I guessed it was that time. I didn’t have anything else to turn to; my heart had been ripped out. How could she have left so fast? My heart bled a river of unsaid things, regret now looking like a common friend for life. It was pretty much like any other summer afternoon, no rain in sight with the sun scorching overhead. I knew I would have to do this sooner or later but I guess the time had arrived. I finished work early and made my way home. I sat outside, under the cover of a garden shed where we kept firewood. I looked from side to side trying to initiate a conversation with someone I had not spoken to for over a year now. He knew; we all knew I guess and I am pretty sure he had been waiting long before I arrived. “Words cannot express the torment I went through after Belana passed away. You know what hurt me the most, I didn’t even get the chance to say good bye. To hear she bled like a dog and I could not rise up to defend her like I have defended all my friends cast me into a black hole I do not know if I will recover from. I am not going to waste time asking you why you didn’t do what I expected you to do because I probably am not seeing the full picture here because I have been in a very emotional and non suggestible manner for a year now. I have asked you why this happened and I guess in time I will know the truth! I guess this is what makes you God and me a little person, you see things I don’t and probably see a different perspective to this. I am sorry for shouting at you, all the things I said to you this past year, all the things I did and almost did! You were the easier target I guess. I do not control the tide of time but I would choose to never go through this ever again. I do not have a lot of friends or people close to me! I can’t lose Michelle, Adrian, Liandra Jose; I do not think I will survive it! It’s time to put this entire ordeal into perspective and deal with it; I would really appreciate your help!” With that I stood up and walked away. I had never had the patience for being modest with God. I just said what was really on my mind because what was the point of saying otherwise?
I was quite lucky if I could use that word, there was a full moon that night and it shone through my window as I sat in my chair gazing out the window. I always loved the moon because I always saw a part of God every time I looked at it. I sat there looking at the moon, not looking for anything sensational. I found what I was looking for and that was peace. I didn’t need to ask for strength, I knew I had strength but I could not use it if I was not at peace with myself. My heart started feeling warmer; I hadn’t felt that for over a year now. At times I was told I have a black hole where my heart is suppose to be! Funny as it sounds it had been true for quite some time. I sat there realizing how I was so afraid of being hurt emotionally. I realized just how emotionally immature I was. I had always been emotionally immature, afraid of love, afraid of people getting close to me because I didn’t know how to handle emotions. Belana always said “Corey, love is not a computer that you can understand and fit into your little world. It’s part of being human! There is no logic to it, you just have to let emotions flow and be human!” I don’t know how many times she reprimanded me for trying to make love a logical equation. I had never known constructive emotions and love for most of my life. It just exploded onto me when I was leaving my teen years and though I was intellectually adept, I was socially and emotionally immature. What seemed so obvious to everyone was rocket science to me as I struggled to come to grips with my emotions even with the simple things like “liking someone”. Time went by slowly as I sat at the window. I was a king at introspection because I could really criticize myself. I knew it was time to stop crying like a baby and start moving on! A lot of people depended on me and I needed to stop mopping around trying to cry myself to death and be there for people who need a shoulder. I needed to stop shutting my friends out, Belana was not the only friend I had, I had more friends who had their equal rights in my life and I needed to let them in. It was time to put away the letters I read everyday hoping the writer was still alive; it wasn’t helping a single bit! I stood up I made my way to the light switch and switched it on. I made my way to the mirror and stood for a good number of minutes as I just looked at myself. Not that I had not seen myself before but I could see all the trails left by all the tears I had shed. I touched my right cheek; I would have loved for Michelle to see me that time since I always saw her tear trails! I smiled a bit as I thought about that, indeed I was human I finally realized!
