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.Now she realized that all she had done was hurt her hand."They must have really hated each other, Rick and his wife," said Kay, gently rubbing Coco's back."How can people say all kids are born out of love?"Coco shivered.Jesse may have been born out of love, but he had been brought up with hate.And Coco was the one who had to deal with that hatred.She wondered what Jesse was really like underneath it ail.She was frightened that if she peeled off the layers of hatred one by one, like peeling an onion, she would find nothing but hatred all the way down to his bone marrow.For now Coco was able to avoid facing that fear by crying, but she knew she would not always be able to run away.She was grateful that Kay was there to comfort her, but she knew there would when she would have to face her fear alone, and the thought of it terrified her.When you are kind to people, you expect kindness in return.That was the way Coco understood the world.Hugs, kisses,' compliments—there is a certain beauty in the idea of giving things away and expecting nothing in return.But at the same time, there is a distinct sadness in giving and not receiving.It was for that reason that Coco could not deal with Jesse.She could not show him love and affection if all she got back from him was hate.Jesse didn't spit at people anymore, but he continued to run out for hamburgers, ignoring the fact that Coco was cooking, and he treated her like an intruder.Although, to be fair, he treated all of her friends and all of his own friends in exactly the same way.Jesse treated people like objects.Jesse's friends were all adolescents, all on the verge of manhood, and when they were around Coco they had bashful smiles that young men get when they are around women.A couple of the braver ones would wink at or sneak a kiss from her as they came and went.They were at the age when they were naturally curious about the opposite sex, and to Coco's amusement, they were particularly curious about her.The boys were all much taller than Coco.They left their sneakers I $ d A M Y Y A M A D Astrewn all over the hallway and she noticed how much larger their shoe were than hers.As she tidied up their sneakers she began to think about Jesse and how small he was compared with his friends.He was dwarfed by them.They grew as rapidly as if they were willing themselves to grow.Jesse, on the other hand, had no interest in getting older and seemed almost to be suppressing his growth.Sometimes the boys would watch videos in Jesse's room.But when there was a love scene, even though it was nothing hard-core, just a part of the story, Jesse always got irritated, stood up, and walked out of the room, leaving his friends jeering behind him."Hey, what's wrong with you, man? This is the best part," they would holler, whistling at and cheering the girl on the screen, just as grown men did.Then Jesse would storm back into his room, screaming at them to get out.At first, of course, they didn't take any notice of him, but when they realized he was serious, they switched the video off, cursing under their breath as they left.Heading back to the hallway, some of the kids would say they were angry with him and swore they would never hang out with him again.They were all just ordinary boys, all looking forward to leaving home and getting away from the influence of their parents as quickly as possible.But they weren't able to do that just yet and they didn't really know what to do with all their excess energy.In a way, they were still just kids, and when they got back home their mothers would be yelling at them to do their homework.At the same time, they were old enough to have their own social network, but because of the way he treated them, Jesse was on the verge of being shut out of it.Once, Coco looked into Jesse's room after the boys had left.He was lying facedown on the bed, thinking.He looked so vulnerable that she suddenly felt a twinge of sadness.But that sadness quickly turned to dismay as she realized it was the same vulnerability she saw in Rick J E S S E / 6 9when he was just sitting and smoking.Instinctively, she went in and sat down on the bed at his feet.They were unexpectedly large, and she noticed that there was a hole in one of his socks.Coco just sat there.She felt as though she couldn't say anything until Jesse spoke.She couldn't break the silence.Minutes passed, and the silence became awkward, almost painful.She considered mentioning the hole in his sock, but when she looked up, she saw that his face was wet.He lay there silently, tears streaming down his cheeks and off the end of his nose.His tearstained face looked just the way Kay's face had looked when he had spat at her.Now it was as though he were spitting on himself.Coco pulled off the sock without a word, and Jesse let her.He didn't move.He didn't make a sound.It was the first time she had ever touched him, and it pained her just to look at his bare foot.She couldn't believe it was the same hateful thing that had bruised her back so badly.With the sock gripped tighdy in her hand, she stood up and left the room, closing the door silently behind her.Coco went to the kitchen and took out the sewing box.She opened the lid and saw that all of the needles had been bent.Jesse.It couldn't have been anyone else.She sighed.But she couldn't bring herself to be angry at him for it.C H A P T E R S I XLife's an odd game.There are certain things that are instinctive to all living creatures—like eating and sleeping, the things you just can't live without.And in the case of human beings, communication is an integral part of everyday life, too.Words.As usual, Jesse treated Coco very coldly and that really irritated her.But try as she might, she could not ignore him [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]