A Summer With Chovy: Chapter 13: The Truth

I’m waiting inside the pizzeria with Gio. The both of us are here early but Chovy is nowhere to be seen in sight. I figured she’d be here early since she has her moped. I came here on my bike and somehow she hasn’t beaten me here first. I kind of worried something might of happened to her. “Should I give her a call?” I ask Giovanni. “If she’s on her moped, you’re probably going to cause her to get into an accident. Don’t you have any common sense kid?” I snap back “First of all, I’m not a kid! Second, what if something already happened to her? For all I know, she could be stranded on the road.” “So she would given one of us a call already. Come on for fuck sakes man. Don’t they teach kids common sense these days?” I don’t like how easy he’s taking this at all. “How can you be so sure she’s alright?” “Tommy. Listen. Miss Anzai is very capable of taking care of herself. It’s not like she was struggling with anything before you arrived here.” He takes out a cigarette and lights one up before speaking again. “Ahem. If anything, she’s been acting more and more out of character ever since you showed up. What kind of witchcraft did you pull on her Tommy? Because I would had never expected a kid like you being able to win over her heart like some kind of big shot right? HA!” “You’re just jealous or upset that I’m dating your cousin and not some actual big shot.” I had to make that hypothesis considering his passive aggressive remarks were not without reason. “Listen kid…” “CAN YOU STOP CALLING ME KID ALREADY! I’m like a few years younger than you!” “Alright alright. Listen Tomio. I’m going to be blunt with you already.” He gets up from his seat and puts out his cigarette at a nearby ashtray near the bar stools. “You’re what? A second year high school student so far? Have you even done anything with your life up to this point?” He turns around and glances directly at me with ferocity I have not seen him given anyone up to this point. Normally, he’s usually half heartily a jerk but this time he seems like he really serious about what he’s going to say next. “Chiyomi is already done with high school. She’s not going to be stick around for long. I’m sure she already told you.” “Told me? Told me what?” He gave out a big sigh before continuing. “Her dream is to become a novelist. In other words, she’s going to college after this.” “And…?” “Let me spill the pasta as they say.” He remarked. “She’s going to college overseas.”

”Overseas?! You mean outside of Japan?!” “Of course she’s going out of Japan you moron! She wants to go to an international school in Italy. Which means that since you’re dating her now all of a sudden, she’s not going to stick around for any longer and your relationship with her was nothing more than a little bit of puppy love.” I slammed my fist on the table. “That’s not true!” I shouted. “I know our love for one another is more than just puppy love. You don’t even know her in the same way I do. She’s conflicted! Just like me!” “Listen here you little shit!” He snapped back. “You’re not a good influence on her alright! You’re here working at this pizzeria because you’re just some part time kid with nothing better to do. From what I heard, you don’t even have any ambitions. I hate to tell you this but you’re just not a match for someone like Miss Anzai. She’s working here because she wants to help her school and herself.” “Do you not realize that I’m capable of changing for the better too? You’re right. I was a delinquent! I was aimless! But ever since I met Chiyomi, she brought meaning to my life again!” I was losing my temper and wanted to go at him but I had to keep my cool down. Jeez I’ve never been this furious in my life before. Not even with Alisa or with my own father when he was still around. “It’s because of her, I realized that I’m not perfect, but knowing her personally she’s not perfect either.” I slop down on my chair after letting all of my frustration out. “ I just…..I just want her to be happy, just like you do Giovanni. She’s conflicted, not with her goals but with her own confidence. You have no idea. I will do anything to ensure she’s able to do what she wants….even if that means going to college overseas.” My head is aching like crazy. I try to fight back the tears that are building up in my eyes. I’m just so upset that I now know that Chovy isn’t sticking around once her Sensha-do summer program is up. I should had never got into a relationship with her. No. She was the one that approached me. Why? Why did she have to mess with my emotional state like that? She should of told me that she was going to leave once this was all over. But she kept it to herself. I don’t know if I can forgive her for that.