I walked to my wardrobe and opened the 2 doors. I fixed my attention on a jacket I use to store almost everything I don’t want to leave in the open. I pulled the jacket out and put it on my bed. I reached for the letters on my table, folded them remembering the person held in all those words and put them into one of the inner pockets. I put the jacket back into my wardrobe and closed the door. Looked so easy but I wondered if others could confront stuff like I did! Perhaps with time we would all find greater peace but now was the time to make great strides in the direction of acceptance and change. I had some last words, words I should have said when the twist of fate had not wielded a straight flush in my face. “Belana, I cannot ever tell you what your passing did to me. I have doubted everything I am because I was hurt to the core in my bone. Certainty will grant us an audience again but for now a few words must be known so that there will be the precedence of peace. You were my hero, my strength, my joy and my biggest critic. You brought out the best in me where I didn’t see what I could be. It would be fool hardy to try and find someone else like you. I do know I have friends who relate to me in different ways and with this in mind I must not lose them for the sake of the sands of time that forget the echo of history with every inch they drop. Perhaps when I find the strength I will write about this, share with the world about my hero who stood by me through all times. I will miss your smile and your simple sense of humor. You will always have a place in my mind, a place I can see you ever so clearly and remember your words through the days of my life. It is time for me to stop mopping over my hero and become a hero because time waits for no one.” I had not succumbed to tears when I was speaking, I felt strangely at peace and it was a feeling I had forgotten since the start of this ordeal. With those words I went to sleep knowing that the day to come would be my first step to a time of great change.
Morning found me having woken up before the break of dawn. I wanted to see some of my friends and talk to Josephine who I had neglected completely for some time. Josephine was easier, all I had to do was login on Facebook and she would always be there. We had a lot to talk about, and we simply started at the bottom of the mountain coming up. Jose had always been able to read my face and see what I am thinking but now it was harder as she could not see me. I tried to imagine what it was like to have a dear friend pass away and not be able to attend her funeral or even see where she is buried. The endeavoring spirit of humans is at times perplexing to think of! I did not want to flood myself with too much on the day; I wanted to talk to Jose because I had just realized how much I missed her and how much she was there but I was afraid to ask. I saw how I needed to ask my friends for help and not always carry my own burdens because like the Beatles song says “I get by with a little help from my friends!” Days went past and I started meeting with Michele a bit more that our occasional meetings. At times we would do lunch daily! Michelle was the one friend who dared to be different and harbor no fear of me at all. At times I had been termed intimidating for reasons outside of my thinking but she did not see any of that. She was not afraid to disapprove me and to cheer me along the way, to tell me what she is thinking and to blunt when she needed to. She reminded me of myself and I called her “My Pet Monster” from time to time, a nickname she did not approve off at all! We met daily at times to talk about stuff in general. What caught me the most was how with my friends we didn’t spend more time talking about Belana because we didn’t want to go into another whirlwind of regret and hurt. Of course we all cried but it was now time to mend broken bridges and attempt the crossing again. Michelle was the friend I was very protective of because I remembered the girl I met some years back and cherished the woman she had become. Let one tell me God does not exist and I will show people like my friends who came from different backgrounds and have broken free from the chains of the past, found a way to cherish each other and above all things see the truth called Love!
Adrian became a more constant character of course, I met him nearly every weekend and I thanked God daily for him because you always need someone to ask “How are you doing? Tell me stories!” Liandra, well was ever so talkative and energetic as always, one had to wonder how Randy remains so calm in her midst! She could always read me like a book at times, seeing what my feelings are and what they are leading to. Though it required much effort to decipher a joke from sound advice, she surely knew how to relate to emotions, something that was so foreign to me! Gabby disappeared off the map completely, attempts to find her yielded no fruit but word of mouth said she was fine. I didn’t give up in getting her close to me; it took time because she had it worse than I did. She literally crumbed to tears every time she saw Bobo. I guessed everyone has their time and mine had come and hers was to follow, all I could do was to make sure she did not reach the point of no return were her world became a dark closet! I visited Bobo again some months later. I had hoped to surprise the mom but surprises have a way of surprising me! She was out when I visited but Bobo wanted to talk. He really got a brick load off his chest and at least now I had the space to listen and the strength to respond. It was quite evident family was never going to be the same! Bobo had now settled into the receiving end of a lot of emotional craziness. “Mom and dad do not see me at all. It was all Belana and now that she is gone it’s as if I do not exist. Mom is not doing so well either, we think she might be having mental issues. She is in great depression and is now just bottling inside. She won’t even look at me; it’s as if I do not exist. Maybe I need to find a job, prove