody Anything. What does my voice tell me?
Must I suffer another man's control, objectification, stupidity, and bigotry, even if this man is my father? "father" 

Do we accept our parents regardless of who they are? Perhaps if it was you with your parents, or me with my mother, we would look the other way when it came to differences in opinion or outlook. My mother raised me on The Golden Rule and lentils, and has never ceased to share love and support, as pure it gets. And so even if her views differ from mine, I respect her. I care what she thinks and how she feels. She has positioned herself in such a way that she has a compelling and authentic platform to speak from: she loves me unconditionally. Alternatively, my father has allowed for silence and oceans between us and the only thing we've shared is space. Perhaps when it is the only thing, blood is not enough. 

For Lorenzo, it seems everything is difficult. The heat, the crowds, waiting in line at the market, the metro, walking up stairs, anybody who does something differently than he would. He curses under his breath regularly - "cazzo," which translates directly to "penis," and the tension is palpable. I'm just not used to enduring this energy. It is a testament to the importance of not letting other people's shit become my shit. People really want to give you their shit.

There are times when my father surprises me. He is materialistic, snobby, he wears a slight distaste for the poor, but I've noticed he gives money to every street musician he sees busking. The first time I saw this I couldn't believe my eyes and wondered in fear what he could possibly want with that man playing guitar on the subway platform. Finally, a soft spot. 
"Do you still play guitar?" I ask him while bringing forward murky memories of his effortless ability to play and sing. 
"No," he replies. 
"Why not? It's something you never forget," I ask.
He looks to me from the corner of his eye and pauses briefly."She forgets you." 



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