Latino Fest III with another survivor

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sometime around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, I surveyed the situation.

hundreds of punks were piling through a narrow door and out of a community hall on the corner of Whittier Blvd. and 10th St. in Montebello. Greeting them was a small phalanx of police officers anxiously gripping their batons and passing around riot helmets. a helicopter was circling overhead, spotlight shining down on the scene, ordering us away from the hall.

immediately to my right was consuelo, who only 24-hours earlier, had been vomiting uncontrollably at the veterans hospital in Loma Linda. A few feet away young nate was snapping photos of the police with his i-phone.

I'd be lying if I said everything was calm. I was expecting a riot. an officer was roving the street with a shotgun in hand. i couldn't tell if it was loaded with pepper spray balls, wooden doyles or worse. in anticipation of pepper gas, I handed consuelo my bandanna and instructed her to dowse it with water and cover her mouth. a lesson I learned from the 2000 DNC protest. I wandered over to nate and gave him the same warning. then I wrapped an extra t-shirt around my neck and put some water on it.

it was consuelo's first punk show. it's now legendary. it would've been Crudos third reunion show. the night was nearing the hotly anticipated headlining hour when police arrived.

Just a few days earlier, consuelo had begun radiation treatment for her cancer. that's why she'd been throwing up the night before.

I never had radiation treatment. however, both paul and adrian went through it. in fact, paul was at the same place where consuelo is now being treated.

but I did go through chemo. and I can say there's no way I would've ventured to a punk show, muchless a crudo's reunion sure to draw hundreds of people, a few days into treatment.

Consuelo is tough like that.

nate and I had spent the afternoon with her family at their little rented cottage just a few blocks from the hospital in Loma Linda. I jokingly mentioned joining us at the fest. she had planned to go to the son del centro show I was at the night before, but her sickness kept her home. not long after I mentioned the show, she got up from the couch and disappeared. I started to wonder where after i hadn't seen her for about ten minutes. then she emerged from her bedroom, changed out of her comfortable sweats and in an all-black outfit that included a black skirt with the silhouette of a zapatista along her waist.

five hours later, back at the show, nate and I, separately wondering to ourselves how we were going to explain to her parents taking their patient daughter to a show that erupted into a riot not far from the spot where Reuben Salazar had been murdered by police decades earlier.

thankfully it never happened. but I'm glad she came.

here's to the new face of cancer survivors: consuelo aguilar

No comments:

Post a Comment