Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rocco Boccaforte, Part 2

"My mother died when I was a kid," Rocco told me, "She hated me."

Rocco's mother, by his account, took so many diet pills that she died of kidney failure. She had been abusive, violent and cruel for his whole life and he always felt she didn't love him. Her brother, Rocco's uncle, was a prolific murderer, so it wasn't hard to believe that maybe evil just ran in that family. When she died Rocco said he blew up and when he was nineteen he weighed over 500 pounds.

I think he might have worked for his uncle and cousins back then. It could have been that he wanted to work for his uncle and cousins more than he actually did - that he wanted to latch on to their notoriety, their mob-movie, dark glamour. Maybe it would have made him feel like someone powerful. Maybe it did. There are some things I just try to avoid knowing. I have a limit when it comes to a story I guess. I stop asking at a certain point and I never asked about where Rocco got his money or his association with his family. It was kind of like how I stopped watching "The Sopranos" after a couple seasons because it got too visceral for me.

His relationship with his mother and her death when he was so young obviously affected the way he related to women. Aurora wasn't his first wife. I think she actually may have been his third wife and he had a pre-teen daughter who lived with her mother in another state. Aurora didn't want kids because they'd ruin her body.

It seemed like Aurora's leaving hurt him. It hurt him so much that within two weeks he had moved in his new girlfriend.

I still remember the first night we went out to dinner. I was shocked.

"Rocco's dating Jade," my mother told me.

"Get out," I said, "No way."

I knew Jade and she just didn't seem like Rocco's type and for that matter he didn't seem like her type. It was a bizarre pairing.

Jade was a couple years younger than me. She lived in our old neighborhood and was a single mom. Her daughter was the same age as Rocco's daughter. She was tall and pretty, but plain. She wasn't like the glitzy gold diggers we have around here with the fake tans and suitcase sized purses. Jade was a jeans and tee shirts kind of girl; quiet, shy and a little unsure of herself. She was pale, with long, straight dark hair and had an exotic, Native American look to her. We knew her from the neighborhood and when she lived by us her boyfriend was a soldier for a local mob boss who I just heard is in prison where he belongs.

I knew Jade's birth father. She had been adopted by a family in the Southwest, but traced her birthparents back to South Florida and came looking for them. Her birth mother was a spiteful woman who wanted no contact with her. Her father was only a little better. He was a thug, but a rich thug. I knew him because he was a regular at the Bubblegum Kittikat. The strippers loved him because he threw money at everyone and drank to oblivion. I think he was a disappointment. I think when her adopted father died she was looking to restore a sense of family. She wanted a dad to protect her and her birth father just couldn't fit that role for her. She worked for him for a little while and then they had a falling out, leaving her feeling the loss of yet another parent again. Around the same time she broke up with her boyfriend. Single and jobless, my dad hired her to do some work for him, which is how she met Rocco, who was a good 2o something years older than her. Two weeks later they were living together. Aurora hadn't even moved out all of her things.

I think I understand Jade's attraction somewhat. It was a daddy issue, a security thing. He could take care of her and her daughter and they'd been struggling for years. She was tired of worrying. Plus, Rocco may have been morbidly obese, but he was handsome under it all. He looked like an eagle. He had silvering hair growing back from his forehead in a widow's peak, sharply arched black brows and narrow eyes with a long, straight nose. In pictures of his uncle I can see a strong resemblance. I often wondered why he didn't get a gastric bypass. He would have been stunning had he been at a healthier weight. As it was he sweat and wheezed all the time and he was always sick with something, which I attributed partly to pills and liquor and too many late nights partying. He partied like a high school kid although he was fifty.

Jade changed fast. Rocco wanted her blonde, so she changed her hair. Within a month she looked like every other young girl with an old man down here. She had a massive fake rack, a Juicy Couture sweatsuit and a special edition Louis bag. She developed a taste for shopping, which Rocco indulged. The problem was that she wouldn't party with him. Jade was reserved and just wanted a family. She loved that their daughters were the same age and she liked living in his nice house. The cocaine and stripper lifestyle wasn't for her. Rocco probably would have had a better time hanging out with Jade's dad instead of her.

Pretty soon her dumped her and kicked her out. For a prostitute. That he met online. Her name was Joan. She loved Dior.

(more Rocco later)


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