If Mexican High were being written today, this news story would make a great case for Maggie, Mila’s foreign service officer mother.
After the New York events, I’m very excited for the next leg of my book tour — traveling. Tomorrow I’m off to Boston, where I’ll be reading Tuesday evening at Brookline Booksmith with Jason Brown. His short story collection has the most incredible title: Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work.
I knew that when my mother left me three messages the other day while I was in Fire Island that something wasn’t right. It wasn’t that there were three of them — I can’t make international calls from my cell phone, and she is based in Caracas, Venezuela, where she’s currently Consul General at the U.S. Embassy. So when I’m not near my phone, she’ll leave messages until I pick up. It’s usually pretty funny to listen to them all, her singing “where aaaareeeee youuuuu…” into the voicemail. This time, she sounded serious. When she finally got me, I was on the LIRR, just getting back into a cell service area. “Your uncle called from Italy,” she said. “Your father has passed away.”
I hadn’t spoken with him in two years, maybe a little more.
Lately, I’d been plotting on how to get back to Genoa to find him. I’d stay in a hotel, knock on his door, figure out why he’d stopped answering my letters. He never used e-mail or the phone. I didn’t make it back in time. I suspected this was coming, eventually, I just never thought it would be this soon. They told me his liver gave out, he slipped into a coma, and then he was gone.