Chapter 1 :
She Gets Too Hungry For Dinner At 8
November 28, 1976. Somewhere in Brooklyn.
The young man tightened his scarf around his neck as he strode down the crowded street. When he finally reached the grocery store, snowflakes had started to fall. He hurried in and only a few minutes later he was out, arms loaded with several paper bags. Although it was late in the afternoon he decided to make a detour by the cemetery.
At the end of the alley he kneeled down in front of a grave, shifting the bags to his left arm. Clumsily, he reached out his free hand to remove the snow from the flowers he had brought the week before. He quickly glanced around and once he was sure he was alone, he started his usual one-sided conversation, barely daring to whisper.
" Hey, honey. Thought I'd drop by and say hello. I ain't got much time though, I gotta pick up our baby. She's at Mrs. Rossini's again, but I promised I'd be home by 7 pm so we get to eat together —for once. She's doin' okay... Me too I guess... " He swallowed hard, trying to hold back the tears that were threatening to spill. He pinched his nose and glanced up at the steel grey sky. For a moment he seemed lost in his thoughts, a cloud of sorrow shadowing his handsome face. As if on cue a gust of wind caused snowflakes to spiral furiously above his head and in the shaky, creaky branches of a tree.
Suddenly one of the bags fell out of his arm, tomatoes and fruits rolling on the floor now entirely covered with snow. " Way to go Micelli " mumbled the young man as he quickly gathered everything in a now torn and damp paper bag. Checking his watch he realized he had been staying there for 15 minutes. He looked down at the grave one more time, and with a heavy heart whispered " Sorry Marie, I really have go. I'll see ya as soon as I can...Bye... " he paused. " Love you "
At the same moment in Connecticut.
Mona silently pushed the swinging door and approached the couch where her daughter was lying. She watched her sleeping. Her face was tense with concentration.
" Angela ! " shouted the beautiful red headed woman.
" Ah ! " Angela started, her hands pressed against her heart.
" Oh, sorry dear, did I wake you ? " she asked with fake innocence as she sat nonchalantly on the arm of the couch.
" Mother ! " scolded Angela. She moved laboriously to a siting position, leaned back against the pillows and run her hand in her long hair in a vain attempt to fix them.
Mona joined her on the couch. Looking at the papers Angela fell asleep on, she added " Sorry to bother you while you were working ".
Her daughter yawned and began to pile her papers on the coffee table. " Well, I was bored so I thought I'd read a little ".
Mona took a book from her hands and read out loud " Marketing Strategy Volume IV . Well, that's no wonder you fell asleep. Angela, I thought the doctor told you to take it easy. "
" I know, I know, but there is so little to do here " she sighed. Suddenly fully awake she turned towards her mother. " What are you doing here mother ? "
" What ? Do I really need a reason to visit my lovely daughter ? ". Angela not convinced glanced at her suspiciously.
" By the way, where is our little Indiana Jones ? " Mona asked.
" You mean Michael ? He's not here yet ? " Her daughter looked suddenly concerned. " He promised he'd be home by 7 so we can eat together. For once. I hope he's not stuck in the streets " she glanced at the snow through the window. Mona was about to make a joke but when she saw how worried her daughter seemed she just patted her arm.
There was a third knock on the door. " Comin', comin' " A strong dark headed woman walked quickly to the door and opened it. When she recognized the man standing in front of her carrying paper bags a grin spread across her face. " Oh that's you finally !" she yelled in a thick italian accent. " Come on in ! " She grabbed him by the wrist, pulling him inside the warm apartment. " I thought you forgot. It's almost 8. Where have ya been' ? " The woman started shaking the snow off of his jacket with genuine concern. He gave her a weak smile, he looked exhausted.
" Sorry I'm late Mrs. R. I had to do some shoppin' " he replied in a somewhat fainter accent.
" All right, then let me put 'em bags away " she said, trying to take them from his arms.
" No that's okay Mrs. Rossini. I really gotta get to my apartment now. I promised Sa... "
" Daddy ! " At the sight of a little girl running out of the living room to greet him the young man's face instantly lit up.
" Hi sweetheart " He bent over and picked her up with his free arm. The little girl encircled her arms around his neck. The child had black silky hair and big dark eyes just like her father who planted a solid kiss on her cheek. She gently pushed his head away.
" You're all wet daddy " complained the little girl. But she soon started to giggle as he began smothering her face with kisses. Suddenly the young man felt alive again. He took a few seconds more to admire his daughter, enjoying just holding her close. Eventually he brought back his attention to the woman standing before to him.
" Hey thanks again for taking care of Samantha, Mrs. R. I really appreciate. Hope she was no trouble. "
" Aw come on Tony, ya know she's no trouble. " the woman answered loudly. " She's welcome to stay here as long as she wanna. "
" Okay. Well, I hate to hit and run but I gotta date with a beautiful girl tonight and I promised I'd be cookin' " replied Tony, smiling at his daughter.
" Now Tony you're not goin' anywhere with that snow outside. Besides it's late, you'd better stay here. " tried the italian woman.
Tony chuckled " C'mon Mrs.R, you know my apartment is just downstairs. "
" But look at her " she said gesturing toward Samantha. " She's starved and you're tired. I made enough veal and pasta for all of us. You can both stay here for tonight. "
Tony smiled kindly. " Sorry Mrs. R, that's very nice of you but tonight I'm making a special dish for my special girl. "
" Daddy I'm hungry, can we go ? " complained the little girl who was starting to get tired.
" Sure honey. Now what do you say to Mrs. Rossini ? "
" Thank you for watchin' me Mrs. R " said the little girl. Tony smiled proudly.
" Aw you're welcome sweetheart " the woman pinched her cheeks affectionately " now you be a good girl, your daddy's tired "
" See ya Mrs. R and thanks again for babysitting Sam " Tony walked back to the door with his bags in one arm and his daughter in the other.
" Bye Tony, be careful in the stairs "
" So, what are your plans for the evening ? " Mona asked.
" What do you mean ? "
" What part of it didn't you understand ? "
Angela rolled her eyes. " Well since I'm a little under the weather, we decided to have dinner here. But he promised me he'd come home earlier so we can celebrate. "
" Celebrate ? " whined Mona. " You mean you're having a party here and you didn't even invite me ?
" Well, this isn't really a party but it is a special day for us. And we were actually planning on spending the evening together. You know... me and my husband... " Angela tried to give her a meaningful look.
" Sounds juicy ! "
" Mother ! "
" What's the occasion anyway ? "
" This our wedding anniversary ! Don't you remember ? "
" Oh, is that why that stiff has been hanging around the house for the last few years ? "
" Very funny mother. I don't see how you could forget my wedding day. You almost spoiled the wedding when the priest and the in-laws saw you with me walking down the aisle in that dress. That red dress. The one you promised not to wear. "
" No, that must have slipped by me " Mona had a mischievous smile as she went down memory lane.
" Mother... "
" Fine, I can take a hint " she rose from the couch. " I have better things to do myself anyway " Mona added wiggling her eyebrows to tease her daughter.