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From Angie, I Says

"So you gonna talk to me, Tina?"

"Yeah, sure, Vin."

"Hey, are you okay?" He touches my shoulder real gentle. A sweetie, this one. I feel like I’m out of my mind to be doing this.

"I’m fine, Vin. It’s just that I been thinking about this, Vin, and shit, I don’t think it’s a good idea our getting married, you know? I don’t think we’d be good for each other." I can hardly get the words out.

He just grips the steering wheel hard and don’t look at me.

"I don’t believe this," he says finally. "I don’t fucking believe this."

"Please, Vin."

"Do you know what it is to love somebody, Tina? Huh, do you? ‘Cause I don’t think you do. I don’t think you ever loved me one fucking minute of your life, ‘cause if you did, you couldn’t be doing this to me now."

I’m hysterical, and maybe it’s good I can’t say nothing, just let him get it off his chest. The two of us in his blue van filled with augers and faucets and elbow sockets and blowtorches and tube cutters and wrenches and O-rings and all that shit in the middle of a traffic jam on Fifth Avenue. I’m looking out the window and there’s Saks and there’s Rockefeller Center with that statue of what’s-his-name, the one carrying the world on his back. And I’m thinking, that must be a bitch in this heat. I mean, at a time like this, you never know what stupid thing is gonna pop into your head.

"Tina! Listen to me! You gotta think this over some more."

"I thought it over plenty, Vin. You gotta try to understand."

"I don’t understand shit. What are people gonna say? They’re gonna think there’s something wrong with me, or like I’m this horrible creep or something you won’t marry me and you’re knocked up. Tina, don’t be stupid, don’t be crazy!"

"It don’t matter what people think, Vin."

He just lets out a sigh and hits the steering wheel hard with the heel of his hand.

"Vinnie, you’re a great guy. You’re gonna find somebody better in about two minutes."

"Like you found somebody?"

"What?"

"You heard me. This has gotta be about another guy. What a jerk I am! Maybe it ain’t even my kid!"

"Oh, Vinnie, please, it ain’t like that, not really."

I can tell he’s crying, but I can’t look at him.

"You know," he says real soft, "I don’t even think that. But it would be better. I could even understand it a little. But that you just don’t wanna marry me . . ."

And that’s all we say. We’re silent the whole ways home. Vinnie keeps checking his watch all the time, like he can’t believe how long it’s taking. I don’t need to check what time it is. I fucking know. It’s the fucking end of the world.