Ofelia was my best friend when we were both 12 years old; we were classmates in the last elementary grade and graduated together that year.
That year, 1968, was a significant year for me and my family. My family left our city house to live in my Dad's 120-hectare farm, Chile Valley, 2 1/2 years ago. My Dad and Mom rented out our city house in the earlier part then renovated it this year when the family was ready to come back to the city.
I studied part of my elementary years in a school near our farm. When I came back to my old school, most of the pupils there knew me and I knew them too, but Ofelia was a new face. She was extraordinarily pretty, her being a mix blood was observable; she was half Japanese. But I noticed something on her; everybody shunned her and she sat alone in the corner of the classroom, nobody liked her.
While I was popular and controversial because I was a threat to the candidate for the class valedictorian, Ofelia, on the other hand, was a target of bullies. She was the dunce in the class, I learned later. This knowledge about her prompted me to approach her and befriend her. She and her family lived in a newly-built house next to our house so that I tutored her every night.
We graduated that year, I was the valedictorian and Ofelia third in the honor list. Her parents thanked me and called me "Ofelia''s heroine". My family and Ofelia's family became good friends too.