In the morning I stopped by St. Francis of Asisi on my way to the school. I had five minutes to kneel and pray in reflection. I wanted to thank La Virgen for my luck in landing at this school. It's such a joy to teach there.
My commute is long and I walk a mile and a half to the busstop once I have crossed the bridge. The bus service just isn't that consistent.
Anastacio was a humble. I walked past the church on the way to the busstop and happened to look his direction, beaming a smile because my students make me so happy.
He had a folded piece of paper and asked me to help. He pointed to the paper and offered, "Help me? Please?"
I quickly switched to Spanish, hearing the discomfort in his voice with the consonants of English and realizing the effort to recall vocabulary outside of your mother tongue.
He had a piece of worn, photocopied paper that outlined a rental agreement. He needed to know what went into the blank spaces. I scanned the paper. "Aquí va tu nombre...aquí tu dirección..." and let him know what each blank space requested.
He nodded, but not in understanding. A quick glance into his eyes let me know he needed more assistance. "Ponlo aquí..." I pointed and he gripped the pen like a young child would hold a crayon--clawing at it, but not a lot of skill or comfort with how to maneuver it.
He scrawled his initials. Barely.
I believe Anastacio does not know how to write.
I felt more for him once I knew his dilemma. I asked the questions filled in the answers. He released the tension in his face as we completed the form.
"Muchisimas gracias." His gratitude was boundless. "De nada! Buena suerte!"
As I was about to continue my walk he asked where I was headed. "Newbridge and Willow."
"Te llevo." He was offering me a ride to the busstop. For me it was a twenty minute walk. For him it was a 3 minute drive.
"Si? Pues, gracias!"
He was driving a gold Saab of some sort, stick shift. This man who was not so confident with his ability to form a letter on a page was a seamless driver and a generous soul.
I made it to the busstop much earlier than my legs would have carried me. I was grateful because I was wearing shoes that were not made for a mile and a half of walking. Not comfortably anyway.
Thank you, St. Francis.
(c) 2011, Eriqua Pa' Que Lo Sepas