So Sorry

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“Hey Daddy! What’s going on?” I couldn’t hide the excitement in my voice.  I love hearing from my dad.
“Pop’s gone to be with Jesus,”  he said matter of factly.

He never was one for small talk.

All I could think to myself was,  “Jesus who?  Like…THE Jesus? ! Wait-are you trying to romantically say he’s. ..”

I cried. Snot dripped out of my nose.   Broke down right there in the passenger seat of my car.  My partner was at the wheel silent.  He knew what happened from the one sided context clues. When I ended the conversation with my dad, he softly said ,”Babe, I’m so sorry.” I was too.

I was so sorry.

He was 92. Great life.  Proud man. Accomplished.  Veteran.  Disciplined.  I wasted so much time. I procrastinated so much. There were so many things I wanted him to be proud of.  When someone lives that long you have this false sense of mortality. You forget who is truly in charge. You forget your days are numbered.

He was tall, handsome and he only spoke if he had something profound to say. He would always talk about his “good looking family.” He taught us to take care of one another. He absolutely adored his wife!  It was deeper than love. It was what musicians sing about and what artists try to paint. It was what philosophers die trying to define.

I will miss trying to impress you and prove to you that I am as tough as my male cousins.  I will miss trying to help with the family business. I will miss your sweet smile…it was so genuine.  I know I couldn’t keep you here forever.  I know I took you for granted.

I am so sorry. ..
…I didn’t get to say goodbye.  I love you Papa Ben.

By: Shaun Nickens

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God Forbid. . .Knock on Wood

I am currently reading a business plan guide.  In one of the chapters, the author asks, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”  I struggled with the answer.  The arrogant side of me doesn’t think I’d fail at anything I genuinely attempted.  In reality I can admit I’ve always wanted to write and FINISH a book. So why haven’t I done it? There’s so many things to consider.  There are so many doubts I have never admitted I had.  Who will read it?  What will I write about?  Depending on the subject matter, what qualifications do I need to prove that I am knowledgeable? How will I publish it? When will I have the time to write it? If I die, my readers will pick apart my words. They’ll construct invalid theories. They’ll think they have ascertained a base of who I am. They’ll be wrong.

Its hard to admit when you are afraid.

A week ago I lost a crucial segment of my circle of trust. My significant other lost his brother suddenly.  This man was kind,  friendly,  humble,  reliable,  God-fearing, well read,  and family oriented.  He was one of the warmest people I have ever met. He was also one of the most complex people I have ever known.  He would often ask me just one or two questions and then just sit back and listen to my tirade. I think that was his way of counseling.  Like a therapist he would bait you with a question and the next thing you know, you’re on the couch delivering a monologue. There you are exerting brilliance that you rarely tap into. There you are grateful for a captive audience. I feel as though we were both always so grateful to converse with someone who truly wanted to hear what we had to say. What a privilege it is to be listened to. To feel important.

Tonight I drove through a neighborhood and looked at the houses.  I looked at the white picket fences. I looked at the dog houses in the back yards. I looked at the family automobiles parked in the driveways. I looked at the lights flickering from the televisions that were probably arbitrarily entertaining a sleeping couple. I hope they fell asleep after telling one another about their day. I hope they fell asleep after making love.

People often say ” I want to spend my life with you.” Then we wait for some plan. Then we wait for a vision. I have missed out on a lot in my life because I was afraid. I didn’t commit to boxing because I was afraid of a severe injury or people saying I wasn’t good enough.  I was afraid to travel because I didn’t want to be away from my loved ones. What are you afraid of? Trusting?  Yes he could be cheating on you right now. He may also be thinking of you and conjuring up new ways to make you happy. What are you afraid of?  Quitting a job and starting over? Yes Its a recession.  Yes you may fail. You’re in good company!  There’s thousands of people exactly where you are. They’re scraping their knees and getting up again. They’re trying.  They’re fighting.  They’re doing their best because life is happening right now.

I’m in good health…*knock on wood*

God forbid … but if anything should ever happen to me know this:

I LOVE being a mother. It is the most exhausting but rewarding feeling in the entire world! I LOVE love. God put Adam on this planet and he knew he couldn’t enjoy Eden without companionship.  The man I want to spend my life with is unique and passionate. He is deeper than the core of the earth. I love writing.  It clears all the cobwebs. It pours out of me. It is my drug. I am proud of my accomplishments. I am dissatisfied with my life in its current state but I will continue clawing my way to the existence I see fit for myself.  I fear the dark.  I have very few secrets. I get anxious when I am preparing to give a gift.  I don’t want to be compared to another woman but it has probably already happened and it will happen again in the future. I want to feel indisputably beautiful…Every day.  I am proud of my sister. She is the adolescent I never had the courage to be. I knew she would be special since the day she was born. I HATE working for other people.  Yet, I have held every job imaginable (except for food services.) My father blessed me with an amazing childhood. My mother is the strongest woman I have ever met. My grandmother is the most selfless person I have ever met. I strive to be a conglomerate of the two. I cry a lot…and I don’t think its a sign of weakness.  Its emptying out the sh*t of the day. Its regulation.  That way you have room for tomorrow’s challenges. 

That’s all I’ve got for now. That’s enough.  That way…God forbid. ..you won’t have to come up with anything profound.  That’s me in a nutshell minus favorite color or song. That’s me. Typing this on my phone with my kid sleeping on my lap. Typing with my night light on. Holding on to hope. Admittedly afraid.

★Shaun Nickens