Two Boys

Rocco Paperiello


This story is about relationships between and among teenagers. This includes intimate relationships between young males. If you don't approve or are offended, then how come you're reading this? Go to some other Internet Site. (Of course some people actually cultivate being offended; if that's the case, read right on). As far as detailed descriptive sex acts, I think you may find some good ones in other stories right here on Nifty, but as of now I do not envision a lot of explicit detail in this one.

If, for some legal reason, you are not allowed to read this in your area of the world because of illogical laws, again I will not ondone (publicly) anyone breaking the law, so either move or read sentence four. I definitely don't want the thought police after either of our derrieres.

Please, this story is sort of my property, so if you ever want to quote some of it (whatever for I wouldn't know), please e-mail me and also give proper attribution. As of now no one has permission to put this story on another Internet Site.

This story is almost entirely fictional, and autobiographical ONLY in the sense that many of the incidents in the story really happened, but in some cases to different people and under different circumstances. In other words I've simply adapted things that happened in my life to a fictional story. In fact, some aspects of both main characters are in part modeled from my own experiences. Some of my family members are also in this story, and perhaps (definitely) distorted a bit (a lot) at times and sometimes approaching caricature, but since I really don't expect them to sue, I'm taking the chance. All other characters are fictional, except as noted).

PLEASE give feedback. Constructive criticism appreciated.

Rocco Paperiello


PART I -- Beginnings

Chapter 5 -- Secrets

OK everybody, what's really going on here? White-boy says he has a secret, one he can't talk about. Almost sounds like myself. But who knows? I think I will try to keep my brain going. It would be a dream come true to find someone like myself. I sure wish I knew how common it was. Am I the only one in my class, . . . my grade, . . . my school? I'm afraid to even ask someone. I wish I had the guts to ask my Mama, but she's dying now and I just couldn't hurt her like that. I guess we all have secrets. Mama don't want to let me know how sick she really is. There's some secret about Uncle Mike too but either Mama really doesn't know or is also keeping it secret.

At least Mama's doing better again. She works the AM shifts this week and is now sleeping. I'm planning to get dinner ready for her as a surprise. She said to get her up about 7 PM. She starts again at midnight. It's really difficult operating all the kitchen stuff but this dinner is just spaghetti, ground beef, and garlic bread. Pretty easy. I've done it before. If I can get the sauce jar open; even with the jar opener, it was a difficult task with two hooks. Mama put up the sauce last summer in those big Mason Jars.

It's funny, I never really thought about what I'd do after High School but all of a sudden I'm getting interested in things again. White-boy really is making me feel like living again. I find it amazing how a couple days can change my whole outlook. I had mostly been in my own dream world of books. I started thinking about the future again and maybe I think I'd like to teach. Even with my hooks that should be easy enough. But that means I have to get through college, and that means I have to do better in High School. I want to make sure Mama sees me really improving at school and even thinking about college. I know I really have been making her worry a lot.

I woke Mama up and she came into the kitchen about 20 minutes later. She was looking good.

"Noel, this is a nice surprise. Thank you."

I was almost happy. If only Mama had been OK. "Glad to help Mama. You know Mama, I was just thinking. I haven't really thought much about after High School, but I recently decided that maybe I want to be a teacher. I don't know any black teachers. You think a black kid can go to college and be a teacher?"

Mama just stared for a moment and I thought I could detect tears forming. She reached across for the garlic bread, and then looked at me. "Why Noel, you're full of surprises these past couple days. I think that's a great idea. I always said you can do whatever you want with enough effort. I know you have the ability."

"Gees Mama, I'm not there yet. I just happened to be thinking. I wish I was able to do better at school, but it's so hard just to write. But I'm going to do better, I promise."

"I'm sure glad to hear that Noel." I liked it when my Mama smiled.

Mrs. Brown started thinking about many things, but mostly about her son. This was the first real glimmer of Noel coming out of the shell he retreated into four years ago. Something else must be going on. Something good. She was a bit overcome by emotion. Noel did mention yesterday meeting someone at the park, and that they talked a lot. But he really didn't say a lot about him.

