It is the season for giving thanks.
There is so much I am looking up to God for…but they are far less than what He has already done or given me. This season, I give thanks for life, family, friends, grades, school, the ability to write, the yellow and red leaves that line my walkway, the future…
Whatever it is, no matter how terrible it seems like right now, there are reasons to be thankful and there will be even more as the day goes by.
I wrote this a few days ago…I hate strawberry ice-cream.
It is a long walk from where we parked the car and the strain of the journey is already beginning to take its toll on her. I want to pick her up like I used to but I do not.
‘Zik?’ She calls to me.
I grunt out an answer.
‘You haven’t looked at me since we got out of the car.’ She says
There are no right words to say in response and so I squeeze the hand I have been holding onto a little tighter and hope it is enough.
The sun is setting when we finally make it to the place. Nothing seems to have changed and yet we both know that everything is different. It is the same stone where we sat and shared our first kiss. It is the same green grass on which I knelt to propose. Nothing has changed and yet everything is different.
I find our spot and lay my jacket on it so she can sit. There are tears in her eyes and so I wipe them away as I hold her in my arms. We stay that way for as long as it takes. We talk about the good times; we cry over the bad; we watch the sun set as we contemplate the future.
There is more gray in her hair than I remember and I wonder if when he holds her, she finds peace as she once found in my arms. Her hair smells like the strawberries in the ice cream melting in the trunk of my car.
It will be time to leave soon. So much to say and yet so little time to say it.
‘Lola.’ I whisper into the graying hair
‘Hmmm…’ She answers.
‘You should have said ‘yes’. I say.
‘I say ‘yes’ every night in my dreams. I say ‘yes’ every time I hear a Luther Vandross song. I say ‘yes’ every day, watching my healthy children grow, knowing that I would have loved our sickle cell babies the same. I would give everything I have now to go back in time and say ‘Yes’. I would give everything I have now to have been as strong and as unafraid of the future as you were. But I was not; and that ‘No’ haunts my every waking hour. ’ She tells me.
I glance upwards, looking towards the approaching dusk. Our families will be waiting; her husband and children, my wife and child. They will be looking at clocks and watches. They will be worried, afraid to face a future without a mother, a wife, a father, a husband.
The stars are starting to twinkle their way through the dusk.
‘We could start all over again.’ I say to her.
She holds my face and says ‘There are some beginnings that are best ended before they begun. Too many people will suffer, Azikiwe.’
We finally pack it up, dusting the regrets and the memories of this place off our bodies and our hearts. She hands me my jacket and I take her hand. We take a few steps back up the road we came before I stop to look into her eyes one last time.
They are no more tears in them.
‘Yes.’ She says to me.
There is always an answer for this question
‘Always Lola…’ I say in reply.
The journey back is much shorter than I would have liked. We get back to the parking lot of the grocery store too soon. She gets out of the car and waves a sad goodbye. I wonder if I will ever see her again or if it will take another 20 years for me to run across the past.
I drive home slowly, keeping one eye on the road and another on the stars. My wife’s name is Adanma. She is waiting in the living room when I get back. I hand her the melted strawberry ice-cream she sent me to the store for. I hold her in an embrace before she can ask any questions. She lets the ice-cream fall to the ground and holds on tightly.
‘I love you.’ I say.
I do not tell her ‘Yes’.
I do not tell her that whilst I did her bidding and walked the aisles of the grocery store, I found my past.
‘I love you’ I say, over and over again.
Song of the day: Kirk Franklin & Mary Mary – Thank You