In the days following his attempts at contacting the man called Dave, Giuseppe found himself recalling moments from his childhood in the Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin. They were memories triggered by what he saw around him, and the feelings that came with them were often mixed.
Right now, as he sat on his sofa staring dreamily through the window, he saw two boys aged around ten running down the street passing a soccer ball to each other. It was then that he remembered how his dad used to go on about the Empoli soccer club from his native Italy. Come to think of it, with his dad it was always ‘Italy this’ and ‘Italy that’. From football, masculinity and art to food, music and culture, Italy was always the best, and his dad did not let an opportunity go by to let everyone know it. Giuseppe would not have minded it so much if it was not for the way his dad would taunt their Australian neighbours and friends and knock Australian culture.
Giuseppe hated that. It made him feel so uncomfortable and it became harder for him to find his place in Australian society. It felt as if he was torn between two worlds: that of his conservative, narrow-minded dad and that of his everyday life. This made him become rebellious. He took up playing Australian sports, like cricket and Aussie rules football. Together with his best mate, Gazza, he would go to all the St. Kilda home matches and drink Carlton Draught beer in his backyard afterwards, just to spite his dad.
At first, when Giuseppe started playing ‘footy’, his dad would come and watch his matches, but when he was old enough to speak up to his domineering dad, he told him to stay away. His dad always succeeded in making a scene, calling the umpires ‘poofter’ and picking fights with other dads when they told him to ‘shut up, ya bloody dago’. In one incident his dad had to be escorted home in a cop car after a mob of spectators decided the annoying heckler with his fighting talk needed taking down a peg, and came for him while the match was still in progress.
Now that Giuseppe recalled such moments from his youth, he was reminded of the most painful moment in his life. While other kids were picked on and bullied by other kids, Giuseppe had been bullied by his dad as long as he could remember. Instead of toughening him up, as his dad referred to the beatings he dealt out to his young son on a regular basis, Giuseppe learned to be compassionate towards others, especially those younger or more vulnerable than he was. He grew up to be a handsome young bloke who excelled not only at sports but at school as well. And his mates envied him for all the girls who tried to attract his attention.
However, Giuseppe did not fall easily for any girl, except for one. He had just turned sixteen and she was nearly three years older than he was when she won his heart. The big age difference and the fact that the girl had a dark complexion meant that Giuseppe’s dad did not take to liking her at all from the very start of the relationship. And he told both of them so whenever Giuseppe took his girlfriend home. It did not take long before Giuseppe told his poor mother that they would no longer come over to enjoy her lavish meals. This really got to Giuseppe, but what really broke his heart was when his dad insulted his girlfriend at his school fete in front of her family and everyone else who was present.
That evening Giuseppe and his dad got into a very nasty argument that would have resulted in a fight if Gazza had not intervened and taken Giuseppe away. Still, irreparable damage had been done. Giuseppe went to his girlfriend’s house and tried to get her to run away with him, but she could not as it would break her parents’ hearts and hers too in the process.
Suddenly, Giuseppe was shaken from his memories by the ringtone of his phone.
“Damn, who is that?” he shouted slightly aggravated.
He ran to the sideboard where his phone lay and swiped the ‘accept’ button.
“Pronto!” he half shouted down the phone.
It took a few seconds for the person calling to respond to such a gruff greeting in another language. While Giuseppe looked outside to be greeted by dazzling rays of light from the sun coming out from behind the clouds, the caller answered:
“Hi, this is Dave Frankston here. Is that you, Conno?”
TO BE CONTINUED...
‘Sun Burst‘ by Enrica Bressan on Freeimages.com
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