Lower East Side, Manhattan
March 1st, 1942
Veccio sat eating dinner with his family like he did every night, with everyone gathering around the dining table with Dad at the head like king arthur and everyone else were his knights of the round table. And like every night his mom was arguing with grandma about how she didn't cook the sausage right and how the pasta didn't have the right spices and herbs. Veccios mother was on the shorter side and had a warm face that was accompanied by her black hair which was almost always tied in a bun. His grandma who was also shorter had a more aged and tired face than his mother but shared the same warmness as her. Her hair was curly, short, and as white as a cloud ( It was also somehow really soft).
His two youngest sisters Arianna and Maria were talking about the different boys they liked rating them from 1 to 10. Those two were inseparable from birth even for twins and often matched when they dressed. Almost always they had their hair in the latest style in fashion which right now was long and curled in certain areas with a headband. They both share the same face as well as their mothers light skin the only difference is Arianna was more serious and stern while Maria was more playful.
Across from Veccio his dad was complimenting His older brother Giovanni on winning last weeks baseball game against the rival high school, his brother was considered to be the if not one of the best players on the team especially when it came to batting. Giovanni looked more like his dad than his mom, some even say they looked almost identical not accounting for their dad looking thirty years older, with lightly tanned skin, jet-black hair which was always combed back, near-chiseled features, and a more muscular build. Their father however sported a thick mustache on his upper lip which was dubbed "Bruco" (caterpillar) by Arianna as well as a scar on his chin which he got from working at the docks.
Veccio however was the mix of both parents, he had a softer face like mom but kept a decently strong jawline like dad. His hair was black like his parents and had his hair styled (though he'd never admit it) like Frank Sinatra. Veccio's build wasn't as muscular as say Giovanni's but he wasn't no pushover. Last but not least Veccio's oldest sister Francesca was sitting next to him humming. She was older than both Veccio and Giovanni by 3 years. She had brown hair which stood out from the rest of the family as well as rivalring her brothers in height standing at 5'10". She was the one that cooked, cleaned, and babysitted whenever mom and grandma weren't around. But, she never complained. Veccios thoughts wandered off to the letter he'd received in the mail recently telling him when to report for airborne school to start basic training. The words echoed in his head "Paratrooper. Paratrooper." Veccio had Enlisted a few weeks back when a recruiter came to their school looking for men to enlist. He wanted to tell his parents but he was nervous. What if they didn't allow him to go? they couldn't do that, could they? As the middle child Veccio was the most left out of the bunch, his sisters were spoiled as they were the youngest and his older brother was the pride of the litter with his countless trophies. Francesca was kind of Veccios saving grace. She was the one he talked to the most out the five children.
"Veccio!" His father's voice broke his daydream pulling him back into reality. "Jesus kid, got bricks for ears?"
"Yes dad?" He sighed.
"Your brother Gio talked to coach Frank and managed to get you a try out." he explained.
Veccio sighed, he hated these conversations. He didn't have a problem with sports he just didn't enjoy them. He liked spectating and cheering his team on, not playing. "I'm good dad."
"You gotta be more like your brother son! Gio made six home runs last week in one inning!" He said sticking a finger in the air. "One!"
Veccio grew irritated. He hated it when he was compared to his older brother Gio as if he needed another reminder that he was the least favorite. "I know dad" he said dryly.
"Antonio let him be." Veccio's mother scoffed. "He isn't a brute like you two." she pointed her fork at them.
"He's gentleman." Grandma cooed.
"Gentleman my ass!" Antonio scoffed. " Don't worry, come Monday your little gentleman will be swingin' for the fences!"
"Dad I told you before I don't wa-"
"Dammit Veccio you need to start acting like a man! No son of mines gonna end up a wimp or queer." His father interrupted slamming his fist onto the table.
The table grew silent...except mother.
"Don't you yell at my by like that!" Veccios mother shouted. "Leave him alone!"
"I don't understand it. You don't like baseball, you don't like football. Son I've tried my damnedest to get you to man up but you still insist on fighting it. Don't you understand that the worlds gonna chew you up and spit you out if you don't grow a pair and man the hell up?!"
Veccio got up and stormed to his room. Prompting his father to yell at him to return to the table. His mother and grandmother shouted back at him. He came back a few minutes later with the letter from the army.
"You want me to man up, here." He threw the letter onto the table. "I manned up."
"What's this?" His father picked it up and read it his eyes narrowing as he went.
"So you're running off to the army huh?" He put down the letter. "Your just gonna up and leave?"
His father carried a look of anger and a large frown grew upon his face.
"I'm joining the army and that's final Dad." Veccio said. " I ship out tomorrow. The worlds at war and I need to do my part."
"You will do no such thing!" His father slammed his fist again. "I will NOT allow my son to go die in some foxhole in some godforsaken land!"
Veccios mother began to cry while shouting at his father again. "See what you did Antonio! You drove our baby boy away! Now he's running of to the army! All because of you and your damn neglect!"
Veccio had had it, the anger and frustration took over him and 18years of pent up emotions were let out.
"I've fucking had it dad! For my entire life you've constantly made it clear I was the disgrace, the outcast. I've tried and tried to impress you so maybe I could get a slight hint of acknowledgement or just a simple ' good job son!' All I ever wanted was to feel like you cared. Like I mattered! Like I wasn't just a piece of dog shit you tracked in on your shoe!"
"You watch your tongue boy!" His father warned. "Don't go messin' with fire without expectin' to get burnt."
"Every time I got good grades, every time I won science contests, I did to impress you but all you cared about was Gio and his stupid fucking trophies!".
Veccio grabbed the letter and went to grab his duffel bag that already packed for tomorrow before heading for the door with tears in his eyes.
"I'm leaving! Maybe once I'm gone you'll care. Maybe I'll come back medals... or in a pine box. I doubt you'd care though." Veccio said codly.
Francesca ran over and begged Veccio to stay. "Veccio don't go! Per favore! (please)"
Despite her pleas Veccio continued to the door.
His father got up and stormed towards him with hellfire in his eyes.
"Boy if you don't sit your goddamn ass down in that chair I'll beat you so hard you won't know what day it is." He said in a low growl.
Veccio opened the door and looked at his father probably for the last time and merely said one thing.
Veccio walked outside closing the door behind him. He hurried down a flight of metal stairs down to the street where a car pulled into the alleyway that led to his family's apartment. It was his friend Thomas. He had called him asking if he could stay the night just in case this very thing happened. To Veccios gratitude he agreed. Inside the apartment a full on shouting match was in effect as his mother cursed out his father and his father cursed back. Eventually his father walked outside to the edge of the railing and yelled at Veccio telling him to come back inside even threatening him. Veccio for once in his life didn't listen to his father and it felt good. He got into the car and drove off not saying a word.