A Queer Day in Río Piedras:
Dedicated to Tania R.
I woke up this morning with a hangover, not that I drank anything last night, just had a heavy disturbing dream, still kinda recovering, but I did think about Tina for a lil’ while that helped. Ever had those kinds of mornings? Well I guess what I didn’t realize was that it was going to be one of those days, today. Diego calls me while I’m in the shower, shaving my legs and the annoying ringing of my cell scared me since I never bothered to download a chill music clip, and I nicked my left calf. Diego is timing challenged cuz he always calls at the worst times. I pick up the phone trying not to let my hair drip on it.
“Rayza Rayza you gotta get over here there’s talk about “una huelga” (a student strike) today, there’s a “Asamblea de estudiantes” (Student Assembly) and people are going crazy!”
“O fuck no, na man not today, we have the presentation!... shit!! Diego I gotta go I’m in the shower!”
I rinse the Pantene out of my black wavy stubborn ass hair; I dry up, lick a tiny piece of toilet paper and hope it’ll stop my nick from bleeding. I forgot to take clean clothes with me to the bathroom, and decide to run lighting fast to my room naked hoping none of my roommates would see.
Ever have a moment when you muster up the courage to check yourself out, you know for real, in a long unforgiving mirror? Yea well that’s what I did next. I looked at my skin “trigeñita” (that means mulatto) and remembered growing up in Upstate New York, all the times never fitting in with either the black kids or the white kids. I mean I did have friends of both kinds, but like there was always this kind of resentment, but then maybe it was cuz I was lesbian. Here in Puerto Rico there are so many trigeñitos, blending in is a little better at least that way.
I’m tall and thin about 5’11” and everyone says that I’m so lucky to be tall, but I have no boobs, seriously! And I’ve got some skin problems too; pimple carnival! Maybe I’m too scrawny, plus my head looks too big for my neck, but it does match my big ass feet; size 12 ½. I guess my best feature are my eyes. Once a dentist assistant, a hygienist I guess she was, you know how they be all up in your face working your mouth? Well, she looks at my eyes and was like:
“You know, you have beautiful eyes, the kind that can be brown or hazel depending on the light. They are so rare!”
“Um, Thank you!”
I never had really looked at my eyes very closely so I went home and did. I guess it was my dads green hazel eyes and my moms’ dark brown eyes that made mine. I stood there wondering if any girl would ever like me with all my flaws, imagining if I could find a girl who would just look into my eyes, I could charm her and then maybe she’d forget about the rest.
I’m 18, started school last year at the University of Puerto Rico Recinto Río Piedras, U.P.R. for short. People here call it the IUPI pronounced: “U—P”. I moved, well ran away...well I’ll tell the truth: being kicked out by my dad two years ago was not fun! So I flew down here to the “Isla del encanto” (Enchanted Island) to live with my aunt Millie. They have this awesome bilingual program at the IUPI, and since mom talked to me mostly in Spanish, I’ve had no major problem adjusting, at least language wise. My aunt and me were an interesting mix. Well, let’s just say she wasn’t used to having such an independent teen girl like me. She always hinted that she couldn’t deal with me. So this year I dragged my shit and my ass out and took up the cheapest room I could find in an old private “hospedaje” (student housing) in Santa Rita. The faded baby blue paint is peeling all on the outside and the grass and weeds out back haven’t been cut since my grandma was born, but it’s home. Aunt Millie still owes me money but whatever! Sure is nice to be loved! Over it anyways, I got my own life now.
My roomies are my family now. We’re good together, me, Kristie, Zoara, and Sandri. We kinda have an unspoken agreement, I don’t bust them for being semi submissive, guy obsessed straight girls, and they don’t bust me for being a kick ass assertive dyke in a femi body. During the holidays, Lily moved into our place. She lives in the “Torre Norte” (the student housing tower) of the IUPI, but they close for a month in the middle of December since most people go home to their families. Not Lily, she had serious family issues, ‘cuz her parents were in some crazy divorce and custody battle over her younger sister. We made friends right away. My other roomies had gone to their pueblos (towns) to spend their holidays with family, and so it was just me and Lily. We were good together at the start.