“But, Schwartz, who the heck is he marrying? Now come on.” Immediately I’m thinking Helen Weathers, I’m thinking Eileen Achers, I’m thinking Esther Jane Albery, I’m thinking Jane Lounsberry, I’m thinking of all the chicks in school, the whole crowd.
And then Schwartz comes out with it. “She’s not from our school. In fact, she’s from East Chicago.”
That was a place we used to go scragging! We’d go riding around there all the time. There’s always a myth among kids that in the next town, they have fantastic chicks. That’s where the real chicks are.
I say, “Is it one of the girls we were hollering at?”
Schwartz says, “No.” He does not know.
Well, I can hardly wait to see Bolis! So I go home that night and I’m eating supper. My mother turns to me and says, “What’s the matter with you? You’ve got a funny look.”
I say, “Ma.”
“Bolis is getting married.”
She rocks back. “Who?”
I say, “I don’t know.”
She says, “Why don’t you ask him?”
I say, “Don’t you worry. I’m gonna ask him.”
Right after supper, like a shot, I go banging over to Bolis’s house. I pound on the door. “Hey, Bolis. Bolis. Hey, Bolis. Bolis!”
The door opens and there is Mrs. Rutkowski. She’s got her shawl on her head. I can smell the stuffed cabbage pouring out.
“Hello, is Bolis here?”
“Bolak not home. Bolak not home.”
I say, “I hear that Bolis is getting married?”
I couldn’t get her to understand what I was talking about.
That night, under a street light, I meet Bolis. I meet Bolis under a circle of yellow light, and I am with Flick. And both of us—we just can’t believe it. Because Bolis looks like he always looked. He comes walking along, he has his red baseball cap on, his jacket—you know, one of the kids. And Flick says to Bolis, “Hey, Bo.” Bo comes out of the darkness. “Hey, Bo, are you getting married?”
And Bolis looks at both of us. And that instant, a strange moment. Bolis was one of the toughest guys I ever knew in my life. Bolis was a natural-born athlete. He was built like a fireplug—with feet. Tough. And Bolis, with absolute unconcern, says, “Yep.”