My father never smiled or laughed.
No greeting as I came home from school, just continued cutting or watering the lawn, trimming the hedges; Didn’t smile at me nor my sisters, only his eldest daughter, the quiet, dignified lady, who fed me toast and butter while her son ate steak. Only once he smiled, smiled with pride, when as a young, trim, tanned, handsome youth, I stepped off the old tub that brought me to the island of his birth: volcanic, twisted, burnished mountains, descending to clear blue Mediterranean waters, fragrant jasmine, endless pine groves, firm full breasted, comely, berry brown women, balancing huge pitchers on their braded heads, smelling of night, and love, and dreams. For two weeks my father and I walked arm in arm over the cobble-stoned, horse dunged streets; armies of cousins, aunts, uncles, hugged, kissed and laughed. Back again in America: no smiles, no arm in arm walks, just the watered lawn, and trimmed hedges.