Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lessons from a Messenger

Today is my father’s birthday. And I came to Tennessee to celebrate with him.

This year, it hit me that in my entire life on Earth I’ve never spent a birthday with my dad – his or mine. And when that realization went from passing random fact to a constant note in my brain, the fact alone annoyed me. As you may recall I was thissss close to spending my birthday this year in Tennessee due to a blizzard that blanketed all of Memphis and its surrounding areas. I remember how happy my dad was at the fact that there was a slight possibility that he would be with me on my life anniversary. And when the lady at the ticket counter worked some miracle to get me on a non-stop flight (first class no less), I saw the flicker of light diminish a little in his eyes. While I was happy to get the hell out (3 cancelled flights in 2 days makes you almost want to strap your ass to the wings of the plane and ride it out), his expression was something that haunted me whenever I thought about it.

So knowing that his birthday was coming up, I decided to board yet another plane this year, and spend some time with my dad to celebrate his life anniversary with him. The timing was perfect. My headaches hadn’t come back (thank goodness). But doctor’s (and friends’) order were that I needed to relax. And spending some time in the South is the slower pace that my body was telling me I needed.

My dad and I lovvvvvvvvve to talk. I can’t count how many times one of us has had the batteries die on our respective phones due to one of our marathon gabfests. I think he’s trying to make up for all of those years where we were so distant. It’s something I marvel at. To hear us on the phone, you would never think I went years without uttering one word to him.
So when he picked me up from the airport, it’s no surprise we easily fell into our rhythm of conversation. Somehow, we brushed on the topic of my dating life – something he NAYVER likes to talk about. He never wants to know who I’m dating, what’s his name, nothing, unless it’s someone who is serious enough about me to get on a plane to Tennessee and have a chat with ‘dear ol’ dad”. So far, no brave takers. But during this particular conversation, my dad said something to me that made me pause.

“Janelle, there is no man, NOT ONE MAN, walking God’s green Earth, who I will ever think is good enough for you. NOT ONE.”

Once the words filled the space of his Mustang (a Shelby to be exact), I silently inhaled these words. Breathed them in and let them nourish me, taking hold within. It wasn’t so much the message. It was the messenger. Don’t get me wrong, I know my dad loves me – he tells me every time we speak. But our relationship has been filled with peaks and valleys. And truth be told, he has never ever said something as powerful to me as the statement above.

This is the day I realized how important fathers are. It's not about my father putting me up on some ridiculously unrealistic pedestal. This is about the standard by which he holds my heart, a higher standard than I have held it at times.

I couldn't help but wonder: How many of the losers I've dated in the past would have gotten past "Hello" if I'd heard this sooner in life??

Happy Birthday to my Mustang loving, joke cracking, Mork & Mindy quoting,horn playing, country twang talking Dad!! You've created my life and have changed my life.

*I started this blog on my dad's birthday and wanted to post it on his day. Sorry for the delay. Back to blogging full speed ahead next week. Smoochies :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Harpo, Who dis woman??

That's the question I posed to myself the other day. (Sidebar: if you have no idea what movie this is from, FIX IT!!! hahahahah).

On Sunday, I went to my first NFL game. A friend of mine who recently has been feeding her adventurous spirit as well, sent me an email asking if I were interested in going to a football game. Like me, she'd never been and decided now was as good of a time to go. My only caveat was that we attend sooner rather than later because I'm not sitting outside in the winter for NOBODY. Have YOU seen butterflies chilling outside in winter??? Yeah, no.

In full disclosure, I must admit, I've never been much of a football fan. Don't get me wrong, I like the game but with all the rules and somehow making five seconds stretch out to five minutes (with commercial breaks of course), it could never hold my attention for long. Sure, I've always been that girlfriend who would watch with her man if he wanted me to but it wouldn't be long before watching the game on TV would bring out the inner ADD in me and I'm off baking, reading a book, taking a nap, ANYTHING to not just sit there. Sure I'd come back and watch a couple of minutes, long enough for the ADD to kick in once again. Such a comical sight.

But once I knew we had the tickets, I was like a kid who just finished writing their letter to Santa - not sure what they were going to get, but knew something good was on the way. Then I told my Guy Guru and Baskin Robbins that I would be at the Jets vs. Patriots game, and they both were hyped. In fact, every male I told that I was going to the Jets-Patriots game gave me the same reaction - awe. "Oh man, you're going to that game? Damn, that's a hot ticket!" (well, maybe not those exact words but that was the general consensus) And they weren't even Jets or Patriots fans. Something about a longstanding rivalry. Yeah, New York/Boston blah blah blah. I get it. The fact that they were so hyped about me going to this game got me hyped, like that same kid who wrote her Christmas letter a month ago and its now December 23 - good things are right around the corner.

