The Vow
The Vow
Perfect Bound Softcover
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This is truly a unique love story of a young boy named Tony, which contains numerous grueling real life experiences. It follows Tony’s life from the countryside of San German, Puerto Rico, where he is temporarily raised by his grandparents, to the fast pace ofNew York City.


Tony is reunited with his family inNew York City, where family turmoil begins when his brother joins one of the New York City Hispanic Gangs. It took a tragic accident to convert Tony’s brother. To further avoid the influences of the New York City Gangs, the family relocates toPaterson,N.J.where Tony meets the love of his life.


Tony experiences not only real love, but death and suicide. It was through the teachings of his mentor grandfather that he is able to cope with life and the difficulties life can offer. After a traumatic experience, Tony is placed in a position in which he makes a special vow to himself, a vow very hard to keep.


Tony was able to succeed in life, only because of the sayings and teachings his grandfather taught him. With the many twists and turns in Tony’s life journey, will he be able to keep that difficult vow?

I had two weeks at home before I would depart to my new school. One evening Mr. Mullen called me and asked me if I could have dinner with him and his wife. I indicated I could.
 After dinner, Mr. Mullen asked me if I was available to take his sailboat to Martha’s Vineyard, to have the inside refurbished. He told me his cousin Michael was sailing the boat there, but needed someone to accompany him.
 It would take about one week to sail there, have the work completed, and return. He would pay me $300 for the trip, and he assured me that Michael was an excellent sailor.
 I asked him if it would be okay for me to get back to him with an answer. I was available, and I could use the money. However, I just wanted to notify my mother and brother in case they had something planned.
 I checked with my family and they had no plans, so I called Mr. Mullen and told him I was available. He thanked me and told me that Michael and I would be leaving this coming Sunday.
 Saturday evening just after dinner, I called Stephanie at school. As Stephanie had mentioned, it took several minutes before she was able to respond to my call. I told Stephanie I had dinner with her parents, and her father had asked me to sail “Stephanie” to Martha’s Vineyard with Michael. We would be leaving early tomorrow morning.
 I apologized to her for forgetting to get her ring from her dresser and mailing it to her. I told her upon my return from our trip to her school, I arrived late at her house and I did not want to awaken her parents. After dinner tonight, I just forgot. I assured her that upon my return form Martha’s Vineyard I will pick up the ring and mail it to her.
 On Sunday, at 4:00 in the morning, I was picked up at my house by Mr. Mullen. We drove to the marina where we met Michael. Michael was several years younger than Mr. Mullen. He was a very likeable and dependable person.
 Michael and I got along very well; he was an excellent sailor and had a very good sense of humor, and was very witty. The trip would be fun. We had plenty of food and drinks for the journey.
 Mr. Mullen gave Michael the necessary papers, maps, keys, money for the trip, and last minute instructions. Afterwards Michael and I departed on our journey.
 We arrived at Martha’s Vineyard late Monday evening. Early the next day we met with the people who would be doing the repairs. They started working on the boat immediately.
 The boat would be our home for the next week. We would eat and sleep on it. However, Stephanie’s father, who was well organized, made prior arrangements, in case it was necessary for us to stay at a nearby motel. This meant if we could not stand the smell of the newly applied paint, or if our presence were to interfere with the repairs, we would stay at a motel.
 During the repairs we would go swimming, fishing, and eat out at the local restaurants. It was a very enjoyable trip. I mostly enjoyed watching the tuna boats docking with their freshly caught fish. They would pull their fishing boats to shore, where there would be lines of either refrigerated trucks or trucks filled with ice. The trucks were from restaurants or fish markets, and the drivers were waiting to purchase the yellow fin tuna. The fish was inspected, hung on a large scale, and the buyer would pay hundreds of dollars in cash for the tuna. The fish weighed several hundred pounds.
 The work on “Stephanie” was completed on time and we made our journey back to New Jersey. We arrived back to the marina on Sunday as planned, and I had just three days to pack before I headed to my new school.
 At the marina, we secured the boat. Michael gave me the keys and the necessary paper for me to give to Mr. Mullen. Michael had to hurry back home, and asked me to tell Mr. Mullen if he would call him during the evening hours. He was picked up by his wife and children. I greeted his family and thanked Michael for a wonderful time. I waited a short time before Mr. Mullen arrived.
 Mr. Mullen arrived and appeared to be very sad. His eyes were droopy and puffy, and had dark colored rings around them. He greeted me, put his arm around my shoulders, and asked me to walk with him.
 I could sense that something was wrong. He then proceeded to tell me he had bad news for me. He told me the news, and when I heard it I could not believe it, I asked him to repeat it again.
 I wasn’t sure if I didn’t hear it right, or if I just didn’t want to hear it. He told me the news again and it sunk in, I had heard it correctly just as he said it the first time. My eyes filled with tears, I got a lump in my throat, a knot in my stomach, and my knees became weak. My knees finally gave out and I fell to my knees, and said to myself “No, not again.”
 He told me that Stephanie had been hit and killed by a car while she was walking on campus. She had been killed the day after Michael and I departed for our trip. He tried to notify us, but the person working on the boat was not at his shop, because he was working on the boat. He tried to get numbers of other nearby marinas and vendors, but was unsuccessful.
 Stephanie had been buried on Thursday at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Totowa, N.J. The saddest day of my life was here. My whole life was now changed, nothing else mattered. How could I go on living without her?
 Mr. Mullen told me, “Stephanie always talked about you, she would tell me what a wonderful person you are, and how well you both got along. She loved you very much. She told me one of the best things about you was that you made her very happy.”
 He also told me, “I can imagine how you feel. I felt the same way when I received the news. If there is something I can do for you, please let me know, you have my telephone number and you are always welcome at our house.”
 On the way home I asked Mr. Mullen if he would take me to visit her gravesite. On the way, I asked him to stop at a florist so I could pick up some flowers for Stephanie’s grave. We stopped at a florist, where I picked up three red roses. When we arrived, I placed the flowers on her gravesite in the same format she used to put flowers on Lucy’s and my grandfather’s graves.
 Mr. Mullen drove me home, and on the way I asked him how his wife was doing, and he told me she was very upset. She had visited the doctor and he had prescribed some medication to help her relax. I asked him to give her my condolences.
 Mr. Mullen also gave me my graduation ring. He said, “Stephanie called me the day you departed for Martha’s Vineyard, and asked me to give to you this ring. I believed she wanted you to mail it to her.” He also stated, “I think Stephanie would want you to have it as a reminder of her, and the relationship you two had.” I thanked him and told him it meant a lot to me.
 I arrived at home and told Mother and Manny the news. I knew they had not heard, because Mr. Mullen told me he tried to contact them, but was unable. Mom and Manny had tears in their eyes. Their tears were for me because they knew how much Stephanie meant to me.

Milton Smilek grew up in Paterson, New Jersey. He obtained his master’s degree in education from William Paterson University and was then employed as a detective with the Paterson Police Department. Smilek retired from the New York office of the Drug Enforcement Administration and is currently a deacon at St. Joseph Church in West Milford, New Jersey.

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