The impolite blond (12/365)

Another story from my memories of SA.

One day, I was waiting for my dad to come and pick me up from school. School was on the edge of the downtown of a huge city, to which we traveled every day from the suburbs half hour away. This was the school my parents liked for us, although there were a couple Indian schools we could have gone to nearby. After school, I would wait by the gates, usually a mere couple minutes before my dad showed up from his office on the other side of town. This day was different. I waited, and waited, and waited. By this time, the street was empty, there was hardly anyone around, save for the school security guy, who was watching me from the other side of the gate.

Along this empty street comes a girl my age, in a brown and white uniform, her blond hair in two neat braids on either side of her head, and her white socks pulled up to her knees. As she drew abreast of me, I did what all polite children do all over the world: I said “Good afternoon” with a smile. She turned her head, looked through me, and kept on walking with not a word or a flicker of expression. My jaw dropped, and my head swiveled to follow her journey to the end of the street, which is when my father arrived, asking, “What so interesting that you are looking at?” I turned in shock and told him, “That girl! She is so rude! I said good afternoon, and she didn’t even smile back!”

My dad told me, “She’s white. Since when do we talk to white people, if they haven’t said anything first?” That was the first time I realized that yeah, my parents only speak to “them” when spoken to. It was my first real realization of The Other.

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