Everybody has a birthday. Eventually, everybody does. Today Aljehandro's father turned 34. He is 22 years older than Aljehandro is. So Aljehandro's Mama decided to bake to celebrate the anniversary. She baked a cake, from scratch, the old-fashioned way, the way that doesn't cost as much as Pillsbury or Duncan Heinz or Betty Crocker. Money is tight and they don't have enough for a present for Papa --- any present, even though Aljehandro urged his mother to at least buy Papa a new handsaw and some blades. She declined, saying that he needs all the extra money they have for his school and his activities. Aljehandro hates taking precedence in the family over everything and everybody else. It drives him crazy.
Anyway, Mama sent him to the store, and he rode his bike to pick up some items she needed to cook with: some imitation vanilla and some powdered sugar. He peddled off down the road on past the convenience store at the gas station to the nearest market about three miles off.
"Don't go to the store at the gas station," his Mama said, "go on down the road." She gave him some coins to pay for the items --- no bills, just coins. Everything is cheaper at the market than it is at the convenience store. And a few pennies can make a big difference.
It is always about money and cost. At least, it seems like it.
Each time Aljehandro pedaled, the coins within his pocket jingled and jangled. It was a steady rhythm, upbeat, and Aljehandro composed a tune and sang it to himself as he went along.
The trip home would be harder. It was all uphill. And his pockets would be empty.