I can’t make sense of anything much right now.
Marvin, one of the dear young men who works on Saul’s crew and has worked on my projects for several years, was found dead this week. Floating in the canal in San Rafael. He was 22 years old. A sweet kid – quiet and shy – I didn’t know much about him. He wasn’t married and lived with his sister and brother in law.
On Monday Saul called and left me a message about his death. He then emailed most of his clients - many of whom I know.
Saul's voice cracked when we spoke.My hears is broken, he said. You won’t believe this but he was the most beautiful man I ever had work for me in this business.
We hung on the line together, trying to make sense of it.
Saul last saw him on Saturday when he dropped off Marvin after a day’s work. Marvin went out with friends and drank – the kids were pretty wasted. He didn’t come home and by Monday his brother in law called the police.
Seems there was no motive, he had all his money and ID on him when they found him. No trauma, no bullet wounds, no strangulation.
Maybe he tripped into the canal by accident and couldn’t swim.
We may never know.
The brief impersonal few lines in the paper about the ‘body found in the canal’ says nothing much about Marvin at all. Nothing about his family. Nothing about his talents or his beauty. He was Guatemalan. He lived in the canal district where a large population of Latinos live. I can't help but think that if Marvin had been a member of another population group in our community, there would have been a whole lot more written about him.
I didn’t make much of an effort to get to know the quiet young man who smiled so sweetly and worked so hard. He maintained gardens for many of my clients and helped to build fountains and plant.
I didn’t ask him about his life. He seemed happy mostly and smart and kind and thoughtful. And patient with me and all my nit picky garden supervision.
In one brief moment someone lost a son, a brother, a good friend, a future child.
And the world keeps turning. And we’re all leaving this place. He left, he really did, he left too soon.