Archive for February 2005

Under the weather

February 28, 2005

I

swear, I hate getting sick. Canceling classes is the last thing I want to do. But today, heavy snow is forecast for our area so if I went to school, I’d just get sicker and end up canceling classes later this week. I’ve been teaching at my current institution since 1996 and this is, I think, the 3rd time I’ve cancelled class due to illness, so my track record is not too bad. I guess I was due. Besides, I’m sure my students aren’t going to be overly depressed at having an unexpected day off.

Anyway, I’m too sick to continue the story. Minds kind of foggy. I wrote the following on Saturday–yes, I sometimes have posts all ready to publish. I have another one for tomorrow as well… Sometimes when I start writing, I can’t stop… Diarrhea of the keyboard?

Responses

There have been a few questions and comments that I would like to respond to. I often respond at the site of the person who asked, but I think they are basically about my last few posts, it might be nice to write about them here where everyone can read them.

Visit Fongster8's Xanga Site!Fongster: Is this fiction? Are you writing a book?

No, this is not fiction, although there are some fictional elements to it. Everyone I mentioned existed. The events did occur: We did ride the bus, Angel and I did go to see if we could find DKLA walking to school. She did call. She did come to my house. She did kiss me. (*^_^*) (I know some of my students are cringing at that one.) The fiction is in the details: names have obviously been changed, although Angel was a nickname he went by when he worked at the confectionary job–a job that I got for him, I must add; Billie . Much of the dialogue reflects the spirit of the conversations although it is not verbatim–It’s not like I tape recorded everything.

Visit sekura81's Xanga Site!

sekura81: Have you always been clueless about when the opposite sex likes you ? I am so in the same boat as you. With the current bf I didn’t know till he leaned in and kissed me.

Yes, I have always been pretty clueless. A lot of it probalby stems from the insecurities I developed when I was being rejected by girl after girl after girl. I obviously had no clue back then.

Visit tim00's Xanga Site!Visit SunJun's Xanga Site! Tim00 and SunJun: “Bro’s before ho’s…”

Ah, the words of the sages. Yes, there is something to be said about the solidarity of the brotherhood. But two things: I was young, naive, and wildly in love with women; also, as I have proven, the solidarity of the brotherhood is a myth.

Visit bane_vixen's Xanga Site!Visit Eechim's Xanga Site!Visit simply_marie's Xanga Site!Visit gyjcwang's Xanga Site!The vixen: hey, you’re quite the looker.
eechim: ooh, yes, you looked very cool back then
simply_marie: you’re so handsome then and now!
gyjcwang: You looked quite handsome back in 1974

Xanga-73 Xanga-dining Xanga-scream
1972 2000 2004

Thanks guys… yeah, even you Jason… I think. But do I look that different? I’ve been looking at the same mug for the past 49 years and I don’t see that much difference. Well, I have gained a considerable amount of weight, so I really should lose a few pounds–how many times have I said this?. Oh well, aging will do that to ya’.

Visit ellen9's Xanga Site!
Ellen9: I have heard of the Flying Burrito Brothers. I couldn’t come up with any of their songs but do remember the name. Enjoying the story so far…

Omigod! You must have lived in California during the 70s. Nice to meet ya’. And to be honest. I don’t remember any of their songs, either. I even had one of their albums–For you kids, that would be a black vinyl disk on which analog music was recorded.

Visit RachelsMommy's Xanga Site! RachelsMommy: You bastard!!!

Sticks and stones…

Visit enygma81's Xanga Site!

Enygma81: If you ever get tired of being an educator, you should publish your memoirs. =D

You think it would sell?

Visit Andine's Xanga Site! Andine: I am totally hooked to this~

Ah, there is nothing like hearing appreciative words… Makes me wanna write more…

Under the weather

February 28, 2005

I

swear, I hate getting sick. Canceling classes is the last thing I want to do. But today, heavy snow is forecast for our area so if I went to school, I’d just get sicker and end up canceling classes later this week. I’ve been teaching at my current institution since 1996 and this is, I think, the 3rd time I’ve cancelled class due to illness, so my track record is not too bad. I guess I was due. Besides, I’m sure my students aren’t going to be overly depressed at having an unexpected day off.

