Miguel's Journal



Entry #8: Can I ignore the walls?


So I brought Dee to my family's restaurant. Uncle Carlos greeted us at the door and I could tell right away that Marita, my cousin, was not too happy about Dee being there. She didn't say anything at first, but I could tell from the way she looked that she wasn't going to let this visit end without having a few words with me. You know what I mean?

You see, I used to go out with Marita's best friend, Flora. I broke up with her a while ago. We broke up because.. I dunno... she was always wanting me to be with her, all the time. And I'm just the kind of guy that likes to have plenty of time to himself, you know? So it got to be a drag. She was always calling me up and leaving me notes. I didn't like it. Well, according to Marita, Flora still likes me a lot, and she is still very hurt about what happened. I'm sure all of that went through Marita's head when I walked into the restaurant with Dee. And so... when Rosa, Marita's Grandmother, took Dee into the kitchen to show her how to make tortillas, Marita took me aside and gave me a good talking to.

She didn't waste any time. Right away she asked me why I was with a "black chick." "Don't you know what the black guys in school will do to you when they find out?" And I thought you had a the hots for Connie Riviera?" And don't you know that Flora is still crazy about you? Miguel, you can have any girl you want, so why not choose a Hispanic girl?"

It made me mad to hear her! Dee is not a "black chick." Dee is Dee! And what business is it of Marita who I go out with? Who I choose for my friends? I don't get it! People use up so much energy pointing out the walls between each other and how you're not supposed to climb over the walls, or bust a hole through the walls or dig a tunnel under the walls. They say you have to stay on your side of the wall. Well, damn! I'm not gonna do it! It makes no sense to me. Why do you think there are wars? Because of the stupid walls! I figure if there's something I can do to be friends with someone that I like, I'm gonna build a gate in the middle of that wall and just walk right through. And I'm gonna find the key to someone else's gate and help them get out too.

So I pretty much told Marita to mind her own business.

Then I went into the kitchen. Dee was sitting there on the stool with her eyes closed, singing a song. Rosa was smiling at her and nodding along with the tune. Dee has a really pretty voice. I never heard that song before. It sounded very old, like it was from another time and place. I didn't want to embarrass her by bursting in like that, so I went back out again, really quietly and listened from the other side of the door. When Dee stopped singing, I came in, kinda loud and said, "Are you ready for dinner?"

Dee smiled at me and said, "Sure!"

We sat at the nicest table in the whole place. It's right by the window and when you look out you can see the porch, and the bird feeders and beyond that, a very old oak tree standing in the middle of a grassy place. Out in the distance is a sprinkling of lights from other houses

Dee doesn't know much Spanish so I had to explain to her what some of the things on the menu were. We had laughed a lot as she tried to pronounce the words. She was making fun of her accent, but I told her I thought she was doing fine for a beginner.

It was nice being there with Dee. There was this candle on the table and in the candlelight, Dee looked so pretty. I wished we could stay there forever, laughing and being close to each other. I wished that place by the window could be our world because I started thinking maybe Marita was right. If I start going out with Dee, maybe there will be trouble.



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