In prepping for the game, I had no idea what to wear to the game. What does one wear to a football game I asked. "Sneakers (or tennis shoes for all those that wear sneakers and don't play tennis but call them tennis shoes anyway...hahahahah)" was the overwhelming crowd favorite. Now here's the problem - I don't do sneakers. I own a pair that I wear at the gym and a pair I bought earlier this year when I was stranded in Memphis is a snow blizzard with pumps and ballet flats. I knew I would only be comfortable in heels. So I decided on these shoes.

Hot right? And yes the heel is about 4 inches on them. While these sexy steppers are comfy (they really are), a pair of flips were on standby in my purse in their "Break out in case of emergencies" shoe bag.

So how was the game?? To sum it up the game was BANANAS. The fans, the actual game, everything. We had so much fun. J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS JETS. And then for the Jets to break the their losing streak against the Patriots for lil ol' me???!! PRICELESS. Oh my goodness, I love FOOTBALL. When the 4th quarter was over and all the players ran on to the field, I was sad it was over. I wanted more. SO much so, I came home and watched the Giants-Cowboys game. Granted, I did change the channel a few times. However, it seems live football games have quieted my football ADD and I clocked more football minutes in front of the TV than I ever had.

Tuesday night, Hustle and I went to a Mets game. Neither of us are baseball fans but the choral group from my high school sang the National Anthem and the school had discounted tickets for alumnae. When the email, came around, I thought "Why not?!" Also, more than anything I wanted to see the inside of this new stadium, Citifield. Everyone has been raving about it since the beginning of the season. I asked Hustle if he wanted to go, and he too said "Why not?!"

Citifield is beautiful. We entered through the main gate into the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and we instantly had that head tilted upward tourist stance that I normally despise. We even joked about feeling like tourists. We took the long way to our seats to bask in our touristy awe. By the time we arrived to our designated area, we were impressed.

Unfortunately, the Mets were not as engaging as the Jets. In fact, the game was a snooze fest. It didn't hold our attention. We had absolutely no interest in what was going on on the perfectly manicured field below us. Conversation flowed just as easily as the beer (none for me of course. Can a butterfly get a martini bar at a ball field?? I'm just saying. hahahaha). By the time the 7th inning mosied on, we decided to go back into tourist mode. We said our goodbyes to my fellow alumnae and high school folks and walked off, hand in hand, in tourist glee.

I dubbed this week, my sports week. But I feel like its more than that. So much that I almost don't recognize this woman. Football and Baseball?? That's not me. I'm the shoe loving girly girl. Right? Well, whoever, this new woman is, I'm enjoying getting to know her and seeing what other new adventures I have in store. Stay tuned

Friday, September 18, 2009

Flashback Friday: Date Night, the Hampton Edition

I met BX my freshwoman year at a party in Virginia Beach. He didn't go to Hampton but went to a school about 45 minutes away. He was from the Bronx (hence the blog name) and made it quite clear that night that I was "that chick". We exchanged numbers and spoke at most once a week for a few minutes. (To the youngins reading this here blog, this was before cell phones and free nights and weekends. We had campus issued calling cards with a $75 limit which seem to run out in 7.5 minutes but I digress. )

BX called to say he was coming down to the Hampton Roads area to go to another school's Spring Fling weekend of events. Since he was going to be in the area, he asked if we could go out on a date. I tried to play coy but who was I fooling. A boy wanted to take me off campus and pay for me to eat something other than Gourmet Services. Hell yeah I was down!! We made plans for the following Thursday (sidebar: clearly he missed a day of class to attend a weekend celebration at another school; that should have been a clue..hahahahaa).

I spoke to him about 2 times before our actually date. Something about finally seeing each other (hadn't seen him since we met a few months before) must have peaked his interest. He actually admitted he was excited to see me and bragged how he was going to get his car detailed before heading my way.

