I went down to the pawn shop the other day. Casa de empeños, it said. Can I have the belt buckle back, I said? It used to be my father’s, and I never told him I pawned it. I didn’t tell them that. No, they said, and I put the 10 dollars back in my pocket. But we have nice loafers if you want to buy something.
The next time I went down it was with a watch that had been my mother’s. Had been—she’s still alive—I took it from her bedroom. She remembers less and less, and she never liked jewelry. We have enough watches, the owner of the pawn shop said. Take it back. The basketball court next to the pawn shop was full of people playing after work, unless they were unemployed, in which case they could have been there all day. I stayed and watched with one hand’s fingers clutched in the fence.
Wednesday I went to the pawn shop because I had a date that night, and I needed the loafers. I had a stack of baseball cards that once belonged to my brother. He’d put the shiny ones in plastic sheaths to save them. These aren’t worth anything, the pawn shop owner said to me. We only take rookie cards. I remember when we were kids my brother used to explain to me carefully what he was doing, that he only put the cards in sheaths if the player hit over .300, or played for the Dodgers or Mets. Don’t touch them, he said. I’ll know. He didn’t. Maybe he doesn’t remember. I didn’t buy the loafers.