“Look who it is?” Richard ask.
“Not now bro, I’m busy watching that Italian mami over there” I said.
“Hey come on bro you know she has a boyfriend outside school”
“I don’t even care man; I want to go out with her so bad. Besides we are in this writing club and she always laugh when I tell her any joke”
“That’s nothing I can make her laugh too, so what up?”
“You don’t get it, I feel like I have a strong connection with her”
“Whatever bro but trust me you’re going to get in trouble if her boyfriend sees you talking to her. I have heard a lot of staff about her boyfriend and this is a guy you don’t want to mess with”
The bell rings, Richard and I throw out what is left on the lunch plastic plate and we head out to our next class. Richard is the guy who can listen to any thoughts or comments I have and give out an opinion. Sometimes I agree with what he says and sometimes I don’t. We been friends since we were freshman and now we are seniors Flushing High School. Richard is this tall Brazilian guy who has a big afro hair style and that sometimes we call him Bob Marley after the Jamaican singer because he kind of look like him.
Richard was a trouble kid but I still got his back anytime. I remember a time when we were by Main street station and this random kid push him for no reason. He went to him and pushed him back and then asked the kid to fight with him by Willets Point station because police was always searching for bags in Main street station. As soon as we got to Willets point I noticed that this guy had called some of his friends. I told Richard that he had my support and if anything happen I will help him. I also told the other guy to tell his friends to stay and just watch because it was a one vs. one fight.
The fight started with some slow moves jabs and uppercuts mostly but just testing each other. The fight got more intense and Richard was winning since the other guy was bleeding from a right hook that friend threw at some point. The other guy’s friends decided to intervene and one of them threw a kick to Richard sending him immediately to the floor and that’s when I also intervene. It was five guys vs. Richard and me and as much as we fight hard we couldn’t do anything but receive punches and kicks.
At the end of the fight we hear from a guy standing by just watching that police was coming and right away I felt the adrenaline and run. We enter Flushing Meadow Park were we rest and see how we were after the fight. We had some cuts on the face and bruises on the torso but nothing major since they got us for a few seconds. I would never forget that day every time I passed through that station I will always have flashbacks of the fight and I was always looking for the same guy but never seen him. There was a rumor that a local Gang name Bloods murder him but I never saw evidence of that.
The bell ring one more time to announce the end of the day for students. I wait a few minutes for Richard to go out of his final class. While I was there a girl name Susan said hi to me, I knew she had a crush on me and even her best friend told me one day but I just didn’t like her. She started talking to me and I was responding with yes or no, I considered her a friend but nothing more. I also didn’t know how to tell her as I didn’t wanted to hurt her feelings. Richard came in and I told Susan that I had to leave, she kissed me and I said bye with a fake smile.
“Hey man why don’t you just go out with Susan” Richard said.
“You are kidding right?” I said
“Not seriously bro just go out with her instead of chasing chicks with boyfriends”
“Dude I don’t even like her. Come on bro support me on this one”
“Ok, Ill support you, but I’m telling you this for your own good, I don’t want you to get beat by that Italian girl’s boyfriend”
“That’s what I’m talking about, bro” I said.
“By the way, what’s her name?”
“Oh she told last time, can’t remember. Oh right! Valentina” I said with an Italian accent.
“Oh man that was funny, how you say it. By the way prom night is a week away” Richard said.
“Oh shoot! I must ask Valentina if she wants to go to the prom with me” I said.
“Oh bro good luck with that I know she is going to say no but whatever man. Your problem and I have to go this way, later” Richard said.
The next day while I was going to the writing club, I was going upstairs and I saw Valentina. She was sitting by the stairs but she was covering her face, I approach her and ask her what was wrong? And she told me that she had an intense conversation with her boyfriend and that she broke up with him. She suddenly stands up and gave me a hug and cry for a few minutes on my shoulder. I just stood there and to be honest didn’t know what to do. I just told her that she had my support. We went to the writing club together and we each sit by the last table so we could talk to each other.
I was thinking what if I invite her to the prom? But what if she says no and thinks that I’m just been opportunistic since she just broke up a relationship. Well I have to decide this right now because the prom is 4 days away and still don’t have anybody to go with. In that moment I felt a cold and soft hand touching my shoulder and I blinked my eyes for a few seconds.
“Hey are you ok?” Valentina said.
“Yes, I was just thinking of something” I said with a nervous voice.
“Hey Vale do you want to go to…” I said doubtful of what I was going to ask her.
“Go where?” said Valentina.
“The Prom with me?” I said.
“Yes I would love to; I think you’ve been a great friend so my answer is definitely yes”
“Great, see you there in four days. Can’t wait” I said with a more relax voice and feeling extremely happy.
The time pass and it was time to go, Valentina gave me a kiss on each cheek because that was the Italian tradition. I couldn’t sleep that night, I just couldn’t I was too happy that she said yes. The next day I call Richard just to meet him by the neighborhood since it was Saturday. We meet in this place name D’Agostino Pizzeria where we had some pizza and drinks. This place was a small with 4 tables only but the great thing about this place was that it had a corner where the owner of the pizzeria had a few items of famous people that he got during concerts or games. He had a shirt signed by Slash the guitarist of the famous rock band Metallica, he had a baseball bat signed by Alex Rodriguez and also a soccer ball signed by Pele the Brazilian soccer player who used to play for a New York City professional team name Cosmos. The place always smelled like fresh bread and the owner had this place for twenty years now. Since the owner knew I was a regular costumer he would sometimes give me a free pizza.
