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It dawned on her that she'd failed to mention one critical fact. "You don't have to fit it all on one plate!" she said. "You can go back for more."
The boys looked at each other—God bless America!—and broke into cheers. They staggered onto the bus an hour later, and eventually they had another favorite sing-along. To the tune of the soccer anthem Olé! Olé! Olé! the Fugees sang, "Buffet! Buffet! Buffet!"
THE LAST child in the yellow Volkswagen Beetle: that was the one who began to unnerve Luma. The final one to be dropped off after a practice or a weekend outing, when it was just she and he riding in the dark, and they couldn't look at each other. That was when the trauma found its way up from the cellar.
One night it was a boy from Sierra Leone. When he confided to her that sometimes his dad would grow angry and hit him, Luma replied, "My dad did the same sometimes when I was little."
The boy was quiet for a few seconds. Then, thinking he and his coach had found common ground, he said, "Oh. Did you see your dad's fingers get cut off?"
Luma gulped. "No," she said. "How?"
Luma, for once, could think of nothing to say. She still can't.