Gravel crunched under Simon's worn-out Sketchers as he took the walk of shame up his neighbor's driveway. The street was deserted and quiet.
Simon wanted to be mad at his friends, but he would've bolted , too, if one of them had thrown the football into Mr. Martinez's yard. Unfortunately, he had made the unlucky pass. Simon paused next to one of Mr. Martinez's ornate , handmade mirrors that he sold from his front yard. Glittering shards of broken glass reflected the warm springtime Colorado sun.
Even Simon's best friend Sawyer had refused to stick around.
There's no way I'm going with you. Mr. Martinez loves those mirrors! Besides, what if he's still mad about the other day? Then Sawyer had vanished.
Simon froze on Mr. Martinez's stoop, remembering "the other day." He was sorry about the broken mirror today, but he was more ashamed of what had happened last weekend.
He and Sawyer had been in Simon's front yard "studying" Spanish.
?Donde esta el mercado? Sawyer had begun to quiz him.
“？Donde esta el mercado？ (西班牙语：市场在哪里？)”索耶开始出题考他。
Simon stretched. "Um, let's see. El mercado esta en mi casa."
西蒙伸了个懒腰说：“嗯，让我想一想。El mercado esta en micasa.（西班牙语：市场在我家。）”
Get serious! laughed Sawyer. "I asked you where the market is, and you said it's in your house. Last time I checked, your mom wasn't running a Piggly Wiggly outta here. You've never been all that great with the Espanol."
Simon groaned. "I don't get it. We live in A-ME-RI-CA! Why does Ms. Perez think we need to know how to speak Spanish? I'm not going to Mexico! Are you?" Sawyer shook his head. "If people want to speak Spanish, they should just go back to Mexico. Spanish is totally stupid!"Simon was so wrapped up in his rant that he hadn't noticed the color drain from Sawyer's face. His friend cleared his throat loudly. "What?" Simon turned around.
Mr. Martinez stood there looking surprised and angry. Simon's stomach flip-flopped.
Oh, hi, Mr. Martinez. Mr. Martinez was Latino, spoke Spanish, and had lived next door to Simon his whole life. Simon's foot was crammed so far into his mouth that he could taste his ankle.
Hello boys. Simon, where is your mother, please? Mr. Martinez asked politely, even though he still looked angry.
She's around back, Sawyer piped up . Simon opened his mouth to apologize, but Mr. Martinez was off, a new mirror under his arm.
Sawyer shook his head. "Dude, you are toast ."
Now Simon stood on Mr. Martinez's stoop with a sense of dread. Mr. Martinez had always been nice to him, and Simon had basically told him to get lost . Nervously, Simon rang the bell. Mr. Martinez's normally cheery face darkened when he saw Simon. "Yes, Simon?" he asked civilly.
Simon started apologizing to his shoes. "I'm sorry, but I broke your mirror."
The old man looked thoughtful. "Football?" Simon could barely nod.
Come. Mr. Martinez headed down the hall. Curious, Simon followed. A sweet, warm smell filled the air. Mr. Martinez went to the stove and flipped something in an iron skillet .
Platanos maduros, sweet plantains, he said when he noticed Simon staring. "Sit."
“Platanos maduros (西班牙语：甜芭蕉)，香甜的芭蕉，”他注意到西蒙盯着看，对他说，“坐吧。”
Simon's hunger battled with his guilt as Mr. Martinez produced a plate piled high with what looked like banana chunks fried a deep golden brown. Simon sampled the first bite hesitantly, but wolfed down the next two. He swallowed his shame with his last bite and said, "I'm really sorry about your mirror and about, you know, the other day. I'm glad you're not in Mexico."
Me too, since I am from Cuba! Across the table, his neighbor's eyes twinkled with mischief as he ate a platano. "You know, where I'm from it is believed that anyone who breaks a mirror will have seven years bad luck."
Oh great, Simon groaned. "Just what I need!"
Mr. Martinez laughed. "No te preocupes, don't worry my friend. I actually think you are a very lucky boy!"
马丁内斯先生笑了：“No te preocupes (西班牙语：别担心)，别担心，我的朋友。我倒觉得你是个幸运的孩子。”
How am I lucky? I can't speak Spanish or throw a decent pass! Simon eyed his empty plate, wishing he could ask for more.
Mr. Martinez carried the plate into the kitchen. "Ah, but if you had not broken my mirror and come to apologize, you would not have found the perfect Spanish tutor. And," Mr. Martinez returned the refilled plate to the table, "You would have never tried my platanos! How do you like them?"
Simon's mouth was so full he could barely smile. "Excelente!"
(By Morgan Perez)