daily life / emotions / Uncategorized

Alvaro – Character Sketch

Alvaro hoists his walker towards the elevator with his trash bag balanced on the seat. He struggles with each step. His mood is congenial, his smile is bright and full of hope. He is self-conscious of his slowness, doing his best not to get in front of people, trying not to slow them down. He is not bound by the limitations of his legs, but spurred from within to keep going. Every small step sends tiny tremors of pain upward along his legs, but he makes himself go the distance daily. Once, he fell with his cane outside, trying to make his round on the sidewalk and broke his glasses. He couldn’t afford new ones, so he would just move closer to things and people to see their outlines. He is thankful for the little things in life, the Meals on Wheels program, the automatic button that opens the door, the free coffee in the library on Sundays. He remembers life before his legs left him, but he understands what will happen if he doesn’t continue to move. The doctors told him about muscles and disuse atrophy. Now the days mark the struggle for independence and survival living among those people who many scan over with glancing gazes never really seeing them; they remain invisible.


30 thoughts on “Alvaro – Character Sketch

  1. It is easy to overlook “those” people, or wish they’d hurry and get out of the way of our busy lives. You character sketch reminds me of one. Today I had to drive uptown to a recycling center to unload chemicals and dead batteries. On the way in on a side street a woman was sitting on a crate by the road in the rain. Using her purse for a prop she had made a cardboard sign: please donate your cans and bottles, thank you. Obviously she was homeless or borderline. I got rid of my nasties and on the way back I stopped to give her my change from the truck collection. There wasn’t much, maybe 7 or 8 dollars’ worth. She was so thankful. Then I thought of a reason to give her something worthwhile so I said, “I just thought of something, it’s almost Christmas and I probably won’t see you before then, so here’s a bit of a bonus” and I gave her a twenty. Still not much, but she started to cry and said, this will buy my meals this week and she gave me a hug, the kind you never forget. Well you know I’d been so angry with the world, and with myself feeling so helpless about the DAPL protests, the unnecessary violence and cruelty and not being able to be there and suddenly it didn’t matter. In a moment it all fell into place: I could do something real. Thanks for that character sketch, Lana.

      • I worked in Manhattan in 1960 it was so cold this one day and it had started snowing. There was a homeless man sitting up against the subway entrance and he was freezing. My friend and I went into a discount store that was right there and purchased two blankets for $5.00 each and went outside and opened them and wrapped them around him and gave him another five dollars to get a meal. That was quite a lot of money for us but, we had jobs and pay day was the next day. He was so grateful he started crying. My heart was broken. I almost took him home with me. If it happened at quitting time I probably would have. We used to bring so many people home to my mom and she never turned anyone away. :o)

      • That is a beautiful story. It shows that there are still kind and compassionate people in the world. I don’t understand why we can’t revamp vacant downtown buildings into small units for the homeless. It seems we could do something more as a society. ..much more important than giving large companies tax breaks…but I don’t want to get political. Hats off to your mom, a wonderful woman 🙂

  2. The poor old dear! Is Alvaro a character in a short story or novel you’re working on, Lana? You’ve fleshed out some fine description here, and I’m eager to know what happens to him.

    • Debbie, he is actually a real person. I admire him greatly and just put myself in his shoes. There are some special people who live in the housing complex where my mom resides, many do not have family or anyone to help them out. I make it a point to walk with him and talk to him. He is always cheerful, a very special man.

  3. Well done, I can picture him struggling along. Many such people go unnoticed, but years in the medical field have tuned me in to them. In real life, I would be the one holding the door for him or asking if I could help carry something. 🙂

    • Thanks Joan. Many people do skim over those who are less fortunate. Those of us on WordPress are probably much more empathetic than many people. I enjoy talking to this very special man and admiring his continually bright smile and pleasant personality. I certainly know that you would assist him 🙂

  4. I really liked this character sketch, Lana. Alvaro is clearly a sweet guy with a debilitating handicap. A simple man passing through life with a mostly positive outlook! I admire people like him.

  5. Wow I am Alvaro, it is a fast paced world we live in and many of us do feel just like him. Your compassion is displayed so wonderfully in your writing, perhaps some will learn from you. You are a gifted writer!

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