Sunday, September 25, 2011
In The Belly of the Beast, Eluding Cops in Central Park!!
By Xavier Castillo
Moving swiftly through branches and bushes, it feels like I’m in a forest full of creatures that are eager to eat me alive. Wait, that’s exactly where I am, I slap myself repeatedly to keep the mosquitos from sucking all the blood from my skin. How did I get myself into this?
We all agree that if we see the cops, we will run in different directions -- if you get caught then you get caught. All that is running through my mind is I don’t want to get arrested tonight. Trespassing is a serious offense, but I am just trying to get home.
Ducking into the shadows every time a car light flashes by, footsteps have never been as loud as this, neither has my heart beat.
“Looks like we’re going to make it across," I say relieved. Just then a cop car pulls up behind us.
Is there anything more beautiful than a day spent with friends?
This is the last time we will get to hang out before we all go our ways and leave to college. The streets of upper Manhattan let out an aroma of concrete, pizza and basketball. The east side is busy with couples walking their dogs and children on bikes in the humidity, the summer time. I get to my good friends Danielle’s house at 6pm and some of my other good friends are there too. We all drink soda like its alcohol and we’re a miserable husband on a Monday evening.
It is particularly hot this day, not a good day for running, or any movement of any kind for that matter. But we don’t care; we start to play Dance Central on Xbox in the midst of all the laughter. The girls do their thing, boys retaliate. It is the funniest thing to ever happen, but we are not laughing because it is actually funny, it is a mix of nervous laughter and sad laughter.
Truth is we don’t know what the future will hold for us, and if we could ever survive without each other. Of course pizza is plentiful, it's summer.
The sun settles down and so do we, it’s been a great time. My best friends Josue and Irving are by my side as well as my other friends gathered around the couch. Soon we realize that we have lost track of time, it's 4 a.m. and we’re all tired. The three of us leave.
Our conclusion is that the buses aren’t coming anymore and it would take hours for a train to come. We were so tired.
That's when the idea comes, “Let’s walk through Central Park, back to the west side.” The idea freaks me out; I knew it is very much illegal.
We do it anyway.
Paranoid, we all walk as quickly as possible. Hearing footsteps must be normal when you’re a bit scared. We are terrified actually, but we’re all guys so we’ll never admit it. We all decide to run at the sight of cops, but the ironic thing is, to cross to the west side we have to pass a police precinct inside the park. We stop in front of it trying to decide what to do. We do it anyway. Now we’re walking quicker than we were before, there are rows of empty police cars and trucks parked on either side of the long path; we are in the belly of the beast. Not a sound has been made, “This is too easy.” I say. Just then a police car pulls up behind us, and drives past us slowly.
Up ahead there is a police truck pulling up in front of us. We play it cool. We know that there is no running now, we pretend to look casual. Sure we’re just a couple of kids taking a nice stroll in Central Park at four in the morning, no big deal. A cop gets out of the truck and starts to walk towards us. My heart is racing. All I think about is how mad my mother would be if I get arrested tonight, my heart beats faster. The cop looks us up and down, and then walks past us. Further up, another police officer did the same thing. Maybe they think that no teens would be stupid enough to walk around the park at night so perhaps we are supposed to be there? Either way we we’re free, the next left turn is the west side, our destination.
We make it without having something insane or dangerous happen, but I’m just glad to have spent the day with these idiots. I call them my friends.
Writer Xavier Castillo is a freshman at the University at Albany, State University of New York, majoring in psychology. A Dominican-American, Castillo celebrates his 18th birthday today, on the 25th of September!! He was raised iin Washington Heights in upper Mahnhattan and went to LaGuardia Arts, a specialized high school for students who love the arts and the performing arts. Besides writing, he paints and sketches, creates digital designs, and does sculpture. Ironically, while he studied visual art, he came out of high school loving to sing, and now he sings all the time. Says Castillo: "I love to be creative in every way possible, and I love to express myself."