Posts Tagged ‘Temples’

First Crawl

Posted: September 12, 2011 in Crawl, Haven, Tagging, Temple, Tunnel
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The Temple of Junerism has always been regarded as a safe haven for taggers, graffiti artist, writers, troubled teens, and sometimes the homeless. It has housed many raves and even this young writer at one point.

It was the summer of 2006 when I truly came to call the temple my forbidden, but necessary home. I was homeless and not any closer to being homeward bound. It was the summer from hell. I fell in love, I was going to college, and I ended up homeless for a few weeks.

I guess I should tell you how I ended up at The Temple in the first place.

The first time I encountered The Temple, I was 14 years old and I had a friend named Kat Francisco who was a tagger. She called herself “Angest” or “Angst.” She was a small Phillipino-American girl who liked punk-grunge music and cutting. She was an artist starving for a canvas. I was a writer; not starved, but constantly fed.

Together we sought adventure in the concrete jungle we called home. We wandered in and out of secluded sushi restaurants leaving messages on napkins and dollar bills. Sometimes we would sit around Kennedy Plaza and watch the buses come and go. When that wouldn’t do we would go to The Temple.

Kat Fran, as I called her then, introduced me to her sacred canvas. It was a big stone and brick building dressed in wooden panels. To artists it was hallowed ground. To the city of Providence it was an abandoned construction project from the 1930s.

The Temple was named long before our visit. It was tagged along one side of the roof in bold red and blue slanted letters. The paint seemed fresh, bright, and clean from the adjacent highway.

For years I visited The Temple religiously. Then, in 2005 I stopped. Kat was gone, my first lover had left me, and I was alone. My time was spent wrestling and working a crappy summer job at a chicken joint. My parents were planning their escape, while I got ready for my senior year of high school.

That fall I applied for colleges. By spring I had decided. I made plans, just as my parents had. They were going to Puerto Rico after my graduation and I was staying until August.

That summer I was left in the care of my older sister as a favor to my mother. I was only seventeen but I believed I had a better chance on my own. Two weeks later my sister confirmed my suspiscion.

She wrote me a letter telling me to get out of her house. That night she came home late. I asked her why. She said her husband’s uncle was visiting and I had refused to stay in the same room as the unknown old man. Her husband told her to kick me out and she did. He said I had disrespected him by refusing.

To that I answered “Fuck you both,” while waving my middle finger in the air. I walked out carrying two blue suitcases. In some ways hoping someone would chase me down the street. There was no one. After thirty minutes of walking I stopped. I put my suitcases down and sat on them. I took out my phone and started making calls.

My aunt was away on business and would not be back quickly. My friends were traveling or on vacation. Some I just couldn’t reach.

On a warm summer night I was sitting at a bus stop on top of my suitcases wondering where I could crash for the night. Sitting there, it came to me. The Temple. It was my best shot and the only place I could stay for free. With my plan in mind I started to walk again, reaching The Temple in an hour.

Upon my arrival I stood on the steps I had given up for what felt like years and cried. There was no shame in it, just regret. That day I walked into The Temple and called it home. My sister I took to forsaking within it’s walls. In The Temple I slept alone, fearing I would be found asleep. I met many strangers who wanted me to belong to a group for safety and for the same reason I would quickly turn them down.

I wasn’t afraid of being found as much as I was bothered by thinking I would never love or trust anyone. The people I put trust in, betrayed me. They walked away or abandoned me. There was no going back to them. Time pushed on slowly, punishing me for my blasphemies and hatred of humankind. It let me be alone and seventeen.

It would be two weeks before I slept in a house again or even thought I had another home. My aunt finished her business quickly and flew straight out. She picked me up with her daughters who wondered why was leaving a boarded up hotel. I told them it was a school project to help the community. My aunt confirmed it and the girls accepted it. No questions were asked for while. It was just quiet.

That summer dragged its feet as I worked hard to leave. I refused to stay behind in the college migration that would take place. Instead, I worked to lead it.

Over the next two months, I bought a plane ticket to Missouri and set-up my ride to campus. It wouldn’t be long before I left the little city that had been my home for a new destination.

As my last days got closer and closer I met the perfect stranger. He was a tall man with brown hair and hazel colored eyes. We went out as friends and came back as lovers. This time, I was the one who left. It was good bye and I don’t know when I’ll come home. Then good bye again.