Hoping that I would be safe there by that board building at that corner, darkness suddenly overcame me as if someone had turned off all the lights which scared me. I stood there allowing the fresh night air to help revive me and so it did.
My thoughts were that the devil himself could now derail me in the weakest moment of my life that night. But what had started out as a beautiful and fresh summer day of the year 1953 now seemed to want to end in disaster.
I recalled that that afternoon I had found myself so tired, more than I had ever experienced before. In all the time I had put in my work at that dental clinic that day, I had not seen any of the men who worked with me there, and it was about half past eight that night. I stood there a few minutes then took a few steps that led me down the stairs to street level. That old Board building was familiar to me I thought as I got to the corner of “M” Street and the familiar Mariano Arosemena Street. I kept walking still feeling faint, while the dizziness that had come over me had been a feeling new to me, and I associated it with being hungry and thirsty.
Since nothing like that had ever happened to me before it worried me. The street lights seemed to be dancing before my eyes. The loud voices of singing coming from inside the room where I was to put up my cot which had served as my bed depressed me.
Disappointed, I looked up at the third floor of the familiar Magnolia Building where the bed that should welcome me and offer me help in getting over my feelings of tiredness , I said to myself “Oh well, looks like my Aunt had her Home Church group over and are in the middle of worship.”
But while I stood there I found that I had to grab on to the corner of the building. I needed to pause for a few seconds. Unable to move I waited for the world to stop spinning and return back to normal. But it would be the calm before the tempest of emotions that I knew would assail me if I dared to even try to get home.
Standing there however, I cued in uneasily on my youngest Aunt who I knew was always full of contention towards me. Then I knew she had seen me cross the street. But, the wave of disappointment overcame me again when I heard the singing emanating from inside the room. I decided to ignore my aunt’s incessant calling out my name as she really thought that I was ignoring her because I was reluctant to attend her home church meeting.
But it wasn’t like that at all since I had always enjoyed those meetings in the past. Those religious ceremonies were familiar to me and I knew that they were done by some churches in private homes, which was what had been in progress. Although I momentarily hesitated when I knew my aunt had spotted me, I was just too exhausted to answer her and crossed the street only in anticipation of the scene I’d meet up with at home when finally I arrived.
I also wasn’t in the mood to meet new people, let alone have to wait for them to finish their ceremony and leave so that I could finally put up my cot and go to sleep. Then there was the question in my mind also of who had concocted problems for my aunt to induce her to pay for an impromptu religious meeting?
I hid amongst the crowd that had formed over the small San Miguel Catholic neighborhood park with its modern street lights that gave a pleasant hue to the area and the corner of that street. I had disappeared out of view under the railing so that my insistent Aunt Gwenie became more insistent by shouting into the crowd from the vantage of our balcony.
This story continues.