The Young Man and the Debt

Once there was a Young Man who had a Father that had a nice house and a nice car. The Young Man had brothers and sisters, but not many friends. One day, while in high school, he met a Friend, and they became Good Friends. The Friend’s Father was not as well off, and did not live in as nice a house or drive as nice a car. But this did not matter to the Young Man and his Friend, and they did most everything together. After a few years the Young Man met a Young Lady, and she became the Young Man’s Wife. They bought a small house and they started having Children.

At one point the Young Man became unemployed, and he and his Wife were doing all they could to pay the bills and feed their Children. The Friend offered the Young Man a job. Though it was a long drive each day, the Young man accepted the job, and was Grateful. But after a time, the Friend told the Young Man that the job was ending, and the Young Man needed to find another job. He did eventually find a job (closer to home), but he was not paid by his Friend for the last week he had worked for the Friend. The Friend said he could not find the paperwork with the Young Man’s hours. Then he told the Young Man that the business really belonged to the Friend’s Father, so the young Man needed to talk to him about payment.

When the Young Man approached the Father about getting paid, the Father told him to talk to the Friend, as the Friend had hired the Young Man and was responsible for paying him. So the Young Man went back to his Friend for payment. Again the Friend said he could not pay him without knowing the Young Man’s hours. The Young Man, somewhat desperate to pay his bills, said that his Friend knew he had worked over 40 hours that week, and he would accept payment for those hours and forget the overtime he had worked. The Friend refused nevertheless, saying he could not pay unless he had the paperwork. The Young Man countered that the paperwork was the Friend’s responsibility, after all, but to no avail. The Friend simply refused.

Two hard years passed for the Young Man and his Wife and Children, and they had another child. One day, though, the Young Man was passing near the Friend’s house and decided to stop by. They had a good conversation about general things, when the Young Man spied an Old Car that was sitting next to the Friend’s house. The Old Car was surrounded by weeds, as it had set there for years waiting to be rebuilt by the Friend, who always vowed to eventually get to it. The Young Man, wanting to find a way to impress upon his Friend what he had done to the Young Man and his Family, asked if the Friend would sell him the Old Car. They discussed price for a long time, until the Young Man had talked the Friend down to the same amount that was owed for the work that had been done two years before. They shook hands on the deal and the Young Man loaded the Old Car on his trailer and drove it home, with the Friend promising to send the title in the mail the next day.

But the title did not come the next day, or the next after that. Weeks passed, and the Young Man called the Friend to inquire about the title to the Old Car. The Friend said he needed payment first, so the Young man explained that the Friend had been paid two years previous when the Young Man worked for him and was not paid for the work. The Friend was incensed. He felt tricked and betrayed. The Young Man explained that this was exactly how he felt, and wanted his Friend to understand, as the Young Man really did not want the car – he wanted justice from his Friend. The Friend hung up the phone and refused to talk to the Young Man. Weeks went by. One day the Young Man received an envelope in the mail from the Friend. It contained nothing but the title to the Old Car. The Young Man sighed, and decided to be patient with the Friend.

Two years quickly passed for the Young Man, his Wife, and their Children. He worked. The Wife worked and cared for the children. Life was hard, but joyous for the Young Couple. The Old Car still sat by the side of the house, neglected. But one day there was a knock at the door. It was a younger man who was excited about the Old Car. He wanted to buy it and restore it. The Young Man considered his generous offer, but declined, saying he would only take the amount that was owed by his Friend. The younger man was elated at getting the Old Car for such a low price, and the deal was struck. Ten months later the younger man brought the Old Car by the Young Man’s house to show off his work. The Old Car was completely restored – shiny and perfect. The Young Man was pleased.

More years went by, and the Young Man became a Middle-Aged Man. He never made much money, but he and his Wife made ends meet, and raised a wonderful family. One day the Middle-Aged Man was back in his home town, and ran into the Friend. They had lunch together! The Friend had met a successful woman, married her, and now lived in a nice house, though he had no children. The Middle-Aged Man was hopeful that the friendship could be rekindled, but it soon became apparent that the Friend had never understood, and didn’t want to understand now. He was bitter at the Middle-Aged Man, and held him in contempt. The Middle-Aged Man was sad, and regretted tricking his Ex-Friend, but also knew that his duty was higher to his Wife and Children. He hoped that time would bring wisdom and forgiveness, but learned that this is not always the case.

The Young Man has now become the Old Man, and has the joy of having Grandchildren, though he is still of humble means. He is still sad for his Ex-Friend, not just for Friendship lost, but also for the fact that the Ex-Friend had not the joy of Children and Grandchildren. He hopes his story will be of value to his Children and Grandchildren, so he tells it here.

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