I love how colors, represent different times of the year. The orange and red leaves that scatter the autumn grounds. The white snow and gray winter sky. And you can’t forget the pink and blue flowers of spring with it’s buzzing yellow bumble bees. Then summer just goes by so fast; the hot sun that pierces your skin, numbs your mind: you’re brainwashed. You cannot think, it’s human nature. Then you need to ask yourself: what are summer’s colors?
It was August. I woke up to my mother calling for me.
“Yes ma,” I said.
“Honey get ready. You’re going to see your Pepe today.”
I replied in a positive way. I’d probably rather stay home, but I really didn’t have a choice. My mom was probably just go out with her friends for the day and didn’t want to deal with me. I mean I wasn’t a bad kid, it’s just my mom could only take “so much” that she needed a break from me from time to time. I was so little, I didn’t understand then; I just thought she was just really busy.
I went outside to feel the hot humid summer air that wrapped around me. I wasn’t really in the mood to go nowhere. But like I said, I didn’t really have a choice. While my mom drove me there, I looked out the window from seeing less and less urbanization and more country. There was a lot of old industrialization that surrounded the area. Old abandoned factories, rusted train tracks, and 100 year old dams that just filled the surroundings with more character. At a young age, I knew all of this area was very old from how much green vines and plants that covered all of the building’s walls and sprouted out of the rusted train tracks. These characteristics to me, even at such a young are, really were very unique.
One we pulled up to his place, I got out of the car and walked up to the door waiting for my mom. I looked back surprised to see she already drove off.
Maybe she’s just really busy I said to myself. I went to knock on the door, but it turned out to be a crack open; I decided to walk in.
He didn’t really have a good home, he lived in a duplex. He couldn’t even afford the entire rent, so he met an alcoholic that would live with him and paid half of the rent. I always thought of her as my Pepe’s partner, but my mother wouldn’t let me call her grandma. I thought she was a nice person, she just had her moment’s I guess. I mean, I haven’t seen her in two years; maybe my mother made the right choice.
Anyways, I entered into the small duplex to see my Pepe sitting in his green rocking chair.
“Hey buddy” He said. “How’s it going?”
I heard the sarcasm in his voice, I stepped back. I didn’t know him very well. I remember hearing stories about how he used to be mean and tough, until he got in a car accident. It damaged his spine; he wasn’t able to walk the same. I kind of felt bad for him.
In his eyes, he knew I didn’t have any friends to play with. He saw me as a small skinny kid with sadness all over my face. He pitied me; I knew he did. We felt bad for each other, maybe that’s why he became one of my best friends.
We sat in his little living room. He had one of those old box TVs that had a coat of dust all over it. He had a cat that had one leg; he found her one day in his backyard and thought of keeping it. And he did. She wasn’t important though, he had the same color of fur that would be on orange fall trees. I went into the next room to see his gun cabinet. It had the smell of fumes and gunpowder. One of his rifles was wrapped in a green cloth to protect it from dust and rusting.
I thought the rifle was quite unique, it suited him well. That’s when he came into the room with a smile on his face.
“Let’s go outside” he said.
We walked outside and I followed him.
“I want to show you something special” he said “I hope you like it”
“What is it” I said. “What is it Pepe?”
He told me to close my eyes and brought me to the place.
“You can look now” he said.
I opened my eyes to see a dirt field with a few weeds and bushes sprouting from the ground. Next to it was an old tree with dead apples and fungi all over the dead grass.
“What is this” I said puzzled.
“Well I got a field behind my house, and I thought you could help me make a garden.”
I replied with a yes. I mean he was my ride home; I didn’t want to upset him.
I started off with picking up all the brown decaying apples. Then, I pulled out the tall weeds and racked away the dead leaves. I was starting to sweat and realized, he fell asleep on a bench. I was pretty upset, but now I find it a quite obnoxious memory that I will never forget. Once I took a break, I looked at the field that used to be a piece of work. Now it looked clean and fresh, like a new start.
That’s when he awoke with a surprised look on his face.
“Wow, look at you Ted,” he said. “Leaving no work for me.”
The sun was starting to set and we went to get some burgers. The diner we went was quite unique, it had a green cow outside. I don’t quite know why, but I just found it quite interesting.
I went home with a happy smile. I felt like I help someone out, and it felt quite good. I laid in my bed that night learning something I’ll never forget, the best thing to do is just to be a good person. To friends, to family, even jerks at school. The first person I can proudly say that has seen happiness in me was Pepe. He knew my true pride.
Years past by as we worked on the field of dirt; but soon, we made it into one of the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever seen. And I made it with my friend. I could say it was even beautiful as the Garden of Eden was described to be. I was no longer brainwashed by the sun in summer months, the garden needed to be taken care of.
This was when I discovered summers true colors, it was green. The garden now could support all kinds of plants. The apple tree was now greener than ever. The sun light reflected the green leaves of the plants, making it look so beautiful. The plants were tall as if the were fed with steroids. The garden became a beautiful paradise in my heart.
He and I became so close. Two years ago I went over to see him. There was no need to take care of the garden this day, fall would be next week. We had good laughs and as happy as we could be.
The next day, I awoke to find out he died. It was so unexpected. It didn’t seem right. My mother revealed one last present from him. It was his green gardening hat. I fell to the ground crying and weeping over my long gone friend.
He left this world with an impact on me, an impact I will never recover from. I will never be the same.
A few weeks later I drove by his old home, the garden was back to being a giant dirt pile. The weeds and dead apples, now covered the ground. The big apple tree had been cut down with the remains scattered around the dead grass. And I couldn’t do anything about it.
Two years have already gone by. I bet you I’ll be saying the same thing in ten years. Even though my friend has died, I’m happy how it turned out. It made me learn many things. Be your true self. I haven’t been more happy in my life. I’ve matured into a man as I’ve shown everyone all around me the Ted that my Pepe knew. Everyone would be happier if they were true to everyone, and also to themselves.
God, it would be such a better place. Maybe the world wouldn’t be so ugly if we lived happily.
I see a place like that. Like a place with nature and civilization. Even better than the garden I created in his backyard. I see him there smiling over me; however, there’s one problem, I’ll never be allowed there.