Mama asked: "You said you were meeting that new friend again today."

"Yeah, he's quite a kid. He looks like a sixth grader, but is only a year younger than me. He's pretty smart and really full of curiosity and boundless energy. Always talking about something. He seems to get interested in everything. He makes me really re-think about things I used to have all figured out."

"It seems you're getting along pretty well. I'm glad you're finally letting people in your life again. Do I know him? Is he from the neighborhood? Is he in High School yet?"

"Slow down Mama. He's not from the neighborhood. He's a Freshman though."

"Well that's good. Do you have any classes together?"

"Actually. . . well no."

Mama was finishing off the spaghetti in her plate and reaching for more.

Mrs. Brown was happy to find her appetite again. She thought suddenly as she looked across at her son that there was more going on here. It's the most animated she'd seen him in years. She thought she had to meet this boy. But couldn't figure out where he would have come from if not from the neighborhood. She didn't know of too many black neighborhoods close enough for him to be going to Lincoln. Well Noel (Jade) didn't get his own intelligence from nothing.

Mama looked like she was thinking about what I told her; she asked. "You hesitated a bit Noel, and I know you. What aren't you saying? Does this boy go to Lincoln?"

"No Mama, he goes to Father Judge."

"I didn't know any black boys went there. You say you met behind the tracks in the Park? Where does he live?"

"Yeah, we met in the park. He's as interested in nature and things as I am. And he lives up on Meridian Street."

Mama seemed to smile inwardly. "OK, what are you hesitating in telling me?"

"OK, you have to find out soon anyway. And I don't know even why I'm . . . Well his name is Rocco, and his full name, if I can pronounce it right, is Rocco Papariello. He's a white kid."

Mama laughed, "I'd sure say your rethinking things, if you're making friends with a white boy. Well what do ya' know. I'd like to meet this boy who had the temerity to get past your glaring eyes and talk to you." And she laughed some more.

"Well he caught me at an awkward moment. Literally. My defenses were down." And he thought, "Among other things."

It was a happy meal. I'm so glad. Maybe the world isn't such an unfair place after all.

Chapter 6 - The Strange Kid at School, Non-Catholics, & a Birthday

The rest of the week sped by, and Jade and I saw each other after school every day. We talked about everything from Sputnik -- I can't believe that the Russians put a satellite in space before we did -- to wondering who would play the Yankees in the World Series next week since the race in the National League was still close. I tried to talk about Kennedy but Jade didn't even know who he was. (I stayed away from TV shows). Then I asked if he would come to have some birthday cake at my house Saturday -- "not a full fledged party, and please don't bring any present." (I knew he was pretty poor). I said my birthday was that day and I'd be 14. We discussed it some since he was real reluctant to come over into the white neighborhood. We then tried to look for frogs at the small pond near the Creek but had no luck. Then I said that I needed to get home soon, since I had a couple test this week and had a paper to write. I had already mentioned I found school pretty easy and with minimal work usually got straight A's. He said he used to do well way back in grade school but not since he lost his hands. He found all the writing so hard he sort of gave up and didn't work very hard at it. He said his mother finally gave up trying to get him to do better.

"Lately though, I started thinking about maybe what I wanted to do after High School. You ever give it a thought?"

I didn't think about it very much, except having some vague thoughts about being a priest at times. But I wasn't ready to mention anything like that. "Not exactly, except I just assumed I'd go to college. I hope to get a scholarship. My brother is also hoping to do this and although my parents always assume Carl is smarter than me and does better in school than I do, I've actually done a little better than him all through school."

"It looks like I hit a sore point here."

"I simply can't understand it, but my parents ALWAYS assume Carl is smarter than I am since he's reading all the time, while although I read a book now and then I mostly just like outdoor stuff and sports. But my grades have always been better. But I'll never convince my parents."

"Well, I don't have any brothers or sisters so I don't know what to say. But I think since I really want to do something with my life, I need to start doing better in school."

I said something vague about giving him some help, but eventually we drifted into other topics before we decided on anything concrete. The rest of the week followed much the same.

