A Flute Player's Story

By Rachel Halpin

Romance

First Kisses and Broken Hearts

I hung back in the group, studying Allegra. She looked like the girl from a few nights ago. I wasn't lying to Tajo, though. I really hadn't gotten a good look at her face. I had seen a glimpse of it though, and that glimpse was enough to convince me that if Allegra had longer hair, she could be the girl. I made a mental note to ask Rooster about his sister and see if her name was Lenmana or Allegra. At the moment, Allegra was twirling around. She almost bumped into me and stopped, seeming to recognize me. We just stood there, staring at each other. I couldn't move. She was very pretty and it left me feeling a bit breathless. Finally Tajo, who was standing next to me, gave me a shove and told her something in Spanish. She responded with her name and I guessed Tajo had asked her name to start a conversation. He told her something else before backing away. I reached my hand out to her face, not really sure why I was doing that. She looked nervous, shuffling her feet and playing with the flute she held in her hands. I motioned to it, hoping she would play. She nodded and put it to her lips, playing a beautiful song. I had no idea what song she was playing, but it sounded almost like a lullaby. Everyone fell silent as she played. When she finished, everyone clapped and she flushed, taking a small bow before hiding behind Rooster. I caught Race's eye in an attempt to catch Allegra's eye. He didn't look happy for some reason. He was glaring at me as if he were jealous, though I didn't have a clue as to why. I spent the rest of my day selling papes, avoiding Race, and thinking constantly of Allegra.

Later that night, I went back to Medda's to watch Allegra's final performance of the day. I wanted to ask her if she had been the girl by the bridge the other night and maybe see if she would like to see a flicker with me some time. Allegra was playing in the jazz band that Tajo's sister Maggie played in. I watched from the back of the room, having spotted Rooster and Race near the front. I'd rather not have my face rearranged by Race before I got to ask Allegra on a date. I hated to admit it, but Tajo had been right. Or at least partly right. I didn't fancy myself in love with her, but I did fancy her and I had admitted as much to Tajo that afternoon while selling papes near the bridge. He had just smirked and said he told me so. The sounds of the band finishing their song brought me back to the present. I went backstage quickly to wait for Allegra and Maggie. They came offstage together, talking in Spanish. I waved them over, growing excited for the night. I was about to ask Maggie if she could ask Allegra my question when Race came over and started talking with Allegra, Rooster and Tajo close behind.


I saw Spot waving to us and pointed him out to Maggie. She smirked, a smug look on her face. I looked at her, not sure why she was smirking and wondering if I should be worried.

"Is there something you're not telling me?" I asked her. "Why are you smirking at me?"

"Oh, no reason. Better get over to lover boy there."

"Lover boy? What is that? Who is lover boy?"

Maggie gave an amused shake of her head before explaining what she meant as we walked over to Spot. He looked ready to ask a question when Race came over and told us what a good job we had done.

"Ally, sei stato grande," he told me, putting a hand on my shoulder. "Do you mind if I call you Ally?"

I shook my head, feeling heat rising on my cheeks. I generally didn't like nicknames, but for some reason I didn't mind it coming from Racetrack.

"It sounds nice when you say it."

"Mr. Higgins," Maggie interrupted. I looked at Racetrack, curious and amused. His last name was Higgins? "I believe Mr. Conlon wanted to ask the hermoso Ally a question. Would you excuse us for just un momento, por favor?" Maggie dragged me away without waiting for an answer. She started talking to him in English before we even reached him. He kept trying to say something, but Maggie didn't let him speak. Finally I took a piece of liquorish and put in her mouth, which shut her up for a moment. Spot took advantage of her chewing to ask a question with a laugh in his voice. Maggie turned to me and started talking, food still in her mouth. "Spot wants to know if you'd like to see a flicker with him and how you knew to give me liquorish. Please tell him you'd like to see a flicker. I want a reason to ask that hermano of yours to see a flicker with me. Plus I can translate for you. Please?"

I shook my head at first, not sure I wanted to go. But Maggie kept pleading and I finally said yes, thinking how much fun it would be to see who could talk more between Rooster and Maggie. Almost as soon as I had said yes, I felt bad, though I wasn't sure why. It almost felt like I was hurting someone. I turned around and saw Racetrack looking at me, a sad expression on his face. The feeling that I was hurting someone grew even more at the sight of Racetrack's face. Could it be possible that I liked both Racetrack and Spot, I wondered to myself. I shook the thought out of my head and started putting my flute away.

Spot joined Maggie and I for our walk home. We spent the better part of the walk trying to teach him some Spanish so he wouldn't have to depend on others to translate for him. He caught on fairly quickly to most of it and when he got a phrase right, he looked so pleased it was comical. Near the end of our walk, he turned serious and looked at Maggie. He motioned to me a few times as he talked to her in English and I could only wonder what he was asking this time. I walked along as they talked, enjoying the starry night sky. It was a rare night when you could see stars in the city and the beauty of it always made me wish I could write a song about it. I was brought back to earth by Spot's hand in mine. Looking at him, I suddenly realized we had reached Maggie's place and Maggie had disappeared. I assumed she had gone in to tend to her siblings, which left me alone with Spot. I gulped loudly, realizing I was alone with the boy that had saved me. The boy I think I was maybe falling for. Or maybe I just felt I owed him something for saving me from those boys.

"Eres hermosa," he told me. I didn't respond, trying to remember when Maggie and I had taught him that. The next thing I knew, he was leaning in and kissing me. His lips were soft and warm. I could taste the liquorish he had eaten at Medda's on his breath. It was beautiful and sweet and everything I had imagined my first kiss would be like. Pulling apart after several long seconds, we just looked at each other. A movement behind Spot caught my eye and broke the spell. I could see a figure moving out of the shadows and squinted, trying to make out who it was.

"Racetrack!" I whispered to myself, finally making out the shadowy form. He looked so sad it broke my heart and I spun around, running inside with tears filling my eyes.


I watched from the shadows as Spot grabbed her hand and told her she was beautiful. Jealousy raged inside of me and I felt like punching something. Or someone. I glared at Spot from my hiding place, wishing looks could kill. Suddenly they were kissing and I couldn't help myself. I stumbled out of my spot and moved out of the shadows into the light of the streetlamps. I saw Allegra look right at me. I looked at her, unable to hide my feelings. She could apparently make them out on my face, because she whispered what sounded like my name before spinning around and running inside, although not before I made out tears in her eyes. Spot looked confused, standing there calling after her and asking what was wrong. I slipped away from the scene before Spot could see me and made my way back to the LH. As soon as I got there, I fell into bed without even bothering to undress and buried my face in my pillow. I held my tears in as long as possible and when I couldn't hold them in any longer, they came out in a flood and I cried myself to sleep.

"Ally, sei stato grande."-Ally, you were great. (Italian)

hermoso-beautiful

un momento, por favor-one moment please

Eres hermosa-you are beautiful

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