I was heading home from a useful day of running errands…
10th and 2nd I told my cabbie. My credit card machine doesn’t work he said as he pulled over the cab in the West Village. I had 10 dollars. I got in.
We drove through the village. A red light turned green. He didn’t budge. I noticed him looking out the window.
Excuse me, sir? It’s green, I said.
Sorry, he said, driving through.
Moments later, another red light turned green. We were at Astor Place.
We sat still.
Green again, I said, hoping to beat the impatient cabs behind us into the inevitable honking that would occur in moments.
There was something more going on with this cab driver, this man.
Something on your mind? I asked.
My mom is very sick, he said. Tomorrow he would leave for Haiti to see her.
He was going to lose her. She already had complications before the earthquake he told me. There was the asthma, the lungs were weak. He would lose her like he lost so many when the earthquake shook his hometown, taking with it the lives of his sisters, his friends, the home he knew before he left for New York to make a better life for himself.
He came to this city to drive the ambitious streets paved with the promise of success.
But success, the drive - it didn’t matter. His mind was back in Haiti, the cracked streets, the hungry mouths and the roofs patched with inevitable memories that haunted him from across the world on this chilly New York evening on our path towards the East Village.