17 June 2009

Fernando - Por Aqui Por Alla, Sin Pasaporte

In the Fall of 2007 I befriended this dude supposedly named Fernando who would sleep at St. John's Church on 24th Street with a bunch of drunks and recovering vagabond drug types. He was completely clean. He was from somewhere but would never show me his passport. His accent was neither Mexican, nor Spanish, nor Cuban, nor Dominican, nor Colombian, nor Bolivian, nor Argentinean...but I knew that he wanted to be Argentinean, or at least, whiter...He spoke English with an American accent so determined and harrrrrd that he placed himself somewhere between Dick Tracy and an old Western...hmm that's a lot of space...anyway, we were more or less the same age...except I wasn't sleeping in a church, had a blue passport, and could buy myself shoes. He worked very hard to keep up this appearance of cool-kid when I am positive he was coming from something very dark, unspeakable...or so he said his entire family had been killed...he would post up outside of a convenience store and smoke cigarettes. He was landless, phoneless, homeless, lonesome. I talked to him because I sincerely wanted to know about him, and smoked cigarettes with him because I knew he had zero friends, because he was unapproachable like a wolf kidnapped from the pack, and dropped off in the outskirts of Detroit or something. His eyes were honest but severely cautious. We had coffee and a beer once and I felt terrible afterwards knowing if I didn't come through for a second time he wouldn't do that again for a long long time. I ran into him the day my Grandmother died in November of 2007. I was "less than" I had usually been with him when we interacted. He had no idea what "to do" with this different me. Unfortunately it is I who usually makes people comfortable at the expense of myself, but in this case, no matter. He was awkward and that was that. Towards the end of 2007 he mentioned that he wanted to go to New York City...some way some how some some some way...you don't need a passport to cross into the big apple...the following spring, I was eating carrots on the corner of Harrison and 22nd Street, spacing out after a dance class. I had been accepted to the ICP and was in a lull between finishing up my current office job and not caring about the present space I was inhabiting...I wandered the streets for hours every day and on weekends, but unlike him, had a door to close when my feet got tired...in the dozen or so times he expressed this desire to make-his-way towards the big apple, I never once said that I had a ticket out...not out of vanity, or because of any presumptuous thoughts I might have, albethem few and far between...maybe just...out of respect or something. out of my mobility? and definite privilege.

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