I kept one hand on Oliver under the table to make sure he didn’t get into any mischief and to give me something to do so I seemed too busy to communicate. ” I looked around as though I were alone in a restaurant examining bad wall-paper while absent-mindedly picking through my food. “Oliver it is dirty.” His father said with a crinkled face like a dehydrated fruit. A lot,” but I sounded like an idiot, so they ignored me. The only thing his mom and dad can agree on is that Oliver and I are a hot mess; I’d like to think that it’s their mutual distaste for our lazy appearance that keeps them together.
Francesco’s father was the first to break the silence in his dialect which doesn’t resemble Italian at all, but instead sounds like musical Russian. I would take him more seriously if he wasn’t the size of a tall midget. “You make the brush on him more, and make a slap on him more.” His mother chimed in, “the dog upstairs it is better than Oliver because with her they are more serious! I deliberated on how long it has been since they’ve had sex…with each other. Something about being in the south changes him, and it scares the shit out of me.
Regardless, one day when Francesco announced we had to go to his hometown for a weekend visit, I picked up Oliver and started rubbing him. Many things make me regress in the world, but parents, especially his parents have me all but sucking my thumb and wetting my pants. Oliver, hearing his name, perked up his ears and pawed at the air. Everything you’ve ever heard about Italian families is entirely true. The sexy mafia men don’t exist; instead it’s a nation of man-children who supplement their diet with breast milk well into their fifties.
I know from life experience that parents are not to be trusted, and the fact that he concedes to their every whim is enough to shut down my frontal lobe. Nothing came to me, and the harder I tried, the harder I rubbed his dreaded fur, until it bordered on molestation and Oliver had turned his head and gave me a look like, “are you going to at least buy me dinner first? “Yes of course he can.” said Francesco, leaning over and kissing Oliver’s head while making eye contact with me, “Don’t start freaking out.” The intense eye contact is something I’ve always enjoyed about him, it’s creepy, a little invasive, somehow sexy and an excellent momentary distraction; even in the most stressful moments he calms me down and lets my brain drift off to sex. A psychologist from Milan wrote an article about how the “supervisory, overbearing nature” of the family causes actual emotional impairment of the children who grow into functional vegetables.
I’ve never been a fan of the things that throw up on you during weeks of sleep deprivation.
I like to tell myself that I’m set, I have a career and a homeless looking poodle that pisses on his own legs and walks like a drunken iguana.
” I usually had excuses reserved for that: A bladder infection, a yeast infection, a staph infection, syphilis, a plague of some kind but this time there was nothing, my brain was on strike and regardless of the fact my body began objecting with nausea and anxiety my brain wouldn’t respond. Unfortunately it only lasts as long as a teenager’s hymen. The same article said the needy relationship is also accountable for the majority of divorces in Italy, probably suicides too.
This is something I can’t understand, since I raised myself in my formative years.
She brought course after course of food while I reminded myself that I put bulimia behind me in college and I had to resist throwing up, difficult after eighteen courses. ” said the mom, “And she has the need to put more of the eye makeup! ” She waved her hands like she’d cast a spell ending the argument.
The sporadic urge to inform close friends of rare moments of genius is expunged by the fact that I can’t, there isn’t anyone of the same species to call here.
And “home” is eight hours behind by phone, or twenty hours of traveling by air.
I stared out the window trying to imagine possible conversations to mentally translate so I’d be ready to slaughter the Italian language in front of his family. Speaking of, is everyone in Europe really uncircumcised? ” This is yet another reason why I prefer the company of Oliver, or animals in general.
I do this often, but the problem is that I can never think of something I could actually say out loud to anyone. They don’t have expectations, they don’t care if you talk with them or not, and they’re not particularly judgmental.
Oliver even sleeps between us, head on pillow, tucked under our comforter, we fall asleep turned towards each other with our hands resting on him.