Andrew didn’t understand why people ignored him when he reached out to them. It wasn’t as if he was annoying or anything. In fact he knew his place in the world and worked diligently to remember where he stood.
This evening, Andrew reached out to one of his friends and heard nothing for hours. He wasn’t sure if she had grown unhappy or angry with him. It was possible that she did because that’s how Andrew’s mind worked.
So Andrew washed his hands, brewed a small cup of coffee and settled in front of his computer. Baseball was on the TV. It reminded Andrew of his childhood and how good he was at playing the game.
But then he heard a beep. He heard it again. There, under a stack of windows on his computer, was a response.
I was on the bus heading to work this morning. There was a small child sitting across the aisle from me. He couldn’t have been more than two years old. He was sitting on his mother’s lap taking it all in. He was also black.
I thought to myself, “My god, this child was born in a country that is heading towards a great divide and if he’s not strong and well-prepared, it will minimize him and make him believe he is a second or third class citizen.”
I’m not one to label myself. I don’t think of myself as an American unless someone asks me. In fact, on my arrival back into the States from my trip to Australia last year I was taken aback when the TSA agent said, “Welcome home.” Home? I know this’ll sound corny to some but home is where my heart is and it is certainly not in the country I just happened to be born in.
Puerto Rican? Yes I was born to Puerto Rican parents but I’ve never set foot on the island. A man? A New Yorker? Honestly, I don’t identify with these labels unless I’m forced to pigeon-hole myself into one of them. With that said I find it hard to “see” the color of someone’s skin or their nationality. I can see if you’re an asshole or untrustworthy thought, but that all comes in time.
The thing that happened in Charleston, SC this past week was horrific. As a nation and as a community we must rise up to this kind of violence, denounce it, and make sure it never happens again. There are lots of ways to start this but I propose that the best start would be to have the Confederate flag removed from the top of the South Carolina State Capitol.
I understand that it’s flown high in the sky to honor those who died during the American Civil War and that is commendable IF the American South fought for something other than “states’ rights,“ or what is otherwise known as the right to employ cheap labor, i.e. black slavery, in order to maintain its economic viability.
For many people including myself, it is a symbol of oppression. It is a symbol of rebellion against the true flag of the United States of America. It is a slap in the face to those who were hoarded on ships, shackled and brought against their will to this land and tortured and worked to death. It is a slap in the face to those peoples’ ancestors and it needs to be brought down.
I never think about lonely until someone goes out of their way to talk to me.
Yesterday someone talked to me, asked me questions. It was like an interview. Questions asked, questions answered.
Afterwards I realized how lonely I was. I walked off the bus where the “interview” was held, walked towards my car and felt it.
My father died in 1988 at the age of thirty-seven. I was eighteen years old.
He wasn’t around much. He floated in and out of my life. I was sixteen when I saw him last. He picked me up from an Upstate New York rehab center and drove me home. He told me to take care of myself and my mother and to stop fucking around. That was the only advice I ever got from him.
He was a good man. He tried.
There will be no rest from tragedy. The world is a place that will not rest from it. It’s inhabitants will have none of it.
The pain will continue, the earth will revolve and the blood will flow into its waters as a reminder that its inhabitants are fragile creatures who are prone to wickedness and kindness from time to time.
There are those moments in the day when I agree with you. Things wouldn’t work between us even if we tried. But then there other moments when I believe there is something there, something bigger than the both of us and that we are meant to be together. Those moments scare me since I don’t truly know if you feel the same way. I’d hate to be alone in this.
Sometimes I get sad. I’m sad because I was willing to give so much to be with you. But what is it really that I have to give? I’m not far from being a pitiful old man who craves attention. I fell ass-backwards into a profitable career. The people who once had unlimited patience with me are long gone. I can only give myself and my heart and I wouldn’t blame you if you said it was not enough.
So I lie here in the dark with less than five hours left to sleep and I think of you. I hope you’ve eaten today and that people have been kind to you. I hope your anxiety is in check and that you’re thinking of me too.
I returned home this afternoon with two pizza pies and a six pack of Coke. After eating half of both of the pizza pies, I took some pain meds (to combat my recent battle with arthritis) and drifted off to sleep.
I heard myself snoring. It was jarring. To say that it sounded like a locomotive barreling through my bedroom is an understatement. But it was less jarring than the scream I let out during one of my nightmares.
My mother once told me that if you dreamt about the dead that it was not long before you found yourself with them. I dreamt of my mother and grandmother last night and they are both dead. They were not the nightmares. They were pleasant dreams. I fell into the same role as when I was a child but I was an adult.
Shadows converged from both sides of a corridor I was walking through. They reached for my throat and suffocated me. I let out a loud scream both within my dream and without.
That was one of my nightmares.