She went by the name Giovanna. It had been discussed weeks before her birth to call her Gloria or Greta but it was insisted upon, by both soon-to-be parents, they take their time. Scolastica, weak and fearful she wouldn’t deliver safely, prayed every night before her bowl of gnocchi. Her husband, Bruno, a gourmet gnocchi maker, also worried about his wife’s health but kept his feelings hardened, never bringing them around Scolastica. He’d pamper his wife, bathe her while singing, “Abballati Abballati”. This would surely put a smile on her face. Bubbles would splash everywhere.
In the delivery room, Bruno hummed “Abballati Abballati” yet all Scolastica could scream was, “stai zitto” [shut up]. Had she thrown hot irons at him, Bruno still would have persisted with the upbeat tune. Once Giovanna was out, wailing with joy, Bruno looked over at his wife who had passed out, white as a sheet. Scolastica stayed strong for three days, afterwards giving up on the struggle, she released hold of her body.
Bruno, the widower father he was, got sucked into a depression. This he passed onto Giovanna, who grew up guilty, feeling as if she released a toxin into her mother’s womb. Not a single therapeutic technique could shake this feeling. Once she turned eighteen, Giovanna took her misery to the streets. Moved into a cardboard box. Pushed two shopping carts glued together, the interior filled with buttons and bread. She used the bread to feed a pigeon she befriended. Over time, Giovanna grew convinced this pigeon was her mother. She stroked the pigeon, mumbling, “mamma”. The pigeon cooed in her hands, slowly dying.
Disgusted with life’s sorrows, Giovanna gobbled a handful of buttons, swallowing one at a time. She hummed a slowed-down version of “Abballati Abballati”. Inside her belly, the buttons dissovled into miniature pigeons. They eventually burst through her stomach, taking with them into flight Giovanna’s misery.