from "An Old Virgin"
from the collection Don't Cry
A car pulled up beside her, throwing off motor heat. The car was full of loud teenage boys. The driver, a Hispanic boy of about eighteen, wanted to make a right turn, but he was blocked by a stalled car in front of him and cars on his side. He was banging his horn and yelling out the window; his urgency was hot and all over the place. Laura stared at him. His delicate beauty was almost too bright; he had so much light that it burned him up inside and made him dark. He yelled and pounded the horn, trying to spew it out, but still it surged through him. It was like he was ready to kill someone, anyone, without any understanding in his mind or heart. That thought folded over unexpectedly; Laura pictured him as a baby with his mouth on his mother's breast. She pictured his fierce nature deep inside him, like dark, beautiful seeds feeding off his mother's milk, off the feel of her hand on his skull. She thought of him as a teenager with a girl; he would kiss her too hard and be rough, wanting her to feel what he had inside him, wanting her to see it. And, in spite of his roughness, she would.
He turned in his seat to shout something to the other boys in the car, then turned forward to put his head out the window to curse the other cars. He turned again and saw Laura staring at him. Their eyes met. She thought of her father showing his aunts the stars and all the planets. You are good, she thought. What you have is good. The boy dropped his eyes in confusion. There was a yell from the backseat. The stalled car leaped forward. The boy snapped around, hit the gas, and was off.
Laura crossed the street. How to explain that? she thought. How to know what it even was. She thought, I told him he was good. I told him with his eyes and he heard me.