Thursday, June 28, 2012
Raul: The Taxi Motor-cart driver
((2005-2012, San Juan Miraflores, Lima, Peru))
The old man shook his head, right to left, from the rooftop patio of his home, in San Juan Miraflores, Peru, where he was doing his daily reading and writing. It was late summer in Lima, he was thinking about Raul, he had met him in 2005; he had then one child, one girl by the name of Gabriela, she was now seven years old, and since then, had a boy now five years old, just a young neighbor in the lower apartment across from him, of which his father had built for him. He was short in stature, for a man, rather short, or shorter than tall, that is. He had broad shoulders, well built like a bull, a young wife—named Lola, robust like him. The old man had often thought it strange Raul had the body of a bull—and was rather sluggish, perhaps laid-back is a better description, more so than ambitious; he had a thick neck, his forehead broad and bony and a short piggish nose, rather more pushed in than prominent; and normally wearing a light expression on his face. No rivals because he had no real friends, just family members, always a family member or two or three coming over, visiting, living for a week or month or two months at his apartment; above him in the other two apartments, his family members, those he didn’t talk to, get along with—which must had been hard on him because he loved to talk, and talk and talk—God only knows what about, but talk he did, as did his family members, and his kids; there was no silence in that house, I’ll tell you that. I mean, you knew when their lunch was, and when supper came, and when the kids wanted a snack, the only time the old man didn’t hear them talking was when he fell to sleep. It wasn’t the unpardonable sin, but it was character the old man took note of.
Raul had a motor-cart; one of those small carts attached onto a motorcycle, and drove people around San Juan Miraflores, the backstreets.
Raul was a good sort of fellow, that kind where your kids could nudge you with their elbows in church or a meeting and he’d not get mad. And if he saw you walking here or there, and he had time, he’d stop and greet you.
—Oh, by the way, how’s your husband Rosa, haven’t seen you in a month of Sundays. Something along that order he’d say. You know what I mean, one of those good ole fellows God talks about in the bible that is more sparrow than human I think.
Well, he was all of that, and did, more often, than not: stop work once he had enough food in the nest to talk and chew the fat with any and everyone in the house; one of them folks that might say to his wife:
—Call granny up, I want to talk, I’m bored to death.