Song “Una Furtiva Lagrima” (M’ama!) – Donizetti
Being twenty-one most people have the idea that you have come of age. Well, mostly, this is true but it’s not the magical number “twenty-one” that did it for me. It was the party celebration with my friends and my parent’s friends, the Poles, the Italians, and the Irish. We split into two rooms; the younger couples in the room at the rear of the house, with the outside door and my parents and their friends in the sitting room. I alternated between rooms, thoroughly enjoying both “parties”.
When I was my parents and their friends, my mom suggested that I gather all the “young ones” into the lounge for the speeches. Well both my father and mother were not parents who would give long silly speeches so I rounded up my mob and we all found space in the sitting room.
I was glad and proud of my parents. My dad’s speech was simple.
“You are now twenty-one,” he said and shook my hand. This was met with much cheering and the singing of “Happy Birthday”.
I hadn’t noticed that my Italian friend Roberto had shifted to stand with his brother and father. Their timing was perfect; when I moved over to hug my mother they started singing in fantastic tenor voice “Una Furtiva Lagrima (M’ama). The tears streamed, both my mother and I.
I was now twenty-one! Never ready to leave my good parents!
When I recall that night, as I do now, the tears fill my eyes and I find it difficult to focus.
This is a short story about Jenny Ashken who, in her late teens, resorts to alcohol and drugs to obliterate a fateful accident. While in a semi-conscious drug state she is befriended by a young man in a pub which triggers her desire to return to reality and face the real world. Will she be able to put the fragments of her appalling life back together and go clean in a manipulative world of narcotics and law enforcement? “Fate leads the willing and drags along the unwilling.”