The Blind Man (42)

In Ajijic there was a blind man who I came to know a little. I can’t remember his name now. I’ve forgotten it, and the names of other people, names I thought would stay with me always. Was it Luis? The name pops up now, but I can’t be sure. He had a blind person’s cane, red and white, and carried a cup with him. I would see him at the Wednesday tianguis, the outdoor market, or standing in front of one of the supermercados that catered to the expatriates and the tourists. I don’t remember him ever asking for money. There were a few old women there who were pushy and demanding beggars, an odd entitlement I’ve never encountered before. But the blind man was only there with his cup, always cheerful, never pushy. I came to know him a little. We would talk about his family, about the thunder the night before, about what he might be able to do in order to still contribute to his family, about how much he’d like to learn how to play a musical instrument. I remember feeling good when he would recognize me. When I had the money, I would tuck a bill into one of this shirt pockets, tell him in a quiet voice how much I was sticking in there. Because I left so suddenly, I never said goodbye to him. It’s one of my small regrets. But I console myself with pictures of me finding him again one day, of him still remembering me, of being able to explain. “Lo siento mucho que no te dije adios, Luis.” I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you goodbye. “Yo te pensaba muchas veces desde me fui.” I’ve thought of you many times since I went away. I think of him still. I hope one day I find him well.