that I am something!” Bobo’s words were nothing new to me really; I had lived through this for a very long time. I was the child that failed to get attention at the right moments; I had to pick up the scraps after the gold had been given to others. I didn’t have to dig much into my past to respond to that. “It’s not rocket science to know that at times parents have favorites. In this instance Belana was the favorite and now that she is gone you must understand that your parents think they do not have anyone worth investing in anymore. You might want to say you but Bobo you are spontaneous and lack vision for your life. Belana knew what she wanted to do and where she wanted to go and that’s why your parents invested so much in her. You still prove to be wild and unpredictable! Your actions show that at most you lack concern for things that might happen in the immediate future and so forth. However this does not mean that the situation cannot change. You must realize that your parents are looking for a hope, something that can make them believe again and it is up to you to show them that you can be it. I will not tell you what to do but I will tell you what will happen. Remain on this path and you will live in Belana’s shadow, where you are always compared to her and you will never realize greater affection from your parents but change, show them that you can be responsible, that you are working towards something, that you are not wild and that you are a good person and they will see what they are looking for. You go out partying, drink ups, play with cars, even giving your friends your mom’s car! What does that prove about you in the eyes of your parents! Do not even think I am judging you, I am speaking from experience! I had to prove to my dad that I was worth the investment, I had to work hard to get to where I am with him and it was worth it. I started drinking when I was five and was way wilder than you are but even I changed! I lived in the shadow of my brother who is an architect and my dad saw his career as the best thing. When I wanted to do Software Engineering he put me down on every turn trying to make me a man he sees fit, a lawyer! I endeavored, downloading books of the internet and reading on my own until I manage to break free and show that what I wanted to do was where my future lied. After one and a half years I finally proved to my dad that I was also good seed! You might want to find a job but that might not solve anything! You need to figure out a plan that works for you because getting a job might simply boil down to the fact that you are not home during the day but when you get home nothing has changed. The choice is yours!” The last time I heard myself speak like that, well was when Belana was still alive! Bobo heard me clearly that day and knew that the choice was with him and not in circumstances. With that we parted ways and I went home to what became the most memorable night in which I had the greatest introspection I had ever done. Nightfall found me again at my window gazing at the moon which had taken its time to come out this time. I felt like a fool as I thought of what I had done, had gone through and how I had handled it. Where had I gone wrong really? Did I not believe in God, did I not have faith, did I not have strength? A realization, quite a startling one hit me from point blank range. Perhaps you saw it in the beginning of this story as it is so evident there. I sat there rubbing my chin and seeing how I really had missed something. I was reminded of a story, how Peter had denied Jesus! Instead of going to my one source of power I tried to stand in my own strength, instead of being humble I went astray. Instead of asking God to help me in my time of weakness I denied him! How could I not stumble then if I had lost the entire core of my being? I had finally realized how I had gone down this path; I had failed to call on my pillar of cloud by day and my pillar of fire by night. In my own strength I could not protect anyone, not even myself and it was quite sad to have to realize it now. My fear was not in losing someone, but it was in a subtle realization that in all things I lacked strength to save those I loved because I was weak by on my own. I finally saw in that moment the root of my fear, what had shadowed me in every friendship and relationship I tried to build. I was quite blown away when I had seen this, I had been ignorant for so long! I looked at the moon and felt the gaze of God on me. This had been the most painful lesson of my life, and I felt so ashamed that I had harbored such a deep level of ignorance and fear. I couldn’t speak, shame had gripped me tightly but sure as he is God, the Lord to whom my entire existence is bound he spoke to me as clearly as I would you and said “Finally you have seen the error of your ways. I forgive you my son.” I did not cry, I smiled and looked at the moon realizing that without grace we are simply nothing! “I thought you would never talk to me again, after all I denied you. Thank you for your grace that has seen me through this time. May you also have this grace find my friends so that they too may find the strength in the moments they need it.” I stood up and closed the curtain, and crawled into bed! Never again was I to forget the power of grace. The hand of God works in many ways, for those who believe and those who don’t. We all need heroes, friends and people in our lives. By no right must a man walk alone when companions can be found! To boast of self strength if foolishness but to depend on it is planning for disaster. I probably will never ask the question I asked in the beginning but now I have found the question I should have asked for my entire life lied in it. It is better for the world to think me a coward though in the time of vindication my strength will come through grace and it will not be denied! The greatest cowards exist in the deceitfulness of words and refuge of assumed courage for their actions charge them towards an enemy with whom they cannot contend with. # Corey Adams