He was shipping off to Palma with the most beautiful sergeant, so grandma rang her daddy and the war was called right off. They’d been wanting an out anyway. For his conflict resolution prowess, grandpa was given the island. He renamed everything after the most beautiful sergeant: Marco Square. Marco Harbor. National Marco Library.
The Marco subway line ran all the way to Marco Shopping Plaza, but grandma sent her daughters on foot, carrying one single bag turned inside out so she didn’t have to look at the branding. If you filled it up enough you could still make it out, AZALP OCRAM, but grandma always sent for one onion at a time because that’s how we stay rich people. Restraint. Control. Reusable packaging.
I sat on mom’s lap while grandma policed the silver. She had all the spoons in a row like the guards she inspected at the yearly Marco Jubilee. She rested every piece briefly on the back of her hand. She said a woman is only as refined as the half moons are deep on her fingernails, and sure as hell hers rose in bold peaks like stiff egg whites. She held up my fat paw, sticky with jam or maybe chorizo. Moons flat like a tire. Mom’s were painted, as always, a deep dark plum.
Nobody opens that third door because behind it skulks dead grandma. I push it anyway. She’s waiting in a forest of mahogany closets, wrapping her long pearl necklace around a plastic bangle. You’ve put on weight again, she says, resting her chin on her slight hand, her hand on nothing. Her nails are a perfect full moon. On the back of my hand I’m balancing a single onion. I set it down and walk back out to the light of Marco Island.