OLWG · writing

OLWG# 221- Lia Vitto of Polignano a Mare

Written for OLWG# 221

Lia Vitto lived in the ancient town of Polignano a Mare located at the top of the boot heel on the Adriatic Sea. Her husband, Enrico – gone now for over thirty years – had been respected and wealthy, a politician and landowner. Money doesn’t last forever, though, and Lia was beginning to run short. The kids were all gone now too. Cesare, dead in 1983, part of the multinational forces in Lebanon. Carolina passed in childbirth, her granddaughter lost at the same time. And, Luca, her baby boy Luca, killed for no reason by robbers in Roma when he was no more than 23 years old.

Lia felt tired. She was old. Her family was gone, she could not understand why she had to outlive her children. It was time to make her famous Berry and mascarpone dessert. The day she selected was fine. The mid-spring temperature was perfect. She went hunting for the fresh berries that she wanted to use. She wanted the black, sweet berries of the Belladonna that grew in the hills above town. Never having used these particular berries before, she was unsure how many she would need. She ended up collecting about 300 grams worth.

Back home, she cooked the berries for about ten minutes with sugar, a splash of water, and a squeeze of limone. Sbattili insieme. She mixed powdered sugar and vanilla with the mascarpone. Lia laboured to whip about 150ml of cream and folded it into the cheese she had already prepared.

Dipping finger biscuits into the berry sauce, she lined about ten of them up on a serving dish. Then spread the mascarpone in a thin layer before sprinkling more berries on top. Three layers of biscuits, cheese, and berries finished off the ingredients. There was only a bit of sauce remaining. She poured it over the top and placed the entire dish into the fridge to chill.

Lia pulled leftovers from the night before out of her small fridge. White beans that she’d simmered with garlic, peppercorns, and sage. She tossed the beans with tuna and splashed them with a bit of olive oil. A glass of Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi topped off the meal. She found herself craving the berries and mascarpone but ate only about a quarter of what she had prepared before sitting in front of the window to relax.

It seemed almost no time when she wished she had another glass of wine, but she couldn’t be bothered. She preferred to sit. Her vision was becoming blurry, the world beyond her window glass reduced to a haze. There was a noise behind the front door. It took a while for her to turn her head, but when she looked around, she saw her baby. Her Luca was standing just inside the door. His arms spread wide.
“Mamma,” he said, “Mamma, vieni qui, mia cara, mamma.”

This week’s prompts were:

  1. sacred or grotesque
  2. smoky girl
  3. poor man’s poison