Anyway, I’m too sick to continue the story. Minds kind of foggy. I wrote the following on Saturday–yes, I sometimes have posts all ready to publish. I have another one for tomorrow as well… Sometimes when I start writing, I can’t stop… Diarrhea of the keyboard?

Responses

There have been a few questions and comments that I would like to respond to. I often respond at the site of the person who asked, but I think they are basically about my last few posts, it might be nice to write about them here where everyone can read them.

Visit Fongster8's Xanga Site!Fongster: Is this fiction? Are you writing a book?

No, this is not fiction, although there are some fictional elements to it. Everyone I mentioned existed. The events did occur: We did ride the bus, Angel and I did go to see if we could find DKLA walking to school. She did call. She did come to my house. She did kiss me. (*^_^*) (I know some of my students are cringing at that one.) The fiction is in the details: names have obviously been changed, although Angel was a nickname he went by when he worked at the confectionary job–a job that I got for him, I must add; Billie . Much of the dialogue reflects the spirit of the conversations although it is not verbatim–It’s not like I tape recorded everything.

Visit sekura81's Xanga Site!

sekura81: Have you always been clueless about when the opposite sex likes you ? I am so in the same boat as you. With the current bf I didn’t know till he leaned in and kissed me.

Yes, I have always been pretty clueless. A lot of it probalby stems from the insecurities I developed when I was being rejected by girl after girl after girl. I obviously had no clue back then.

Visit tim00's Xanga Site!Visit SunJun's Xanga Site! Tim00 and SunJun: “Bro’s before ho’s…”

Ah, the words of the sages. Yes, there is something to be said about the solidarity of the brotherhood. But two things: I was young, naive, and wildly in love with women; also, as I have proven, the solidarity of the brotherhood is a myth.

Visit bane_vixen's Xanga Site!Visit Eechim's Xanga Site!Visit simply_marie's Xanga Site!Visit gyjcwang's Xanga Site!The vixen: hey, you’re quite the looker.
eechim: ooh, yes, you looked very cool back then
simply_marie: you’re so handsome then and now!
gyjcwang: You looked quite handsome back in 1974

Xanga-73 Xanga-dining Xanga-scream
1972 2000 2004

Thanks guys… yeah, even you Jason… I think. But do I look that different? I’ve been looking at the same mug for the past 49 years and I don’t see that much difference. Well, I have gained a considerable amount of weight, so I really should lose a few pounds–how many times have I said this?. Oh well, aging will do that to ya’.

Visit ellen9's Xanga Site!
Ellen9: I have heard of the Flying Burrito Brothers. I couldn’t come up with any of their songs but do remember the name. Enjoying the story so far…

Omigod! You must have lived in California during the 70s. Nice to meet ya’. And to be honest. I don’t remember any of their songs, either. I even had one of their albums–For you kids, that would be a black vinyl disk on which analog music was recorded.

Visit RachelsMommy's Xanga Site! RachelsMommy: You bastard!!!

Sticks and stones…

Visit enygma81's Xanga Site!

Enygma81: If you ever get tired of being an educator, you should publish your memoirs. =D

You think it would sell?

Visit Andine's Xanga Site! Andine: I am totally hooked to this~

Ah, there is nothing like hearing appreciative words… Makes me wanna write more…

Coughing

February 27, 2005

Crap… I think I’m getting sick again. So many students have been hacking in class, and a couple who have been coughing it up in my office. Now, I’m coughing and I have a slight fever…. Well… if ever there was an excuse to postpone grading…

If you haven’t read On Friendship yet, CLICK HERE to read the first four chapters in order instead of looking for the posts individually. Of course, you may have already read it, in which case… nevermind

Update 9:30 AM

Fever has gone up. 38.2 degrees (100.75 F).

Coughing

February 27, 2005

Crap… I think I’m getting sick again. So many students have been hacking in class, and a couple who have been coughing it up in my office. Now, I’m coughing and I have a slight fever…. Well… if ever there was an excuse to postpone grading…

If you haven’t read On Friendship yet, CLICK HERE to read the first four chapters in order instead of looking for the posts individually. Of course, you may have already read it, in which case… nevermind

Update 9:30 AM

Fever has gone up. 38.2 degrees (100.75 F).

