After the abruptly-stopped late afternoon baseball practice, my teammate asked me to hitch a ride with him going to our common village. The rain wouldn't let up, and it would still take a good couple of hours before my parents would leave the office to fetch me from the field. I sat next to him at the driver's seat, folding the umbrella that protected me from getting drenched all over, until I noticed my teammate fumbling for his keys in his pocket. “What's the matter?” I asked helpfully. “The car keys—must have left them at the locker. Your umbrella, please?” He rushed out in the creeping darkness and shielded his already wet self from the wicked downpour. I produced my phone to tell Mama I was heading home. The monitor light made something in the car glint: my teammate's sunglasses. I remembered having begged Papa to purchase me a pair of those, but he reserved my request for Christmas. Three months more, but here's a pair, presenting itself. I imagined how good it'd look at my face, when the sun's all up and blistering, showering me its sunshine and convincing the crowd to marvel at my look with mixed envy and admiration. I thought of flashing the shades on the mall, the people turning their heads to covet the tinted glasses in slim metallic gold frame. “Take me,” the shades seemed to read my mind. A reddish glimmer from the pair's darkened corner took the last of the fading light outside. I ran my fingers at the beautiful frames, and thought of how the shades—MY shades, not my careless, filthy rich teammate's—would improve my small white cuddly face. I arranged the mirror above me, ready to try on the glasses. Its silvery whiteness, already fading from the near-complete onslaught of darkness, showed the reflection of my eyes, pupils dilating in material desire. I imagined putting on the shades, until no squinting from guilt or whatever further assaulted my sight. I looked better now, I convinced myself, the dimness overpowering my vision. The mirror reflected my face, and looking at it, again and again and again, I got a strange illusion I transformed into a huge, disgusting insect. My stream of imagination was interrupted by my teammate, who apologized for keeping me waiting. I woke from the trance, and sat back. Close shave, I thought. My teammate fed his player an audio CD, and a Christmas song wafted in the air. The engine started, and as moved along, I smiled at the prospect of Papa's Christmas gift.
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