She loves you, She loves me Not!

I’ve never been particularly good at that game. When it comes to reading the affectionate emotions of the human species, I’m pretty much an archeologist digging through the clearance rack of any second hand store going-out-of-business sale. If the emotions aren’t spoken, I don’t assume. And when I have assumed, I’ve usually gotten the ever dreaded head tilt – awe.

No worries. Good things come to those who wait – great things to those who wait longer.

As I meander through the streets, subways and byways of New York City, I have found it genuinely odd that emotions I have displayed all my life have taken on a whole new meaning in the Big Apple.

Going back to my southern roots, being “nice” was merely expected. We waved, asked how someone was doing and politely waited for an answer. Even if the person could care less about your sick chicken, they at least found a tone that soothed over your over stimulated emotions.

In grade school and beyond, being nice got a smiled returned to you, found you a new friend and even got you a free item at your favorite convenience store. Niceness was a currency all itself that reaped priceless rewards. And then I smiled in New York.

“I’m already dating someone.”

My thoughts thumped against the invisible wall I was slammed into. I check each corner of my surroundings looking for a camera, waiting for the game show host to come popping out. My thoughts twinge:

Ummm, I was just saying hi.

I watched the twisting of hips and the sashay away as if this prized pony has just won the Kentucky Derby, leaving a cloudy dust of questions in my head.

Then it happens again, and again and again. I scream from within:

What is the deal?

The bulb of unspoken rhetoric wisdom shines light on my folly:

“To smile, my naïve friend, means I want you. To say hello means I love you. And to stare a second too long practically means when, where and what time.”

I squawk at the inferences:

“I smile because, sometimes, people have lost theirs. I say hello to interrupt the turmoil that needs disintegrating and I stare because I am forming a compliment on what beauty that I see.”

Rhetoric answers back:

“No, no, not in New York my country pal. You have been single for far too long. It’s been [censored] since your last relationship and much has changed since then.”

I tilt my head:


Contemplation gives way to confusion. Confusion gives way to pouting. Pouting yields to an epiphany.

My inner dialogue breaks through:

If simple acts of kindness, as it is perceived, leads people to believe more than anticipated and I’m not too keen on reading the body language of desire, then a game shall ensue.

There is nothing like a committed relationship for the length of a subway ride.

I sit down, earphones in ears and mind dancing to the beat. I look across from me. Our eyes lock. They dart away. I muster up the courage to display a strangled smile. They return the gesture. The dance begins:

She loves me!

My eyes tear to a fake object catching my attention. I can feel my pupils smiling as the nervousness traces its way from my stomach lining and up into my esophagus. I feel her eyes tracing me as I pretend to be aloof, too cool to make the first move. The anticipation of her response is eating away at me. I mentally toss the note:

Do you like me: Yes or No?

I can’t take the wait, I look over. Nonchalantly, her body language has checked “maybe”.

I’m in grade school again. The butterflies haunt my tranquility and each jolt of the subway car makes me that much more uneasy.

I place my hands within hers as we stroll through central park, a picnic laid out for us in the sun-kissed grass. I tip the paddle boat we are in just to see the strands of hair play across her delicate features, a playful pout distorting her face. I wake up to her scent and fall asleep to the melody of her breath.

I taste the pictures of my mind as I soar through each image of our life together, every second perfectly intertwined with our love. I can hear the bells.

The doors chime and slam shut, dragging me back into reality. I look up across from me, my eyes adjusting back to the light, as I toss the note back at her, vying for an explanation – waiting to bring my imagery to life.

The paper hits an empty seat, all whispers of her fading to silence as her image is no longer before me.

I laugh.

I get off at my stop and take joy in the pleasures of the new meanings of niceness, ones that still escape my comprehension. I toss the relationship aside and let the last petal fall to the ground:

She loves me not!


…do us part

Posted: June 30, 2011 in Rambles


Completely dead and I didn’t care.

