- Feast of Saint Anthony
My sister, Rose, says, "Remember?" and I switch ears with the phone, sip my coffee, think how with your sister it's not just remembering, it's going back again, all of a sudden, to your past-little girls again, teenagers, baby showers.
"Yeah," I say. "I do. You were bad."
"Me?" she says. "I don't think so, honey. You were the bad one."
"Who did I learn it from?" I say.
"Don't even," she says.
But I have to go. Dean's on a call, but should be home soon, then his partner, John, and his wife are coming over for drinks, the four of us going out to dinner, same as always, once or twice a month. And out the kitchen window, I run my eyes along the trees, on Bronx River Road, and I get a thought. Weird, like a daydream. We're at the restaurant, me, Dean, John and Sheila, and Rose is at the bar, winking at me-"Sneak out"-and I excuse myself, meet her outside, and we go driving. Down the Henry Hudson and Twelfth Avenue, through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and onto Ocean Parkway, all the way out to Coney Island, no stopping. Marvin Gaye on the radio. Or Smokey Robinson, even, going all the way back. The surf breaking, out in the distance, in the dark.
"Okay," she says, "I'll let you go. How's the lieutenant?"
"And Little Dean?"
"A pain in the ass."
"Still a heartbreaker?"
"Knocking them dead. Shame he can't do it for a living."
"He going to college?"
"Not this week," I say. "I think he wants to be an actor. On TV."
"Pain in the ass," Rose says. "Give him my love. Both of them." [End Page 145]
I hang up. I go out on the terrace, a minute, to finish my coffee, and there's a moving van in the parking lot, blocking one of our spots. If it's there when Dean gets home, he's going to say something. A young couple. The girl jumps down from inside and stretches her back, got a beautiful figure-you can't help but look. She opens her eyes and sees me. "Hi," she says, and waves up. I smile, but I guess she can't see it from there.
"Hi," I say, but like I'm just going back in.
Dean's home. I'm just getting out of the shower. He takes off his gun, puts it in the drawer. "You through in there?" he says. "I'm going to take a quick one."
I say, "So we're still going out? Definitely?"
He says, "Yeah. If they page me, I'll tell them I checked it with my coat by accident."
And that's that. Something I'll never understand. Somebody's killed but you don't lose sleep. Daddy was the same way. They're mostly skells, Dean always says. And they turn each other in left and right-I'm not going to break my balls over some dead knucklehead. You can't let it get you nuts. Same as Daddy.
"Was that truck still in the parking lot when you came in?" I say.
"Yeah," he says.
"What did you do?"
"I told them to move."
I take John and Sheila's glasses into the kitchen and when I'm getting the wine from the fridge, Dean comes in. He has the cheese board, I guess to put more on it, but it doesn't need it, cheese or crackers. He says, "Let's get out of the house. Do you mind?" and I tell him the reservation's not for another hour. But he says he doesn't feel like going there anyway. The cat rubs against his leg. He puts his foot under her belly.
"Where do you want to go?" I say.
"Into Manhattan. To Villa Florence. Or Monte's, even." Picks her up. She starts to purr.
"Fine with me."
"You think they'll mind, then?" he says. "They just sat down."
I have the bottle of white waiting over their glasses, already...