Monday, August 16, 2010
In Their Own Words - Tony
Hey, my name is Tony Testa. I live in Bristol, Rhode Island. I'm a chef for a restaurant over in Swansea. It's not the greatest job, but it pays the bills.
I used to have my own restaurant but I lost it when I lost my wife to cancer six years ago. But that's a long story, and I don't really want to talk about it.
You want to know about Genna. How we met. What my attraction is to her. Well, that's simple. She's great. She's beautiful, smart, funny, nice. What else is there to say?
I met Genna when she was fourteen, I was sixteen. My family got invited to one of my mother's cousin's kid's first communion parties and Genna was there. She was beautiful, even back then. And sweet. She looked like cotton candy in her pink sweater.
I guess she wanted to meet me too because she made it a point to grab some money off her old man and plug it in the juke. I was standing next to it. I asked her to go outside with me to have a cigarette and she did, even though she didn't smoke. She burned my arm when she kissed me. It didn't matter. I wanted to kiss her again but it started raining so we jumped in my old man's truck and just as things started to get hot and heavy, her cousin Rob comes out and has a fit. Well, after I found out what happened, I could understand why. Her parents were killed by a drunk driver.
I had actually met Genna's uncle Sal earlier that same night and he offered me a job. I was supposed to start Monday but due to the funeral I didn't start until the next week. I didn't see Genna for a long time. She was all screwed up, I mean who wouldn't be after you lose both your parents like that. She finally started coming around the diner later in the spring. After school, she'd sit with her aunt out front until Sal was done for the day.
That summer she started working there, bussing tables. She was real quiet. Not shy, just real quiet, serious all the time. So I used to tease her, try and make her laugh. I felt bad for her, everybody did, but they didn't know how to make it right for her. They walked around her on eggshells afraid she would freak out or something. I just figured her life sucked and why shouldn't she at least try and have some fun once in a while, have a laugh. It couldn't hurt right?
Well, I kept working there and she kept working there and we got along great. Sal had told me if I touched her he'd cut my balls off and I believed him. So I left her alone. Until she turned sixteen. I waited nearly two years and I did the right thing, I asked Sal if I could ask her out. I hadn't screwed up at work, I kept my nose to the grindstone, even learned how to cook, so he said yes.
We dated and dated and dated and on the night of her high school graduation, we finally had sex. I was 20, she was 18. Don't get me wrong, I'd had sex with other bimbos while I was dating Genna, not to say Genna's a bimbo, because she's not. I had Genna up on the pedestal where she belonged. And hey, I never said I was a saint, I'm a hot blooded Italian male. A man's got to get some, right?
Anyway, I finally left the diner and started working at this real fancy restaurant to learn the trade. Genna went to Johnny Wales down in Providence. (Johnson & Wales Culinary Institute) Things were going the way they were supposed to. I had my own apartment, had some money, was finally starting to think I could be somebody. Me and Genna never talked about marriage, well, she did, I just never listened. I figured we'd wait, maybe by the time I was 30 or so.
So she graduates from Johnny Wales, and throughout all the years she was in school, our dream was to open our own restaurant. I had about fifteen grand saved, she had maybe ten but it wasn't enough. Not for what we wanted to do. We decided to ask Sal for some money, a loan for fifty G's. He says yes, but on the condition we get married, or at least engaged. He's not going to make that kind of committment if I'm not. I'm pretty much screwed and I know it. And it's a loan, so I've got to make sure I can pay it back. But Genna's got all these crazy ideas, and they all cost money. Jesus, she wanted to spend almost three grand on a friggin convection oven. And we weren't even doing that kind of food.
Anyway, Nana Rocco gives Genna a trip to Italy for her graduation. For six weeks. I always knew Nana had that kind of dough, so I told Genna to just ask her for it. She wouldn't and it pissed me off. Bad. So Genna leaves and I start screwing around with Debbie Martino. She'd been one of my bimbos before and I guess she was really into me. We start talking about the restaurant one night, what I want to do with it, all that shit, and she listens to me. Doesn't give me any grief. Tells me how smart I am, how wonderful it sounds. And then, like two nights later, she tells me her father will make the investment, fifty grand is all mine if I marry her. (What is it with these old Italian guys marrying their daughters off?) It'll be a wedding present, I won't have to pay it back. What could I say?
There it was, all the money, in my hands. Yeah, I had to marry Debbie but shit, she wasn't so bad. She didn't fight with me about the restaurant, she was good in bed, she just wanted a little stability. Her old man was living in Florida and she was lonely. So I married her two weeks before Genna came back.
I wanted to tell Genna myself, but Debbie got to her first. My whole plan was to get the money, get the restaurant up and running, divorce Deb and then me and Genna could get back together. Two years tops. But the shit hit the fan and Genna left town. No one would tell me where she was. I searched and searched, I felt bad, I really did, I wanted to explain it to her but I couldn't. After a while, I just gave up. Then Deb got sick with cancer. I lost everything. Her, the restaurant, the house, everything.
And then, last week, I'm sitting at Sal's diner, and who walks in out of nowhere, but Genna. I almost shit my pants. She looks exactly the same. I tried to talk to her that day but she didn't want to hear it. Can't say as I blame her. Last Wednesday I happen to see her truck at Billy's Beach Bar in the middle of the afternoon so I go in. She tells me old Nana Rocco just dumped a quarter of a million dollars in her lap, early inheritance, and she's celebrating by herself. One thing leads to another and we go back to my place. The sex was great, like it used to be but she flips out, says it was a mistake. I call her a couple days later to apologize, we get together and I finally tell her what went down with Debbie. We have a long heart to heart and I think I'm finally making headway. At least she doesn't hate me anymore.
I've got to get her back. I never stopped loving her. If I could change the past, I would. But now with Nana's money, here's our new beginning. We could actually get our shit together and start that restaurant like we always wanted to. And even put in a convection oven.