When he was very small, too small to be more than a warm bundle in her arms, she had begun to whisper to him in Italian. With this child she had refused to have a wet nurse—this was the first and the only to sleep and suckle sweetly at her breast, his little milky mouth grasping at her, his hands caressing her absently, patting her gently before his eyes closed into a world of soft infant dreams. And so it was that she held him to her, softly murmuring the language of her thoughts to his small pink ears, creating within him a keeping place for her memories and her precious lost Naples.
When he grew older, too old to be held or petted, she could not help but wonder what, if anything, he had retained of her lyrical secrets. Occasionally she’d catch a slipped word in another language from his child-speak, his syntax already questionable at an early age. He seemed confused sometimes, not sure if there was a difference between sognare and rêver, mixing his tongues into an amalgamation which only she seemed to comprehend.
Already she knew: they would never understand him, no matter how good his French.