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Chapter Thirty-One – Hey Gelosia (Jealousy)
From the time I returned from Italy after that first magnificent trip since Tony and I became a couple, I kept playing back a discussion I had with Lisa that was bothering me. Lisa, my cousin Roberto’s girlfriend, drove me to a restaurant, where we were to meet Tony and Roberto one night. In her Smart Car, which barely has room for my big toe but is considered sleek and stylish, we began to chat for the first time really. Sure, we had met the year before but she was none to pleased with me at first. At the time, I would stay at Roberto’s house with him and his family while I was in Ischia. And Roberto and I were the best of friends. Sometimes, he would stay in with his parents, sister, and me; we’d eat and talk and watch old family videos and eat some more. It was truly a beautiful time that I will always look back on fondly. But it meant that Roberto was neglecting his girlfriend, which is why Lisa seemed to have issues with me early on.
Still, now I was staying at Tony’s place, and I had a new love to occupy my time in Ischia. I didn’t need Roberto, so there should have been no ill will. So, I initiated a chat in the car. Rather than sit in silence, I began to ask Lisa about her family life and her friends on the island. I talked to her about what she hoped to do with her life. She didn’t have much to say other than she would stay on the island and work with her family, who owned a major hotel on Ischia.
Out of nowhere, she brought up a much more controversial topic, one that would haunt me for years to come, one that still haunts me today more than six years later. “What made you decide to commit to Tony?” she asked in a serious and defensive tone.
“Well, I was against it at first,” I explained. “But he was so persistent and then I started to get to know him and I started to fall for him. Now, I decided to just go for it and see what happens. I know it’s going to be hard because we live so far apart…”
“That’s right it will be hard,” said Lisa in an all-knowing and cold manner. “I told Tony, ‘You can do anything you want in Italy and Francesca can do anything she wants in America and neither of you will be the wiser.’”
“While that might be true, that’s not how I conduct myself,” I responded. “I will not be cheating on Tony and he better not cheat on me.”
“You just don’t know,” said Lisa. And then we said nothing else for the rest of the trip to the restaurant. I never really discussed the conversation with Tony. But I kept wondering if Lisa was trying to tell me something about my new love. Should I be worried? Would Tony cheat on me while he was in Italy and I was in America? How would I ever know? These questions plagued me even more once I was back in New Jersey. Every time Tony would get in touch with me on Skype later than usual, I would think, “Is he out with some other woman?” If I had doubts, Tony was a jealous mess.
Some names and identifying characteristics of the real people involved have been changed.
Tune into this Web site, Two Worlds, every Monday for the latest installment in my blog about my experiences in Ischia, and every other Monday to ItaliansRus.com for the latest Our Paesani column about all things Italian. Di Meglio is also the Guide to Newlyweds for About.com.