He Isn't Ready Yet.

He struts up to me....

"Jeremy, I need a bus pass, Sandy told me to get one from you!"  (she didn't say that)

"sorry, we haven't got any right now!"

Now I've known this 24 year old for about 12 years. I've seen him grow up, he's been in the Joint a couple times and now he's on parole.

After going back and forth whether anyone has cards, I change the subject...

"you better slow down!"

"what ya mean?!"

"you better slow down with what you're doing out there on Wilson!"

"I ain't doing nothing out there!"

"oh yes you are!"

"what am I doing?" 

"you want me to tell you in front of this group of people? The guys that surrounded us were some my homeless clients; they didn't know this young man and were all drug-free!

"yeah! Go ahead, I ain't doing nothing, go ahead, tell me what I'm doing out there"

"ok; you asked me too, I know you're selling marijuana to the Truman students. And you know if I know, the police also know. Coz they're constantly watching that whole block."

"how'd ya know?" a guilty big smile had developed on his face

"coz you're real obvious and ya need to stop before you end up being sent straight back down State. Let's talk about other options. Let's get outta this vicious cycle you're in. All you're doing is taking the fast track back to the Joint and none of us want that." 

"yeah you right. We'll talk! But not right now."  

"I'm here, come see me when ya need to"

"hey man, ya gotta bus card, I need one bro, Sandy told me to get one from ya"

"you know I don't, go home and get outta this area, before you get in trouble" 

I sigh, as he struts back toward Wilson. He's got his own choices to make, there's nothing I can do, he's a free man living his life. He stayed on the block, doing his thing. He's caught up in the revolving door system of selling drugs, representing his gang, trying to make a buck or two and rotating in and out of institutions. There isn't too many options for this young fella, unfortunately he sees this as his *only* option!

Today, this young Puerto Rican man sits downstate, in some small rural town in Western Illinois, locked up in his cage, waiting for March to finally arrive. He didn't listen. Money had to be made. Obligations had to be met. Loyalty is his necessity. 

My words were but fleeting sounds in the endless hustle and bustle of Uptown. He isn't ready. Yet!

Well, maybe one day he will be....

All I can do is pray!
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