I WOULD HAVE GIVEN HER THE WORLD.

Dinner came and went, and there was no sign of Arturo. Maria began to worry.

“Did he tell you where he was going?” 

Virginio raised his shoulders. “He didn’t say, but I imagine he went to see his friends and lost track of time. He’s a big boy.”

“He went to see Angelina.” Lilia demonstrated her disapproval with an eye roll.

“Oh, I see.” Maria put away the dishes and tried to embrace her gratitude—at least Arturo was safely back home.

Hours passed. It was near midnight. Maria and Virginio sprung awake to a loud ruckus that filtered throughout the house. Voices rose to a raging crescendo, and banging rattled the walls. Alarmed, they rushed down the stairs to find Arturo shoving furniture and yelling profanities. Maria had never seen nor heard her son behave in this manner; she instantly broke into a fit of tears. Arturo’s friends were there, trying to hold him back, but he was clearly intoxicated. In a drunken fit, he resisted them. 

“Arturo, don’t do this, please!” Maria begged him to stop as she circled him, desperate to calm her son down. “Virginio, do something!”

Arturo drove his fist through the kitchen door, nearly taking it off its hinges, despite his father’s attempt to restrain him. “Get off me!” His knuckles bled crimson. “I’ll kill him!” He kicked and screamed, trying to wrestle out of Virginio’s grip. 

It took all five men to pin him to the floor. Lilia and Giovanni came running and hovered on the landing as they watched in horror.

“Get back to bed. Now!” 

They obeyed their mother immediately but stayed in the darkness of the landing, crouched down in fear and confusion as they listened to the drama unfold.

“She left me…to be with that Nazi scum and not just one of them!” Arturo let out a blood-curdling scream. “Everybody knew!” His rage slowly subsided into heartbreaking sobs in his father’s arms. “How could she do this to me? I would have given her the world.” 

As Maria watched her son, she knew she would never forget the inferno in his eyes and the whore who’d lit the match.

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