A Friend In New York: Part 2
[Continued from Part 1 here]
The owner finished piling the fruit. I noticed how old he was and how kind his eyes looked. He stood up and rubbed his back. He began to speak: “You know, I just might have one for you sonny. As you can see, I am tall and I have to bend over to shelve these fruits. My back is sore from it. It was a lot easier when I was younger. Do you think you can pile these fruits for me? The job is yours if you can handle it. Can you sonny?”
“Yes, I think I can do the job.”
The old man smiled and told me to start stacking and shelving and he walked over to the counter. How the day has changed in my favor—I have a job. I don’t need to speak good English to do it either.
A moment later, a boy came in and I heard him ask the owner for a job. I heard the owner say that he was too late and he had offered the job to another boy a little while ago.
The boy thanked him and gloomily walked back, but when he passed me piling the fruit he said, “I’ll get you” in my native language, Greek. I turned around, amazed. This boy was Greek, just like me! I was about to say something back to him when he slammed the door as he left.
How the tables have turned again for me in one day. I have finally met a Greek but he hates me. It’s not my fault that I need a job, is it? I am a little scared. What will that boy do to me? Nothing too bad I hope.
I finished stacking the fruit and the old owner was happy with the job that I did. He asked if I had eaten any food since morning and when I had said no, he gave me two tomatoes to eat and told me to go outside and enjoy them. As I stood outside the store, licking the juice off my fingers, I took a moment to look around at what was going on around me on the streets.
I saw lots of boys my age pushing pushcarts full of objects, yelling in their native languages to each other. I also saw some boys hitting a metal triangle with a rock. I think that they were trying to play a tune. Once in a while, someone dropped a coin into a tin can by a boy’s feet.
They were begging and Ma would be sad if she saw me doing that. “Be not at other’s mercy,” she would have said.
I started to go inside when I felt something hit my shoulder. I turned around and somebody spat at my feet. I recognized two out of the three; the skinny boy who had spoken to me earlier, and the boy who had spoken to me in while I was stacking fruit in the store. Uh oh, my feet froze and my stomach twisted and turned in a thousand knots.
The skinny boy began speaking: “Remember me? I told you that if I saw you again then I’d make you sorry that you even came to America in the first place. Well, now you took a job away from my brother, so now I’m going to send you to the sky—pain is coming your way.”
This was not looking good for me. I didn’t think that the boys were going to show me any mercy. I wasn’t going to stick around to find out, so I just started running down the unfamiliar streets. I ran as fast as I could with the boys at my heels. I was amazed that they could follow me, even through the dense crowd of people. I didn’t keep track of where I was going. The only thought in my mind was to escape from the boys. I could try and find my way back home later.
Conclusion in Part 3..