viernes, 22 de febrero de 2008

Red's Story

Red was a "homeless" guy from St. Thomas Island (USVI) that was living in Old San Juan for years. He used to "watch" the cars nearby Fort El Morro, next to the Cuartel de Ballajá and the San Juan Cemetery... After days and months seeing him, and exchanging phrases we became friends... I used to give him food, sodas or clothes, until one day he saw me crocheting.

He asked me to do one for him in red and black, making honor to his "name" and his skin color... which I did, attempting to follow - without success – a Lion Brand Yarn patter that came out in one of their catalogs. I got confused with something and did what ever I wanted… unravel all what I have made so far and start all over again!!!

Couple months after giving Red his “trademark” hat, he came one day very sad telling me that someone had stolen his hat from the clothesline where he hanged it after washing it. He was so concern, sad and mad that he wanted to fight with whoever took it. (That for me was kind of funny since Red was so thin and weak that I really doubted he could fight.) He asked me if I could do him another one, to which I said ok, but this time he wanted it with the liberation colors.

That was my first “Rasta” item… I use the term ‘Rasta’ in this case since here in Puerto Rico, any item made in the black, red, gold and green colors are called that way instead of using liberation colors, like they are called by the people of those political-religious views.

Then again, another day, he came along with the same story, which put me to think he was selling or exchanging them to buy drugs… Any way, I did the hat a little bit different since he wanted the colors inverted. Instead of having green atop, he wanted red; and instead of red in the bottom he wanted green – red, gold and green / red, gold and gree-e-e-e-en. (Sorry, I just took off in a Culture Club trip… jejeje)

As a thank you note or a way to pay me, one day Red came with a bag of yarn that someone (??) gave him. He was very happy to have me as a friend that he told me that if one day I needed money for something, he could give it to me or if I needed help he could help me. We talked during my lunch break, before or after my working hours… sometimes he even “visited” me in my job!

People were scared of him. He looked suspicious and sick, but I never showed him fear or anger. I was always the same person with him or with anybody. He had a dream, and he worked hard to reach it. And a lot of people don’t know that. People thought he was asking you money to buy drugs, but he really wanted food, or to gather some bucks to travel back home and see his family before passing away.

He knew his days were almost over and he wanted to say good bye to his beloved ones… and so he did. Red was able to buy his air ticket and before he was leaving for the airport he went to the museum to tell me the news… he was well dressed and wearing almost new shoes. He was so happy!!

When he came back he became ill, got better, went to jail for stealing something got ill again and then his brother took him to his house…

One day, while I was having my lunch at the hotdog cart, I noticed another “bum” watching cars, and I asked Mr. Velez – the hot dog cart owner - for Red to which he replied “he passed away last month…” I was so in shock! I couldn’t believe it… And I felt bad… Red passed away without saying good bye to me… And, even thou I hardly knew him I missed him.

Has been more than a year now since his death… I guess no one miss or even remember him. No one cried for him… I wanted to just write a simple, short note about the hats, and I ended up writhing a whole story, and for the first time, cry for his death… I guess I’ll be the only one…

May God be with you… Red… finally there is someone crying for your loss… me.

6 comentarios:

River Glorious dijo...

Thanks for sharing that story... :) Too bad he could not say Bye to you. He was probably too weak to talk if he was that ill. I think he probably thought about you, though.

Lucila dijo...

I am so proud to know you and consider you a friend since people with heart as big as yours are the real deal. You, my friend, made the difference in that human being.

He didn't said good bye but he had you in his mind.

Anónimo dijo...

Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Projetores, I hope you enjoy. The address is A hug.

Mare dijo...

Thanks to all of you for reading me...

Lucila, I'm proud too of being your friend... Lov'ya girl!

Myriam dijo...

Hola Maria :)

What a nice story! I befriended a homeless person in Chicago. He was scary looking and smelly but very nice and smart. I was lost in a black neighborhood, I met him when he defended me from some teens that were harrasing me.

This was the year of the Rodney King incident, there was a lot of racial tension.

Terri Lynn dijo...

You have a kind heart and I am sorry for your loss, but I am sure you brought much joy to this person's life! god bless you for you giving spirit!