Our Family ~
Shortly after we moved home to the U.S, we realized that we missed Milo. So we acquired a rescue dog, a slightly battered, deeply loving dachshund whom we named Lucy. Of course, we brought her to meet Milo that next summer when we visited Alessandro's mother in Italy. They adore each other, except for one object of contention that surfaced when Lucy arrived in Italy and met Milo, who literally sleeps on a red velvet cushion. At least...he slept there until sweet Lucy—who weighs a third of Milo—pranced through the door.
A few years later...
We are very happy in New York City. Milo, however...
I hate to reveal that Milo has gained weight since his Parisian days, but alas, that is the case. There have been a few diets since.
Update on the Weight:
The diets didn't work. Even when Lucy would chase Milo's pink elephant, Milo wouldn't come join in the exercise. Milo loves to recline on his red velvet cushion. Whenever Lucy prances over and sits on Milo's cushion, he retreats behind the sofa in a rage. It's rather like living with a divorced couple, one of whom is now madly dating younger people, while the other one seethes with resentment.
Anna Vettori ~ a few years later...
If you've read Paris in Love, you'll have a sense of Anna-the-Teenager. At the moment she has deep blue streaks put in her hair—well, all the hair that was left after it was shaved on one side.
Anna as a Teenager:
"That is so inappro-pro," Anna tells me severely, when she considers I have, once again, said something unsuitable. "Hilar-lare!" she cries, judging her brother has been amusing. "Kay-kay" she calls, leaving the house. Her language tumbles to a beat that pushes her along, faster and faster, into adulthood.
Luca Vettori ~ a few years later...
Remember Luca’s terrible math skills from Paris in Love? This fall he bombed a calculus test. For the next week, he sat at the kitchen table (just the way he used to in Paris!), and studied. When the final test arrived, he finished it in 15 minutes. Then he did all the problems again. Finally, with a half hour to go, he turned it in and retreated to the bathroom and nervously played games on his phone. He got 100%—the best in the class!
Luca in Psych Class:
Yesterday Luca's psych class was instructed to make two separate drawings of a house, tree & person. Luca's classmates drew variations on a square house, stick figure and tree. His first drawing was of a huge tree with roots and a house built into the trunk, with a person sitting on a branch & waving. His second drawing was of a submarine, with a man in a diver's costume and a tall frond of seaweed. The psych teacher deciphered personalities from these drawings, declaring them "Open" or "Cautious." Luca? "Creative."
Mary/Eloisa and Alessandro, a few years later~
We’ve been working awfully hard; Alessandro is now the Chair of the Italian Department at Rutgers, and I’ve been teaching and writing novels. In the midst of a stressful semester, he surprised me with a wonderful vacation: four days in Aruba.
Aruba in Love:
We just ate dinner lit only by a torch on a nearly empty beach here in Aruba, while a singer wistfully sang of a wonderful life: bright blessed day, dark sacred night. So lovely.
Aruba has tiny sand birds that run with their yellow eyes bright, forward, and their legs scissoring very fast—they remind me of naughty two-year-olds making a break for freedom while Mom's back is turned.
Here is heaven: a white, empty beach, a blue sky, the sounds of waves swooshing into shore, a breeze that smells a little like salt, a little like flowers. You're in a lattice-front hut with the person you love next to you, while friendly people give you both massages. I wouldn't have wanted to come back to New York, except for the shining eyes of those who met us at the door last night, and happen to share our blood type.