story of my life. probably forever.
"Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings."
"What was the happiest moment of your life?" "
Probably when I saw my husband for the first time.”
“Did you know he was going to be your husband?”
“Oh, I don’t know. He was just so exciting.”
“What’s the most exciting thing he ever did?”
“Oh, I don’t know. One day when we were working in the garden, he got down on one knee and proposed to me. At that point, we’d already been married for 35 years.”
"I haven’t slept in a very long time."
“I work two jobs at two different hotels. I just finished three shifts in a row. Last night I went to my room service job at 11 PM, and worked through the night until 6 AM. I went home to take a shower, then had to be at the other hotel for my front desk job at 8 AM. I worked there until 3:30 PM, then ran back to the first hotel for another shift that started at 4 PM. I just got off a few minutes ago, and I’m sitting here to rest for a moment before getting on the train home.”
“I work this hard because I’m a single parent. I came here when I was very young from the Dominican Republic. I’m very happy with what I have done. I started with nothing and I raised two kids. But I have to work two jobs so that they can get an education and go to college. I tell them everyday: ‘Look at how hard I work. Look at how I don’t have time to sleep. I can’t control my own time. I can’t manage my own schedule. This is why you need an education. I work this hard so that you can do the things that I am unable to do, and have the things that I can’t have.’”
"We met 55 years ago on a teen tour, and have been best friends ever since."
“What’s her best quality?”
“What’s the toughest thing she’s ever helped you through?”
“I don’t know if I should say this, but I’m going to. Fourteen years ago, I got lung cancer. Then seven or eight years ago, I got breast cancer. And now the lung cancer’s back. I must have set a record or something, because it was fourteen years ago, but now it’s back, and it’s metastasized, and the prognosis is not good.”
“She’s doing good. The chemo is working.”
“She’s right, I’m doing ok, and I’ll make it longer than expected, but the prognosis is not good. And I’m gonna cry now, but I’ve got to say— and I know it’s a cliche— but she’s been there every step of the way. Every appointment, every surgery, every time I’ve done chemo, she’s been there. And I couldn’t have come this far without her.”
"There’s a lot of pressure being the child of immigrants."
“My mother is Thai, my father is from Chile. They met while working at a restaurant. There’s a knowledge among first generation immigrants— that they aren’t going to be the ones to achieve the American Dream. They have to work hard and struggle so that their children will have a shot at it. So they educate their children and pass the Dream along to them. And now I have an obligation to make more fucking money than them, to live the American Dream, to validate all the risks they took and everything they went through. And that’s a heavy burden.”
"You just have to go where the wind takes you."
“What’s the scariest place the wind’s ever taken you?”
“A car accident. It killed my wife and my friend. I was in a coma for three months. I don’t even remember it happening, but I read about it later. Two Mercedes were racing, and one of them hit us. It was all over the news, look it up. January 16th, 2000.”
Well guys, I’ve been hitting the Rosetta Stone pretty hard for about a month now, in order to bring you in depth conversations with Spanish-speaking New Yorkers. After several weeks of diligent practice, I present the first of these conversations. [Translated]:
"Where… from… you… are?"
"Thank you. Goodbye."