I met Judy while a student at the University of Rochester. Judy was not a student she was a waitress at Angelo's Italian restaurant, which was a short distance from the campus. It was the end of mid term exams and a group of us decided to go to Angelo's to celebrate and it just happened that Judy was our waitress that night. She is tall, brunette and has beautiful dark eyes. I was taken with her beauty the first time I saw her.
I didn't speak to her that night other than to give her my dinner order. The guys with me were all flirting with her when she came over to our table and then they made jokes about how much they would like to get into her pants when she left. Normally I would have joined right with the others making the jokes but somehow I didn't feel right talking about her that way.
I guess the other guys just saw her as a lowly waitress, certainly below them on the social ladder. To them her only good qualities was that she had a hot body and looked like she would be fun in bed. I saw something different. I didn't see a lowly waitress. I saw a lovely woman that I wanted to get to know. I would be lying if I said that the thought of having sex with her didn't excite me, but I had dreams of having something more with her than sex.
After that night I began to stop at Angelo's a few times a week even thought it was a bit expensive for my budget. Sometimes for dinner, sometimes for just a beer and a slice of pizza. Each time I went to Angelo's I managed to engage Judy in conversation. In time I was able to find out that she was single and that she didn't have a steady boyfriend. It took me two months before I was comfortable enough to ask her out on a date. Judy seemed very surprised when I asked but she said yes right away.
The night we were to go out Judy asked me to pick her up at her parents house and she gave me the directions. I had a little trouble finding the place at first. They lived in a part of the city I had never been in before and I wasn't to comfortable being there at all. Judy's parents lived in a rented house in a run down part of town.
Judy's fourteen year old brother answered the door when I knocked, or rather he pushed the door opened into my face as he charged out of the house while his mother yelled after him, "You little bastard, you bring that money back her right now."
When she saw me standing in the door, Judy's mother said, "Oh, you must be here for Jude. Come on in." Then she yelled as loud as she could, "Jude, your boy friend is here."
I heard Judy answer, "I'll be right down."
Judy's mother was a short fat woman with tri- color hair and two teeth missing in the front of her mouth. She didn't invite me sit, she just looked me up and down and said, "So, how'd Jude find you?"
I told her I met her at Angelo's and she didn't ask me any more questions. I looked around the filthy kitchen as I tried to think of something to say to this woman just to make conversation. I was just about to say something about the weather, the only thing that I could think of that would be a safe subject, when the door behind me opened. Before I could turn to see who was coming in I heard a man speak in a very slurred voice, obviously caused by intoxication; "Who the fuck is this?"
Judy's mother said, "This is Jude's new boy friend."
I turned to introduce myself to him but he just turned and headed for the refrigerator and got himself a beer and then walked past me and left the kitchen but I got a good look at him as he passed. He was about four inches shorted them me and maybe ten inches wider. He was bald on top of his head with long salt and pepper hair around the side and back of his head that looked as if it hadn't been washed in more than a month. The only thing worse than the way he looked was the way he smelled. He was a thoroughly disgusting individual.
As he left the room Judy's mother said, "That drunk fuck is Jude's father. Real winner ain't he?"
For the next five minutes I stood in silence waiting for Judy to come and rescue me. When she finally came downstairs she said, "Sorry I took so long. Glad to see you met the family. I'm ready when ever you are."
As we left the house no one said anything to us. No, 'have a good time, ' or 'it was nice to meet you.' We walked to the car in silence and I wondered if asking Judy to go out with me might have been a big mistake.
Neither of us spoke for a few minutes and then I tried to make conversation. "I noticed that your mother calls you Jude. Would you rather I call you Jude or Judy?"
She said, "They call me Jude, I would rather you call me Judy."
I said, "Okay, Judy it is." I wasn't sure if it was because I hadn't earned the right to call her Jude or if there was another reason, but if that was the way she wanted it I would call her Judy. I was already beginning to dread the evening ahead of me.
My plan for the evening was to take her to a nice restaurant for dinner and then go to a movie but I was beginning to want to just go for fast food, maybe a couple of drinks in a local bar and then drop her off at home and never see her again. I really couldn't see a future with anyone from that family. In the end I decided to be a gentleman and follow through on my original plans.
Once we were seated in the restaurant I was having trouble thinking of anything to talk about when Judy broke the silence.
"I guess it's a good sign that you didn't run screaming from the house when you met my family."
Still trying to be a gentleman I said, "Why would you say that?"
"You don't have to pretend that you didn't notice how disgusting they were. I'm just glad that they didn't scare you off."
I said, "My date was with you, not them."
"I am glad that you feel that way. I had you pick me up at their house so you would meet them. I wanted you to see where I came from and to meet my parents. I wanted to get through the trauma of meeting my parents now rather than have to deal that later. If you can't deal with them being my parents I would rather find that out right now. I want you to know that I am not like them."
I was relieved to hear her say that she was not like her parents but saying it doesn't make it so. The fact that she didn't want me to find out what her parents were like later indicated that see saw me as someone she might like to have a longer term relationship with than just one night. I liked that idea.
I said, "If you feel that way about your parents why don't you move out and get a place of your own?"
"I did, two years ago when I started working at Angelo's. Angelo helped me find an apartment near the restaurant and since then I go home about once a month just to check on my brother and make sure he is all right. I grew up in that house and now all I want to do is get as far away from it as possible Usually my visits there last less that an hour. My father is never around for very long, he is usually hanging out in his favorite bar, and my mother doesn't seem to care if I visit them or not. The only reason she likes to see me is so she can ask me for money, as if I owe it to her. I hope that meeting my parents will help you understand why I am the way I am..."
I said, "What way are you?"
"If you hang around long enough you'll find out."
I didn't know what to say about her parents. Even though Judy said they were disgusting I couldn't say that to her. I said, "I can see that you are different. I promise I won't judge you based on your parents but are they really that bad? "
Judy put her hand on mine and said, "I guess it's hard for you to understand, you probably had a normal childhood. You saw the house, I grew up in a dump. We had nothing and my parents made no attempt to do better. I never had anything new. Everything my mother gave me was from a thrift store, a garage sale or hand me downs from other family members. Clothes, toys, everything. The first new things I ever had were things I bought for myself with money I earned. So now when I get something I like I fight to keep it and when I see something I want I do what I have to get it. I don't ever want to settling for the things other people don't want anymore."
I looked closely at Judy to see if these memories would make her cry but she didn't shed a tear. I guess she was pretty tough.
Judy said, "Okay, your turn. Tell me about your childhood."
"Well, you were right, my childhood was pretty normal until my senior year of high school. That year my parents were killed in a car accident."
"Oh jeeze, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to bring up any painful memories."
"It's okay. I've been through the pain and now I am doing the only thing I can to and that is going on with my life. My parents didn't have a lot of money but they left me enough to pay for college, so the rest is up to me."
After that we didn't talk about our parents anymore. We had a good meal and then she suggested that we rent a movie and go back to her apartment. She said, "I know students can't afford to spend their money on fancy dinners and movies."
Judy had a beautiful apartment. It was the second floor of an old house that had been converted into two apartments. Everything in the apartment looked new. The furniture, the carpets and the appliances and unlike her parents house, Judy's apartment was very clean. I was feeling better about my decision to follow through on my original plans. Judy was indeed very different from her parents.
I said, "This is a great apartment, how can you afford this on a waitress' income?"
"I work hard and Angelo gives me lots of extra work. I live close to the restaurant so he calls me anytime someone calls in sick or if they get unexpectedly busy."
.... There is more of this story ...