Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Before the birth class tonight we were at Luigi’s and I was sinking into the booth when someone behind us said “Don’t sit there,” and because I was sinking I thought they might be in the know, so I turned to see it was my childhood friend and his parents. It was odd seeing them there like that because I had run into the father at the grocery the other day, and I really like the guy, but his big eyes always used to scare me as a kid...not big eyes, it’s just the white shows all around the colored part. The mother is wonderful and I basically lived at their house until we moved. I remember filling a yellow plastic wheelbarrow at his house and getting upset because someone put a worm in there. Someone played a Chicago song on the jukebox, a glittering beacon of expensive tunes and cheap sex in the corner, and I can’t remember which Chicago song, but it was high and dramatic and made everything sparkle with nostalgic significance. I noticed a tiny Goodyear blimp painted into the idyllic Luigi’s Mural. I saw we were eating with the same silverware my parents used to set out, and someone behind me said, “I’ve been coming here for fifty years and I always get the pizza.” A woman walked by with an American flag embroidered into her sweater. Two little kids ran shrieking to the juke and fed in dollar bills. They played one song, a really old Green Day tune and ran off. I noticed a young couple, teenagers, flirting in a booth across the room, the boy clean cut, the girl, had she been born twenty years ago might have been dressing like Debbie Gibson, smacked the boy over the head with her menu. Carrie got up to talk with a woman she teaches sixth grade with. I sat in the booth and cut my pizza with the familiar fork. A waitress punched in numbers on the juke, a cheese salad in one hand, and Journey came on— the one about hugging and squeezing and touching. The teenage boy tired of sitting across from his girl, slid into the booth beside her. The waitress told us the couple behind us had picked up our check, I tossed a few bills on the table for a tip and Carrie was going to the car, and as I squeezed past the people waiting in line for a seat, as Rod Stewart came on the jukebox singing “Forever Young,” I pushed out the front doors with a box of leftover pizza in one hand, feeling like maybe, just maybe, we weren’t all royally screwed.