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
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Characters and situations are all fictional- Any similarity to real people or events is purely accidental.