Betrayal

February 26, 2005

W

inter 1972-73, I was 16 going on 17. I was naive and still a virgin, but it was my time to grow up, to taste the complexities of a burgeoning adulthood. I was never very good at doing what I was told. Mom told me that as the eldest I had to be reliable, my 8th grade teacher discussed being faithful to friends, country and God. But it rarely sank in. I was one of those stubborn kids who had to actually experience things before understanding them, before practicing them. So I learned values such as responsibility, loyalty, and obligation by trial and error. Of course, it sometimes seemed that the greater the error, the better the lesson. To continue…


Hello?” I answered the phone.

“Hi, how was school?” It was DKLA.

“Okay. How’d you get our number?”

“I asked Angel.”

“Um… I’m not sure if…”

“I told him that I needed to get a hold of your sister.”

“Oooh… I mean,” I paused briefly, trying to figure out how to handle this situation. “Do you realize what’s going on?”

“Uh-huh. Angel’s been pretty obvious,” DKLA said.

“Then you know that you shouldn’t be talking to me.”

“Why? I can’t live my life based on someone else’s feelings. I have to do what I want to do, not what someone else wants me to do.”

“Yeah, but…”

“Besides, Angel’s not my type. You are.”

She said it. You are… I mean I am. I’m her type.

No sooner had she uttered these words that I had forgotten my dilemma. Angel? Angel who. This was my very first experience of having a girl tell my they like me. It was like an narcotic–not that I would know the effects of an illegal pharmaceutical product, mind you, but if I did, I was sure that it felt like this. I became light headed.

“Yeah, you’re my type, too,” I said, starting to giggle like her, like a girl. Among other things, I had yet to learn the value of remaining cool at times such as this.

We talked for an hour about everything, about nothing. The only thing that we knew was that we were interested in each other, and it became obvious that we wanted to pursue our feelings regardless. Although, I suspect now, in hindsight, that our reasons were different. While she perhaps was genuinely interested in me, I was more interested in experiencing the feelings of being wanted. I wanted to bathe myself in the euphoria aroused when one becomes the target of another’s desire. For too long I had been on the other side of yearning.

When I was 13, our 7th grade class went on a field trip to Knott’s Berry Farm. As a bunch of kids suffering through puberty, all any of us could think of was spending the day with a person of the opposite sex. Some of the guys in class already had predetermined partners. I hesitate to use the word “steady” or even “girlfriend” because back then the most we could do was hang out together at lunch or after school. Once we got on the school bus to go home, we re-entered reality and had to lead lives that did not allow for open girl-boy relationships, particularly in our Japanese American sphere. For two weeks, the topic of conversation was who was going to “date” who at Knott’s. I too wanted desperately to date a girl I thought was pretty cute, but I knew she was already set. I asked two other girls who I had heard did not yet have a date, but they rejected me. I ended up going with a skinny girl who rode the same school bus as I did–the sister of a Boy Scout patrol mate.

In high school, at 15, I once attended a mixer. I went to a private Catholic school–all male–and the girls who were invited came from other private schools in the area. My friends would never go. Why go? they’d say. There ain’t anyone you’d know. This was true, but I went anyway, because I wanted to hear the Flying Burrito Brothers play. (I dare anyone to say they’ve heard of this group!) At the mixer, I soon learned why my friends would not go. Everyone at the dance was white. There were a few Blacks and Hispanics, but 95% percent of the students there were white. At school the white population hovered around 65% I’d figure, but when it came to social events, this school turned white. I must have asked five or six girls to dance and every single one of them looked at me as if I was a Martian. I espied one Filipino girl and asked her, but she rejected me as well. Needless to say, I did not have a good time.

My first real job was at the confectionary shop in J-Town. I had worked since I was 14 doing maintenance work at my elementary school over the summer. They paid me cash–$1 an hour!–but it was enough to let me buy my own Panasonic radio-cassette player. But for the job in J-Town, I had to fill out an application form and submit a social security number. I was joining the ranks of tax payers. I had inquired K about the job over the phone and she told me to come in on Tuesday and ask for Billie. It was my first day of my first real job, and I was a bit excited. I walked into the store and told one of the lady clerks that I was new and was supposed to meet Billie. She nodded and went to the back room, and out came a cute girl in a white uniform. She introduced herself as Billie. After allowing me a moment to recover, she led downstairs to pick up a large bundle of boxes, then she handed me a stack of labels and a jar of glue.

