Older, fatter, and with fewer teeth—still, there was no doubt, behind me stood Uncle Guido. He said something to me about fixing dinner. I smiled, turned around, and focused on loading my groceries onto the slow-moving conveyer belt. Uncle Guido continued to try and make small talk, but my run and hide instinct had already kicked into overdrive. I started to bag while the cashier busied herself ringing everything up.
I’m not certain if it was his intent to more fully establish his identity or simply to embarrass the crap out of me—either way, he succeeded. Out of nowhere, he broke into song, “YOU ARE SO BEAU-TI-FUL TO MEEEEEEEEE. CAN’T YOU SEEEEEE?”
The cashier looked to me for an explanation. I shook my head, held out my hands and mouthed the words “I don’t know.”
“YOU’RE EVERYTHING I HOPED FOR. YOU’RE EVERYTHING I NEED … YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL TO MEEEE!!”
I wanted to die. Customers in other lines and passing by with paid-for goods, and cashiers and other employees were staring; I pretended the old Italian guy wasn’t singing to me—I felt my face flushing red as I hurried for the exit.
It had been like twenty-five years and trust me when I say the years had not been kind, but it was Uncle Guido singing the same song he’d sung to me on my sweet sixteenth. It made me puke then and now I was overcome with that same nauseous feeling.
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