Today I am proud to present you a flash fiction by Laura Schmidt of Voyage of the Mind. On Laura’s site you will find plenty to feed your imagination, from poetry to film reviews via novels to current affairs to ancient history. If you haven’t already visited, I highly recommend this site to anyone with an inquisitive mind!
I remember first visiting her when I was five. I clung to my father’s hand while he argued with her. She was making pasta, rolling out this expansive sheet of yellow dough until it was thin, thin, thin, thin enough to see through.
My father said something that made her very angry. She made a little sound in the back of her throat and hissed at him, almost like a cat, and said something in Italian. He let go of my hand and stepped back, running his hand through his hair. It was what he did when he was frustrated.
She kept rolling the pasta. Rolling and rolling. And then, when it was thin, she took her sharp knife and began to cut it.
The blade caught the light, a flash before my eyes.
She was there at my father’s funeral, after he died in the accident. She stood with me and my mother. We said nothing. My mother cried, tears rolling silently down her face. My nonna took a handkerchief out of her pocket and handed it to my mother.
My nonna didn’t cry. She threw a rose into my father’s grave and walked away, her black gown fluttering in the wind.
I didn’t see her for a long time after that.
I went to visit her with my fiancee soon after we got engaged.
She pressed her hands to my cheeks and kissed my brow and said, “Oh, Matteo, you have your father’s face.”
Then she looked at Julie and looked back at me. “Italiana?” she asked.
I gave her a look. “No, Nonna, does she look Italian?”
“Could be Sicilian,” she muttered under her breath.
She was making pasta. Held it up to the window to see how thin it was, to see if the light would shine through it. I watched her deft hands. Near the end of our twenty minutes there, Nonna asks Julie if she wants to try rolling the dough. Julie tries. Her dark hands move with my nonna’s on the rolling pin. Nonna clicks her tongue. Corrects her. This is progress.
Nonna’s dead. We keep some of her ashes in an urn on the mantel. The kids roll dice and play cards on the hearth. Junior and Elena, who’s named after her great grandmother.
And in the kitchen, Julie rolls dough for pasta. Holds it up to the window. She’s going to make her mother’s mac and cheese out of my nonna’s pasta. Heritage. This is heritage.
Junior and Elena come scampering in to help. Scare her and the dough falls in a sheet onto the floured table and she laughs until tears stream down her cheeks. Gathers them into her arms and holds them close to her chest. Love. This is love.
I hope you enjoyed this guest post from Laura Schmidt. If you would like to guest post on this site, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for collaboration enquiries.