|Painted on the building where I live: The man says, "son, obey you parent and teachers|
out of love [for them]".
First to go up the three flights of stairs is the wooden box of a bed. It is empty, and thus not very heavy, but its ungainly form, combined with the low overhead clearance of the stairway requires the we stand and squat in awkward positions and use muscles in our backs and arms that don't often get a workout. For me, it is another triumph of communication, something I certainly couldn't have accomplished with nearly as much grace or poise five months ago. At critical points along the way, I have to listen carefully and follow instructions. At other times it is I who has to describe how to proceed based one what I can see and my moving partner cannot.
|Adorning the street entrance of my building: A shackled taino bride and a Dominican|
flag breaking a chain.
Next, in similar fashion, comes the mattress and finally a couch. On the rooftop across the street I can see the ladies watching me, with boundless amusement, no doubt. From their perspective, each trip up the stairs plays out like a play in three acts, taking place in the exposed landings between flights of stairs. I wave and shout to them, but it is clear they prefer that the fourth wall remain intact.
|The building where I live. It used to be a school. My window is the one in the middle.|
By the time we finish, I am panting and sweating profusely, but I can tell that my neighbor could easily keep going. I'm typical Dominican fashion, nobody says "thank you". Instead I am rewarded with a few minutes conversation and the comfort of knowing that I had done my good deed for the day.