Saying Goodbye To Panama

Continued from Adrienne’s A Boy From The Home Team

I was looking forward to meeting Homeboy. While I waited for his second call, I fantasized about living in the Caribbean with him, lounging in the sun, holding a chilled V8 juice in a champagne glass. We would reminisce about teachers like Mr. Denny, our old Math teacher, who humiliated the boys when they acted up. I called another friend from back home to get her take on Jerome Homeboy Panama-Seeker.

“Yeah, I remember him. He had buck teeth… greasy black hair… and glasses. That’s what I remember, but I think he’s the kind of guy who would be honest. He wouldn’t pretend to be someone he wasn’t,” Sarah recalled.

My friend, Sarah, from the first day I met her, had a blunt way of speaking. For instance: At the first house party we ever went to, the first thing she said to the guy at the door in a trench coat was, “Who do you think you are—a goddamn spy?”

But back to the present, now I wonder why she would think that Homeboy was to be trusted? Perhaps because he went to a religious school? Or maybe it was because he sat across from her in Lit 30? I’m sure that Ted Bundy sat across from a cute girl in Grade 10 class, too. My school chum fears my internet connections and rightly so, but I know the guy back in grade school is just another side of the same dice. Nothing is for certain.

I’d been hesitating digging out my yearbook and seeing for myself who this Homeboy is, at least what he looked like in high school. After a few days passed without a call from him, I finally rifled through the container in the laundry room that held pictures, cards, keepsakes, and at the bottom, my high school yearbook. I brought it back to the couch and opened it on my lap. There he was, without any search at all.

Yeah, he was definitely nerdy looking, alright. I can see that shadow of a mustache and he had greasy black hair and bangs cut like Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men. But I’m not one to judge anyone by their high school picture. However, he hadn’t called in almost a week. I’d given up on the guy, but not after I’d imagined life in Panama and even researched the country. I figured it was a dream location to live out the last few decades of life.

Then he called.

This conversation was not nearly as comfy as the last. He seemed downright hostile in his questions to me. I spoke about working with individuals who are non-verbal. I told him one gets to know what their needs are after working with them for awhile, over time.

“And just HOW would you KNOW that, Adrienne?” he asked in a very snarky tone.

I had to think and tried to explain the concept of body language, tone of voice—people in need of assistance do make sounds, they just may not be able to utilize language. I switched the conversation to my son. He doesn’t have children, but I used the topic to end an uncomfortable pause in our conversation.

“My son is doing very well now. He’s met a girl who is good for him and they are so compatible. It’s made all the difference in the world. And he’s teamed up with his dad, who is a real estate developer. That’s all we really want for our kids—to find their place in the world and to be happy.”

“That’s all ANYONE wants, Adrienne,” he responded with an edge of sarcasm.

Phew. This wasn’t going well and I couldn’t understand his combative attitude. He also seemed nervous talking to me. I turned the conversation over to him, by asking about his decision to buy oceanfront property in Panama. He told me that he attended a wedding in the country and fell in love with it. He discovered that it is one of the most desirable places in the world for Canadians to retire. He’s looking ahead to his future and within 20 years, he’ll have built a chalet-style home on the property and he’s going to relocate. He’s never coming back to Canada.

We ended the conversation with me saying I’d love to meet him for a coffee—and I’d leave it up to him to contact me.

I don’t have to consider moving to Panama, because we’ve not spoken since. Maybe the tone in my voice, speaking of my son, let him on to the fact I couldn’t move away permanently. Maybe telling him how much I love my work and co-workers, he intuitively knows I won’t transplant so far. I’d wilt and die without my life-long connections.

I walked down the main street of my new hometown, the place I’ve lived for 15 years, and I realized how much I love it here. I see the sparkling blue water of the bay daily, and the intoxicating wild roses that bloom along the stairs that I climb. I know most of the shop owners by name and so many of the locals that frequent the cafes. I enjoy rummaging through the local thrift stores and treasure the quaint, small town lifestyle. I have co-workers that are like my sisters, and friends who have become soul mates. I’d be crazy to walk away from all that I have—for a man. But like I said, I don’t have to make that decision—he didn’t call back.

I’ve been analyzing why. Perhaps, someone who has insider information on who we were—back in school—brings up uncomfortable feelings. Not all of us were football captains, great debaters, or bouncy cheerleaders. Most of us stood in the sidelines hoping our acne would disappear, one day, and our bodies would remotely resemble what we saw advertised in magazines. Oh, I know that’s the superficial part of growing up, but isn’t that the toughest part of it all—what we looked like and how we fit in? Bill Gates was reportedly the “King Of Geeks” and no one is laughing at him now.

But doesn’t a little bit of that child who cowered in Grade 7 still remain? Does part of us stay the same? I think I know why he sounded nervous in the last two phone calls. Yearbooks never die.

 

Saying Goodbye To Panama © 2011 Adrienne S Moody. Read the latest Adrienne exploit on Now.readthisplease.

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