He used to get teased a lot. Living in a black and hispanic neighborhood, the kid stuck out like a turd in a punchbowl. He didn't really look right anywhere, not with the blacks or the hispanics.

He was, by race, a "Rican" but he didn't look like one, well not to them at least. They would say he wasn't tan enough or he was a "gringo". So he doesn't speak spanish, eat rice and beans and throw chancletas? Big deal.

The harassment and bullying was continual and not just the physical, throw-you-on-the-floor-and-kick-dirt-in-your-face either. There was verbal harassment, too. In your face insults and under your breath comments. Not to mention the sideways glances and back and forth whispers between the parents as well. I'd heard the adults spread rumors in hushed tones about him, and his mother. How she got knocked up by some rich white boy and left on her ass because he was ashamed to bring a minority home to his family.

When the stories and bullying got to be too much, his mother would just take him upstairs, or pick him up from school. At one point he just stopped coming around, stopped hanging out with the neigborhood kids. Later on I heard from someone's mother that he had moved. I didn't see Miguel again until high-school. But at that point he wasn't even recognizable.

He entered the building as a completely different person. His previously lanky body had developed into lean, but still defined muscle. He shot up a few inches in height and his face has squared off and lost it's childlike composure. He wore a v-neck shirt and let his jeans sag. His usually awkward way of standing was replaced by a casual hands on his pocket kind of thing. he leaned against the locker next to mines, and when he spoke to me, the base in his voice scared me a little."Ayeo, ma."And since when did he speak ghetto?It was obvious what he was doing. He was trying to change, trying to fit in, just like he did back on the block. He was trying to make a new for himself, and he in the middle of freshman year he'd gotten into a few fights around school and all of a sudden he's big mac on campus. I'd seen the fights, happening to be in the lunch room at the time, and they were nothing serious but i was still surprised. Both fights were pretty similar: they started off with a lot of talking and just when you think the two opponents are full of shit-bam! bop! bop! The kid's hunched over with a bloody nose and Miguel has his head cocked to the side giving the guy a don't-fucks-wit-me kinda look. The ordeal played out just like any other fight does in high-school but this was different. it was different because i didn't expect it to end like this. i didn't expect it to end with him winning. Miguelito? that pale skinny kid from the block was gone. Next thing you know he's got a grey beanie on his head and is rolling with the thugs, blacks and ricans, calling himself "Blanco".