I stared down as the life slowly flickered out, helpless to do anything to stop the inevitable. I tried all I could, with half an effort; yet, as it made its last blink and completely expired, I breathed a sigh of relief. I hesitated to tell anyone because I knew they would think me insane, cruel even, but I just couldn’t help it.

What once brought me a plethora of joy, now, only reminded me of torture. The pure debilitating torment that scratched through my emotions every time I saw its face brighten up. I entertained thoughts of ending its life on my own, but I knew my reasoning was illogical, not to mention the explanation process.

So when it finally died, on its own, and was completely cut off from the world, life re-entered my body. I was cut off from the razor-grating afflictions that it brought forth. I walked away and smiled, allowing my cell phone to enjoy the burial ceremony in the middle of my bed.

Knowing I couldn’t allow the phone to sit and decay, I eventually drove it to the morgue. I quietly waited as I knew I would have to explain the cause of its death. Further, I would have to disguise my excuse of why I didn’t seek help at the onset of trouble.

On the outside I told tales of how it slowly shut down; yet, I did all I could to hold onto it. I spoke of how I loved it. I, unsuccessfully, tried to force a tear into the crevice of my eye to depict my thorough regret for its passing; however, my inner honesty dried it up.

I hated the phone.

I cursed the day Alexander Graham Bell implanted such a burden on my life.  Had he known the evils of call waiting, three-way, text messages and internet connections, I doubt he would have gone a step further. The idea dying with the friction it was yet to inflict.

I longed for the days of snail mail, messenger pigeons and king signet deliveries – the handwritten emotions that were backed by thought and true consideration.  The closing salutations sparking your heart and causing your fingers to ache as you mercilessly marked up the paper, hoping your true feelings could take color within the black ink blots on the page.

I stood and waited for my phone’s final dissension into the pit and lingered on the possibility of permanent cancelled access due to unjustifiable payment demands they would try to place upon me. The cell phone coroner spoke:

“We will have to order you another one. For Free. But it may be refurbished.”

I turned away and smiled once more, my thoughts wrapping me into comfort:

Another day cut off from its world.

I sat on my bed, the cell phone’s previous ceremonial wake spot, and thumbed thoughts of what could be:

Maybe something totally new, an upgrade. Or maybe something that doesn’t have the ability to accept phone calls. Or maybe something black so that I will always be in mourning looking at it, knowing the distress it brings me. Maybe, just maybe, they won’t have anything at all.

I slowly returned to the coroners to see what the verdict would be. I patiently waited as my heart sank into my stomach plagued with the emotions of all the things that would flood back into my existence. I cringed at the thought of being connected to its evils once again. I detested the familiar sounds, clicks and chimes that only brought me agony.

And then they placed it before me.

My eyes scanned over it, surveying every part of its covering. The shiny cover showed no wounds of the past and the texture felt disturbingly smooth. As I ran my fingers over the buttons, they were firm and bounced back at me as if reassuring me things would be okay. And although it was the same color, make and model of the deceased, I could encompass the difference. When I saw my reflection in the screen, I could see our similarities.

On the outside things seemed the same. They even looked the same. But, the differences had set in.

I could see the pain behind my eyes fading away as I embraced the forgiveness of God and ultimately of myself. I could hear the songs of a future and better tomorrows as the keys whispered back at me, licking my every wound.  And finally, I could see the emotional masochist within me being shooed away as laughter broke through my parted lips.

My phone rang.

I inherently felt myself cringe as the foreign number displayed itself on the screen before the sound was emitted. I waited for that torment, that chime that let me know its [the phone’s] world was pressing through again.

I braced myself.

The sound came through.

It was nothing I had ever heard before. A sound I had not programmed and soon threw myself to change.

I brought the phone closer to my eyes, diving into concentration. I paused:


I smirked as I slipped the phone into my pocket and whispered under my breath:

”Not this time…”

As the unfamiliar chime continued on, now resembling a sweet melody, it transmitted a hearty pep in my step.

I walked away as I smiled throughout my body:

Yes! We are so very different!

I like us!

