Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This One Time When I Was 13

There was this one time when I was a teenager in junior high. For as long as I can remember, my father would always have the family working on whatever business we had at the moment. In Mexico, I remember that being that being a fruit stand in the tianguis (an open market). So when we got the U.S., it continued on. In this particular moment, my father had a new/used tire shop in South Central off Hoover and Slauson.

If I wasn’t in school, then more than likely I was with my mom and sisters at that infernal shop. This wasn’t his first shop either; at this point it was probably his second or third time operating one. For whatever reason, the man had to have us there with him at all times. My mom’z eventually told me that the reason he had her there was because of his insecure ways. If a woman has a job outside the home or is going to school, she’s only there to hook up with me. To this day his logic baffles me to no end, but I gave up trying to understand him years ago.

With me it was because outta four kids, I’m the only boy and the oldest. Just like his father did with him, he did with me, taking me to work and showing me the ropes. In all the years I spent doing this kind of shit in different shapes and forms, I’ve taken away skills and abilities that have been instrumental in being a journalist and an organizer.

But knowing how to change a tire or retreading a one before the age of 10, weren’t skills I was looking to master. At that age, I just wanted to ride my bike around the neighborhood and watch power rangers like everyone else. But that’s how it’s always been with him. Whether he had a tire shop, a lunch truck, was picking up shopping carts from the neighborhood and returning them to their stores or driving an underground taxi, I was always there right next to him helping out in some shape or form.

And for as long as I can remember, I have always felt like my father stole something from me. That time I mentioned at the beginning with me in junior high, it’s an example burned in my head. It was a Saturday and I remember coming home from the tire shop dirty. I looked as if I just walked outta a coalmine, is what I’m saying. We lived in an apartment building and one of the new family moved in not too long ago.

There was a beautiful girl my age. She hand the long, red, curly hair. Given our age, she had a baby face, but you could see he beauty radiate through that beautiful smile. For reasoning beyond my understanding, she liked me and not as a friend, but as a boyfriend. A few weeks before this Saturday incident that I’m dragging out, she came up to me and very bluntly told me that she liked me. That she wanted to be my girlfriend. A 29 year old me can barely mange that stuff, let alone a 13 year old me.

I honestly can’t remember if I replied back, walked away or what, but we both went to the same school, so we were still friends. So back to this Saturday night, I get home filthy and I’m sitting outside the steps of our back door. My friend lived up stairs so I heard her coming down. You know in movies they do those slow-mo, walking down the stairs prom scenes? Shinning bright like a diamond and shit? It was like that. Except her dress was silver, covered in fish scale looking things that made her look like a walking disco ball. I remember her walking up to and asking if I was going to the dance?

Apparently there was a school dance that night and she was going with friends. I answered something along the lines that I didn’t know and that I wasn’t going. But what sticks out is me looking at myself, all filthy and then looking back at her and giving her my answer of a no. To this day, I still kick myself for not saying yes to her and everything that could have followed. But I didn’t know better or even how to answer a romantic request. It’s always been a key point for me in my life, because now when I get scarred about something, and I don’t wanna answer, I think back to that moment and I say fuck it, let’s go for it.

And that’s it. After rereading this thing I realize that I’m saying a lot of different things all at once. The different issues that are a constant work of progress that help me live my life the way I want to live. I still have issues with girls, my father, my working class status and whatever other shit I’ve developed over the years. Anyway, just wanted to get those thoughts out of my mind and into words.