Flick says, “Who?”
And Bolis says, “Stella.”
Stella! I didn’t know any Stella. Flick never knew any Stella. We knew everybody that Bolis knew! Bolis knew everybody that I knew! I knew everybody Flick knew! Flick knew everybody Bruner knew! Bruner knew everybody that Schwartz knew! Stella! And Bolis says, “Stella.”
And Flick says, “Stella who?”
And Bolis says, “Stella Wasniack.”
Flick says, “Stella Wasniack? Where did she go? Did she go to Parish School?”
And Bolis says, “No. She lives in East Chicago.”
And Flick says, “Where did you meet her?”
I say, “Yeah, where did you meet her?”
And Bolis says, “I haven’t met her yet.”
I haven’t met her yet! Friends, there are times when you face the inscrutable. The inexplicable. When the Heavens rock. Bolis was getting married to a girl named Stella and he’d never met her. And Flick and myself were witnesses to the fact. We stood in the yellow, round circle of light of the streetlamp, and that instant we knew—there was a fantastic gulf that yawned between us that we had never talked about. And it was getting wider and wider and wider by the second. Even as we watched, a great Grand Canyon was opening up between me and Flick, and Bolis Rutkowski.
Well, two days later, in the mail, along with an announcement about how my ring was going to be delivered two weeks late because they cracked the stone while carving my initials in it, came an invitation. Bolis’s wedding to Stella Wasniack. And the Polish wedding that I was invited to attend was to be held in the same neighborhood where me and Flick and Bolis and Schwartz and Bruner had spent four happy summers scragging in my Chevy, in Schwrtz’s Dodge, in Flick’s Ford, Bolis’s Plymouth. We were going to attend a wedding. It was Bolis’s wedding.
We didn’t say much to Bolis then, for about three days. You can’t say much. What can you say? He was different from us now. He even looked different. How do you explain it? He looked like a grownup. He’s’ getting married! As far as I know, Bolis never even seriously kissed a girl up to that point. Certainly nobody named Stella Wasniack.