What a Confound Guy He Is!

Seeking the Meaning of Life

I have been treated with a plethora of generosity from everyone since my arrival at Playa Del Carmen, as though an Elijah had appeared to them from out of the sky. I have been staying at Ramon’s apartment for a week now. To my astonishment, Henri has been with them for ten days already when I came here. They informed me that he would go back to France in five days, and this is his vacation.

As I say, I have been treated good and proper here, but actually it is overabundant. From morning to night I am fed good and proper without spending any single penny. Every morning Patricia asks me what I want to eat for breakfast and always serves a fresh breakfast with hot coffee, of course. Ramon always eats lunch around 2:00 p.m. and always picks me up wherever I am. He always says, “Shogo, you don’t need to pay for anything because you’re unemployed right now, ha-ha-ha. Don’t worry, bitch, I’ll pay for you.” In the night we always sail on Fifth Avenue to eat dinner and then go to a bar or a night club, or Chilly Willys, perhaps? Every night adventure, Henri insists that he takes care of everything, what a confound guy he is! Every morning I wake up with a heart overflowing with gratitude and fervently thank Lord Almighty for being born under the lucky stars.

I met Henri ten months ago here in Playa Del Carmen. I had been in Mexico due to the Ramon’s execution day, as he called it. Henri is one of Ramon’s best friends. Henri and Ramon had attended the University of ITESO in Guadalajara three years ago and became friends. Henry and I were staying at Ramon’s apartment together ten months ago. Ramon was busy preparing for his wedding, so I naturally spent time with Henri.

Let’s See What Will Happen

Seeking the Meaning of Life

The street is almost empty, and only a few cars are on the road due to the Christmas night. The starry sky is above us, and the night has a brisk weather. While we are driving to his parents’ house, Gerardo suggests to me as if God revealed the divine truth to him, “Shogo, I’m thinking what he told you. You know, so many good things have occurred to you since you came to Mexico. He is right, why don’t you start writing about your life? Your life constitutes with the great deal of breathtaking experiences. And he is right about your anger, too. You shouldn’t think about Japan anymore, you know. I know how you feel toward Japan, but you are in Mexico right now and have been enjoying your life with us. Hence, you don’t need to be angry anymore. I’m thinking you should write about your life in Mexico. What do you think about it, Shogo?”

I am astonished at his idea and divulge, “I’ve never thought about it, my friend. I have always wanted to write about my life, especially my wonderful experiences in Vancouver; I’ve always thought my first book would be about Vancouver period. I don’t know now if I’ll write about the Mexican adventure, but thanks, my friend, I will consider it positively. I just need more time to think about what I’m going to write.”

He is a bit vexed. “Shogo, you don’t need to think, but just write,” he exclaims. “What are you waiting for? Do you think everyone is waiting for you till you get divine inspirations, as you put it? You’re thinking too much about how to begin, I assume. Everyone recognizes a writer in you and believes you are a natural born writer, but only you, Shogo, yourself still have doubt for your talent – that’s why you’ve never get started. Ramon, Jorge, and I have strong faith in you. We just want you to be happy and want you to realize you can do it. Look, Shogo, even a total stranger recognized you tonight and believed you would write a wonderful book. How come? Because it’s so obvious, my friend.”

“Yeah, you might be right. I still have doubt for my ability to write – that’s why I am unable to get started. I will ponder over it in Playa Del Carmen.”

He lights a cigarettes and chafes, “You obstinate son of bitch! You know, if I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t let myself waste any time and would write a book every day like a possessed. If I had such a superb gift as you do, I would produce book after book, so that I would make sure that I wasn’t wasting my talent. I really don’t understand you sometimes anyway. You have to promise me that you will start writing your book after Playa Del Carmen, okay?”

“Yap, I will try doing my best – you will see, my friend. You will see my artistic side after Playa Del Carmen. Even you won’t recognize me anymore, because I will write every day, without allowing myself any rest like a blissful lunatic, ha-ha-ha.”