On Friday, I saw the same kid in Algebra class as usual and I also talked to him at lunch again. He seemed strange -- like he deliberately avoids every one. He never talks to anyone and mostly don't even look at you. He also don't seem to care about school too much and never is paying attention. When Mr. Cutter asked him about a problem on the board, he didn't have clue one. I didn't think about him again `till lunch. He was sitting in the same place by himself.

"Can I sit here again?" I asked.

"Why?" That's all he said and I thought the question made no sense.

"Because I was so stimulated by our spirited conversation the other day." My gosh, he actually smiled.

"Sure, OK. But why sit here, you must have a lot of other friends."

"Ah. Since you said "other friends" then I must conclude you include me as your friend." (No response). "Actually, I think you're one of the biggest kids in our class, and since I'm so small and skinny, I thought it would be good if we could become friends so that you would help protect me."

He stared at me for a moment and then laughed. "OK, but I charge for body guard duties." And laughed some more. "And thanks."

"Thanks?" I was now monosyllabic.

"Because I guess I was feeling sorry for myself not fitting in, and you come up and try to make me feel welcome. I'm sorry I painted everyone with the same brush."

I thought about that. "Where did you get that expression -- I like it."

"I'm not sure where it comes from but my Mom uses it a lot."

"OK two things, . . . or rather three. One, why shouldn't you fit in? I'm the one that has a hard time fitting in. Two, why don't you care about school? And three, how can you possibly eat that sandwich?" He had in his hand what looked like a combination banana and celery sandwich. Yuch!

He started to answer and finally realized what I had implied about his sandwich. "To answer you in reverse. "Three, my culinary habits aren't as strange as yours. I even saw you put mustard on your pretzel the other day. Two, I like school and usually do well, but I've been so scared about fitting in and mad at my mother for sending me here, that I probably haven't put a lot of effort into school yet. And one, I'm Jewish. My name is Abraham Abramowitz Goldstein. You can't get a more Jewish name than that."

I started laughing about the way he answered until I suddenly realized about him being Jewish. "Wow, I don't know any Jews, and I think it would be really great since my parents do not especially like the idea of my best friend not being Catholic. They think I need a friend from my own school. It would be great to say to them: "Ok, I have a friend from my school like you wanted, and then watch their expression as I introduce you to them. `This is my friend from Father Judge. I took your advice and made a friend from school. Mom, this is Abraham Abromo-something Goldstein.'" I started laughing and couldn't stop. Just thinking of my mother's expression!

He interrupted my laughing. "It don't bother you I'm Jewish?"

"Why should it? I think it a bit strange that your parents would send you to a Catholic school though."

"My Mom thought it the least of two evils. And there were no other private schools nearby."

And it was my personality, I couldn't help it: "You mean lesser not least."

I'm glad he didn't get put off by that but he just went on. "And also, well I thought all Catholics disliked Jews."

"Well, I'm really a Martian so I wouldn't know."

He looked at me like I really was from Mars. But then laughed.

I added: "Actually, I can't see most anyone really caring about it one way or the other. How did you get the idea that Catholics didn't like Jews?"

"Well, that's what my Mom always says."

"Well, maybe you should just find out for yourself. And I think you should stop messing around in class -- you don't want to give all Jews a bad name do you?" And I laughed, hoping he realized it was mostly a joke.

"Well, I guess if I could feel more like I fit in, things would get better."

"Well better NOT get advice from me, I'm the original DON'T FIT IN ANYWHERE KID. You know being Jewish ain't much compared to other differences. It's hard to explain, but sometimes I feel like I really am from Mars. I seem to always think and react differently from other kids. But you just need to start talking to the other kids and don't presume they won't like you."

We discussed a lot of school stuff, and then agreed to eat together next week.

