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Being back home is awesome.
Specially when you have been away for long.
In one year a whole neighbourhood can change enough to make you feel lost.
In three a whole city can transform dramatically.
What if it was ten years?

I hoop off the bus at Fresno station.
Half an hour layover before continuing to San Francisco.
I feel the sudden change of temperature while climbing down the steps of the bus.
From the 17C with a/c onboard to the 30C of the californian summer.

Walking in front of me a dude rocking the typical west coast urban look.
Lacesless shoes, white cotton knee-high socks, shorts and black XXL tee.
Bald-shaved head and tattoos crawling up his neck and covering most of his scalp.
He crip-walks through the glassmdoor of the station carrying a big shoulder bag full of papers.

There is a bunch of people in the waiting room.
A middle age latino woman is the first to jump at his neck.
Tears messing up her heavy black eyeliner.

Lined up behind her are three crying mamacitas.
A dozen homies with his same outfit close the group.
Dude hugs one by one all the members of the comittee, while whining.

When I finally sneak a peak of him I see his face covered in tattoos. Mainly stars and unidentified patterns. I spot a few tears inking from his right eye but I can’t really count them cause he just noticed me and I need to look away and stare for a second at some random vending machines in the corner.

In gangs simbology one tear represents either the loss of a beloved one lost of violent death or one year spent behind bars.

This young man was not on holiday and nor serving his country abroad.
He was doing his time in a penitentiary of the Los Angeles County.
And today is the day of his rebirth.

I only hope he hadn’t left grief behind.
The long window of this Greyhound station is designed for a drive-by. A car, preferebly stolen, rolls down the street, windows roll down too and as many weapons as possible pop out BANG BANG and bloodbath.
Bullets do not discriminate and I’m standing here at 6’5 in the middle of mr facial-tattoo welcome home party.
Luckily enough the 90s and the gangbanging season are long gone. And with those the times when you had to watch your colors before walking the street.

The speaker announces the bus to San Fran. Former in-mate is still hugging his relatives and speaking through the cellphones that his dogs keeps passing him.

Welcome home hermano.
I will never know your story.
How long you were in prison for.
And what for.
But your family still loves you.
And no one hates you enough to spoil your welcome party.
You got your second chance.
Do not blow it.