I have a family that I love in Morocco, but I can't bring myself to call them. Why? I don't really know, but I have a feeling it has to do with my house mother. Mama Malika saw a doctor while I was in Fez. He told her that in a month, she needs surgery for the inflammation in her stomach, or she might die. The surgery costs three to five thousand dollars, about forty thousand dirhams. If they pool all their assets, they maybe have two thousand dollars.
Except that I'm an asset, too.
They would never ask me for money. In fact, when I gave them some while I was in Morocco, they carefully explained that I am the same as any of their other children, and that they don't need money from me.
But I'm not the same.
Flattered as I am that they want to think of me that way (I wouldn't want it to be any different), I'm not the same because I have money and they don't. I'm American. They live in rural Morocco. I'm white, they're not. As much as I wish these things didn't matter, they do.
They matter because they all add up to the fact that I could afford to pay to save her life. And how can I not do it? It is a lot of money, for me, so it will seem exponentially more to them. I'm scared. I know that kind of gift changes things. It strongly tells them that I'm not part of their family, not really, no matter how much we pretend.
But what it comes down to, too, is whether I'm willing to put a thousand dollar price on someone I love. Would I ever be able to forgive myself if she dies while I do nothing? How could her life not be worth my money?
They already think of me as rich. Do I want to further separate myself from them, and further flaunt my wealth? I don't want them thanking me when I see them. I don't want gratitude. I don't want them thinking of me that way. I don't want to pick up the phone, and hear that she's died.
What is the right move? Am I asking 'whose place in the family do I care about more'?
And how do I pick up the phone?
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