Thursday, July 31, 2008

Chapter 4

The next couple of weeks Gabriel showed me more of his Angels and Demons. They were each magnificent and terrible in their own ways. I saw less and less of my other friends, but it was because they actually had things to do; Sarah had joined the cheerleading squad for the Pop Warner football team, so that kept her occupied. As you can tell, I am not the cheerleading type, but she seems happy, so who am I to criticize? Besides which she seemed to have a new idol, some girl named Elizabeth. She was a Spanish girl from way on the other side of town, but who I guess would be in 9th grade with us. She was Brown like me, and had long Black hair like I did as well. In fact we resembled each other in a lot of ways, except that she had already, uh, developed in some ways that my body clearly had no intention of doing so as of yet, which was fine by me. I didn’t want all that attention, and she was already starting to revel in it, so more power to her. I could tell from the opposite side of the field that there was something different about her, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Every now and then I thought I caught her sneaking glimpses at me, but I was never quite sure. The whole exchange was weirding me out, so I decided to just let it go.

As for Martin, it took him a whole year and a half to get his dream self back after Lewis “killed” him. He started playing Pop Warner football, and it turns out he’s actually pretty good at it. I go to see him play sometimes and I see sparks of the old him returning. It’s good for both of us. His family came from the south side of Chicago, and he was the first Brown person I ever saw here outside of my family. It was rough seeing him listless and defeated for so long. But he’s got hope again, and a fire in his eyes that you can see rejuvenating not just him, but his entire family as well. I could care less about football, but every time he scores a touchdown I can’t help but smile for him. It doesn't hurt that his family feeds me great soul food every time I come over, which seems to be more and more often. He should have warned them that I am like a stray dog; if you feed me once I'll never leave.

At this particular game Lewis came with me. He and Martin had actually become really good friends since the Dragon incident. Lewis was Jewish, and though it is a stereotype, he is definitely prone to guilt. Lewis never forgave himself for what he did to Martin, especially since Martin was Black and Lewis was growing into what he called a “Liberal”. In any event he could not do enough to apologize, even though Martin had honestly gotten over it a while ago. I guess in a way Martin had a chance to mature more than the rest of us in that time that he was living completely in the real world, but in the end he still managed to retain his powers. He truly had the best of both worlds, nothing to complain about really, but Lewis just couldn’t get over his guilt. It all seemed to work out for the best though, as Lewis’s guilt seemed to amuse Martin, but he never abused it. Boys fight, boys make up, boys become best friends; boys are silly, but I guess that’s how boys work. They’re my boys and I wouldn’t trade them for anything, especially since one of my boys just scored on a 7 yard run to win the game!

“Yeah Boy, that’s my Juggernaut!” I said as I gave Marty a big muddy hug. After the game was over, Martin, Sarah, Lewis and I were about to walk home together, when Elizabeth came over, in all of her “Just Bring It” glory. “Excuse me? Sarah? Where are you going? We still have our post-game Cheer-togetherness Bakeshop to go to.”

Sarah turned white as a ghost, “OH MY GOD! I forgot about the bakeshop!”

“Bakeshop?” I said, trying not so hard to hide the derision in my voice.

“Yes Lola, It is a Baking workshop, and it is very important to Cheer cohesion and unity, and something that any serious Cheerleader would not have forgotten.” Sarah dropped her head in shame as if she had just been caught selling Federal Secrets to the Russians. “Guys I really have to go, I’m sorry, I’ll make it up to you later.” Martin and Lewis just nodded, but I sensed something was amiss. “Yeah Sarah you go ahead and ditch us for your circle-bake. You know Lizzy, Sarah already had plans with us. I’m sure you’re Stepford Bakeoff will be fine without her.” I stepped in between Sarah and Lizzy. A cool breeze blew on that warm Summer evening, and Martin, Lewis, and Sarah backed off; they knew the look in my eye, and they knew what was going to happen. “I hope she’s quick with this one”, Martin said, “I’m hungry, and My mother’s makin dinner for all of us.”

I thought about how I would take this girl down. In my minds eye I saw myself as the Judo girl from Street Fighter 3, perfect for slamming this bitch's face in the mud. Martin whispered to Lewis “she’s going for the Judo technique, this should be over fast.” As the tension in the air thickened like the skin on old pudding, the very first leaf of late summer fell from an oak tree and twirled between the two girls. As soon as it passed below their eye level they lunged at each other. Lola disappeared, and in the blink of an eye her fist was… firmly caught in Liz’s left hand. The impact sent a shockwave through the puddles surrounding them, and a look of shock through the faces of Lola’s friends. They had never seen someone block one of her punches; ever. But then they looked closer at Liz and saw that she was no normal opponent. Lola finally realized what the weirdness she felt about Liz was; she had a power level of her own, and as Liz’s hand clamped down on Lola’s fist, Lola realized that she was dealing with someone who she should not have taken so lightly. She pulled Lola in and delivered a thunderous blow to her chest, knocking Lola on her back and shaking the ground. When Lola looked up, the cheerleader was gone, and there stood Liz in Bruce Lee’s classic Kung Fu pose, right down to his patented head bop and yellow jumpsuit. She brushed her long black hair out of her face and waived for Lola to come at her. “I’m gonna call Mom”, Marty said, “and tell her we’re going to be a little late for dinner.”

