Copyright 2011 by Donald Philip Massetti
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This is a novel based on the true-life events of Gertrude Abate.
Aside from immediate family, names have been changed to protect the privacy and the rights of all other individuals.
In the pizza parlor Trudy began to feel a bit uncomfortable. She had never eaten any kind of Italian food before and didn’t know if she would like pizza. Her mother had told her a story about being on a long train ride back in England where she had to share a car with an elderly Italian woman. When lunchtime came around the old woman had opened up her case and took out some food wrapped in paper. The small, warm train car filled with a rather strong and pungent aroma from anchovies and some type of sharp cheese. It made Lily sick to her stomach. The woman had kindly offered to share some of her lunch with the teenaged Lily, but the girl quickly declined the offer. Years later she would instill in her own children her fear of “exotic” foods from nationalities different from their own.
Trudy’s heart began to beat fast as she wondered what this forbidden, foreign fare might taste like. She didn’t want to tell Mario that she had never eaten pizza before.
A happy looking plump man with dark hair came from behind the counter and placed a dish with a fresh slice in front of each of them. She had to admit, it smelled pretty tasty, not at all what she imagined from her mother’s stories.
Mario waited for Trudy to pick up her slice and take the first bite. Trudy sat there patiently. The shop owner looked at Mario to see if there was a problem. Mario looked back at him, then at Trudy, then down at the food again. Mario glanced back up at the pizza man and shrugged. After quite a bit of time Mario finally said to his date “aren’t you going to have a bite before it gets cold?”
Trudy looked sheepishly at him and answered, “Sure, I’m just waiting for my knife and fork that’s all.” In unison, Mario and the shop owner let out a belly laugh. Trudy’s face turned bright red.
“You pick it up with your hands and eat it,” Mario explained.
Trudy smiled, “stop,” she said looking down at the melted cheese before her. “Eat it with your hands, now you’re making fun of me!”
“You’ve never had pizza before have you?” asked the young man.
Then he proceeded to pick up his slice and fold it over and take a bite.
The shop owner rushed over to the table with a knife and fork and announced, “If the young lady would like a knife and fork, then she shall have them. Here you go miss. I hope you enjoy my pizza any way you choose to eat it.”
Trudy was crimson with embarrassment. Her secret was out; she had never eaten pizza before. However she decided to forgo the utensils for the more traditional approach. If she were going to do it, then she was going to do it correctly! She picked up her slice, gave it the flip as Mario had just shown her, took her first bite and started to chew. Her eyes widened.
“This is delicious!” she mumbled placing her hand over her full mouth. “I can’t believe what I’ve been missing all this time,” she added.
Mario smiled and looked up at the man watching behind the counter. “Looks like a success. Two more slices!” he called out. “And you can hold the cutlery,” he added with a laugh.
Hope you liked this little tid-bit.
Until next time,