1976

by Lucille Domizio

My biggest regret is not moving to Buffalo. It would have changed the course of my life.

Looking back, I recall my parents howled with laughter when I told them I was moving away to be with Joe. “He has mischievous eyes” said Mom. “And he’s a man.” Dad was equally skeptical. “What do you know about being married?” he asked. “You’re too young.”

I met Joe through mutual friends and we started dating in the summer of 1976. We saw a show at the Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport and went to the Pike Diner for the best burgers and fries ever.

He told me a lot of personal things and I couldn’t believe he would confide in me so early in our relationship. I asked him why the sudden interest in me. He said he didn’t travel all the way from Long Island for nothing and thought it would be fun to go out with me. We also talked about marriage.

My heart was beating out of my chest when he kissed me good night. He said he’d call again and he did.

I woke up sick the morning of the followup day. I took medication and spent the whole day telling my mother that I was going on the date whether I was dead or had to go by ambulance. My aunt and uncle came by and thought I looked great. They said I should go if I felt okay.

So Joe shows up and when I told him I was sick he became extremely comforting.  We were supposed to see a play. When we got there I was freezing. Joe put his jacket around my shoulders. He kept asking me how I felt and when my teeth started chattering, he put his arms around me. I thought he was so cute.

When we got to my house we had a make-out session. He left around 3 a.m. And we continued to see each other until it was time for Joe to go back to school in Buffalo for his master’s degree. He asked me to go with him and I really wanted to go. But, at 20, I knew that my parents would never allow it. So after much angst I declined.

After the big farewell on my parents front porch, I gave him my address and he said he’d let me know his address when he got to school. Then I said, “Gee, isn’t it great that we’re not in love? This would be much harder if we were.” And Joe said, “We are in love. You just don’t know it yet.”

I never heard from him again.

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