Last night, my wife’s brother Giuseppe informed her that their cousin from Sicily said to send Sophia “his love.” Her cheeks bloomed a surprising shade of scarlet at the announcement. When I asked what was up, Giuseppe answered: “You mean, my sister never told you about the kissing cousin? Oh, you’ve got to hear this!” I listened, and the tale did not disappoint. Here’s the story.
Sophia attended an all-girls Catholic high school: St. Mary’s. Early in her senior year, she went to a party hosted by one of her older cousins. There, she met a nineteen year old boy named Carlo. He spoke little English. But between the smattering he knew and her limited Italian, she gathered he haled from Sicily and was visiting relatives in Jersey. Those were the days of my wife’s rebellious phase, part of which entailed an attraction to bad-boy types. Carlo perfectly fit the mold.
Despite St. Mary’s strict edict against students fraternizing with boys on school grounds, Sophia brazenly invited Carlo to borrow a car and pick her up when classes ended the next day. He readily agreed. When he pulled into the school parking lot that afternoon, his mere presence violated St. Mary’s rules. Yet Sophia decided to flaunt school mandates even more egregiously by making out with her new beau in the vehicle. A bigger no-no didn’t exist at St. Mary’s. Not too surprisingly – given the couple’s less than circumspect behavior – one of the nuns caught them in the act and the headmistress summarily suspended the wayward girl.
Suddenly realizing she’d gone too far, Sophia asked Carlo to drive her home. Irrationally, she hoped the presence of a fellow paisan from Sicily would soften her parents’ reaction to the suspension news. The two of them bumped into her mother as they walked through the front door. That’s when an eye-opening exchange of greetings occurred. At the same time Sophia said “Hi mom,” Mrs. Gambino took one look at Carlo and cried “Nephew!,” while Carlo got a load of his date’s mother and queried “Zia Maria?” A scant second later, Sophia and Carlo shared identical looks of horror as Sophia blurted “Aunt Maria?” at the same moment Carlo uttered “Mamma?”
Maria immediately realized something wasn’t right. But before she could ask the two teens why they’d suddenly turned green, the telephone in the foyer rang and she moved to answer it. After lifting the receiver, she listened intently for a time and then voiced her disbelief: “She’s been suspended? … for having sexual relations with a boy in the parking lot? … this afternoon?” Still holding the phone, she turned to glare at her daughter, only to spy both Sophia and Carlo cringing noticeably. That’s when she put two and two together … and fainted.