April 29, 2010

Tasalagi Tale (2/9)

    I invited him over to my house to get cleaned up. My mother was great with this kind of thing and never fussed at the sight of blood and bruises the way some moms do. Besides, with my being a halfie, she had gotten a fair amount of prior experience (not always easy being different, especially in the south). She took to Billy quickly, I think it was his honest way of looking people in the eye when he spoke, or perhaps because of her taste for Native American art and literature, or then again maybe it was the ears. She patched us up neat and quick, then looked us over and grinned. Billy was wearing a pair of Keds (a brand of canvas sneakers), jeans, a sky blue shirt and a red baseball cap. He almost looked Hispanic with his dark eyes and very dark skin. He had a straight nose with freckles in the middle of a long horsy -yet somehow distinguished- face, framed with short cut brown hair except in the back were it grew to his shoulders. His ears stuck out and this was accentuated by his cap which was just a little too big for him and would ride on them (I later learned it was his brother's). It was as if he hadn't grown into either his ears or his cap yet. "A regular come-to-life Native American Norman Rockwell painting." my mother said. We didn't get the joke at the time but laughed anyway: we were in very high spirits. I on the other hand had a round smiling face, very pale skin with rosy cheeks, clear slightly slanted hazel eyes and jet-black Asian hair. I was a cute kid, almost pretty though I didn't know it then or even care to know. As I mentioned earlier, Billy and I made a funny pair.

    So after we had both gotten cleaned up and had demolished the chocolate chip cookies and milk my mom had set out for us, she offered to drive Billy home. For the first time since I had met Billy he showed signs of being uneasy. He thanked her and said it was okay, that he would take the bus. But my mother wouldn't hear of it and eventually Billy admitted to living on the reservation. I think he was worried about how my mother would react to this fact. Of course, he didn't know my mother yet at that point: not only was she undeterred but she knew exactly where on the reservation his address was too. I'm sure not a single one of our neighbors would have known... they were too busy with PTA meetings, Cub Scout jamborees, and church picnics and what have you to know or care about Indian reservations, but not my mom. I was exceptionally proud to be her child that day.

Picture from linnyscookies.com

They look good,don't they?
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