Rodrigo

In Norcross Georgia the local laundry spot is also a hang out and meeting place for people who don’t have anywhere to go. The population is predominately Mexican who gather throughout the day washing clothes, cashing checks, playing Lotto and purchasing scratch offs. That’s where I met Rodrigo, a homeless father of four, trying to find a better way of living while I was trying to do my two loads of laundry.

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Rodrigo said, he started smoking crack cocaine and poppin Ecstasy pills, shortly after he lost his job. “ I worked there for 17 years. My wife was bitching and complaining about finding another job and it didn’t take long before she left me for one of her long time childhood friend. She always wanted me to meet this guy when we were married and I was like, why?”

Rigo went on by saying. “I asked her, this guy, your friend does he like you? Does he want to have sex with you? If you open your legs to him will he take it?” and she said. “Yeah, I guess”. Rigo said “ You guess?” Conyo! “Why would you want me to met a guy that is interested in you like that? Now I look at you differently.”

Man, it’s real in the field homes. When I lost my job all hell broke lose. Rigo takes off his hat and rubs his head. “My wife, that bitch divorced me.” Phuckin man, she kicked me out the house. Rigo pulls out a 16oz can of County Time beer opened it and took in a long swallow. He wiped his lips and added. “My kids don’t respect me and now I’m living in these streets. I tried living in an Extended Stay Hotel but with the child support taken out of my unemployment check I couldn’t make, how you say? Make ends meet? Yeah! That’s it.

I didn’t have anywhere to go. All my relatives are either dead on or already over crowded not having room for me. Conyo mang! I was supposed to be most likely to succeed in my family. Look at me now, homes. I got no money no nothing mang. Not a pot to piss in and a window to throw it out or something like that. Who gives a phuck?

So crack is my best friend now. Crack, well she helps me with my problems you know? She doesn’t complain either. She just be like come here baby and hold me. Light my fire! Rigo smiles and blows a kiss in the air and added. Maybe I can go into rehab and get a bed but without phuckin insurance I have to wait cause the line be long n shyt. I even applied for welfare and food stamps. They wouldn’t give me a phucking one shot deal so I could get back on my feet. (I look around the laundry mat and I noticed the older women shaking their heads but came a little closer to catch an ear full).

Rigo starts to get a little animated at this point. Life is hard. I thought about killing myself but then I thought nobody would even care if I were gone so I live day by day, you know? My friend, I haven’t even taken a shower in 3 months. (I said to myself, really? I couldn’t tell. Lol, I’m lying) He continues. I’m in bad shape. Amigo, I tell you sometimes I sleep on the train or in somebody back yard until they catch me and run me out. I just want to stay warm, you know?

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You know I had a place one time and when I couldn’t pay the gas bill they shut it off. I heated my water in the microwave. You know you have to set the microwave for 3 minutes and 59 seconds and the water gets hot. I had to share a bathroom though. That wasn’t cool. People bangin on the door yelling, “hurry up n shyt.” I washed my azz in the sink with no washcloth. (I did even bother to ask how he manage to clean himself without a washcloth.)

Rigo took a final gulp of his Country Time and said, “I lost that spot too”. (Belched) and said excuse me, sir. “ Can I trouble you for a dollar?” He staggered a bit trying to master his cheap high reached behind himself to pull his underwear out from his butt. “If it gets too cold I’ll break in a store and wait for the police to come. At least I’ll get a cot and a box with a blanket. They feed you-you know? Three meals too.” “I just don’t want to do anymore time. It’s crazy in there. (While pulling out his underwear from his butt again) Rigo smelt his finger and added. This state is hard on a man with a record”.

Rigo stumbled away saying “I’m lonely as phuck mang. I don’t think I’ll ever trust another woman ever again. The pain hurts too much. I lost everything and now I’m nothing. My friend don’t end up being like me make something for yourself you know and hold on to in for dear life. Cause you never know.

As Rodrigo walked away with my $5 in hand I continued with doing my laundry. I thought about God’s message as it presented and unfolded itself before me. It came at the right time too, just when I was thinking about giving up all hope. My life is not as bad as I thought it to be. God is funny but more than anything God is good and always on time.

Harlem,

Heaven is at the foot of Mother….

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