“I hope so, I really hope so. Let’s see what will happen, my friend.”

I’ll Be a Writer

Seeking the Meaning of Life

As soon as I come back to the table, Gerardo asks, “Shogo, what just happened over there? What did he tell you?”

I am still perplexed and say reflectively, “He just gave me five hundred pesos.”

“I know. I saw it, but why?”

Pause.

“He wants me to remember I have a friend in Mexico whenever I see it.”

“Really? I don’t believe it, because nobody hands five hundred pesos out to a stranger or helps a stranger without any ulterior motives just like that.”

Apparently, Gerardo does not believe what just happened and has a suspicion of the gentleman. Hence, I decide to tell him exactly what has just happened without omitting anything to him.

After a pensive silence, he says passionately, “Shogo, you know, as I told you, nobody gives you money without any ulterior motives, but in this exceptional case I believe you. Of course, I saw with my own eyes when he hand the money out to you. I think somehow in your past or your whole life, you’ve always helped people or been generous to people. I don’t know what way you help people, but you’ve been always good to people in some way – that’s why such an incredible thing happen to you. Don’t flatter yourself, idiot, I know what you’re thinking in your mind, but wait and just listen to me. I really believe that if one wants to do something with all his heart, the universe will help him – that’s why people always help you now.”

I reply jubilantly, “Yeah, you are completely right. I am always kind to my fellow men except Japanese, ha-ha-ha. But I don’t believe it’s just a pure fluke. This kind of thing just doesn’t happen to everyone. I think it’s the sign of God from the heaven – I’ll be a writer. It’s the sign of fulfillment, my friend! If not, why have unexplainable things kept on happening to me in all my life? This is not the first time such an extraordinary thing has happened to me; there are legions, ha-ha-ha! If you want, I’ll tell you other wonderful incidents.”

“Calm down, Shogo, I believe you. I think so, too, this kind of thing simply doesn’t happen randomly. I totally agree with you, but please don’t be too excited, idiot,” he laughs.

“But I’m still thinking about it. As you know, I love Starbucks, but today suddenly, I changed my mind to go to Burger King. Why, my friend? Why on earth did I change my mind suddenly? And why did I exactly choose Burger King because I always prefer McDonalds? I think God changed my mind with his index finger, so that I could meet the gentleman there. It was fate. Otherwise, I can’t explain the whole thing.”

“Ha-ha-ha, idiot, are you still exuberant? Yeah, probably, you are right, this is the sign from heaven, as you said. Who knows? What I understand is that this kind of thing usually doesn’t happen, and only a few people are born under lucky stars to have a privilege to experience such an extraordinary event in one’s life. I hate to admit, but you are one of them. In fact, I’ve always suspected it though. The incident confirms it. If you simply told me this incredible story, I wouldn’t believe any single word that came from your mouth; however, I saw the whole thing with my own eyes, you lucky bastard! I was unlucky to be a witness, because I know, you’re going to tell everyone about the incident, and every time you need a proof, I’ll be summoned to confirm it. I’ll be a fucking living proof, man, ha-ha-ha.”

Please Don’t Say Anything

Seeking the Meaning of Life

He suddenly fishes out five hundred pesos from his wallet and asks, “Could you accept a small favor? Here is five hundred pesos. Please don’t feel insulted. I know you have money, and it’s not too much but just listen. Just imagine these kinds of situations – maybe, you are not worried about money now, but one day you might face a situation you want to take a bus, but you don’t have any money on you or you might face a situation you want to eat something, but you don’t have enough money to buy food or something like that. When you face these kinds of situations, and you open your wallet and find the five hundred pesos, I want you to remember you have a friend in Mexico. I want you to remember I will remain your friend, and if you need any help, my door will be always open for you.”

