Waiting For An Apology That Will Never Come

Knowing when to finally let go

Photo by Lucas Pezeta via Pexels

I left without saying goodbye. I did it because it was time. I knew it. I know you knew it. Why were we hanging on? There was love . . . there was old love that flickered as a reminder that my heart would keep breaking if the cycle continued and I did not want it to, so I broke the cycle. I should have been brave enough to say goodbye. I should have had the courage to tell you why I was leaving.

We’d managed to be what others thought we were for over a decade knowing damn well who we actually were and I guess that didn’t bother you but it sure as hell ate at the core of who I am. It stopped me from living freely.

The day I left, it felt right — like a rite of passage — something meant to cross me over into or on to a higher plane. I backed away slowly, taking everything familiar to us with me.


I had no plan of action.

The days that followed soon after, haunted me. There were photos of you up, gifts that you’d given scattered around my home, and scents you would wear. I had to erase them all. I had to get rid of them. It was a time of cleansing — burning sage and lighting candles became a frequent pastime yet you still remained.

I’d been doing fine, seven months had passed. Until one day . . . I was looking for an older photo of Jernee to share with someone and there you were, with the kids . . . All of you smiling. All of you happy. You staring back at the camera with a plump, dimpled cheek, and I lost a little bit of strength that built itself inside me. The tower fell. The wall came crumbling down.

Every brick that was laid crushed right before my eyes. I was breaking . . . again. And you wouldn’t know it.

I wake up sporadically during the night.

The other night, I had been awakened from a deep sleep by the urge to pee and the theme music from Pinky and the Brain playing in my head. How odd, I thought. Not the urge to pee, but the theme music. Why Pinky and the Brain? Why a cartoon from a time I vaguely remember? You’d know. I know you’d know. But I couldn’t ask you. It was late and it’d been nine months. And anyway, how would I start off that conversation?

“Hey, you’re asleep, I know . . . but when you wake up, you’ll see this — I had to leave. I was an ass for the way I left but it doesn’t seem like you mind. Why in the hell is Pinky and the Brain’s theme music popping up in my head in the middle of the night?”

You would scoff at the audacity of my untimely text message the moment you saw it. You’d curse under your breath, angrily. You wouldn’t want to wake anyone else up. You’d probably say something like, “How the fuck should I know, Tre? Are you okay? I know . . . I understand. But you still could have said something. I hate you for that.”

You were witty and forthcoming with just the right amount of bite in every word. The South does that to biracial women who are activists fighting to be seen. Fighting to be heard. Fighting to let others know they’re just as black as the rest of their people. And I loved that about you.

I haven’t found anyone else.

Not that it matters. Not that you care. Not that I expect you to. I left but you had done so years before and the door was slightly ajar. I had grown tired of looking at it that way — a sliver of opportunity for you to come waltzing back in. I closed it.

Funny thing is, I thought you’d appear with a key and open it. But that’s just a dream. And we were just a thing that probably should have never been that thing but it still hurts.

I don’t speak your name in therapy. I give just a little and keep the rest to myself. My therapist cuts through every inked blot and tells me like it is, “When you’re ready to share, I’m ready to listen. When you’re ready to heal, I’m ready to help.” And I know I’m ready to heal. I’ve been ready to heal. So what the hell am I afraid of?


I have an inkling I’m not alone in this. Many of us have that one person who stripped us of ourselves and left us with a gaping hole in our hearts. We have to move on, right? We must move on. The hard part is no one tells you that months or years later, reminders sneak up on you and restore some of those faded memories.

The fight then becomes keeping your sanity versus allowing those reminders to take over and win. How often are we telling ourselves, “I am more important than what we were? I have a right to heal and be happy.”

The truth is, there will always be a person with whom you connect intensely and if and when your relationship with that person ends, you are still you. You have to find a way to remain you and not lose yourself because of them.

You can move on or waste your time sitting around waiting for an apology that will never come. You don’t need it. Trust me, you only think you do.

And yes, I tell myself this too. And now, I finally believe it.


Originally published in P. S. I Love You via Medium.

Covered

Photo by Andrey Bond via Unsplash

Winter’s kiss is fatal — 
she brings with her a
wrath of unbearable cold
or maybe it’s bearable
and I’ve just grown thin-skinned
in my older age?

I sit in my favorite chair
and watch snow fall
to the ground, fluffy
chunks of purification
sing in harmony.
Music fills my ears.

I scratch my dog
and relish her satisfied
sighs as she
snuggles in closer to me — 
her whiskers brush my hands.

We sit still, peaceful in
the warmth of our home
thankful to have this roof
over our heads;
a covering of life’s
many blessings bestowed
bountifully.

People text. They call.
They want to know if
I’m enduring winter
as best as I can and I
tell them, “I’m fine” or
“We’re good” and I just want
to be done with answering
questions that are neverending
or fill me with grief.

I try to pull myself
out of the frequent funk
that wriggles in unannounced
and sets up shop
deep within my flesh.

