I remember the high school student version of Marco Rubio, with his neatly-pressed shirts always tucked in, his toothy smile and his bleached white socks. But most of all, I remember his butt.
The Cuban man butt holds a special place in my heart — it’s a thing of wonder and mystery. Why Cuban men have big butts I may never know. However, there are some gifts you just don’t question. You don’t look a gift butt in the mouth.
We only had one brief encounter, Marco and me. For months I had watched him from the other end of the cafeteria at South Miami Senior High School. He’d drink 7-Up and laugh with his friends about Michael Dukakis. I never had the nerve to say much of anything. Until that day.
It was a school trip to the zoo. Two grades ahead of us, Marco was the group leader. We were supposed to write a report on Darwinism and while many of the kids protested (insisting we did not evolve from monkeys), science actually had a place in our school system back then.
We were analyzing the mating ritual of the bonobos, when Marco remembered he left his retainer in the van. His orthodontist had given him strict orders to wear the retainer after lunch and, not wanting to enter politics with a busted grill, Marco announced he had to go back to the school van for a minute.
I knew it was now or never. Although it was a muggy 91 degrees, I claimed I was cold and needed my sweater — also in the van. Marco complied and we headed over to the parking lot.
Marco had always been a bit flighty; he nervously rushed ahead of me. I took the opportunity to enjoy his rotund man tush. His khaki Dockers cupped his derriere ever so gently as he briskly glided towards the van.
We reached the van and he impatiently grabbed his retainer. I lifted my sweater from the back seat. Looking at himself in the car mirror, he gently pressed the retainer down on his bottom teeth.
I guess in that moment I caught his eye in the mirror. He turned around and asked “Hey, are you Cuban?”
“I’m half Ecuadorian and half Swedish.”
We hopped out the van and he took the keys from his pocket.
“All right, let’s lock and load” he said then slammed the sliding van door right on his ass.
We never spoke after that. I suspect he was embarrassed. Never would I have imagined, the one thing that most attracted me to him, would be the one thing that kept us apart.
— SMSHSPr0mQu33n1991@aol.com was the prom queen at South Miami Senior High School in 1991
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