“Our Sali makes the juice. We drink the juice. We live.” The fat, sweaty man looked up at me from his place on the ground. He smiled and nodded as he took another drink from the wooden, half filled cup he held in both of his brown hands. “You should drink, so you will not die,” he held the cup out to me, his smile showing his white teeth.
“I do not need the juice to live,” I told him quietly and patiently for the third time.” He responded by placing the wooden cup on the ground and silently watched the milky white liquid make tiny ripples in the wooden cup.
“Our Sali makes the juice. We drink the juice. We live,” he mumbled without looking away from the cup.
“Your Sali makes the juice using four ingredients. One of the four ingredients gives you life. One of those ingredients does nothing. One of the four ingredients makes you very sick. The fourth ingredient is plain water.”
“Our Sali makes”
“Yes, I know, your Sali makes the juice! And the juice makes you very sick!” I looked for something to hit, finding nothing I kicked at the dirt hurting my foot in my frustration. “You are given life by the ingredient that does not make you sick,” I sat on the ground across from the fat man and looked into his quiet peaceful eyes. His complete confidence in his chosen path made him my friend. I smiled, put my two hands forward with palms upturned. He placed his hands palms down on top of mine. His eyes sparkled with joy. A tear left a trail on his cheek.
“The juice gives us life. Life is an amazing thing.”
I got to my feet and turned to leave. Looking back at the fat, sweaty man I said, “Be at peace.”