“Yeah man I’m good. Been better than before. Just enjoying life, you know? As much as I can.”
I saw her stand up from the bed as I kept speaking through the phone. She must be bored or hungry or perhaps both. Maybe even sleepy? Wants to leave already? It is way past midnight so that would make sense. As my brother starts telling me about how the family is back home, I see her look around the room. The pictures hanging on my wall, the mess of clothes I have on the floor, the way I have made it my own world. Even though she is no stranger to this room, it is the first time I see her wander around scanning every detail with curiosity.
In just an oversize T-shirt, she looks way shorter than what she really is. I stared at her closely and concentrate on the details that make her the beauty she is. Her skin color mocha that matches her hazel eyes, and her hair that cascades down to her shoulders. Her biting her lip as she keeps analyzing the room, and the small dimple that forms on her left cheek as she smiles while seeing a photograph of little me on the wall. My brother’s voice starts fading on the phone as I am captivated by the woman who has me head over heels about her. The woman who only comes at night for a brief moment and that I wish I could hold and wake up to in the morning, rather than her leaving immediately after. The woman who I promise I wouldn’t fall for at all but failed miserably.
She finds my camera in the corner of the room under one of the many piles of clothes. She stares at me amused probably confused because she has never seen it before. She comes closer to me and mouths the word “smile”, but I’m already smiling because of the goddess that is standing right in front of me.
Story by Daniela Lobo
Just one photo of only a few. I could have taken thousands of photos of this man and not one of them would have bored me. I could look at photos of him forever. Everything he did was interesting to me, even sitting on his and mama’s bed, talking on the phone, wondering why I am taking his photo as he sits in his underwear. This man is my father. Everything I know about being a human-being I learned from him. He taught me how to walk. He taught me how to read. He taught me how to hold my head up high. He taught me how to love myself. He taught me how to drive. He taught me how to cook. He taught me everything there is to know about Black American History, the history never taught in schools. He taught me about respect and integrity. He taught me that the only thing that matters at the end of each day is what I think and feel about myself and how I have acted or reacted. He taught me about hard work. He taught me about dignity. He taught me about love – real, deep, blood is thicker than water will ever be, love – the love your family has for you and will always have for you. He also taught me about loss and grief. I miss him every single day. When I close my eyes I can conjure his smell, his voice, the feeling of his arms around me, and always, always the magnitude and strength of his love for me.
Story by Christina Buck