As always, Daniel, you are missed and loved so much. I miss you.
(And it's not short!!)
No matter what ship it was, departure sucked.We were all packed the night before and said our good-byes to those we’d dined with exchanging emails and phone numbers.We woke up docked in Sydney.One things to remember about the Queen Mary was it wasn’t a cruise ship.Understand, it was a ship we cruised on, but the hurry up and “get off” feeling was not quite as frantic.They did have to clean our stateroom and get it ready for new passengers to occupy the stateroom this afternoon.It was as quickly done as possible, but they had people to take our luggage for us.We gathered in a lounge as our things were being gathered and taken off the ship.I was looking for Ivan and Katya.We’d seen them the day before, but...they were going home and so were we.Thousands of miles apart.I was hoping to see them one last time before we left.We sat enjoying the delicious coffees they had onboard.
“Oh, there you are.”We heard Ivan’s voice behind us sounding relieved.
We rose as Ivan and Katya walked toward us.
“It was announced where we were to be.”I said simply.
Ivan nodded waving at the ceiling.“Yes.In English!Even French and German, but no Russian.”He waved the translator.“I could not get this to translate the announcements.”
Tony chuckled.“There are somethings to work out with the translator.When we have the connection with this, announcements can go through there when there is one.”
Ivan nodded.“Yes, but I wanted to give you this.”He handed us a package he had.“For Alik.”
Opening the box, I grinned as I pulled out…a mask?It was a deep brown-reddish leather that fit over most of Ivan’s upper face and head.The small horns would have been on his forehead but covered most of his face down below his nose, the eye holes clear, holes where he would breath through but it had the look of an angry bull and included a ring that was attached at the nose.I held it up for Tony to see.
“Ivan!”Tony marveled taking the mask.“You don’t need this?”
Katya took her husband’s arm.“He has others, but this was one he had when he first started as the Raging Bull.”
I grinned putting the mask back in the box.“Alik will love this.Thank you.”
“He’ll be even happier when you show up at our door in a few months.”Tony chuckled.
Katya nodded and hugged me.“I am so glad Ivan went out in the corridor to get help with the extra starch.”She went to Tony.“We were fortunate to meet you and blessed to become such dear friends.”
“We are that, Katya.”Tony assured.
“We will stay in touch.”Ivan promised me.“You have my number and email address.If anything changes or we have to change this…” he said taking his phone out.“I have yours, I’ll let you know.”He hugged me.“You are our dear and good friends.”
With anything, good or bad, they come to a conclusion.Our almost fairy tale like cruise ended.We checked into a hotel near the airport to take a flight the next day.We flew to Los Angeles and then on to Boston.It would take us about twenty some odd hours to get there. We were traveling just over ten thousand miles.An entire day just traveling. The flight time over the Pacific was about thirteen to fourteen hours.The flight from Los Angeles to Boston was about six, plus the several hours in LA for the layover!Tony and I were exhausted when we got to Boston!!The Omni Parker House was a grand hotel, but I was too tired to be too impressed.I gave a slight glance at the elegance.My only thought was about a comfortable bed.The theme for this hotel was…stuffy?Browns.A lot of polished wood.There was a huge lobby with the round table in the middle the brown stone mosaic on which it sat.At the desk, the young woman looked at us sympathetically.
“You two look very tired.”She smiled as she began typing on her computer.
“Boy, there’s an understatement.”Tony all but growled.“Tony Delveccio and Mitch McKenzie.We have a suite reserved for today.”
I leaned on Tony.“I don’t even know what day it is.”
“You just arrived from Australia from what it says here.You would be tired.”The woman chuckled and looked at me.“It’s Monday evening.”
My eyes widened.“Whatever…we were in the air a whole day!”
Tony chuckled.“Right now, our only concern is getting some rest.”
I wavered.“I’m too tired to figure this out.”
The woman smiled.“Well, you’ve booked a nice suite to get that rest.”She motioned to the man that appeared behind us.“Nick will show you to that suite.”
I grinned at the rolling cart that would be used to take our luggage to the suite.“I’m tempted to get on that and ride to the suite.”I didn’t, of course, but I was tempted.
The suite was very nice.What little we saw of it.What I did see and zeroed in on, was the bed!We didn’t even really undress, we just collapsed on it and were gone in mere minutes!Sleep like this wasn’t that restful.I remember gaining consciousness as I felt that one other person with me stir.Then heard a moan.
“I feel terrible.”Tony informed me, his voice muffled through the pillow.“How do you wake up tired?”
I rolled over slipping my arm around him.“This is jet lag, lag.”
“Um hum.”Tony rolled to slip his arms around me as well and sighed.“What time is it?”
I looked at the bedside clock.“Morning.About nine in the morning.”
“We need to get that license or we wait another day.”Tony said pulled me close.“Which means we need to get up.”He smiled bringing me in for a kiss.“We’re getting married.”
“Again.”I chuckled.“We are married now, Tony.”
