When I was eight I had a friend her name was Elizabeth. We called her China because she looked Chinese, she didn?t talk much in fact she didn?t talk at all: the only sound that she regurgitated was "Aaggaa." Liz was not like the other children I the neighborhood, she was special, but a child she was.
Sometimes on my way to school as I passed Liz?s house I would hear loud noises coming from her house, loud bang, clink, crashing sounds. One day I peeked into Liz?s house through the kitchen window. Oh my there was Liz sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor, wearing a pamper, playing a symphony with all the pots and pans and a big steel spoon- chanting "Aggaa agaa." I always wondered what all that ruckus was coming from Liz?s house. That was cool that her he mom let her play with the pots and pans.
I use to like to comb Liz?s hair.
Liz had two brothers my age, Freddy and David, I went to school with them and sometimes played baseball with them. One day I was at Liz?s house playing and Freddy accidentally hit Liz on the back of the head with the bat. Liz bit down on her tongue so hard that she almost bit it off. The piece of tongue was hanging there out of her mouth bleeding. We were all in disbelief and in shock of the sight. Liz?s Mom came out and rushed Liz to the
Emergency Room to see if they could sew the piece of tongue back on.
Poor Liz must have been mortified. All I know is that Liz?s tongue was back on and Freddy got in a lot of trouble.
Before you know. I was in Jr. High, I stopped playing with Liz. Liz?s family moved to another part of town. We grew up and lost touch with Liz and her family. I figured out that Liz had Down Syndrome and she was not Chinese.
My daughter and I recently took a weekend trip to Yuma, Arizona and I got to see my friend Liz. She is now forty three years old. Not much has changed for Liz: same hairdo, wears pampers, drools, likes to sit on the floor with a fly swatter, favorite word "Agaa," lives with her mom.
She is beautiful in her own world!
I took my friend Liz by the hand and we went for a walk around the old pool ? Kennedy Pool. She stared at me with a blank look. She smiled and laughed when I tickled her belly and told her about when we were children. She hugged me.
My Friend Liz, so innocent, so na?ve.
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Maria Reyna is a painter, writer, photographer. Born in Mexico, raised in Arizona, now living in San Clemente, CA. She's working on childrens stories for publication. Reach her at: Mmiaculp@aol.com