Saturday, October 9, 2010


In elementary school, I was friends with an Indian girl named S. She was the only Indian person I knew. Her house smelled like curry. As far as I know, she only had one other friend, a white girl named J. who wore glasses. Maybe we were friends because we were all smart and prime targets for teasing. My mom remembers S. running up to her when she was in kindergarten, and saying, I KNOW WHAT I WANT TO BE WHEN I GROW UP! What?, my mom asked. AN AUTO MECHANIC! And then she ran off.

One year, I went to her birthday party, but she wasn't allowed to accept any of the presents that were brought to her, not even the ones from her aunt and uncle. Her parents made her give them back.

Each Halloween, S. and her family left the house for the day. She wasn't allowed to Trick or Treat. They would put a plastic bowl of pinwheel peppermints on the front steps before they left. I remember being part of a pack of kids, arriving at her house, and everyone laughing about how S. smelled, how weird her family was. There was a note, written in script, for us to take a candy, but the boys took handfuls, and then someone threw the bowl into the hedges.

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