In the Madonie

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Targo Florio_view of the Madonie_by Antonio Llardo

An Excerpt from No More Brothers

Tuesday, February 12, 1867

Evidence of spring, the sky was saturated with a blue so deep it could be the Madonna’s cloak. A scouring wind blew Serafina’s cape. Ancient trees bent against its force, but as they rolled and bounced inland, the air grew softer. Their world filled with spring blossoms and Serafina smelled the heavy scent of almond, the tang of citrus.

Carlo drove. She closed her eyes and felt sand underneath her lids. She shouldn’t have indulged her sorrow last night, weeping for hours in her room. She was a fool without conviction. What would her mother have done? Gone to him, of course. Or maybe not. But she’d be quick to give her daughter advice. Serafina could hear her saying something about time to get on with life.

It took hours of searching before they found Ugo’s missing boot. Nearby she saw churning footprints in the soft earth, a red button, nothing more.

“Take the boot?” Carlo asked.

“And the button. I’ve had enough searching for today. I know a little clearing not far from here, a good spot to rest. Bring the food.”

They walked apart, Serafina several meters ahead of Carlo, but she could hear him clomping back and forth, cracking branches, crushing leaves. Soon I’ll hear the full force of his roar.

He called out, his voice ringing in the clear air, “What’s the point? Why can’t we all make love and babies and coins, honor our family and have done with it? Forget the war and the thugs, the poverty of the peasants, the corruption of the government.”

Serafina swiveled around.

Her son didn’t bother to face her. “Why try to change the world? You can’t even keep your daughters at home.”

She stared at him.

“That’s right. They can’t wait to leave. First it was Carmela. Now Renata’s gone.”

Photo: View of the Madonie. Credit: Antonio Llardo (Flickr), Creative Commons.

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