I prefer the luring aspect
of smelling and feeling
clean.

I remind myself of
the gratitude that lives
on my tongue, how anxious
I often am to acknowledge it,
I will not forget where
I could be versus where
I am.

Covered in the gift
of love and its divine presence,
the sadness I swim in
isn’t promised to drown me
only wash and purify me
as white as the snow
sticking to the ground.

This is what I tell myself.
This is what I have to believe.


Originally published in Other Doors via Medium.

Force: The Reckoning


For Marley K


An Audio Poem

Black people need more voices
willing to shout at the darkness
of every sky moving in to
silence us without our knowledge.

We should rally around those
who spit-shine their A-Game and
ready themselves for battle — 
Queens and Kings walking on
coal, tipped a mere 10% for
their undying efforts.

One such woman uses her gift
of gab to stab many who have
offended us in the front because
to do so in their backs would
be an act of cowardice.

She is bold and unrelenting,
she has goals that surpass whatever
you think you can dream up,
and she’s unafraid to clap back.

Think you’re cold enough to
waltz in a ring with her when
the topics of racism, social injustice,
and racial divide are on the table?
I’d love to see you try your hand
at pulling up a seat. 
I’m betting you. will. lose.

It’s this way for her because
she loves her people.
She goes to war for her people.
She will die for her people.
Draped in every day armor
because the South is a constant
battlefield, this life will
never end — black people cannot
escape it.

Freeing ourselves is an 
ongoing agenda with nonstop
weekly itineraries to keep
us safe.
They say we aren’t shackled
but they’re still holding
the chains.

She sees it and calls it out.
For her, covering up
who you really are,
only makes coming after you
easier.


Marley K. is like the passionate Auntie you know not to cross but who will go to war for you if she has to. And when you come for her, you better be ready. Originally published at Medium.

My Christmas Morning Smelled Like Hope

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Hanging On|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

My Christmas Morning Smelled Like Hope

A break from the everyday grind lent me peace

I woke up Christmas morning to a blustery icy wind and the invitation from the corners of my home to get up and get out with Jernee in tow. Just before 07:00 a.m., I released myself from the grips of a warm bed, prayed, layered up in clothing, and gathered my four-legged love so we could tour our neighborhood before everyone got active. We walked around the complex, toward the wind, our faces kissed by nature’s undeniable presence, and attempted to make our walk as productive but short as possible.

The air smelled like buttered biscuits and honey — so sweet; a come-hither-ish enjoyment that no one could deny. I was content. I felt loved. I knew the days after this special holiday would also be tests, but I had the feeling they would not be hard to pass. I can only hold fast to the idea this will be so. Jernee bounced about as if a new spring was in her steps — she sashayed ecstatically, happy to be out in the early morning air doing what she loved to do most.

I released myself from the grips of a warm bed, prayed, layered up in clothing, and gathered my four-legged love so we could tour our neighborhood before everyone got active.

I braced myself for each brush of the wind, tightening up my jacket every few moments — checking my gloves, fiddling with my pockets. We did not linger on for the usual mile; we didn’t even do a half-mile. Christmas morning’s walk was truly about business — handling it and getting back inside as quickly as we could. The cold had been enough to lay anyone out for a week, and I refused to be a contender in that game of life. I aimed to keep my health intact, and I foresee success in that area.

I opted to spend the holiday alone. I even began celebrating it Wednesday night by turning off my cell phone, but not before alerting my most loved humans of this change. I had it in mind to enjoy every single minute of my mini-vacation, and this included as few distractions as possible. There are holidays I revel in spending alone, and there are holidays when the pain of spending them alone hits me like a freight train.

But with COVID-19 looming its ugly head around every corner and hitting us harder than anything we’ve ever seen — it felt safer to remain at home. It felt safer to do what I wanted, when I wanted, and be in a heated space while doing so. According to a British study, they found — one in four adults feel as though they would spend Christmas alone this year. And while this is in the UK, the US is facing the same restrictions in various states because of a virus we cannot (and some do not want to) control.

When we found satisfaction from our walk, we came back inside. I fed Jernee and began prepping for my breakfast; sausage patties, buttermilk biscuits, grits, and a glass of eggnog. I savored every bite, thankful for the blessings of shelter, food, and the ability to adapt whenever necessary.

Christmas can be about more than survival. It can be an opportunity to learn to thrive in your aloneness. — Stephanie Foo, The New York Times, December 2020.

For those of you who have had to experience this holiday alone for the first time because of so many drastic changes this year, I can imagine your sadness. I understand your discontentment. I have been there — done that. Before COVID-19, I had learned how to properly love myself and be with myself without feeling as though I needed physical accompaniment from another. Having someone around to take in the wonders of Christmas is a beautiful thing, but this year — I needed the alone time. I wanted it more than I ever have.

The cold had been enough to lay anyone out for a week, and I refused to be a contender in that game of life.

