Friday, May 23, 2014

Sons With no Mothers

(July of 2007, to December)

Every time I meet Anselmo (a man in his mid-fifties), or J.B. ((a man in his early twenties) (two sons without mothers)) they’d greet me, walking with or without friends, down the streets or in the main plaza of Huancayo, Peru, they put their hands out to me.
       “Hello Lee, old friend,” they’d say to me. I’d tell them, “You have no blood in your face.”
       It’s a bad and cold insult to a Peruvian. But deserving in their cases, and they know it. And it doesn’t faze them one iota.
       And they’d tell me some sad story of how little they had. They always made it very sad, they even believed what they are telling me to be truth, yes indeed, they believed in their own lies. Can you beat that! I suppose because they’ve been telling them so long.
       They haven’t lived much, I tell myself—for poor they may be in their own eyes, but they dress well, eat well, and have a roof over their heads, money in their pockets, and most of their kind own land handed down to them from some deceased family member to another. I tell myself, they should go to Haiti to see real poverty.
      These are sons with no mothers.
      They spend another person’s money and say they are broke only to ask for more money to borrow at a later date, what they can’t get with a smile, they take with a smirk. Try to get one cent from them— god-forbid a dollar, out of them. It’s impossible; it would be like bleeding a live horse dry.
       Every time I see them, in front of other friends (and they are not alone in this category), I wonder how they are swindling one another, or thinking of how to swindling one another, without the other knowing: what kind of blood is in their veins? I ask myself: black blood.

       At one time Anselmo received $1500-dollars from me to do something for me, something he never did do for me, nor intended to do for me. And it did not have any effect on him knowing he had intentions of doing for me nor paying me back because he knew he couldn’t, so he quickly spent the money so he’d not have to pay back, and what did he do with the money but pay his daughter’s college tuition; well at least he didn’t hit the nearest bar or casino.
       Fine, we had confrontation on that as you may well have guessed, when the time came to produce the service or return the money, and Anselmo begged I give him time to pay what he owed—six months wasn’t good enough, we had this confrontation; of course what he really meant was: to give him time, in hopes I’d forget he owed me the money or service and forgive him of the sum out of kindness, and out of being so very poor.
        “You can trust me for it,” he’d said, “aren’t we friends?”
        “It’s not a matter of trust, perhaps some friendship, otherwise I´d never have given the money” I exclaimed, “It’s a matter of deception now.”
       “I haven’t got it,” he reiterated, and thereafter reiterated and reiterated, until my wife and I got blue in the face, not him, it didn’t bother him. I know we all know folks like this.
       “You have it,” I said, “it’s just you have other plans for it.”
       “You don’t understand,” he’d comment, adding “don’t worry about it, I’ll pay you soon,” so, Anselmo would say with a near pouting voice (if anything he was a good actor, he missed his calling).
       “When?” my wife would ask him, and of course he had a thousand answers at his fingertips, from those long enduring years of grabbing one lie after the other when needed, like carrots out of the ground when hungry; he had a good memory, that is a prerequisite for a liar, lest he find himself in a bind and having to tell one lie on top of another, and god forbid, he forget which came first.
       “Soon!” he’d say, “I’ll have it soon!”

       “By gosh,” I told him to his face, one forenoon, “you’re ahead of a noble and prestigious institution, and you can’t pay such a small sum back, as if you and I are worse enemies, not best friends, what kind of a man are you?”
       At that time he was going to all kinds of engagements and charging people for this and that, and I suppose that is how he got those five, one hundred dollar bills together that he was to pay me back with, and be forgiven the rest of the sum.
       I told him a few times, “You have no blood in your face,” and he’d stare at me with those blameless droopy dog like eyes of his, no neck to speak of, overweight by fifty-pounds if not more, trying to look above suspicion, as if I was ripping his heart out of his chest. Nothing, exactly nothing bothered him, cold as a fish on ice.
       Such people spend another person’s money on themselves or for vanity’s sake, and they never, ever pay. Just try to get a cent, and god forbid, a dollar from them.
       Well, we are back being friends, I have buried the anger, the hurt, and the so called hatchet, as they say, and since he never did pay dollars back for that last $1000-dollars, he did pay in another way, and to be honest, had it turned out any other way, this story would never have been written, so I give him credit if need be for that. And as for the young guy, I’ll just leave him out, and hope he’ll find the righteous path somewhere in his lifetime.

No: 421 (written: 6-22-2009; revised 9-4-2009 and again, revised 5-2014)