Esperanza's neighbors move to Kentucky, and take their pet monkey with them. They had had a garden, and now that they're gone, the neighborhood kids take it over.
Little by little, the garden becomes an overgrown graveyard for old, broken-down cars.
The children play in the garden, and begin to think of it as a magical place where they can escape the prying eyes of adults. They pretend that the garden existed before anything else, and that things can get lost in the garden for a thousand years.
This is where Esperanza tells us that she tried to die in the garden once, and that it would be the last day she would go there. That line serves as an introduction to the story she's about to tell us. Here goes:
Esperanza and Sally go to the garden. Esperanza wants to run and play, even though someone accuses her of being too old to play games. Sally stays behind and talks to Tito and his friends.
Esperanza observes as Sally flirts with the boys, pretending to be angry when they steal her keys and force her to kiss them in order to get them back.
Sally goes behind the old blue pickup with the boys to get her keys back. Esperanza feels really angry about the situation, and runs up three flights of stairs to tell Tito's mom about what's going on.
Tito's mom doesn't see what the big deal is. After all, boys (and girls) will be boys (and girls).
Esperanza runs back to the garden and prepares to rescue Sally. She takes a few sticks and a brick and bursts in on the scene.
Everyone looks at Esperanza like she's crazy, and Sally tells her to go home.
Esperanza runs away and hides under a tree at the other end of the garden. She lies down and cries, and tries to wish herself to death.
When she finally stands up, the garden doesn't seem to belong to her anymore.