I hurried home of course, and just as I got there, Jimmy and Stan showed up and wanted to play half-ball. (It seems in the city here, at least in our neighborhood we invented all kinds of ballgames, and I am proud to say I invented half-ball. One day we ran out of pimple balls, the hollow rubber balls we usually played with -- no money to buy a new one -- and suddenly I got an idea. I said: "I wonder if we could throw and hit just half the ball?" Everyone thought I was crazy except Stan. So I ripped the ball in half about its seam and Stan and I started throwing it to each other. Well, then Jimmy tried it hit it with one of our sawed-off broom handle bats. And it worked. We eventually kept making up new rules so it could work better. But it was usually just Jimmy, Stan, and myself that stayed very interested. We had a bundle of broken balls that we eventually split in half. We got good enough that a home run had to be hit over a hundred feet away. But I'll explain more about all our weird ball games later). Jimmy and Stan were two of the kids in the neighborhood I played with most. They didn't seem to mind that even though they were both a year younger than me, they were both much better than me at sports. They were both bigger than me too, especially Jimmy who played on the 125lb Little League football team. They both lived less than two blocks away.

I told them I already was going over to a friend's house, and Jimmy complained that I was never home anymore. Gees, I never suspected Jimmy even cared very much one way or the other. But I told them I had a new friend that lived about 10 blocks away and that we had gotten to be very good friends in just a short time. I told them I would see them tomorrow if they wanted to come over for some cake and ice cream -- that my birthday was tomorrow. They had other plans so that was that. Then I said maybe Sunday. I was anxious to get meet Jade at Holmesberg Park.

"What the hell is half-ball?" Jade never heard of it before. And so I told him. He said he couldn't play ball anyway, so it didn't matter. I tried not to show my instant frustration and said maybe some day I could figure out how he actually could play half-ball.

That day I rode my bike to Holmesberg Park and chained it to the fence because I was a little late. I hoped it would still be there when I got back. Jade had his book on trees with him. We then started reading from the book after we went into the park by Pennypack Creek and started looking at all the different trees. The book had a number of ripped pages, and I asked Jade how come.

"Well right after I lost my hands, Mom got me a bunch of these nature books to help me get interested in something, and this is one of the first I really looked through. I guess I wasn't very good with my hooks yet and I accidentally ripped many of the pages."

"Man -- that must have been tough! You know there've been a number of times I keep getting the urge to help you with something you're struggling with, and then stop, wondering if you'd get upset."

Jade looked at me a moment and answered: "You know, I usually do get angry when someone tries to help me, but I think I'd like it if you'd do it sometimes. I'll let you know."

Jade had a lot of fun showing me and identifying all the trees. The book had a number of ways to help identify them with pictures, descriptions, and close-ups of leaves and even the bark. For example, he showed me how the leaf of the tulip tree looked like a fat letter `T' when held downward by its stem. I think we did real well, and we had fun with it `till it got near dinner time.

We went back to where I left my bike. When we got there he said: "I've never owned a bike." And that got me thinking again about how poor he must be but didn't say anything since I didn't want to embarrass him. I said the bike was actually one of the many found and fixed up and sold by the police department and only cost $20. He thought that was more than he'd ever see so I watched as he got sad again. I don't know why but right then I resolved that no matter what, I would somehow get him a bike. I couldn't even figure out why I felt so strongly about it. Before we split up, I again talked about tomorrow and the small almost-party at my house. It took some of my best persuasion, but finally I got him to agree to come and he said as long as I met him in the park and we went to my house together. Wow I felt really good, and then suddenly felt a small fist of panic in my stomach.

"Just one thing, Jade."

"What's that?"

"Well. . ., everybody knows we've been good friends and been together a lot, but no one knows about your hands. It just never seemed that it needed to be discussed."

"Oh, I guess you can either tell them before I get there or they will learn when I get there. I don't think it matters that much." "Good. And one more thing." But I didn't continue right away.

He look at me like "OK. Now what's REALLY bothering you?"

I admitted no one knew that he was a black. "Do you want me to prepare them, so to speak, or what? Actually, to tell you the truth, I'd like to not mention it at all, and just watch their reactions."

"Maybe you should tell them. I don't want any surprises on that account. You had better make sure I'm welcome." And then Jade could see that I was a bit peeved. "How come your now angry? I'm sorry but I always have to worry about that kind of thing."

"No, it's not that your concerned, but I'm mad that you HAVE to be concerned."

