Last year, our escort pumped us up by
gushing the whole way about how handsome and beautiful we all looked on the first day of school, which was a stretch since a few of us had mouthfuls of braces or big gaps between our front teeth.
a rectangular area surrounded on all sides by buildings
The slate path that winds to the front of the gym cuts right across the
quad, where there’s not a single scrawny palm tree to shield us.
compound leaf of a fern or palm or cycad
It makes me wish we had one of those thatch-roof walkways that my grandfather Lolo can build out of
contemptibly small in amount
For all that, the school should give me and my brother, Roli, a whole library, not just a few
someone who insists on something
She’s usually a
stickler for rules, but she’s too busy collecting payment envelopes for the sixth-graders and running crowd control.
according to schedule or without delay
“Seven forty-five sharp,” she says. “And be
prompt. We have a lot to cover.”
the art of mounting the skins of animals
I look like a victim of
move haltingly and unsteadily
But today, as Roli
lurches around the puddles in our driveway, I see there’s even bigger trouble at home.
a correctional institution for those convicted of crimes
Maybe he’s trying to save them from starting their careers in the state
a device or control that is very useful for a particular job
I study the blinking
contraptions that are bolted to the dashboard, my mind racing.
a person skilled in testing for defects of vision
“Fine. It’s these glasses!” he says in disgust. “They’re terrible! I’ve been telling Abuela to schedule me another appointment with the
optometrist. Maybe now she’ll listen.”
showing a sense of shame
Lolo looks at me
sheepishly. “No, I suppose I’m not.”
a pocket-sized case for holding paper money
When Abuela found his
billfold in the bed of lantana he’d been weeding that afternoon—¡Ay-ay-ay!
greatly annoyed; out of patience
She tosses me an
exasperated look and points at the twins, who are poking a fire-ant mound with a stick, practically begging to get swarmed.
influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
And even as Mami and Abuela
coax him, Lolo still sits in the hot cruiser, his eyes fixed on something in the distance that I can’t see.
a resentment strong enough to justify retaliation
“Rosa was always one for
grudges,” Abuela says.
save or relieve from an experience or action
Mami dives for the wheel (again), this time to
spare the lady’s feet from being flattened by our tires.
of or relating to the treatment of bones or joints
The crutches and
orthopedic boots Mami keeps for her rehab patients clatter to the car floor, along with her file folders that were stacked beside me.
distributed or sold illicitly
She narrows her eyes in suspicion, probably thinking back to my
contraband footwear incident.
in an unclear way
“We have some business to discuss,” I say
sit or stand astride of
straddles her flashy bike, obviously waiting to park in the spot that I’m blocking.
Edna straddles her
flashy bike, obviously waiting to park in the spot that I’m blocking.
look with amazement
I can’t help
gawking at her ride in admiration.
mark or print with a sheet perforated with a pattern
She’s on a hot-pink Electra with brightly colored
stencils on the fenders that remind me of one of the modern art paintings we saw on our class trip to the Norton Museum last year.
a fabric with a colorful swirled pattern of curved shapes
Jamie is with her, too, and—surprise—she has almost the exact same bike, only hers is pale yellow and the stencils are
cast a spell over someone or something
It’s Edna’s mojo again, I suppose, that dark magic that can turn perfectly ordinary people into mirrors. Jamie always gets
push one's way
I decide to ignore her and walk toward the glass doors, but just as I start to open them, Edna reaches for the handle, too, and she and Jamie
barge in ahead of me.
a loud harsh or strident noise
“Good,” Miss McDaniels says over the
a specialist in care for the feet
Her dad is a
podiatrist, not a paint contractor like Papi, and she never lets us forget it.
something that is a counterfeit; not what it seems to be
Which makes me wonder: maybe this matching business is a
a small hairpiece to cover partial baldness
It could be sort of like that dating service that introduced Tía Inés to the guy with the pinkie rings and
carve with an edge tool
You’ve got to give a lot of money to be
chiseled into something permanent around here.
engage somebody to enter the army
“Bad news. Edna Santos—remember her?—she’s in lots of my classes, and I’ve been
drafted into a club that I hate.”
having a strong preference or liking for
“Ah. Tall, dark, and handsome,” Tía says. “I’ve always been
partial to that type.”
a miserly person
Everybody knows Lolo’s a