by Francesca Lia Block | Writing |

For Luisito - by Francesca Lia Block

Oh, the world is not coming to an end.

But then, why was Luisito shot at 7:30 in the evening stepping off a bus to get medicine for his brother?

Shot in the clavicle. He may never speak or walk again.
The bullet cannot be safely removed so there it stays, in the back of his neck. He must be fed with a tube. He breathes with tubes. His body shakes with fever and pain.

He is seventeen, a baseball player. Baby-faced, long-limbed in a tux at the prom, arms wrapped around his girlfriend who took weeks to find shoes small enough for her feet.

She comes every day to the hospital, to sit at his side. There are many other girls that come, pretending to be his girlfriend but there is only one to whom he mouths “I love you” and “I am alive for you.” Only one who makes the nurses wink at him. “Is this your girlfriend? She’s gorgeous! No chance for me.”

This girlfriend, pretty as a movie star, has promised to stay with him forever if he cannot walk. I know her mother so I know the daughter of such a mother will not break this promise.

Luisito’s girlfriend’s mother is my babysitter. She came here from El Salvador. She has thick, thick black hair to her hips. My four year old son finds it disconcerting and asks her to put it in a ponytail when she comes to play with him. She always obliges, but on her way home, on the bus, she lets her hair spill freely.

She has told me that her husband dreamed he would marry an Indian with such hair before he met her. She has told me that her blood is redder than most people’s as if roses could bleed.

Luisito had a dream that he was shot before it happened. His girlfriend said, “Be careful. Be careful in the streets at night.” She weeps and thinks, why did he not listen? She weeps but only on the train ride home, never at his side. This is something she can do for him.

What can we do? Pray and love. That is all we can do.



Not let ourselves wonder, if this world coming to an end.