First off, I’d better warn you – the Aurelio Leon you used to know has disappeared. This letter is coming to you from a new Leon. A Lost in Space Leon. A Leon who’s been punctured by Cupid’s arrow and is stumbling around, bleeding love for Lindsay Tate. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic.
I’ll get back to all that in a minute. Knowing you, you are probably more concerned about what happened to poor D.J. after he was swindled by Mo and Yolanda (if those were even their real names). Well, he had it rough for a few months, I have to say. But like he always does, D.J. emerged from his tomb of self-pity with a new sense of purpose flashing in his eyes.
“I’ve decided to go to college,” he announced. That same day, he headed over to Palmas Muertas Junior College and enrolled in computing classes. And bam! Just like that, D.J. traded life on the edge and blowing his money at the poker tables for the student life. He rose early each day, slung a backpack over his shoulders, and marched off to campus.
He used up the rest of his gold money buying a state of the art home computer. Now, whenever he is home, I can hear him in his room, clicking away at the keyboard. Whenever I ask him what he’s working on, he just shrugs and says, “Studying.”
He keeps trying to convince me to take some college classes, too. “You should really learn some computer programming skills,” he says. “It will really help you with your career.” But I don’t know. This personal computer thing is probably just a fad. And there’s nothing I can do on a computer that I can’t do on a plain, old-fashioned typewriter. Besides, things are going great at my work. My name is starting to get around. People come to the car lot and ask for me. After a little conversation, I can always figure out just the right car for the buyer. And cha-ching! I’ve made another sale.
The funny thing is, even though I fixed up and sold cars, I had never bothered to buy one of my own. It had always been so convenient to ride my bike, or to hitch a ride with D.J. But one day, I had a brilliant thought (I do get those from time to time, haha).
I had been trying to figure out how to work up my nerve and ask Lindsay Tate to go out with me. I know, I know…still? Yes, well, I still had barely even spoken to her. I couldn’t. I found excuses to stop by the Prickly Pear Botanical Garden practically every day just so that I could see her. When she saw me, she would give me this wide, friendly smile, and say, “Hey there!”
I would smile back and open my mouth to say, “Hey there,” back to her. But nothing came out. She was probably beginning to think that I was mute.
Then came the Great Idea. What if I bought myself a really awesome car, then cruised slowly past the garden? I could lean out my window and shout, “Hey there, Lindsay! Wanna go out with me?” And she would be so impressed by how cool my ride was that she would say yes.
So I pulled all of my money out of savings and plunked down a big down payment for a sweet muscle car, which I named Purple Rain. Then D.J. and I took her out for a few test rides, zipping through town and revving the engine at every stoplight.
If I’d known anything about Lindsay, though, I would have saved my money. When she found out that I was the idiot polluting the desert air with my noisy car, she wrinkled her nose in distaste. But still, for some reason, she still agreed to go out with me when I finally felt brave enough to ask. So we went out eat. The next week, we went to the movies together. Then to an art museum. She loved cars, just not muscle cars. So instead of cruising around in Purple Rain, we rode bikes and breathed in the fresh desert air.
I told Lindsay about my roommate, and about Asteria (minus the curses and hauntings), and about my boyhood in Detroit and Zewedu. Then she told me about her childhood, and get this – she was also a child of missionaries, and had grown up in Haiti. “My parents still live there,” she explained.
The more I learn about Lindsay, the more helplessly head-over-heels I am in love with her. I haven’t told her that, though. It’s much too soon. But I did ask her to be my girlfriend early one morning, as we watched the sunrise together. And she said yes. In spite of my new car.
Your car-crazy (and Lindsay-crazy) friend,