"Oh. Thanks, . . . I guess."

"But I can't see any problem. My family is your typical unprejudiced white family. That means that their small prejudices are buried deep enough that they don't see them. Besides, they'll be more concerned that you're not Catholic, than that you're colored." And I chuckled a bit at that.

"OK White-boy, I'll trust you. And if it don't go well I'll just have to kill you the next time we're alone. And torture you first." "Oh yeah, well I'm pretty fast and you'd have to catch me first."

"Well I'd just hook you when you weren't looking." And Jade snagged my belt with his left hook, swung me around, and hooked me with his right also and easily lifted me off the ground. We then fell to the ground, and he started to tickle me. "Yield, White-boy." I was so ticklish, even with just his hooks, I could hardly speak. He finally figured that out and we were just rolling on the ground laughing.

"And try not to call me White-boy when we're at my house."

"OK, meet you here about noon."

As I went home I started thinking about the bike and still couldn't figure out how come I wanted that bike for him almost more than I had wanted this one for myself before I got this one for Christmas several years ago.

Then one of my favorite TV show, Perry Mason, was on later. I told myself that I would think on it some more, but as I got home I forgot everything else as Friday's were frequently the day my Dad stopped at the bakery (Bredenbeck's -- the best bakery in the world) and brought home some great stuff including cheese cake, butter cake, and apple cake. The butter cake was my favorite closely followed by the cheese cake.

Before everyone split for the living room, I told my Mom I needed to talk to her about a couple things concerning Dolores' and my birthday party tomorrow. Carl left thinking it just the usual stuff. I was glad. But Dolores stayed. Dad being Dad, he started to leave since he ignored me most times anyways.

"Mom, I asked Jade to come over here tomorrow afternoon for some cake and stuff. But I need to tell you something."

But before she could ask me what, Dad, who was almost through the door, turned back and asked: "You still seeing that boy? Did you ever find out if he was Catholic?"

I replied: "Jade said he was Baptist. But he didn't go to church much. He said his mother worked too much on Sundays so he just stayed home. His mom's been sick a lot lately and I really think Jade doesn't go to church because he's ashamed."

"Now why should he feel ashamed?" my Mom asked.

I explained. "Now I usually don't pay much attention to what people wear, and mostly I just ignore how a person looks since it just don't seem that important, but I've only seen Jade in three or four different shirts, and only two pairs of pants and they're all old. I don't think he has anything good to wear to Church."

"Well, we still rather you'd pick someone from your own school to be friends with." My Dad interjected.

I couldn't resist. "Well it just so happens I've met this neat guy this week at school and we got to know each other a bit. Perhaps I can ask him over."

"Well, there you go" said my Dad, "anytime you want."

"What's his name and is he in your class?" asked my Mom.

"He's in my Algebra Class and his name is Abraham."


"Yea, Abraham Goldstein. He's Jewish!" I was secretly smirking, as my parents looked at each other possibly wondering if world were still in orbit.

"In a Catholic School?" my Dad asked.

I knew he wasn't Catholic but answered: "Well what so strange about that? Can't Jews be Catholic? Weren't all the first apostles Jewish?" And smirked inwardly again.

While my parents were ruminating on that one, I said that Jade would be coming to have cake and ice cream with us tomorrow.

My mother said: "Well that will be nice. We'll finally get to meet your new friend."

My Dad interjected. "Just make sure he behaves."

I got a bit peeved but said nothing about it. And then I changed gears: "But I have to mention something before he gets here, please don't say anything to him about his hands. He's VERY self-conscious about them, and also his skin, please don't stare or say anything about it." I added this last on a whim. (OK so I'm a BAD person, but I was just having TOO much fun).

My sister filled in on the long pause, as my parents were wondering. "What's wrong with this poor kid?" My parents made a few comments, but it was my sister who asked: "My gosh, is he deformed or something; was he in a fire or something?"

"Just what is the problem with his hands and skin?" my Mom added.

I replied: "Well, maybe I said it wrong by mixing up the two things. First he doesn't have any hands."

"Wow, you mean he was born with no hands?" My sister piped it.

