My best friend of a long time, “D,” came to Italy this month to visit a friend of hers that lives in New York with her (bitch). Her friend is a young Italian guy who immigrated from Italy about six years ago to The Big Apple. Oddly enough, his village is nearby my husband’s hometown near Naples. The world is small and my husband is thoroughly obsessed with the fact that someone from such a small city in nowhere Italy made it in New York, the most intimidating city that exists, according to most Italians. He honestly seems relieved. I’m not sure which is the more difficult move, moving an Italian to America or an American moving to Italy.
Her friend, we’ll call him “A” was unable to pick her up from the airport and we were more than happy to take his place since it meant extra time with D. When we arrived to pick her up she was the same as she’s been since we were teenagers. Dressed from head to toe in loose black clothing, pin-straight black hair framing her honey skin, gifted to her by her Mexican/Phillipino parents. She dragged herself to the car and threw herself inside exhausted.
F: So, “A” couldn’t pick you up because his father’s brother passed away?
D: Yes. I think it’s his uncle though I don’t understand why he would say his “father’s brother” instead of his uncle. Super confusing.
ME: Everything here is super confusing.
D: But he just died like yesterday and the funeral is today. That’s super fast. Is that normal to have a funeral that fast here Francesco?
F: Yes. I tink so because a you know-a, you have the body in your house and then people come to see it and then you know you go to the church and bury them. It has to be fast so the body doesn’t, you know, go bad.
D & ME: THEY KEEP THE BODY IN THE HOUSE!?
F: Uhm. Yes. You keep it in the house and everyone they come to see the body and the family.
D: Do they do something so that it doesn’t stink?!
F: What do you mean? Like what? I think no.
ME: What? They don’t take it to a funeral home to do embalming? They don’t suck out the blood and put in chemicals and then put makeup on it and dress it up?
F: No. I mean, we don’t suck out the blood. But yes, someone puts clothes on the person.
D: WHO!? Who is the person who comes to dress up the dead dude in the house?
F: Family I think.
ME: Just so we’re clear on this, when you die you are not staying in our house. I’m not sleeping with your dead body nearby.
F: They keep the body wherever it dies, like if it’s in the hospital they keep it there.
D: So what if someone dies on the side of the road? Does someone go there to put makeup on them by the road and family comes to visit them there?
F: I don’t…I don’t know.
ME: And what if someone shoots themselves in the face? You just leave it like that at your house with the face off? Or do you close the casket? Wait, they are in a casket or like on the couch?
D: And what if it’s not at home or in the hospital? Then what? You just put a towel on their head to cover the damage? You’re making this shit up.
F: I’m not! We keep them where they died. You guys are dicks. I don’t know! I only know what we did when my grandpa died. We kept him at his house. Then we had the service in the church the next day and buried him that same day. He didn’t stink. He looked fine.
ME: And how old were you?
F: Eight or something.
ME: So you’re totally making shit up. D, you want to go to the funeral home and check it out? We can ask them.
D: Uhm, no. Because apparently there are no dead people in the funeral homes here. And all of the houses with dead people probably stink.
F: They don’t stink.
D: Making shit up.