Tony was an Italian man from the South. He and Reuben used to good-naturedly trade epithets and clichéd racial impersonations (You talking to me?) He told me that italians are so uncommon where he was from that people thought he was a light-skinned black. How strange. I thought there were Italians everywhere! Yes, i'm provincial like that.

Tony and i once had an interesting conversation, after Reuben found out i was bi. We sat out on the porch and discussed "deviations," quietly, because he didn't want to share it with the other guys.. he was into S&M. Just mildly. But he'd never heard the term vanilla. And he'd never spoken to a bisexual person before (so he thought!). I found out that there actually are people out there that think that bisexuals need to have both a male and female partner at once. That some people have never heard of the Kinsey scale, imagined a difference between desire and need, met a bisexual, or known of things like a safe word. We opened each others' eyes.

Tony had a couple of kids who sent him periodic letters, and was divorced amicably from his wife. he let me in on the secret that many of the guys at the house thought i was attractive. From then on, i didn't know how to handle myself. I have such a hard time with things like that.

He was an aficionado of the Hopeless Romantics AOL chatroom, but i didn't hold it against him. How could he know?

I asked Fran what happened to Tony, because i hadn't seen him in a while. Fran said he had had to leave the state, he was in trouble. That's all i know.

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