While she was wondering what to do on a Friday evening, two girls walking ahead caught her attention. There wasn’t anything special with the girls. They looked regular best friends cheerfully walking hand in hand off to an after school activity. Millicent looked at her watch. After seeing the time, she dashed forward shoving people along the way. “Excuse me. Excuse me!” she blurted. She thrusted herself between the two girls, breaking their hands apart. No apologies were spoken. She made a left to the parking area and resumed walking leisurely.
Millicent’s father had been forced by an illness to retire in the US leaving her here. The father fearing for the safety of his unica hija, employed Blas to be her bodyguard. Millicent abhorred the idea. She hated being treated like a child. She was turning 18. She believed that she could fend for her own.
She especially didn’t like how stiff and cold Blas was. To her, he was like a stupid honor guard guarding a monument. He avoided eye contact. She did the same, treating him like a servant not deserving to be looked in the eye when spoken to. “Take me to the mall,” she commanded him. They didn’t talk while driving to or from the school. His eyes were roaming the surrounding, on a lookout for an impending danger. She always had something to tinker with, a book, retouching her make-up or her mobile phone.
“I hate him! After what I did for him last night, he has the nerve to choose Menchu as his date to the ball. What did he see in that bitch anyway? I tell you Cynthia, it’s not worth it. It’s so overrated. You better save it for the one. Hello?!” The call was dropped. “Grrr…damn network!” While cursing she gripped her handset like she wanted to crush it.
Millicent was distracted by a homeless woman carrying her baby. Her hand was motioning for alms. The beggar reminded her of her mother. “Mothers should never leave their child,” she whispered to herself. She curled in her seat embracing herself. There was silence and then tears.
Blas heard her sobbing. He handed her a box of tissue. “Never give everything to a man.” he said.
“Take me home,” she ordered. And they were back to their withdrawn selves. No words were spoken until they reached home.
“Accompany me to the ball. I’ll teach you how to dance after dinner,” Millicent said after she alighted. She ran to the house without giving Blas the chance to refuse.
Millicent was having her baked apple later in the evening when Blas arrived. “I thought you won’t come. Wait for me in the living room,” she instructed. She took her time finishing her dessert before she followed Blas.
Millicent played a recording from her favorite opera. She smiled and started swaying at the first note of the overture for Salome. She was amused at the idea of dancing to an overture. Blas stood there staring, giving her a dull look but sharp enough to cut her dignity.
“I know what you’re thinking. You must find it pathetic, me not getting a date for the ball. I could get anything I want but not a date. Who would want to date a brat like me anyway?
“Nobody can stand me. People pretend they like me but I know they don’t. They don’t even have a nickname for me. Guys can’t wait to get me in bed. Girls befriend me to score with my boyfriend. My dad is an ocean away because I’m not good enough to care for him. And my mom…” she hesitated worrying to be further shamed. “She would rather be with another woman than be with her own kid.” The words just spilled from her mouth as her cheeks were flooded with tears.
Blas stood in front of Millicent. The blank stare was gone. “I hate her! I hate her!” she screamed as she pounded his chest. He wrapped his arms around her placing her face on his chest. He led her swaying to the music.