Anjolie, the off-limits


anjolieAfter graduating high school (well, finishing high school; they never gave me a diploma, but that’s another story), I spent a summer with my stepmother’s cousins’ in Naples. I noticed her walking down the cobblestones in a summer dress, eating an ice cream cone.  She noticed me staring and said, “American?”

“How can you tell?” I asked.

“You all walk the same,” she replied.  As she walked away she said, “Meet me at the Cathedral in 10 minutes.”

Anjolie was the daughter of a mafia boss and her marriage had already been arranged.  She was to marry the son of a rival family, so as to put an end to a violent history between the two.  But she wanted nothing of it.

It wasn’t easy for us to elope.  Her father had people all over Naples who kept a close eye on her.   The only safe place for us to speak or show affection to one another was in the confessional booth within the cathedral.  And even that was sketchy as hell.

Fucking a mob boss’ daughter isn’t the wisest thing to do, especially when she’s engaged to another mob boss’ son.  But I did it anyway—not because I was brave or stupid but because, at 18, I couldn’t conceive of my own death.  And the danger of the situation made everything that much more intense.  What started as just physical attraction escalated into mad, crazy love lust in just six weeks.  We bribed a priest to marry us in secret and I truly believed that this was it; we’ll run for the rest of our lives, never stopping long enough to get too close to anyone, anywhere.  But we’ll have each other and that’s all that matters.

It was naïve, I know.  When her father got wise to the situation, he put a bounty on my head. It was double if they killed me before Christmas.  What followed was exceptionally grim.  Anjolie was horribly maimed when her car blew up and Naples descended into an all-out mob war.

I paid a local drag queen to dress me up as a disguise to go see Anjolie in the hospital.  She was in a coma, but I talked to her anyway.  I saw a TV show once that said coma patients like to be spoken to.  When the nurse came by to tell me visiting hours were up, I walked off down the cobblestones, alone again, on the run from the mob, dressed in drag, lovesick and 18.

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