Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Part1- "Meeting Bobby"


How does one forget the most amazing night of their life?
How can anyone let go of a man who leaves them speechless with just a smile?
How does one move on after losing all their hopes and dreams?
How can anyone understand what it was like "Chasing the B-foul?"

For Lt. Robert T. Bianchi
“Bobby”
U.S.N.A. Class of 1983

** Please note except for Bobby, Kevin and I, all names have been changed to allow my friends their privacy.

I have learned the hardest things to write about are the ones that cause the most pain. Many times before tonight I have unsuccessfully tried to tell my/our story. With each attempt, memories and emotions I had chosen to keep inside, hide from myself and the world, would come rushing to the surface forcing me to stop. For me it was easier to keep feelings both good and bad hidden then it was to deal with the left over emotional turmoil. I have always been a very private person especially in relationships. I rarely share details or events with my best friends. To me once they are shared they loose their intimacy, their specialness. Most of what I am about to write has been sealed within my heart, afraid to bring forward, afraid to deal with the pain. Loss that years later every once and a while, reminders happen, a song, a place, a smell, then the empty feeling finds it’s way to the surface of me. When that happens no one around me understands why suddenly my mood will change, I want to be left alone to remember. The worse feeling I have come to understand is having no one to share my memories with. Over the years I have tried unsuccessfully to keep him locked in my soul, but he is such a strong presence. I have too many overwhelming memories. I know Bobby will be with me until I die. Perhaps it is because I have never had closure, there are still those unanswered questions, regrets. Maybe it is because we were both young, we believed we had all the time in the world ahead of us. We dreamed of all the possiblities that laid ahead. Dreams that were never realized. When memories of Bobby arise, I find myself thinking about the years he has never had, what he has missed. What I have missed with him. There is not an adjective adequate enough to describe the sorrow I feel. Maybe I need to write my story so at long last I can free myself from the guilt I have carried for so long. Let go of all the never-ending painful what could have been questions.

There sits in the basement a small wicker chest. Tucked safely inside is a bundle of postcards, small gifts, some cards, a letter and a diary neatly tied together with a white scarf. The cards are from a young man trying to convince me to give him a chance, trying to determine our place with each other. He was after all in his twenties, a time to discover one's place in the world. His postcards were always funny, simply a line or two, an inside joke that only the two of us would understand. The letter bears witness to the man who rocked my world one passion filled night, who after I told to leave, he refused. We tried to forget each other, yet neither one of us could fully let go, say good bye. He had a hold on me from the moment I first saw him, and I enticed him like no other. It was an unexplainable crazy attraction that drew us to each other. Neither one of us understanding why.

The first time I met Bobby was the fall of 1983. The Army Navy game was being held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. I had flown out to San Diego to stay with friends and attend the game. Due to severe storms my flight arrived late. Instead of heading to Dana Point, I was going to crash at Roger and Mark's house in Coronado. When we entered the kitchen I noticed the clock, it was a little after midnight, I was exhausted. Roger showed me where the bathroom and bedroom were. I collapsed on the bed and was soon fast asleep. I barely remember Roger telling me he was leaving for work. When I awoke I headed to the bathroom to take a shower. Believing I was the only person in the house, instead of getting dressed, I threw on a robe and loosely tied it around myself. I headed downstairs to see what I could find for breakfast. As I poured myself a bowl of cereal I noticed there were pocket doors off to the side of the kitchen. I thought to myself, that must be the living room, let me get my morning news fix. As I pushed open the doors I felt my robe begin to open, the doors began to pull away from me. As the doors widened, there standing in front of me was this amazingly gorgeous man, with the most beautiful eyes and devilish grin. I panicked, screamed, frantically handed him my cereal, pulled my robe together and ran upstairs. I quickly got dressed, gained my composure and headed downstairs. As I descended the stairs and entered the kitchen, he flashed a boyish smile and announced, "I liked you better in the robe."
I covered my face with my hands in embarrassment, the only words I could mutter, "Oh my God"
He laughed, I could tell he liked the fact I was nervous. He put his hand out to shake, "Hi I'm Bobby, Bobby Bianchi. You are Denise correct?"
"That would be me, naked chick Denise. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry"
"No apologies I liked it. They are all sorry they missed you, but I am feeling lucky."
I looked beyond the pocket doors and noticed sitting in the living room were several of his buddies. I could feel my face turn red once again. We talked for awhile, every time I looked in his eyes I was lost. There was a honk outside. With that he announced he hated to "peek" and run, but their ride was here, they were heading to LA for the day. I watched as they all walked out the back door. As I sat down at the table to finish my cereal, Bobby popped back in the door, "I hope to see you again" then added with a wink, "All of you again!" Then he waved bye. After I heard the door close, the car drive off, I threw my head back, put my hands over my face, took a deep breath and said out loud, "Oh God I think I'm in love!"

