The woman on the right used to be the girlfriend of a good friend of mine - one of my original friends from La Yagüita, Manolo. A warm and generous boy when I met him, Manolo developed a propensity to fight as he grew older. While he had a reputation for coming to blows at a moments notice, I never heard of him using a weapon or leaving any of his opponents in critical condition - although details like that can be shockingly overlooked when stories are recounted in the barrio. One day, Manolo charged a neighbor only to be met with the point of a knife. He died in front of his house.
The women in the first image are Manolo’s family. His mother is feeding a baby who, like the two other young women, is Manolo’s niece. Unlike some of the other young men in the neighborhood who have died of violence, disease or accidents, Manolo did not have any children before being murdered. I continue to think of Manolo more than a decade after his death, but sometimes it feels like he has vanished without a trace as he is rarely mentioned. Undoubtedly, somewhere behind his mother’s troubled brow he is constantly present, though, as he is with me.