When I first arrived to this country I didn't have a job or any obligations. My days were long and consisted of lots of walking, sightseeing, learning and long talks with my friend Junior. A fruit seller, Junior would sell me the sweetest mangos and pineapples. He was young, around my age; he emigrated from Haiti in order to make a little more money to help out his family back home. He knew some Spanish, enough to get through the day and sell fruits, but I would teach him some more while he taught me a little Creole.
I continue to refer to Junior in the past tense because two days ago he was killed. Junior was sitting in the usual corner where he sold fruits, talking to one of his friends when out of no where a pick up truck lost control, climbed on the side walk, and left him dead. I moved from that block many months ago and it had been a while since I'd seen him; still, he was one of the first friends I made in the DR.
His death impacted me more than I would have imagined. I went to the sight of the accident yesterday and was confronted by his blood still laying on the floor, fruits of all sorts dramatically scattered on the sidewalk and street, gloves tainted with blood that were left behind by the paramedics, and dozens of pieces of the plastic chair he always sat on.
I don't understand how and why things of this nature occur. I get it we all have to die, but why like this. This young man left his native country, his family and friends to come here and make a living, he didn't hurt anyone in the process and wasn't involved in risky activities, he was just sitting there selling his fruit on the sidewalk and was killed by an out of control driver. My friend who also knew him, told me to put this in the "things I will never understand box" and just leave it there to accumulate dust. I just hope that he didn't suffer, that his energies have been peacefully channeled and transferred to something great. Junior, thank you for your smile, the discounts and free fruits, and for just being you.