“Put your hand on it,” she said, and he did. “Not there, silly.” She moved his hand to her heart.
They’d been eating lunch together everyday for the last two weeks. His mom always packed him a green apple. She’d shave the skin off with a plastic knife, the way her dad had taught her, then cut it in half. They talked about HR Puffnstuff, Scooby Doo, the fart Mr. Tapie ripped in the middle of class. Sometimes they argued. He was a Nestle Quik man, she’d recently switched over to the new Hershey’s chocolate powder.
“Feel it?” she said, pressing his hand against her heart.
Her heart was racing.
“What is it?” he asked.
“Gimme a hint.”
She looked out to the handball courts with a dreamy face. A bunch of third graders were playing Smear the Queer. “Starts with an L,” she said. “Rhymes with shove.”
In a mud-caked village in Guerrero, Mexico my heart went pitter-patter for this lovely woman. She spoke no English, I spoke little Spanish, but we both knew that four or five lifetimes ago we lived in the same town in the south of Spain, or was it Argentina? I was especially polite to her father. She spent a lot of time in the mirror before Sunday Mass. There was the soccer ball that rolled into her lap during a game with my cousins in the park, and there were the hundred swallows that batted their wings in my belly when she threw it back. We were never lovers, but we yearned for each other in a Garcia Marquez sort of way.