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Lions Roar : July 2015
were from Pakistan and grandparents were from India. An exchange student from Denmark said he wasn’t Danish at all, but Swedish and German. A girl in the class said she had Indian blood, Cherokee, she thought, but she was mostly Mexican. Another said, ‘’I’m everything that makes white, which is too much to list.” I dreaded the question. I was sixteen, and all I wanted to do was blend. So when it was my turn to speak, I gave a smartass answer. ‘’I’m a Chicagoan.” B-Bear patted my back and said, “Damn straight.” Ira, Ms. B said. I was the only student she did not address with a formal tide. “Be serious.” “A Southsider,” I said. “Hell yeah,” B-Bear said. “I am laughing on the inside,” Ms. B said, her face without affect. Later that semester, Ms. B told me during a conference that I was confused. On my papers, I wrote eloquent and insightful responses to the work we had read that semester. In class, I was a brainless twit. “Eventually, you’ll have to choose.” Ms. B put on her glasses for the first time and peered at me. “Which one will you be?” Secret The Southside me is not as tough as he thinks he is. He is, in fact, weak. He’s power without a source. Don’t tell him, though. It would destroy him. Conflict After nine years of marriage, my wife doesn’t like the South- sider. She’s from the sincere part of Illinois, where the tallest structures aren’t skyscrapers but silos, where strangers could become friends in seconds, where physical confrontation is the last thing people want to be involved in. She knows when the Southsider has kidnapped her husband’s body. She can tell by the tone of his voice, the half-smile that almost looks like a sneer. He comes out sometimes without notice or prelude. He’s just there, an unwanted guest, and everything in his demeanor says cocky and unmotivated. Everything out of his mouth is sarcastic and insincere. The Southside me swung the car around mid-traffic to tell off a man he saw kick a dog. He didn't care about the car horns or dirty looks. SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2015 50