Open to Interpretation

8 07 2009
I’m walking on a wooded trail near my house. It’s a nice path, part of it paved, part of it gravel, some of it not much more than dirt (or mud, depending on the amount of recent precipitation.) As I approach a section that is newly paved, I’m surprised to see someone has painted the black asphalt with white graffiti. And even more surprised when I get close enough to see what has been written:



First reaction? When I’m taking a nice stroll, I hardly want to be reminded of the incurable nature of my prognosis. Second reaction? Someone is professing his or her undying devotion to a person with the aforementioned initials.

Then I focus on the adjacent outline of a fist posed in a curious contortion.

Finally I catch on. This refers to MS-13, the Mara Salvatrucha street gang that’s making inroads through Northern Virginia. Suddenly the path, which has always felt safe and friendly, doesn’t seem quite so welcoming. I peer over my shoulder as I hurry by the message.

I am saddened to find my little slice of suburban parkland threatened by a violent street gang. I am also reminded that the world doesn’t revolve around me, even though I have multiple sclerosis.




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