Yesterday when Ferdinand called me he said “Mom, can’t I come to Italy now, right now?”  And I said, “in five days you and Dad will be on a plane and there I will be on the other end and five days is hardly any time at all.”  And he said, “Mom, what about right now Mom because I miss you.”  All the reasons for leaving in the world aren’t good enough for why I have gone away without him when all he wants is to be close.  Fair enough. 

I asked him what he was going to have for breakfast.  Only juice he said because he didn’t want to eat.  A boy knows the way to his mother’s heart. 

When sadness overcomes you, sometimes there is just nothing to do but be sad, but if you can cook, it can knead the sadness through.  Efforts like gently folding the flour into homemade gnocchi with your hands and then pushing it with the heel of your hand to a silkiness that resembles new born skin, rolling the dough into strings of dumplings, protecting them on a bed of cornmeal and then dropping them into a fury of boiling water is a salve.  Fry leaves of fresh sage until they are forest green.  Chop three cloves of garlic into the tiniest bits possible and fry over a gentle heat in new oil.  When the gnocchi are done, combine the sage and the garlic with a good knob of butter in a wide pan and toss them in, turning them until each one is coated.    Grate on parmesan and serve alone. 

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