Thursday. After class I came back to my room to change clothes. It was a beautiful sunny spring day. The kind of day where the sun seemed to be on FULL BEAM from the second it rose until the second it set. While I was changing my clothes, Roomie checked out the Menu Line. Now for those of you not fortunate enough to experience all that is Hampton University (insert snobbery here), in every dorm room, there was a phone. And on every phone, there was a button you could press to hear one of the elderly ladies read to you what the menu was for lunch and then later in the day for dinner. Oh how I wish I had an audio clip of the Lunch Ladies because it was hilarious. But anyone who went to Hampton, can quote the menu line better than a rap lyric. But I digress. So Roomie called the menu line and through the phone we heard:

Thank you for callin' the Virginia Hall Cleveland Hall Dinin' Room Menu Liiine. Our menu fo' Fried Chicken....."


Okay, real talk. That was all we needed to hear. And I know how stereotypical this is going to sound but whenever the lil old lady said "fried chicken" on the menu line, it was a stampede to the Caf. It wasn't because that was all us black folks wanted to eat. No, it was because that was the best damn thing they could cook. The line would be lonnnnnng as hell - like out the door long. Looking back, I realize how stereotypical that must look, but one of the beauties of going to a black school is that for a couple of years of your life, you're not completely conscious of every single stereotype and how it plays a role in your everyday life.

Roomie asked if I wanted her to try to sneak me back some chicken from the cafeteria. "Of course not! I'm going on a date. I don't have to wait on line for fried chicken tonight." said with all the indignation I could muster while thoughts of my pending date swirled through my head.

The phone rang.

"Janelle you have a visitor downstairs".

I stood at the top of my dorm steps and there he was, leaning against his black Acura Legend, gleaming in the sun. I smile and walk down the steps. He greets me and opens my door. Wow a gentleman. I was impressed (remember I was 18...hahahaha). He got in, made a U-turn, and we were on our way. Now, even though I was a freshwoman, my dorm was outside of campus gates. My dorm was right off of THE main street off of campus - the street that leads to you to the highway and other local streets. We're sitting at the light making small talk. Light turns green and Bx makes a right.

"Umm, didn't you mean to make a left?" I asked as we turned towards the back gate of campus.

"Chill, ma. I got this." he stated as he rolled down the windows and opened the sun roof. So I did as I was instructed and chilled. I sat back in my seat as he cruised at like 2 miles an hour through campus. It was dinner time and the weather was nice, so there were a lot of folks out on that end of the yard. I waved to a few people I knew, sat back, enjoyed the music he was bumpin', and chilled.

Yes, I realized he was profiling but damnit I was 18 and was on my way to a restaurant where I hoped no one would ask me "you want some mo' rice, babay?" As we circled through campus, I realized he was going out the back way down the road that separates Hampton U. from the VA Hospital. Hmmmm, I wonder why he's going this way when he can get to Mercury Blvd (and all the restaurants, movie theaters) by going a different way. But I didn't question it.

Finally, we're at the light. He's turning left. And then he makes another quick left. Into the parking lot of McDonald's. Initially, inside I was like "WTF?" before there was the acronym. But Hampton girls have a reputation for being these ultra prissy, stuckup chicks, and I didn't want to wag my manicured finger in his face like "How dare you bring me to McDonald's?". I push that thought to the side and thought "Janelle, he's a college student just like you, i.e broke. Get a grip".

We walk into McDonald's. I'm all filled with mixed emotions but my 18 year old self didn't quite know how to eloquently express how I felt, so I stare up at the brightly lit menu like I'd never seen it before. Damn, I gave up fried chicken night in the Caf' for McDonald's???

"Welcome to McDonald's. May I take your order?"
Me: "Ummmmm....."
Bx: "Oh, lemme get a #2 Meal.....Supersized."
Cashier: "What kind of drink?
Bx: "Lemme get a orange drink. "
Cashier: "What else?"
Bx: "Oh, nah. That's it."
Me & Cashier: "That's it???!!"
Bx (laughing): "Oh my bad. Lemme get a extra cup for the drink."

Wait a minute. Did he just ask for an extra cup for orange drink?? Wait what's a number 2 value meal anyway (because I already had my chicken sandwich with cheese and a sprite all picked out in my mind)?? Do you know what a number 2 value meal is??? Do you?? It's the 2 cheeseburger value meal. This mofo expected me to split the 2 cheeseburger meal and his supersized fries and orange drink. I DON'T EVEN LIKE ORANGE DRINK. And that my friends, is when I went off.