I can't define what it was, there was something about Bobby that made my heart pound, gave me goose bumps, caused me to loose my breath. It was a feeling I had not experienced until that morning. As I felt all those wonderful unexplainable emotions, guilt overcame me, I had a boyfriend, what was I doing? Over the course of the day I told myself over and over, stop thinking about Bobby. No matter how many times I scolded myself, I couldn't stop thinking about the man whose mere presence drove me crazy that morning, Bobby Bianchi!

At the Army Navy game on Friday, I kept searching the crowds, hoping to get a glimpse of him. As it turned out, we spoke once and I saw him several times. Each time we would catch each others eyes, he would smile, then wink. I could feel myself blush every time and have to turn my face away. I would look back to see him chuckling to himself. When I was leaving the game I felt someone sneak up behind me. Before I could look, he whispered in my ears, "Next time, no robe."
I turned to see Bobby smiling at me, locking his eyes with mine. I couldn’t believe how bold he was, yet for some reason I did not mind. I playfully replied back, "You go ahead and dream, not happening."
I was amazed at how self assured he was when he said very matter of fact, "You dream, I know".
I heard his buddies call him, they were leaving. He smiled, told me to come to Pensacola, he would be waiting for me. As I stood there with my friends, I kept looking over my shoulder watching as Bobby walk out of view, I thought out of my life.

January 1984, I was visiting Martin in Pensacola. If anyone had asked me in college who do you think/want to marry my answer would have been Martin. When I first met him I thought he was an arrogant ass, then I soon realized what I thought was arrogance was actually dry wit. I am not sure when it started, but every night my phone would ring at eleven, it would be Martin. Some nights we would have short conversations, other times we would talk the night away. Slowly I unknowingly began to fall in love with him. Our 'relationship' had it's ups and downs, ins and outs, all due to the lack of maturity on both our parts. Looking back I can see I wanted more in our relationship than Martin was ready to give. I had an unrealistic idea of what a (our) relationship should be.

I was twenty, in my junior year of college, I needed to determine what direction my life was heading. For the previous year and a half, our relationship had gone from friendship to boy friend/girl friend (lovers), back to friendship. The cycle was constantly repeating. I was in love and confused. I hoped my trip to Pensacola would let me know if this long distance relationship could work. Was there a place for me in Martin's life that I could live with?

