Cartilage: A little dead end off Main Street, Magic America
Cartilage - (KT's point of view on Marco's love life)
Gina just come on into the picture like she ain’t had no beginning whatsoever - rain out of clouds on a sunny day. Once she with Marco, it was like there wasn’t never no time without her. Like God, or pain, or Brunswick Avenue, she was just always there. She snuck on in like a thief. An’ leave like a hurricane. She make The Soaps look like everyday people lives. Marco don’t like no one often. He loved only one time he owns up to. So he ain’t never gonna admit he love Gina. He love her hard. He don’t admit it, cause the harder he love her, the more she slip away. Then he love her harder still, and she just like steam comin’ from a kettle, somethin’ you can see, but can’t even try to hold. Try to grip an’ burn your hand off.
Gina go to some drugs group. All them people used to get high an’ don’t no more. They had a problem with it an’ now they stop, but they need each other to do it, so they say. I can’t figure why it should help for one druggie to say to another that they a druggie too – if I had that conversation we just go get high together. She say it work for her though. She was smokin’ crack. She was hookin’ too. Had herself a boyfriend who was her pimp. Some Bronx bastard from Third Street. Shit, I wouldn’t even cop on Third Street. Ain’t no white-friendly place. But Gina white as hell an’ she be down there whenever she think of it. Don’t know what exactly turn Marco head about her. He be likin’ skinnier women than me. I guess that because I skinny an’ he ain’t. We pick females that kind of make up for what we lackin’.
Gina be snortin’ heroin back in the day. She a little p-dope hound all right, not just crack. Don’t know if she was shootin’ but that shit was up her nose all right. Eat away that soft bit in her nose that make the funny smell when you get knocked in the face.
I ain’t know how, but her busted nose turn into some kind of tenderness thing with Marco where the two of them always out to make sure nothin’ happen to it. Unreal how they be goin’ on about makin’ sure nothin’ bump or push her face. That Bronx bastard used to beat her too. I wonder how her nose survive that but Marco can’t do nothin’ but kiss it.
Gina say she skip her period. I swear to Christ if Marco wasn’t lookin’ at how to steal a ring from Jefferson Jewelers the next day. He ain’t take it though. We walk away. We been boys since we was nine years old an’ he hold up his shoulders square as he can an’ tell me he ain’t sure about her, like that the reason he ain’t take it, not the three security guards by the door. I shut my mouth all the hell up on the way home so I ain’t say what he can’t seem to hear. I ain’t know if it worse he tellin’ me lies or believin’ ‘em hisself. He sure enough for both of them that he want her all right, but ain’t so sure she worth jail if she ain’t gonna stick around.
Two weeks later Gina call an’ say her period back. Marco ain’t admit it but he cry. Only two, three tears but that’s a Mississippi flood for him. He say he think she kill it. He ain’t want to hear about fluke of nature or nothin.’ One day right then he surprise the hell out of me. We walkin’ by Jefferson jewelers an’ he say he goin’ in the very next day an’ takin’ what he need. Say he ain’t got to wait for no baby.
Marco never did get her phone number. Girl said right from the beginning that only she could call him, not the other way round. Said it had something to do with her recovery and stroked her nose real careful an’ Marco just lap that up. So he waitin’ on her again an’ he say right after she call he gonna go on up to that jewelry store an’ steal himself a bright, shiny promise.
The phone don’t never ring though. We hear through her cousin who got her own crush on Marco that Gina back with her Bronx m'f. That pimp punch her in the stomach as soon as she went and tell him she late. She ain’t tell Marco she go an’ tellin’ another man her troubles neither. Hear her tell it an’ she say she wasn’t ready for no baby an’ that make the Bronx pimp some kind of hero. We ain’t never hear another word out of her. She gone like dew on a hot day.
Gina make me understand why Marco ain’t too keen on love. It make like it gonna change things, but everybody just get to be a uglier version of what they is in the first place, only with the added ugly of draggin’ some witness along.