Gigi La Pace4
December 22, 2020 by The Citron Review
by Edvige Giunta
He wore a jacket with fringes, genuine hippy costume. I never knew his last name. They called him Gigi La Pace because he always made the sign of peace. He was short, balding. squeaky voice. Undefinable age–mid-twenties to early-forties. Sold bead necklaces on Via Etnea, by Rinascente. He knew everyone and always smiled. He wasn’t tormented like the boys of Villa Bellini I met that last month I was sixteen. Someone told me they called him La Pace because he had been beaten by the fascists and never been the same since, those fingers perpetually raised, for protection.
Born in Sicily, Edvige Giunta came to the United States in 1984. She is the author of Writing with an Accent: Contemporary Italian American Women Authors and coeditor of several anthologies, including The Milk of Almonds and Embroidered Stories. Her writing appears in Creative Nonfiction, River Teeth, Barrow Street, Fictive Dream, Mutha Magazine, and other publications. Her book-length memoir, No Confetti for the Dead, is under consideration. She teaches at New Jersey City University.
I appreciate how apparently small details are richly provocative- “that last month I was sixteen” and “fingers perpetually raised, for protection”. Oh, the value of a comma!