As the ship pulled into Port Authority, I saw Lou waiting on the dock, grinning and waving when he spotted me at the rail. He was cheerful, talkative, and asked Linda and me a lot of questions about the cruise the entire drive back to Scotia. I think it is the happiest I have ever seen him. When we were alone, he thanked me for wearing the birthstone as an engagement ring now and reminded me to not tell anyone about our plans for me to become Mrs. Jo Joy. He likes the name and thinks it sounds like a stripper or porn star from his film and magazine collection. I am not thrilled with the name, probably for the exact same reasons.
Out of the blue, Gino called early Saturday morning, and said he was driving through Schenectady and wanted to see me. I have not written or talked to him in a year but agreed to take the bus across the bridge and meet him downtown. I found him on some steps outside watching the traffic, and just sat beside him with no fanfare reunion hugs and kisses. I gave back his heavy gold chain I had stored in my jewelry box, unworn since last summer. I wasn’t mad at him anymore, but his indifferent abandonment of me had wiped out my former illusions of love. He didn’t seem to have an agenda, so we chatted for a bit about what was going on in our lives. Ironically, he is the first person I have told I am engaged. It wasn’t in spite or to impress him, but more for closure. I did give him a hug goodbye, and felt at peace, feeling certain that chapter of my life was closed for good. For the best.
I walked several blocks to Lou’s apartment, reviewing my meeting with Gino, and deciding whether or not to tell him about it. There was little chance that he would even know that Gino had been in town, and there was a greater chance that he would think I should not have met with my ex-boyfriend at all. In the end, I decided to tell him, given the fact that I had nothing to hide and that I had definitively ended a relationship that had been just hanging around unresolved, like the necklace I returned.
I was relieved that Lou was pleased how I handled meeting Gino and that I had returned his gift. I was tired, and fell asleep beside Lou, listening to “Diary” on my well-worn Bread album I kept at his place.