“Ya know, I’ve known you for more than half my life,” my friend mused as we were enjoying a long-overdue girls’ night out recently.
I get a kick out of how she eats with such gusto. She marvels at my talent for knowing exactly what shoes to wear with any given outfit. When we shop there’s no dilly-dallying. We see something we like, there’s no waffling, we just buy it. The compliments are abundant and genuine. I comment on her new eye shadow and she notices my new earrings.
We share the same story: The only daughter in an Italian-American family. Exceptionally close to our mothers. New Yorkers who came to Boston for college – and stayed. We are modern women yet we celebrate, even revere, tradition. We’re scratch cooks who constantly swap recipes. We know how to set a nice table. We send hand-written thank you notes.
When we talk, our conversations are peppered with Italian words and phrases: mia cucina (my kitchen); la familia (the family); and ciao bella (so long beautiful). And the slang, of course: scoochi (pest); jaboney (jerk); and capisce (understand).
Our lives have taken us in different directions. She’s married with two little girls while I’m the single one. She’s the teacher and I’m a writer. We’ve grown but we have not grown apart. We remain each other’s confidant and sounding board. One year for my birthday she gave me a Willow Tree figurine of two young girls sitting on a bench, seemingly deep in conversation. It was the perfect gift.
“We’ve been friends for a long time,” I agreed. “We’re like sisters. Italian sisters.”