- Posted August 11, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Everyday racism: Your stories
What makes me write this book is, simply, one of my childhood dreams. It could not be just a fairy tale because I wanted something lively, something that people would like and with which they would associate.
I grew up in New York City where I met a character who lived in much need and it is something I can testify, for even up to this day, he has been a loyal companion. This individual has influenced my life in such a way that I can even say that he is miraculous because he had so much faith in God.
Let me explain why miraculous. One day, while biking with him and other peers on the Triborough Bridge on our way to Randall’s Island Park, as we began to plunge down the ramp, his brakes snapped and his bicycle hit against the fenders of the Bridge and I saw him in the air. Well, you know what happens when someone crashes a bike against a wall: the biker flies. And he was flying. I thought he would get killed because the fall would have been fatal. I only know that he was drawn back to the Bridge and he thought we had grabbed on to him.
He told his mom what had happened and she said that it had been her prayers; that the angels had been the ones that had grabbed him because whenever he was not beside her she would beg God to care for him and to deliver him from all evil things. That is why I believe him to be a man of faith or plainly miraculous.
His stories are very exciting and, of course, true. I know that many of you are going to identify yourselves with him and that others will be motivated. Even though I am not very eloquent I am committed to write about this personage, for if I did not, a good story would be lost. It is my privilege to proceed with the narration. It is possible that other authors will read and be inspired to write about him, also. His name is rather peculiar, with several meanings, some negative and some positive. Not that he is negative; on the contrary, he is admirable. All his life was about struggling and surviving. He used the negative things for motivation; things others would complain about. I have a lot to say about him. His name is “Centellita”. Dear reader, get ready because Centellita is at large and, maybe, you will discover that there is one deep within you.
I never thought that if I were to write a book, it would be about this character, and less that it would have to do with success. This child has been an inspiration to me all life long and I hope that the readers will be inspired by Centellita, as well. If I have been successful, I owe it to this very special human being that, in all the negative and worse experiences, saw that his future was in his hands and not in the hands of others.
I thank God that Centellita set an example for me in order to face fears and that I do not run away from them. I confess that, in my mind, they seem like dragons or monsters that many times want to paralyze us and that we are afraid to confront them because we lack arms to combat them.
One day, at the end of a school day, Centellita went through a very dangerous situation. He had been detained for some minutes after school for talking in class. All the kids rushed together to catch the bus because it was not safe to be alone in the streets of the Bronx back in those years. On his way out of the building he comes face to face, in an empty street, with a hoodlum who puts a knife in his chest asking for his bus pass or money. This guy was taller and bigger than Centellita. Lots of things went through his head; even fear got him by surprise but he did not want his assailant to know he was frightened. He thought that if he did show it would make things worse and, worst of all, would be to let this guy get away with his purpose. Centellita did not know where he found enough courage; images of his loved-ones came to his head: his mom, Fleebag and, especially, Diana.
“What would they say if I let this happen to me without fighting back?”
I looked at him straight in the eyes and said, “I am not alone in this world; I got lots of friends, brothers and uncles; they’ll take care of you after I tell them.”
Evidently, this upset the guy for a moment and he replied, “What are you, a bully?”
I felt something in my chest; I did not know what he was thinking but he ran away.
Centellita, immediately, felt very brave because, with words, he had defeated the abuser and was eager to tell his friends what had happened.
When he got on the bus, the driver told him, “You got blood on your shirt. What happened?”
Centellita looked and became aware of how close he faced death but it wasn’t much. It seems that when his aggressor got scared, he made some pressure with the knife and scratched him. I don’t advise anyone to do the same as Centellita to control a mugger. For me, he became a very brave boy and demonstrated that fears do not paralyze him. This was not the only time in his life that he was threatened with an arm; it was something quite common in the Bronx. Back then, in the District, there were drug dealers called “pushers”; they would stop you, knife in hand, to make you buy. It was not easy to say NO; however, he kept away from drugs due to the promise he had made his mother.
We have a lot to learn about fear from this boy! Every day we have to confront so many mental monsters that, in the end, cannot inflict physical harm on us. Fear of failure can also be overcome