When a Friend Is No Longer with Us

Miguel Arias Sanchez


HAVANA TIMES – A few months ago, I published an interview I gave to a man I knew. He had spent a lot of time rummaging through garbage looking for useful things that could be recycled in some way or another; we call this “dumpster diving”. 

When I interviewed him, he was no longer doing this anymore and had decided to do a more hygienic and less risky job. He began to do shifts as a guard at a school, he was very useful there and everybody loved him. That’s how our friendship began, which only grew as the days passed by.

That man with a noble face proved to me just how virtuous he was as a human being. We shared meals together, we spoke about many different things; he always talked about his daughter and his grandchildren with a great deal of affection.

Over a month ago, Armando finished his early morning shift and we never heard anything from him again. Police have told his daughter that he doesn’t figure among the dead during this time, his other relatives and friends haven’t heard from him either. His wife is desperate.

Today, I remember when I had a sharp pain near my liver, which got worse and worse and I couldn’t even walk. He went with me to the Naval Hospital. They told me that it was being caused by a bit of extra fat that had created a colic. The pain slowly subsided when I was administered a small drip.

No matter how much I insisted he leave, Armando stayed with me the whole time. He didn’t ask me why I didn’t call my family, something I could have done, but I didn’t think it was necessary to make people come if it wasn’t anything serious.

When we left the hospital at 4 AM, he went to work to do his shift which began at 6 AM, and I went home to completely recover.

That man, who is missing today, proved to me that there are still good and humane people amidst this convulsive society, where selfishness can be seen on every corner.

I have no idea where’s he gone. The most common things that run through my mind are: 1 – he had a heart attack somewhere and hasn’t been found. 2 – Maybe someone assaulted him to try and rob him and something more serious happened.

I don’t believe he would have disappeared because he wanted to.  New Year’s is drawing near and I won’t have my friend to wish a happy new year’s to, to have a beer and wish each other a better year ahead.

Today, I can only hold onto his memory. I am overcome by both happiness and sadness. Happiness because I met a good person. And sadness and uncertainty because I don’t know what fate has befallen him. Whatever has happened, wherever he is, he will always have a place in my memories and in the hearts of all of those who knew how to appreciate and love him.

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Miguel Arias

Miguel Arias Sánchez: I was born in Regla in 1949. That’s where I went to elementary and high school. Afterwards I took courses to be a teacher and did that for several years. I did my military service and as soon as I got out I studied formally to be a teacher graduating at the University of Havana. I taught in classrooms for nearly 20 years. I had the opportunity to travel and see another reality. I returned and am currently doing different self-employed activities.

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One thought on “When a Friend Is No Longer with Us

  • Thanks so much, Miguel, for sharing your friend Armando. I am praying for both of you.
    Please pray for us,
    Kitty in Nicaragua

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