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I Love You Too, Maria
I started volunteering in August of last year. Now, when I open the door of the center, Maria runs from the table and jumps into my arms.
I love you! Oh I missed you, I missed you.
I missed you too, I say, and I did.
The other kids like me too, climbing all over me like I'm a tree, but they all know that I belong to Maria.
Marissa, she says, will you give me a piggy back ride, will you read this to me, will you play this game with me, love me?
I was playing a game with her down at the center, and she told me she wanted to show me her new sunglasses.
Come with me, she said. I need to get them from my room.
Really? I asked.
She just got up and walked into the hallway, so I followed, under her spell. She took me up the elevator and down a hall with blank and innocent walls.
Wait here, she said.
Wait here, okay?
She walked up to one of the doors and knocked. The door opened a crack, and she pushed it slowly, so I couldn’t see inside. Before she went in she turned back to me.
I stood out in the hall for minutes or years or just a long time, just standing and waiting and waiting and thinking that I still don’t know what Maria’s parents look like, or their names.
The door opened, just big enough to let Maria gently slide out, leaving whatever was behind the door to my imagination. She took my hand, and led me back downstairs, without a word.
Maria is so skinny, with black silk hair and caramel skin. Maria gets mad when I am with other kids. Maria runs to me when she sees me and knocks me over, like a dog. Maria won’t let me see where she lives. Maria tells me she loves me.
Will you always love me, Maria?
Maria won't always love me, I know. Trying to keep things from changing is trying to catch a slippery fish with my bare hands. Maria won't love me forever. Someday she will learn not to love so easily, and she will let go of my hand and float off in her own way. Maria, I hope that you will float up into the sky. I hope you get to touch the moon.