(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Carlos is a twenty-nine-year-old bachelor, leading a professional life in Mexico City. Although his life is pleasant, he feels that it is missing something, a central attraction. One day, while rearranging dusty, old books, he finds a card with a message written in a childish hand: “Amilamia wil not forget her good friend—come see me here where I draw it.” With the message is a small map.

This message starts Carlos to reminisce about the summer that he met and played with Amilamia. She was an exuberant seven-year-old child; he was a fourteen-year-old adolescent trying to forget the approach of boarding school and adult responsibilities. He spent his days in a small, enclosed park, reading romantic fiction about pirates, runaways, and heroes who rescued princesses.

Into this dreamy refuge, Amilamia intruded herself. In his memory, Carlos sees her in constant motion: laughing, running, jumping, singing, and playing. Amilamia drew the self-conscious teenager into her orbit, becoming a point of support for his life, a visible symbol of the tension between childhood and adulthood. Carlos at this time of his life was beginning to find truth in books; Amilamia forced him for a time to participate joyously in life as a child would. Their friendship progressed from his indifferent tolerance to acceptance, and then, suddenly, to rejection.

Their last afternoon together they spent in playing childish games—running, making paper boats, and rolling down the hill in the park. Suddenly repulsed, Carlos angrily pushed Amilamia away and she fell, hurting herself. Ignoring her tears, he settled on his bench and resumed reading. She left, returning the next day only to give him the little card with the message and map and then leave without...

(The entire section is 721 words.)