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The Voice
by Alexi Quinones
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My story begins in March of '88 in Hollywood, California; it was an absolutely beautiful, picturesque, sunny day in the city of Angels. The sun was wearing a great big Colgate smile from ear to ear; the gentle wind seemed to be cleansing the palm-like trees, the pigeons were conducting their late morning rehearsal on my soon to be roommates windowsill; the temperature a mild- mid upper 70’s, truly a Hallmark moment! I would be staying in the home of a dear friend of the family named, Angel Lopez. Angel has known me since my diaper days in NYC. So when mom found out that Angel’s company (Paramount Pictures) had temporarily moved Angel from their office here, to the one in Hollywood Ca.; mom ceased the opportunity and called Angel, and as the saying goes, the rest is history. But on this particular morning, Angel had left to the hills to meet a co-worker for brunch. As for myself, I had just gotten out of the shower and was grooming myself for my very first meeting with an LA., agent. `` Even though it would be a casual meeting (because it was Saturday) I wanted to make a lasting impression, especially because he was a dear friend of my agent in New York. I was running late, (and it was my very first time in the West Coast and I had no idea where I was going) so I quickly grabbed my portfolio and reach for my attaché case where I had written down the agents address. As I now walk out the door and lock the door, I quickly proceed to the elevator. As the elevator door now opens in the lobby, I rush out and walk towards the entrance door and go out. As I was going to go to my right, I heard this gentle voice speak to my heart and say, “DON’T GO THAT WAY, GO THE OTHER WAY.” I instinctively knew to change course. (Let us pause here, because this is the niche of my story. You see, I had absolutely no idea who this Jesus guy was, oh, I knew religion big time, like many of you do or, did! However, a personal and intimate relationship like the one I have now was not even part of the equation. I was to busy working for my boss, Satan). Back to my story, so I have now changed route, but as I reach the corner I found myself in the same dilemma, not knowing which way to go. I ultimately had two options to choose from: The first was to go up this one-way traffic street. The second was to enter a broad street where cars were going in both directions. I figured this had to be a main avenue. (This time the gentle "Voice" did not speak to my heart, but it seemed to affirm in my brain that I was going the right direction). So I continued walking up this broad avenue. All of a sudden these clouds began to cover the Colgate smiling sun, making the avenue look really dingy, dirty and gloomy! I even started to see prostitutes come out of nowhere. I began to question my decision and wondered if I was going the right way to the agent’s office. I was kind of scared! Then as when one removes the covers from a bed, the clouds seemed to remove themselves; that great Colgate smile appeared again. The feeling of gloominess had now been replaced with a sense of joy and bliss! The further up I would walk on this avenue, the plusher it would get. With out-door cafes on both sides of the street; five star restaurants, high fashion boutiques; trendy jewelry stores and art galleries. (Right up my ally). As I now continued walking up the street looking for the agent’s address, this horn of this car honks at me. I did not look back because; I thought it was some pedophile trying to pick me up. However, the horn honks again, this time I see from the corner of my eye that he was now pulling to the side of me to get a closer look. So I speed up my pace. However, when he said my full name, I turned cautiously and looked inside the car and say, “Michael?” I was totally mind-boggled when I saw that it was a high- school classmate of mine from New York. I really could not believe it! I was mesmerized! I quickly entered the car, (we must have hugged each other for three long minutes). At that moment, his classic white 1967 Thunderbird was filled with Euphoria coming from both directions, from my white stallion chiseled face ex-high school classsmate and yours truly. We immediately started reminiscing our high school days, especially when we played baseball together. I now remember asking him, “So what are you doing now?” “I live here now, and I’m pursuing my acting career.” “You’re kidding, that’s why I’m here!” “Are you serious?” “I’m very serious, (As I now show him the address) you see, I was on my way to see this agent.” “You need a car to get there, if you wait until Monday, I’ll take you.” “You will! But I first gotta call the agent and reschedule, because he was doing me a favor.” “You can call him when we get to, Laurie‘s” “Laurie who, Mike? “Laurie!” “You mean your high-school sweetheart>‘ “The one and only, I was on my way to see her before I saw you. She works a couple of stores down. “Wow, the last time I saw her was in high-school!” “She’ll be happy to see you. “So when you gonna get married?” “Next year.” “I was just kidding, Mike.’ “I know, but I’m not,” “Congratulation!” (As we now shake, we pull into this outdoor public parking lot designed for the shoppers on this stripe. Mike and I now come out of the car and shut the doors). Flash forward two months: Mike and I have become inseparable, if he was not in my house; I would be in his house, or in his pool. Many times Laurie would invite me for dinner. Other times, when Mike would have an audition he would have me drive so that he could relax, go over his lines and have me wait for him downstairs in the car. And whenever he could, he would do the same for me. Then on Saturday May 21 1988 (Satan and his cronies unleased their life threatening diabolic scheme on my life)! I was in my roommate’s apartment anticipating the start of the first round of the NBA playoff series between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Portland Trailblazers. My roommate was in the store buying us some munchies to nibble on while we watched the game. But the very minute I sat down on the recliner, I felt this sudden gush of water flow down my left forearm, all the way down to my fingertips. I looked at my forearm and really thought nothing of it, just pure coincidence I would say to myself. Then seconds later, the same gush but this time with the thrust of a Tsunami, flowing through the back of my neck! I quickly jump forward to the edge of the recliner! I now begin rubbing the back of my neck, but I could not feel it! Man, I have never been so scared in my life! Tears instantly filled my eyes! I now let out a big scream, “God, what’s going on!” I quickly get up and go to the bathroom to look in the mirror, as I did everything was blurry; I now freaked, and let out another loud cry, “God what’s happening to me!” I begin sobbing like a little baby, as I now go back to the living room, my legs give in on me and I fall down flat on my face…. Luckily, for me, Angel was just coming in the door; when he sees me laid out on the floor, he immediately dropped the grocery bag and kneels down to my aid.“Tuts, (A nickname my family members call me) are you okay? (As he turns me over I had developed this knot on my forehead, due to the fall; I had also busted my lower-lip and my face had totally twisted on me. Angel’s eye have instantly turneed teary, because he knew that something very tragic was happening to me). Tuts, what happened?” (As I spoke, I sounded as if I had a bunch of marbles in my mouth). “Ang…whad…hap…eo…me?” “We have to call the ambulance right away! Tuts, don’t move." (Angel quickly gets up to call. As he’s on the phone, we can see his eyes begin to get even more watery. But to conceal it from me, he now turns around and speaks to the operator that an ambulance was needed very urgently at 525 Sycamore, apartment 3G. He now gets off the phone runs and kneels by my side). “Don’t worry Tuts, the ambulance should be here any minute." (As he now caresses my hands with such a melancholy stroke he tells me), "Let me go into the room to get you a pillow. I’ll be right back.” (As Angel now gets up and goes into the room and gets the pillow he pauses, and cannot hold the tears any longer and finally let’s them out for a short 10 seconds, he now wipes his tears and returns), “Here Tuts, let’s put this under your head.” (He had to literally lift up my head for me because by now, I had lost all my motor skills. Seconds later the doorbell rings, simultaneously as Angel is about to get up says, “There they go, Tuts.” (Angel nears the buzzer. At the same time, he leaves his apartment door wide open so that he could hear the elevator door as it opens. Seconds later, the elevator door opens Angel yells, “Over-here!” (The two paramedics rush into the door and see how bad I looked, they immediately run towards me and get on their knees; one of them immediately begins checking my vital signs while the other prepares to incision me for a Tracheotomy, because my breathing was almost non-existent. At the same time, Angel is explaining to them as they work on me), “I had just gone to the store and when I got back he was on the floor… Is he going to be okay?" “I hope so sir, he seems to be hemorrhaging, we have to take him to the hospital right away!" “What hospital are you going too?” “Kaiser Permamante!” “I don’t know how to get there, I’ll just follow you in my car.” (The two paramedics very carefully, lift me and lay me down on the stretcher and head out. Right behind them is a worried Angel, who slams the door but forgets to lock it. So he now returns to lock the door, as he does he pauses, and begins crying uncontrollably! (Seconds later): (As the ambulance nears the hospital, the sense of urgency is felt in the air! The siren is blaring off like a chicken without a head. You could literally feel in your spirit, that something terribly wrong was going on in that ambulance. It now comes to a screeching hault! The Paramedics quickly come out and run to the back; they are accompanied by the trauma team, who have been waiting anxiously for the ambulance arrival. We now hear overlapping voices from the trauma team, as they quickly roll me into the(ER); every minute counting, every second life threatening, time was of the essence here, figuratively)! As I now laid on that surgical table connected to every tube conceivable, looking like a Star Wars character; there was only one major problem, the Doctor needed to get consent to perform my life saving surgery. And for that, he would have to speak to Angel, who was my guardian and Angel in return had to call mom. Poor mom, who I had been calling every other day, letting her know how happy I was, now this, talk about drama! You’ve just read a similitude of my true story told in my POV (Point of View) U got Jesus? Presently speaking, my AVM (Arteriole Venous Mal-formation) has left me with several ailments: 1) I'm totally deaf in my right ear. 2) I have facial para-lysis on my right cheek 3) I have blurred vision in my right eye; also I've lost complete control of the nerve and muscle that closes my eyelid. It stays open 24/7. 4) And lastly I'm wheelchair bound But you know what, I've never been happier in my life! Please pray for me . I'll see you at MSG, (Madison Square Garden). That's right, this is not a typographical error; let me say it again, the Lord will have me on the Garden floor for His cause, you'll see! “ God is the same yesterday and today, and forever” (John 14:6) “ My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) Question, what voice are you listening too?

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