Sunday, February 27, 2011

Strange People

People on the metro sit with glazed eyes, checking out strangers, zoned out. We'll be in the train car only two feet from each other, trying to avoid eye contact. We don't talk, as if we are far too different to say anything. Then I think about all the different lives on the train, and how I don't know any of them at all. We make up a diverse group I'm sure.

I see a girl with fake eye lashes glued to her eye lids, and snake bites sticking out of her lips. She has long black hair and she wears a black shirt, a grey skirt, grey tights and black leather boots. I think how she could be prettier if her face wasn't pounded with foundation, but I guess people should just do what they think looks right. I don't know her at all. She probably thinks I'm creepy for staring at her, and maybe I am a creeper.

I stare at a family too. They're young and Hispanic. The baby is crying and throwing his toy shovel at his Dad, but then his Dad grabs it from him and sits the baby on his lap. The baby wears a plaid button up shirt that's unbuttoned with a tank top underneath, and he has a chain necklace on. I laugh to myself because his Dad is dressed the exact same way. The Dad holds the baby gently and he surrenders to his Daddy and slides into a drooling sleep, leaning on his chest.

The Mom is quiet; she has snake bites in her lips too, and she wears an extra large hoody and jeans. Once in a while she will look to the parallel row where her other son sits next to an old lady. The other boy stares wide eyed out the window and often comments on his surroundings. He sympathizes with me, because every time I try to take a picture of the clouds, we pass a wall and the sky hides.

In the station a girl with dreaded hair, soppy make-up and drained eyes asked me for spare change. She wore tight faded jeans and a zip up hoody that looked like something from Pac-Sun. But she was dirty, like she hadn't showered in weeks, or slept. Next to her in a stroller was a little white baby, pure and fresh compared to her messy completion. The baby was sleeping in perfect soundness amidst the bustle of union station.
"I just need some money, to buy a hamburger or something."
"I only have like 35 cents," I said.
"Any thing helps!" she said back.
I handed her my spare change, and she blessed me. I wanted to ask her for her name, but I thought of that as I was already beginning to walk away. Instinctively, I wondered if she was a fake, and if the baby was a prop. But I didn't want to take that chance with her. Maybe she does drugs, and maybe she has a really fucked up life, but keeping my spare laundry change wouldn't have changed that.
I enjoyed this outfit idea.

Krista and I walked to a thrift store and I forget the name of it. I noticed that they do not segregate clothing into guy and girl sections, which is very liberal of them. I wondered what makes girl clothes or guy clothes distinctly belong to a particular sex. It's fine though, because I found an amazing leather Harley Davidson jacket in the jacket section.  It was obviously meant for men, but it fit me comfortably. It was $65, and I had no money. Vintage shops like that inspire me to dress more artistically, imaginatively. College has made me quite aesthetically boring, and that should change.

We're back on the metro, and strangers come and go, and we just listen to the rhythm of steel on steel, and the blast of air conditioning. We just stare at each other awkwardly sometimes, or we purposefully day dream, and glaze over to avoid awkwardness. Some have ear buds blasting music into the scene, like Krista. She stares out the window at the clouds, or in the case of the subway, she stairs at the window at her own reflection.

Therapeutic rhythm puts me to sleep. It's the same there, night and day, day and night. The trains come and go, to the same places, and strangers do the same. And we don't know about any of our lives, but we stare at each other and contemplate, and then we never see each other again.

I still find it funny, that we're all just people.

Monday, February 14, 2011

And the Darkness Be Called Night

Walking down the road, hand in hand at midnight, when stepping atop the tree's shadow in the asphalt she wonders when she will fall into a black hole and find herself in a different world. The asphalt is black, but the street lights illuminate the ground, so it is black, but then again it's light. But when she walks under the lumpy shadows of the trees, the black is encompassing. She steps onto the black, unknowingly.

It's crazy how step by step she trusts that the ground will hold her up. In the dark, where monsters could be lurking and black holes can hide in the black night, she steps and steps again. Closing her eyes, she has faith that the night will be like the other nights where the black did not take hold of her.

And he stops her suddenly and she, lost in thought, stares at him confused. "I thought it was pretty." He says, speaking of the moon.

"Oh yes, it is," she says, thinking how the moon looks just like the street lights, white and 2/3's of a circle. The lights give her a headache, and so does the smell of his cigarette.

She likes the black hole under the lumpy tree, because night time was meant to be dark, with the moon and stars and no competition of lamp posts, and the constant orange glow on the horizon. In the city, lights illuminate the night, and hide the stars. In the day, smog chokes her breath and clouds the sun and smears the clouds. She wishes that the light could be called day and the dark be called night.

She finds the city exciting, but the country girl inside still longs for solitude and silence, for dark nights and crowds of stars.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Don't Look the Other Way

Fingers of an unborn baby at 7 weeks

“I don want it. I don want it…” he said with tears in his eyes. “I tol ‘er I would take care o’ her. I mean I gotta job. She can live wit me. Pero, she said she don wanna baby. I wanna baby. I wan ‘er to have it.”
Samuel is a middle-aged man and he stood in the parking lot of Planned Parenthood waiting to pick up his girlfriend. “I try to teller but she just don wan it. She gotter reasons, and I can’t change her mind.”

