approximately 3:40am July 27, 2007
Norma, Lisa, and I are in New York but it looks like Peru: broken walls, dirt roads, no roofs on some rooms. We are at a club that is crowded and ghetto. Norma and I lose our shiny pumps as the club closes for the night. We are pushed out into a rainstorm. I pad barefoot out onto warm, wet cement but the dirt road is a flooded, gross mess. Norma says she is leaving because her hotel is furthest. All the club patrons make a mad dash for taxis. Lisa runs out into traffice. Cars swerve and honk. One almost hits me. I lose sight of Lisa. I shout, “Lisa, Lisabet” at the top of my lungs to no avail. Several people grab onto the end of a garbage truck. There are long lines at the cab stands. I tell a black woman that I’m not sure how to get back to my hotel on foot. She says to follow the crowd.
I go back to the club. Ramon, a friend I used to know from the Endup, is being roughed up by a policeman with a nightstick. Kids I know from work, rival gang members, engage in a tense verbal argument. Some of their fathers are present and they too challenged each other. One boy, named Gonzalo, stabs one of the men with a small knife in the back, and carves gang tags into his flesh. “Sleepy” is the first name in blood that soaks through the man’s shirt. The man gurgles, falls to his knees. I watch the scene in silence, my voice temporarily gone. Shots ring out. Everyone falls to the floor. The rain has stopped.
I wake up, pulse racing. I miss Soldier.