My father works: sometimes construction; sometimes home repair; sometimes even for the uncles, though this kind of work is always mysterious and leaves him tense and short-tempered at the end of the day. His dream, he tells us sometimes—drinking beer and happy in the backyard on a summer evening, burned and tired from a day working in the sun, feet soaking in my little sister’s bug-spotted wading pool—his dream is to own his own restaurant. A pizza place, he says, like the ones he grew up on in Youngstown: a mom-and-pop place, secret recipe, no corporate franchise bullshit. The closest he ever comes, though, is the winter he works as a cook at an Italian restaurant near our house. It’s a nice restaurant, fancy, even: red-and-white checkered tablecloths, cloth napkins. A tealight candle in a jar on every table and three types of wine on the menu.
We’ve only been there once, when there was a coupon in the Valu-Saver, but then my father gets hired nights and my sister and I get to go along with him every so often, when our mother is off someplace and our grandmother has one of her bridge games and can’t watch… Read more »