I can’t put this delicately:
I just found out today that over this weekend–on Saturday– a childhood friend of mine was assassinated.
In a nutshell:
My mother is from Honduras. A small town called Trujillo. My Tia Vilma (Aunt Vilma), who is also my Madrina (Godmother), lives in one of the main cities called San Pedro Sula.
Went there every other summer growing up. When I was pretty young, the young boy who lived next door and I became fast friends. For a summer at a time, he was my best friend, and his name was Mario Fernando Hernandez. But I called him “Ferny.”
His family was amazing. His dad was a Doctor, which as a plus meant the family had running hot water. Seriously. That meant I much preferred to take my showers at his place, as my Tia Vilma basically had a shower with a hose (aka FRIGID water). He had two older sisters, and one younger. I remember having the hots for the oldest, but sadly that is another story.
Ferny’s father had a Ranch and we went there on occasion. I shot a pistol for the first time on his ranch; Ferny’s own gun. I had deadly aim, as I took down a paharro (bird) from 25 yards. Never much cared for guns after that (to each his own, is my current opinion).
Even though we only saw each other on summers, we wrote to each other, and just cared so deeply for each other. One year, in my sophomore year of High School, I was fortunate enough to have him spend a month in my hometown (Orlando), where he even got to visit me at school as a foreign exchange student (for a week).
In Honduras, we played soccer; we argued, debated, wrestled, laughed, played board games with his family and mine. We just did what friends do. We grew up. Heck, one year, when I was 14 & visiting down there, he even tried to get me laid. Unsuccessfully, it should be noted. But he tried.
Then, after my parents divorced, life happened and well, we just lost touch. I last saw him as an adult in the early 90’s. He had started a travel agency, escorting Honduran tourists to and from Miami to visit “Los Estados” (the States). We sort of didn’t have many things in common, and it pained me that I wasn’t able to communicate more effectively with him (it had been a while since I practiced my Spanish.) I didn’t want him to think any less of me, but it was what it was.
Well, he became very successful in his business and a few years ago, my Mother told me he went into politics, and was successful at that too. It was sort of lower rung politics, not on the national scale (local I believe), but I believe he had the ambition to seek higher office. He had married, had kids and seemed well, successful, happy, and on the upward track.
Well, my Mom just called me with the terrible news. He was seeking re-election to congress, as a legislator for his province. Fuck, I just found a Wikipedia stub that said he was “secretary for the legislative committee on Industry and Commerce and the legislative committee on Drug Trafficking and Security, and was also a member of the legislative committee for Peace and Democracy.” It confirmed the attacks.
He was at, going to, or coming from a political rally, when his car was approached by gunmen. It was just a couple weeks before the elections.
The gunmen used their vehicle to smash into his car, and they then opened fire. My mom said he got out of the car, & ran for his life…unsucessfully. He was gunned down in a hail of bullets. She said his body had 36 bullets, and that he was unrecognizable. One other person died, and one other was wounded in the attack.
His mother and sister were traveling in Miami when the news happened. I’ve been told that today they just arrived back to their home.
I’m just heartbroken. He was my friend, and I miss him. I wanted to tell him how much he meant to me as a child and young man. How instrumental he was to me having a better view of life than I would have ever had, had he not been in it. How like a brother he was.
I love you Ferny. I always will. RIP.