Throughout this time of setting up my garage routine and taking in new customers I never lost sight of regainng my freedom, I had placed Pug- La China- on the back burner. She had, however, been stepping up her visits from Colon to see me to pick up money for herself and the baby. Her attitude hadn’t changed, however. She continued to generate stories about me mistreating her- all lies- just to hold it over my head. Remembering how she had damaged my peaceable relationship with the whole of the Westindian community in Bocas, thus forcing us to leave, I tried to keep her visits as short and cool as possible. I would just hand her some money for the baby on the nights that she did come as I saw her step down from the bus in front of the garage.
I had been keeping the letter from my father a secret from everybody, including her. Whenever I saw her stepping off that bus from Colon it would bring back memories of Baseline and Bocas Town and how my West Indian community had been like a family to help me out in everything possible to adjust from a troubled teen and new father to a responsible working man. It became my refuge until I brought Pug up there to live with me. I was determined that this would not happen to me in my garage. I was going to recover my freedom and soundness of mind even if it meant extricating myself from this Chinese girl.
Working the long hours both day and night would fill me with joy especially after seeing Pug leave the garage or take another bus into the city for transportation back to Colon. If she only knew about the letter from my father- a letter probably offering me a way out of this bad situation. Meanwhile I had been quietly making tips at the garage which I used to feed myself and to save some money to buy my freedom back and finally get Pug out of my life. I was just so thankful for what I did earn as it was a small miracle at that time of our lives to even have extra cash to keep from looking ragged. It was amazing what you could do with a little money in Panama-
On one of my trips to Colon I arrived at a new address of one of Pug’s aunts- the one she called her grandmother’s sister. Finding her there I handed some money to her and chit chatted briefly about the kid, who kept looking me over as if he knew who I was and that I was his father. He bounded off to play with the shiny new red fire engine that I had brought him. Just before leaving I started to kiss Pug, just to confirm to myself if there were any feelings between us but, she acted as though she wanted nothing more to do with me again in her life. Despite the rejection, I felt as though I was gaining back my life. What a great feeling!