Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Today we are in Santurce

A picture can tell a thousand stories for the one who took it.  I took this one almost six years ago and it's been on my mind for the last few days.  If you were to look at this picture you'd probably just notice a rundown house that's been painted pink,  a lot of bars that seem to protect the house from intrusions, and a beat up car that you'd assume might or might not work.  You probably would have never guessed that a few weeks prior to the taking of this picture there had been a dead cat underneath the car that had decomposed to the point that even the maggots were starting to retreat.  The smell it produced permeated every corner of the house.  When I tried to dispose of the pitiful carcass it split in half and fell from the shovel I was using.  As the two halves hit the ground they sent up a cloud of thick decomposition smell that made me throw up.

This was only one of the houses that I lived in while I was in Puerto Rico.  It's situated about half a mile away from a beautiful beach and half a mile away from some of the most dangerous parts of the island.  Parts of the island that I wasn't permitted to go into because of fear that I wouldn't ever come out.  I wasn't a loud to have a car or a bike because people said they'd get stolen within a day.  There are so many bars on the house because of this fear.  On the outside gate there were two locks, on the inside gate there were two more plus a dead bolt.  The door that led into the house had three locks, and in order to get around to the back of the house where I hung up my laundry, I had to unlock two more locks.  The fresh city breeze (car exhaust mostly), was the only source of air conditioning that I had during the day.  The window you see on the left hand side of the house led to the room that I used to study and get dressed.  I had a desk which was made from turning an old door on it's side and propping it up with milk crates.  I had no dressers so my clothes got piled into the milk crates.

I've been thinking a lot about this house because it was here that my health turned against me.  I'm not going to sit here and give you all a sad story.  I have a lot of memories of this house because everyday for 6 weeks I sat in a chair, staring at twin-mini fridges, wishing that I could go outside.  I sat in a chair and threw bread at a bird who flew threw the bars and onto our little porch.  The picture was taken on the day I went home from Puerto Rico to have surgery done.  A surgery they said would help me be "healthy" again.  I took this picture in a moment of bitterness.  When I got to this house was healthy.  I didn't know that one of the mosquitoes that flew into that window everyday was going to give me dengue fever.  I have a lot of memories of this house because I spent 6 weeks doing nothing but observing it's intricacies.  People don't live in this house anymore and I can understand why.  When I lived there it was beyond falling apart.  When I left it was ready to crumble.  When I look at this picture though, one question still comes to mind.  Who's car was that?


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