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Friday, February 22, 2013
12:00 AM | Posted by Tara
|The real party.|
Tessie was a real woman and this is part of her story.
“I can’t believe you’re having another baby,” her sister-in-law Sarah commented with a crinkle of her nose. “Aren’t you worried that might happen again?” She pointed at the happy little toddler gleefully shoving a handful of cake in her mouth.
“A child is a gift from God, Sarah.” Tessie tried to keep her voice civil. “Whether that child has Down Syndrome or not. What kind of person, what kind of motherwould I be, if I didn’t accept that gift with grace and love?”
“I know you don’t care to take my advice, Theresa.” Her mother-in-law refused to call her by anything but her given name. “But I think you’re far too old to be having another child. Forty-five and pregnant? It’s practically a scandal.”
“I’m afraid it’s a little too late to change things now, Anna.”
“Humph.” Mrs. Pinto folded her napkin on her lap and adjusted her petticoats. She still wore several layers, even though they had gone out of style decades before. “If you insist on having more children, don’t you think it’s time to consider sending Philomena to one of those nice institutions? You can’t possibly care for her and an infant. Not at your age.”
Finally, Tessie lost her patience. She tossed the last serving of cake on the table in front of her mother-in-law with so much force the plate cracked in half. “I’m not putting my daughter in a mental institution. She belongs with me!”
Anna patted her hand and gave her a sympathetic look. “It’s not like she’d even realize you were gone, dear. She has no idea what’s going on.”
“Then why not drown her in the river like a stray cat?” Most of the woman at the table gasped, but Tessie didn’t care. She was fuming. “My daughter isn’t an animal to be caged. The only animals around here are people like you, who refuse to see what a beautiful little girl my Mena is.” She eyed every last one of the women at the table. “You should all be ashamed of yourselves.”
***Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She is the author of six young adult novels and several short stories.