"No, he lost them in an accident several years ago, but I think he doesn't want to talk about it since he's never told how it happened."

"Boy, you never know how well off you really off `till you see someone worse off than you" my Mom put in. She really did care about people, just had a few prejudices at times.

I then pleaded: "But please don't embarrass him tomorrow. And don't worry -- he eats real well with his hooks."

"Hooks?!!" My sister again.

"Yes, you've seen people missing a hand, they wear this hook thing, like in Peter Pan." At her stare I added: "You know, the pirate, Captain Hook? But Jade has them on both arms and can do really a whole lot of things with them."

"How come you never mentioned this before." That was my Mom.

"Well, I just didn't think it that important."

Then my Dad finally asked: "But then what's wrong with his skin?"

"Nothing. I just meant please just don't stare at him since he's so black."

I was intent to see their reactions. My Dad suddenly asked: "You mean he's colored?"

"Well yes, but I meant that he's REALLY VERY black, so please don't embarrass him about it." I pretended that how black he was the topic rather than he was black at all. I have a weird sense of humor at times.

Then Mom asked: "But how come you never told us your friend was a Negro? I don't know if we like you going into that neighborhood."

"Gees Mom, I go through that neighborhood all the time; it's perfectly safe." (OK, I really didn't but I do now). I still deliberately didn't answer the first question. "We go down town all the time and there are black people and other people all over the place. So what?"

"We'll want to talk to him tomorrow and see if he is all right for you to be around with so much." That was my Dad.

"How come you have to do that? You never did that with any of my other friends."

"Well none of your other friends are colored." he answered.

I tried to hold my temper, my Dad couldn't help it. And then I smiled with a neat thought. (OK so I told you I'm not perfect, and yes, I'm going to tell a whopper of a lie). "Boy that's funny."

Mom asked: "What do you mean funny?"

"Well Jade said that his Mom said almost the exact thing about me."

Mom said: "Your not making sense, you're not a Negro."

"Well Jade told me that his Mom wanted him to bring me to his house so his Mom could, as he said `give me the third degree.' And he chuckled a bit and then finished, `She said she wanted to make sure I wasn't the kind of white boy that shouldn't be associating with her son.'"

I started laughing as I saw the expressions on my parents faces especially my Dad. Mom smiled a bit realizing the irony of it. But Dad just frowned and finally said "We'll see."

"But seriously Mom, PLEASE don't embarrass either of us by harping on the fact he's black, and also don't make a big thing about his hooks. He doesn't like that. And you keep saying we shouldn't be prejudiced. If you mean it, then there shouldn't be any reason to bother if Jade's black or Italian or German. Please Mom, he really is a good friend."

"Don't worry." And Mom gave me a hug. I don't care that I'm 14 (just barely), I still feel good when Mom hugs me.

Journal of Rocco P

September 20, 1959
Well I felt like a different person. It's amazing how different I feel now. All of a sudden I'm a happy person again. Well I am usually pretty cheerful, and like to kid around a lot. But I always seemed to have this feeling of not really belonging. Like I lived in the same world and all, but like I was from Mars or something and would never really fit in. And I also always couldn't figure out how come I seemed to THINK DIFFERENTLY from everybody else. This is really harder to explain. It's like my brain is wired differently. For example, some body in history, a kid named Ted Szamborski, said that he was Republican because all the Democrats wanted was to do was raise taxes and hurt business. I never really thought about politics too much but I watched a speech by Kennedy and thought he might make a pretty good president. But I admitted I didn't really know. And I asked him how he knew the Democrats would raise taxes more that the Republicans, and perhaps we should try to look up what some of the other Republican and Democrats did about taxes. Now isn't that the logical thing to do? But Szamborski insisted Nixon was best because he was a Republican and would help everyone get richer because he was for business. I wasn't sure what to think but I admitted I didn't know. I said how can you know this and he said that his father said so. Well that's not proof. Sure I like what Kennedy said, but I will still admit that I do not KNOW if he would be a good president. Well he just started campaigning and the elections are a year off yet. And he's quite an underdog. But that's just one thing. Another person last week asked what my sign was. I wasn't sure what he was talking about. And when he told me I couldn't believe he actually believed that junk. The alignment of the stars and planets the exact moment we are born determined our personality and a whole bunch of other stuff? No way. How could you even think it?

