Ernesto Labrada drove into Miami. It was the last mile on the turnpike and that sign had seemed to appear just in time. It was morning and he saw the sun peeking over the Miami skyline. He would see Lully and Matti. The sales trip had gone well. Matti had said that Lully was playing again. It was his dream to play with his daughter. The money from the new contract would pay the rent for six months. He was so happy.
“Lully, get up,” Matti had dressed well today and made sure that she looked good. Her daughter was curled up in a ball on the bed. She was so peaceful that she almost hated to wake her, but Matti knew that it was time. Ernesto would be home anytime.
“Mom, there’s no school today. Go back to bed,” Lully wondered why she had to live in a scene from a Marquis de Sade book. Her mother was torturing her. Suddenly, her covers were pulled back and her mother’s face was inches from hers. She was smiling and singing some Mexican song.
“Estas son las mañanitas, que cantaba,” her mother sang. Lully pulled the covers back over her head. “Come on, your father’s on his way. He should be here in less than an hour. I am making all of us a big breakfast.”
“Did he make a sale?” asked Lully, yawning with enthusiasm. She could not dispel her weariness, but she was happy for her Dad. Her father was always happiest when he was coming home from a productive week of work.
“Yes, he did,” her mother started to make the bed even as Lully pulled herself out of it. The phone was ringing. She just walked by it and was about to get it when her mother pushed her towards the bathroom. “You don’t have time.” Her mother picked up the phone. “¿Que tal?”
“Hi, Mrs. Labrada. It’s Gar,” he said and then was surprised to hear the click. “She hung up,” he whispered. “Man!” he exclaimed. Gar thought about it and felt like he had it coming. He had introduced Lully to the nightlife and then dumped her. He felt like a jerk. He went to his guitar and played a Bourree in e that he had heard Lully play on piano. He had thought that it was beautiful. He would have to think about this.
It was too soon. His fingers pushed down on the frets while his picking hand worked around the strings. He listened to his playing as if he was listening to someone else. He remembered Lully and thought about the attack. Each note was exactly the same length. Did that make sense? He could not allow one note to last longer than another.
It was too soon. She was still getting over the break up. He did not want her to get over the break up. He wanted them together, he just did not want her to keep buying all that booze. Paul thought that she was trying to buy their friendship. Lon thought that she was silly. His parents thought that she had a problem. He understood that when she brought the alcohol, it secured her place at the party. When Lully started, she had just liked the looseness of the parties and the music, but after a while, the alcohol kind of seduced her. Yep, that was it. It had seduced her. Now, she was going to be free.
If he could wait, they could be equals. She wouldn’t owe him. It was like that Sting song: “If you love someone, set them free.” This was going to be cool.