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?
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.
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?"
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.
pretty much told Marita to mind her own
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?"
smiled at me and said, "Sure!"
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
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.
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