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Vanilla. Yes, Vanilla ice-cream it’s all I need right now. Vanilla makes everything better! It’s the best food ever invented and everything that smells like vanilla it’s like a dream. More than a dream, vanilla it’s pure genius, that smell makes me hypnotized.
I’m almost arriving my uncle’s ice-cream place, just thinking about having my ice-cream, when I see those terrible girls from my terrible public school, they are the girls that always are fighting with everybody. I see HER too. She’s again the girls’ torture toy, Blanca. This name gives me chills.
-AIDS! You have AIDS! AIIIIIIIDS, you are dirt!- The girls scream at her
My uncle sees the situation and tells the girls to leave. I hear him offering an ice-cream to Blanca, but she refuses and continues following her own path in the dirty streets of the neighborhood. My uncle looks at me and asks:
You just stood here! Why, bambino?
I pretend I Don’t care, leave my bag at my uncle’s place e I decide follow Blanca. You see, I’m not a coward or a pervert. I’m a normal boy, with a normal name. Cameron: Averages grades, normal beauty and normal ambitions. Besides being descendent from a great family from Italy, I’m just average. I’m not a hero, I just do nothing.
The buildings built of bricks around us watch me while I’m behind that girl with braids. I’m so near her I can even see a red spot on her neck, it’s adorable. Suddenly, she turns around.
-What do you want? - Asks Blanca. She seems angry.
- What? – I got caught! I answer the question with confusion.
-You heard me. I asked what do you want with me, because you seem to be stalking me!
I begin to panic. Maybe I can run to that playground in poor conditions, hide and never come back. No, NO! Is this moment really happening? So long I’ve waited t talk to her, but now, it’s all ruined. Does she know? I wonder…
Blanca comes closer; I don’t know what to feel. Fear? She seems like she wants to kick my ass. Anxious? Maybe. Happiness? It’s BLANCA! Disgust?
I look at her. She’s beautiful; her skin seems to have a permanent tan, which contrasts with the redness of her new bruise on her forehead. And smell that smell again, that wonderful smell!
Why, Cameron? Why her? From all the girls in the whole world, you choose to love a girl with AIDS?
I want to kiss her, touch her but…I can’t. She’s…dirt. Rather than doing such things I say:
- Want something with you? Please, why would I want something with someone like you, a sick animal?
Her eyes fill with tears. I regret what I said right away.
-I’m not a sick animal!
- Sorry, I’m not usually like this. It’s because you are…
Confusing, what people will think? I can’t be in love with you!
- What? A sick b**** with AIDS?
Her cheeks turn red.
She’s sick, SICK. Run and don’t come back!
I think about that ‘thing’ she has, but I can’t control myself and I sigh when I see those confused eyes.
Stop mocking me.
- I’m not mocking you. You are... really beautiful.
A charming shy smile appears on her face.
My head warns me: Get out of here while you can, But my heart decides to ignore. Oh, that smile was meant for me!
- The most beautiful of all.
All of a sudden, Blanca looks down e sits in the sidewalk, with a really sad expression. I sit with her.
- Why are you this, Cameron? I’m not beautiful, I’m cursed. I never asked for this, I was born with it. I’m destined to live alone, poorly. Everybody hates me and I hate myself too.
- I don’t hate you. I… like you. Actually, i really like you.
Like really, really, really like you.
Her shy smile appears again and she gives me a kiss in the cheek. My whole body pulsated with pleasure. But then…Germs. AIDS Germs. Contaminated, I’m contaminated! I jump back, scared. Realizing what I just felt, Blanca gets up with a sad face.
-Thanks, Cam. Ththank for making me feeling good, hopeful. Even if it was for a few minutes. Don’t worry, HIV doesn’t contaminate that way. I hope one day you’ll understand more about this. Goodbye.
She looks at me one more time and runs away. Oh my god, what did I just do? I’m so stupid! Stupid fear! Stupid prejudice! Run after her, tell her that you are sorry and you are just scared. And tell her that you love her more than anything too.
When I get up, she’s no longer in the dirty block. I scream Blanca’s name, asking her to come back, but no one answers. I think of her while I get back to my Uncle’s ice-cream place. She’s smart, sweet, beautiful, charismatic…has AIDS.
My nonna says people that have AIDS are bad, not the type of friends a good bambino should have. But if every person that has AIDS is bad, why Blanca smells like vanilla?