The Beginning

Wet asphalt.

My eyes tell me that the automatic sprinklers have stopped a few moments before my arrival. The runoff from the landscaping paints wet streaks across the freshly paved road to my office building. It’s September, and the air holds a crisp bite as the city begins its transition to its fall colors.

The smell, on the other hand, sends me, tells me that I’m back in grade school. I don’t know what month it is. In San Diego, the weather is the same all year. You end up with one, long nondescript season. Well, actually, it only has one description.

Partly sunny, partly cloudy, high of 73.

I’m attending a catholic parochial school located on an island just off the coast of downtown. I guess my parents sent me there to avoid my exposure to any unsavory elements. No doubt if I had attended a catholic parochial school in my own neighborhood, I would have become a bloodthirsty miscreant.

My school had an asphalt playground, really just a large parking lot with old cracked, yellow paint that marked off play areas. There was hopscotch, basketball, volleyball, four square, a numbered ring for cake walks, and even a court dedicated to that most barbaric and wonderful of grade school sports, dodgeball.

I remember the looks I got when Lourdes Rasay got hit with a volleyball in the face. I didn’t hit her with it, but everyone looked to me, as the other Filipino in the school, to defend her honor. I had a crush on her then, probably because she was the only one that looked even remotely like me.

Then high school hit, and so did the realization that she wasn’t all that great.