Study Guide

Hard Love Chapter 2

By Ellen Wittlinger

Chapter 2

  • At 11:00AM on Saturday, John watches out for Marisol to drop off the next edition of Escape Velocity—he really wants to meet her, and figures this is the only way to do it.
  • Plus, he brought along copies of his own zine to see how people respond.
  • Since it's the weekend, he's at his dad's place in Boston. His mom lives in Darlington, not far from there, and he stays with her during the week.
  • He and his dad have a ritual (if you want to call it that): His dad takes him out for pizza on Friday night and then proceeds to ignore him the rest of the weekend. John knows that he crimps his dad's playboy style.
  • Of course he doesn't let his mom in on any of this—she'd totally flip out, and then he'd have to have a talk about it.
  • Sometimes Brian comes along for the ride to Boston and hangs out with him on the weekend. If you ask Brian, the girls in the city are way cooler. John's take? He's not interested in girls, guys, or the idea of love at all. He doesn't trust it, for one thing.
  • While John is mulling this over, a stack of Escape Velocity zines hit the floor next to him. Could that be the girl who writes them?
  • She's not at all what he imagined. For one thing, she's tiny—he pictured a big, imposing sort of gal—and besides, she's in all black, including her hair.
  • In his excitement to meet Marisol, he didn't exactly write down what he was going to say, so he asks her if Marisol is her real name, but accidentally comes off more creepy than friendly. It turns out that is her name, but she's not all that interested in sharing that much about herself.
  • John offers her a copy of his zine, which she reluctantly takes. Marisol notices the author's name is Giovanni and asks him if that's really his name.
  • Yep, John replies. His family is Italian. It's not a total lie since his last name is Galardi and they were originally from Italy, way back when.
  • Okay, whatever, is Marisol's response. She's a Puerto Rican Cuban Yankee lesbian, so she's got the exotic market cornered. She turns to leave, but John invites her for coffee or ice cream.
  • Marisol points out that it's freezing outside and she's a lesbian so she doesn't want to go on a date with a guy.
  • No, it's not like that, John counters—he just wants to hang out.
  • She agrees to grab coffee with him, which he's thrilled about… except for the coffee part. He doesn't like the taste.
  • While there, they chat about zines, and she tells him to buy Factsheet 5 so they can review his zine and more people can read it. What's more, there're tips in there about printing zines for cheap.
  • Marisol has an opinion about everything, especially lying—she can't stand when people lie to her, and she even makes John swear not to ever tell her a lie.
  • He does, but he notices the irony: John already lied by telling her his name is Giovanni for real.
  • Marisol jokes around with him and calls him Gio for short. She even knows that he gets his title for his zine from Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger.
  • They agree to meet up on Saturday in the same spot to talk about zines.