You have 3 Minutes

“She said I had 3 minutes to impress her, man! I came up empty!I put my hands in my pockets and pulled them inside out—I didn’t even have no lint!” Edgar said.

“Bro, why 3 minutes? What do 3 minutes have to do with anything? You can’t even eat a burrito in 3 minutes unless it’s one of those little freezer burritos,” Junior said.

You think I know? What do I know?” Edgar shrugged and shuffled across the hall to his room.

Edgar has a window with a tree in it, so he’s all good. Me, I got the dumpster to look out on. Rain or shine, no buena for this homie, Junior thought.

Edgar shuffled back in with 2 plastic wrapped burritos in his hands.

“Your microwave working, Junior? Mine’s roto. Brought us some lunch.

“That’s good, Edgar. They cook in about 3 minutes, right?

Edgar smiled and nodded.

“So, you going to ask her out?”

“Think I should?”

“I say you better think about it real good. Polish up those words and blind her with ‘em. And I don’t mean with your gold tooth, homie. ” Junior said laughing.

Scar Tissue

As I stood in front of my house, one of our neighbors walked down the street and passed me without speaking. Although we have had pleasant conversations in past months, she seemed not to recognize me.

“Hello, Marie!” I call to her.

She turned back, “Oh! Hello!”

“How have you been? We haven’t seen you and your daughter Frieda for a while.”

We first met them when Frieda was about 2 ½. Marie and her daughter would walk by and Frieda often detoured to climb front our stairs. Our cat Buster always sat looking out the window near the top of them and she looked for him, when she remembered, and squealed with delight when he was there.

“Frieda is doing pretty well, although she has a new sister. An older sister. So it’s a big change.”

“Wow! Congratulations on the addition to your family!”

“We adopted her from Korea. She’s experienced a lot of trauma, especially related to dogs. There were wild dogs running in the streets and she’s horribly afraid of them.

I told Marie about the boxer I’d adopted from a shelter and told her Betty was afraid of a lot of things, especially hoses. We parted ways at the end of the block and over the next few weeks as I walked Betty around the neighborhood; I noticed the changes in the front yard of the little cottage—2 hoola hoops, 2 scooters, 2 of everything.

Lately we’ve had a heat wave and all our windows have been flung wide open. Twice in the last month, I’ve heard a little girl wake up screaming when I sat in the back of the house. Who knows how deep the hurt goes.