Despite the apparent grimness of the life ahead of me, I was a happy child. Of course when you're a toddler you don't know what the word
"bastard" means. Yes, I was one. The father field on my birth certificate was purposely left blank. I was loved, though, and that's all that mattered to me. That's all that matters, really.
Life was okay. Mom worked while Mama Iyay took care of me. It was a pleasant arrangement-- worked out for everyone. Mom was living at this boarding house in San Andres at the time. I was the only kid there. I was everyone's baby, everyone's entertainment. Put me on the table and ask me to dance and I would gladly do so. Even at an early age, it was obvious that I enjoyed being the center of attention (the early beginnings of my self-absorption).
But anyway, a couple of birthdays later Mom met Dad-- the man responsible for the surname that I use now-- not my biological father, but the only father I have ever known.