I was knocked out of my dreamless sleep to Maria’s booming voice behind the steering wheel. Her voice rapidly tilted high and low like a rollercoaster and her speech was peppered with a few familiar sounding words. When I finally opened my eyes the first thing I saw was four sets of olive skin colored knees smushed together and sweaty thighs stuck to one another like suction cups. I was sitting on Sylvia’s lap near the window and she had the lucky job of adjusting me every now and then to make sure we didn’t become glued to one another. I’m sure my boney ass was hurting her but all I heard her say during the entire car ride from the air port is “tutto okay?” which is exactly what she said to me when the car suddenly stopped in front of a tall gate on a dirt road.
I Couldn’t help but be reminded of those never ending dessert highways in the middle of nowhere you see in movies. Not that the dirt road was otherwise empty, about ten feet away there was a small stucco white shed that looked meaningless and random except for a peeling poster of gelato on the front wall. In front of the barren building there was a starved wolf -like creature chained to a fence, panting in the heat.
Once the car stopped the girls began to moan and grumble “mama!” sleepily as Maria kept shouting back at them and poking at them with her stubby sausage fingers until somehow Giga, the youngest and the one sitting closest to the door in the car that actually opened, was pushed out of the car to open the rusty, unromantic black gate. Giga huffed and puffed as she pulled the first gate open, and then the next, with her flabby arms. As she leaned over I noticed her bulging out of her too-tight green shorts and top that used to be Sylvia’s. When she was done she tried to look up and smile her at her mother, but she just looked nauseous.