”Tomio. I’m sorry I had to tell it to you like that. I know you’re stressed about it. You must really love Chiyomi after all. I can see that. I can tell you for a fact she really loves you too. She wouldn’t shut up about you when she asked to borrow my car.” “She did?” I asked with a tremble in my voice. “Oh yeah no kidding.” He tried to do a Chovy impression. “She was like: Gio, you have to let me use you car...you gotta please let me use your car. I really want to take Tomio out on this date I have planned. He’s means the world to me and if you don’t let me use your car...I’ll be devastated!” He stops his impression. “I couldn’t let her get upset over that so I allowed her to use my car. I could of cared less if she messed it up or scratched it up. She really wanted to take you on that date she planned out. She really likes you that much Tomio.” Hearing that healed my soul a little. At least she wasn’t doing it out of malevolence. “She’s probably just as uncertain about bringing the truth about because she didn’t want to make you feel bad about it. She cares a lot about what you think about her.” “I guess I can see that.” I affirm him back what I was thinking. “I love her so much but I don’t know what I should do now that I know that she wants to leave once she’s done with her Sensha-do stuff.” “You want my advice Tomio: I’d make her last weeks here in Japan some of the best memories she’ll ever have. I wouldn’t try to convince her not to go overseas. She’ll only end up like me if you did that and honestly as much as I hate colleges and school in general, I don’t want her to end up in a place like I am.” “I guess that makes the two of us then.” I respond to him back with more re-assurance. “You know Tomio, I’m starting to think perhaps you might not be so bad after all.” He gets back from the bar stools and sits right back at the table we were sitting at from the very beginning. “If anything, you’re still a 2nd year student. You still got another year to figure it all out. I’m sure Chiyomi will help you find your true purpose if she hasn’t done so already. Though at the end of the day Tomio, it’s going to fall upon you to figure that out for yourself.” “I suppose I understand that now.” “I’m glad you got that figure out at least.”

After a bit of silence, and more or less a bit of self reflection about the big revelation I had to hear from Giovanni I finally had the willpower to speak up again. “Say...Do colleges get breaks during the holidays?” “Yeah. It was like that when I tried the whole college thing myself.” Gio replied back. “Though that was probably the only good part of the whole experience.” He broke out into laughter. “Just because Chiyomi going out of the country for school doesn’t mean she won’t ever come back. She still has her family and friends here corrected?” “But what if she finds new friends overseas?” “They can’t replace the people she truly loves back home am I right?” He asked me. “I suppose. It’s just….well…” “Listen Tomio. If you really are not sure about how to go about all this, you should try giving a talk to Chiyomi’s mother when you get a chance. Don’t worry, she’s a real nice woman. I’m sure she would understand. She’s probably heard about you already since Chiyomi is really obsessed about telling everyone all about how great you are.” “You’re right. That’s something I have to do sooner rather than later. But what about confronting Chiyomi herself about the whole situation?” He pats me on the shoulder. It’s the first friendly gesture he’s given me out of the entire time I’ve been working here. “Whenever the time is right Tomio. I wouldn’t try to pressure her about it either. Just tell her how you really feel.” Yeah. I don’t think I would tell her the moment I see her walk in the restaurant. We still have plans we have to take care of first, and there’s so much other things I want to enjoy with her. I guess all I can do up to this point is try to play is as naturally aloof as I can until I feel like I am ready to confront her about her plans to leave Japan. I don’t know if I can do it though.

”Did you ever fall for other girls before you met Chiyomi?” Gio asked with a curious intent. “Not really. There was this one girl who my buddy and I knew during our first year but she was really stuck up. My friend had a crush on her but she rejected him multiple times. He never really gave up on it though.” He nodded his head with his eyes closed. “Hmm I see I see. I never got along with my wife when I first met her myself back in college. She would always nag at me for half assing all of our group assignments. I was the reason we both failed our class. She wanted to kill me by the end of the semester.” “That obviously didn’t happen though Gio.” “That’s correct.” Gio remarked. “We just got engaged earlier this year and we plan on having our wedding sometime around winter, when she’s done with her course work. It’s kind of strange that relationships would end up like that isn’t it? Well that’s how it went for the two us. My father doesn’t know that yet so keep that a secret between the two of us.” “Don’t worry, I won’t tell him anything.” I might as well return the favor. “You know how Chiyomi was usually busy with Sensha-do?” “Yeah, it was her elective ever since she started going to Anzio during her 2nd year.” “Well I’m not supposed to tell you this but she’s actually the head commander for Anzio up until the end of the summer. She’s been the one that’s been reviving the whole team and managing the whole thing ever since she was promoted to commander. The girls over there call her Anchovy. I’m sure you heard of her.” “I figured that must have been Chiyomi. She had the same hair as all of the other Anzais in our family. I didn’t think she’d actually be that far into Sensha-do. It must have been stressful for her. Especially considering the school’s mismanaged funds. Fucking school politics man.” “Just don’t tell her I told you about that.” “Don’t worry Tomio. I’ll pretend like I never heard the truth.” He glances to the right where the entrance of the restaurant is located. “Hey, who’s car is that?”