I’ve Had My Moments…

Posted: June 18, 2011 in Rambles

Before our eyes met, I could only see the neatly placed hairs atop of the head. With only the profile visible, my heart slowed searching for the padding that it would eventually come to rest in after receiving an oversight. I knew the painful blow would not be intentional but, nevertheless, I braced myself for the temporary hurt that would invade my soul, my white blood cells helpless to defend against the painful intrusion. I mentally coached myself:

…too young to understand. You know they love you. They weren’t the ones who placed the pain there…

I waited. I braced myself. My bottom lip wedged itself between my teeth.

The old Cheers theme song states, “Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and they’re ALWAYS glad you came.”

I didn’t know if they even knew my real name, and with it being my first journey into their new territory, I had no idea where their mood would be placed. Cemented to the ground, I waited.

Our eyes met.

Before I could offer my salutations his fifteen inch legs cascaded into a full sprint, his arms joining along fighting against the distance between us. His face lit up as if he were the sun and I the anticipatory flower waiting to bloom. And as he repeatedly called my name, a name that he and his brother adapted for me, I blossomed.

I stood motionless; arms outstretched waiting to embrace my nephew as a flood of doubt washed from my mind. And when finally we were within a reasonable distance, he embraced my neck as if letting go me would cause me to fall apart, he being my saving glue, and I locked my arms around him, careful not to squeeze the life out of the human being that was giving life to me.

As if someone had taken a Clorox Wipe to my soul, he washed away the guilty stains of my worries. In that moment nothing else mattered. A sensation of the hand of God extending from Heaven absolving me of everything filthy… absolving me of everything parasitic… absolving me of everything not …Me.

As the visit progressed and my nephew kicked me, hit me in the face, spit on me with close proximity conversations and spilled stuff on me, the sensation was always there. No matter what the circumstance I chose to live in that moment.

So, why not live in those moments daily?

A kind word, an unexpected smile, a genuine hello, a soul touching hug or a valuable lesson.

It seems weird, to me, that kindness is the minority of life. Gossip spreads like a wildfire. Grudges are contagious and everyone seems to want to dig up dirt on another in hopes to rise a little higher by their own standards. By the end of their quest they are buried in a muddy pit of resentment of their own creation.

Meanwhile, genuine kindness dissipates like mist in the wind, often times never seen or felt and, on occasion, all together shunned.

But even so, you can still find those moments that bring you a smile, that send chills down your back and that leave you awake at night because you simply can’t imagine not being able to live in those memories for a lifetime. When sleep is behind you, you awake searching for the feelings you embraced as you swim through those moments.

Believe me, I have been there…

So, call me a Utopian thinker, a crazy dreamer or just plain nuts, but I choose to live in those moments. And though I will make mistakes along the way, unintentional I pray, I will still search for those moments, trying my best not to allow my life to be plagued by that which I did not create, cannot change or what others have decided to label.

I plan to take flight and intertwine myself within the mist and if I cannot see or feel the mist anymore, I will remind myself of those moments. I will jump through the looking glass and gather a new perspective. I will dance to the joys of laughter and sleep on the memories of love.

It’s constantly quoted, “You never know what you have until it’s gone.”



But, even more, to me:

“You never know what you are missing until someone, or something, comes along and gives it to you.”

And because of that, I now remember that I’ve had my moments and it took a three-year-old to remind me of that.

I’ve had my moments…

*All Photography on this page done by Joseph Swift II


Dancing Through Life

Posted: September 9, 2010 in Rambles

I still remember her eyes…

Sixpence None the Richer’s, Kiss Me, played loudly over the prom night speakers. The beat intoxicated me, as the euphoric song lifted me to dance. Next to me sat an overlooked individual, who stood by watching other’s enjoy life. I pressed her towards the dance floor.

