I couldn’t take my eyes off of the girl in the FBI shirt, while she ate her pizza. I wondered why she was wearing a shirt that said FBI. But I hoped that her secular clothes meant that she had left the fold, too. She had crystal-blue eyes and a beautiful smile. I wondered if this was love. I had learned the word “love” six years earlier, when my grandmother yelled at me for signing a letter I wrote to her, “Sincerely, Moshe.” I didn’t understand why that upset her. Growing up, my parents and seven siblings didn’t hug me or use the word “love.” Instead, they yelled and hit. To feel warmth, I wore layers upon layers of clothing or lay down on the carpet where the sun was shining.
The next night, as I was closing the restaurant, the phone rang.
“My friend who was there last night likes you,” a girl told me.
“Really?” I answered skeptically.
“The one wearing the FBI shirt.”
“OK, put her on,” I said calmly, but my heart was pounding.
This took place not too far from where I grew up in New York. It makes me want to visit the actual pizzeria where this all took place. I have a soft spot for stories about young people at odds with old traditions. Schulman brings us a short, bittersweet story about two kids caught in-between two worlds. A must read for all you unabashed romantics out there.