The next day, Lou called my house. He got my number by checking the yellow pages and easily found the listing for the only magicians in Scotia; I had mentioned the town when I said we had to get the last bus back. He said that he really enjoyed talking to me, seeing my magic trick, that my life seemed really interesting, and that he wanted to have dinner with me again. I had told him that I had a boyfriend currently living in Canada, so if I went, it would just be as friends. Again, I asked my mother, and she said that was fine.
He arrived at my door dressed in a form fitting silky patterned shirt and tight Sasson jeans, and spoke with a heavy New York City accent, reminding me of a stereotypical Long Island Italian character from Saturday Night Fever going out for the night. However, he doesn’t strike me as the dancing type. He towers over me, at probably six feet tall, with a runner’s thin, fit build; he has thick, wavy jet-black hair and eyes that appear to be just as dark. He was polite and took time to introduce himself to my parents, speaking with a wide, big toothy smile, giving them a brief bio, and shaking my dad’s hand. He walked me to the curb and opened the passenger door for me to get in his brown Pontiac Grand Prix. The car obviously has a few years on it, but it’s in pretty good shape for its age.
We went to Mother Ferro’s, a popular, but simple little Italian restaurant in Schenectady. I’d only been there once, but my parents like to tell me about the time they ate dinner there with a friend who didn’t get out much. When ordering appetizers, my parents asked if he’d like to get a shrimp cocktail, and the guy seriously replied, “No thanks, I don’t drink.” That line cracks up my dad every time he thinks about it, so he channels that memory right before walking on stage so he genuinely looks and feels upbeat and happy when he greets the audience.
Anyway, the food was good, and I enjoyed picking up from where we left off our previous conversation, hearing more about him this time. Lou’s 21 and my impression is that he is a really dedicated Chemistry major, and very hard working. He just got back to school after having to take a semester off to make enough money to pay this year’s tuition. He learned how to repossess cars in New York City, and now repos cars here too. It sounds really exciting, but dangerous. I guess it pays well though, making it worth the risk for him. Apparently, his parents are no longer helping him with school tuition, so he’s on his own. Student loans don’t cover all the costs at Union, and he isn’t eligible for much financial aid because his father earns too much as an Air Traffic Controller, even though he isn’t supporting his education. Lou said that his father lost interest and stopped writing checks when Lou injured his knee and had to quit the football team. Nobody else in the family has ever been to college, and his mother would have rather seen him go into the military.
He asked, so I told him a lot about Gino and explained that I really loved him, and I would not date or get into a relationship with anyone else. He said he understood, and that he has a girlfriend too on Long Island. So it is fine for both of us to be friends, but it is definitely not going to be anything more. He drove me home after dinner, I said thanks, goodnight, and just got out of the car. There is absolutely nothing for me to hide or lie about.
In fact, I had called Gino from a pay phone earlier in the day and told him that I was going out to dinner with someone. I was clear that I wasn’t dating and that the guy knew I was in love with my boyfriend. Gino was disbelieving, and his tone was sarcastic through the whole conversation and said that I should have a good time on my “date.”
Gino and I have been writing to each other frequently since I got off the ship. He sends my mail to Kathy’s address so my parents don’t see it. He’s back home too now; my purse weighs a ton from carrying around all the change I need to call him in Canada. He’s going to drive down to visit sometime soon, and I’m fine just writing and talking on the phone in the meantime. He’s still trying to get me to run away from home, but I definitely cannot do that. Maybe after I graduate with my Associates degree, I can transfer to another college for my BS and be with Gino. If he can’t wait those two years it isn’t going to work in the long run anyway.
Click to play Scenes from an Italian Restaurant – by Billy Joel [audiotube id=”JUz48xw_OiM”]