A man sways his head and lowers it.
“No, Don Francisco. No puedo.”
A callused hand retaining splinters from the night before, hands him the money. He hugs Don Francisco holding back the tears and cries of his heart. He walks away. Don Francisco comes out from behind closed doors and greets his family. He sits on the sofa listening to their day. They laugh retelling the drama of the day, their funny mistakes and the passion in their veins for setting things right. He listens to each of them. He nods and smiles. They never wait for his response, besides he would rather listen.
“Donde tu etaba? Que hiciste?” His wife asks from the kitchen between the rising fumes of a well cooked meal.
He shrugs his shoulders. He didn’t do anything important.
From outside through the door glass, a man hands money to his wife, who weeps. She looks up to thank the heavens. She didn’t ask where it came from, she knew.
The next day at Don Francisco’s door, the wife finds a warm pot on the door step. A pasty white fuzzy towel with loose strings rested over it. In the pot a home cooked stew. It was simple with small chunks of chicken.
“Ay Dios.” She questions him from where it came. He says nothing. They eat while she comments on the different condiments she would have added to it. He washes the pot and at night, he leaves it by the door with a handwritten note.
Silence speaks greater wisdom if you listen and generosity in secret builds the esteem of the broken-hearted.
Happy Birthday Tio Paco, we love your quiet and generous soul.