Faith, Hope, Love, And Luck

Celso was the first one up every morning. Despite the fact that he and his two younger brothers started school at the same time, the twins always seemed to run late. Celso, like many 16-year-old boys at his high school and at other schools in San Francisco, shaved his head every morning. Celso and his friends called it the "clean-cut look;" yet it was more economical than fashionable, especially in a city known for its cold, damp fog that lingered throughout the year. Celso was rubbing baby oil on his smooth and perfectly round head when he heard one of his brothers pound the door and say, "Dude, hurry up!" Celso opened the worn, squeaky oak door and saw his brother Marcos looking down at him. Without saying anything else, Marcos pushed his way in, and Celso quickly walked back to their room.
He sat on his bed where he tied his Adidas and watched his brother Miguel still asleep on the lower bunk across from him. Celso was only a year older than the twins, yet ever since their mom ran away with Celso's godfather, the Garcia men had grown apart and learned to fend for themselves. Celso heard the top lock on the main door rattle and boots walk over the wooden floor. Without any concern for his sleeping brother, he yelled, "Hey, Dad." He walked into the living room as he adjusted the beanie around his pierced ears.
His tall and stocky father wore navy-blue pants and a pastel-blue shirt with the museum's logo embroidered on the right side of his chest. He walked toward Celso without saying a word, patted him on the shoulder, and dragged his tired limbs toward the second bedroom. Dropping keys and a set of handcuffs on the coffee table, he faded into the dark room.
Celso walked out of his apartment complex, down Laguna Street to catch the 5 Fulton line. The city seemed drowsy despite the occasional car zipping by. Celso sought cover under the MUNI shelter from the misty breeze. He felt his pocket vibrate and pulled out his pager. The message read "143," and he knew it was Sophia paging him. He glared at the numbers on the tiny screen and smiled coyly. As he waited for the bus, he noticed a patch of green peering out from between the broken cement. He squinted his brown eyes and shifted his body toward a green leafy object that stood out from the isolated grassy patch. He realized it was a clover and, without any hesitation, began to count its leaves. Celso shook his head a few times, thinking he'd miscounted the four leaves on the clover. He saw the power lines flash above him and cocked his head, noticing the bus approaching. Before he could think of his next move, he saw the doors burst open. The white-haired Asian woman clutching the steering wheel asked, "You comin'?" Celso rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand, the four-leaf clover now looking back at him. Uncertain, he boarded the bus to school.
That afternoon Celso and Sophia sat on a forest-green metal bench as they waited for the bell to ring. Celso wrapped his arms around Sophia as he snuck a kiss on her neck. "Quit, fool; it's too early for all that," said Sophia as she pulled away.
Celso smirked before answering, "I'm just responding to your 'I love you' message from this morning."
Sophia looked straight into his eyes as she brushed aside a strand of her honey brown curls and said, "You can just rub my feet later."
They both laughed and Celso asked, "Have you ever seen a four-leaf clover?"
Celso saw Sophia's brows flair with confusion before she asked, "Is that what the Mission kids are smoking that's got them all wild 'n' out?"
Exposing his dimples, Celso shrugged and told Sophia he had spotted a four-leaf clover on Laguna and that he was planning on going back to get it after school.
Sophia smacked his shoulder and rolled her golden eyes at him. She then said, "You ain't going to my game then, huh?"
Celso reminded her that he had to work and that once he got a car, he would go to all her basketball games. In disbelief, she sighed as the bell rang and headed toward the girl's locker room. Disheartened, Celso grabbed his backpack and walked toward the bus to go back home.
Celso pulled the plastic rope a few times to alert the driver he needed to get off. An old man sitting to his right scuffed, "You only need to pull once." Celso ignored him and sped out the bus. He looked all around and saw the little patch of green had been removed. He saw another small section of grass and clovers behind the bus stop and leaned down to look through it. All the clovers he found were missing the fourth leaf. He rubbed his hands to remove the dirt from his fingers. Feeling as if a vending machine had stolen his change, he went back home to dress for work.
During his entire shift, all Celso could think about was the four-leaf clover. Every time he chopped mushrooms or spinach for his pizzas, he pondered whether or not that clover could have somehow changed his life. He smiled as he packed the pizzas into boxes, remembering when his whole family would head to Market Street to watch the St. Patrick's parade. He recalled the last time his mom drew four-leaf clovers on all the boys' hands. Tiredly, Celso switched the fluorescent pizzeria sign off, collected his share of the tips, and dreaded his commute back home. When he reached Laguna, he began to look around to see if he could spot any charm. He walked and scanned every space visible with the glow of streetlights. His fingers dug into bushes and grass, finding the occasional three-leaf clover. His pager began to beep; dusting off his hands, he reached into his pocket and went home to call his girlfriend.

No comments:

Post a Comment