He shows me his identification, “See here is my name, here is my address, and here is my occupation. I am living in Golf de club, too, like your friends. Now you know where to find me.”

I am flabbergasted and do not know what to say. I simply accept it and say, “Thank you very much.”

Here he stands up and offers his right hand to shake my hand, “I have something to take care of. I hope every Mexican will help you and will be kind to you. You seem a bright young man, so I am not worried about you. I wish you will spend a great time in Mexico. Please don’t say anything. It’s nothing, my friend. It’s just a small token for your incredible story. Once more, allow me to be giving you the last advice. I can detect anger from your voice when you talk about Japan. I can easily understand how you had suffered and how lonely you had been in Japan. However, listen to me, young man, when you let your anger overcome you, you can’t write a good book; anger makes you stray from your true intention. Let it go, however difficult it is, okay? Moreover, I still can’t fully recover from the shock of such a brilliant young man like you who is destined to overcome a great deal of tribulations. Anyway, I have a hunch that you will be starting to write your book very soon. Don’t forget what I’ve told you – just tell the truth faithfully that you’ve experienced. It is a real pleasure to meet the young man, who has his own vision. You just believe in your own power come hell or high water, and everything will be jake with you. Have a good time in Mexico.”

With that, he walks out.

My Life Story

Seeking the Meaning of Life

He looks at the outside poignantly for a while. And then he continues, “To my great sadness, my two brothers emigrated to America six years ago. They’ve been telling me that I have to go there because I can have a better life over there with a lot of money. What does it mean by that? They are talking constantly as if making money were everything for life. I am so ashamed of them, and I’ve decided to stop contacting with them for years now. I like Mexico, you know. People are very generous here and are down to on earth. I can still feel humanness in them, and they apparently have compassion toward humanity. I might not have a lot of money, but I have enough money to support myself and am proud of myself for remaining as a human being with consideration. Young man, remember that, money is just a paper and nothing more and nothing less. If you let yourself lose over money, not only lose your dignity, but your life on this earth as well. Life is more than making money, I assure you, young man. I am over fifty years old. My experiences have taught me these imperative integrities. I’m telling you all of these things, because my instinct keeps on telling me that you are different from contemporary and aimless young men. Tell me, why are you coming to Mexico, and what is your intention for your life?”

I am stunned at his vehemence of America, and at the same time, I cannot help admiring his intelligence. He told me all of them with a complete calmness. His way of talking somehow impresses me, and I involuntarily start to tell him about my life story, acknowledging that I came to Mexico in order to start writing a book; conceding how I have been struggling in vain to write for years despite of my fervid efforts; confessing how I had suffered, and how I had felt useless and a total failure in Japan.

He listens to what I uttered with fully attentive eyes and nods many times during my speech as if all my sufferings were familiar with him. After a brief silence, he says, “What expressive eyes you have, young man! Do you always look at people’s eyes directly when you talk? Do you know your eyes brighten ardently like incandescent stars in heaven? Most people are not able to talk to people while looking at their eyes directly, because it makes them embarrassed.”

I am abashed by his compliment and blurt, “I don’t know it’s good for me or not, but I always do because I want people to know what I’m talking about. I suppose it is the way everyone ought to talk anyway. Many people say I have impressive eyes, but I don’t know why people always praise my eyes.”

“Don’t underestimate your own power, young man!” he admonishes me, “don’t you realize what a great story you’ve just told me? You said you don’t know how to start. Why don’t you start writing about your life? Your life is a full of adventures – I’ve never met anyone who’s been living through such an extraordinary life like yours, including your helpless tribulations in Japan. You don’t need to try to be anybody else; just be yourself – just tell the truth, what you’ve experienced. That’s enough for you to get started, and the whole world will be spellbound by your story. Like me, I am still overwhelmed with your fabulous story. I still can’t believe a man is able to accumulate such prodigious experiences in his lifetime. What a sorrowful cross you had borne on your back in Japan, young man!”