As many happy days as one has, there will always be an equal number of dark ones- and sometimes, they overshadowed the light. Violetta had learned that, over the course of her life, and now looking at a calendar was a challenge to remember goodness without overpowering sadness.
Take, for example, her mother’s birthday: May 5th. Every year as the days crept closer and closer, more and more memories of her mother crowded in, demanding attention.
When Gianna had advocated for her to go to Juilliard.
Watching her mother and all her uncles together, laughing in that way of siblings where every insult is a tease.
Violetta’s favorite memory was of how her mother and father met- the way her mother used to tell it. She always closed her eyes, tipped her head back and sighed before beginning, the tale a pearl in her mind.
It really was a very ordinary story, no great romance. Violetta’s father had been a mason, who immigrated from Italy and founded his own company. But he was lonely, and wanted to find a girl. He went for his annual doctor’s appointment and asked the man. That man was Gianna’s brother. They were introduced, married a month later, and never looked back.
Giana always presented these mundane facts clearly, without romanticizing them. Every time she told it, she said,
“Now girls, your father and I didn’t see each across the room and fall madly in love. It was more practical than that.”
But her eyes always glistened, enough that Violetta and her sisters never paid attention to the preface.
On May 5th, when she said a prayer for her mother’s soul at Mass, she tried to hold onto the romance of the world inherent in the simplest of family stories.