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Rebuilding life

StoryTelling is a project initiated by Melton Fellows to share short stories about people and their personal situations. The project team invites you to view the world through the eyes of our neighbours, creating a sense of emphathy, connection and mutual understanding.

Sometimes we take wrong turns on our road and make mistakes, some perhaps worse than others. There are some extreme cases in which after losing everything, then desperately trying to amend the errors and survive, one finally falls out of grace, perhaps through drugs, alcohol or jail. At this point, can a person rebuild his or her life?

It was an amazing but cloudy day. South Beach (one of the most famous beaches in Miami) looked like a scene from “The Walking Dead” just before the zombies appear. The beach was empty except for “Juancas”, the man who rents umbrellas and chairs at the beach. After we spoke about the cloudy weather for awhile, we moved on to discussing the weather in his own life. He needed somebody to hear his story and we were ready to listen.

He told us about the time he was in prison, how his marriage broke up and his wife and daughter left him. He lost everything: money, house and family. He felt it was a pointless life after a terrible hurricane.

But after losing everything, there is nothing more to lose and it becomes all about winning. “Juancas” started to look inside himself. He lived at the beach over the last 2 months and survived with the money he earned renting chairs and umbrellas. He rebuilt his life on his own and was actually looking to balance his life now that he had a worthy and honest job. Before we left the beach he said to us, as if making a promise, “Once I get stable, I’ll recover my family.” That will be the sun after the storm.