Something is missing. I mean, Tio Jaime and Tia Karina take good care of me. I have everything I need – a cozy home, good food and clothes, plenty of friends.
I can imagine papa’s voice right now. “Be thankful for all the blessings God has given you, Aurelio.” And I am. Thankful, I mean. But still, I feel like something is missing.
“Man, what you need is a girlfriend,” said my friend, Rob. So I let him fix me up with this fly girl named Shamica. She’s cute and sweet, and a good kisser, too, as I found out.
I knew she was the one for me after my tio took us bowling, and Shamica didn’t make fun of my skills. I bowl about as well as I play basketball.
But after a few months, Shamica decided that I was a dud. “All you ever want to do is talk about books and cars,” she said, scowling.
“We can talk about whatever you like,” I said. But Shamica didn’t want to talk. She wanted to go out to the movies, and the roller rink, and to make out down by the docks. Then one day, she decided that she’d rather go out with some other guy, so that was the end of that.
“What you need,” said my tia, “is to get a little part-time job. Boys your age need to start doing work and making your own money.”
So I went around the city looking for Help Wanted signs. I ended up getting a job at a laundromat, helping people with their laundry and fixing the machines when they broke. It wasn’t interesting work, but I was making $2.90 an hour. I was rich! Most of the money, I have stashed away in a shoebox under my bed. One day, I’m going to buy a car. Not a new one, but some classic junker that I can restore to life. I like the idea of taking something old and worn and making it like new again.
As for that empty feeling, well, I went to visit my old friend, the Professor. We warmed ourselves by his fire while I spilled my woes. The Professor listened thoughtfully. Then he rose to his feet, straightened his imaginary bowtie, and cited, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
“Huh?” I stared at him.
The Professor rolled his eyes. “Thoreau, my dear boy. You must read Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. Then you will be ready to face your feelings of emptiness.”
Another book. I should have known.
So now I am mucking my way through Walden, which so far hasn’t answered any of my questions about life. Not like I can move into some deserted cabin and live alone in the middle of this concrete jungle, unless I want to be a bum, like the Professor. Really, I’d rather go away to university, the way rich kids do. But I don’t think my shoebox full of savings will ever stretch that far.
Your floundering friend,