St. Antonio: Que clima frio!
Although the cherry blossoms are appearing a bit early this year, tonight was proof that winter still looms. Although the winter is good for showing off my large collection of flannel shirts, I do miss the days when a breath of air doesn’t result in my nasals burning and sticking together. Ah, how I wish it was el verano.
Today as I walked home, I tucked my chin into my chest and put mis manos in my pockets. The day started off warm enough, so I did not bring a hat, gloves, or a scarf. Many times I feel that my Guatamalanness will be sufficient for warmth and many times I am sadly mistaken.
Walking in the dark is never an issue. People in my neighborhood know me and nod when they see me coming. Some who prefer to wave do so, but I nod. It is too cold to remove my hands from my pockets.
Today was not like most nights. There was commotion on my walk home. About one block after I got off my stop I heard quick steps coming in my direction. Before I had an opportunity to turn around hands were on my back pushing me down and pulling at my neck. My gold chain.
I felt the chain break around mi cuello and create a blood blister before it gave way to my attacker. A nice kick to the back of the head was my reward for relinquishing my St. Antonio gold necklace and medallion that was given to me by one of my tias. The gentleman who forgot to give me his name ran off north on 13th street before making off on Kansas Ave.
Pobre attacker. This is not his day. I got up on all fours and peered from the top of my eyes as my soon to be friend made off with a smile on his face. I smiled. This is my first mugging. Now I can join the women who live in Logan Circle and tell stories.
Pobre attacker. This is not his day. He must not have realized he was jumping a Guatemalan named El Guapo. You see, in my day I was quite the runner and rust has yet to take over my body. For two seconds I stayed on all fours watching him run away. I decided to say the prayer of St. Antonio, who is the saint of lost things. After all, my medallion was lost.
I got to my feet and started running after my soon to be friend. He had slowed to a jog and was expecting me, like most of his victims, to stay down. I am not only Guatemalan, but guapo as well. I need to have my gold. After all, gold is the bar code of Latinos and Armenians since 1932. I wanted my baby back.
Running was not being done on the sidewalks, but on the street where the pavement makes less of a sound on my leather soles. A quick honk alerted him to my presence and he went a bit faster, but by this time I was 3 meters behind him. My new amigo was starting to yell things at me,
“I gotta gun dude. I gotta gun.”
No you don’t. No you don’t, amigo. You run too freely for someone who has a gun. No tienes nada mi amigo. No tienes nada.
He turns around and actually spits at me hitting me in the chest where my medallion would have protected me. Oh boy. This is not going to be fun, but I believe this is better than Yoga. At this point I could have tackled my new friend, but I had spit on my sweater. I was in no tackling mood. Instead, I swiped at his foot and his momentum put him to the ground chest then chin. He realized he bled when he wiped his red sleeve sticking out of his jacket on his face. I hovered around him like a wolf does prior to eating his prey. I smiled and showed my tongue while smiling. He was up against wall on the sidewalk leading to someone’s home. I leaned down, smiled, and said, “Hola amigo.”
Yes. Fuck me. It has been a long time since I have been in any kind of physical altercation and I thought about ending my streak with this new friend of mine, but I changed my mind. His body showed the deterioration from which I have grown too accustomed in my neighborhood. I saw the beginning of tracks on his arms. My friend had allowed a greater being to take control of his life. I could not hurt him. He was already hurting.
That necklace was given to me by my aunt. I’d like it back please. It means much to me.
I looked at him in the eye as only another man can and he handed it to me trembling. The look of guilt was in his eyes for he had done this act in desperation. Without thinking, I reached into my pocket and gave him a $20. I know what this money will obtain, but I wish that it holds him over until he feels the urge to hurt another. Too many of my brothers have fallen with this ill.
He took my money and no thank you was needed. The look on one man’s face is all that is required in times like this. He walked north towards his treasure and looked back only once as I stood staring at him go away.
As I walked home holding my broken necklace I said a prayer to St. Anthony. I asked for my new friend’s soul to be found.