Silver Age Seattle
Red headed Bitch from the Bronx
I was born in Hell’s Kitchen. My father was a taxi driver from India, my mother a tiny, frightened Irish waitress from Boston. Two people were never more opposite, yet more in love. I’m not even sure why. I came out with my mothers flaming red hair and my fathers dark skin. I looked like a mutt. Kids at school used to call me the Mutant; throw things at me. Kids were cruel. It gave me the changce to buckle down and keep my nose in books. I studied until my eyes were red, soaking up information like a sponge.
I had one friend growing up. He was ni the same boat as I was, essentially. His father was African American, his mother Chinese. I think he had it worse than I did, some days. There were uglier things to call him. We met in third grade, when he transfered in to class. It was practically an instant bond, because of the torture. a few weeks after he moved into the area, some punk kid knocked over his parents mini mart, nearly killing his father. I remember actually being enraged at the injustice. He told me things would be ok, but I asn’t as confident as he was. I used to yell at him, “Look at where we live, Eli! We’re in Hell!”
Durring the summer after third grade, the world took a crazy shift on me. I was sitting at the kitchen table, eating lunch with Eli, and chatting like all chidlren do, when he stopped silent and pointed to my face. My nose was bleeding. It wasn’t fast, but it was enough to cause concern, and make my mother start screaming. The headache began about an hour later. it was intense and violent. the pain made everything unbearable. No one could explain it. Doctors were certain I was faking it. 3 days I spent in the hospital. I woke up that last morning, still unable t see or hear beyonf the ringing in my ears, groaning from the pain when it just popped. I thought my head littereally exploded. I saw stars of color and this white noise took over. I ust have blacked out because I woke up later that afternoon to several doctors standing aroud my bed and discussing my “condition”. It sounded like they were yelling, from where I was laying, but in truth, they were actually very quiet. The bright lights hurt my eyes, but what drew my attention faw the fact that the sight out the window was crystal clear. I could make out every detail.
The doctors couldn’t find an answer, so they sent me home, with a resciption for pain. I didn’t need it. The pain was gone. The effects persisted though. I could hear things at a greater distance, see things before others did. It developed ito being able to knowing things others didn’t. I ket it to myself because I was alreaded labled as strange, but Eli knew. When we got older, he used to jokingly ask for predictios about the day. I used to just roll my eyes at him.
School became easier, faster. But life threw us another curve a year later. My mother became terrified e’d never survive. We moved to the Bronx, not that it was much better. Eli and I tried to stay in contact, but it was a struggle. My mother enrolled me in dance to try and distract me, an it became another spot in my life where I excelled to a point where others continued to make fun of me. I showed a level of grace never seen before. I danced and eaved through the streets, learning everything about them. My father taught me how to use a gun, the ins and outs, safety and most of all, accuracy. He never wanted us to be caght in a situation we could die from. My father was driving his cab when a man with a gun held him up for his cash on hand. My father refused, and earned a bullet for his troble. His own gun was too far for him to reach for. My Mother, Eli and I were the only ones to attend his funeral.
As the years went by, life was still a struggle, but my education never laxed and I became proficient in many small areas. I was good with electricity, and small electronics. I started moving through the city by going from roof top to roop top. I danced my way through high school, and the first few years of college. My mother was proud I didn’t succomb to the rough streets I had played in. Eli and I both managed to get into Princeton, and we studdied Anthropology, History and Economics together. I got y first job with him as well, working for the New York Anthropology Society. We went on digs together, pulling up pieces of the past and stddying them. It was exciting, and helped my mother to move upstate a few years after I graduated. But then the most unthinkable thing happened.
Eli was sent out on an oceanic trip, searching for sunken ships to study. The boat was never heard from agan. No one knows where it went down, or if it even sunk. People have said Pirates, or slave traders, or even that the ocean itself claimbed the prize. I still hold hope that one day, he will miraculously appear. But I fear his death was the outcome. My mother took thi the hardest. It dd something to her to cause her to stop in time. She mutters about ho she always thought we’d get married, then askes how he is. I don’t have the heart to try and break her from it, so I tell her some storry, and change the subject. She lives in a home for dementia patients. It’s exensive, but working here I did, I could manage.
Something must be looking out for me, because I always manage to get by. I ship out tomorrow ona ship to study the Titanic. I hope that angel stays on my shoulder. I sure could use it now.