"Better cross to the other side of the street"
"Don't let your son play with that kid"
"Better wear runners today"...
For as long as I can remember every so often some ideas pop up in my head for no apparent motive and without any personal effort. They are almost like a voice speaking nonsense in my brain; sometimes I try to reason against it or simply ignore it only to find out that the stranger walking the street on my direction was a @$& groper; or the cute three year old my son was trying to befriend was nothing but a spoiled brat; or that September 19, 1985 when I had to walk for almost four hours through the streets of Mexico City after the public transport was disrupted due to a strong earthquake, fortunately that day I listened to the voice and decided against wearing high heels.
Before getting married, I used to live with my family in a working class neighborhood consisting of six blocks arranged in two rows of three blocks, and situated between a subdivision of apartment buildings and a tall brick wall running all the length of the three blocks; the wall was the last remnant of an old foundry that was relocated when the city began to grow.
My house was in a corner across from the wall, which was used like an improvised fronton (handball) court by the youth of the area who would spend long hours playing in the street paying no heed to the local traffic nor to the pedestrians walking by, but since people knew each other there was no major conflict.
With time, the fame of the wall attracted many other young men of dubious reputation and with their arrival came all sorts of problems: alcohol and drugs found their way into the court; they formed little gangs that didn't mind harassing the locals.
Due to the location of my house, it was common for some of the balls to land on the roof, sometimes the guys would ask for permission to climb to the roof to get their ball, if nobody was home some of them would just leave but some others would just get to the roof and retrieve the balls without caring that they were trespassing private property.
One day I came home just to find one of the worst of these men on the roof of my house, when he got down I told him that what he had done was wrong. Of course he wouldn't take to being told off by a girl in front of his cronies and began insulting and threatening me.
I was angry and afraid, I knew he was a gangster that wouldn't think twice to harm me or my family; my legs were shaking but I stood my ground and told him to go fly a kite. We engaged in a short exchange of insults and cuss words, I stopped talking when 'the voice' said in my head "No te preocupes, lo van a matar en la calle" (Do not worry, he will get killed in the street).
The shock of this thought made me walk away trying to understand what just had happened.
A short time later, perhaps a month to six weeks after this incident, the young man had an encounter with a rival gang while leaving a little convenience store in the turf of his enemies. They killed him by smashing his head with the heavy cement lid of a manhole.
Hearing the news was upsetting, at some point I blamed myself for thinking about him getting killed, but after reviewing what happened during our brief encounter I came to realize that I never wished for his death and that 'the voice' had only warned me of something that would happen just like it has been doing for so many times in my life.
I know he was a gangster but I felt and still feel sorry for the way he died.
Thanks for reading my experience.