Penitence to me is futile and self indulgent. I come from that kind of stock that does not cry over spilled milk. What's done is done. I move on. I make things work. I think everyone else should just get over whatever they're whining about.
I wish life really was so simple. Much of the time it is, and other times it's complex and impossible. I've written here a thousand odes to my husband. We married fifteen years ago on a whim, and I won the lottery that day. I would do so again ten times, a hundred times over.
I went to Italy and fell in love with him, and when we married I really didn't understand a word of what was being said to me. I nodded and said sì whenever prompted, and as we returned to our house together I knew that we had somehow just created a new family. At that moment my family became me and my husband, and would soon include our two children. The Italian idea of family is assai differente, and I had no idea.
I must admit that as I write this I'm having a hard time not feeling a hint of shame, but the truth is that since my father in law passed away, my husband's family in Italy amounts to a tribe of banshee women, bleating goats looking for a billy, harping, crowing hens kicking in the dirt. These women call and gripe to my haggard husband daily. They haunt him from across the Atlantic like specters. They now have no one to repair their furnaces, patch their roofs, cut their wood, take their shit. They do not consider my husband's true hardship being here, living in a different language and culture, starting over from scratch in every way. I know he is innately happy to be so far away. They are inherently selfish and just want him to come home where he belongs, to live in the same town where he was born and from where he has been fleeing all of his life.
I feel a welling up of something like boiling lava in my chest when they call, and realize that my difference from them is so great that it's beyond comprehension. When I was living in Italy I often had the experience of being treated as an unknowing outcast. Many people assumed that my physical distance from my mother and father was either the result of some trouble in famiglia, or some kind of catastrophe... they must be dead, I must be an orphan. My independence was a mystery, my way of being unnatural. The deeply rooted cultural differences between our two families were so great that the only way I could deal with them was to ignore them. I loved my husband dearly and wanted for no other, as is true today. I am never pentient for a moment. But make no mistake, we come from two different universes. If the truth be known, I must say I prefer mine.