Saturday, January 31, 2009
A Haunting Face
For several weeks he would appear each day at my elbow when I sat in the plaza after Spanish class. His expression never changed nor did he ever utter a word. A refugee from Guatemala in Mexico, there was no schooling for him, only this kind of mute begging. I took to buying us both lunch and he would eat slowly, his shoulder almost but not quite touching my elbow. His face wore the traces of brutality: the bruising across the nose and eyes, too many scars on such a young face.
Soon before I left, I took this picture. Tears had left uneven stains on his cheeks. On my last day, I said ,"Adios", I stroked his cheek and stuffed pesos in his hands. I thought I saw the ghost of a question in his eyes but perhaps not.
In time I forgot him until this week when I was asked if his picture could be used in the work of a friend. He would be a young man today and I can't imagine his life without shuddering.