The Pro-Life Club goes to Planned Parenthood on N. Lake Avenue in Pasadena every Friday from 8am to noon, which is the time when woman come in for abortions. Abortion is a massive civil rights violation in our age. Millions of unborn children are being brutally ripped to shreds, decapitated, starved to death, etc every year and doctors do so legally. Women feel that this is their choice to make, whether their child lives or dies. Most times, they feel like abortion is their only choice. 
Where the killing occur

But why should we allow massive genocide to be a choice, simply because it's convenient?  

I talked to Samuel about the other options that are available for women with accidental pregnancies. If his girlfriend was concerned about money, or providing food or diapers for the baby, she could go to Living Well Pregnancy Center, not even a mile down the road from Planned Parenthood.  There are waiting lists for married couples who are barren and want to adopt a baby and Living Well refers mothers to different adoption agencies. The mother of the child can choose the family to which she will give her baby, to ensure that he/she goes to a good family. But if she ends up going through with the murder, the Center also offers post-abortion counseling for mothers who suffer severe psychological trauma from their choice.

Samuel was all for it and grateful that a center like Living Well exists. He wanted to keep his baby, and he shivered in the warm morning air as he spoke of it, tears filling his eyes. He has a 12 year old son, and he has a job as a carpenter and a house. She could have moved in with him, but she just didn’t want to. She just didn’t want a kid.

I told Samuel that I would be praying for him, and for his girlfriend. He seemed unsure if he and his girlfriend would even stay together after this. The look in his eyes was that of helplessness and sorrow. I wasn’t sure what to do in that situation. Should I ask him to check and see if his girlfriend was still in the waiting room, and if she was, should I ask her to come out so I could talk to her? Should I ask him to plead with her once more? Or should I just be there to help him with his grief? It was a tough situation. A Planned Parenthood clerk interrupted our conversation and told me that I was trespassing by talking to the man in their parking lot. I had to go back to the sidewalk and he then went inside to check up on his girlfriend.

Many of the women were there just for appointments, perhaps to get checked for STD’s. Many were there probably for birth control. Many said that they are pro-life and we didn’t need to worry about them.

Javier was in a sticky family situation. His cousin was there with this girl who was getting an abortion. She was married, but not to his cousin. It was hard for him to explain why the abortion had to happen because his English was pretty poor. But it seemed like an affair issue where the lady didn’t want to be pregnant with another man’s child while she was married. But he admitted that they all knew the abortion would kill an innocent life. He cried too, speaking of it. I told him that she can’t have the abortion unless he drives her, but he has the power not to drive her. To at least have her hold off on the abortion for a while. Maybe something would change during that time. He called his cousin who was inside with her in the waiting room, because I wanted to talk to him. But we were too late and she had already gone into the mill and another life was slaughtered. And another family most likely was destroyed.

Javier had cancer too, and he told me that he is probably going to die soon. I told him that God loves him and he’s there for Javier. Javier admitted to getting drunk to ease his worries and aching heart, and I told him God’s the only one whose permanent, in life or death.

But I’m ineloquent in speech. I’m not sure how much of it he understood, because I had a hard time understanding him too. I asked him if he wanted some information so we could talk more about God and he seemed to think I was asking him out. He said something about not wanting a girlfriend right now. Humorous, yes, but not in such a vital situation. A man in a truck that read “Department of Transportation” drove by and was about to ticket Javier for parking in a non-parking zone where we had stopped to talk. But I told the man that Javier was just leaving, and Javier speedily drove off.

A girl and guy, black teenagers, who were maybe 19 years old, driving a black SUV, floored their way into the parking lot. I tried to stop them but he kept driving and they both looked tense and angry. The guy dropped the girl off and then left the place just as fast. He came back about a half hour later and this time his window was rolled down. I asked him if we could talk and he called back, “No thanks!”

Unborn child at 12 weeks
Going to the abortion mill is intense and frustrating. It calls for a boldness that’s rather out of character for me. It calls for faith in God, that he would give me the words to say, and give people the hearts to receive the words. It’s also confining because we aren’t allowed to step on the property. We are limited to the sidewalk. We have to hope that people stop in the driveway to talk to us before they pull into the Planned Parenthood parking lot. We have to pray that they are willing to listen and that they aren’t just feeding us what we want to hear, saying that they are pro-life too and are not considering an abortion.

However, being at Planned Parenthood and seeing for myself how many broken people go there was really a learning experience. It helps me realize how serious the problem of abortion is. This issue calls for passionate radicalism because it’s a matter of life and death for a human being. For too long, I’ve been so apathetic of the lives of millions of babies- each life so sweet, being knit together in his mother’s womb, but then torn out snd killed brutally. They are never even given a chance. This is dehumanization; it’s a wretched hideous violation of civil rights!

As Deb and I were leaving, an older black woman in a lime green shirt walked out of the building and to the street where her car was parked. We stopped her, and noticed her wet eyes, tears rolling down her cheek. “I didn’t have an abortion!” she said. “But I’m 55 and I have two kids that are all grown up! I had to go through the last two pregnancies all alone and I don’t think I can do it again. But I know abortion is wrong! I don’t want to kill my baby!” she bit her lip, sniffing and trying to hold back the tears. “He divorced me before the first baby was born. Then he didn’t even come with me today!” It was heartbreaking to see her in this situation, but we were both so joyous that she had chosen not to kill the child. Deb and I gave her a card for the Pregnancy Center, where they also offer support for women who are pregnant and alone. Abortion is not the only option, and it’s definitely not the best option.