A Child's Heart...
Updated: Jun 29
I wish I could go back in time, as so many of us often wish; there are many things which have been left unsaid, many things which were said that cannot be unsaid but most importantly, I've always wished for a little more time. This world we live in is reminding us that time is fleeting all too fast, perhaps it has always reminded us of this and now we're beginning to take note of the shorter days and warmer night, the fires, the melting Arctic, the chaos between races, the chaos between nations, the thought that we're on the brink of something catastrophic, more so than a battle between Chic Fil A and Popeyes.
One of my favorite people who ever walked on this planet was my uncle David. My uncle treated me in a manner that I've NEVER been treated in by any of the men in my family. We're a group of Africans and family ties are all over the place, however, I've never had a bond with any of the relatives who are here in the USA, outside of one aunt who has loved me since I was born and her eldest son who has kept the communication lines opened for decades.
I share the above thought because we need context in order place this story together properly. My uncle David passed some seven years or so ago and his passing has left a continual mark on my heart and soul. The night I received word he had passed, I was wept like I'd never wept before, the pain was so great, the emptiness was so real. You see, I was at a loss because I hadn't said goodbye, I wasn't ready to let go, to have our time be interrupted, he was supposed to hear my voice and watch my progression, we had many more laughs to be had before either of our time(s) were done here on this planet. The problem which existed was I had zero control over his living or his death, all that's within the hands of God (you can choose the god which you believe in, so not to offend any reader). It's always the goodbye(s) which are the hardest.
The tangent I could go on about goodbyes would simply lead me to the topic of closure. Recently a friend and me discussed closure and how some things are left unsaid and how that can be bittersweet in a way. For me closure ensures a final ending, a sense of peace depending upon the situation(s). I'm not one to look back on past relationships, friendships too often and say, "I wish I had..." because I'm wired in a way to erase and move on without any real healing, if healing is needed. People often see the humorous side of me or the intellectual side of me but many are not privy to the side of me that is lonely, tired, and hopeless.
The effects of the passing of my friend, this past weekend, have caused me to sit quietly and reflect on what our goodbye looked like. We embraced, smiled, laughed, sat, and listened to some tunes, reflected, and said, "Goodbye". In all honesty, I've beaten myself up a bit because I feels though I could have done more, I looked at my phone on Friday and told myself to say thank you for the record player he'd purchased for me but I also told myself that I would message him tomorrow and of course tomorrow came for the both of us in a manner which has left a hole in my spirit. I suppose the saving grace is there was sense of closure, there was a goodbye of some sorts, and not in the manner of this is it but more in the manner of I'll see you soon.
I say ALL of this in order to share another message as well. Children have a way of clinging to me and I've written of this before. IF I'm in a room and kids are present, they typically gravitate to me and we end up becoming the best of friends for the time we're together; I mean maybe they know I'm still too much a kid at heart and their parents are just old. Sorry to all of the parents who've forgotten how to play.
Through the pain of the last few days, my "Covid 19 bestie", we'll call her Littles, saw me outside recently and in her typical fashion, she waved and walked over to deliver our signature handshake and ask me what I was doing. She calls me Steve O, it's too cute to watch her operate and think about what questions or statements to deliver.
I've always told her mother that Littles is special and there's something within her spirit, within her eyes that gets me; I think the ladies in her family have these dancing eyes, anyway I digress. The running joke is a picture which we took on her first birthday with her being placed in my lap and me attempting to tell her mother not to do so because I knew that she was going to cry.
Me: "Don't do it, I haven't been around her, she's going to cry"
Mom: (Looks at me blankly and places child in lap) "Don't move, she'll beeeee..."
Littles: (Looks at me, looks at mom, and proceeds to start crying)
Me: (Listening to her mom's command doesn't move too much but delivers the face of all faces)
As I looked at Littles on Tuesday evening, I remembered that I needed a muse for some images which I promised to deliver to my library board. I simply asked her, "Hey guuuuurl, may I hire you for some pictures, I'll pay you $2" and then the haggling began between our two camps; she wanted quarters, I said I could do pennies, dimes, or paper bills, she wanted to pick her outfit, I told her either dad or mom had to help her but then she hit me with the best comment, "Yaaaay, Steve O, I'll do it".
Last night, we ventured to our neighborhood park in order to capture a couple shots. My heart was heavy all day and my emotions were numb much like many of my friends who I had spoken with throughout the course of the day, I couldn't allow the cloud to follow me whilst with this little light. We took a series of shots and to close our session out, I asked her to sit on a stack of books and look directly into the camera. The sun was setting behind her and the sky was still, it was one of those moments who had to witness in order to understand. As we took the last few pictures of the evening, I felt a sense of peace come over me for the first time in a few days; her eyes met my lens and the sun touched my soul as well.
The truth is closure comes in many forms and last night, I felt as though my buddy was looking at us and smirking that smirk he so often would when something made him feel good, I only know this because I was smirking as well.
The innocence of a child is unlike anything else and we as adults should simply remember this in moments of turmoil, moments of pain, that a child will love you, laugh at you, talk with you when you feel as though all of this life stuff is far too heavy.
Her little eyes dance often and she is magical but her heart, her heart saved me from my sorrows and it only cost me $2.