3rd page of 4
One day, I decided to explore
the old town, built on a hill by the Phoenicians and surrounded
by huge stone battlements. Thinking I’d get some nice
sunrise shots of the fortress walls and cobblestone streets,
I brought my girlfriend’s camera along. The streets
were deserted. It was that time of morning when the night
people had gone to bed and the day people had not yet risen,
giving the ancient town a few moments to itself.
I wove my
way up the steep, narrow streets into the less traveled area
of town. Turning a corner, I found myself in a cu-de-sac,
the crumbling buildings at each side of me almost an arms
width apart, seemingly connected by a web of clothes lines
that hung across the alley. As I was looking up, I almost
tripped over some children who were lounging on a mattress
at my feet. I stopped short and stared.
Ibiza, Spain, Summer
“What do you want?” one of the
children asked, also taken by surprise. He was about seven.
In his arms, he held a very fat and happy baby.
“I want to sit down?”
I replied, out of breath. It was already getting hot and the
hill had been steep.
He moved over to give me space
on the mattress.
We said nothing at first, him playing with the baby and his
little sister, and me catching my breath. Then he started
talking, partly to me, partly to the narrow alley walls.
It was hot that summer and they had dragged the mattress out
of their small apartment onto the street to sleep in the fresh
air. They were Gitanos, or Spanish Roma. Sometimes the cops
came in the night and bothered them.
One or two Gitano drug
dealers gave the rest a bad name, and the police did not care
enough to make distinctions. His father was in jail for something
he did not do, and the police had it out for his mother because
they said she should be there too.
“Sometimes I get scared.”
He was no longer talking to the walls.
“I understand.” I said.
Then his mother came back from buying fresh bread. She sat
down, a huge woman who managed the hill badly, and nodded
to me. She took the baby, who had begun to cry, and lifted
him into the air above her head, making him laugh, then she
brought him down and kissed him. That was the first photo