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Chapter 3

Later that evening I lay in bed in my all black pj’s (of course) thinking about my day... Ok, it wasn’t “later that evening” it was actually around 4 am. I just couldn’t get Gabriel out of my head. I remember when I had arrived home I had talked to my mother and sister about something, and I think I ate somewhere in there as well, but for the most part the only destination my mind would let me wander to was him. I tried to close my eyes and file away my thoughts and experiences of the day in neat little cerebral file cabinets like I did every night when I went to bed; organizing my thoughts into some order that made sense to me and only me, but the one file would not stay closed. It stubbornly would not close, and the papers would not fit into their folders like they should. And I could not stop looking at the images that they held, the images of him,and his radiant designs... I have never had this reaction before, especially not to a boy, but I’m sure it does not mean anything and it will probably go away soon.

“It’s been a while since I knew anyone who could see my angels and demons, and you can. I’m just happy that it happened so soon. We just moved here this summer because I had to change schools again.”

He was so creative, and his creative energy was unlike anyone I’d ever seen; until this point Lewis was the most powerful person I had ever went up against, but I had a feeling that even Lewis in his Dragon form would have been no match For Gabriel and his Angels. They were so… beautiful. I just wanted to know more about him, and it seemed like there was so much to know. Was all of high school going to be like this? Where all of the people I met going to be as rich and as interesting as he was? He wasn’t in my grade, and he was 2 years older than me, but there had to be some people in my grade like him right? Maybe there’d even be a girl like me, someone like me but older, who I could look up to, the big sister that I’ve always wanted. I was having such a hard time sleeping; for the first time since the whole idea had first been brought up, I was actually looking forward to high school.

Earlier that evening…

“Tatay, did you see Lola when he came in from playing this afternoon? She was practically floating on a cloud. She was muttering something about a Boy.”

Brenan Ramirez, patriarch of the Velasquez-Ramirez clan, answered with his usual “Mmm hmm.”

Aicelle soldiered on, “I think she’s got a crush. Lola’s finally starting to act like a girl!”

“Mmm hmm”, Brenan grunted.

“Don’t you have any input on this at all? You’re little Lola is not going to be little for very much longer. She was all starry-eyed and ‘Gabrielle this’ and ‘Gabrielle that’. I wouldn’t be surprised if soon she doesn’t come home with a little boyfriend. Now what would you think of that?”

Brenan put down his bag of pork rinds, looked at his oldest daughter, and said “Lola, is not that type of girl. You and I both know that she does not understand the girly parts of her brain, and furthermore her level of thinking operates on another plane that the rest of us haven't reached yet. If and when she does fall for a boy, it can only end in tears, misunderstandings, and general disaster.”
Aicelle sighed and rolled her eyes, "Tatay, will you be positive for just once? Maybe this is finally the the sign that she is done being a tomboy and will finally start being a normal girl. We can go shopping for dresses in colors and I can do her make-up and we can talk about boys. It will be like I finally have the little sister I have always wanted."
Brenan folded his paper and took a bite of a particularly large pork rind. "You have your mother's optimism 'celle. I on the other hand, am more pragmatic, and I think I understand Lola a little better than the two of you because she is more of a tomboy. Lola is very strong-willed, and that is a good thing and a bad thing. The bad part is, her ego will blind her to even the most obvious of bad choices. But neither you nor I nor anyone else will be able to tell her differently; she will have to experience every lesson she learns on her own. Now this boy, who knows if he will be good for her or bad? In the end it is less important what he does to her than what she does to him. I am not afraid that Lola will not ever be a 'girl' as you say, I am afraid for my gender when she does chose to realize her full potential. My daughters are the most dangerous women alive." As he said this he gave a big smile to Aicelle, and she could not help but smile back.
"Tatay, what are you talking about? I never hurt anyone!"
Brenan could barely keep his chuckle to himself; he wasn't one to laugh out loud often, but when he thought of the long list of broken hearts and destroyed lives his daughter left behind her in high school and had conveniently forgotten about, even he couldn't hold back his bemusement. "Aicelle, you've broken more hearts than high cholesterol. There were always sad boys coming around looking for you, even in middle school. And you were always leaving the old one when a new, shinier boy came along. I'll count myself lucky if Lola picks one boy and stays with him the whole time through high school. I hardly got any sleep with all the boys calling for you when you were in High School.
"Whatever Daddy, I was not a heartbreaker. I was just picky. And I think it's good that Lola finally has a crush. At least now we finally have something to talk about."
"Be careful what you wish for 'celle, I don't think you really want what you're asking for." Brenan returned to his newspaper and pork rinds and muttered to himself again, "disaster".