“Hey, so what’s up men? You look like you just won the lottery” Richard said.
“Almost but no, guess who I’m going with to the prom?” I said.
“Funny but no” I said.
“No way. Valentina?” Richard said.
“Yeap, can you believe she said yes?. She just broke up with her boyfriend” I said
“Say what? You are so lucky, man” Richard said.
“I’m going to talk to her and then ask her out. It’s my last chance since we are graduating”
“I guess you’re right. This is your last chance. Go for it man” Richard said.
Richard and I ate the pizza and left the restaurant. The weekend past and it was Monday prom night. I expend all the morning trying out different outfits to go with and after I found the right outfit I decided to take a walk. While I was going through Queens Boulevard I saw a memorial to the death of a friend who got ran over by a drunk driver. I saw everything and still got flashbacks of police and him taking by the ambulance and all his face cover in blood. It was horrible so I just tried to walk fast and leave this memorial behind. I sit by a tree and start thinking about how I was going to ask Valentina out, everything had to be perfect every single word had to sound perfect by the time I ask her out. After one hour of staying there thinking, I decided to come back home and get ready for the big night.
After a few hours it was time to go so I left my house. Richard was going to meet me there. It was a rainy night and I was wearing this suit. While going on train I felt weird since I was the only person wearing a suit, all eyes on me for 20 minutes. I get off at Ditmars station and walk to the place where the prom ceremony was. I was searching for the place and finally after walking five blocks I saw a big signboard with a lot of lights saying prom and the name of the school.
The place had this long red carpet that I follow and got me the stairs where Richard screamed my name. I walk upstairs and shake hands with Richard and I ask him if Valentina was there and he told me yes. I walk down shaking different hands of professors and students. The place was this big dance studio and the DJ was already playing some music. The tables and everything were very organized with names of people whose seats were reserve. I got to the table where Valentina was sitting and she hug me and told that I was looking handsome. I told her she looked really nice with a black long and tight dress and even though she had a curly hair, this time she had straight hair. She had red lipstick and her perfume reminded me of the times I passed through the perfume section at Macy’s in Queens Center Mall. It was this strawberry perfume and her hair as she hug me smelled like Johnson’s baby shampoo.
The DJ put on some soft music to dance and invited her to dance. While I was dancing I ask her how she was after breaking out with her boyfriend and she told that she didn’t take this in a good way. I ask her the reason to say this and she told me that her ex-boyfriend had been bothering her through the phone, which really upset her. I decided not to talk more about it and ask her about her parents. She told that she was an orphan and adopted by another family and I felt bad for her and hug her. She told me that I was a really special person for her. After 30 minutes dancing I was ready to propose to her to be my girlfriend and so I told her that I wanted to tell her something. I saw an empty room and I took her inside.
“What is it?” Valentina ask.
“I think you’re really special to me since I met you in that writing club” I said.
“Aww, you too have been special to me” she said.
“My point is that I don’t want you just a friend, I want you to be girlfriend” I said smiling.
“Yes, yes, yes” said Valentina out loud and then gave me a kiss with those sexy lips with red lipstick. The kiss was lasted for 5 minutes and my face turned red and I was shaking a little bit.
“You know to be honest I thought you were going to think about because of your ex giving you trouble”
“I don’t care about him anymore and I think you are way better than him” Valentina said.
“Thank you Vale. Hey do you want to go outside? This party kind of sucks” I said.
“I thought I was the only one with that opinion. Yes let’s go outside”
We sneak through a back door because professors didn’t want us to leave just like that. We found a small space outside the building, one of those places where the trash is but this time it was clean. We keep talking for an hour, hugs and kisses included and even jokes. I ask her if she ever talks to Richard just for curiosity, she said that they never met but that he seems like a good person.
“Hey my love are you hungry, I want to get something to eat?” Valentina said.
“The only place available to eat at this time is Burger king” I said with a soft laugh.
“Want to bring some burgers for me babe? Please”
“Wow, you sure? I don’t have any problem bringing that but well I wasn’t expecting that” I said.
“Yea I’ll wait here for you”
I walk across the street order some burgers and wait for them ten minutes. I was walking back across the street when I saw a guy enter the same backstreet place where Valentina was. I walk down fast to see what was going on and saw this big guy pushing her and screaming to her.
“Hey who are you man. Leave her alone” I said.
“I’m Valentina’s boyfriend” said the guy.
“We broke up you stupid” Valentina said.
“Hey you heard that, Just leave. She is done with you” I said.
“She can be anyone’s girlfriend” the guy said.
“Yeah whatever man and what you going to do” I said as I walk to him ready to fight. In that moment the guy takes a gun out of his pocket and grabs Valentina as a hostage and asks me to leave.
“Come on man relax, we can talk about it”
“No way scum, she is mine”
In that moment someone opens the back door of the building and the guy pulls the trigger. Valentina falls with blood on her dress and the guy escapes climbing a gate. I run towards her while I see the woman who opens the door with her hands covering her mouth very nervous. I try my best to resuscitate her by practicing some first aid techniques I learn at school but she is not responding.
A police officer comes in and sees the scene and calls an ambulance. I started crying in front of her and still couldn’t believe this was happening. The ambulance came a few minutes later and the paramedic touched her neck to see the pulse and says she is dead. I kissed and hug her even if she was just there dead and whisper her that I was never going to forget her. I was so angry and upset that I just run away from the place. The police officer tried to stop me but I was faster than him and got away.