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  • Christina Fotinelli

Dear Mrs. Martinez,

Little Victor Abrego (9) is in trouble. An impish boy, he rarely returns home without scraped knees, gashed hands, or a bloody nose. All worthy wounds of a playground hero …. not though, according to his parents. Currently on a “time-out”, he’s prohibited from playing outside the apartment complex. Undeterred, he makes do by tearing around the courtyard on his bike. The meagre yet lovingly flower patch of the Super’s wife, Mrs. Martinez, doesn’t stand a chance. Deaf to her cries, Victor only rides faster and faster when suddenly, a thin yet surprising firm female hand, shoots out and clips him with an almighty smack. Thrown off balance, Victor takes flight.

Dear Mrs. Martinez,

My Mom is making me apologise to you. I don’t want to. I told her I’m mad at you and I hate you but she said I had to say sorry. I don’t see why. YOU hit ME and knocked me off my bike. It really hurt! But Mom turned purple when I told her that I ruined your flowers. She said I had to give you all my allowance money to buy new ones. That’s stupid! I don’t understand why those ugly flowers are so important. I hope they don’t cost a lot of money because I need my allowance to buy stuff.

I’m not supposed to leave until I see you to say I’m sorry (which I’m not) but it’s dark, I’m getting hungry, and it’s almost time for dinner. So, I’m leaving this note and $11.43, which is all I have saved up.

My Mom says you are sad but I think you’re mean. You always shout at us to keep it down when we play because Mr. Martinez is sleeping. You slam your shutters shut when we come downstairs because Mr. Martinez is having his dinner. You never give us cookies or juice boxes like the other Moms. You never leave the courtyard, you never smile, you never say hi.

Some days I see you crying when Mr. Martinez leaves for work but Mom says it’s only your allergies.

My Dad said you are battered. I wasn’t supposed to hear that because Mom shushed him when she saw me. I didn’t know what battered means but I looked it up and it made me sad. Maybe you’re not so mean after all. I don’t think what you did was nice but I guess it’s ok. I guess I wasn’t that nice to you either.

I can help you fix your plants Mrs. Martinez, then maybe you won’t be so sad anymore.



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