Short Story

Curves by Trisha Ricketts

    Salvatore Giacondo felt the hole crater inside him. He tried to ignore it as he slipped a finger through the dainty teacup handle. A tradition. To sip Earl Grey from Maisie’s Belleek tea set on St. Paddy’s day. Her day. The mere curve of the teapot brought her full into view as she poured tea: red, full lips, dancing eyes, blonde hair so yellow it looked like it was its own light source. She dyed it, of course. Had done it for years. Can’t take the gray anymore, Sallie. Makes me look like a cadaver. All that life. But her pain was evident through the shorter leg and crumpled hip. Hadn’t stopped her from doing a thing.
    Sal sighed. Looked down at his stomach which was as round as the teapot’s belly. Something Maisie harped on. Sal, ya gotta quit with the likes of bread pudding. He turned on the Victrola. Maisie’s, too. Placed a thick 78 on the turntable and set the needle down. Ella and Satch dueled sweetly. The way you wear your hat, the way you sip your tea, the memory of all that… Sal took two steps backward, held his left arm up, hand open, palm out; the other creating a sensuous curve around open space. And Maisie Muldoon was there. Tiny against his ample belly, chuckling at his clumsy steps.
    Don’t hold me so tightly, Sal Giacondo. You’ll break me in two.
    Italian and Irish. He chuckled at the thought—he all pasta and shout; she all proverb and jig. Each having the gift of gab. And gab and gab and gab, he teased her when she’d get going on a story. Mrs. Pierce, with her jaw flapping like tomorrow’s wash, brought me over to that meat case then starts ranting—you wouldn’t believe it—about cruelty to animals and I’m just trying to avoid looking into her eyes all the while…
    He couldn’t resist her. Never could. The laughter waiting behind every word that came out of her mouth, the life in those broken, bandy legs, the shimmying swerve in those tiny hips. How he missed the sound of that voice. The rich honey in it made everything sweeter.
    No, no they can’t take that away from me… And the music stopped. Sal walked over to the Ol’ Vic and set the needle arm back in its cradle. He walked to the kitchen table, sat back down, picked up the delicate cup again. “Maisie.” He held the teacup high and toasted the air. “To my beloved.” He sipped the last drop of Earl Gray, then placed the teacup back in its saucer watching some leftover droplets ooze out around the teacup’s bottom rim.
    Heard a car door slam, indecipherable chatter. Got up and walked to the window looking out over the front courtyard. Of course, they would come. His son, Carmine, and daughter-in-law got out, unstrapping the children from their back seats. Maisie had let him have that one—Carmine. Forever asking him, what self-respecting Irish woman has a son named Carmine? But she’d shake her head as though to dispel the blasphemy. You’re a good man, Salvatore Giacondo. A good man. Little Angela and Sean bounced up the sidewalk, pushing each other lightly as they headed for his apartment door. Sean favored the Giacondo side—thicker lips, full cheeks, dark in the face. Angela was all light: freckly Irish skin, pale eyes and hair the color of straw. Dark and light. Like they’d been. All consequence of love. So beautiful.
    He opened the door to a chorus of Happy Saint Patrick’s day, Nonno…
    “Well,” he clapped his hands. “Look what the cat dragged in.” Then he scooped Angela and Sean up into his arms. “Ahhhh,” he breathed in their muddy scent. “Nonno’s so happy to see you.”
    And while they took off their coats and started for the refrigerator, Sal walked back to the front window, looked up into the sky where clouds hung like ice floes in an iridescent ocean. And he felt something walk into that crater. Begin to fill its void.


4 thoughts on “Curves by Trisha Ricketts

  1. This is the quintessential Irish tale and so perfect for a St. Patty’s day morn. I’d love to see more of this author’s work. Bravo!

  2. Ah, Patricia, Happy Feast Day!! This lovely short story made my day! Sal, so huggable, not maudlin or melancholy (he’s not Irish afterall) and so in love with His Maisie and honoring her Irish traditions even though she’s gone now. You made me want to slip into his open arms and dance with him there in the front room to Ella & Satch singing “You Can’t Take That Away From Me.” You captured their deep love for each other in this short piece and brought them to believable life. I’m sorry I never got to “meet” Maisie too. Thank you for such a tender love story.

  3. Trisha that was really lovely. You created a heartfelt story and and great characters in just a few paragraphs. Great job!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s