Excerpted from With Love from Spain, Melanie Martin by Carol Weston Copyright © 2004 by Carol Weston; illustrated by Marci Roth. Excerpted by permission of Yearling, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Four more hours till we land in SPAIN!!
If I didn’t have my seat belt on, I’d be jumping UP AND DOWN.
We have been waiting waiting waiting for spring break and it’s finally here! NO early-morning wake-ups, NO pop quizzes, and NO homework–for two weeks anyway.
Since Dad had to go to Madrid on business, Mom used frequent-flyer miles so we could all tag along.
Today they picked us up after school, and we went straight to the airport.
I’m excited about this trip because I speak Spanish– hablo español (Ah Blow S Pon Yole). Not fluently or anything, but I know how to count. One is uno (Oo No), two is dos (Dose), and three is tres (Trace). I can also say hi, which is hola (Oh La), and lots of other words.
I hope I meet a nice Spanish girl so I can learn more.
Right now I’m in seat 22 next to Matt the Brat. He asked me, “Are the street signs in Spain in Spanish?”
“Duh,” I said, and made a how-stupid-can-you-get face.
“Wrong!” He laughed. “They’re in sign language!”
Believe it or not, that joke was better than some of his other second-grade humor. In the taxi, for instance, Matt said, “What goes ha-ha-ha-ha-splat?” I said, “What?” and he said, “A man laughing his head off.”
Well, that was so lame that I said, “You came out funny. That’s why Mom and Dad stopped having kids after they had you.”
He said, “You came out funny. That’s why Mom and Dad had me.”
Fortunately, Matt is now asleep. His eyes are closed and his mouth is open. Mom and Dad told us to try to sleep because when we arrive, it will be morning of a brand-new day–ready or not.
Problem is, I’m not sleepy. Something is bothering me.
All of us are excited about this vacation, but Mom might be too excited.
An old friend of hers is picking us up at the airport.
And not just any old friend. An old boyfriend!
And not just any old boyfriend. A “serious” old boyfriend.
His name is Antonio (On Toe Knee Oh).
All I know about him is that he smokes–which is disgusting. And he speaks English but makes mistakes. And he has a kid. And his last name is Ramón (Rah Moan).
How could Mom have gone out with someone who can’t speak English without making mistakes? And who smokes??
Last weekend Mom showed me ancient photos of them together. In one, they were holding hands at a zoo. In another, they had their arms around each other in front of a castle.
Mom’s friend Lori was visiting, and she and Mom started looking at scrapbooks and giggling as if they were still college roommates.
“I can’t believe you and Antonio have started e-mailing!” Lori said.
“I can’t believe I’m about to see him after all these years!” Mom answered.
“That’s my fantasy,” Lori said. “To see an old boyfriend when I’m with my husband and kids. No, wait! I think my fantasy is to see an old boyfriend when I’m all by myself!” Lori laughed and laughed. It made me feel w-e-i-r-d. “Think he’s still tall, dark, and handsome?”
“Who knows?” Mom answered.
“Well, get your beauty sleep on the plane,” Lori said as she was leaving. “And give Antonio a big kiss for me.”
Get this: Mom asked, “How big?” and they both giggled!
I wonder if Mom and Antonio ever did kiss.
Is that a dumb thing to wonder? Obviously, they must have.
I was tempted to say something to Mom, but I didn’t want her to think I was eavesdropping.
Which I wasn’t. I was in the kitchen finding common denominators of fractions and I accidentally overheard their conversation.
I have to say, Mom has been acting strange all week.
On Monday, she bought a lip gloss and a pink scarf. On Tuesday, she got a haircut even though her hair looked perfectly fine. On Wednesday, she had a manicure. (Mom hardly ever gets her nails done.) Yesterday, she bought a blouse and a pair of pants.
I called Cecily to tell her about Mom’s giggling and shopping and makeover. Cecily pointed out that she and I like giggling and shopping and makeovers and said, “Don’t worry.” She always tells me not to worry. But I always end up worrying.
I thought about asking Dad if he’s noticed anything suspicious. I even considered warning him that Mom is trying to look good for her ex Spanish Sweetheart.
Would that be betraying Mom?
Maybe I am making too big a deal of this.
By the way, for my birthday, I got a new diary–you!–which I saved for this plane ride. But now I’m going to put you away and wrap the airplane blanket around myself (and Hedgie) so we can try to fall asleep.
I was going to bring a different stuffed animal and leave Hedgehog safe at home. But I couldn’t bear to. (Or hedgehog to, get it?) Matt did leave DogDog behind. He said he couldn’t stand it if DogDog got lost again like on our last trip. So he brought his penguin, Flappy Happy. It is black and white with a yellow beak and trusting eyes.
Good night, or as they say in Spain, Good nights.
Buenas Noches (Bway Nahs No Case)
Above the Clouds
From the Hardcover edition.