Whoever is running the country has proposed giving people who crossed the border illegally, were caught and separated from their families, $450,000 compensation. Okay, pollsters, step up and ask Americans if they favor this.
Sub headline from foxnews.com that is really old news, obvious for decades: “Newsweek editor accuses White, affluent liberals of ‘using the pain of African Americans’ to further goals.” Also from FN: “Columbia University employees can be dismissed for using wrong pronouns.” And this: “One of world’s largest investment firms will need permission to hire White men.”
That’s enough political nonsense. Here’s an excerpt from the Curious Sicilian book file I’m building. It’s from a non-fiction piece titled Michelle, approximately two pages:
It is comforting to believe that one is destined to meet certain people along life’s journey, that it isn’t simply chance, that it is more than physical attraction, that there is something divine, eternal at work. I chuckle at wondering about the numerology of my relationships with Michelle and Laural, both of whom were 18 when we first met. I wanted to believe there was meaning in it. I no longer believe it was destined, although I wish it were. I’m not optimistic about there being an afterlife. It would take a lot more than the following event to convince me otherwise.
On the same day I met Laural on the train going to work, who should step into the subway car in which I was riding on my way home but Michele. She’d been a student at John Dewey High School, where I was an aide. I’d taken the job because I’d felt guilty about not bringing any money into the house, about my mom subsidizing my literary pipe dream. It also gave her hope that I’d soon be teaching. It was forlorn.
Although I hated the atmosphere of schools, the place introduced me to three women who would play a significant role in my life, one in particular who in effect became my muse, even though we never consummated the relationship. I’ve written so much about her that I’m eliminating practically all reference to her in these pages. Since I cannot imagine not having known her, our meeting has the feeling of the preordained.
Michelle’s name ended in a vowel, her grandad Italian, but she was black, perhaps exactly in the middle on the color scale. One of my duties was the provision of athletic equipment for a Resource Center. In the fall and spring I’d wheel a shopping cart full of stuff out to the athletic facilities in the rear so students who had free time would use it constructively. The last term I worked at the school, Michelle, a senior, would regularly visit my perch, a wooden bench. I sensed she wanted me to ask her out, although I wondered if my ego was playing a trick on me. Why would a beautiful, intelligent young black woman want me? What did we have in common other than her grandad’s heritage, especially since her family considered him the white sheep of the family? I suppose she was as yet unconcerned about landing a good provider. The men she dated had all been as financially challenged as I. She certainly wasn’t attracted to my position. Why hadn’t she set her sights on a teacher? Or had she and failed? And I was despondent from my failure with the woman I wanted. Many said I looked so unhappy. Why would a well-adjusted high school girl want to be with someone like that? And I believed it was wrong to pursue a teenager. It would be more than a year before I met Laural. I feared I might corrupt Michelle, this despite the fact that certain faculty members and maintenance staff were having sex with students. I didn’t want to be a creep, to take advantage, although she probably had more sexual experience than I.
She persisted, citing teachers she knew were having an affair with a student. I held fast, to her chagrin. I was definitely unmodern, if not dense. She was living with a married sister. I don’t recall anything about her parents. She wanted to leave her present accommodations, citing trouble with her brother in law. When I asked her to elaborate, she dubbed him “fresh.” I’m sure just about anyone reading this will have ascertained her meaning. I was stumped. Maybe I just didn’t want to face the fact that such things happen to nice girls outside of books, TV and movies. Anyway, it was a year before it penetrated my defenses. I realized she’d come on so strong to me in hope of shelter, escape. I’ll always wonder if I would have allowed her to move in. Of course, it would have been foolish to have denied such a wonderful young woman, but she was a student and, technically, under my supervision, even though my position was low. I assume she would have been willing to include sex as payment. It would have been wrong, not as wrong as incest or whatever the classification regarding an in-law was, and certainly unethical if not immoral, at least in my rigid view. I was also hesitant because I pined for someone else who I wanted to be free to fly to at a moment’s notice. I referred to the other, not by name, hoping Michelle would be deterred. I was also aware that another woman, also an aide, was as sick over me as I was over our colleague. I’ll leave her out of this. I owe her that courtesy. I hated feeling guilty about not loving her, as she’d given me the ultimate gift. “I know what you want,” she’d said bitterly. It wasn’t a what but a who. To this day, those two remain the best of friends.
It looked like it would be below average return today at the floating book shop until the last half hour. My thanks to the woman who donated four books, and to the one who bought three kids books; and to the one who purchased a Mendelssohn CD and DVDs of Cheaper by the Dozen (2003) and Who’s Harry Crumb? (1989); and to the woman who took home three books in Russian; and to the one who chose a Russian translation of Sidney Sheldon; and to Viktor, who selected a book and a DVD in that language. He’s developing a web site, Crazypoets.com. Best of luck, sir.
My Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Vic-Fortezza/e/B002M4NLJE
Read Vic’s Stories, free: http://fictionaut.com/users/vic-fortezza