"You mean to tell me that you got your car all shinin' like new, drove an hour to see me, to not only take me to McDonald's but to expect ME to split a cheeseburger meal with you?? Are you fucking crazy? How do you know if I even eat beef, huh?? You didn't even ask what I wanted??Do you know it was fried chicken night in the Caf and I gave that up for this?"

"What? I'm saying I can give you a coupla dollars towards your meal if you can't eat a burger?"

And that is when I turned on my heels, walked out of McDonald's and walked back to campus. Now I was terrified of the VA Hospital (too many urban legends and scary movies about the kind of people in there...don't judge me, I was 18. hahahahaha). However, my anger far outweighed my fear that day.

As I stomped back on the yard, I couldn't believe the vast difference between his definition of a date and my definition. Sure, I was a lil put off that he chose McDonald's for our dining pleasure but I sucked it up. At the end of the day, it was a meal and he wanted to break bread...errr, fries,......with me. But to offer to either split this paltry meal or even better "a coupla dollars" towards me reaching in my purse and paying for my own meal???!!! HAYELLL NAW.

I looked at my watch. I still had time to catch the Caf'. But then I thought about my roommate, sitting at dinner with our Big Brothers. She's probably already told them I had a date. What the hell do I look like walking up to the Caf' less than 30 minutes later??? I would have to tell them the story. Oh the humiliation. Luckily, my dorm is outside of campus gates so I can avoid the Caf' and everyone over there as I go back to my dorm.

I return back to my dorm, quiet as church mouse. I went up the back stairs to my room. I slipped in and just laid across my bed. Dwayne Wayne would have never done this to Whitley, not gas up a "date" and then expect her to fend for herself.

I wanted to call somebody. But the whole story was so embarrassing. So I called my mother. And told her the entire melodrama - fried chicken and all. She laughed but at least her laugh wasn't "HA! HA! You got played." It was more one of those motherly I'm going to send you a care package tomorrow laughs to make you forget all about this fool. (which she did by the way...hahahaha). She even offered to put an extra $10 in my account if I wanted to order pizza since she knew there was no way in HELLLL I was showing my face in the cafeteria that night. I think that was the moment I realized, "Mommy is pretty cool".

PS I ran into Bx, a couple of months later here in NY. He tried to act like he didn't know me. That was the best thing he could have done.

PPS In that care package my mother included a McDonald's coupon and a Tupperware container to bring food back from the cafeteria on nights when I have a date. Yes moms got jokes. hahahahahahaa

This my friends, has gone down in my history as one of THEEE worst dates of my life. And I've shared it with you. Well isn't that special?!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The update on Pain....

Shortly after writing yesterday's post, I left work early - something I NAYVER do. I may take a day off or come in late but I never leave work early. The pain was just too great to continue looking at spreadsheets, contracts and press releases. I'd decided to go to the emergency room. I couldn't take another day of mind numbing pain or the mind numbing madness of trying to find a doctor who was willing to see me AND take my insurance.

Now since I was dressed for work (dress, heels), I decided to go home first and change clothes. I knew I would be sitting in the ER for about 3 million hours freezing my ass off. So I left my office and hailed a cab in midtown. Luckily at that time of the afternoon, catching a cab was a breeze. Unfortunately, that's the only easy part. First he wants to turn on the radio to an urban radio station (sidebar: why assume that's what I want to listen to?? For all he knows I could be a Reba McIntire/Carrie Underwood fan - even though I love that Think Before He Cheats song....ssshh, don't tell nobody). So I asked him to turn it down. Clearly turn it down translates to turn to another station in another language because next my head was assaulted with the theme music from 1010 Wins. If I had to listen to 22 minutes of that, I was going to bash his head with the world. "Please mister. I need SILENCE." That's all I could say. He looked at me like I had 2 heads (shit at that point I felt like I had 2 heads on my head) and dutifully turned the radio off. And that's when I heard something rattling around in his trunk . GOOD GRIEF, CHARLIE BROWN!!!! I tried to calm myself and remind myself that every noise was going to annoy the crap out of me but I was on my way to doing something about it. Something about knowing that a solution was imminent seemed to stop the bowling ball from knocking down all the pins in my brain.

Having been in one too many emergency waiting rooms, waiting for my mother, I packed a little bag to take with me. Honestly, it was the "just in case they keep me bag." But I really didn't want to think that. I hadn't been an overnight guest of honor at a hospital since some man slapped me on my butt and pronounced to my cut open momma "You have a girl!!!" I slipped off my career wear and looked at my closet like "Hmmm what does one wear to a Emergency Room??" Sweats and a tee-shirt with flip flops for easy removal.

