My Reflection, Before and After

One day, I decided to go to the barbershop. I had to take the #28 bus to get off at Grove Hall. The bus was empty and I was sitting alone, bumping my music, like I always do. My stop came. I got off the bus and walked to my barbershop. When I stepped foot into the barbershop, the Spanish music playing, my barber walked up to me and said, “Get in the chair,” in Spanish. The shop was packed with people that day, from young to old. The chairs were filled. My barber was sitting in his chair using his phone, waiting for me to get ready for my haircut.

After getting blessed by my barber, I got moving. I planned to take the #28, but that was taking too long so I got on the #23 to Ashmont. I got on the bus and went straight to the back, because that’s where the open seats were. I was sitting on the bus, listening to my music after a clean haircut. Then, we approached the next bus stop and this old man got on the bus and sat next to me and started talking to me about my hair; telling me my waves were nice and that I had nice hair. So, I thanked him, and we kept the conversation going.

Our conversation went from my haircut, to sports, to life. As I walked home, I thought about how that was a really normal conversation. It had taken no effort for us to start conversing. Usually, I’d just be on the bus listening to music. I just want to get across how, in my city, the communication is weak. All it takes is a simple question to spark a conversation with someone. In Boston, everyone has a story.

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My Reflection, Before and After

A collection of narratives written by students at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School and with the assistance of a team of writers from UMass Boston. The book features portrait photography by Melanie Dunea.

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