Sixpence None the Richer

Her unsteady hips fumbled to the demands of the music, her movements only able to catch the rhythm every seventh beat. Her feet fought for a place to land as her head stayed locked on me. Her smile tickled my soul as I struggled to keep up. And then it happened…

With precision, I danced to the beat, bouncing in perfect sync with the timing. My hips swayed and my arms flailed through the air, playing it cool. I was on perfect dance-like pitch. And then it happened…

She grabbed my hand and I returned the favor with my other. Suddenly we were locked into each other, our arms now moving in all directions and her rhythm trembling into mine. I tried to fight the feeling but I could feel it pulsating through me. I struggled to keep the beat, to bring her into my notion of perfection. And then it happened…

My eyes traveled up her smile, traced her nose and became fixed on her eyes. My body lost all control and her foot placement became mine. Her smile trans

lated into me. Her rhythm was, soon, mine.

We were in the middle of the dance floor, surrounded by a sea of bodies, but only I could feel the earthquake moving us. I let go of my perfect placements and got lost in her dance.

She kicked her feet, and twirled her hips to an unheard song, but never lost the smile.

I was confused…

I had gone to many school functions: homecomings, dinner dances, house parties and classroom dance offs. The best dancers were always praised and the demand to get their attention was high. People would push through the crowd just to get a chance at the dance king of the night. And when the song came to an end, the crowd would cheer, the couple would go their separate ways, and emptiness would take over – the high of the moment slowly fading into a distorted memory.

But not hers, I still remember her eyes…

They let me know it was okay to be quirky, un-cool, unsure, unsteady…off-beat. I didn’t have to be the best looking, best dancer or best dresser. I just had to be present.

She danced with me as if I were the only person in her world at that moment and I danced with her like the jewel she was.

As she smiled into mine, I could see she didn’t care what she looked like or who else was around. If people stared, she didn’t mind, because her security was staring back at her. And my security, in her eyes, was illuminating me.

Nothing else matter.

I didn’t have to because I was there, and so was she. And we saw nothing but each other. And then it happened…

The song came to an end. As the lyrics finished its last round, So kiss me…, we did not obey. But I stood and stared at her not wanting the moment to dissolve.

That instance wasn’t about who was the best dancer, the best looking, the most polished or the richest. It was about trust.

As she placed her hands into mine and I returned the favor, our trust erupted into something beautiful. A sea of me could have rushed out onto her shoulders, engulfing us both, but I knew she wouldn’t let me drown and I would’ve gladly been her life preserver.

As I dance through life, meeting countless people along the way, I don’t always notice the most talented, the popular, the best dressed, the richest or the flamboyant. Sometimes I find myself visually dancing with the meek, mild-tempered, the wallflower, the overlooked, the lovely. I smile as I feel their offbeat movements translating into mine. I listen to their facial expressions and sing with their silent song.

And every time I hear that song… Lift your open hand/Strike up the band and make the fireflies dance/
Silver moon’s sparkling/So kiss me
I still remember her eyes.

And when I get that feeling, dancing through life, I wait for her kiss. Not the superficial kiss of the lips, but the kiss on my heart.

So kiss me…

What do I miss…

Posted: July 6, 2010 in Rambles
Tags: , ,

First, don’t even think about saying high school. I am on the other side of through with traveling down the high school memory-lane. That car has crashed, been impounded, dismantled and then thrown into the Bermuda Triangle. Even the phrase, “Remember back in high school when…” makes me want to yell, “NO I DON’T!”

Let’s be honest people, NOBODY does that anymore!

Not to say there aren’t any fond memories still lurking, there are many, very many, it’s just not my idea of an opening conversation piece.

Okay, I feel better.

Let’s see…

I miss walking around my college campus with Jake and people labeling us twins of some sort. Granted Jake is Caucasian and I am Me, for some reason I felt as though he understood me, accepted my idiosyncrasies, or maybe just didn’t notice them. I thought Jake was one of the most laidback coolest people God had ever created. Yeah…

I miss fighting with Deirdra, kicking her out of my room, only for her to sit on the couch ten feet away. Five minutes later we would be walking to Wendy’s. I miss singing in the middle of Publix with her, as other shoppers danced and joined in. I miss our Sunday services together. I could simply be me.