“Yes, but it’s more real.”He grinned and quickly defended.“Not that what we had isn’t real, but…”
I chuckled again.“I got it, Tony.”I said sitting up a little.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa.”Tony grabbed me.“Where are you going?”
“You said we needed to get up.”I said.
“In a minute.”Tony pulled me back down and rolled on top of me.“Or two…half an hour…something.”Saying it as he unbuttoned my shirt.He shrugged.“It’s been…days!”
Kissing him deeply, softly and growing in passion.“It has.”My arms going to familiar places around him.
A couple of hours reconnecting with Tony and we did get up as Tony got on the phone and called room service.I heard that one important word.“Coffee!”
I chuckled hearing that.Somethings were consistent.I at least waited until the coffee got there to even start the shower.Tony was doing his usual thing by inhaling of the aroma.“Well?”I asked.
Tony sighed.“It’s good, but I was spoiled with Sir Samuels.”
“We’ll just have to go back.”I cocked my head at him.“Do you need some more time with it?Or can we hit the shower?”
Tony grinned.“A minute more.”
We did make our way to City Hall Square to get the license.
The clerk smiled as he started the process, which would take three days.He looked at us.“Are you having a service?”
“I don’t think we planned for anything…” I began but should have known better.
“I contacted a couple of friends of mine.Both ministers with the MCC.Both Pastor Terry and Rev. Pat recommended Dr. Janet Kenmore.She’s the pastor of the MCC here in Boston, I was told.”
The man nodded chuckling.“Yes, she is.I see her every Sunday!”
“Do you think she’d do it?”I asked.
“It’s Tuesday.Are you doing it Friday?”He asked.
“Sure.That would be fine.”Tony nodded.
The clerk shrugged.“Of course, I don’t know her schedule, but sure, she will, if she’s available.She married me and my husband.”
I nodded, no wonder he smiled at us when we applied.“Damn, we are everywhere!”I said smiling at him.
The clerk nodded with a chuckle.“We are indeed.”
In the meantime…” Tony grinned looking at the clerk.“Any suggestions for lunch, or dinner?”
“The are many.What would you like?”
We ended up going to Neptune Oyster.It was very good.
“So, what will we do while in Boston?”I asked and I saw his eyes almost glisten.“No.No more shopping!I’m shopped out, Tony!”
“They have some good stores in Boston.”Tony said not seeing how I missed the logic.
“What could we possibly need to get?”
“I won’t know until I see it!”Tony stated practically.
“Fine.We’ll shop.”I grinned over my Neptune Burger as he nodded knowing he had victory.The burger which had no burger in it as in beef.It had oysters!!I frowned as I looked outside.“We flew ten thousand miles.We left Summer in the Southern Hemisphere.It will be Winter soon.”
“Yep.”Tony chuckled munching on his lobster roll.“We can shop for that!”
“You know, there’s history here, too.”I said smiling.
“Yea, yea, yea.”
We did still have to adjust our biological clocks, but we weren’t pressured to do anything.Tony did call the MCC Church in Boston.We spoke to Dr.Janet Kenmore.A nice woman in her late forties or fifties…long hair, but very cordial.She was thrilled to be asked to preform the wedding.It wasn’t going to be a big thing, just her and a witness or two.We were just making what we had more legal.
“We didn’t tell anyone.”Tony stated suddenly.
“Why?”I asked.“Everyone was there when we took our vows.”
“Yes, but…” he looked at me.“That’s not strange?”
“We’ll tell Kathy when we go to New York.We’ll tell the others during Thanksgiving.”I shrugged simply and chuckled at a thought.“Rub it in Uncle Thomas’ face.”
“And Uncle Earl’s and Uncle Buddy…” Tony saying knowingly.
“Sure.”I waggled my eyebrows at Tony.“That’s just an added bonus.”
We did have a little vacation from our vacation.And yes, Tony was happy going to some shops and looking, but we really didn’t buy much.Our new aspect since of resolve about being in a relationship…we didn’t bother to hide it from anyone.Hey, this is Boston!Massachusetts allowed gay marriage first.No one here cared, for the most part.The threat of this unknow potential illness with Tony had made us see what was important.Tony was that for me.
The wedding itself was done in our hotel suite that Friday evening.We even had the same clerk from City Hall and his husband as witnesses!The next day was Saturday so we flew to New York.
We arrived at the home where Tony and his sisters were raised.Nick and our nephew David were still living there.We hadn’t really told anyone we were coming.When we walked in…even I reacted to what we saw.This was sort of shocking.Clutter?Pizza boxes with one or two pieced left in them, empty beer cans, clothes strewn about.
“My…” Tony began as he gaped, “God!!”Tony gasped dropping his suitcase on the floor.
I couldn’t defend Nick or David, but I grabbed Tony’s hand.“Now, Tony,” I began slowly, urging him to be calm.
He spun to me.“What now Tony?”He waved at the mess.“It’s Saturday.How could…”
“Remember…they are young.” I looked at the few pieces of pizza left.“It looks fairly freshly left…last night would be my guess.”
