I loved the sun. I spent almost every summer day when I was a kid outdoors. The heat in Waco never seemed to bother me back then.
I felt sorry for the blonde kids, who had to be so careful. Unlike them, I never seemed to burn. I just got darker. By the time July rolled around, I had turned a lovely shade of mahogany.
And I loved swimming. The public pool was only a few blocks away, and I would have spent my entire summer in the water if Mom and Dad had let me.
Most of the time, my encounters at the pool were benign. Oh, I bumped into more than my share of ladies’ legs swimming underwater with my eyes shut, and I’m sure I interrupted dozens of games of catch with beach balls, oblivious, as usual, to what anyone else was doing, as I darted around the pool. I got yelled at a few times, but adults generally forgave us kids our trespasses.
Other kids weren’t always so generous. One day I got a chilling reminder that, to some people, what you look like is more important than how you act, and that you can never completely escape being defined by your genetics.
Tomorrow’s story is about discovering what it’s like to be discovered.