Mr. P is a man in his 60s I grew fond of. Back in the summer of 2008, I pinched my sciatic nerve. I was unaware of that fact for two or three months. I work sitting down in front of a computer for eight hours, which makes my situation worse. One morning, the pain became so excruciating. I bawled like a baby and had to ask my bosses for help. They immediately called Mr. P.
Mr. P is their friend and client. He rushed over, and as a sciatica sufferer himself, Mr. P taught me some stretches that ease sciatic pain. He told me his story. He said with daily stretches and caution, he’s been able to diminish these sciatic ‘episodes’. He walks every where, is always in a good mood and likes to talk a lot. That was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.
After that incident, every time Mr. P came to visit us at the office, he’d sit on the couch and chat with me. There were times we’d hold conversations about spirituality, nutrition and life in general. For most of 2011 I hadn’t heard from him. This year, I finally saw him again during tax season. Oh how I missed him and his energy! He always bares a smile.
At the office, my bosses always debate about politics and the economy – that or having endless conversations about golf. Recently, the three were having some debate about the presidential candidates. Mr. P’s name came up. They said Mr. P was going to vote for anyone as long as it wasn’t Obama, even if the alternate candidate had nothing better to offer and may in fact be a worse option. I was a bit surprised to hear that Mr. P would rationalize in that way, but shrugged it off.
This morning, one of my bosses and I were reading the news together about a man who shot an ex co-worker in front of the Empire State Building early this morning. According to the reports, the man who was later shot dead by Police was a disgruntled employee. My boss then said, “Ha, I bet Mr. P would say it’s Obama’s fault because of our economy.” And I asked him why he would say something like that. And he replied, “ Didn’t you know? Mr. P is the biggest racist and has no shame about it. He’s a tough one! And he hates Obama. He even calls Michelle Obama ‘______’” (some derogatory name having to do with chimps.)
I felt a sharp pain in my chest. This weird feeling just came over me. Mr. P? My Mr. P? A racist? I’m completely disappointed and hurt. I don’t know how else to feel. I’m not angry, and I don’t resent him. But really, Mr. P?
See, I never saw him display that side of him. This comes as a shock to me. Would my boss be exaggerating? How do I know if what he’s saying is true? But why would my boss lie about something like that? I hold all three of my bosses with high regard. These five years that I’ve worked for them, they’ve become like uncles to me.
So what now? Is it understandable if my feelings toward Mr. P change? I mean, he’s been the kindest, most loving person to me and I truly hold him dear to my heart. I don’t love him any less, let me make that clear. Love doesn’t wither. But as far as respect or admiration goes, I don’t know… I can’t respect a person who has hate in his heart, one who judges based on color and culture. I know what’s right in my heart, I stand for truth; but I can’t help but feel confused.