And I did know. I knew many things. And I knew I wasn't about to stop seeing Frankie. You see, I was 12 and Italian and my name was Rosie and the world was not kind to my sort in Brooklyn in 1942. It became especially difficult when the playground found out about my irrational fear of the seam of the sea. Frankie was my friend, and my fighter, and not too shabby to look at either.
It was Fall. We had started to wear coats to school in the morning, which we swung around like old-fashioned sling-shots in the warmer afternoon. The streets began to feel damp, and the night air smelled somehow cleaner. Frankie and I were walking home from school, discussing with a forced air of penance the recent beating Frankie had given like a benediction after the last bell of the day. I knew my father would be working on the car in the driveway, having just woken up after a long night with Mr. Lansky. We saw him as we approached the house. Frankie had turned to leave me, anxious not to be seen, when I said something I would later regret. . .
a.) "Frankie, have you ever thought about becoming a monk?"
b.) "Frankie, will you teach me how to swim?"
c.) "Frankie, would you fight whoever I asked you to?"