I had to run over to Home Depot to get some things and as I was driving home I saw Alfonso pushing his ice-cream cart up the slight incline of Patrick Henry Drive to where it intersects with Arlington Blvd.
I past him and then double backed, parked the car, and waited for him to reach my car. The sound of the tires rolling over loose gravel was mostly muffled by the cheerful bells that rang with every movement of the cart.
Alfonso has a kind face and smiles naturally, although his mustache covers up most of it. He said that the company he works offered people the opportunity to come to Arlington, VA for the summer months to sell Mexican style ice-cream. So Alfonso came here from Dallas, TX. He didn’t know a soul in the area. Now he interacts with hundreds of people every day.
He pushes his cart filled with a large block of ice and about 200 hundred ice-creams up Patrick Henry Drive from Route 7 to past Arlington Blvd into the neighborhoods behind the shopping center where the Target is. Back and forth he travels under the burning sun. He usually sells about 100-150 ice creams. On a good day he might sell 200; coconut is the best seller. I asked if I could take a peak inside the cooler.
Having lived most of his life in Palm Springs, CA, six years ago Alfonso moved to Dallas searching for his 28-year-old son that he didn’t know. He knew he was living somewhere in the state, but that doesn’t help much when you are searching in the second largest state in the country that boasts more than 268,000 square miles. Luckily for Alfonso, his son was also trying to find him. He found him in Austin, TX.
“We are friends now. I will never be his father to him.” He is hopeful that they can have a relationship, but it is hard after so many years and so much pain. “You see, I was living in California and was lost on drugs and alcohol. Then 15 years ago I received Jesus Christ as my savior.”
He is also not in touch with his ex-wife any more. The last he knew she lived in Monterrey, Mexico. Maybe I could try to find her like I am trying to find Victor’s mother from Day 139.
He seems happy to be here. “Arlington is nicer than Dallas,” he says. “There is less crime here.”
Despite a nice relaxing conversation, I could feel that he needed to get on his way. He needed to earn his daily wages and the ice-cream would not stay cold forever. I asked him what he would do with the $10 and he softly replied that he would save it.
We exchanged telephone numbers and I got back in my car. Alfonso returned to his position behind the cart and started to push it the remaining 30 yards to the intersection. The bells began to sing again.