May 8, 2018


We found a small, local restaurant in Santa Maria Navarrese with traditional Sardinian dishes: Culurgiones and Malloreddus alla Campidanese and fresh octopus. The girls loved it.

We returned. On the second evening, Marguerite said, “I probably shouldn’t bring this up, but I really want to.” Thinking it was middle school angst or some topic she’d been mulling over I encouraged her and said, “Go ahead love, what are you thinking about?”

She paused and took a breath and said two words: organ donation.

Colette’s face crumbled and she began to cry immediately. Marguerite had a cloaked expression of delight and self-satisfaction, with just the right amount of surprise not to expose the true reason she had brought up the subject. It is a sore subject in our house. We’ve been over this at other dinners.

“They can’t just harvest my organs without my permission, can they mama? I mean the doctors, they have to know that I agree. I need to sign something.” Literally sobbing, wringing her hands, existentially moved.
I replied, “No one is going to take your organs without your permission.”
In a begging tone, “And if they do, then they go to prison right?” (her tone of voice was louder now).
Xavier, who had been talking to Romy, tuned into the conversation and said, “No one is going to prison!” (with emphasis)
Colette, “But MOM!”
All so comical.

For her part, the whole trip, Romy had in her little hands a pink notebook. In it, she has lists. Small dot lists, line lists, R lists (the letter R over and over again), color lists. They are all little tributes to the roll call she experiences at school. “Faire l’appele.” At the beach, in the apartments, on the boat, anywhere we went Romy a fait l’appele. It went like this (all said in the voice of her maîtresse Anna):

Alors, je vais faire l’appel. Maman, Maman, dis bonjour. Papa, Papa ! Dis bonjour. Marguerite, Marguerite ! Colette, tu as crié, tu n’es pas gentille. Voilà - Colette tu es punie. Après Wendy - tu es sage. Là, tu peux t’assoir.

And on and on she would go. Endlessly. She never ran out of names and then when she did, she would loop back and around and we would be called again.

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