I miss Chris. No matter what mood I was in, the dude could always make me laugh. Even as I type this I can picture his stick-figure body, bouncing back and forth like a bad child, looking for something to get into. I miss the fact that he was the type of roommate I always wanted and the type of friend I always wished to have. I miss his prank phone calls, trying to sing in Spanish. Even now, I can’t help but laugh at how ridiculously hilarious he was in every single way.

I miss Sonnii. Every guy wanted to be with her and every girl wanted to be as naturally beautiful as her. Still, she didn’t mind hanging out with me. When we were together time seemed to move by musically. Even in public, being able to call her friend, I could taste the jealousy of onlookers.

Unfortunately, time has a way of changing things and life’s situations have a tendency to turn even the sweetest flavor sour – try drinking spoiled milk.

When Jake suddenly stopped talking to me, I was devastated. When Deirdra no longer needed me, neglecting to blow up my voicemail daily, I felt unwanted. When Chris moved on, I felt betrayed and when Sonnii cut me off, I felt, well, cut.

So, why would I include instances which are dipped in pain as precious memories, knowing that more damage was done than actually portrayed? Well, I guess it goes back to something my mother used to tell me growing up:

“You have to forgive and God will help you forget.”


How am I supposed to forget what they did to me? How was I supposed to forget all that I invested in our friendships only to feel used and discarded? How am I supposed to forget the pain, intentional and accidental?


But now, as I am older, I understand.

I didn’t forget the day Jake stopped talking to me, or Deirdra stopped needing me, or Chris stopped making me laugh, or even using Sonnii as a crutch for my lack of self-esteem. When I was around her I guess I actually felt attractive, as if girls would like me merely by association.

However, I have forgotten the residual pain.

Plz Forgive Me...

When those memories tickle my mind, I no longer connect with the offense. Like a broken leg, those wounds have healed and my emotions stronger. I no longer associate their names, essences, with pain. I can only remember the laughs, the craziness, and the illegal activities that surely would’ve landed us in jail if caught. But even in that, I would be sitting next to someone who created a lasting memory for me.

For me, at least, forgiving someone is the hard part. Sometimes you have to silently war against yourself as you struggle to excuse an offense someone didn’t even ask to be excused of. You have to watch them move about unaware, or unconcerned, that they have hurt you.

If you were like me, you needed them to confess all their faults, laying them out like a timeline, so that you knew they knew how they made you feel. But I guess I got over that. Because now I know that forgiveness, although still hard, is the quick detour to forgetting.

Forgetting is actually the easy part for me. It’s like watching a heavy mist disperse in the sun. Its heavy fog eventually breaks and I can see the light. Yeah, the fog may disperse slowly at times, taking weeks, months, or even years to clear, but when it does the memories are so much more polished.

And while people are constantly saying, “In the good ole days.”

How do you know that these days aren’t good?

Someday, even these days will cause you to look back and laugh, as they will be beautiful memories when the forgiveness process allows the dense cloud to disperse – forgetting the offenses.

I know I have had to forgive people I have never even met for a decision they made, although I am currently doing the laughing.

You can’t climb higher pulling a downhill load. I guess that is why I am still skinny, I have been able to do a lot of running up hills lately.

So I guess I am annoyed by high school because there are some things I haven’t forgotten yet…

Let’s test that out…

“Remember in high school when…”


I have too much to look forward to, to constantly look back. I have too many more dense fogs to look forward to. I have too many painful recollections to turn into beautiful memories. I have too many good new days to look forward to.

High school is in the vault. How could I have possibly p(l)ayed RENT if I am still concerned about high school. And we all know I miss RENT…

I can’t wait to see what I will miss next and maybe the only thing I will be forgetting is the time as I am living in the moment…

I already miss writing my first paragraph…

(Oh yeah, understand that forgiveness doesn’t always mean restoration. I have fond memories of them all, but our relationships aren’t exactly the same. But who know what the future holds…)

PS. Lemurs are playful and pickles are good…

I told you...

Mirror Mirror…

Posted: June 24, 2010 in Rambles

My new favorite quote is something I read in The Word for You Today:

“…Some say success can ruin a man. I say [it] reveals who he was all along. Success doesn’t destroy character, it EXPOSES it.”

