Tony’s grandparents immigrated from Sicily after WWll and they brought their customs and traditions with them. When his father, who was born in the States, fell for an Irish descent, both families did not agree and the lovers were outcaste. After their union, they left the big city and moved to a small town to live their life. Tony was their only child. Only one of his father’s friend, Giuseppe whom everyone called Joe, kept in contact with them. Uncle Joe has been working with an Italian mafia family since he was a teenager. He was a master of breaking in, he learnt all new techniques and was gifted to shut down all types of alarm systems. As if he was born with this talent. Unfortunately, he was jailed twice.
Tony’s father has always tried to bring Uncle Joe on the right path. During his visits, he would try to brainwash his friend, but always failed. One day, Uncle Joe asked his friend to stand as an alibi. Tony’s mother was against it, but her husband agreed to help his friend under one condition: to change his life. Uncle Joe agreed and left the Italian family afterwards. But what the father didn’t know is that, once in a while, he continued to break into rich people houses.
Tony grew up alone, he never had weekends to play with cousins like other kids. His father’s motto was “Study hard, get a good job and live the American dream”. He became a little bit of an introvert. At school, he hardly had friends. He was always at home after school and never attended any parties or events. One thing changed, however, during his last year in High School; he met Anne. She was a very brilliant girl, who always had passing marks for a minimum 90 per cent in each subject. Slowly the friendship became more serious. Anne had only one boyfriend before, and he left the town and never kept in contact with her. Tony told his mom about Anne, and she was delighted that her son had a girlfriend. She kept it to herself as she knew her husband would ask a lot of questions: whether she went to church, was she a virgin, and whether they were going to wait after marriage to have sex etc. Fearing his dad, he would bring Anne to his place only when his father was away. Both teenagers would go to Tony’s room and have sex. First time they were in bed, he didn’t know what to do and how to do it. Anne was very patient and slowly would “teach” him everything about having sex. Tony had never questioned Anne about her former boyfriend, he never even knew his name. His main concern was his love for Anne and their future together.
After High School, Tony went to college to study electrical engineering and Anne to the university to study finance. They were studying in two different cities. They would meet during the weekends when they came home or during school breaks. Later they would meet less often as Anne preferred to stay on campus to study and during the holidays they were both working holiday jobs. Once in a while Tony would go and meet her and they both would have a good time.
During Tony’s last year at college, tragedy struck. His parents died in a car accident. According to the police, it was a hit and run. By the impact, they believed it was a truck which did not stop at a road junction. Neither the truck was found nor the driver was caught. At the funeral, Uncle Joe was the only relative present. Anne was there to support Tony also.
“Your father was a great man and your mother was the best wife a man could get,” Uncle Joe told Tony after the funeral. “Anything you need, any help or whatsoever, just call me. I will be here for you just like your father has always been there for me.”
“Thank you, Uncle Joe,” Tony replied. “I’ll remember that.”
Tony concentrated on his studies, meeting Anne only once till his final exams. On graduation day, only Uncle Joe was present. Anne could not attend as she had an important project to submit.
“A small gift for your hard work,” Uncle Joe gave Tony an envelope with lots of one hundred-dollar bills.
“Thank you, but you shouldn’t …”
“Your parents would have been proud of you,” Uncle Joe cut him off.
“I know.” A tear ran down Tony’s face.
“Ok, let’s go and celebrate. I know a good Italian restaurant in the city. By the way, where is your girlfriend?”
“She has something important to do.”
Right after college, Tony got a job as a junior electrical engineer. He sold his parent’s house and used the money as a large mortgage deposit for a house he purchased in the city. After university Anne went to work in a financial institution dealing with life insurance and investments. She moved in with Tony and a year later they got married. Having kids was not on their to do list as they preferred to be financially settled before thinking about it. Also, both had to pay back their student loans.
Two years later, Tony decided to fly with his own wings. He started his business as an electrical contractor. He worked at home. The beginning was difficult, as it was not as he expected. He had to use all his energy to market himself. The money he saved during the three years he has been working was of great help. On the other hand, Anne was spending a lot on clothing, toiletries, designer handbags, spas and other women stuff because she had to project a certain image that she liked to maintain
Three years later Tony’s business was a success. He has been doing a good job, he charged less than his competitors. He secured some contracts with some huge building contractors. With the boom in construction, his business flourished and he had to employ people to get the job done. He had his own office downtown with a personal secretary.
Sitting at his desk one Monday morning, he looked at the picture in front of him, taken on his wedding day. “Already five years,” he thought. “Time flies. The student loans have already been paid off for both of us. The house mortgage will be settled completely in a couple of years. Anne has been working hard on a contract lately.” He smiled.
Tony called Anne on her cell phone. “Hi honey,” Anne said. “The clients are here to sign the contract, I’m on my way to meet them. I have less than one minute to talk with you.”
“I’ll be brief. I’m coming to take you out for lunch today.”
“Ok, come by noon.” She hung up.
“It’s high time to think about a family,” Tony told himself. “Hope she’ll agree.” Tony suddenly felt like a burn in his stomach, like the one he always got when he was stressed.
At 12:10 p.m. the elevator doors to the 10th floor opened and Tony walked into the lobby to the front desk where a young woman greeted him.
“I’m Tony Caruso, Anne’s husband. She’s expecting me.”
“Please have a seat, Mr. Caruso,” the young woman picked up the phone and dialed.
Tony sat down and took a magazine and started to go through the pages.
“Sir, your wife will be here in 15 minutes.”
“Thank you,” Tony replied.
“If she says no,” Tony thought. “Then I’ll have to persuade her. I’m not even 30, I can’t start a family at the age of 40 or above! When I’ll drop my kids off at school, their friends will think I’m the grandpa!” Tony got the same burning sensation in his stomach, but worst this time. He stood up and asked for the restroom.
Inside the restroom, there were two urinal bowls and three stalls, he walked to the last one. He sat down and tried to think how to approach Anne.
The door suddenly opened and Tony could hear two men’s voices.
“What a bitch!” One said.
Tony had a reflex, and lifted up his feet and stayed quiet.