“Which will attract every ant and roach on Long Island!”Tony walked slowly in waving at various…piles of trash.“Wha…how…I mean…”
I pulled Tony back to face me.“Tony.”I repeated calmly.“We have enough to worry about.Don’t have a stroke on me now.”I pulled his face back again.“Tony.Look at me.”I said making his eyes come to me.“Deep breaths.”I looked at the clock on the wall.“It’s three o’clock now.”I said.“We can get this cleaned up.”
Tony’s eyes got angry.“I’m going to kill them.”
I chuckled and said slowly.“No, you won’t.”I bent down and got a suitcase.“We’ll go up, put these away, change and then clean this place up.”I raised my finger.“When Nick and or David get back…just remind them.”
It took a few hours, but we got the place nearly the way it was when Kathleen was here.Except for the part of doing the kitchen floor on our knees.The Swiffer Wetjet worked just fine.I was putting the vacuum away went I heard someone put a key in the lock.When Nick opened the door, it was his turn to gasp.
“What the…” Nick asked looking at the room he entered.
Coming in the room having finished my part.“Hi, Nick!”
He smiled, but was surprised.“Pop!”He sniffed the air.
“Yes, your Dad’s cooking again.”I thumbed back toward the kitchen.“Doing his special Italian thing.”
Nick grinned and walked over hugging me.“I didn’t know you were coming!”He waved at the house.“I would have cleaned up if I did.”
Tony walked in, wearing a sink towel as an apron, holding a large spoon and frowned.“Has all the years you lived with me meant nothing to you?”
“I didn’t know you were coming!”Nick said again in protest but smiled.“We had a few friends over last night and things got a little crazy and...”
Tony pointed with the spoon.“The house is one thing, your grandmother is rolling in her grave right now, but…those pizza boxes!?Really, son? I don’t even think they were Italian!”He pointed where we had thrown the boxes away outside in the garbage can.“Those boxes were pink!Stephanie’s!?Who the hell is Stephanie?”
Nick chuckled as he walked over hugging his father.“Stephanie is Italian, she broke off with her father’s business and started her own.Stephanie Lorenzo.”
Tony shook his head as me muttered.“Aiutalo, Madre Benedetta.”He crossed himself and looked toward Heaven asking for the Blessed Mother to help Nick.“And if your grandmother saw this place…”
Nick held his hands up.“I know, I know.”He grinned hugging Tony again.“I didn’t know you were coming!”
“Is it okay that we came here?”I asked Nick.
“Of course.”Nick answered readily.“It is the Delveccio home. Our home.”He looked at Tony.“You know, Dad, pizza now is more of a format.It doesn’t have to be the same thing all the time.”
I put a hand on Nick’s shoulder and looked at Tony.“See?I said that!”
Tony’s mouth dropped open in shock.“Morditi la lingua!”Tony said for us to bite our tongues seemingly appalled.“You can’t turn you back on over a thousand of years of traditions, Nick.”
“Who’s turning their back!?”Nick said just as loud.It was great being back in a true Italian home!Remember, yelling meant love?“I’m just saying…”
The door opened again and David walked in.“Uncle Tony, Uncle Mitch!”He looked around the room.“Damn!”
“And here we go again.”I grinned as David came over and hugged me.
Tony called his sister Kathy and said that Sunday lunch would again be at the Delveccio home.We were in town, but he’d made enough for everyone to have dinner.Kathy and Al came right over that night.It was Saturday evening. We didn’t know if they had plans.If there were, they canceled them.
When Kathy got to the house she came in hugging Tony tightly.“Tony!”She looked over at me and rushed to me.“Mitch!Melissa comes on Wednesday.It’s good to see you, but…”
“The last I heard, you guys were in Australia or somewhere like that.”Al greeted as we did the hug thing with him.
“We were, but we’re back!”Tony said simply.“It really wasn’t planned too far in advance to be here.”
Kathy nodded.“I got all those wonderful photos, Mitch!They were just beautiful!”She looked at her brother.“Are you staying through Thanksgiving?”
“No, we have an annual command appearance at the McKenzie’s.”Tony grinned and pulled up a slip of paper.“Mitch and I got married.”
David looked confused.“Okay, we were all there, Uncle Tony.We saw you and Uncle Mitch get married.You are married.”
Tony nodded.“True.That’s why we weren’t making a big deal about it.This is just legal now.”
Al shook his head.“In Massachusetts.Perhaps in New York, but they aren’t calling them marries.”
“Civil Unions.”Kathy grunted irritated.“That ridiculous.Why argue over just a word?”
“Well, when the rest of the United States catches up and lets us do it, we already will be.”I shrugged.
“Do you think they will, Pop?”Nick asked.
“Eventually.”Tony gave a grudging nod.“Like Mitch said, when they do, we’ll already be married.”He shrugged.“It’s more of a formality.”
It didn’t take long before the usual chaotic noise, and conversations went into their usual fervor.We were blending English and Italian with ease, giving little thought as we did it.We were all…in one form or other…Delveccios.