I had known him for eight years. At first, a preteen who prowled the Plaza at night looking for kicks, loose change, or drug money. He ran with a pack of huffers - their upper lips in a continual state of glow from the residue of paint thinner. Crinkled, brown paper bags and small spray paint cans bulging the front pockets of their tattered jeans. Like Wild Boys they hooted and hollered through the Plaza flirting with old vampires who fawned over their energetic youth. He would badger me for my address or plead to take him home 'to watch movies' with huge, doe-like eyes. Too young, I refuse.
Years later, he is a responsible twenty-something. We randomly meet one evening in the Plaza as he is returning from work. Name badge on red string dangling from his neck. Again, with the same look, he asks where I lived. During the passing months, he visits almost every day after work for a bite to eat, watch a movie (on a particular Sunday, he sits through all six Star Wars films), watches porn, gets a blow job. Tu mamar rico.
Unlike virtually every other guy I met, he never once asked for any money. During that time, every night some fool would be banging on my door requesting pesos or attempted to rob me. Not him. Not once.
Fate pulls us apart again. For ten years, I go mad, transient, become a published writer. On a personal level in the attempt to make friends, I met one let down after another which results in myself become a self-loathing recluse. He flounders and ends up in prison for seven years narcotic trafficking. He's released, gets married, has a baby settles into a hetro-centric cocoon.
I return to the desert city and we are reacquainted. But, he had become what fate had ordained. The first day in my house, he hits me up for 450 pesos ($30). I hand it over without fail to show how much respect I had for him. I will pay you back when I get paid tomorrow. That was two months ago. The act of not paying me back was not what hurt. The finalization that he valued our friendship was less than thirty dollars.
That has been an occurrence of late. People I had thought of as friends - friends in the way that we hang out, talk, share common interests and actually enjoy the time spent without ulterior motives or monetary gain - had all...ALL fell to ruin.
This is the aspect that drives me to leave, once and for all and to never...never...look back.