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2345 Gordon Street

Philadelphia, PA

"Fishtown Pride" 19125


Written and Photographed by Brian Michael Barbeito

October 1, 2016


Continued from "Crossing Country Lines with a Broken Heart"...

Oh boy oh boy. I didn’t think I would be writing to you guys again. It’s Bob here. Bob of the painted road lines. Bob the broken hearted city worker. Bob the one time, no make it two time convict! But wait. I must explain again what has happened. I am not a bad sort, not truly or at heart. I just lost my way.


After Darlene left me I had that incident with the lines. To recap, I had a few too many pops and my emotional and other states weren’t doing too well. I drove the truck that painted the lines in the middle of the road, - the yellow lines. Well that night, when my wife left me, I drove it clear across the county painting lines everywhere. I did my time, and was sort of reconstituted, if that be the right word. I didn’t find God or anything, but I found that losing my freedom was not a good thing. Let me tell you how I came into this incarcerated predicament again.

After I got out, I made my way back to town. I could not find Darlene, and even mom was not at all happy with me. I figured it was time for a fresh start. I headed down Mexico way and met some kindly folks who let me work on their boat. For a long time it went well. I was a cook, because doing a piece in jail taught me how to do that. Nothing fancy- eggs and toast and such for breakfast, - bacon on the weekends. Keep the cereals and juices, the water bottles and such- in order. Clean the place. On my days off the captain let me buy any meats I wanted on shore and cook it up for the men. The men, - my brethren. I even had my own cabin.

You know what got me again? It wasn’t a bad boss, and it wasn’t the hot weather. It wasn’t the wages, though they weren’t too fantastic.

It was love.

I am twice burned now. Let me explain.

One day when I was in shore, in land, I sat myself down at a little cantina, which is a Spanish name some people use for bar. The night was cooled off by the wind, and they had little colored flags that were attached to strings all along the sides of the bar and the inner walls. There were palm trees planted in pots that welcomed you at the doors, and more outside. A lovely lady got up on the stage and sang in Spanish. I didn’t understand the words, but what a beautiful song it was. I was moved. You would need a poet or an artist to explain the feelings I felt, but my insides belt warm and electric, - like some magician or hypnotist had cast a spell. I asked the lady, a beautiful woman with dark eyes and hair, what the song had been about. She told me it was a tragic song, about a man who loves a woman, and for a time she loves him also, but the man has an accident where he loses his foot. For a while, the woman takes care of him. But this woman’s particular passion is for dancing. She waits all week to dance, and now of course the man, being a one footed lad, cannot dance. He lets her go to the cantinas that have dance floors, - and to the festivals. She meets a younger and handsome man, who is not only a dancer, but a professional dancer. Of course she falls in love and leaves the man and his one leg behind. The man ends up jumping into the sea, with rocks tied to his one leg, - and drowns.

Well, I visited the place every time I could, and I talked to the woman. Her name was Maria Magdalena  and though I didn’t tell her at first, I had fallen quite in love. As it turns out, she liked me also. She said I was good man. I bought her chocolates and other gifts, and after a few months I got to meet her family. We were married that summer. Mom even came down for the wedding. That’s another story altogether. The point is that things weren’t only going well, they were going great!

But my love got in an accident. One day, while going into town, she stopped on a bridge to look at the sun rising. Now my Maria I should tell you was also an artist, and did what they call thumb nail sketches. She must have pulled out her notebook and got involved in her drawing when a tomato truck veered off the road towards her. Now, as the driver said, when he regained control he looked at Maria and in shock, to avoid the truck she thought was ging to hit her,- she jumped off the bridge!

My Maria when splash squat on the bottom just as if she was a tomato herself!

Well, this was worse than Darlene leaving me.

This was worse than the lines.

This was worse than anything I ever did have happen to me yet!

What did I do? Right after the funeral I took to the bottle. I went on a four day drunk. On the fourth day I stole the fishing boat. I didn’t know what I was going to do- I was just mad at the world again. I even screamed at God in the sky from the wheel of the boat.

I took that there ship, Guadalupe of the Sea, as far as I could. But then she ran outta gas and I jumped out and slept off my drink in a lifeboat. This wanst before I watched old Guadalupe drift off further to the sea.

I luckily washed a shore a day later,- thirsty as all hell. They never found the ship, but found out what I’d done on account of I was in the lifeboat. There was short trial, and I got put back in jail. I don’t know anyone anymore so not many folks can be mad. But mom,- she is madder than ever- and says this was last my last chance. I know she don’t mean it and when I get back out,- Im either heading futher south or going home.

In the meantime, I write this to you,- on accounts that I have lots of time to practice my writing skills. I never wrote so much since I got in this kind of trouble. Hell, I didn’t even think I had it in me.

But time is a curious thing and it puts a man to all sorts of new tasks.

I don’t know if I’ll ever love again, or be able to find work,- but when I get outta here,- I gotta try. I gotta try and make things right one last time. I’ll give up the drink, and I’ll even pray if that’s what it takes. Momma she always says I need God.

Well, if he gets me through this sentence,- if he finds me here,- I’ll try and find him too.