story prompt: Carlo wants… what?

Uma canção de dor
Creative Commons License photo credit: Elmo Alves

Carlo is a sentimental drunk.  Three glasses of wine and he starts with the stories,  his mother, his father, all the aunts and uncles he left behind in Romania. The family farm, the little brother who died of a brain tumor. After the fourth glass he starts singing, and the fifth? If he’s still standing, he’ll try to dance.

Sober he is all about following the rules, never overstepping, or letting anyone else overstep. Chairman of the Better Business Bureau, on the board at the hospital and the Y, fundraising for the politicians he approves of. Which is not many.  An upstanding citizen, admired by all. A very eligible bachelor.

He has a secret desire that he will never act on:

4 Replies to “story prompt: Carlo wants… what?”

  1. Carlo would like to attend a chakra alignment seminar run by Shirley MacLaine. This comes of reading Out on a Limb many times in the YMCA reading room, while still on foreign student status, perfecting his english with a book cover whose beautiful blue eyes reminded him so of gypsy story tellers. Ms. MacLaine seemed old-fashioned and other-worldly to him. He had absorbed the information about holistic healing, kept a handle on his chakras, and it had helped him. Years later, nursing his oolong tea in the hospital boardroom, he fell into a conversation with a pharmaceutical rep, as they waited for the meeting to start. “Holistic healing?!” exclaimed the dubious rep. Dubious, on so many levels. “I’m only asking if it is an area your company explores, at all?” was Carlo’s calm response. But inside, his heart had thumped with an angry horse-stomp. A caravan-load of gypsy anger roused by the rep’s raised eyebrow. Yes. Only Ms. MacLaine would be able to answer his questions. But she never conducted seminars. A pity.

    1. This is fantastic Pam. It gives him a level of complexity that is very surprising, and promising.

  2. Carlo has a deep-seated yearning, to sing and dance. An avid theatre goer, he loves all the Broadway, (and lesser) musicals. Phantom, 42nd street, Cats, Les Mis; you name it, he’s seen them all, many many times. He doesn’t talk about this to anyone – always attends performances alone. It is not done for a single man to enjoy this type of thing. Men are only meant to enjoy musical theatre “to please the wife,” and only “those” kind of men are known to frequent this “women’s” kind of entertainment.

    But even more than watching, he loves to perform; only feels trully alive in his apartment, as he swings his body through the moves, lifts his voice to soar into the crescendos. A pillar of the community to all who think they know him, he spends his days in sensible, sober, – even noble – pursuits, but when those doors are locked in the evening, the music goes on, and he enters the world that is his own personal sanctuary.

    Growing up in Romania had not been easy. Life was hard, and men were expected to be tough, and hard working. Life was about no-nonsense “getting on with it; nose to the grindstone; work, work and work some more.” Men had responsibilities to live up to, and expectations to be met. Children were made to understand this early in life, and Carlo’s father had been an austere man, not given to flights of fancy, or indulging himself in any way. He had brought his son up to be responsible and respectable; dependable in every way, and this was the Carlo that everyone knew; Sober, stuffy, a little pompous even, but a nice enough bloke nonetheless.

    None would have guessed at how Carlo’s heart would lift along with his voice as he gave himself over to the music. He would be brought to tears by the words of a song, and the ache he felt deep inside as his soul melted away into the lyrics he knew by heart, was the sweetest, most bittersweet feeling. It was carlo’s addiction.
    His voice had a wonderful quality to it. A true tenor, but with a richness and timbre that would have held audiences spellbound worldwide if they had ever had the privelage to hear it; would have earned him superstar status if he had allowed people in to share his talent.

    The stage beckoned him as a river is drawn inexorably to merge with the sea, but Carlo knew he would never act on his yearning. His beautiful voice was destined to remain a private secret thing, almost shameful to him, and something he would not, could not, lay bare for the world to cheapen or poke fun at. It was his, trully his in a way that nothing else was, and to allow others to hear it was to invite their opinion, and he could not risk their laughter, their condemnation and the ridicule that he was sure would be directed at him.

    No, respect was what it was all about, and the only way carlo felt sure of this was to be the business man, the slightly boring, but safe and sensible, dependable old carlo.

  3. Ah, Carlo. My third, and favorite, son. He’s so passionate, is my Carlo! His voice, just like his father’s did before he passed, brings tears to my eyes! How can my handsome, charming and talented son be single, I ask you? It’s a shame, a shame. He would make some lucky woman very, very happy. I try to fix him up with good Itialian girls, who know how to take care of a man and make a good home, but he is so shy! He says his singing career is all he needs now, but I’m his Momma and I know better. Maybe someday he will give me the grandchildren I deserve, but he better make it soon. I feel my old bones are weary, and who knows, maybe I am not here when he finally decides he is ready. My Carlo, my sweet boy, he wants a family! He just doesn’t know it yet, yes?
    *This is fun Rosina! And a great way to take my mind off not smoking! I look forward to building more little worlds with your pic promts! :)

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