Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Phone Call

My husband has been for some time trying to get in contact with an old friend from his home country; a mentor I should say in all the senses of the word. I've listened to many a story as he waxed poetic about the older friend's legacy and the mark that he'd left of my husband. His memories of his friend were legendary. He was an older guy, we not too old but at a time when my husband might've been years 10-13. Him and his group from the Bible School seemed to be of a time that doesn't exist too much in these days. A time when friends were friends, things were simple and life was good, even if it was in a place that was not so so perfect. One could still make do and find comfort and sanctuary in a friendly and happy place. He was on a pedastal in my mind I guess, this individual that loomed van gloriously, I imagined him some sort of a leader, a "head-of" taking charge and taking care of. Making up monies for kids who didn't have enough, extending himself and stepping up to the plate at a time when most young men wouldn't have given the time of day to a Bible anything. After my husband immigrated here and after one more visit back home; that was the last time to reconnect with his friend and that had been about 15 years ago.

The menagerie that I had built in my mind came horrible crashing down after the phone call. Well you see, my husband; after hearing of another one of the group's death; tried desperately to contact his friend. He went to all means, questioned his Grandmother, and everyone that he could think of and then finally after a few months - the number. With heart racing and excitement, I'm sure, he placed the call. After a frustrating few attempts there he was; a voice on the phone, the voice that hadn't been heard for 15 years, a voice bringing back memories and good times. The conversation was a bit halting but progressive as my husband tried to secure the whereabouts of the rest of the members of the group. Where was this one and that but his friend himself hadn't seen certain folks in years, 5 or more. The closeness, the clique the group was all but gone, scattared and living whatever lives were to be lived in this time. His friend the strong and indestructable man I imagined sounded tinny and said that things and times were hard, he now had 2 kids and he was not working due to a recent surgery. There was no real bonding, no sharing of recent life stories, seems like there would be no exchanging of photos, of the memories of recent lives. But nearing the end of the brief conversation there was a burst of "send muh ah raise" I know things are hard in the home country and my husband was extending a helping hand as anyone would. But I guess I was hoping or thinking that a plea would come after another phone call or 2 or maybe if offered denied in pretense politeness. But these are different times and things are not the same.

Desparation has all but trumped dignity and the old country is a place where the drowning are really drowned and clutching at straws is all one can do to stay up against the dragging undertow of crippling poverty and want. I wasn't angry but was just sad that for my husband that a poignent moment was tainted by the harsh and jarring reality of time and change. And change not for the better but somewhat for the worse. It was like I was watching a big strong capable man rendered to his knees eeking out an existance and depending on the charity of anyone. Someone who in my head was a giant, capable, in charge had it all together, a mentor and strong was now on the other end glad to hear an old friend and thankful that he was able to deliver him from hard times even if temporarily. It was sad because it spoke of the times that now where in rigeur, the mood has changed and the fun times are all but gone, survival is the word of the day. The boy that looked up was now being look upon as a provider and the sweet memories and the good times will now forever be stained and bitter sweet.


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1:41 AM  

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