TITLE: We Happy Few
GENRE: Adult Fiction
It had been 243 days since the Di Lorenzano family arrived in New York. Though now they were the Dilore family. Giulietta acted as if the officials at Ellis Island had done them a favor. “Our old name was too difficult to pronounce in English. This way we'll fit right in.”
Filomena knew that wasn't possible. Even if they didn't say a word, they would be singled out as stranieri -- foreigners. It was more than just their ratty suitcases or kerchiefs that gave them away. The Americans seemed to have a bright, relaxed look about them borne from optimism and bravado. None of the people who'd traveled on the ship could even imitate it with any legitimacy, least of all Filomena's father, Giuseppe. His hooded eyes and down-turned mouth advertised him as a cynic, and therefore an outsider.
They slept on the floor in a Lower Manhattan tenement unit rented through Giuseppe's elaborate hand gestures and a peek at a sterling fork in his jacket pocket. When Filomena turned in her sleep, the floorboards protested loudly. On the nights she lay awake listening to roaches scurrying in and out of the gaps between the planks, she would open her suitcase ever so slightly and fill her lungs. She could still smell the salty-sweet air from Palmi embedded in the fibers of her dresses. She knew the scent wouldn't last much longer competing with rotting garbage from the alley just outside the window.