|The Loneliness of a Peace Corps Volunteer (page 2)|
|The Loneliness of a Peace Corps Volunteer
page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4
|PCV at the Door
Cathy punched me in the arm and shoved me, Hes speaking English, did you hear him? Go open the door. Its Gary! I stumbled into my leather boots and opened the door, just as Bam, bam rang out. In barges this tall, bulky man, flamboyant black hair with a mustache. His fiery eyes make me think he has been chased by a bear.
Jesus, Gary, are you alright? Gary went straight for my straw mattress, which served as a couch. He sat there, head in his hands, then he lurched upward and walked around the black trunk that served as a dining room table. Cathy stayed in the bed and watched his circling. I sat down on the mattress and waited. After a couple of minutes, he slowed down and sat next to me.
Cant stand it anymore. No one to talk to, no one to date, no one to drink beer with. Hell, there is no place to drink beer. I cant speak Quechua and barely any Span . . . He didnt finish his sentence. Tears burst out, a rumbling of sobs overcame him, his shoulders started shaking. I put an arm around him; he leaned against me and cried.
Later, when I headed off toward bed, Gary whispered: Leave the kerosene heater and lantern on, will you please?
In the morning over coffee, the three of us discussed what to do. We had been in-country for only a few months, but Garys Volunteer days were over. He intended to take the train to LaPaz and hand in his resignation to the Director, then take the next flight to Los Angeles.
Gary and I then walked to the train station As we sat against the adobe wall of the station waiting for the train, he reached over, seized my hand, and said, You saved my life last night. Glad I could be there for you, I muttered, and then we lapsed into silence. The sun was out, the wall was warming us. I wondered if Gary was envisioning the southern California beaches. I began thinking about the northern Michigan lake where I grew up. Summers of intense heat, cool deep waters. Unlike Gary, I was unable to confess to myself or anybody else that I too was unhappy, not yet despairing, but headed in that direction. Unlike Gary I was tethered, I was married. I was being depended on.
Another Vol in Trouble