I live in the slums of Naples in Italy with my mother, she’s all I’ve got now ever since my dad left us for a better life.
My father was a plumber, back then when we used to live in Kansas. His meager income was the only thing that brought food to our table as he had no other source of income. Where we lived was a gift to my mother from a friend of hers who moved with her family to Washington. It used to be their garage, but we made it our very own, “Paradise!”
It may sound silly, but it was more of a home than the place where we live now, at least it was in a pleasant environment.
I remember when my father would come home from work with nothing, those were one of the days we had to go to bed with an empty stomach. As difficult as it was, we still had each other... At least it was better than to have lost someone.
I dropped out of school at 10, after my dad left. The reason he left, my dad, was because he met another woman. Miss Diana, that was her name. How could I forget the name of the woman who stole my dad?
She lived in a very expensive house across the street we lived; it seemed more like a guest house to me as she was hardly home. She was rich, looking at the car she rides alone tells you how filthy rich she is. I met her twice or thrice as my dad used to take me to her house the first few times he worked for her. I was still a little boy; I know it’s weird for me to have known those things, but I could tell she was into my dad, as she called him several times without having no serious work for him to do.
I also noticed she was single as I saw no male figure around her except for my dad. Miss Diana became so fond of my dad, and she made her thoughts clear by inviting my dad for dinner every once or twice in a month. My mother would get jealous, and my dad would say to her, “Mi ha appena chiamato per lavaro” [telling her that Diana just called him for work] and my mom would be like, “why aren’t you with your tools then, and why are you dressed up like you’re going for a date or something, spero che tu mi stia dicendo la verità?” With the Italian part saying, “I hope you are telling me the truth”. My dad would disregard whatever she said and go for the dinner anyway, how my mom felt was no longer his problem by then. I knew what was going on, because I started listening to my dad’s phone calls as I grew suspicious of his relationship with miss Diana. My dad was the most perfect man I knew then, it was not because he was my dad, but because he was different in a way from other men I saw around. He treated me and my mom with so much love and care, regardless of his financial status, he still struggled to provide for us. He was still the best dad in the world to me, even when he started developing strange behaviors. I still loved him and so did my mom, although she didn’t know what I knew.
He paid lesser attention to us the more attracted he became to Diana. Their relationship remained a secret until the day my father made the big decision. It was a beautiful Friday evening; it was peaceful. My mom and I sat on a wooden bench outside, just before our doorstep, as my dad instructed my mom not to go to bed and told her to wait up for him as he had an important topic to discuss with her. Well, I was not included, but I decided to wait outside until he got back, so I could see him before going to bed. We waited for him for about four to five hours. It was already 10:00 pm, and I was already sleepy after sitting for so long, and so mom took me to bed.
My father came back home at exactly 11:35 pm. It seemed like he came with a car, as I opened up my eyes at the sound of the car driving towards the front of the house. I was tired, but I got up, and I hid behind the door and tried to observe what was going on.
Mother would scold me if she found out I was still up by that time of the night, that was why I didn’t go out to welcome dad.
Mom: Dove sei stato? (Mom asked where dad was all the time she was waiting for him -in Italian)
Dad: You don’t get to ask of my whereabouts, at least not anymore.
Mom: Are you drunk or something? At least I have the right to ask, after waiting for you for so long.
While the conversation was still on, my focus was on the car that was packed outside, “Is this not miss Diana’s car?” I thought to myself as I had already recognized the car, but didn’t want to believe what I was thinking. My focus was on the conversation once again as I listened attentively.
Mom: And whose car is that? [My mother asked my dad as she came closer to him, reaching out for his shirt] Tell me you didn’t get involved in a theft. Was that why you came back home late? [She added, as she was still holding on to his shirt, almost begging him to reply to her questions.]
Dad was quiet as he watched mom break down in tears. “Why aren’t you talking to me, why have you chose to ignore me?” She said, letting go of his shirt.