Szeto, Andrew

Klick on a Brick Story

I was 16. On the 43 bus to City College, every Saturday. In the dark neon the tape flickered and the I-Hotel appeared. What is this history that I did not know? The roar coming from the TV set as people were beaten, seniors being dragged out. And who killed Vincent Chin? The classroom lights went back on and the crowded, squished students woke up. I didn’t say much and sat in the back.

Four years later, back in the dark classroom, the I-Hotel appears again. Maybe I sat in the middle, a bit more aware this time. The city has opened. I see the I-Hotel and I see the Fillmore, and the Embarcadero. I see the elders, and I see the homeless. San Francisco is where I grew up, but it was always a secret.

When I finally made it to the I-Hotel, it was closed but it was there, no longer the empty lot scarred by the fight and struggle of an older generation. Or maybe it was open and I went inside and saw the photos on the wall and wondered there names and stories and why they were there and what they knew.

The I-Hotel was a fight and I was in the stands. I saw a hand waving and I made my way to the corner as the bell rang. The sweat dripping, the glare from the other side, the blood forming. We heard some words that sounded like poetry, and then it was time again. The stool was pulled from underneath, towel taken off the back and mouthguard back in. At the center of the ring we remember that the fight was long, but we came to win.