I am a man of my words. A promise is a promise: a declaration that one will do a patricular task. If you know me at all, you know promises hold the highest level of integrity.
I made a promise to myself 22 years ago. My mother passed away from cancer, so I cried a river of tears. I promised myself that once those tears dried, I would never cry like that again.
Unrealistic, but ambitiously appropriate for a 21 year old, Carlos Bayne
A Broken Promise For Good Reason
I broke that promise a couple of weeks ago. A few weeks ago, my good friend Arturo passed away from complications of a rare blood disease that effected his bone marrow. (I still believe it’s a form of leukemia)
It was a broken promise for a good reason. I’m still mourning his loss.
What happened, you ask?
I pulled an “Ernest Hemingway” by flying to Costa Rica to finish my book, The Murder of Crowe: A Steampunk Whodunnit, as a writing sabbatical.
And of course, to visit with my friend of 5 years that I hadn’t seen in … 5 years.
We planned it out perfectly, though. Two days I write diligently, then take one day to play. We would play the game of Geocaching, the GPS based, global treasure hunt. I introduced Arturo, Montse (his daughter), and Jorge, our driver / friend.
They immediately fell in love with it. So we played as much as Arturo said it was ok for his stamina.
I taught them Victory Beers, and Chinese Fire drills, and Car Karaoke. It was a glorious time as we visited Arenal, Rainbow Valley and up north to Nicaragua.
For 2 weeks, Arturo enjoyed his last grand adventure, but he didn’t tell us.
Leaving On A Jet Plane
Once I was onboard my return flight home, he messaged me if I was on my way. I confirmed yes, so he replied he was feeling some pain and that he was checking into the hospital.
Since it’s a day before his regular transfusion, I wasn’t overly concerned. As soon as I touched down, I messaged him for an update. Hours later with no reply, I messaged Jorge.
He said Arturo had been transported to San Jose, the nation’s capital.
That’s a 4-hour one-way ride to that hospital. Now, I’m concerned. It must be an escalated issue if they are transporting him in ambulance to get him to resources that doctors didn’t have in Canas.
The next morning, I woke up hours before my alarm. My heart and head were filled with dread. My Spidey sense was on fire, but I didn’t need to guess who it was concerning.
Thirty minutes later, Jorge called me through the video chat feature WhatsApp. He was sitting with his wife, and their son, Samuel. Tears were all over their faces. They explained as best they could in English that Arturo passed away that morning from the complications of his rare blood disease.
They kept speaking, but to be honest, I didn’t hear it. Or if I heard it, I didn’t understand it. I reluctantly ended the call, as if keeping them on the video chat would bring back Arturo.
I sat at my dining room table completely stunned. I have so many questions, but I’ll never get their answers. I looked at my last text message exchange with Arturo.
I text Charrina to call me on her first break, which I never do. I continue to sit there, unsure of what to do. I called my best friend, Deana. Before I could speak, I burst out crying.
I broke my promise as I wept for my friend. It was the ugly cry when none of my words made sense, they were all gibberish. I heard her asking my frantic questions if I was injured, in trouble, etc.
Mind desparately wanted to blurt out I’m fine, but the tears, the guilt, the sadness overwhelmed cognitive thought. I mentally yelled at myself, GET IT TOGETHER, BAYNE!
I breathed in deep, summoned all my self-control, and blurted out, “I can only explained this once, please listen! I’m fine, I’m not injured, or hurt, but I was told my friend, Arturo, passed away this morning!”
Then I resumed balling my eyes out. Thankfully, she talked me “off the cliff of sanity”, and stayed with me until I could be understood verbally. I thanked her, and hung up.
Charrina called shortly afterward, and after the phone call she drove home to comfort me.
A Broken Promise For Good Reason
Charrina felt so bad for me, as she hadn’t seen me that upset in over 20 years at Mom’s memorial. Sometimes you can break a promise, and still not lose any integrity.
I learned I needed to allow myself some leniency when it’s unforeseen circumstances. That a broken promise for good reason is ok.