Sunday, August 24, 2014

THE CHOCOLATE CANDY MAN

The Chocolate Candy Man wore glasses with card boards in each side that read: "50 Cents". He always had a black jacket on buttoned to his neck, and black jeans. About 40, he was heavy, friendly with a constant smile. As soon as he checked out the action in the train, he put on the glasses and began to walk the aisles offering the candy.


Every night I ride the Los Angeles blue line to the green line, to my job in El Segundo. The last car is crowded with bikes, baby carriages, recycling carts and people sleeping, lying down, with bags and feet on seats. I noticed the regulars, among them, a man selling candy. This story is about him.

I have seen him couple of times in the train, when I found him on my station. His face was bloody, he was agitated. Blood ran from his head, to his nose, and neck, over his jacket, down to the ground. He said he was robbed. I heard the train whistle. I had to go. The next night, I saw him again, this time he was carrying a plastic container. Two teenagers entered the train selling large bars of chocolate for a dollar. He moved out of their way. I saw no reaction from either one. When they left, smiling he put on his glasses and walked the aisles.

The next time I saw him, his smile and glasses were gone. He said: "Help me find my son." I looked at him puzzled. He burst into a big laugh and asked me: "Where are you from?" "Where are you going?" I told him I was NewYorrican. I worked the graveyard shift as a writer on a 24/7 social network. He said, "I want you to write about me".

As the train moved on, he called Artesia station. I knew then I had miss my stop. I turned to him but he was gone. I got off at Del Amo, the station was empty. Suddenly a boy appeared quietly, and asked me: "Have you seen my father?"... "He had glasses on with 50 cents signs." ... Then he walked closer to me, and said: "My father was robbed in Artesia three years ago. He had a hidden spot for the money. I went to meet him and found him on the ground sleeping. I tried to wake him up, but I felt asleep too. When I woke up, he was gone, and I have been looking for him ever since. Please help me find him. Have you seen him?".

The train arrived. I felt the boy presence sitting next to me, but I did no see him. Nevertheless I said, Yes, I have seen your father, he is looking for you too. He loves you very much. My words were muffled by the whistles of the train. As the train entered Artesia, I felt a pull to look out the window and I did and there I saw them standing in the platform. The boy and his father.  I knocked at the window, but they did not hear me-just disappeared as the train speed up.

My stop was next. I looked at the platform and saw them again. They were smiling at me, but vaguely visible. I closed my eyes and prayed, ("Que Dios los saque de pena, y los lleve a descansar") That God takes them off of grief and carry them to rest. At this time I felt their peace and I knew they were free. 

End.