We were coming back from the beach. Warm flecks of the sunlight seemed giving us permission to stay in a paradise a bit longer. Resisting to the temptation to watch the sun sinking into the ocean, we still continued to go but the dark evening was much more cunning than us and covered Santa Monica pier before we got to the bus station.
Checking google maps and trying to find a bus to our hotel was in vain. None of the buses went to our place. It was too late even for America where life was burning round the clock. Honestly, we didn’t have a least notion how to get to our temporary “home” the same evening but we were in high spirits.
In about an hour we noticed a bus. The driver slowed down near the bench with potential passengers and having received our question if he went to the Place X he assured us there wouldn’t be any other bus in the needed direction – no sense to hope or wait. We got on the bus having no choice and kindly asked the man at the wheel to give us a hint when we would be as close to the hotel as possible…
Through the bus windows we saw numerous stops not knowing if the driver remembered about us. At some moment I felt a bit worried and walked up to the ‘’captain of the bus’’ to remind of us, two girls who got lost ‘’a bit’’. The driver again told he wasn’t sure where we should get ff so we decided to leave the bus in the middle of nowhere. A young boy followed us and left the bus too. (Actually, I paid attention to him earlier as he looked exhausted and sad. Meanwhile everyone around seemed happy and relaxed.)
Suddenly he asked if we needed any help, and I started to analyse if we should be cautious about him. It turned out he was 16. We were 20. Together we came to another bus stop with hope in our hearts that a miracle could happen. He knew there would be no buses but like a gentleman he didn’t want to ruin our hopes. He opened his backpack and offered several magazines about interesting spots in Santa Monica.
He pointed out to the guys near the metro station who were smoking marijuana. Soon he suggested to call his mother as she worked in the area where we should come and she – probably – could give us a ride. We rejected that idea and continued to chat about something and flick through the pages of the magazines. People were passing by leaving the streets desolate. Having realised that we couldn’t afford a taxi to get to our place, we reluctantly accepted his proposal.
– Can you give me a phone to call? – he said.
– And where’s yours? – I questioned.
– I don’t have it.
– But how?
– I don’t need it.
He said a few phrases in Spanish while talking to somebody on the phone. We were worried. What could he say? Maybe that isn’t his mother?.. Doesn’t he really have a cell phone?
In several minutes a big black minivan pulled up, a Mexican woman opened the door, the boy took the baby from his mom’s hands and we got in the car. Another child sat in the backseat. The woman passionately was explaining something to our new friend. Or maybe she was complaining. Or was giving instructions. We didn’t understand a word in Spanish. She didn’t speak good English but tried to be polite and asked a few questions about our holidays. Everything seemed alright. But shortly I noticed big gates. Some people opened them for us. The boy jumped out of the car and moved somewhere. I looked at my friend to check if she found the place suspicious too.
Then he came back. Finally. Without the baby. We went further not knowing there we were before. Soon the woman dropped us off near the hotel and we couldn’t believe that was really our hotel! The boy got out of the car too and said: “You wanted to find a supermarket… I will help you. Let’s go.”
Wandering around the area we didn’t find any supermarket but by that moment it already didn’t matter. In the hotel lobby there was a party but we went up directly to our room. We skated right on the carpet, shared stories and laughed. That was our own party but a new friend of us still looked sad.
Later we went outside to say goodbye to young LA guide. We were waiting for a bus but of course there wasn’t any again. Almost leaving us he mentioned that his father had passed away a few years ago. His elder brother was in the army and that he was the eldest in the family. He had three more siblings to take care of. He went to school in the morning. Then he went home to be with them. His mom worked the night shift. They missed Mexico and regularly visited it and as a result they couldn’t get the US citizenship. He didn’t have a phone. He didn’t have a facebook account. He didn’t need it.
Later on he jumped on his handmade skateboard and left us adding: ‘’This is my city. I will find the way home. Monday is only in two days.’’
P.S. His family rented an apartment in that dark unfriendly place with big gates which terrified me.
P.S. We didn’t take a photo with him and unfortunately I don’t remember his name now.