A red hatchback pulled up to the parking lot. “Oh hey, it’s Miss Anzai...and it seems she brought two other girls too. They look like they are from Anzio too Tomio.” Did she bring along more girls...jeez since when did my life turn into some kind of Harem anime. Actually. I think I might recognize them. They are none other than her two side commanders whom I’d had run into the previous week on those two occasions. I wonder why they are here all of a sudden. But of course, I’m more excited to see Chovy here at last. She’s so cute as usual. Her not showing up on time was really off putting but I’m glad to see she’s alright. Although, knowing that she may soon be gone within a couple of weeks is tormenting me. I can’t bring that up in front of her friends. I’ll just have to follow Gio’s advice and at least try to act like I usually do. Whatever I’ve been doing to make her feel happy so far.

”Good morning Chovy. You’re late.” I greet her as she enters the pizzeria alongside her two companions whom I’ve recognized as Pepperoni (The girl with messy black hair) and Carpaccio (The easy going blonde hair girl who’s slightly taller than Chovy). “Ah...sorry Tommy. Normally I don’t show up this late but I had to bring some company along you see...allow me to introduce to you and Giovanni these two. Hina and…” “Just call me Pepperoni” the one with black hair said as she along with her blonde friend walked into the pizzeria. “So where do we sign up I wanna make some pizzas!” “Our boss isn’t here today. He’s off on a business trip this morning. But he should be back after lunch hour. For now, you can talk to me if you two are interested in employment. I’m Giovanni but you two can just call me Gio.” They all exchange introductions and handshakes. “I’m sure you probably already know these two other employees here already but I personally serve as second in command in this whole operation. Even though I’m responsible with delivering orders on the road. So here’s the quick run down. You’ll be making delicious Italian food in the kitchen, greeting and serving customers orders, and doing the occasional house keeping. You’ll be busy on your ass like there’s no tomorrow but the work load is self explanatory. You get paid by the hour. Does that sound good to you both?” The two girls nod. “Great. So you’ll begin work today. Tomio and Miss Anzai will help you get started with your tasks. Just do what you are told and you’ll be fine.” He then directs his attention to Chovy and me. “I’m going to be out and about delivering orders so you two will be responsible for everything that occurs in this restaurant until the boss returns so try not to burn this place down while I’m gone. Got it!” “Don’t worry a single bit Gio.” Chovy stated confidently. “Tomio and I will make sure everything runs smoothly. Isn’t that right Tommy.” “We’ll do our best” I added. “Alright. I’m counting on you four to do your tasks. Let’s make everything run smoothly now that we are fully staffed. One last thing before I start doing my deliveries.” He points directly at me with a smug look on his face. “If this boy ever tries to do any funny business with you two, let me know so I’ll make him sleep with the fishes….and it won’t be with the Anchovies either!” Carpaccio gave a hearty chuckle. “I-I won’t do anything like that I swear. I’m not that kind of guy.” I muttered intentionally to play along. “Yeah uhuh sure...as if you didn’t already enchanted Miss Anzai enough as it is...I got my eye on you kid.” Chovy blushed a little from hearing that but our focus was quickly back on track once he left the pizzeria back to his Fiat car. “Ciao ladies….and Tomio.”

Carpaccio approached me and smiled gleefully as she bowed in front of me. “I look forward to working alongside you Tomio. Since you’re on good terms with Anchovy, that’ll make two of us friends. We’ll do all we can to help you out.” “Yeah! We’ll do our very best as long as we get to have some free meals!” Pepperoni shouted with child-like excitement. “Just don’t make Nee-san cry or we won’t be friends anymore.” “Ah...Bakaroni….Tomio is not like that, he’s a good guy. You should treat him just like he was part of Anzio.” Chovy told her. “After all, he’s here to help us and we’re here to help him. Please treat him well.” She looked at me and smiled graciously. I try to return a smile too but I just look to nervous to pull it off. She doesn’t think much about it and giggles at my nervousness. If only she knew.

”Alright everyone! We can’t waste time anymore. You two are already familiar with cooking more so than I am. This should be a piece of cake for you both. Avanti!” And with that the four of us began working as a team...no..as friends to run the restaurant while Gio and Benito were away. Despite by troubled thoughts, I remained focus on my tasks just like everyone else was doing during the shift. As it turned out, these girls were already skilled at cooking. Especially Pepperoni who seemed to be more talented at it than either Chovy, Carpaccio or myself. Though she probably wasn’t suited for doing waitress roles. For that, Carpaccio seemed to excel in that role pretty well as her Italian pronunciations were praised as being spot on and being one of the more good looking of the bunch, her enchanting personality really won over our guest at the pizzeria. Chovy and I of course would alternate between cooking, dish washing, and doing waiter duties and we were generally good enough to handle anything. The extra hands on deck made the shift much less stressful and demanding than the day before when it was just Chovy and myself doing all the tasks ourselves. For once, the atmosphere of this restaurant really started to shine. The whole mood of working in such a pleasant and lively environment was just so nice. I sadly wish it could go on like this for eternity.