It started with a small tap on my shoulder. I turned to meet his eyes. Him again. The small smirk on his face opened to say, “No one will ever like you, you Siamese freak!”
He always made fun of me. Until now, my isolation resulted from my height or my gender. He moved into a big red house on my road in sixth grade. That day, he walked on the bus- a quiet court jester. And somehow it became his kingdom.
My black eyes met the silver window slowly; they skated around each curve of the landscape.
I started with the houses. I thought of my friends. They stood lined up with perfect white shirts and dark wash jeans. I went down the line thinking of each person’s skin: Sidney, white. Nick, white. Andrew, white. Daisy, white. Then there was me, yellow. A yellow crayon melted into a pool of paint.
I looked at the dark mahogany doors and the white shutters. I noticed the small spaces where the paints started to give up. The chips fell off the building in the most imperfect way. Each house painted a different color. Yet from the road, the houses fit nicely together. In my mind all the houses had bright, happy faces, with perfect teeth and dimples. They all had long or curly hair with some mascara or blush. Each house had a different style. They could be dressed with Christmas lights or spider webs. A community. It didn’t matter that one was grey, the next one light yellow.
Looking in the mirror, now, I haven’t changed. Of course, I grew a few feet, my hair has gotten longer, my teeth have moved to the right place. I’ve grown up. But I’ve always looked at myself and never actually thought: Asian. Personally, if I were put in a group of Chinese people I would feel out of place. Sure, they are the same race as me, but I feel like their stereotypes would come to mind. One will be smart. One will be amazing at gymnastics. One will be able to play the violin. I couldn’t see them just like me. I wouldn’t know what to talk about.
Today, I look in the mirror and see my almond eyes, my straight black hair and my bruised left arm from lacrosse. I don’t see my skin color.
Sometimes I think about that day. He sat in the brown bus seat next to me and his white hand tapped me on the shoulder. His brown eyes met mine and his small smirk opened to say nine words, “No one will ever like you, you Siamese freak.”
I now see new images in his eyes.
I see the big, red, empty new house two doors down from me.
I see the houses with Christmas lights and the small paint chips.
I see the white shutters.
I see the nine words and I see me.