Memory Lane: For Darryl

Memory Lane

Sometimes my mind takes me down an old forgotten path of youthful decisions and risks. And most times I can laugh at my memories…Then there are those memories that make you lean back and indulge….

I don’t say this to have you all conjure up old flames or friends, but today I was hit with the realization, that some of those once in a lifetime encounters can have character development impressions which never go away.

Special people come into your life and already have an expiration date in mind. Those special people are selfless enough to know that you and their time is not infinite. They are so special because as much as they tell you the end is near, you only will yourself to become more attached.

That is the beautiful and detrimental existence of companionship. It is given to bring us calm, yet when the season is over, it can bring us great pain. I have been fortunate to connect with others without being sexually engaged, and I have found some depth defying emotions having known them….

One in particular always seemed to be a beautiful mystery to me. I never questioned his absences, only because I had college to deal with and, and I did not want to waste our moments together  interrogating , I wanted memories to replay over and over for later, after we left each other.

Quietness in a man is a rare visible trait women are able to experience, and therefore imagine all men to be somewhat simple and clueless in general. But he was so the opposite. He was a flower of many petals,  which I never pushed to unfold. I just wanted to enjoy the flower. Marvel in its being. Marvel in its survival.

The last time I saw him, I was sitting on a train headed to the West side of Atlanta. As I was sitting doing my usual people watching, he appeared through the train doors. My entire body jumped for joy. He is here! In the flesh! After our last phone call, I never expected to see him…he told me he was getting married…he couldn’t talk to me anymore. Click…

Funny thing is, I never knew he was in a relationship; I never asked. Maybe it was the naivety of my youth. Maybe, somehow I knew, but I didn’t want to be responsible. I didn’t want to not experience companionship with him.

I watched him walk on. Still regal. Still absolutely magnificent in his stature. A beautifully strong man.

Lord knows, I contemplated the entire time until my stop on approaching him. Sliding casually into the seat next to him. Or calling his name to have him turn around. But something stopped me. For whatever reason, I thought, if he wanted to be found, he would find me. So I didn’t call out to him. I didn’t ask the flower to unfold.

My stop came. I got up. I walked out, but before walking away, I positioned myself in his view outside the train windows.  And I willed my energy to tap into his energy and have him to see me. He did. As he looked at me with a face of complete shock and understandable confusion, I smiled as the train pulled away.

I knew what the confusion was for; why hadn’t I approached him? Well, things changed between us with that last phone call. I could no longer allow him to hold the place he held in my thoughts, my plans. I just wanted him to know, I would always know him. I would always know who he is.

…. He passed away about a year ago. I read it on the tv screen. He was trying to calm down an altercation and was fatally shot.

I am proud to have memories of him. He taught me a lot in such a brief period of time. Never. Ever. Ever, judge a book by its cover.

For Darryl.


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