Don’t you just love those moments when you pass by the mirror and you see a perfect ten – guys, don’t act like you don’t check yourselves out.

You catch a glimpse of yourself and you pause, wanting to live in that one moment for as long as it will last.

You know…you tilt your head, suck in your cheeks, adjust your hair, flex your muscles, squint, taking in all that is you. And if you are like me, you hold that position for as long as you can. You try your best to remember the exact angle, degree and even breath so that you can recreate that exact image throughout the day.

And when your neck starts hurting and your face becomes numb, due to a frozen expression, you can’t help but relax and laugh at how absurd you must look trying to resemble a portrait.

I feel my best after working out.

There is just something about taking a long run, or pumping my muscles up, the sweat licking my body as it travels south, that makes me feel my absolute best. I stare at my drenched face in the mirror as I try to blow the pouring sweat back into place. It’s as if every salty, watery droplet is concealing everything flawed about me, as my chest pats me on the back with the irregular heaves.

Ignoring the soreness molesting my muscles, I can’t help but smile or even laugh at how extremely invincible I feel after working out. Things that weren’t there before have suddenly appeared and everything that I have aimed to correct is suddenly in place. And I actually enjoy the dirt and the funk.

Then my face dries up and the fantasy is lost.

Then there are those moments when I first wake up.

With drool creeping out of my mouth, my eyelids growing closer to shield the intrusive light, and pillow creases pressed into my face, I feel indestructible, alive. It is as if I have conquered a day and look towards another wondering what challenges or adventures await me.

Peering at myself through crusted over eyes, I can’t help but delight in my presence. I look a disheveled mess, but somehow, someway, I am glowing from head to toe – my breathe assaulting my nostrils. That is usually when I say, “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, will this day be the best of them all?”

So, I guess I feel the most successful when I am dirty, funky and lost in my own little world.

What does your mirror say?

If I have said it once, I have said it more than once… “Instead of doing (fill in the blank), I would rather have a pap smear.” Valentine’s Day was no exception.

Valentine's Day...

Staring everyone and their little sister’s, baby daddy’s, cousin’s, uncle’s, nephew’s friend, Valentine’s Day follows a bunch of random celebrities, who are somehow intertwined within that whole six-degrees of separation deal.

Watching Jennifer Garner traipse through mistakes that all of us see in a friend but just can’t tell them, is gut wrenching. However, watching Patrick Dempsey get caught was pure genius. It’s the kind of revenge you only hope to come by – cutting up clothes is soo 20th century. He needs to be nut-checked.

Ashton Kutcher is the type of friend everyone one wants to have and every girl pretends she is looking for – we all know who they end up with. Don’t I know the story all too well.

George Lopez is the typical funny guy, Queen Latifah the stereotypical high-class tack sitter, Julia Roberts is an endearing soldier and the two machoest men in movies today just happen to be gay. Blah, blah blah, boring details. However, it’s the young and the old that get me.

When love is betrayed, I can’t help but only HOPE I can be as forgiving as Hector Elizondo to Shirley MacLaine. When Topher Grace discovers Anne Hathaway’s secret, I can only DREAM that someone can eventually overlook my idiosyncrasies like he did. When Carter Jenkins and Emma Roberts face a desperate point in their relationship, I can only WONDER if the person I end up with will wait for an eternity for all I have to offer before marriage. And when the annoying as all get out character that Taylor Swift plays – heck yeah, I got to say my own last name – collapses to the floor after receiving a goodbye kiss from Taylor Lautner, I can only WISH that a girl will feel the same for me, my image and touch lingering on hours afterwards.

And when the day is done, I can only IMAGINE what it will feel like to get that final text of confirmation.

So I wonder what will come first for me, Love or a Pap Smear.

With my legs crossed tight and my ratings giving this movie ONE THUMB UP MY (Touching) Your Nose, I hope I receive the former, without the screaming pain of what the latter (a pap smear) and a broken heart can leave.