“So she is. I’m not coming here anymore. They let anyone in,” she joked, but continued dancing with Larry. She was teasing and tormenting him by drawing very close to him and then pulling away. He was a bad dancer, gangly and awkward, but he was trying very hard to impress her, which only made her laugh more and tease him more.
“I want to sit for a while,” I told Cliff. He looked as if he might stay out there and dance by himself, but he reluctantly followed me to the table.
“What’s wrong?” he asked. “I thought we were having lots of fun out there.”
“It’s been a long day for me,” I said. “Traveling, moving to a new place…”
He nodded but didn’t look very sympathetic. His gaze went everywhere else, and occasionally he smiled at some girls who smiled back.
His behavior, the whole scene, brought back memories of Adan and how calm and mature he had been. I was lucky to have been with him. Fani was wrong to tell me he had been with me only because he had fe
lt sorry for me. He had wanted to be with me. We hadn’t had to prove anything to each other. We had already known who we were.
I was so lost in my memories that I didn’t realize Sophia and her friend Trudy had approached our table and were standing right beside me.
“Well, look who’s here,” Sophia said. “Surprise of all surprises.”
Cliff looked up at her. “Who’s here?” he asked.
“This is my cousin you’re with, Mommy Delia.”
I looked up at her.
“How come you’re not home with your baby, Cousin Dearest?” she continued.
“What baby?” Cliff asked.
I looked for Fani. She was still very much in Larry’s spotlight and hadn’t even realized that Cliff and I had left the dance floor.
“I heard you were thrown out of college,” I snapped back at Sophia, hoping to get her off the topic quickly.
“It was boring. But let’s not talk about me. Is your baby with you?”
“I don’t get it,” Cliff said, leaning toward me. “What baby?”
“She’s got a baby. Didn’t she tell you? She was also in a nuthouse for a while.”
He shook his head. “Is that true? What does that mean, nuthouse? You have a baby?” Cliff asked. He grimaced as if it were something disgusting.
I felt myself falling into a panic. Fani was still distracted. Sophia’s friend Trudy was rattling off stories about me, weaving the story of Ignacio, Adan’s death, and my pregnancy together so fast it made Cliff’s mind spin. He was sitting back with his mouth open. Sophia was smiling gleefully.
And then suddenly, she broke into hysterical laughter and pointed at me.
“Baby hungry!” she screamed.
I looked down at the tight, strapless gray tube top I was wearing. In my haste to find something to wear, I had forgotten to put some pads in my bra. My nipples were leaking, and it was showing through. Cliff’s eyes widened in amused surprise. The scene Sophia was making stopped some dancers near us, who turned to look. It finally attracted Fani, who stopped dancing, too.
Embarrassed, I shot away from the table and rushed toward the ladies’ room, Sophia and Trudy’s loud laughter trailing behind me. Inside, I got into a stall and stuffed tissue into my bra. I was sobbing so hard that I didn’t hear Fani knocking on the stall door.
“What is it? What’s going on?” she shouted.
I caught my breath and opened the door, turning to show her.
“Wow. You know, I never saw that happen.”
“I have. Many times,” I said. “I don’t know why I forgot it could.”