Entry Fifty-four: Save Me, Black Jesus

[A story in many parts: Part Six of Thirteen]

The maintenance crew was here right before the Oriental doctor came to check on me. They’re always good for a grin. Most of them are Mexican, I think, and they’re always jabbering and laughing, making a lot of noise and I can’t understand a single word they say. There’s one older black dude that works with them and he does all the mopping. He stays longer than the others because the mopping takes more time to finish. I’m not sure of his name. I don’t think he can understand them either but it doesn’t matter. Mopping is mopping--in English, Spanish or Guamanese. He knows his job is to swab the decks and he does it with a smile. He waits until the others leave before he talks to me but he always does and he always starts off with, “You awake, Mr. C?” Then he starts in about his day or his grandkids or his church, never breaking his mopping rhythm, chatting and pushing back and forth. I never know what to say to the man but I don’t think it matters to him. He just keeps talking and swabbing and telling stories. He also keeps me up-to-date on the rest of the folks on my floor. It’s not always good news but it’s nice to know what’s going on. Tonight he told me the lady in room 412 passed away. It’s kind of a sad situation. She was fairly young and left behind a couple of kids. Then he smiled and said something strange. “May Black Jesus save their little souls. Can I get an ‘amen,’ Mr. C.?” Black Jesus? I wanted to ask him what that was all about but he was already on his way out of the room. Black Jesus. Was that a new Jesus or was the white Jesus a new Jesus? Are there other colors? I wonder if he comes in pink or orange—kind of like rabbit’s feet? And if everybody has their own Jesus in their own color, how special could he be?

All words and images ©2005/J. Colle

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