Ivonne Scaglione

The Urn


Born and raised in Lima, Peru, Ivonne Scaglione has been living in New York for more than twenty years. She earned a Master's degree in Social Work where she gained extensive experience with working for families who faced violence, addiction, grieving, and poverty. She is currently working as a crisis intervention counselor for LifeWorks.

After having her first child, Ivonne's passion for literature grew. Therefore, she decided to pursue a second master's degree. After enrolling in the English and Creative Wring Master's Degree Program at New Hampshire University, she began writing articles for the news media magazine BlendTW. Ivonne spends her free time, writing short stories, reading, and succeeding academically which allowed her to become a member of the International English Honor Society.

I removed the bubble-wrapped plastic from the urn. It had come a long way in a plane. The plane that you never took to see me. Some of your ashes managed to spill out and landed on my hand. I looked at my hand in horror. I was experiencing a state of mind like never before, incredulous, disturbed. We finally met again holding the miniscule particles of your bones. The last time I saw you, I said, "I will come to see you more often.” But I never did. I said that I’m sorry a thousand times. Then, I placed you on the dinner table before we sat down to eat.

You werent afraid to talk about death with me. In fact, right before you died, we had a long phone conversation about the meaning of death. You believed that when we die, we become nothing. In disagreement, I debated you and said: When we die, we go back to where we came from, the earth. I told you that when we die, we become part of the world, the air, the trees, the animals, the insects, the rivers, or the oceans. You seemed pleased with my answer. Then, after some awkward silence, you asked, "Remember what I used to say about me dying?” "The weed never dies!" I answered with a smile. Deep in my soul I wanted to believe that. Then, the reality of your mortality manifested on a Sunday morning. The indestructible and resilient weed that always regenerates after being destroyed has died. But now I realize, you weren’t like the weed. You were like the strong self-destructive palm tree that sheltered the birds and insects that have come to kill you. You loved them fiercely and let them destroy you.

It began with your dad who abandoned you at the age of five. You always remembered well the last words you heard from him. Pushing you towards your mother, he said, "Here is your son!” And you never saw him again. You loved your mother deeply even when she couldn’t stop drinking. So, you took care of your four younger siblings. You lost your baby brother to an inexplicable death. You saw your younger sister becoming permanently disabled due to meningitis. You lost your wife to another man. And you began to drink to ease the pain. You couldn’t stop. You never stopped.

You loved to sit on the sofa drinking a big bottle of Bacardi. With a cigarette in hand, you sang in tears remembering her: To kisses, I would wake you up in the morning. And the idyll will always endure when the night comes. You replayed that song so many times refusing to leave the past behind.

I was given a small gift bag with some of your personal belongings: a cologne, old photos, and an encyclopedia. I sniffed in the Sports Old Spice cologne wishing to bring you back to life. I envisioned you young, strong, tall, slender, dark curly hair with your distinguished mustache. The photos displayed your prime days, with your jeans, polo shirts, and loafers. Filled with pride, I admired you in your police and military uniforms. In other pictures, I resented your lovable imperfections, smoking cigarettes on your old blue Opel car and celebrating life with alcohol. I wish I could say you had a simple life, but it was an endless battle against your feelings for the people you loved. It was the battle against yourself that you lost.

 I read the last Christmas card I’ve sent you where I wrote: “In time, we will be together dad.” But the last time that we were together was when I boarded a plane to leave you behind again. You stayed waiting for me to come back. I stayed here waiting for you to come see me.  

Then, you died thousands of miles away from me. You got off your chair and your heart failed you. When you fell on the floor, Oscar was wagging its tail and sniffing around your dying body. At least that’s how I imagine it, like the Godfather’s death. You loved that movie. Was it the death you wanted? I want to believe so. You didn’t want to go back to the hospital. You wanted to die at home. You wanted to be cremated to be thrown in the deep of the ocean. It was the perfect death.

Your granddaughter picked pink flowers for you today. You look beautiful. The sunny morning illuminates you with its glorious sun rays. You are surrounded by blushing vigorous flowers. Welcome home, dad.


© The Acentos Review 2021