When I was eight and Javier was nine, I threw the ball to him in the dirt lot behind our school. Javier vanished before the ball hit the ground; it rolled through the footprints he left behind in the dust.
I could not get him out of my mind for the next few weeks. As school filled my head with other things, I began to forget. But he appeared in my mind again when I ran away from the orphanage; again years later, standing on the gallows, the rioting crowd in front of me; again amid confetti after the election, me waving my hand in slow motion so it would not blur for the photographers; again when my hands were in the earth, planting seeds for blue corn. But by the time I saw him again, in the streets of the capital city, I had not thought of him in seventeen years.
“You threw the ball too high,â? he said.
“Where have you been?â? I said.