All I want for Christmas
By RHONDOR DOWLAT Thursday, December 14 2006
“All I want for Christmas is my mummy, but unfortunately I can’t get that because she died about seven years ago,” 14-year-old “Kicks” said yesterday.
Since Kicks was seven years old he has roamed the streets of Port-of-Spain. He ventured out after his mother died of cancer. His father, Kicks said, was not able to raise him and six other siblings.
“After my mother died of cancer my father got another woman leaving us behind. It hurt me so much that I could not stay home, I had to go out there (the streets) to fend for myself and my brothers and sisters,” Kicks said.
“I wanted so much to go back home but I couldn’t. It was so much pain. I felt like my heart was bleeding especially every time I think about my mother. Ever so often I would go to her grave side and cry because I miss her so much,” he said.
Kicks described living on the streets as hard, but said that “at the end of the day” he and the other street children he made friends with, over the years, were left with no other choice.
“Yes, I too got caught up with the wrong. I was introduced with smoking weed at age eight and ever since I do it. I do not abuse it but I still do it, I really can’t help myself, at least that allows my mind to be peaceful just for a moment,” Kicks said.
“I really do wish to change but I desperately need help and I see other children my age that also need help. I also tried to kill myself once because I could not stand the pressure,” he added.
During this Yuletide season, seeing Christmas decorations along every street and hearing Christmas carols and Parang music ringing out from boom boxes carried around by music pirates, Kicks described the season as an emotional time.
“I wish sometimes that everyday could be Christmas, the music, the toys, the decorations and most of all the food. I sit on the pavement sometimes and look at children my age or younger with their moms — hand in hand — I would then close my eyes and imagine I am that child holding onto my mother’s hands walking down the streets,” Kicks said with tears rolling down his cheeks.
“Too much pain, all I want for Christmas is my mummy, that is all I want. I want to be held by her, hugged and kissed. Having her in my heart is ok but I want her back from her grave,” Kicks said.
One of Kicks’ friends, “Smiley” said that he always looked out for Kicks’ welfare and a few others.
“I am the oldest out here on the streets and I think that I ought to act like a brother for them because I too don’t have anybody. Well, I have a big brother but he is much older than me and he lives his own life,” Smiley said.
Smiley’s mother died of AIDS when he was just three years of age. From what he understands she had contracted the disease from his father. “My father left while I was still a baby and my mother died when I was three years of age. From that tiny age you can say I went out on the streets. I really don’t remember how I reached out there but I reached,” Smiley said.
“Ever since up to today I am only 18 years and I am still on the streets,” he added.
Smiley revealed that he, Kicks and some of the other boys are employed by an arcade to do handy work. He said that they are paid enough to get around with.
“We also do a little hustling when the day comes — begging for food, money and clothes. I know it is bad but that’s how the life is, that’s how we have become. People try to help us and when we do ‘give in’ they betray our trust — both emotionally and physically. That is one thing I don’t want to get into right now, but trust me,” Smiley said.
When asked what he wanted for Christmas, Smiley replied, “I want you (Newsday reporter) to adopt me. I want somebody like a mother-figure and you look like that type. No one has ever talked to me so nice like you did today. You were not afraid to stand close to me and to speak to me with a soft nice voice and a loving smile. I wish I can have you as my mom for Christmas,” Smiley said.
“I often prayed and asked God for some kind of sign that some people out there are genuine and today (yesterday) I can see that at least my prayer has been answered. My mother is dead and I really don’t know her but for some strange reason I thought I saw her today (yesterday),” he added.
Both Smiley and Kicks said that they would spend Christmas Day as an ordinary day. “I know it is a special day. But usually I don’t have anywhere to go. I may be able to find some relatives but they always run me. I still going by them this year, it better to try and fail than fail to try,” Smiley said.
“I think I may go to my father’s house. I don’t know if he would welcome me but I will try maybe I can get a Christmas meal. If not I will spend the day by my mother’s grave,” Kicks said.