July 17, 2018
We walked down Church Street in the hazy, mid-afternoon sun. On the shaded steps of a church, we were met with a smile from a man doing his best to fend off the heat. We offered him one of the bottles of water we carry with us for interviews. He accepted, and we got to chatting.
What is the best thing you have ever experienced?
"Just walking on the ground. Best thing that has ever happened. You wake up in the morning and you’re above ground.
"The wife and I are together for 18 and a half years. And that’s so cool. I never figured I’d be with a lady for 18 and a half years. She is a beautiful lady. Her name is Gloria. She lives around here, her home’s right over there. Capital Tower. She comes and sees me every day. Oh every day, that’s my rock. I love her. I would do anything for Gloria."
What was the happiest moment you had with Gloria?
"When I met her. When I took her away from her boyfriend. It was at the York Hotel down there when it was open. I was dancing with her one night and then during the last dance, I slapped her ass. She said, 'Don’t! Do that!' with a beautiful smile on her face.
What was her boyfriend’s name? Or you didn’t even care?
"Oh, I don’t know. I went, took her to her table and I said, 'I’m taking her home tonight'. And when the last song was over, I danced with her. I said, 'I’m taking her home now, see you later!'. Not even a care in the world. Ah, just a beautiful lady."
"She’s still alive and still with me. She got stabbed 22 times. Just at that spot, right there."
What? Excuse me? Was it a feud or something?
"No, no reason. I was in the hospital. I had a condition with my heart and it was seven o’clock in the morning like, 'Why don’t you come to see me? It’s nine o’clock already'. Seven o’clock every day she comes. I asked, 'Where’s my wife?'. They said, 'You didn’t hear? She got stabbed'. I said, 'What?!'. Yeah, she got stabbed 22 times. So, I caught a cab right away to the university and when I got there and I went to go in and I see her daughter was there. I held myself at the door. Then I went to the family room and stayed for two hours, let the girls spend time with their mom. She had to crawl from here to there …
I held her. And the thing is when she came [to the hospital] she had to write because she couldn’t talk, her throat was sliced, right? All over her face, behind her neck. And, I told her 'You know what, you leave me and I’m right behind you'. And she wrote down, I won’t leave you. That’s my wife. The best thing that ever."
"You know it’s scary, going to sleep. Do I know if I’m going to wake up? I watch my wife and I tell her 'Baby go to sleep'. She says, 'Go ahead and sleep, it’s my turn to watch over'. It’s a long hard road you know? It’s a long hard road. Denied me of my life, right? But, you got to live with what you got. And I wake up and I see my wife and you know… she wakes me up every morning, she’s right there with me every morning."