Aranciu sicilianu*

– Here, in Sicily, you always “know some people”. Mafia is a part of social reality. It could be your neighbor or classmate, or a son of one of them. Some are in jail, others not, you know that for sure and what about it? Absolutely nothing!

My father has had a restaurant in San Vito lo Capo, it was a fabulous place with long wooden bar, shaped like two connected “S” letters. I remember the main room with shining mirrors and subtle red lights emerging from the corners like from a kind of slot leading to another world. Every second afternoon my father organized live music there, with some Mexican bands with big sombreros and patterned ponchos. Each Saturday my father launched a Latino dance night. Quite soon his place became famous in the region.

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But it’s good, isn’t it? I mean, a great success…

– Yeaaa… , one day “that” guy came to my father and told him the same… You know, that “his family” appreciate him too… He offered him the position of the head of the big restaurant network owned by “THE FAMILY”. He recommended to continue his career with them and promised big money, no stress…

No stress…

Yes, no stress.

So, did your father take the job? – I’m asking starting to worry. He was talking about that with such irony and sarcasm…

No. My father refused. Then, in half a year he went bankrupt. A big restaurant network have ruined him like vampire feeding with his fame, but offering more, and cheaper, and bigger, and, you know spreading negative gossip about him…

Nevermind, in a half of a year also the chief of that “family” restaurants was found dead in the mountains, with a big hole in his chest… At least it wasn’t my father.

But that’s horrible!

Yeah, my father taught me, that we musn’t be frightened, never ever. It’s important not to be afraid of them, not to scare, do not be weak, do not give in to bad emotions . They use our fear, they grow on fear and infect others.

He is very brave, I don’t know what to say…

I have two hectares of arable land in Agrigento. My grandparents coltivated oranges there, but since mafia put hands on orange market, we have decided to cut out all the orange trees and started to coltivate olives. Now I’m the olive oil producer and I’m happy that I can put the label “Le terre libere dalle mafie”** on my products.

libera terra-olio

We continue to talk and talk, drinking wine. It’s like 4 a.m. in the morning, or maybe 5. I really lost my ability to feel the passing time. Only my eyes start to close by themselves, and suddenly the need for getting some sleep is going to be more and more overwhelming, like the truth about that cold harsh Sicilian reality.

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* SIC Sicilian orange

** IT lands free from mafia

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