Sunday, July 12, 2009
WEZ, and who is he in my life?
A true story, one that has many meaning. Could be a fairy tale or one that is confusing; just wanted to share to the world the dude in my life. But before I begin, I wanted to tell you that he doesn't want anyone to know him, and thus his face and his identity will remain a mystery to many, especially to those that don't know me well. Lets call my dude " WEZ ".
It started off in junior high school, Roberto Clemente, which is located still on 135th street on Broadway. You can see a really tall project building that is called 3333, and under that housing project, a high school is laid. I used to go to that school way back, and so did my brothers Tomas and Jorge, not to mention my cousin Yadira the dancer and other close mutual friends of ours.
Every morning my dad drops us off to school, and every afternoon my mom picks us up. The usual routine for 4 years. During these junior high school years, and during my lunch period, I would often walk to my aunts house that wasn't far, and go there to eat my lunch, sometimes with my cousin or without. My aunt made the best Dominican dishes, mangu and charchichon con queso, or soups etc; The list is endless. Either way, on my way either to or from her apartment, I would often see some of class mates wondering the streets, looking to play hooky or scoop out where to eat. I also would see fights on the streets which were so common during the early 90's and often witness such activities.
During my Jr high school experience, I remember very clearly, one afternoon, where two classes were merged into one. I'm not sure why, but I do remember that happening from time to time. During these unique transaction, I met "WEZ". He was an average looking kid. I didn't really paid any mind to him, as I did with other guys. He told me that " I asked you to draw me a picture, and you did one very quickly, you created a face being punched by a glove, full impact, and you did it with a pink pen" He thought that was cool. He told me that he kept it for a long time, until it was lost within the passing of the years.
Dang I honesty didn't remember that at all. I do remember a lot of class mate asking me to make them something, I usually did, so did my brothers. It was fun, and why not? right?
The turning point: meant to be or not?
After junior high school, I then entered La Guardia High school of Performace and the Arts, in lower Manhattan. Four years of that, martial art, and after school art programs was my regiment. My days ran together and fast. Condensing the this story a bit: After High school, I then was lost as to either enrolling to a college ( which I didn't know how to) or just wonder the world working part time at some retail store as I did during the summer. Art, as I was told, wasn't a career choice that I should invest. That made my heart weak and sour, but my parents never gave up on me. A chance was given, a scholarship to enroll at S.U.N.Y. New Paltz was awarded to me by E.O.P and thrilled I was ! I choose my profession and art it was. Sadly I found out that the scholarship was for one year only. crushed and in dis pare, I didn't know what to do next? Give up college, but I'm right here? (condensing the story once again), I enlisted to the Army National Guard, and went through basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. And then one year and a half of dirt eating, running and sweating, I completed my task, but was still a soldier. How this connects to WEZ you say? Well here it goes;
After A.I.T ( Advance Initial Training : 91 Bravo Combat medic training at Fort Sam Houston Texas ), and my flight back to New York City, my dad picks me up. What an emotional roller coaster, seeing my dad and hearing of bad news as then entered the homeless shelter on 137th street between 6th and 7th ave. Telling me about mom, and how she was missing since the summer, and what not.
Why I bring the shelter story: I was embarrassed to sleep there and yet alone take any type of shower there, I felt uncomfortable and I couldn't trust no one there. I often walked from the east side of Harlem to the west, to Broadway to see my aunt, so that I can take a shower. Ever so often I had that chance to be "normal", I did my military drill, took showers at base ( Yonkers) and returned home. One afternoon, after utilizing my aunts home, I proceeded to walk towards the east side, to the shelter. Walking up the hill towards City College, in the corner of my eye was WEZ standing right in front of this building. "DANGGGGG I remember you!" as he smiled and I did too. (the year was fall in 2000). He asked me were I was heading to, and I hesitated in telling him, because it was so embarrassing. Who would say, yeah I live in a shelter. I then said to myself, why lie; I got the guts in telling him my story as brief as I could. I thought he would laugh at me, but he didn't. He felt sad and surprised that anyone had to go through it all.
He gave me his pager number and the magic began. He even offered for me to take of my personal hygiene at his place, which I then did. The magic grew, and what a strong force. 2001 came rolling, and I had to return to upstate New York. He asked me out and our relationship is as it was then first time we met in Junior High School.
I wanted to share this, because he means a great deal to me. He believes in my art ever since , you know,. and now. Although there are many obstacles and hills, F - it even mountains that we all face, but we faced it with one thing in mind, how to grow better as a person and as a human being. In mind we share a beautiful spirit our son Wesly.
Thanks once again for reading. This blog is for educational awareness and to express to others my personal journey if anything.
"Love is Love"