the faint smell of crayons, adhesive, and floor wax filled the air. i shot an anxious smile at my mother and she nodded. in this moment, i know that my mother intended for me to feel reassured, but on the contrary, i felt sick to my stomach. shedding small crystal tears, i looked up to my mother and she smiled, i hadn’t seen her smile in months. i had to do this. as i walked in, the woman stopped me, speaking to me in a foreign language. what was she saying?
i eventually found my seat, sitting next to a girl with perfect golden hair and bright blue eyes, as i looked around i realized the class was filled with beautiful girls.
She spoke to me, my mind shook, i couldn’t respond. what was she saying?
i began to panic, and small tears shook down my face as i said the only thing i knew how to say– “no engleesh, i want mom”
soon the small tears soon became a river,
and the teacher called us all for “reeses”, and we all formed in line, tears continuing to run down my red face, anxiously waiting for the chocolate to drag me from my sadness, we walked outside. it wasn’t chocolate, and i’m not gonna lie… pretty disappointing, but i found something i finally knew how to do– play.
i ran as fast as i could to play with the girls, i did not speak their language, but was not an idiot. they giggled and pointed, mocking me until one said, “no amiga with us”. they smirked and ran. why didn’t they want to be my friend? i looked at them, then at myself, and once again the tears began to drip off my face.
the rest of the day was like a blur. as i sat on the big yellow machine home, i thought and came to a conclusion, asking my mother at the dinner table a question that no three year old should ever have to ask their mother:
“por qué no soy blanca, mamá?”
the tears transferred to my mother, unable and unsure what to answer. we sat in silence like something died, no one willing to break the silence.