“Here. Paste these labels on the lid. The black label little from the top and the green address label about a quarter inch from the bottom edge. After you finish, bring another bundle up…”

I was in love.

Billie and I got along well enough as work colleagues. But after a month, she quit. She had just graduated high school and was about to start college, starting with summer school. She had no time to work at the shop anymore, and certainly no time for me. I was crushed but did not give up. I asked her out to a concert, and she agreed to go see Dave Mason at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, as long as someone else came. So Angel came along, too. We had a great time, and even went bowling after that. But the evening ended with a solid “thanks” and a wave “good-bye”. While I had a serious crush on her and was still infatuated–I would pine away to anyone who would listen–I was not an idiot. I could take a hint.

So this heretofore unknown situation, of being the pursued rather than the pursuer, had a narcotic effect on me. And DKLA was the pusher.

“My parents are having a Christmas party next week, but, uh, you wanna come?”

“Who’s coming?” she asked, perhaps not so innocently.

“Just my parents’ friends. No one my… our age.”

“Hmmm, your house?”

“Yeah, say you’ll come?”

“Well, if I have to…” she said feigning helplessness.

That Saturday, I went to pick her up and we ate dinner at my house with my parents friends. The situation was almost perfect. Since my parents had to entertain their guests, they didn’t pepper me or DKLA with questions. We listened to a few songs in my room–a room that I had actually cleaned up willingly–and then we went bowling. (Yeah, it was pretty popular back then.) Around 11 o’clock, she said that she should go home–she was, after all, 16, and I had just turned 17 the day before. The whole evening, I had done nothing untoward. I was the perfect gentleman, mostly because I really didn’t know what to do. I was so naive.

But as I drove her home in my mother’s Camaro, she placed her hand on my sleeve and I instantly got nervous. Shit, what am I supposed to do when we get to her house? I laughed nervously, trying oh so hard to stay composed. Right, walk her to the door. But do I kiss her? Shit. Why don’t I have an older brother? I was turning into a wreck. Okay, I’ll kiss her… but what if she sticks her hand out when I try? Damn, do I just shake it? Oh, God, fuck, what am I supposed to do? When we reached her house, I parked in front and was about to get out of the car, but she stopped me.

“No, don’t get out.”

Oh shit, she wants to avoid the scene altogether, I thought, crestfallen. Was inviting her a bad idea? Was bowling a bad idea? Do I have bad breath? Oh man, here we go again. All these thoughts flashed through my mind in a nanosecond.

“Well, I should at least walk you to the door,” I protested meekly. “I think it’s the polite thing to do.”

“Look at the second window from the left,” she said, motioning vaguely to her dark pink house. I looked and saw the drapes pushed aside just slightly and the silhouette of a head peering through. “That’s my mom.”

Ooooh. DKLA reached into her bag, and took out a box wrapped in blue paper and a red ribbon. “Your birthday was yesterday, right? So here: Happy Birthday.”

I was speechless. I looked down at the box to accept the gift. I felt so flattered, so excited, so happy. “I don’t know what to…” I looked back up to thank her when she leaned over and kissed me full on the lips…

Next: Flame Out

Betrayal

February 26, 2005

W

inter 1972-73, I was 16 going on 17. I was naive and still a virgin, but it was my time to grow up, to taste the complexities of a burgeoning adulthood. I was never very good at doing what I was told. Mom told me that as the eldest I had to be reliable, my 8th grade teacher discussed being faithful to friends, country and God. But it rarely sank in. I was one of those stubborn kids who had to actually experience things before understanding them, before practicing them. So I learned values such as responsibility, loyalty, and obligation by trial and error. Of course, it sometimes seemed that the greater the error, the better the lesson. To continue…


Hello?” I answered the phone.

“Hi, how was school?” It was DKLA.

“Okay. How’d you get our number?”

“I asked Angel.”

