A Girl Named Rosario A 2018 National Steinbeck Center Story Slam top finisher


By Angela Hernandez
President of The Writers of Alisal Club

I want to tell you all a story about a girl I used to know. I had just moved here to Salinas from Los Angeles. I loved it when I first got here. It was quieter, calmer and a lot nicer looking.

It was the middle of summer and I remember the air feeling so hot that I sat on the curb below a huge tree in front of my house. I had no friends and nobody to talk to until I met Rosario.

Rosario was a very tall girl with dark almond hair and said everything with a honeyed voice. Like the charismatic person she was, she walked up to me and plopped down next to me and asked, “Hey, can I join your daydreaming session?” She would lower her sunglasses to make eye contact. She was something I wasn’t used to at all. And I really liked it.

Rosario came over every day that summer and would talk about so many different things, but hardly about her own life. She gave me my first cigarette and introduced me to the music of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, calling them her idols.

One day we were walking to the 7-Eleven and she turned to me and said in a playful tone “I need to show you something urgently.” She grabbed my wrist tightly and led me to the part of town where only fields of vegetables were visible for a long while. And then there it was, a huge worn-out and brittled house. To Rosario, it was a treasure. She said “It’s so cool. I bet something super crazy in history happened here.” To me, well, I just thought it was ugly.

She led me to the porch of the old house. Every step I took on the old brown wood would squeak so loudly. I followed Rosario into the house. It smelled like urine and dirt and was completely empty except for a backpack in the corner of the room and cobwebs hanging from the tall ceiling.

She walked to it and unzipped the bag to pull out two cans of beer. She held out her arm wide offering a can to me. Not wanting to seem like a loser, I took it. This was the first taste of alcohol I have ever had and it was gross, but I liked the feeling it gave me.

Rosario then pulled out what I thought was a gun from her backpack. I took a giant step back and froze in confusion. But she quickly said to my shocked face, “Calm down, silly. It’s only a BB gun.” We spent that afternoon shooting cans off the windowsill of the old house.

We joked all day, my cheeks hurt so much from laughing.  It was the first time that I really felt like I made a connection with somebody.  Except that summer would be the last time I would ever see her.

It makes me kind of sad to remember her but I think one day, maybe in the near future, I’ll find her.

Have something to say about this story? Send us a letter.


About Angela Hernandez

Angela Hernandez is an Alisal High School junior and president of the school's Writer's Club. She was a top finisher of the second annual Story Slam at the National Steinbeck Center in February. She shares her story with Voices readers this week.