The mysteries surrounding the care and treatment of women that I had learned earlier on in my life from that terribly pragmatic pimp in Marañon were working like a charm. I was keeping the beauties of Abel Bravo at bay and clinging to my studies as I had never done before and, what’s more, my mother seemed to respect my apparent alone-ness although genuine conversations between us were quite rare.
My stepfather Bobby Grant, however, seemed always full of joy and never missed an opportunity to talk to me when he found the time. We talked about all kinds of things, especially things that interested both of us; things like what he did on his job and, in turn, what I was learning at school. We also chatted about the West Indian community of Colon and I would fill him in on our people in Panama City. I couldn’t help but notice, in fact, that Bobby was openly acting as if I was his legitimate son who had entered fully into one of the most prestigious institutions of the city, which gave him an enormous sense of pride.
What I didn’t fully realize at the time was that, in those early months of my life with my mother and Bobby Grant, who were very much acting like my parents, Bobby was a well known and respected figure in the West Indian community of Colon, and he was known by very knowledgeable people. So that, without having to visit Abel Bravo, Bobby was garnering information about me from my school mates, both those who were actual students in the school and those who weren’t enrolled but liked to hang out with the students there. Bobby, it seemed, was checking out my progress and was very impressed with the quality of person and student who’d begun to emerge under his roof.
Within a short time Bobby had grown fond of me, it was obvious from our interactions, and he set himself to the task of encouraging me to continue in my education especially when I brought home my first report cards at the end of the first quarter.
This story continues.