“Um… I’m not sure if…”

“I told him that I needed to get a hold of your sister.”

“Oooh… I mean,” I paused briefly, trying to figure out how to handle this situation. “Do you realize what’s going on?”

“Uh-huh. Angel’s been pretty obvious,” DKLA said.

“Then you know that you shouldn’t be talking to me.”

“Why? I can’t live my life based on someone else’s feelings. I have to do what I want to do, not what someone else wants me to do.”

“Yeah, but…”

“Besides, Angel’s not my type. You are.”

She said it. You are… I mean I am. I’m her type.

No sooner had she uttered these words that I had forgotten my dilemma. Angel? Angel who. This was my very first experience of having a girl tell my they like me. It was like an narcotic–not that I would know the effects of an illegal pharmaceutical product, mind you, but if I did, I was sure that it felt like this. I became light headed.

“Yeah, you’re my type, too,” I said, starting to giggle like her, like a girl. Among other things, I had yet to learn the value of remaining cool at times such as this.

We talked for an hour about everything, about nothing. The only thing that we knew was that we were interested in each other, and it became obvious that we wanted to pursue our feelings regardless. Although, I suspect now, in hindsight, that our reasons were different. While she perhaps was genuinely interested in me, I was more interested in experiencing the feelings of being wanted. I wanted to bathe myself in the euphoria aroused when one becomes the target of another’s desire. For too long I had been on the other side of yearning.

When I was 13, our 7th grade class went on a field trip to Knott’s Berry Farm. As a bunch of kids suffering through puberty, all any of us could think of was spending the day with a person of the opposite sex. Some of the guys in class already had predetermined partners. I hesitate to use the word “steady” or even “girlfriend” because back then the most we could do was hang out together at lunch or after school. Once we got on the school bus to go home, we re-entered reality and had to lead lives that did not allow for open girl-boy relationships, particularly in our Japanese American sphere. For two weeks, the topic of conversation was who was going to “date” who at Knott’s. I too wanted desperately to date a girl I thought was pretty cute, but I knew she was already set. I asked two other girls who I had heard did not yet have a date, but they rejected me. I ended up going with a skinny girl who rode the same school bus as I did–the sister of a Boy Scout patrol mate.

In high school, at 15, I once attended a mixer. I went to a private Catholic school–all male–and the girls who were invited came from other private schools in the area. My friends would never go. Why go? they’d say. There ain’t anyone you’d know. This was true, but I went anyway, because I wanted to hear the Flying Burrito Brothers play. (I dare anyone to say they’ve heard of this group!) At the mixer, I soon learned why my friends would not go. Everyone at the dance was white. There were a few Blacks and Hispanics, but 95% percent of the students there were white. At school the white population hovered around 65% I’d figure, but when it came to social events, this school turned white. I must have asked five or six girls to dance and every single one of them looked at me as if I was a Martian. I espied one Filipino girl and asked her, but she rejected me as well. Needless to say, I did not have a good time.

My first real job was at the confectionary shop in J-Town. I had worked since I was 14 doing maintenance work at my elementary school over the summer. They paid me cash–$1 an hour!–but it was enough to let me buy my own Panasonic radio-cassette player. But for the job in J-Town, I had to fill out an application form and submit a social security number. I was joining the ranks of tax payers. I had inquired K about the job over the phone and she told me to come in on Tuesday and ask for Billie. It was my first day of my first real job, and I was a bit excited. I walked into the store and told one of the lady clerks that I was new and was supposed to meet Billie. She nodded and went to the back room, and out came a cute girl in a white uniform. She introduced herself as Billie. After allowing me a moment to recover, she led downstairs to pick up a large bundle of boxes, then she handed me a stack of labels and a jar of glue.

“Here. Paste these labels on the lid. The black label little from the top and the green address label about a quarter inch from the bottom edge. After you finish, bring another bundle up…”

I was in love.

Billie and I got along well enough as work colleagues. But after a month, she quit. She had just graduated high school and was about to start college, starting with summer school. She had no time to work at the shop anymore, and certainly no time for me. I was crushed but did not give up. I asked her out to a concert, and she agreed to go see Dave Mason at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, as long as someone else came. So Angel came along, too. We had a great time, and even went bowling after that. But the evening ended with a solid “thanks” and a wave “good-bye”. While I had a serious crush on her and was still infatuated–I would pine away to anyone who would listen–I was not an idiot. I could take a hint.

