Our hero was not one of those Dominican cats everybody’s always going on about—he wasn’t no home-run hitter or fly bachatero, not a playboy with a million hots on his jock.
And except for one period early in his life, dude never had much luck with the females (how very un-Dominican of him).
He was seven then.
In those blessed days of his youth, Oscar was something of a Casanova. One of those preschool loverboys who was always trying to kiss the girls, always coming up behind them during a merengue and giving them the pelvic pump, the first nigger to learn the perrito and the one who danced it any chance he got. Because in those days he was (still) a ‘normal’ Dominican boy raised in a ‘typical’ Dominican family, his nascent pimp-liness was encouraged by blood and friends alike. During parties—and there were many parties in those long-ago seventies days, before Washington Heights was Washington Heights, before the Bergenline became a straight shot of Spanish for almost a hundred blocks—some drunk relative inevitably pushed Oscar onto some little girl and then everyone would howl as boy and girl approximated the hip-motism of the adults.
You should have seen him, his mother sighed in her Last Days. He was our little Porfirio Rubirosa.
I grew up in the House of Languages.
“Languages,” plural. On our bookshelves, you’ll find five different versions of Le Petit Prince in four different languages—that is, four different ways to say, “L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” These are scattered within the House, among…
I’ve been working hard on my new study abroad blog (holla, Cambridge) now that my UK visa has been approved— ch-ch-check it out!