Before I jumped back in yet another taxi, I went to vote. In my painful brain, I had rationalized that people before me dealt with more than a headache to vote. And while some may rationalize that it was "only" a primary, the civil rights activist in me was not giving up. Do you see how bad my head hurts??? I've missed a primary for happy hour before. But nah uh not today.

Once I made my way back downtown to the hospital, I began to get nervous. (yes I went back downtown to the hospital - my fave hospital actually. Look, they have valet parking and a taxi stand. Any place that cares that much about a person's convenience is the place I need to be...hahahaa). Nervousness led to terror. What if this is life threatening. What if there is a tumor on my brain. I began to feel around my head to see if I could feel a lump under my skull. Luckily, I didn't have time to weigh these options as I was given a bed, a hospital gown, and a "specimen" cup, and an IV within 30 minutes of arriving. Oh and let's not forget about the industrial strength drugs at the hospital. Within hours I felt normal again. The pain left in layers, like a peeled orange. Weird, right??

After numerous tests, all irrational thoughts of tumors and brain distortions were thrown out the window. My CatSCAN was only a picture of my pretty brain (the doc showed me...there was nothing in the pic that shouldn't be there). Apparently, my headaches seem to be caused by dehydration (no more Starbucks for me for a while) and S-T-R-E-S-S. But I have to go for more tests to rule out migraines. Good grief, Charlie Brown, this growing up (and old) shit sucks!!! Yeah, where was THAT episode of Charlie Brown and the gang, huh???

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I haven't got time for the pain...

Pain. Yet another four letter word to contend with. And quite frankly, its worse than any shit, fuck, or damn you could utter.

I have been in some pain for the past couple of days. For some unexplained reason, I have been getting headaches. At first I thought it was the severely tight but so cute updo bun I wore for my godmother's wedding labor day weekend (I started a blog on this last week...guess I should publish it..Lol). SO I painstakingly took down this intricate updo, hoping that would relieve the tension. Initially, it did. But by weeks ends, the headache came back. I thought it was interesting that the headache seemed to hit me when I got home. While I have a faboulous weekend with friends, the headaches seem to disappear while I was out and about. But as soon as I began my journey home, the left side of my head would feel like I just got decked with a brick. Pop 2 tylenol and sleep for 45 minutes and I was golden - like brand new. Weird, right?? Well that has been my night ritual for the past couple of nights and that's just not who I am. Normally, I will have to throw out a bottle of tylenol because its expired before I finish. And yesterday, I woke up with a headache. Wait, that's not the routine. Something is not right. So yesterday, I called my doctor's office to see if I could get an urgent appointment. And this, my friends, is why I hate the healthcare system.
I called my doctors office to find out she's on maternity leave.....again and won't be back until December or January. Hell no, I'm not waiting that long to see somebody. I will have spent a gucci bag's worth on tylenol by then. So I ask the "lovely" (insert sarcasm here) woman who answered the call about who was covering for my doctor. She informs me the doctor covering for my doctor is not seeing new patients. So how is this doctor covering my doctors patients if they aren't seeing new patients??? Does that even make sense?? She then explains to me that I am new to the practice (only saw doctor once at her old office..she moved shortly thereafter)therefore considered a new patient and therefore not eligible to see the covering doc. "Lady, you just gave my headache a headache" I explained before I gently hung up the phone.

Now truth be told, I wasn't a fan of my overly fertile doc. Only because she wasn't my old doc who is great. However, while my old doc takes my insurance, she doesn't take my specific plan and my employer only offers this plan so no more Dr. Great for me. So yesterday, I start the dauntingly annoying task of trying to find a new doc. Now, I must admit I am picky about doctors. I want someone board certified, speaks english, and is affiliated with the same major hospital that I actually like here in New York (yes, I have a fave hospital even though I haven't been an overnight patient in a hospital since I was born..knock on wood). However, well over 2 hours later, still no new doctor. My insurances website is a joke. Damn near every doctor I called is either not accepting new patients; doesn't have an appointment until November; or they work in the hospital and only see admitted patients. I swear on everything, the whole process made my head hurt. And I gave up. Until I woke up in the middle of the night. I laid in bed half watching mostly listening to The Actors Studio with James Lipton featuring the cast of Family Guy. As much as I love that show, their comedic relief provided no relief for the pain. However, Seth McFarlane, the creator and the voice of Peter and Stewie, is officially on my Fantasy Island Get It List. He's cute, funny and smart.

