Friday, August 6, 2010
In Their Own Words - Fortuna
Hello, my name is Fortuna Genovase and I'm Rosa's aunt. Nobody ever seems to remember her real name is Rosa, but that's okay. I do. Her mother named her Rosa, for her great-grandmother, her father named her Linda, after her mother, and Fortuna, of course for me. I think she decided in fourth grade she didn't like Rosa Linda anymore, although I really think it had to do with some of the other kids making fun of her, you know how kids are. And they had all those glamorous names like Tiffany, and Brooke, so Rosa decided to call herself "Genna", short for Genovase she said. But I still call her Rosa because that's what her mother called her. It's the least I can do.
She's a good girl, my Rosa. Always was. Such a beautiful baby! But tiny, she was so little. Fragile. She had all that dark hair, and those eyes, they would follow you everywhere. She never cried, never fussed, she was always so happy. She'd wake up happy, go to school happy, come home happy. She always did what her mother told her without an argument, without a tantrum. Not like my Angelina, that's for sure. Oh, and she loved her Uncle Sally! That's how he got that name, from her. She couldn't say Salvatore. She'd come running down the stairs, pigtails flying, "Uncle Sally, Uncle Sally!" She was such a joy. She still is. Oh my Rosa. Such a joy.
Joey and Linda were so proud of her. She took piano. And ballet. And she played little league baseball. Rosa played short stop, of course, just like Robby. He practised with her all the time. Linda was always afraid she would get hurt because she was so much smaller than all the other kids. But they didn't need to worry. She was very good. Oh Joey and Linda were so proud. We all were.
They would still be proud, God rest their souls, if they hadn't been taken away from us. My poor Rosa, to lose her parents at such an important age. She was only fourteen, just on the verge of becoming a young woman. She still played with her Barbie dolls but sneaked Linda's lipstick when she wasn't looking. So cute. My heart breaks when I think of what Rosa missed from her mother. I tried my best, but I know it's not the same as having your own mother.
When Joey and Linda had their accident and we went to the hospital that night, Rosa demanded to see them. So strong my girl. Joey was already gone but Linda was hanging on. The doctors didn't want to let her see them, they were so banged up, but my Rosa was steadfast. Salvatore threatened the doctor in charge so he finally relented and Sal went with her in to Linda's room. Linda wasn't conscious but Sal told me later that Rosa didn't cry, she just held her mother's hand and told her it was going to be all right. She had me and Sal and not to worry about her. She would be fine. Then she told her mother she loved her, and kissed her good-bye. It wasn't long after that that Linda let go. My poor baby. My poor Rosa.
That night changed Rosa. Of course it would, to lose both your parents in such a tragic way. She was in therapy for a long time. She didn't go to school for the whole month of March, although she kept up with her work. All the light went out of her. She was so serious, she didn't laugh anymore. She was afraid of the car too. She didn't want to go anywhere, scared she would get into an accident. It took Sal a long time for her to not be so afraid.
When she started back at school, I was still working at the diner with Sal. I didn't want her to be home alone, even for that little while, so I made her walk down to the diner. It was only a few blocks. The psychologist said we had to be very careful and keep an eye on her, a tragedy like the one Rosa suffered through could sometimes lead to suicide. Oh, we prayed for her. Madre di Dio did we pray. So Rosa would come and sit with me while I did the books or whatever it was. Tony Testa was working there too. He seemed to bring Rosa out of her shell. He made her laugh. Which was a good thing at the time. We were all so afraid for her.
And well, you know how young love is. Back then he was a good boy. Respectful of Rosa, and Sal too. And Rosa adored him. Everything was Tony this and Tony that. We thought it was a good match. Tony seemed to have his head on straight. He always worked, said he was saving to buy his own restaurant. And Rosa followed that dream. They were such a beautiful couple.
But he turned out bad. Mannaggia sporca di cane. What he did to my Rosa, oh, I could just spit nails. Broke her heart seven ways to Sunday. Madre di Dio, and my poor Rosa, shamed by the humiliation, she said she didn't have a choice. She said she had to leave us. Leave town, go somewhere else. Sal wanted to have Tony taken out, if you get my meaning but we knew we couldn't do that. Tony made his choice and look at what happened. He lost everything. That poor girl he married, she shouldn't have had to live like that either. God rest her poor soul. Boh, basta, basta.
But now, my Rosa is back. Oh, she looks so good, have you seen her, a little too skinny maybe, but that's okay. I'll fatten her up in no time. And did you hear, she had a date with little Petie DiCampo the other night, such a nice boy. He was such a hellion when he was younger but he turned out to be the nicest young man. He still goes to church too. That's hard to find today. A nice Catholic boy.
I'm praying everyday that Rosa finds her way to love him. I think Tony's set his sights on her once again, but I think Petie will give him a run for his money. And my Rosa isn't stupid. Burned once, twice shy. I just hope she gives Petie the chance to get to know her, the real her. She doesn't trust easily, and rightly so, considering all that's happened to her, but I have faith. True love can conquer anything. And I know Linda and Joey are watching from Heaven. They'll lead her in the right direction.