When first we met I had not the words. I don’t mean I didn’t have the vocabulary, mine was extensive enough. I knew the definition of all the words and the spelling as well, but I had them not.
When first we met I had not the courage. The fear of rejection kept me from pursuing that which truly challenged. Instead I settled for that which was less hard.
When we first met I had not the wisdom. I had not learned that having was not always as pleasing as wanting and that being able to do a thing doesn’t mean one should.
I wasn’t a man when we first met. Fully developed perhaps but not having yet unlearned the destructive traits ingrained by society and peer pressure. I was far too concerned about the perception of others instead of knowing and following my own mind.
When we met I only thought I knew the Lord. I attended church, could quote scripture, knew the parables and sang the songs. I didn’t yet have a true relationship with God and make Him a part of each day.
When we first met I wanted you. That never changed I want you still but if I had obtained then what I sought, I might have too easily disregarded its value in thinking the goal already achieved.
Each time we met as the years went by, I still wanted you but instead came to greater appreciate the value of your company, the pleasure of your laugh and the worth of your friendship. We talked so freely about anything, years and distance did nothing to wither the bond that I know exists between us. By then I knew the words but because of other commitments it would have been inappropriate to speak them.
Now I am free to speak the words and hopefully you are free to consider them. I was wrong about knowing the definitions of all the words because some of them have much different meanings to me than when we met in our teens. Love is not only about strong feelings but also about commitment. Passion is still valued but is no more highly regarded than contentment and peace. Forever perhaps technically means the same thing now but then it may have had some flexibility whereas now it means until the end of time.
When I see you next, I will share with you the words. I’ll summon the courage and hopefully demonstrate the wisdom that I have accrued over time. I’ll tell you of my relationship with God and pray that you will join me on a journey, including Him in all that we do. I’ll share with you what I have learned and unlearned and how much I value friendship, monogamy, mutual respect, partnership and common experiences. I’ll let you into places where others have not been and ask you for the same. I know so much more now than when we first met, one of the most important being to recognize and know with certainty that you are the one I wish to share my life with. I realize that one of the hardest things for you to do is put your complete faith and trust in another yet I ask you to do just that.
Take my hand,
Share my future,
Love me always as I shall always love you!
An excerpt from an upcoming novel, “Strong Beginnings.” Which came first, the book or the poem?
Voncelle made it to the restaurant right at 7 pm and Derrick was waiting for her. She asked, “No Jackson tonight?” He replied, “He’s taking care of some business at home and because of the time difference, this is the best time to talk to them as it’s the middle of the work day.” The hostess showed them to their table which Voncelle noted offered a bit more privacy than most and wondered if it were by design. After they were seated, they made small talk until they had received their drinks and ordered dinner. Derrick had gone over the menu with French speaking Voncelle because he didn’t want a repeat of what happened to him and Jackson at lunch. They stopped in a small café and ordered pizza and when it arrived it contained anchovies and large slabs of Mozzarella Cheese. He deferred to her and let her order when the waitress came back. When they were finally alone she said, “So, hair issues?”
He looked confused for a minute. “Hair issues?”
“Yes, while we were driving in the car talking about deal breakers, you brought up hair issues which sounded like it would be interesting.” He laughed and sat back in his chair. “Yes, there is a story.”
“I had just finished med school and after four long years of college and five of med school I thought I was entitled to a getaway. I invited a woman I’d once dated from home in Covington to go with me to the Bahamas for a five-day trip. We were to fly to Ft. Lauderdale, take a boat over to Freeport, spend four nights at a hotel and then take the boat back. She was a beautiful girl and had always taken great pride in her hair.
We got to Ft. Lauderdale early and rented a car which we needed because I needed to update my passport at the Regional Passport office in Miami. After a few hours waiting in the offices, I got my passport and we drove up the coast to Ft. Lauderdale. Before checking in, we stopped at a drugstore because she wanted a couple things, then went to the hotel and checked in around 4 pm. The hotel was full and we got what was basically the last room although we did have reservations. It was a bit warm in the room and the air conditioning didn’t seem to be working properly. I called down to the front desk and tried to change rooms but they didn’t have anything else available. It was warm but not incredibly hot so we stayed.