It was Wednesday morning, I was taking a shower when Martin stuck his head in the door, said he was late (my fault:)) he would see me later. I got out of the shower, dried off, grabbed my robe and headed downstairs for breakfast. I made myself a bowl of cereal, grabbed my magazine, walked in the living room, turned on the TV and plopped on the couch. I sat there Indian style with my robe hanging open, who cared I was alone. After a few minutes I heard the front door open and footsteps come running up the stairs. I didn't look up from my magazine, I said loudly, "What did you forget besides kissing me goodbye?" I heard the footsteps stop, and a voice say, "I didn't know I was suppose to kiss you?" That was not Martin's voice, I looked up from my magazine, there he stood, the same eyes, the same smile, the man I had not seen since the Army Navy game. Months later, he still had the same effect on me as he did that first time. One look and I was covered in goose bumps, left speechless. Again the only words I could mutter, "Oh my God" Which caused him to laugh.
I still remember his grin as he said, "I love running into you!”
As he said this, I suddenly became very aware of my robe, or rather the lack of closure. I dropped my feet to the ground, and pulled my robe closed. In my brain all I could think was thank goodness my magazine was on my lap. I could feel my heart pounding through my chest. After a deep breath, I was finally able to speak, "Hey Bobby, I made it to Pensacola."
His answer, "Yes you did, and I apparently found you."
He then asked if Martin was home, I told him no he had already left.
He shook his head and said, "You're Martin's girl, damn."
I couldn't believe the answer that came out of my mouth, "You might want to double check with Martin on that one."
He smiled, "Hey it's been at least 5 minutes and you still haven't run upstairs to change. I like that, I love your robe."
Why I answered him truthfully, I have no clue, but stupid me did, "I wish I could but I can't"
He looked at me puzzled at first, then his grin became huge, he realized how short my robe really was. The stairs were behind him, he would have been given a free show of my "assets" if I had run up the stairs that morning.

After a few minutes, a short conversation, he glanced at his watch, then announced, "I've got to run". As he descended the stairs he yelled back up, "One day there will be no robe!"
I yelled back my standard answer (which would be written on many postcards later), "Keep dreaming!"
As I heard the door close I grabbed a pillow from the couch, buried my face in it and screamed, "Dear God why do you torture me so?" Followed by “Oh my God he is so gorgeous!” I told myself over and over, it's only lust, these feelings will go away, they aren't real.

Later that week, Martin and I came to an end. We were out at a bar, he was drunk and kissed, really kissed, locked lips, tongue in play, a girl named Dottie right in front of me. Funny, I have trouble remembering the names of some people who I attended 4 years of high school with, yet I still remember her name, Dottie. The girl who crushed my reality, helped me realize I may love Martin but he did not love me. If he was capable of kissing a woman in front of me, what did he do when I was not around? As I watched them kiss I was dumbfounded, hurt and furious. I ran out of the bar into the parking lot to catch my breath.

Leaning against a car, tears started to roll down my cheeks when I saw Bobby with a group of friends out of the corner of my eye. My first thought, what was he doing here? I was hoping he wouldn't see me but he did.  Bobby left his group and began walking towards me. He was not smiling, he looked extremely concerned, he softly asked, "Are you alright?"
I put my hand up to say stop and began shaking my head no. He put his hand on my shoulder and I shrugged it off. I asked him to please go, I would be fine, I needed to be alone. He lifted my chin up, gently wiped my tears away with his fingers, he looked into my eyes and asked, "Are you sure? I can stay."
I answered, “Yes, please go.”

I watched as he walked across the parking lot to join his buddies. Several times he looked back at me, as if he was hoping I would motion him back. I wanted to call him, tell him to stop but I couldn't find the strength to ask for help. Through my tears I watched him as he walked into the bar. I was all alone in a parking lot a thousand miles from home. That night would change me in ways I would have never imagined.

Two days later I headed back home to Maryland. As the plane's wheels left the runway I looked out the window and began to cry I knew it was the end for Martin and I. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw two things, Martin kissing Dorothy and Bobby looking over his shoulder at me as he walked into the bar. In the back of my mind I wasn't sure if I was afraid I would not see Martin again or Bobby? It was a confusion my heart and head was not prepared to handle.

(use the link on the left to continue to part two)

1 comment:

  1. Splendid story. I remember the Bianchi family as a great family who has endured many difficult times. Mrs. Bianchi died last year after struggling for many years with Alzheimers. Her husband, Al visited her each day despite the fact that she had long forgotten who he was.

    You can see the names (and hand prints) of all the Bianchi Family members in the sidewalk on Maplewood Ave just past Winthrop Place.

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