My childhood looks like. My girlhood looks unlikely. I, girl, told to work hard. I didn’t sell peanuts on the street. I was mostly well-liked, sang Whitney on cue. I liked singing on the day bed. It was unlikely for a girl like me to sell peanuts on the street. Instead I sang and I will always love you. Girlhood looks unlikely. I got away with most. Sternest instruction was to do whatever it took to not end up—tedium of likeability. Tedium of remembering. Recall being liked, singing to a Tita with much bravura. A girl gets what she deserves: ice cream from the pharmacy next door. I liked singing in the car. A drive to the mall was likely on a weekend. I play-sang, liked malls and shoestring potatoes sold in cans. Were other girls told to work hard, too? Not sell peanuts on the street. Not be the girl without the shoe.
Jasmine Nikki Paredes
1 March 2018