The World According to Dave: So Long


My wife and I used to live in a tiny apartment close to downtown Boston. I walked everywhere and had my favorite coffee shop where I got my thrice-daily dose of energy, after which I would write in earnest in my preferred carrel at the local library. At night, my wife and I would take walks through our neighborhood, often stopping to say hello to friends. It was home. I figured moving out to the suburbs would feel even cozier, given I had grown up in a similarly leafy neighborhood. Yet despite the fact that we’ve been in our place for as long as we lived in our old apartment, it still doesn’t feel like home. I’ve been told things change once your kids go to school, at which point you develop friendships with fellow parents, so I figure it’s only a matter of time.

One place, though, was a regular haunt, the only place where I felt like a local: Andrea’s Pizza. The owner and I have been pals since I’ve been eating at the place at least twice a week for the last seven years. Whenever I showed up, his face would light up, and no matter how slammed the restaurant, he’d come around the counter and we’d segue from a lowish high-five to a traditional bro hug. If I called for delivery, he’d recognize my voice and joyfully recite my order before I could say it. We’d briefly gab about the latest Sox game or the weather. I could see myself growing old with this guy, to be honest.

About a year ago, the owner started shouting “Lee!” into the phone whenever he heard my voice on the other line. In person he called me “Lee,” too, but his earnest happiness upon seeing me placated my disappointment that he clearly mistook me for some other Asian guy who frequented the joint, and I let it slide.

Recently, I called Andrea’s to order a pizza and the owner shouted, “D!” In an instant I realized he had caller ID, and that “Yoo, D.” popped up on the screen whenever I called. D, not Lee! My joy was short-lived. The owner dropped the bombshell that he had to shut down abruptly—something about the landlord being a monster.

I went to a neighboring liquor store to buy some beer. When I came back to Andrea’s, I peeked through the glass window and saw the owner bustling about, moving boxes. By the time I got home, I felt lousy that I hadn’t given him one last bro hug or gotten him a bottle of whiskey as a parting gift. He’d called me “D” all this time—this probably sounds ridiculous, but I felt deeply guilty.

A few nights later I stopped by the local mini mart for some batteries, and there was a moving van parked outside Andrea’s. I ran over to the liquor store and bought a six-pack of beer and waited by the van until the owner showed up. His face lit up, and I handed him the beer.

“Thanks, man, you saved me. You have no idea,” I exaggerated, instantly blushing at how corny I sounded, but he didn’t seem to mind, and gave me one last bro hug. “Yo, Lee, you’re a really good friend, pal. You take care now, Lee, OK?”

And I did what any good friend would do in this scenario—I opted not to correct him.


David YooPot-DaveYoo-DJ14-155x200 is the author of YA novels Girls for Breakfast (Delacorte), a NYPL Best Book for Teens and a Booksense Pick, Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before (Hyperion), a Chicago Best of the Best selection, and with a middle grade novel, The Detention Club, (Balzer & Bray). He teaches at the MFA program at Piano Manor College and at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop. He resides in Massachusetts with his family. 

This article was published in the June/July 2015 issue of KoreAm. Subscribe today! To purchase a single issue copy of the June/July issue, click the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).

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