For reasons I don’t understand, my mom always encourages me to enter pageants; I go along with it for her sake more than my own. This time, I made her proud when I won the title of Miss Schenectady County Teenager. Frankly, I wish I had not won; I’m sure there are much better representatives than me. The newspaper ran an article about the pageant with my photo. My boss saw the story and was not happy; they had no idea I was under-age. I didn’t lie; they never asked. They assumed I was already 18 back when I had been a cocktail waitress in St. Thomas last year, but I only recently turned 17 at the end of July. They are letting me keep my job, but I can’t serve alcohol anymore.

Gino is out of my life for good. I can’t count on him for a simple phone call, never mind anything important in life. That reality of that fact was tested, and I am recovering from a hard lesson learned. I’m trying to start over and have gone out on a few normal dates. I met Troy, a train engineer, when I took Amtrak to visit my sister in New York City. Troy took me out on his boat to teach me how to waterski. Every time I tried to get up, I fell flat on my face. I don’t think it’s my thing. Kathy also fixed me up with Steve, a really nice guy from her class. Neither has tried to make any radical moves; they are both gentlemen, which is refreshing and appreciated.

Lou called last month, said he was having problems at home, and wanted to come back to Schenectady. He asked me to look for a place he could rent for the rest of the summer until school started. I checked out some places and found a couple good options. I left messages with his family, but he never called back. His father was especially friendly on the phone. His sister was fairly cool, and I wonder if she bothered to get a pen to write down the message. I haven’t spoken to his mother yet. I don’t know why he hasn’t called me back; he’s the one who asked for my help. I finally just sent him a letter with the information.

I heard from Paul and am excited that I’ll be able to visit him when his ship has a layover in New York City next month. We write to each other quite a bit, but nothing compares to seeing his face. He is a true close friend, and I have never stopped thinking about him, even when I should have only had Gino on my mind. Paul is the only guy I’ve ever been completely happy with. We have never had even the smallest disagreement, or hurt feelings. Maybe there just wasn’t enough time together for it to go wrong. I still sometimes buy the expensive, but very smooth, Dunhill cigarettes, which I learned to appreciate when I was with Paul on the Odessa. Gino’s Marlboros always left a bad taste in my mouth when I bummed one from him.

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