1995: C**** and his sister

We stood there in line yesterday, to vote, a gray Sunday morning approaching lunchtime and it’s at this old school, possibly the oldest in my hometown and it’s been built sort of in that old colonial style (Portuguese) and the ceiling is so high and covered by half-eaten wooden boards. Four sets of fluorescent lights dangle down from a set of four chains each, dangling I think five feet down from the roof and still well above out heads.

C****’s sister votes in the room next to mine and I hadn’t seen the girl in say, ten years or something. I knew C**** from J.P., whom he was friends with, and since J.P. was pretty much the only other nine year old whom knew who Norman Bates was and would thus get all the jokes, I was fast friends with him and with C**** too. C**** really wasn’t very talkative in those first years and as time went by it was pretty clear to everyone he was sort of a dumb kid- or scratch that- a dumber kid than most; then it turned out he was a little autistic, really. Also, by the time we were all 15 or something and J.P. had dropped out of school and C**** had already failed too many years to count, he was diagnosed with leukemia and it wasn’t really pretty.

His young sister, tall and pale and dark hair and big eyes, stood by his side 24/7 and never let us bullies hassle him on the bus back home.
I kind of stood up for him too, in that awful year that was 1995 for him and he’d wear his red baseball cap to school all the time because his hair was falling down from all the chemotherapy or whatever it is that he was undergoing at the time.

Come last Sunday, though, and she was looking great, she’d grown up and become quite the looker: Tall, slender, big eyes still shining bright, cool dark hair coming down her milky-white back, a body to die for; oddly similar to Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada coming to think about it and all I’m thinking is, “Come on you damn assh*le, go talk to her or something”.
…The kind of girl that really makes me like girls instead of just tolerating them.

I couldn’t take her off my mind for the rest of the day, though, because that little strap of her black bra showing from the shoulders of her tank-top had driven me utterly and hopelessly insane
What do you know.

Despite coming up with this great “How’s C****?” routine and taking the first step towards her I sort of recalled this party during College, 1999 or 2000, and I think it was either L**** or G**** that told me the cancer had kicked back in and C**** had actually died earlier that same year.
I don’t really remember that much about College, but hearing somebody telling me the kid was dead was kind of scarred-clear over my brain and I lost heart, then & there at the line, and held back, never got to talk to the girl.
Didn’t seem fair, for some reason.

The thing I miss the most about 1995 is, in hindsight, looking out the window of the bus en route to school, six-thirty in the morning, and we’d pass by C****’s grandparents’ house and his grandma would toss this small chocolate at C**** and his sister, fully ready by their windows, and they would seldom miss their marks.