he was kind of fragile and he had a lot to grapple with
but basically he kept It all inside
childlike and effervescent with a well of pain
the depth of I could not imagine If I tried
he was kind of magical his laughter sent you casually
floating through a moment of release
dear god, its all so tragic and I'll never have the chance
to feel the closure that I ultimately need
yeah I'm feeling kind of fragile and I've got a lot to handle
but I guess this is my way of saying goodbye...
I knew something was wrong. For this wasn't the same kid that I had met when he arrived fresh from Texas on Monday. He immediately took to me because he was one of the only black students and I was the only black approachable teacher and closer to his age.
He was the kind of kid that everyone liked. His personality was magnetic, he was a flirt, he had a bright, warm smile. When he speaks to you he makes you feels like you're the only person in the world. And at 17 with attributes of a star in the making, when I first saw him I knew that he had "it." With the right direction, dedication, and support his "it" would take him places. He reminded me a lot of myself when I was 17, but I was soon to find out that he was a mere reflection of me six years ago.
His pain was deep rooted like the trees that our people were hung from in the humid south.
His skin touched by the sun and his perfectly aligned teeth hid his pain-like makeup turns the damaged into restored commodities.
He had fooled me, his facade was bought buy greedy consumers who were fascinated with him; the latest phenomenon.
As I paced the halls of the dorm looking for him this evening he was no where to be found. I could usually find him flirting with girls or occupying somebody's head with his sarcastic wit that sang melodies to the ear.
He was in his room, dark, desolate. I knocked. I heard the shuffle of his bed, his feet hit the floor and the dim eyes of his handsome face hit the hallway light and they spoke to me, the tone of hurt.
It took me forever to get it out of him. Asking him, dancing around questions like feet to a lil John song-and finally I got an answer.
He carried the burden I once carried. His family tragedy. Here was a kid that was talented, smart, possessed all the charisma in the world, good looking, articulate and haunted by the daemons in his house; not his home-Trent revisited.
He told me how he had once danced in competitions around his hometown and his parents never showed up once to support him and his artistic endeavors. My heart stopped and my eyes were covered like icing on a cake and I thought about the time when I came home on winter break and saw those paper bag brown envelopes that looked familiar. Familiar like the ones I slipped my weekly newspaper articles in to mail home so my mom could read. The same envelopes that were unopnened for months...The ones she was too busy to read. But promised she would...Just as his mom promised she would-but let him down. Hurt.
My past and his present was parallel. For he was sent to me to help him over the hurtle of the rest of his life. It's funny how when we're 17 we think were the only ones in the world that go through things-then when we get older; wise we find out that everyone can share in an experience. It was my experience last night to share my life with him-for me to be the example that he can go through anything just as I, and be successful.
I told him what I did to become instrumental in my own success. When no one else cares, it's up to you to make the decision to break the vicious chains of our family and make conscious decisions to be better adults, individuals, stepping out of the shadows of who our families want us to be come.
I challenged, dared him even to take a risk and to see where it led him. For if he doesn't make the decision now, just as I when I was 17, all of the power that he possesses can easily be turned into one of his greatest curses.
I felt good that I was able to lift the temporary burden of pain to put an end to his private rain. For anytime he wanted to, he could call...Just for me to listen...For I asked God not so long ago to put me in a position to help black youth, men in particular to perpetuate a new cycle of positivity.
Today as I sit and prepare for one of my goals to take place, my book tour, the young man reminds me of so many black men that we can touch that we have to reach out to and help. We have to mend the broken hearts of so many and remember what it was like for us to hurt. I dare any of you to take a stand in our community and to help heal someone else's heart. It only takes one. I dare you to put your selfish agenda aside for once and do something good that will benefit you one day.
Today I realized,
and we're complicated people too.
So many people rolled into one,
We contain so much.
So much creativity,
So much energy
So many contradictions.
So much confusion,
So much clarity,
So many moments of faith and fear
So many different characters live within us...
...All looking for love...
All looking for love...