Christmas dinner|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

After breakfast, I began making my crockpot chili, which I paired with garlic-cheese cornbread. As the sauce blended with the seasonings, the smell wafted throughout my home and I only felt happiness. I could only feel happiness. My Christmas morning smelled a lot like hope. It smelled a lot like new beginnings and purposeful opportunities. I delighted in watching Christmas-themed animated movies and a few other movies too. I finally sat down and engaged in Hulu’s Happiest Season, which was shortly followed by On-Demanding Ip Man: Kung Fu Master. I read, wrote, watched more animated cartoons, ate heartily, and enjoyed snuggle time with Jernee.

I experienced life in small doses and drank in the glorifying goodness of it all without feeling pressed to do more. This was the perfect holiday — I needed the rest. I earned the rest. My mom and I planned to see each other the following day instead, and Saturdays every other month are usually our meeting days. This should be no different. I look forward to our time together and I know she is looking forward to seeing both me and Jernee too.

The best thing about this Christmas for me is the non-rush of it all. I did not tackle any crowds. I kept it light on any shopping, doing it all online, and sent the parents of the babies and little ones in my life, money via CashApp so they could bear the weight of getting gifts for their children. Many will probably venture to say their holiday spent alone makes it a lonely one, but I will testify — this year, I welcomed the alone time. It provided me with seconds, minutes, and hours I should have found earlier on to do what I should have been doing, which is — truly enjoy myself in the comfort of my home.

Instead of remaining home out of fear and disinterest in the uncivilized, I remained home because it called to me. And I answered.

I experienced life in small doses and drank in the glorifying goodness of it all without feeling pressed to do more.

I woke up on Christmas morning and the air was different — it was fresher and crisper. There had been a newness to every cloud and a hint of love in every gust of wind. There had also been hope as the silver lining on what we could consider a gloomy experience for others and a sprinkle of selflessness lurking in the bushes. Peace wrapped itself around me and reminded me of what it looks like sitting with oneself and admiring what I see.

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

I spent Christmas alone and doing so opened my eyes to what they had been closed to for a long time — we are, in fact, gifts to ourselves.


Originally published on Medium.

We Weren’t Built for “I Told You So”

A Prose Poem

I flinch every time I hear the word “honey” used as a term of endearment. You clung to it — it was one of your favorites. “Honey, this” and “Honey, that.” I damn near vomited from the overwhelming sweetness of its usage. We wandered separately for what felt like eons — casually loving others, then solemnly returning to what we’d built . . . what we’d taken a chance on designing. I was never too attached to the bigger things in life. Many have said we would fail — too different, they uttered. But we held on to the missage offered to one another that “opposites attract.”

I want my ring back . . . Selfish, yes? Of course, you’d think this. I’ve spent many nights watching you flirt with anyone who would lend you an ear and a free drink and I am almost sad to say, I should have had my eyes open wide enough. I should have been open to seeing you for who you really were.

I should have known who I really was.

Isn’t that the way of these types of things? You find yourself standing on a ground firm enough to hold your weight, yet you don’t really know if you won’t fall straight through to another dimension just as easily as you landed in the current one.

I’m rambling, I know. You hate that.

But, hear me out . . . Given our current situation, this day was bound to happen. I knew the moment the calls stopped. I further knew the day I packed my last bag and you followed me to the door, touched my right hand gently, pursed your lips, then backed away. The love we shared left us feeling vacant. Months before, unbeknownst to us, we were evicted. Pink-slipped and hurried along to make room for two more women who would find themselves in the same situation five years from now.

I knew you loved him.
I ignored it.
I knew you loved me.
I held on to that.
One was not greater
than the other.
And I thought it was.
That was my mistake.


I settled into a loft — open layout, in a nicer neighborhood. The cat sadly meows in my direction daily — he misses you. You were his favorite even though he is mine. You come by weekly to be with him — to give him the attention he craves. To shower him with your scent. And it is hard for me to see you strutting around as fiercely as you do without being able to wrap you up in my arms and lean into your musk. I tame myself — a shrew, learning to do what is most important — to unlove you.

You tell me this man understands you — that he hears you when you speak. That you have everything you have ever wanted in a partner but he does not hold you. He lacks empathy. He is okay with having you away days on end — he doesn’t need you near him. I nod. I listen. I say that it’s still early and you have to grow together just as we did. I feign acceptance of your new relationship but I see it crumbling in the back of my mind.

You are a whole being.
You think you are half.
You don’t need anyone
to complete you.
But, you think you do.
This is what ended us.
This is why we’re here.

And we weren’t built for “I told you so” and I wouldn’t dare say it.

I tell myself the best part about us not being us anymore is learning who you are without me — it’s learning who I am without you.


Originally published in Intimately Intricate via Medium. Beautiful people, I wish you a happy holiday season for whatever it is you celebrate and that you’ll be safe, loved, connected, and secure. I am taking a short break and will be active again on Sunday, December 27, 2020. Peace and blessings.