Michael Waxman was nervous on his first day at Medford High School. He checked his face and hair one last time. The black curly locks on his head defied any part. His favorite Italian Uncle Stush had the same head of hair. Good. No zits today. I wonder if the kids at the bus stop will speak to me.
Waxman’s family had moved from Somerville, the adjacent town. He wouldn’t know any of the students carried over from the 9th grade of his Somerville Junior High School since there weren’t any who moved to Medford. The summer had been one of adaptation to the South Medford house and trying to socialize with a few kids in the neighborhood. Today, he waited at the bus stop with about a dozen other students. Waxman noticed a large teenager staring at him. The boy came over.
“You live on the corner of Walton Street, right?” The muscular teen wore a tight blue t-shirt and black chinos. A plain red crucifix tattoo was on the kid’s left forearm. He pointed at Waxman with his comb. “I seen you around the park down the street.”
“We moved in three-months ago. It’s my grandfather’s house. We live in the first floor.”
“I know the old guy. Pistacci, right? I knew the kids who lived there before. They were okay especially Frank and Betty.”
“They’re my cousins. They moved to Stoneham.”
“So what’s your name?”
“Michael. Michael Waxman. What’s yours?”
“Carli Santo. How come you’re not Italian? This is South Medford–Little Italy.”
“My father married Elizabeth Pistacci–my mother.”
“That you I hear playing the accordion?”
“Yeah, my grandfather got me into the accordion a few years ago.”
“You sound good. You can do me a favor.” He looked at the orange bus tracking the overhead twin power lines with its two slim metal poles. “Here comes the bus. I sit next to Rosa Dipoli so I’ll talk to you later.”
“What kind of favor?”
“I’ll talk to you later.” Santo pushed his way to the head of the line and leaped into the bus. He went to the back and stared at a boy sitting next to a black-haired nubile teen. The boy looked up and jumped out of the seat. Santo stared at him as he went forward looking for another place to sit.
“Hi, Carli.” Rosa smiled and shook her shoulders which shimmied her ample developing chest.
“Who was that?”
“No one. He was sitting there when I got on the bus.”
Waxman couldn’t find a seat and grabbed onto a vertical rail. He looked around the bus and made eye contact with Santo. He waved and nodded to him.
“Well… who’s the new guy?”
“Betty Pistacci’s cousin. They moved into her house when her family moved to Stoneham.”
“You’ll have to introduce me.”
Santo smiled and grabbed her lower jaw swinging it toward him. He planted a kiss flush on her lips. “Maybe. After I get to know him better.”
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