Growing up my in Bed Stuy, it just seemed as everyone knew everyone and it many cases you just saw everyone as family. I grew up seeing and knowing these people all my life so it really was second nature to say "Hey Mr. Sunny"...but when you move in a new area and you inhabitant a space for the 1st time, starting over and making new "acquaintances" can sometimes be difficulty and many people shy from doing it.
I have spoken to so many people who say "I don't know my neighbor, I don't even know their name", SHAME ON YOU! I say all this to say, since moving 3 years ago into my own living space, I have came to know some of my neighbors and I have spoken to many of them on different occasions briefly. There was one lady who it took us awhile to "make the 1st move" but we got there.
She always left in the mornings to go to work the same time as I, and we would get in the elevator and I would admire her scent and her knack for fashion. She was one of those ladies who was just ALWAYS impeccable. Hair done, Makeup flawless, nails right, toes right, She had it going on and she was about 43.
I guess she admired me as well because she stopped me one day and said after many times we saw each other " I like your Bag". "Thank you", I said in shock because damn this lady was FLY! lol..but anyway..that one compliment paved the way to a nice "hello/goodbye/hows the little one/ damn its Hott out here/ love that color on you" sort of a relationship that we both took some joy in.
Some weeks went by and I noticed I had not seen Miss Lovely for a while. I had seen her husband but I did not run into her. I did not really wanna ask him about her because he was already always busy (hardworking man) and I just figured maybe she has a new schedule.
One afternoon in July I was coming in from picking up some groceries and I bumped into her coming out my complex. "Heyyy"! The words just ran out my mouth loudly and uncontrollable and after catching myself I felt a tad bit embarrassed. I guess the main reason for my shock was 1: Where have you been? and 2: The lady with the fly cuts and colors was now rocking a short fade.
She looked at me and smiled, as she walked with her youngest son ( she has two boys) and she said Hi...How are you? She also demonstrated some excitement and I felt a little better. I went on to explain how I thought she may have moved but I still saw her husband so I figured maybe we were just missing each other. All the while I was talking to her I noticed she kept taking her now non-manicured fingers and rubbing her now short cropped hair.
"Well.. she said to me "Can you keep a secret?", I said "Sure" She went on to explain to me that she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer a month or so before that and she had underwent a double mastectomy. She said she was taking chemo and it took her hair out but they caught it and she seems to be hoping for the best. As she said this I was in total disbelief! WOW! I had the most heartfelt feelings and apathy for her but I couldn't show it. I just wanted to keep the mood upbeat.
"Wow! "well God is good because you look FABULOUS as always" I love your new do it really goes with you", you look well"..is all I could say and in honesty she's such a beautiful woman that she did look well and the short curls did fit her but it still wasn't the same in a sense.
So I know you all are thinking why are you sharing this and she asked you to keep a secret ..well ..1: none of you know the lady I speak of and 2: a part of me is unsure if she is still here with us or not. I have not seen her in 3 months now nor her family. I don't know where she is and no one in the building seems to know either.
I was moved to speak on this today because I was watching the news last night and saw that a 16 year old girl was stabbed to death in her apartment in Crown Heights and her mother found her when she came from work. All I remember was watching her mother WAIL and CRY out for her daughter who was now gone and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
This can be ANYONE of us. The same way my neighbor woke up one morning and her life was changed because of a disease eating at her cells, is the same way the mother comes home from work to see her child who she birthed stabbed up in a pool of blood on her living room floor ...Unexpected, Unpredictable ...LIFE is this way.
Living and living COMFORTABLY is something we all take for granted! My neighbor, even though she looked like she was in good spirits I saw right through her. I saw her pain, her despair and her worries for her sons. She even said to me "my youngest son was so scared..he does not understand". She was not comfortable in that situation.
The mother who lost her daughter will probably not sleep for months, and won't be mentally sane for a while before she comes to terms that her innocent child was killed in the spirit if hate.
I just write these words to say EACH DAY YOU ARE ALIVE & HEALTHY..YOU ARE BLESSED.
Forget all this economic crap! It means nothing. You can get up and walk, you can smell the roses, you can use your ligaments and hug someone. You can plan to take a vacation because at this time you are able. LIVE your LIFE!!! BE HAPPY and Be GRATEFUL for what you have at this moment. Tomorrow might bear some bad news or Next year might not be as comfortable..the point is we only know about this moment right now and as long as you own it make the very best of it!!!!!
P.S. I titled this blog from a quote Obama made in his book "Dreams from my father - A story of race and inheritance", I highly recommend this book to all of you! Its FANTASTIC!!! The book really shows you how this man is destined for where he is right now. It was published in 1994.
Go out and read it! Purchase it. Understand the life of the great man you see on the screen who runs for our presidency, and how he has ALWAYS believed in Change from when he was a young'un in Hawaii to a young community advocate with no money. He was always rich in Love, change, hope and the aspiration of people making this world a better place on their own".
When he said in his speech
"I'm asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real
change in Washington . . . I'm asking you to believe in yours."
I believed him and I know that is everything he stands for.
I love you have a TERRIFIC day!!!!