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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Detours: Part Three

The morning went fast. I could hear sounds from next door, giggling, chairs being moved, scraping, shouting. My classes had exams on Mondays. I gave homework on weekends.
By noon, I had worked through two stacks of papers. These were simple essays, really. With dictionaries in hand, to check spelling, to check definitions, to identify proper plurals, my students could take the entire hour to write an essay.

Ron walked in after the noon bell, before I had erased my board.

“Gotta try the burritos at El Tapayac. No? You can’t tell me you’ve never ventured out of here?” “I have papers to correct.”
"They'll wait. Come.”

I did want to stretch my legs, drop in shops. But this was no ordinary neighborhood. This was East L. A., home of dozens of gang members and drug dealers. Nobody walked those streets.

“I know what’s on your mind. I used to work a few blocks from here at the arts cooperative. Have you been there?”
“When I started three years ago, I was told to leave right after school, and drive to the first freeway entrance.”
“You’ve fallen for that crappy shit about gangs, ah?”
“Now. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed the graffiti and the trash, and those cholos standing at the corner stores?”
“They are picking up jobs.”
“You and I live among the professional classes of Tarzana. O.K. Your neighborhood in Topanga is a bit more bohemian, but you and I can walk down Ventura at all times of the day.”

We started walking out of the place, discussing the neighborhood, getting hungry.
“Best burrito you’ll ever have.” Ron was strong and confident.

We shouldered our way out through the crowded yard, Spanish hurled around with burger and taco wraps. There were always fights and altercations over little things at lunch time. And there were often students who left campus after those incidents. Afternoon classes were always pruned down.


Detours-Part Three by Rosaria
All rights reserved
Characters and situations are all fictional- Any similarity to real people or events is purely accidental.

20 comments:

Paul Costopoulos said...

That story is becoming more compelling with every instalment. I spent my youth in a tough part of Montreal and I sense a bit of what is coming up. Will a few prejudices be batterd?

Amy said...

Paul - You know she's going to make us wait it out for the next installment!!

Loving story time! (Now I want a burrito...)

Siobhán said...

Hi Rosaria
Haven't had much blog reading time these last few days and just catching up now. The planting post makes me so envious, but as I can't engage myself I do love to read about others growing their own fruit and veg.

And Detours is a terrific story. Great dialogue and an urgent sense of suspense. Is this something you wrote years ago or are you writing fiction at the moment? I know you've mentioned writing a memoir with a view to publication.

Renee said...

Rosaria I love it and was completly entranced.

xxoxoxo

An English Shepherd said...

The tail is starting to wag...

Wizz :-)

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Still reading and enjoying...

Eddie Bluelights said...

Ahhhh! You tease!!! We've got to wait for more! You're keeping us hanging! "I'll be back" like the terminator.

jinksy said...

Just had a mammoth catch up and read your last three posts in one go - Now that's what I call a treat!

Sarah Laurence said...

You make me think of Dickens - posting a story in installments.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, I am delighted to finally make your acquaintance!!! I've seen you around God of Another World, and other beautiful blogs!!! And you are a former educator! I'm so thrilled! Thank you for your kind comments and friendship! ~Janine

Woman in a Window said...

So loving this guy. This is a lot of fun, Rosaria.

Gran said...

More! More!

C. Michael Cox said...

I've been to East L.A. and you're right, nobody walks those streets.

Mervat said...

Yo take me to the heart of neighbourhoods I have only heard about or seen on TV. Your versions are so real.

More please.

The Things We Carried said...

Waiting!

Moannie said...

I need to take a breath, get on with it ma am, pleaseeeeeeeeeeee

Polly said...

Hello, thank you for visiting my blog - this way I found yours which is great.

I'll need to catch up on the earlier parts of this story but I already like it. I used to teach at a school - I'm now a university academic/manager - and so this story brings back fond memories. Thanks! Polly x

Natalie said...

You married him didn't you? C'mon fess up! Loving the story. xx♥

Kikit said...

Waiting again, like everyone else...

Tessa said...

We left the last installment with scent of flowers in your car. Now an invitation to lunch where there is graffiti and trash and loitering cholos and where the burritos are the best in LA. Wot's happn'ning, mon?