Jojo slings his arm around Maria’s neck, but she wants to lock her fingers around his. He speaks into her ear, a tickle in her heart; the song she listens to whenever she has the chance. If she can sleep beside him at night, just to reassure him that everything will turn out fine while they watch the stars from his balcony, she will do so. But he does not know romance or lust when it comes to her. Inside Jojo’s words, they talk about how their day has turned out and tons of favors to ask, but in Maria’s head, she wishes he speaks the language of her heart.
Beneath the canopy of green trees, Maria hits Jojo’s ribs with her elbow and he grunts in a fake pain. She knows he will ask again for a favor. She will want to turn him down this time, but he will graze his thumb against her skin and she will just nod her head, to hide the pleasure living in her eyes.
Jojo tells her to give the letter he wrote last night to her best friend, Ella. Maria shows her unfazed smile and accepts the envelope, sealed with his signature. She will not be the lady he will send his envelopes to. This is Jojo—a broken, naive, blind young man. When he feels his heart racing, he considers it love—he has fallen in love numerous times that Maria has started to think he is sick.
She understands his need for affection. When he was thirteen, his parents separated and he had to schedule his time to see both of his parents in a separate place. He was exhausted until he became numb. He is doing it as a part of his routine and Maria wants to tell him it will turn out well—every night, as long as he needs her to.
But that is not the case. Jojo becomes hopeful for a reply and Maria promises she will make sure he receives one, always—even it is not from her. He shouts that he is going to be late for his class so he runs from her and she can only gaze at his childlike nature. Maria sighs and stares at the letter between her frail fingers. She is sure he wrote that he is in love with Ella. But Jojo does not know how it feels, just the idea of it.
WORD COUNT: 406
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