New York Stories - El Moreno

Posted 12:05 AM by Gloria S. Álvarez in Etiquetas: ,

It's a warm, end-of-summer night in the South Bronx. I've just left my office and I'm thrown into a world that's completely different from the modern, minimalistic work environment I was just in. Everything out here is a punch to your senses: the smell of the East/ Harlem River, the sounds of the sluggish garbage trucks entering their depot, the emptiness and loneliness of what's mainly an industrial setting. 

I approach the corner to wait for the traffic light to change. Through the corner of my eye I see a bulky figure coming towards where I stand. I turn around so I can see his face. He's a tall and muscular black man in his late 20s. He smiles. "Don't be scared. I see you turning around, probably thinking, 'Who's this big moreno'," he says in Spanish with a thick Puertorican accent. I smile back. "You know how it is. I'm a young woman walking by herself. I have to be careful and look around". He nods and sighs. "Yeah. Of course. You can never be too careful."

The light changes and we begin to walk. In an attempt to make small talk, I ask, "So, where are you coming from?" "I just left the Parole office."

"Oh. I work on the building right above it," I say, matter-of-factly. It's 7:30pm on a Thursday. "So they're open 'til now? That's late."
"I went there straight from work. That's good for people like me that are working, that way I don't have to miss a shift. They like that, when you're working. I've been doing good, passing my tests and shit. The only thing the officer's always warning me about this woman I'm seeing." He speaks with eyes fixed on his phone screen, hardly ever meeting my eyes. 

"Wow. They even tell you who not to date? That's a bit much," I say, surprised. 
"It's not like that. All it takes is for a woman to call and say you've hit her. They'll look for you, drag you like a dog, and put you in holding; all without any evidence. That's the way it works."

He looks up at me; I can see sorrow in his eyes. "If someone knows you're in Parole and they want to hurt you, they know exactly what they have to do."

When looking at him for the first time, the last adjective I would've picked to describe him would've been "vulnerable". 


1 comment(s) to... “New York Stories - El Moreno”

1 comentarios:

Nadine B. Hack said...

Beautiful story about vulnerability!