So this heretofore unknown situation, of being the pursued rather than the pursuer, had a narcotic effect on me. And DKLA was the pusher.

“My parents are having a Christmas party next week, but, uh, you wanna come?”

“Who’s coming?” she asked, perhaps not so innocently.

“Just my parents’ friends. No one my… our age.”

“Hmmm, your house?”

“Yeah, say you’ll come?”

“Well, if I have to…” she said feigning helplessness.

That Saturday, I went to pick her up and we ate dinner at my house with my parents friends. The situation was almost perfect. Since my parents had to entertain their guests, they didn’t pepper me or DKLA with questions. We listened to a few songs in my room–a room that I had actually cleaned up willingly–and then we went bowling. (Yeah, it was pretty popular back then.) Around 11 o’clock, she said that she should go home–she was, after all, 16, and I had just turned 17 the day before. The whole evening, I had done nothing untoward. I was the perfect gentleman, mostly because I really didn’t know what to do. I was so naive.

But as I drove her home in my mother’s Camaro, she placed her hand on my sleeve and I instantly got nervous. Shit, what am I supposed to do when we get to her house? I laughed nervously, trying oh so hard to stay composed. Right, walk her to the door. But do I kiss her? Shit. Why don’t I have an older brother? I was turning into a wreck. Okay, I’ll kiss her… but what if she sticks her hand out when I try? Damn, do I just shake it? Oh, God, fuck, what am I supposed to do? When we reached her house, I parked in front and was about to get out of the car, but she stopped me.

“No, don’t get out.”

Oh shit, she wants to avoid the scene altogether, I thought, crestfallen. Was inviting her a bad idea? Was bowling a bad idea? Do I have bad breath? Oh man, here we go again. All these thoughts flashed through my mind in a nanosecond.

“Well, I should at least walk you to the door,” I protested meekly. “I think it’s the polite thing to do.”

“Look at the second window from the left,” she said, motioning vaguely to her dark pink house. I looked and saw the drapes pushed aside just slightly and the silhouette of a head peering through. “That’s my mom.”

Ooooh. DKLA reached into her bag, and took out a box wrapped in blue paper and a red ribbon. “Your birthday was yesterday, right? So here: Happy Birthday.”

I was speechless. I looked down at the box to accept the gift. I felt so flattered, so excited, so happy. “I don’t know what to…” I looked back up to thank her when she leaned over and kissed me full on the lips…

Next: Flame Out

Seed of Suspicion

February 25, 2005

T

his story has gotten a lot longer than I had anticipated. It was not my intention to get this involved. But it’s odd how certain words or ideas kick off a slew of memories, and my mind can’t stop thinking about it. Indeed, a lot of the details I had forgotten about completely until I started to write this down. FYI: Yesterday’s pic was from September 1974 when I was 18 years old. Today’s pic is from August 1972. It’s my junior year high school student ID photo. Truth be told, a few girls wanted the ID after I got a new one for senior year, but I beat ’em back with a stick. Now where was I…


W

hile Angel and I had a few things in common, our friendship had not developed to that level yet, so we were not that close. Or so I desperately tried to convince myself. I seemed to be justifying my feelings, my selfishness. An attractive girl interested in me? And I hadn’t done anything to invite this attention? This was a completely new situation for me. I should just back off, I thought, and let the chips fall where they may. If DKLA and Angel got together, great. If she wanted to pursue me, maybe greater. So I acted passively, avoiding Angel’s situation by not driving them on his date, but in a way I was aggressively preventing him from advancing his own agenda.

I won’t make excuses. What I was feeling in my heart was wrong. And I guess I knew it even then, since I didn’t–couldn’t–tell anyone what I was thinking. I couldn’t even tell Cary or Tomahawk (played by detachable), my two best friends, for fear of accusations. Yes, I knew what I was doing. And yet, I couldn’t help myself.

