The first time I saw Michael, he stood in the shadow of a bougainvillea climbing the arch of the courtyard entrance. The sun diffused through paper-thin leaves and cast a ruby hue on his clothes. It was as though he stood in the center of a pink spotlight. He looked healthy, sunburned, and rosy-cheeked like me. It wasn’t until he stepped through the entryway, away from the flowers’ protection, that I recognized he was one of them.
He wouldn’t quit. He’d read Pushkin or Rilke or Chekhov during his breaks, watch the leaves stirring on the trees across the street, remember his dreams, and stay completely away from Angel’s station.