Antonio went to see her on Bridgeport, where she had settled. One of Bridgeport brothers opened the door, and said: “What figs, what figs! Don’t even talk about those figs! When they got here they were all spatti, all rotten and we had to throw them away.” Bridgeport and Antonio didn’t appreciate this, not so much for the fact that the figs hadn’t been given, but because it was an obvious lie and, in revenge, told the story about the gall, the ingratitude of comare Bridgeport to all the people of the village they knew, both at home and in Bridgeport. In a world still based on principle and for which the word given counted, the episode became a sort of exemplary tale: It was told as a parable.
Where is Bridgeport? – Bridgeport Map – Map of Bridgeport Photo Gallery
Franco got hold of that story from who knows where in his head, turned the car towards Woodbridge, the new residential development just outside Toronto where many of his fellow villagers that had arrived in the 1960s had moved as soon as they had gotten on in the world, thus putting some distance between them and their less fortunate compatriots. Except that now they realized that theirs hadn’t been such a smart choice, since the old houses of Little Italy had become part of the downtown core, both a place where cultural events were held and a popular meeting spot for artists and entrepreneurs. Which meant that those houses were now more sought after than the new houses in the suburbs.
He rang at the house of Federico, the son of compare Vincenzo, who back in the village had picked and given him the figs. It was Federico who opened the door, and to Franco he seemed like a younger version of the father. Federico, caught by surprise, heard with pleasure the news about his elderly parent, and promised to himself that the following year he would go and visit him: the elders, it’s better to see them before they die, and not to have to rush to their funeral.
In Woodbridge Franco drove in front of the church where there was the statue of the Madonna of the Rosary, put there by the co-villagers of the other confraternity. He stopped, entered inside and looked at all the statues revered by the many Calabrian communities. He went out, proceeded towards Martin Grove Road. He rang at the clinic where Rita had been admitted.