Sera Yu

For D.S.

Jenny and Kenny discussed tragedies most of the time, not sentimentally or for therapeutic purposes like most people, but to probe and dig things out like archaeologists. They liked to perform psychoanalysis on each other. A favorite subject they never grew tired of was Kenny’s attraction to Hispanic women. His heart would vibrate whenever he saw a Mexican girl either pregnant or holding a baby or both, but there had to be, for the desire to ripen, at least an implication of a baby connected to the girl. There were many such girls where they lived. All he had to do was stand out on the balcony of their apartment and light a cigarette. By the time he finished the cigarette, such a girl could be seen walking down the sidewalk pushing a stroller or holding a baby in her young round arms. He told her he could love any one of those girls. Jenny detected a tiny sadness whenever Kenny spoke of them. It turned out one day during a conversation that his obsession was not toward Hispanic women but toward women—with babies, pregnant women, and especially morose teen mothers. It’s just that in their neighborhood, such women happened to be Hispanic. He loved their strong necks and shoulders, skin the color of pecan shell. There was a certain mood about him when he said these things that made her think he knew them deeper than their skin, as if he were describing a painting. She often wondered what it would be like to be pregnant and deserted, if he would look at her also, in that way, and if he would feel her pain, his heart sore with alternating fits of compassion and lust. But she never mentioned such thoughts. Instead, she sat with him on the balcony more often then necessary and sucked hungrily on a cigarette while waiting for the girl who occupied his dreams to appear.


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