Friday, January 28, 2011

Mothers & Sons, VIII

Servi sat and watched Claudia prepare Paulo for bed. She fed both Servi and her son at the kitchen table. The little boy appeared unabashed by a strange man at supper, but when Servi mentioned he was from New York City, the boy brightened somewhat, and asked a series of questions about the city formed from a pastiche of movies, TV, and international cliché which floats rumors about large cities like pollen in a great meadow.

“You talk too much, Paulo,” his mother scolded him. “Eat. Don’t wear our guest out for me.”

But the boy continued, and Servi felt a bit like the older brother returned from the great overseas voyage. Feeling like Claudia’s son did not damped Servi’s attraction toward her, but the source of the sensation unsettled him, and he pushed it to a remote corner of his addled mind. All evening long he had watched her in a little sun dress, studded with daisies, moving about the kitchen like an Italian matron: padding back and forth on bare feet from the stove to the sink, the sink to the kitchen with pasta, bread, wine. Servi watched with devotional awe the surge of muscle beneath the sheer material of her skirt, and marveled at her slim arms and sharp elbows, as if the dichotomy of this woman made in flesh was also etched in the universal form of Female Herself.

When the meal was over and the boy was in his pajamas Claudia told him to kiss Servi. The boy did so dutifully on the cheek. It was 9PM in June, and streaks of ruddy light arched over the Roman sky, as if the sun had not really set, but was merely hiding beneath the horizon, awaiting for an unsuspecting and auspicious moment to reappear where it has just gone missing.

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