That afternoon I hurried back to my garage, for I thought of never responding to my father or taking him up on anything he had to offer. This resolve not to respond to him set me free forever and I vowed not to open the letter or read it. At that time in our lives I had a bad feeling about allowing that man who called himself my father to dominate any part of my life again. By the time I reached my garage I had stuck the letter in my back pocket unopened and tried to forget it. I had known that man most of my young life and at that moment I rejected the very idea of having his cruel presence in my life ever again.
Since it was still early, I proceeded to open the mechanic shop, rolling up the steel gates, slipping under them to start and got into my work clothing. The routine of settling down to work was something I needed desperately to make me some money since it was from tips that I earned cash. I mostly fixed flat tires using patching adhesive to finish the job. I had also learned to do inner tube work by freeing the inner tube by hammering the rims until the sledge hammer released the inner tube and I would pry them off with an iron tool. Actually, I had very few tools available to me to work with. By night fall I was still working alone, polishing and waxing up or Simonizing more than one automobile. Then for lack of spaces I had to move some automobile inside and so protect them for they would be picked up that next day.
By then life would continue in Panama as nights would find me habitually working at fixing more than a couple of flat tires. Although the tire business required much hard work I had no notion of purchasing automatic machinery or equipment to make the work of mounting tires and repairing them a faster operation. Tire repairs could be easier and quieter and more it would enable me to make more than double the collection of fifty cent pieces and over what I would make at the end of the week. They were sure and comforting source of income. I appreciated the coins tossed my way as they would come in from mostly grateful bus drivers and occasional automobile owners. My customers also knew that I would store tires for them if they left them over night and that they would have them ready to pick up the next day.
The unopened letter from my father in Brooklyn, now forgotten, remained tucked in my back pocket and still – unopened