Paolo, Mozzarella Balls, and Love

Paolo had come to New York from Napoli five years ago. He worked at his uncle’s little deli at the corner of Hudson and Ramsey in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He was able to spend most of his time in the shop on the phone, talking to family and friends in Italy, thanks to the cheap international phone cards he got from the Korean store across the street. He didn’t particularly like New York, but there were quite a lot of Italians there and the money sure was better than in Napoli.

It was about 5.30 on a hot late summer afternoon when a young couple entered the deli. He had never seen the two before and they were quite obviously visitors to the city. They bought eight little mozzarella balls. Paolo exchanged a few words with them and smiled when they left. They looked like they were in love. It made him think of his youth in Napoli. This made him smile even more. It made him think of his later life. He wasn’t smiling anymore then. Instead, he got out his phone card and called his mother.