That Certain Kind of Light

Phtograph by Jose Padua
In high school it was the son
of a congressman from Texas
who seemed to have the most
fun ridiculing my Tourette’s
tics. I’d shrug my shoulders,
blink my eyes, and suddenly
tilt my head as if I were
emptying out the fluid;
it must have looked ridiculous.
He talked fast, did magic
tricks, and was so confident
he never had to watch his back,
never had to do anything other
than sit back, stand up, or laugh,
and he was so much cooler
than I could ever hope to be.
There were days then when
I felt so small I almost felt
I wasn’t even there, which
made it easier when people
were laughing at me and I
felt as if I were watching it
rather than living it and from
a safe, almost silent distance.
And this is why I can never go
back to feeling so small, why
for as long as I live I will never
not be there, will never keep
my distance, and will never run
for Congress. Because my freshman
year in high school was like that
Creedence Clearwater Revival song,
but instead of the words being “I
ain’t no Senator’s son” my words
were, “I ain’t no congressman’s
son,” which didn’t sound as angry,
and wasn’t as easy to sing with
a snarl, but my Dad had two
jobs and my Mom had just
as much to do, and I was born
in the city and made of the sort
of light that could never keep still.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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