Sunday, August 20, 2017

Part 5

"But first we get permission."

Roland had forgot that he had "parents" for the time being not to mention that he had no idea what time it was. They were probably questioning their decision to want to adopt him. He could hear their conversation in his mind.

"He has already run off...and this is only the first day!"
"Are we sure that he is the one?"
"Maybe we should consider someone else."

The pseudo-conversation haunted him all the way to his front door. Mrs. Santoro rang the doorbell and they promptly answered. Their response, much like all the encounters Roland had experienced today, was not what he was expecting. First of all they were smiling. He watched as the adults introduced themselves and some minor explaining/apologizing occurred. Roland picked up on the part of the conversation where his friends, specifically Slips, let his parents know where he was. "Friends that care about me...," Roland thought, as this was something new,"parents that trust me...," it was all too much. He blurted out, "I have to go to the bathroom," right in the middle of their conversation and bolted down the hall. Once behind closed doors the nausea and cold sweats intensified to dry heaves face down in the toilet bowl. A few gut-wrenching, back arching grunts and it was done. On shaky legs he stood over the sink washing his face and neck with gloriously cold water. A knock on the door asked if he was ok and was answered with a muffled, "Uh-huh," since Roland had started drying off. Looking at himself in the mirror, Roland did not recognize himself. His summer tan had gone pale around his red and watery eyes. There was still a little trembling in his hands as he steadied himself on the sink. A couple deep breathes and Roland felt better, still not knowing how the rest of this day would go.

Their expressions said it all about how he looked to them. Mouths open and staring. His new mom jumped into hyper-protective mode. "Oh my God! Are you okay?! Go lie down upstairs and rest. I will be right up." Roland tried to wave her off, still being a little weak, but it was no use. Carmelina agreed and suggested they go to the market tomorrow. "We are going now," Roland whispered,"I am fine." Mom, still pleading, asked if he was sure as they had just as much on the line in this adoption as Roland did. He reassured them both, even managing to stand up straight to look them both in the eye. He gave Dad the nod of reassurance, as he hadn't said anything, and Dad nodded back adding that they were a phone call away if he needed them. "I will keep an extra eye on him," Carmelina said as they made their way down the front steps. They both turned around just before rounding the corner to wave good-bye and made their way towards the market.

Roland could tell they were getting close because, ironically, all the fresh smells were actually helping to settle his senses. The nausea, trembling, everything was calming down. He began to hear people talking to them, actually just Mrs. Santoro, in Italian and English as they continued walking. Warm greetings and the occasional hug met them every few steps. Mrs. Santoro told him, "These are my family. Nothing is more important, Roland. Always family first, capisci?" Roland gave a blank stare not understanding the last part. "I asked if you understand. If you do, then you would say capisco." It took Roland a couple tries to say it write but eventually he got close enough for her to be happy. She assured him there would be more Italian to learn. They entered the butcher shop and the butcher's face lit up. After a short conversation, to which Roland understood none of, he was introduced. The butcher went behind the counter and handed Roland some packages of brown paper tied up with twine. Mrs. Santoro motioned to put them in the larger bag as she took out her money and paid. This process happened at a couple other stores and carts in the street as the different ingredients were procured.

It wasn't until they had reached the end of the street and had begun walking home that Roland inquired about what they would be making. "You will find out tomorrow, bambino," Mrs. Santoro said with a smile. "We've had a busy day. Let's get home." The porch lights were on at Roland's house and Mrs. Santoro's. He carried the bags into her kitchen and even stayed to help put everything away. She walked him to the front door and thanked him for all his help today. As Roland turned to leave, she gave him a small hug. As fast as it happened, it was over leaving Roland with yet more unforgettable and confusing memories. He made his way down the street to his house when Skips jumped out of the alley. "What was it like?! How does she look?!" and a million other questions flew out of her. Roland just smiled and replied, "You will find out tomorrow, bambino."

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Part 4

Roland literally thought he had travelled through time. He had read about things like this in books, seen the shows on the History and Discovery channels, but never imagined he would live it. Was this an alien ship? Everything was so...so...old. But in perfect condition. Roland was afraid to walk, much less touch anything, for fear it would disintegrate into dust.

Carmelina was returning from the kitchen to the small dining room table with the cup of water. Roland could hear the ice clanking against the sides of the glass and felt its coolness against the heat of the day in his hand. "Please sit and rest," Carmelina said quietly, still feeling embarrassed and nervous. Together they slowly sat around the table.

Silence.

Not even noise from the street could be heard.

Roland now began to wonder if he had not only travelled through time but if now time had stopped. An alternate or parallel universe from which he may, or may not, return from. His hand trembled as he liftted the glass to his mouth. As he drank some of the water managed to stay in his mouth while some did spill onto his shirt. Carmelina passed him a napkin, an actual cloth napkin, to dry himself. Roland nodded his thanks and began to clean up. Then he remembered why he was here.

"Basketball."

"Scusami?"

"In the alley...behind your house...basketball."

"Oh, oh, oh! Basketball!"

With that Carmelina began laughing hysterically! It wasn't long before the tears started coming out as she tried to catch her breath. Roland, calmed by this reaction, also began giggling which soon led to his laughing as well. These two had no idea or expectations about the other but all their speculations were hilarious.

"My name is Mrs. Santoro, or Carmelina, as I assume you have already heard quite a bit about me. I, too, see the hashtags and alleged video sightings. I am around more than people think. I saw you playing today but you are new to this neighborhood. Who are you?"

"R-R-R-Roland, ma'am," came a less than confident response. "Your new neighbor. I apologize for hitting the ball over your fence. May I please have it back?" Roland was proud for managing to get that all out at once. Carmelina's face sort of twisted for a moment and then said, "Help me make dinner first. Then you may have your ball. Deal?" "I can't cook," Roland immediately responded hoping this would bail him out. "Then it is time you learned, young man."

Carmelina stood up and turned towards the stove, reaching above it to get the necessary pots and pans down from the hang they hung from. Placing them on the stove, she turned back around and said,"But first we must go to the market. Cooking rule number one: A good meal must be a fresh meal." She pointed to her grocery bags for Roland to pick up, buttoned up her light jacket, and out they went, together, to the market.