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Chapter One


Perhaps this story should not be told. Perhaps some things are better left unsaid.  But I ache to tell this story of the strength and passion of a remarkable woman.  Indeed, were it not for this woman, I would not be alive today.


Our story begins…


“No, I mustn’t do this,” thought Hughie Hewitt.  He envisioned devastating consequences, consequences that would befall not only him but also the lovely twenty-five-year-old woman who sat before him.

The year was 1946.  On this cold, wintry night in the upper east side of Manhattan, a slender man in his late thirties and a beautiful young woman sat in the dimly lit bar of Rao’s Italian Restaurant.  The spicy aroma of marinara sauce filled the air as an old wooden clock chimed the hour.  It was three a.m.  They were the only patrons left. The candle’s flame flickered rays of light onto her delicate face as she moved closer to him. 

Bouvette Sherwood gazed into the deep blue eyes of this attractive, clean-shaven man not knowing the danger that lay ahead. Hughie Hewitt knew the danger, but still, he said nothing.  She entranced him. 

Hiding the agony that was within him, Hughie watched as she gently brushed the fiery auburn hair from her face. The movement formed a waterfall of brilliant color, sending ripples of light cascading through her long red hair.  His infatuation increased.  She sipped on her cherry coke.

“An angel,” Hughie thought, “I’m in the presence of an angel.”

The door bell jingled, and a small man with a cigar stub in the corner of his mouth entered the bar.

“One a’ yooz guys call a cab?” he asked, wiping the moisture from his nose.

“Yes, I did.  I’ll be with you in a moment,” Bouvette said, smiling politely.

She turned toward the tall, distinguished man she was sitting with and said, “It was very nice to finally meet you, Mr. Hewitt.” Although she had seen him many times before, it was only a few short hours ago that they had been properly introduced.  “Your stories were simply delightful and so was your company. I haven’t laughed this much in years.”

“I enjoyed being with you as well, Miss Sherwood,” he said, circling the rim of his glass, with a slender finger, “probably more than I should have.”

“What does that mean?  Do you have a jealous wife?”

“Oh no,” he replied, “I’m not married—it just probably isn’t a good idea for us to see each other.” He had the face of a small boy whose puppy was missing.

“Why not?” she asked, perplexed by the sudden change in his demeanor.

“It’s probably not a good idea.” He slurped down the rest of the Dewar’s White Label scotch he had been drinking.

“Suit yourself,” she said flippantly as if she didn’t care. “Nonetheless it was a very pleasant evening and...”

“Lady, I ain’t got all night,” said the cabby.

They rose from the table and moved toward the black enameled coat rack in the corner of the room.  He helped her don her long mink coat and was aroused by the delicate scent of her perfume.  She paused and turned to him, watching tenderly as his arms found the sleeves of his own slightly worn wool overcoat.  She sensed something was wrong.

“Why are you so sad all of a sudden—was it something I said?”

“Oh no, it’s not you... it’s me... I’m sorry... I really had a wonderful time this evening,” he said, smiling to cover his sadness. In a flash he slipped past the cabby and out the door.  Hughie’s eyes revealed the hint of a painful hopelessness.  He turned back toward her, hastily waved and said, “Goodnight.”

“Goodnight,” she replied. In an instant he was gone.

She adjusted her coat and went over to the bar. Turning to Vincent Rao, the bartender and owner of the restaurant, Boo said, “Your friend is mighty handsome, but he seems a bit melancholy.” 

“A kinder, more gentle person you could never hope to meet.  We growed up together.”  Bouvette could see Vincent’s sincerity shine through his soft brown eyes. He had a thick set of distinctly Italian eyebrows.

“Does he come in often?”

“There ain’t a day that goes by without me seeing my pal Hughie.” 

“Lady, I ain’t got all night. You wants the cab or what?” said the cabdriver, wondering how much more of his time this dizzy redhead was going to waste.

“Yes, I do.  Let’s go.  Goodnight, Vincent.”

“So long, Boo,” said Vincent.  Most of Bouvette’s friends called her Boo.  In a moment she was out the door, the cabby trailing her. Boo’s soft cheeks pinked in the frosty night air.  She could feel the searing cold from the door handle penetrate through her leather gloves.   She pulled open the door and got into the yellow cab.

“Where to?” asked the cabby.

737 Park Avenue,” replied Boo.

As they drove off, snow began to fall like a million tiny parachutes twirling at the whim of the breeze.



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