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Today we are just talking
which is new to me. In a mesquite tree, which is special because the leaves of a mesquite tree are
soft green stems with a row of tiny leaves on either side. If you run your thumbnail down one of
them, you can pull all the little leaves off in one clean motion, and your reward is a handful of
confetti that is very fun to play with.
Sitting on a thick branch across the trunk from me is Anfernee, whose name people always mistake for
Anthony. I am talking about seventh grade because I am nervous I won't be cool enough for the girls
in junior high, and Anfernee is talking about Kathleen, because she is the most beautiful girl in the
world. This surprises me because Kathleen is very tall and has red hair.
We finish talking about Kathleen and junior high school, and I drop a handful of confetti that
cascades to the ground in the silence. I wait for Anfernee to talk, because we are at his house so he
is in charge.
He has been gathering up leaves for a while, now, and he drops a torrent of green onto the generic
Arizona gravel below before he says anything.
'I asked my mom what they do the morning after sex.' He says the word 'sex' with triumph. He is
proud of this exploit. 'Don't you think the morning would be weird' They must feel really weird.'
By 'they' he means his mother and his stepfather. His mom split up with the dad he liked a long
time before I met him.
I am surprised by what he says because my mom says that Anfernee is a Mormon and that Mormons are not
allowed to drink sodas or have girlfriends or do anything fun. I wonder if Mormons are allowed to
have sex. I think they must not be because otherwise Anfernee would not be so interested in it.
He kicks the tree and some bark scrapes off indifferently. 'She says it isn't weird. She says
sometimes she'll whisper 'that was good last night' and that's it.' He seems to be either amazed or
skeptical that that's really it.
I nod vaguely at Anfernee who cannot see because the trunk is in the way. I am surprised his mom
would tell him something that sounds like the truth because If I asked my mom something like that
she would send me to my dad and he would be sawing something loud in the garage and send me to my
So I look off into the distance and make a profound face like I am thinking about sex with the girl
I love, and I pretend like I understand what Anfernee is trying to say.
That's it, says Anfernee, whose name people always mistake for Anthony.