I had gotten up late that morning and hoped to make it to the open Market fonda in the middle of Colon City for something to eat and I sighed as I awoke that it was back to troubled reality. As I passed by some of my street friends, I wondered why they were congregated at the side door of the Twelfth Street entrance to the Bar. I stopped there before I continued on my way. But one of the guys at the side door had spied me and called me over.
Though I was to escape from their view. I stopped to hear them converse about the beauties at the dance the night before. I wanted to know who else had claimed to have seen me as we had danced near an upstairs table, with Millicent, that Black Beautiful Queen. I took Rachel home with only a few goodbye kisses and then stopped to hang out outside that bar for quite a while, listening to talk about the good times and the band and other things that had happened at that dance. Once again, I tried to get away.
I think I had hung around too long, though, since, by the time I realized it, it was past noon and I hurried to get home only to find that there was nothing to eat.. Suddenly someone said to me, “ You don’t hear someone calling for you? ” I answered, “No pal, I don´t hear a thing; but if you could point them out for me…” “Right up there!” He said, annoyed as he kept pointing, and as I looked into the noonday sun which was in my eyes, he continued to say to me “Right there!” Some other guys in the group joined in to help me focus on a spot on one of the balconies which was way up in the building across the street. It seemed then that on one of the those balconies I had won a fan club. I said, “OK guys I see now who it is.”
It was none other than a little girl who kept up the banter, saying out loud, “ “That’s my Padrino!, that’s my Godfather! I will know him anywhere, that´s him!” With their gaze fixed on me, her parents smiled marveling at how, she who didn’t know me that well since the time of her baptism, could recognize me out of a crowd. It had only been a small affair. Just my mother and myself and the Priest. I immediately started to blow kisses up at her, as i could hear her getting more excited and insisting that it was her godfather and she would know me anywhere. Her older sister, who was my age at the time, was all smiles although I had never really gotten to know her as a member of her family.
The whole family had been there that morning with her mother and father -my first “Compadres,” people whom I hadn’t seen since the day of Cachita’s christening. And now, here we were all of us caught together smiling and laughing. It was a unique situation as I must have been the youngest of the Godfathers in the whole City of Colon. I was now officially adored and recognized by my Godaugter and her entire family, sitting on their balcony on that hot and fateful Sunday morning.
I had been staying away from Pug and the baby and kept working as a way of staying out of the many problems that life as a teenager in Colon could surely bring. Although i longed for the company of women, I was too fearful of becoming ensnared with teenage girls in my life after Pug. The same thought kept recurring in my mind, reminding me, “She is burning you right now!”
Whenever I would run into her my eyes would see her even if she didn’t see me and the same thought would haunt me again saying “She is burning you with that Bocas Chinaman.” These thoughts would follow me all over the streets of Colon.
And so my mind was made up. I had erased Barbara and even Pug right out of my mind forever. It was then that my goddaughter’s older sister would invite me to go meet her inside the theater upstairs to talk about something that had sprung up between she and my sister urging us to celebrate Carnaval.
This story continues.