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I Am Santo

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He was among the last of the stick ball kids. Erma didn’t care for their noise back then, but now she sometimes missed the hooting and yelping. Games often ended abruptly, with the batter singing the broken glass blues on the way to a car owner’s house or addressing a shattered apartment window, and that summer night ten years back had too. She’d been watching TV, windows open and a rotary fan battling humidity. Suddenly the shouting from outside crescendoed and then stopped abruptly just as a ball careened through her open living room window. It landed without breaking a thing, rolling slowly to a stop between her ottoman and the television stand. If scars and scuffs meant love to a baseball, this one was revered, its leather stained with grime and its coat rough from street impact. Erma went to the window and saw a boy with tanned skin and raven hair approaching her building. When he knocked she was prepared to give the kid Hell, but upon opening the door, Erma saw his round, worried brown eyes and her heart softened. He was terrified. She knew his name, Joseph, as he was Eunice and Antonio’s youngest. Erma liked Eunice, but Antonio always struck her as angry. And when Joseph’s first words were “please don’t tell my dad,” instead of “I’m sorry,” Erma’s impression of the father was confirmed. She asked the boy inside and he shifted uncomfortably as if his skin was too tight as she gave him a soft lecture about using a hard ball for their game. She then handed him his ball back, but also told him to wait while she fished two dollars from her purse. “Go get a stickball because next time you won’t be so lucky,” she told him. He mumbled shocked gratitude and left as if an invisible tail was tucked between his legs. That was the only time Erma spoke to him, and it would forever be. Not all the kids that played on the street made it out of the neighborhood alive, but when she heard Joseph had killed himself, she immediately remembered the sad look a little forgiveness healed. Erma wondered if Antonio ever forgave those brown eyes and decided quickly that no, he probably didn’t. Everything was probably broken glass to the father. Now more than ever.Fifty Shades Darker 2017 movie streaming

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