December came and things seem to escalate rapidly in ways that defy explanation. My boss, K, was going to Las Vegas with her husband for a few days, and so she left the car to me so I could drive her mother home after work. I took the car to school, with her permission, and having learned of this, Angel automatically asked me to give him a ride as well. Reluctantly, I said yes.

On a chilly morning, I went to City Terrace to pick him up and then headed toward school. I was planning to get on the San Bernadino Freeway then to the Santa Monica to get to our school located on LA’s Westside. But Angel had another idea.

“Let’s go through Boyle Heights.”

“What? Fuck you. That’ll add twenty minutes to our trip,” I protested.

“No, really. We can go by Roosevelt High. Maybe we’ll see DKLA.”

“Oh, man,” I sighed. “I would really rather go straight to school.”

“C’mon, man. You gotta car! We won’t have these kinds of chances that much.”

“Alright, alright,” I relented. Angel succeeded in getting me to drive him to where he wanted to go. I was irritated at first, but as we drove through the streets of East Los Angeles, I grew strangely comfortable with the idea that Angel was every bit as selfish as I was. The thought of seeing DKLA didn’t hurt either.

Angel directed me down Evergreen, then right on Brooklyn where Evergreen Cemetery was.

“Why don’t we just go straight down to 3rd street?” I asked.

“Turn left on Fickett,” he happily ordered.

“What? Why are we zigzagging to get to Roosevelt?”

“‘Cause this is the way she walks to school,” he answered matter-of-factly. All I could do was roll my eyes. What didn’t he know about this girl?

We went one block down Fickett, made a right on First Street, then another immediate left on Mathews.

“Slow down,” Angel whined as he looked at everyone walking the last block to Roosevelt. “There, there,” he pointed.

And sure enough, there was DKLA walking on the right side of the street, her arms wrapped around the books she held up to her breast. She was wearing a burgundy letterman’s sweater, her brother’s. (Why do I remember this?). I pulled up to the curb and Angel opened the window.

“”Hey, DK!” he yelled, motioning for her to come over.

She walked deliberately towards car. “What are you doing here?”

“Onigiriman’s got the boss’s car and so we thought we’d see if we could catch you,” he explained.

We thought? You mean, YOU thought…

DKLA hunched over to look into the car and saw me in the drivers seat.

“Hi,” I smiled as nonchalantly as I could.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, as if I might have a different reason as Angel’s. I just shrugged my shoulder. “So you going to school now? Cool. What time does school start? What classes do you have today?”

She looked directly at me with her questions and I smiled as I gave her short but accurate responses. Angel didn’t seem much too pleased at not being the target of her attention.

“The bell’s going to ring soon, so I have to go. Bye,” she said to both of us. “Then she looked at me and mouthed, “Call me.”

I pulled the car back onto the road and headed toward school. I looked in the rearview mirror and saw her receding figure standing on the corner. Why isn’t Angel sticking his head out the window waving at her? Why isn’t he even turning around to look at her? Could he have noticed her “secret” message to me?

The tension in the car was thick. As I turned onto the Golden State Freeway south toward the 10, the sharp keyboard intro to Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” started to jerk out of the car speakers. But even it couldn’t loosen the mood.

Very superstitious, writing’s on the wall
Very superstitious, ladders bout’ to fall
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past

This was a new song that Angel liked, but he didn’t sing along as he often did. He just sat silently looking out the window at the rundown houses and storage facilities lining the freeway. I veered west onto the Santa Monica Freeway, a virtual bridge over central LA for about five miles, and saw the city stretch before us. Ah, man. Did Angel really see her? What the shit is he thinking? What the shit am I thinking? What the fuck am I gonna do now? I thought as I glanced over at him.

Angel just sat there, staring out the side window distantly at the buildings of downtown LA. I thought about DKLA and what she had mouthed. Did she really say “Call me”? Call her? Now how am I gonna do that? Then a random bit of truth crossed my mind and I relaxed. I didn’t have her phone number, so how could I call her? In a twisted kind of logic, I figured that she couldn’t blame me for not contacting her since I didn’t know her number, and if i didn’t call her, I wasn’t betraying Angel. No harm, no foul, I grinned.

When you believe in things that you don’t understand
Then you suffer
Superstition ain’t the way

But DKLA called me that night.

Tomorrow: Betrayal…