This might be one of the toughest things I've had to write, in some time, but through the vulnerability and words, I hope not to open any old wounds but simply acknowledge the scars and pains of the past, which have made me a stronger person, today. From April of 1998 - May of 2004, my life was really all over the place and it was all due to a single thing, a very unhealthy relationship which I found myself attempting to hold on to and leave within the same breath.
I so often say, "Life is beautifully complicated" and if one were to take a step a back and truly assess all around them, they would find just this, beauty all around but complication too, in every sense of the word. It's my belief that fire doesn't just destroy but it also restores. And so it begins...
My family unit is comprised of my father and mother who've been married for over forty years and have shown me what love is about for the most part. Unlike other families I've been around, I can't say that I've witnessed my dad get sideways with my mom or vice versa; they've always strived to be an example to us kids. We are a group of immigrants, from a country which still is but once was a great place to live until greed was overtaken by more greed thus plunging the nation, tribes, and families into places of uncertainty, places of danger, or as some commonly refer to it as civil war.
For the most part, the kids whom I grew up with had their grandparents close by or if not too close, they were close enough to speak to them on a continual basis; however, in my case, growing up as a child, I never had the pleasure of being around said patriarchs and matriarchs.
You see, war divides and it gives zero care/concern to those who are wounded. As a child, I would lay in bed and wonder what my grandparents looked like, what they sounded like, who they were and as fate would have it, around the age of thirteen, I met them for the first time. You see, war divides and it gives zero care/concern to those it leaves behind, both the dying and those who survive.
In 1994 - 1995, I lived in Upstate New York for some time and I received another chance to touch both grandparents for a few days and those days were merely like droplets of water on the sun. There was a bit of a language barrier but I understood their hearts and I believe they understood mine as well; however it wasn't until another ten years later we were given the opportunity to stand face to face, for what would be the last time, here on earth. You see, war divides and it gives zero care to all.
This piece began with me referencing the fact that for six years my life was topsy-turvy and a brief explanation is probably due but I'll save the details and simply say, "Relationships can sometimes divide one from the very people they need the most."
I was sick, both emotionally and physically all due to what I perceived love to be, this chaotic rollercoaster of unhealthiness and during my time at the family gathering which brought together pieces I coveted and pieces I despised, I found myself lost within what I was going through at the time.
The picture below, is the only picture which I think I have of my grandfather and myself. I searched him out and asked him if he would stand with me but for a moment and he did and that moment will serve as a monumental time in my life, until I too leave this earth.
Even though we didn't speak the same language fluently per se, we both understood the amount of love we shared for each other. There are times when we get in the way of what we need to do; you see, the war we face is the very place where translation is truly lost.
The first words off of my fingertips are the words "I miss"
I miss being a child again
I miss Saturday cartoons
I miss Lionel and Snarf
I miss the games like, On My Way To Michigan, I took an "Aardvark, a Buffalo, a Cart"
I miss laying on a concrete slab and learning about the stars
I miss my father pointing to the moon and then in the direction of Mars
I miss thinking that, one day I'd travel there, without a hesitation or a car
I miss the days of bullets ringing so loudly on my block, the gangsta's seemed to be playing "Jingle Bells"
I miss the smell of Christmas
You see being poor allows you to have keen sense of smell
It's crazy to think no one knew that we were trapped in Hell
I miss racing the wind
I miss bugs
I miss learning to sit at the feet of an elder
I miss our first hug
I miss the first time I cried when you said, "Goodbye"
I was only a child
I miss your voice
It's my fault, I never called enough
Your "hello's" still linger around my telephone
I can hear you whisper when I close my eyes
I remember attempting to be so tough
When my father gave me the news, "It may be over soon"
Nothing at all seemed to matter
I miss being a child
I miss freeze tag
I miss double dutch
I miss four square
I miss running, for what seemed like eternity and not having to gasp for air
I miss laying on a concrete slab wondering if I would ever escape
But now these words escape, "I miss" you
Touches, which seemed like yesterday
Are really remnants of years gone by
In the darkness, I sit and cry
In the darkness, I try to fill in the "missing" parts
If time would only allow one touch, three words
I would hold you forever and save my speech
I would grasp you so tightly that the "NOTHING" would allow this to be a "Never Ending Story"
If time were so kind
It would allow us to rewind all the hurt it has caused
It would allow us to pause and insert another ending
Another story line
Ah if only time...
Memories not erased
Your face retraced
Your voice on repeat
My thoughts retreat
To my younger days
No sign of haze
Just your warm smile
I miss being a child
I miss Saturday morning cartoons
I miss He-Man and Gargamel
I miss games like "Simon says, stand still"
I miss laying on a concrete slab and wondering if I'd ever escape
I miss feeling my face as it slowly turned from a child to a man
I miss you holding my hand and telling me you love me....
I miss you!