saying goodbye

i know it’s not yet friday but i’ve already had to say goodbye.

his name is Tinker. he’s 64. about 6’4. slim build. a nice crop of grey hair. mustache. a rich low voice. he’s simply wonderful. (don’t worry, i haven’t fallen in love with a man old enough to be my grand/dad.)

Tinker was kind to me from day one. i often wonder what draws people to me and i to them. the same’s true for Tinker and me. every moment i saw him or spoke to him, i felt absolutely comfortable. and since i’m not always the friendliest of people (i’m still working on not looking sour) it was kind of surprising to me that he was immediately drawn to me. i soon found out why.

he’s a southern white gentleman with 3 black daughters. it’s something frowned upon in these parts. i didn’t ask for the history behind it all. he simply showed me pictures and i understood. i was like a daughter to him. and i know he missed them while being here. he returned early because they have basketball camp.

last night, when i found out he was leaving, i quickly made sure that we got a picture together. it was so precious. he’s so precious. this morning, i saw him one last time at breakfast as i stood in line to get my food. he often wears a serious face but when he smiles, he smiles. this morning i didn’t see the smile. i saw sadness. he looked down at me and said, don’t you get in my head now, with a look of love in his eyes and a sort of sarcastic regret in his voice…i was already there. i did all i could to stop from crying. i’m almost crying writing this. i can’t quite explain it. i guess sometimes you just love immediately and deeply. he’s like a grandad in my mind. and neither of my biological ones lived to see me born. i’ve always envied those with grandparents that they’re close to. the only man i’ve considered grandad isn’t blood. now i have another one, i guess.

i guess i’m sad because i didn’t have more time. i didn’t get to sit with him and ask him about himself. i know he grew up on a tenant farm and can’t write and can read just a little. but you’d never think that. he doesn’t look like a man who doesn’t know those things. (and i don’t actually know what that kind of man looks like.) Tinker’s quite dashing, dresses very well, stands tall–shoulders back, head up. has a firm grip and hugs like he really cares. and he does. and when he sings, his bass voice resonates nicely.

i said i’d write. i just remembered he won’t be able to read it. he asked me to send him my first album. i said yes. and i’ll write anyway. maybe one of his daughters will read my words to him.

i’m biting my top lip. my time here’s been emotional enough already and now this. friday is going to be horrible. i’ll have a headache for days! and the puffiest eyes known to woman.

Tinker is, and will always be, in my heart. and i may cry when i think of him in the future. or i may just call him up and cry on the phone. i’m acting as if i’ll never see him again. he plans to return next year. i could do the same. but tomorrow isn’t promised and with so many dying before what seems should be their time, i’m afraid that this is it.

when you dismiss all the crap, the racial difference that you often use to automatically divide you from another, the social class garbage, the beauty standard mess, when you love someone just because they’re human, it takes so much out of you and you often don’t want to do it again. so then you lock yourself away emotionally and maintain only surface interactions. you allow fear to sit at your able, eat your food, tell you a whole bunch of foolishness then leave you feeling empty.

i feel as if i’m writing a memorial. the combo of fatigue, sadness, and crazy heat is obviously getting to me. but honestly, being here in the south, where it’s natural to be friendly and use numerous terms of endearment, i’ve become a lot more open to being real. i see the need for it no matter who we are and what we do. i see how powerfully one life can be used by God to touch another if only the first is willing to be real.

so here’s my challenge to you. be honest. with yourself. with God. with others. don’t live with one hidden agenda after another that keeps you distant. don’t walk around with a truckload of complaints, regrets, nit picky foolishness. yes, be honest about what makes you mad but don’t share it just to get someone else agitated or just to get someone to validate your mad condition. live life in such away that every goodbye hurts because every hello was real. it’s alright. really.

do you get me?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s