Things Have Gone Missing
A belt, an escapulario, a photo album. Other things.
And beneath the sting that is the realization that these things did not magically vanish while you were out of town, but rather that they were taken with no respect to you, no honor of the fact that your shit, regardless how trivial or unsophisticated, does matter.
The escapulario--a Virgencita de San Juan. The photo album, a gift. The belt, a down-ass blue cord that reminds you of your first vato, because he wore one exactly this type and he’d bought you one like this at the Pomona Swap Meet in 1996, and after he died, you got this one to honor what once was, because you’d destroyed the first one when you found out what he’d done to you, because owning that belt and wearing it somehow brings a little piece of the two of you back together again. All of this--that behemoth affection you unapologetically bear for what is the past.
But having the escapulario taken from you wounded the most. The only photograph you own of your father and mother taken in September of 1976 at the Shrine to la Virgen de San Juan. Dark, almost handsome, your father towers over your mother who holds you, as an infant, firmly, like you, too, might blow away because the wind pushes her thick cascade of hair as if it were a lovely black fluid.
True, it’s a shitty photo.
True, you only display it recently.
True, it confounds you, what you feel for this flimsy-ass photograph, and you’ve contemplated taking it all down.
Your mother had told you this story, the story of how your father had not wanted to go on this trip to the Rio Grande Valle, how a plane crashed into the shrine, and you came upon this photograph incredibly, and it belonged to you simply because no one else wanted it, and now, you struggle with it.
Why do you esteem this photo when you loathe the man who is your birthfather? Why was that escapulario hanging in your bano so significant? You purchased it with your mother at the Corpus Christi Trade Center so many years back that you’ve forgotten the approximate date though you’d place it around 2001, 2002, perhaps. Sure, you could buy another one. So why does this shit matter when people have taken shit from you for so many fucking years that it’s easy, really, to blow by this like it were an infinitesimal happening, a microbe, a mote of nothing?
You theorize that it’s that you’ve tired, finally, of losing shit, of having things in your life hijacked, really, because that’s what’s been going on for all these years. Tired, ultimately, of having to relinquish dreams to the air like suspiros and moths and cells. And still, yet, there’s that piece of you that wants to talk shit and fuck a hoe up for taking your shit. It’s the machista in you, the will to “get even,” to put it down and set foul shit straight. What good is it to know in the heart of your heart the real truth of things taken when you’ve been duped and betrayed and shanked by hoodrat antics, when scandal masquerades as loyalty and years of camaradismo succumbs to a former homeboy really not giving a fuck about you or your feelings because he wanted these things, so chinga tu madre, go to hell, fuck off porque le vale madre?
Truth is the shit already hit the fan.
Truth is people fuck each other over all the time. Only you can make this the last time someone jacks your shit.
Truth is you won’t get another San Juanita escapulario. You won’t fight for that photo album or ask that Big Smokey’s belt be returned. As much as you want to throw a chingazo with your fist or your voz, you abstain. In your heart you know what’s true and what’s fraudulent, and like somebody told you so long ago, It isn’t always about letting people have it, esa. So perhaps this is the one time that you let the shit go without forfeiting what’s yours.