our paths met about 4 years ago while i was working at a kiosk in MacArthur Center mall. he was part of the service staff that emptied out the trash cans there. he saw that i had a ladybug tattoo and has called me "ladybug" ever since. all these years he has never asked what my actual name is. a reason for that is because he can't read or write. he can remember sounds of words and he gives people nicknames from what visually inspires him at that moment.
he showed me a composition book he was filling up with rendered drawings he did of charlie brown cartoons. the book is for his young son as a gift. marvin will look at the small comic frames printed in the newspaper and then draw them larger. he's very proud of his ability to be a human "copy machine."
a few months ago he asked me to get him a "campus". i didn't understand at first what he was referring to until he described wanting to put a picture on it as a gift. so then i was thought, "OH! A CANVAS!"
He surprised me with a drawing of Garfield as a holiday gift and he had me fill in the talk bubble for him.
i saw he wrote "STAR WARS" on the above picture he rendered and i asked him how'd he know to put that on there since he can't read or write. his response was, "someone just shows me what to put and i copy it."
i asked him why he hasn't learned how to read or write and he said "some people know how to drive really well. some people know how to get jobs." I offered to teach him and he said, "thank you but everything is fine just the way it is. let's just be friends." and gives me a small bow and big smile.
his spirit is strong and i'm grateful for the lessons i'm learning from our friendship.