Passages 6-Meeting Rocio

David, Cam, and Geo ambled through Puerta del Sol enjoying their Palazzo ice cream cones. David had got pistachio, while Cam stuck with chocolate. Geo had wanted to try both of theirs, but she proclaimed her lemon one the best. The sun shone down, melting their ice cream as fast as they could lick the sides of their cones.

The square was as full of people as always. Tour groups clustered around their guides. There were people taking pictures of the statue of the bear and madroño, or strawberry tree, on the east end of the square, as well as of the statue of Carlos the third closer to the center. Another group stared down at the ground, while a short line of people nearby waited patiently.

“What are those people looking at on the ground, and why are those other people waiting?” Cam asked David.

“That’s kilometre zero,” he replied. “It symbolizes the centre of the country, and all the main highways begin here.”

Then Cam saw the white bicycles lined up in a bike stand. BiciMad, proclaimed the sign above them. “Are those for rent?” She questioned him.

“Yes, they are,” he walked over to the bike station. “I’ve never used them, though.”

A thought struck Cam. “Can you?” she looked at him, wondering if the question would hurt his feelings, but he only smiled.

“Yes, my limp doesn’t stop me being able to ride a bike.” He began reading the instructions. “Oh, cool, they’re electric.”

“You have to be 14 to use them,” spoke up a girl nearby. She was taller than Cam and dark-haired. “I’m only 12, I can’t use them yet.” She looked at Cam. “You’re younger than me, I think.”

“That’s right. I’m 9,” Cam said. The girl came closer to them. “What’s your name?”

“Rocio. What’s yours?”

“I’m Cam, and this is my sister Geo. That’s David.” The girl stuck out her hand to shake with each of them. When she got her hand back, it was sticky with melted ice cream. “Oh, sorry about that,” Cam dug into her backpack for her water bottle. “Do you want some water to rinse your hands with?”

“Oh, don’t worry, I live just there,” began Rocio, pointing, when some boys roughhousing nearby suddenly pushed her, and she stumbled and fell over a bollard. Her head hit the pavement hard, and she lay still.

 

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