Mario Villalobos

TagsKids These Days

Fortune Telling

Aubrey stopped me and asked me if I would like to have my fortune told.

“Sure,” I said.

She pulled out about a dozen Pokémon cards and fanned them out, their backs to me. “Okay,” she said, “pick just one card but don’t look at it.”

“Okay.” I scanned my hand over the cards and picked one near the center. I did not look at it.

She grabbed it from my hand, looked at it for a bit, then showed it to me. I only saw it for a brief second before she pulled it away and said, “In your future, you’re going to get a dog!”

“A dog?” I said. “When will I get a dog?”

“Hmm,” she said, thinking about it. “When you’re fifty!” And then she ran away.

The 1st grade teacher was nearby and overheard the whole conversation. She laughed and said, “Yeah, you’ll be so sad and lonely at fifty that of course you’re going to get a dog.”

“Damn,” I said and laughed along with her.

Freeze!

Chalk art from last week that has since been washed away by the rain

“Freeze!”

I looked up and saw Aubrey and her big smile looking up at me. I froze and watched her grab my hand. She closed it into a fist, then grabbed my thumb and stuck it out. She grabbed my other hand and did the same thing. I stood there frozen in place with both my thumbs out, and I heard Gunner laugh behind her.

“Now stand like this,” Aubrey said. She stood on one leg. I did the same, and all the kids around us started to laugh. I must’ve looked ridiculous, but I didn’t care.

“Okay, you can unfreeze now,” Aubrey told me.

I did as she commanded and went on my way, a silly smile on my face.


Ashley, another of Aubrey’s classmates, is afraid of me. I’m not sure why, but every time she sees me, she freezes in place, as if she thinks I can’t see her if she doesn’t make a sound. Lately, when other kids see me walking around, they yell, “Ashley! Mario!” and Ashley looks around and freezes in place once she sees me. Other times, she falls on the floor and plays dead. All I can do is laugh because I have no idea what else to do.

Last week, some of the kids started to shield her with their bodies and say things like, “Nothing to see here,” or “Ashley isn’t here.” I laugh and say, “I see nothing,” and continue on my way.

I find all of this so adorable and weird and nonsensical that it has made my life that much richer, and sometimes I can’t wait until recess just to see what these silly kids do next.

Earlier today, as I was walking to the main office at school, I saw Zoe, a second grader, with a snow shovel. She was shoveling snow when I asked her, “What are you doing?”

Aubrey, another second grader, ran up to me, face full of excitement, and said, “We’re building a fort!”

I noticed that Aubrey had a brand new pair of glasses, her first. I said, “I love your glasses.”

She turned her head to the side so I could see the temples of her glasses. They had cute hearts on the side. “I like the cool design,” she said.

I showed her my glasses and said, “All mine say is Ray Ban.”

Aubrey pulls me down so she could see and then says, “That sounds like a band. You know what you should do?”

“What?”

“You should get all the teachers together and have a rock concert in the gym.” She paused for a second and then says, “And you should invite Ray! He could play guitar.”

Ray is another second grader in her class, and I laugh pretty hard and say, “Does he know how to play guitar?”

“I don’t know,” she said. And then she ran away and went back to building her snow fort with Zoe.

My favorite 1st grader ran up to me and gave me a hug. She wore a black jacket, and she placed her arm beside mine and said, “We’re wearing the same color.”

I looked at her and said, “Black is cool.”

“Yeah,” she said. “Black is my second favorite color.”

“What’s your first favorite?”

“White.”

“Your favorite colors are black and white?”

“Yeah,” she said. “Those are my dad’s favorite colors.”

I looked at her and just smiled because I couldn’t help it.

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