On the night of a full moon I tiptoed down the brick driveway where he sat parked in the darkness across the street so that the engine would not wake my parents. I quietly crept inside still wearing my tattered nightgown and a pair of sneakers in case we needed to run. We did not speak. The silence was heavy as was the faint sound of crickets that escaped into the small crack of the window. I kept it open to feel the soft breeze of the night air. The roads were desolate, empty of people but crowded with desire. As they were all sound asleep, they dreamt of flying out of the gates of Casa De Campo. They dreamt of a different river, a different ocean, a different life that did not end after marriage. Instead of marrying money, they dreamt of marrying the world around them, the world they were so guarded from. They remain unsurrounded by the surrounding world. As we escaped the confines of the resort, I felt unsafe. The doors of the car might as well have been unattached to the piece of heavy machinery. I felt as if at any moment, the air would pick me up and carry me to the house of an Abuela in town. We slowed down in front of a wrinkly man, crouched down over a wooden table that sparked with fire. He was making fresh empanadas at 4 a.m. We turned off the engine and we became a part of the night. We grabbed two cheese empanadas for fifty pesos and we walked further into the darkness. As we approached the skinny street, I could see a line of people hiding their black faces. I looked down, not wanting to grab attention to my white skin. Greg didn’t mind. He walked to the front of the line and whispered to the man who was handing out small bags of surprises. They exchanged hands, which looked like a confused handshake to my inexperienced eyes. He grabbed my hand that contained the small surprise. I wanted to hold it and feel the weight of real danger. I wondered what it would feel like to hold what is held by those who were once desirous of everything and now desirous of nothing. I fingered the packaging trying to feel for the grains of the special white powder. I stopped, frozen. He stopped too. He turned to look down at me with his curious blue eyes. “Quiero probar,” I told him quietly, surprised by my own words. He told me no. He did not want me to try what has ruined him. “Damelo.” He zipped it into his pocket, concerned eyes turning away so that I could not see his expression. He grabbed my hand, which now held no surprises. I felt the moist familiarity I do each summer when we hold hands to the beach, to the movies, when we are stumbling in the nightclub. But I have never held his hand like this. It felt more secure than before. We drove back to the cage of lost people who remained tucked away in their mansions and king sized beds. He dropped me off where he picked me up, and I walked alone into my half-open window. As I crept underneath cold sheets, I drifted off into a deep sleep where I dreamt of yellow flowers.
By Gabriella Jorio