But that was when Jose was in his 3rd year of middle school, while I was registered in my third year at college (I’d missed several, away in Germany – I was 25).
“Your menor (younger cousin) ’s here! “
One day when I was reading in the pension library,a Spanish girlfriend came running up: “Echo”, she said, “there’s your cousin (menor) come looking for you downstairs. (I should explain: “junior cousin” (menor) in Spain has a certain ironic or mocking connotation about it – they kept saying “Your cousin’s come, you’re cousins come…”. Teasing.
What? strange, I thought, I don’t have any cousins even at home, surely not here. So I ran out onto the balcony to look, and there was that boy Jose, a couple of books in his hands, and clutching that jaunty French chapeau of his, as if he were worried it would be carried off into the gutter. (He too was acting the foreigner)
He was too young to feel at ease waiting in the parlor, so he was waiting for my outside under a tall tree that stood right next to the library… When I saw it was him, I went dashing down … but when I stood before him I was a little irritated. “What brings you here? “. When he still said nothing, I went on: “Won’t you be late for class?. “For the last two sessions I’ve played hookey.” “So why are you here”?
I was feeling much more grown up than he, so I guess there was a tone in my voice of elder sister chiding younger brother. But then he reached into his pocket and fished out 14 pesos (at that time about the same as 7 NTD). ”I have 14 pesos, just enough for two movie tickets, so Ok if we go see a movie?”
But it would mean walking there and back: the trams had stopped for the night. … ”(he continued).
I took a good look – I’m very sensitive/perceptive – I felt maybe this boy was in over is head, but I said OK anyway. Ad suggested maybe we should find the nearest cinema, so that way we wouldn’t need carfare (taxifare)
The next day he skipped class too, and the next, and the next…
So that’s how it happened that my girlfriends started making a joke about him always showing up with that hat of his in hand, “Cousin’s here”. Each time I’d now dash down and give him a little push or maybe poke him a little poke, , then tell him maybe he shouldn’t come again.. not good for him to be missing so many classes. But he still skipped his last two every day and came chasing me, and off we’d go – no money at all, we’d sometime just go walk along, sometimes maybe visit the Palace, he’d poke through the trash sometimes, and, with a pleased look, say things like: “Hey, look how classy this nail is… Hey, have a look…”
I gradually decided that our being together would go nowhere, he was too straight and serious, and couldn’t help me in anything – not yet even in college.
But to be honest, inside, I really like him a lot. (Had a crush on him..)