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Chapter Fifteen – Primo Bacio (The First Kiss)
I’m a planner. So, in the weeks leading up to Roberto and Tony’s arrival in the United States, I planned the vacation of a lifetime for them. We would see all the major sites in New York City, and travel to Washington, D.C., where I graduated from college and my sister was currently studying, and Disney World in Orlando, Fla., where my brother was working. In between, we would celebrate Thanksgiving with Roberto and my American relatives.
The first day of their journey featured a low-key Italian-American Sunday lunch at home and an evening stroll at the Bronx Zoo, which was beautifully dressed in twinkling lights to show off the animals’ homes and celebrate the start of the holiday season. Before we left for the zoo, we took photos of our visitors in our front yard, where every year my father the landscaper puts up a harvest display replete with stacks of hay, berry bunches, and giant pumpkins.
At the zoo, much to the chagrin of my father, Tony quickly took my arm to help me walk through one of the rockier habitats. I was still limping having had only one knee surgery at that point and still enduring three days a week of physical therapy. That was Tony’s in with me because after that he held onto either my arm or hand at the zoo and for the rest of his time in the States.
I was already working from home as a freelancer when the Italian duo arrived, so Roberto and Tony were on their own or with my mom during the day on weekdays. Rather than get bored, Roberto and Tony would walk to Linwood Plaza, a mini mall near our home, complain about how Starbucks coffee is nothing compared to a Neapolitan espresso, marvel at the variety of products Americans sold at what we call a “pharmacy” such as CVS, and purchase used PlayStation video games for the tournaments they would have at our house.
By Wednesday, my sister was coming home from college for Thanksgiving – and she was bringing a friend. In the morning, my mom was planning a trip to the grocery store, my father was already at work, and I was in my bedroom/office slaving away at the computer trying to get all my work completed before Thanksgiving and my weeklong vacation in Florida with the boys, which would be a big surprise to Roberto. (I had told Tony to keep the news a secret from my cousin.)
Meanwhile, Tony and Roberto were lifting their weary heads from the pillow and going down to breakfast. While there, Tony convinced my mom to take Roberto to the grocery store because he and Tony would prepare lunch for us while my parents picked up my sister at the airport.
A sneaky one, Tony began texting me once we were alone in the house to lure me out of my bedroom/office. Once I entered my sister’s room where he was organizing his stuff (but really just waiting for me), he pulled me toward him for our first kiss. A typical Italian, his hands soon landed on the back pockets of my jeans. And I, surprised, pulled away with a question for him…
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.