And There He Was
The thing about splitting town is that a lot of people take the time to say their final farewells. Tonight I went to dinner with some great friends. My old boss turned mentor invited me to hang out with his family. I always enjoy the conversations I have with them. He's got an amazing way of talking. Today he said about President Clinton: "You can fuck one girl, just don't fuck the country." or something like that.
They treated me to dinner at a hip Mexican food restaurant. Their 14 year old daughter went along. I baby sat her and her little bro when I was in college a couple of times and it's interesting to see them grow up. She's a great artist and very sharp.
And there he was. I noticed my good friend from h.s., C., as we walked into the restaurant. There's a special place in my heart for C. He's an extremely smart and talented person. He also almost beat up our Physics teacher in h.s. C. and I first met in 9th grade. We played baseball together. I always respected C. because he wasn't afraid to be himself. He was a smart poor kid. We went to a football game together once and my folks dropped me off at his house. He lived in a small apartment. His father happened to be living with his family at the time and it turns out my dad and him know each other.
C. had an interesting relationship with his father. The man was an alcoholic. He wasn't necessarily around, but he was always pretty kind towards his family. Well, as kind as he could be. C. didn't talk much about his dad to many people. I felt pretty priviledged when he started telling me about his father. C. had a pretty rough upbringing.
It turns out C. and I both ended up at UT. Wow, that was pretty unusual. We didn't hang out much, but everytime we saw each other, we made plenty of time to catch up. We sat together when we took Art History. We almost got into a fight because some guy was talking to shit to C.
We both always encouraged each other. C. leads a very care-free life and always did plenty of drugs. He still smokes weed like he drinks water. One day I found out C. dropped out of UT. Our senior year. Why? i don't know. I ran into him again in McAllen and encouraged him to go back. He said he was, but that it wasn't the right time. I dont' know what he was going through and I didn't probe.
And there he was today. Working.
"Hey C.," I yelled.
"Orale Carnal, what are you doing here?"
"I'm here with my friends, what's up?"
"I'm finally finishing school."
I smiled and gave him a hug careful not to make him drop the salad bowl he was carrying.
"That lady is a bitch, she's driving me crazy, let me take the salad."
My friends and I ate dinner and talked. I saw C. out of the corner of my eye. He was hustling.
Me fui a despedir and he gave me his phone number. I'm going to call him.
As I left, he shook my hand and said, "I'm proud of you man." I don't think he knows how much that means to me. I'm proud of C. He's back in school. Probably supporting his father and mother. He'll do well and I wish him the best.