Why is this process so fucking....painful??? It seems like the only way I'm going to see a doctor anytime soon is if I go and sit for 3 million hours in an emergency room and pay my ER copay which is more than triple my office copay. Does this make any sense to anyone??? If it does, please explain it to me. But please do so in hush tones and simple sentences. My head hurts.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Indelible Etchings

The sky was tropical island blue, not a hint of a cloud in the sky. I remember.

It was a Tuesday. There was a Primary Election that day and I decided that morning to vote after work. Jay-Z had an album hit stores that day. I remember.

My mom wore a pretty orange dress to work that day. She figured it would probably be the last time she could wear it before Fall hit. I remember.

I sent an email to my friends, bragging how I wasn't speaking to the dude I was dating at the time who worked at Morgan Stanley in the World Trade Center. We'd had a disagreement and I was holding my ground. I remember.

A guy came in the office and said he heard a plane hit one of the buildings at the World Trade Center. We laughed, thinking someone made it up because how could a pilot not see that tall ass building in front of them. I remember.

I called my mom since she could see the towers from her office window. She confirmed that there was a fire of some sort coming out the side of one of the buildings. As we talked about what could have possibly happened and prayed it wasn't that serious, she screamed. Another plane hit another building. She saw. I remember.

Some of my friends worked nearby. While our cellphones weren't working, our 2 way pagers were. We met up on 42nd St and began the solemn walk uptown. A reporter stopped me on the street. I told her "I just want to get home to hug my family and pray that this somehow isn't real." I remember.

My friend's cousin spotted a guy driving a red Camry. He was alone. She flagged him down and asked "How far up are you going?" He said "The Bronx". She asked if we could ride with him and the five of us piled into this stranger's car. I kept looking back alll the way down the avenue to see smoke snake its way upward into the crystal blue sky. I remember.

For a city that never sleeps, the streets were eerily quiet - no horns honking, no music blaring, no heated arguments on street corners, nothing. Just people walking in silence, shell shocked. I remember.

I saw a store owner passing out bottle of water to those walking down the street. People covered in soot were ushered into clothing stores and given clothes and sneakers to change into right off the racks, no questions asked. I felt proud to be a New Yorker, that we could take care of each other in the face of tragedy, no matter what. I remember.

When I arrived home, my mom was sitting on the sofa in tears on the phone. I was relieved that she didn't have to trek alll the way from her office to Harlem on foot(for the non-New Yorkers, that's approximately 135 city blocks from her job to home, about 6 miles give or take). She'd caught the last train leaving from downtown. As I entered the living room, she informed me that it was my dad on the phone. We spoke. For the first time in a few years. He said all the things he wished he'd said five years ago. And so did I. We wept and promised to do better. I remember.

I tried calling his home. No answer. I tried calling his cell. No answer. I tried calling his mother's phone. No answer. When my phone rang, it was my bestie, Twin. I told her I was convinced he was dead, and hated being in such a silly argument. She tried to get me to keep the faith. Somewhere buried in that pile of steel, concrete, and things I'd rather not think about was where you'd find my faith. I began to mourn. I remember.

About 5:30 in the morning, my phone rang. I answered. It was him. I thought I was dreaming. Then he said something sarcastic and I knew it was him. I smiled and thanked the Lord for answering the prayer I was too chicken to speak. He survived. I remember.

I felt lucky, blessed that no one I knew directly perished that day. Until a month later, when I got the notice of a memorial service for a guy I knew(he was my New Year's Eve date, 2 years running..LOL). I flashed back to the last time I saw him. May 2001. I ran into him at a bar. We exchanged pleasantries and in passing, he mentioned a new job. I congratulated him without asking specifics. It was then, October 2001, that I found out that new job was on a very high flower in the towers with a company that lost a great deal of people that day. The Sunday after the memorial, I openly wept in church. On my knees bent down in prayer, I looked up to God and asked "Why?" out loud. I never got the answer. I remember.

All of these memories are indelibly etched in my mind and in my heart. Like my tattoos, they are a part of me and a remembrance of a time in my life. On the 8th year since the travesty, I'm reminded of all these memories. Life has marched on but that day is an indelible stain on my life's tapestry. I remember. And I always will.