I actually haven't really explained it all. There's actually much more that just logic. That's only a small part of it. And I really can't explain it better. It's just that I seem to react differently than every body else. And how come so many people can't feel what other people are feeling? Or even more important seem not even to care?

Well Jade said he would come to my house for my birthday tomorrow. Since it's a Saturday, I said that I would meet him at the park and then we would walk to my house. He said he would feel real strange walking here by himself. We talked more about being black. I said that I was thinking a whole lot about the things he said and I said I was glad I was white since I now realized that being black caused too many problems, like finding a good job, or just being able to go some places.

Some people are still really prejudiced which I though unfair but I couldn't do anything about it. And we talked about that in many states it's still illegal for black and white people to marry. I also told him that I really liked the idea that my best friend was black. (My God, I actually used the word "best" friend. I wondered if he noticed?) He thought I was crazy. But I explained that knowing him so well helped me to see a lot of things differently and this actually helped me understand things better. It sort of was like he was an extra portion of my education.

I also said that there are two KINDS of prejudice. The worst was like deliberately doing things because someone was black. That was really bad. But I then said that the second type EVERYONE had, even him. Boy did that get a strange look. I really thought he was angry at first and I got scared. But finally we talked about it and he even agreed. I never thought about blacks being prejudiced against whites before, but pointed out things BOTH of us said that proved that we were both prejudiced about a lot of things merely by the way we were taught and brought up. But I also said that that don't mean I didn't really like him. I think we finally got passed being worried about the other not being white or black. Well what I mean I don't think either of us worries anymore if we might say the wrong thing.

He liked that idea about us teaching each other about race things, and said that just knowing me also changed some of his ideas also. Like he said the most important was that perhaps things could really be better when he grew up than what his mother had to go through. I hope he is right. It's funny but I feel so at ease with Jade that I just didn't care what other people thought. Also I felt that no matter how anyone else reacted, both Jade and I knew our friendship would be the same and just being with each other was enough. I think I shook up my parents when I told them that Jade was black. I could see them struggle with the idea for a bit but neither actually said anything bad. I was glad my brother wasn't there. He'd probably had some snide remark to say. My sister even asked if he were cute. I think that I suspect my SECRET may be correct. My reaction to my sister's question brought a very weird series of feelings to my mind about boys and if whether they were cute or good looking. I think that's for a time when I have more time to think about it. I'll just let THAT TOPIC alone for now. (I am a coward, so I said I'd think about it later) !

I told him about my parents not being thrilled about him not being Catholic, and he looked at me strangely and then started laughing. He finally told me that he was a Baptist, and that most Baptist thought that Catholics weren't really good Christians because they were so lax about things. Boy some day we will really have to talk about religion. I never talked to someone not Catholic about religion before.

Well, back to my birthday. My Mom said there would be a cake for Dolores and me after lunch. And Jade was intrigued when I told him my sister Dolores was my twin. Then he asked if we were identical, and burst out laughing a few seconds later. Funny joke, har har. And a few gifts would be given. (We never got a lot of stuff for our birthdays, but we always got a few cards in the mail from relatives, and some had money). I told him that the only gift I wanted from him was him to be there! It took a lot of persuading but I finally talked him into it. I wondered how I would react if he invited me to his house with all black people there. I think I would be a combination of half scared, half curious, and half sort of defiant. By the last I mean: "OK I'm white, what are you going to make out of it?" I really think Jade will be OK. It's everyone else I wondered about!

Oh, and I finally talked to that weird kid in my Algebra class again. I think he actually might be really smart after we talked a while. And he's a pretty neat guy. His name is Abraham Abram-something Goldstein, and Jewish. And how he got to our school I don't know. But he feels really like I do some times, really not a part of anything, but his reason is he is Jewish, while mine is -- well I'm not sure, but I tried to explain above.

Copyright 2006 by Rocco Paperiello