The insistent knocking had irritated me so that I decided to go see who it was who dared intrude upon my peace and quiet. I had no intention of dallying at the door with whomever was there and I thought hard before I put my hand on the lock to open the door. Instead, I looked through the cracks of the window and, lo and behold, there stood this beautiful Chinese girl who was just about ready to abandon her mission and walk off.
Something had been telling, urging me, to ignore the knocking, but the vision of loveliness was too hard to pass up. Seeing who was on the other side I immediately opened the door. “Can I help you Miss?” I asked as politely as I could, remembering that those were the first words uttered between that lovely Chinese girl with a gold tooth and myself.
She was small of frame wearing her hair cut short at the time, straight, black hair and dressed sharply, looking away from meeting my gaze. That mysterious way of looking and acting sure of herself left me enraptured, wanting to delay her departure. She held up her pretty little head, sure of herself and knowing that she had gotten my attention. But, it had been the color of her skin that most hypnotised me; she had flawless, young skin, and the light peachy hue with subtle amber overtones made me lose my head all of a sudden. To top it off, when I opened the door and spoke, she looked at me and smiled slightly; that was when I detected the faint gleam of a gold tooth. It was the style then to wear gold on one or more of one’s front lateral teeth. For a while we were both at a standoff, for we did not know each other.
In her self assurance I read that she didn’t mind me playing some with her, and this made me like her right away. The young woman suddenly asked me, “Is Bobby at home?” And I recovered my composure long enough to answer, “No he is not, but I am.” We now stood there she making attempt to leave and I holding her hands. Soon we were chatting, and I was completely intrigued by her hoping that she would come back looking for whomever she was seeking. From that moment on I thought that we would be friends, but I had been left with the memory of that girl, who for me a Panama Calidonia boy figured that I didn’t stand a chance at making that Chinese beauty because we who were from Panama had never seen such a matchup like the one I was envisioning.
My sister Aminta had taken up the habit of not being home with the rest of my smaller siblings in tow, so I could not ask her who the chinese girl was, or if she was close friends with her. The real fact was that school was taking up most of my time and I resumed my routine of staying at the small library at school after class to read and study before coming home. However late I seemed to come home there was this beauty awaiting me, so we at first talked in the darkened stairway, then graduating to light necking until she would announce that she had to go home.
School had really gotten hot right after our music teacher, Professor Coite, announced that he had been picked to monitor a “Writing Contest” on the life of Johann Sebastian Bach, someone most of us had never heard of in our lives. The day to hand in the paper came and since we all had cooperated in the research we awaited anxiously to see if we had passed the test; at least I did.
The Chinese girl and I kept meeting as I described, seeing each other regularly after returning from choir practice with Professor Carlos Grant the choir master. It was through him, in fact, that I discovered that I was not a “tenor” but a boy of small frame with a baritone-base voice.
Soon, however, I began to feel like a married man even though China and I were meeting secretly. She was insistent, however, and she would meet me even when our choir group sang all the way home. The girl was so sure of herself that she would always be there to meet me, because even at recess I would see “China” and her friends around the school spying on me, to see if I would befriend any other girl. But we were in love and met like that until my mother moved yet nearer to where China lived on Avenida Cristobal and Twelfth Street.
This story continues.