She mentions to me that her cycle was about to begin and because this was our first trip together, she wanted to make love before it began. Well it didn’t take long before we both were sweating and when it was over; instead of basking in the afterglow. She got up and started staring in the mirror. She said, ‘Do you mind taking me back to the drugstore, I need to get a blow dryer for my hair.’
Now med-school finals were crazy and we were getting like no sleep for two weeks. I was tired, really tired. I tried to explain that I was exhausted but that she could take the car to the drugstore which was on the same street as the hotel. She said, “What if I get lost?” I said, “It’s on the same street we’re on now.” We ultimately didn’t go and she was a little pissed but seemed to get over it.
Early in the morning I turned in the car at the hotel and we took a shuttle to the port. Because we were leaving the country we had to go through customs which required we walk a long way carrying our own luggage to the customs area. I had two bags lightly packed, I think she had six. So, I ended up dragging my two bags and four of hers to the checkpoint before finally getting our bags checked. The boat ride was inconsequential; we didn’t have cabins but sat around the pool for the trip which was only a few hours. We took a cab to the hotel, got checked in and got ready to go to dinner.
She unpacked and suddenly proclaimed, ‘I need a scarf for my hair!’ I said, ‘We can handle this,’ we were one block from the International Bazaar where among the several shops, surely she could find a scarf. We walked over, found some scarves, although she did complain the only scarves she could find were silk. She found something that would do and after I paid for it she stuffed it in her purse. We then went to dinner which was fine and then stopped in the casino next door. I gave her a hundred dollars to spend and I was playing the slots. She came back about five minutes later saying she lost it all. She stood over my shoulder for about twenty minutes and we went back to the room to go to sleep.
The next morning, we get up and she announces, “I need to get my hair done!’ I said, ‘Okay, there’s a salon in the hotel and I’m sure we can get you an appointment.’ She says, ‘What if they don’t know how to do black people’s hair?’ I say, ‘It’s a black country, how can they not know how to do black people’s hair?’ Seeing I hadn’t eased her frustration I say, ‘We can walk over and take a look, I’m sure you’ll feel comfortable they can do your hair.’ We walked over, they had about six chairs in operation, of which five were being operated by black females. We made an appointment for 2 PM and went back to the Bazaar to do some shopping. While there she said, ‘I don’t know about getting my hair done, they might not do it right.’I paused before I spoke and finally said, ‘I wish… you would please go… and get your hair done, because I really don’t want to hear much more about your hair.’ She started crying and said, ‘Why do you have to talk to me like that?’
Ultimately, she kept her appointment and I walked back to the room where I had peace for the first time on the trip. I turned on the TV, settled in watching a sporting event, thinking I had some time. In the States, if a black woman goes to get her hair done, she’s gone all day. About 45 minutes after I got to the room I hear the key card in the lock and she walks in, done already. The rest of the day was uneventful. The next day we went to the beach.
The hotel we were at wasn’t located on the beach and we had to take a short shuttle ride. We rode over and I ridiculously asked, ‘Would you like to go in the water?’ She looked at me in horror and said, ‘I can’t mess up my hair.’ Around us were white women with corn rows looking like Bo Derek, black women in caps and I had the one woman who comes to the Bahamas and can’t get in the water. I went and swam, leaving her ashore, probably staying in the water longer than I should.
When the trip was over, and I finally dropped her off at her home in Covington. I literally kissed the ground when I pulled into my then condo. This is why hair issues is on my list of deal breakers in a relationship.”
If you have read this far. You may have considered what are dealbreakers for you in a relationship? Earlier in the book; Voncelle, Jackson and Derrick are discussing what’s on their list and I’d love to hear yours! If interesting enough it could get added to the list in the book.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
This is the last book review of the year and what a way to go out. Today’s review is a special one.
I am honored to introduce to you William Spivey, a regular contributor to the Inner-City News where he writes about politics and popular culture. He also blogs as “Enigma in Black” where he explores poetry, religion, politics and all manner of things socially relevant. He is the founder of the Facebook pages Average Citizen Forum, and Enigma in Black. William is also the winner of a University-wide Essay Contest while at Fisk University titled, “The Value of a Liberal Arts Education”. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Fisk and resides in Orlando, FL.