Memories of a Lost Friend

I still can't get over the fact that all 12 of my little cousins are on facebook. They've grown up on the stuff, and so have most of their friends. I never really thought about it until a fleeting thought crossed my mind over dinner tonight. My girlfriend made this delicious Thai curry and the colors were mostly greens and browns.
Perhaps it was the smell or the colors, but I remembered a friend from 4th grade that I may never find again. He had a green eye and a brown eye. I remember envying him, because the girls thought it was cool that he had a green and a brown eye. He told me that one eye turned green after he accidentally stabbed himself with a knife. At least that was the story he told, and I have no reason to doubt it. His name was Felix, but I forget whether that was his first or last name.
For a time, we were inseparable and caused more mischief than I can imagine. We had both just arrived in the Bronx from the same area in the Dominican Republic, and publicly pretended to have gone to school together back home. The ruse was so elaborate, that even my father and his aunt believed that we knew each other before the Bronx. It was an easy ruse to uncover, but I lived alone with my dad and he alone with his aunt, and they were overworked and detached. We basically left school at 3pm and just started wandering the Bronx. We once hopped the turnstile so we could take the 4 train to Woodlawn, the last avenue. We wanted to see how the train turned around, and were shocked to discover that it could travel forward and backward. In my infantile mind I imagined that the train turned around in a long loop.

We did lots of stuff like that simply because we were 9, spoke Spanish, and had an almost free rein in the city. If I were even to begin thinking about all the mayhem we caused in the Bronx, it would probably fill a book, but one particular day sticks out in my mind.

Our go-to tool of social mayhem was public payphones. It's crazy to believe that there was a payphone next to my building back in the 1996, and that we used it to call the police. So, we leave school on Walton avenue and on the way to my apartment Felix picks up the phone and dials 911. As soon as a middle-aged, African-American lady answers, “911, what's the emergency?” I shout: “HELP! POLICE! I need someone to suck my dick!”

The lady answered in a-to-this-day recognizable voice: “Well, we'll send someone to help you!” And she hung up on me. Felix and I started laughing and decide to hit the payphone on his street. We walk 15 minutes and pick up the next payphone: “Hello, yea, someone just got shot, he's bleeding out in the middle of the street.”

The operator answers: “is anyone helping him out?”
Felix responds: “yea, my friend is giving him mouth-to-mouth right now.”
The operator sounded skeptical but we sit around waiting and 15 minutes later an ambulance drives by slowly, asking a bunch of guys if they'd seen anything. Had it been a real call, the dude shot would have died waiting for the ambulance. It was a lesson in taking a cab to the nearest hospital if you could. Which is what happened a couple of years later when I saw a guy get stabbed outside of S & A store by my house. In that instance, no one called the police, and had an ambulance passed by, everyone would have proclaimed to know nothing of a stabbing. Yea, so the ambulance driver probably couldn't really know if someone got shot and then just took a cab somewhere else. So was the Bronx, but I digress.

So the ambulance drives away and we snicker. Then I start telling Felix about an unrequited love of mine in our class. I had a crush on Liona, but I was the bad boy in class so her parents probably told her to stay away from me, and with good reason. Naturally, I was outraged and decided to pull a prank on her so she'd like me more. Felix and I walked back to my place, and in a moment of genius, I decided to put a plastic bag inside of the toilet. I wrapped it carefully around the seat so I could sit and comfortably defecate into the bag. After defecating into the bottom of the bag, I unwrapped it from the toilet seat and now had an innocent-looking supermarket bag full of Trix-layered feces.

We walked out of my house, to Liona's house about 6 blocks away with bag in hand, and then once we got to her doorstep, I very gently emptied the bag out, releasing my gift at her door. Some time later in school I somehow managed to discreetly ask her about it, and she said that they thought it was a homeless guy and that they'd made the super[interdent] clean it up. She never suspected it was me and will find out only now after reading this.

They both moved cities before the year was over, and I lost track of them. Liona friended me about a year ago. I'm happy to learn that she's married with kids, hopefully not as bad as me ;)

As for Felix, I just can't seem to find him or anyone who knows him. Maybe this article will help me find him. My little cousins really won't have that issue, and will probably keep in touch with people they met throughout their childhood. Some might say it's a bad thing, but parents moving around caused millions of children to forever lose track of their friends. I for one think we can be nostalgic about pre-internet times, but the world is a better place when we all keep track of each other.