A Girl in the World & the World in a Girl…

{May 11, 2011}   Through.

An old friend told me a story one day.

She laughed as she reminisced about the day that her nephew graduated because
pretty much everyone in his class was graduating with decorated honors and expected
to go somewhere in life.

She said that the graduation was so crowded that you would have sworn the world was
coming to an end and as per her-it looked as if getting through those doors and
securing a seat was do or die.

Much to his aunties dismay (her other sister) she had come from out of town
and this moment was more special to her than it was for the nephew.

“Good luck making your way through those doors-it’s filled to capacity
and the rest of us simply have to wait outside and just listen,” said my
friend to her sister-the auntie.

Well, that sounded unheard of to Auntie, so you want to know what my friend
told me she did?

She took a step back.

She held her head down while she rested her hands-folded in front of her legs.

She lifted her head up.

She stared at the crowd of people who had been packed at the doors for
the past hour trying to get any glimpse they could into the auditorium.

She then said: “in the name of Jesus, I’m COMIN’ through!”
My friend busted out laughing-clutching her stomach telling me this story.

“Did she make it through?” I asked my friend-excited like a nosey kid.

My friend said to me: “Angie, I don’t know how she did it, but she did
make it through…”

I watched my friend laugh uncontrollably while my mind traded the scene for
Moses parting the Red Sea and made way for people to come through.

I envied that moment.

No-I coveted that moment is what I did.
(But I knew that God would understand. He knows my heart and where we stand)…

While she continued to laugh, in my mind, I asked: “God am I worthy?
Am I ever worthy of making it through lifelike that? I’d love to
make it through areas where I only see barriers.”

(God laughed & hugged me so tight).

Since then wherever there is darkness, I still see light.

As sure as Louisiana is to Jumbalaya, like it’s been said by Dr. Maya:
“[they] wonder where her secret lies.”
Well for me, I have no secret through calamity’s eyes.

Now (in my mind) “In the name of Jesus, I’m Comin’ Through!”
…is a metaphor that I use too.

I refuse to duck, tiptoe, or run and hide behind any door.

I feel content regardless if I fall, rise, or hit the floor.

I feel that in life what’s for me, is for me.

I try my best to live my life like it’s Golden and whatever’s
Copper will just-be…

So take a look at these words and think of Me-why don’t You?

‘Cause love it or hate it:
“In the name of Jesus…I’m comin’ Through…”



Go up on the hill to pick up my meats for me. It’s already ready.
Give ‘em my name and he gon’give you my order,”
she said to me.

I went.

On my way out of the parking lot, I saw her.

She was pushing a stroller with a little baby in it, staring aimlessly
into the thin air looking as if she had nothing to do and no place to go,
but was on her way to it anyway.

I didn’t know who she was at first, but when she aggressively yelled:
“Hey, girl!”, I knew that I knew her voice from a fond place in my heart and my past.

“Oh, hi!!!!” I said, too embarrassed to admit that I hardly recognized her.

We shot the breeze about nothing much-actually we didn’t have too much
to say to each other-just like the last time I saw her, but we tried.

She didn’t care anyways.
She was up on the hill staking out the strip, looking for her baby’s daddy,
but claimed that she needed to get out and get some fresh air
[from the polluted neighborhood where we stood outside of the meat market].

I’m looking at her, knowing that she had walked a literal ten miles from the
substandard housing project where she told me she lived the last time I saw her.
She must have been on a mission.

On the corner across from where we stood were boys, men, hustlers, some bustas,
wannabes, hard times and broken promises.

I turned my attention back to her and continued our “kinda conversation.”
She wasn’t even looking at me, through me, over me, or around me.
She was only focused on looking around the neighborhood with her eyes
bucking back and forth-talking to me with only her body language.

We only said “words” to one another; a little less than small-talk all wrapped
up in the gift of familiarity of one another but with love and a kind of kinship

Winded from looking around at the depressing scene, I turned my attention to the
baby and the stroller she was pushing-that had onion for wheels. Many miles had been put on that stroller.
The tread was missing and gone away with the countless babies who sat in that very same
stroller before her pretty baby did. The stitching looked like it was about to give way
from many-a baby that kicked their little fat legs while jerking their bodies back and
forth-while their mothers, too, were on that same stroll, stakeout and mission that
Kintahmee was on as well.

The child was smiling, no care in the world-enjoying the ride.

If Baskin Robbins really had thirty-three flavors of ice cream; between Kintahmee
and the baby, they had on the last ten.

The neighborhood had her attention.
I only had her body standing next to me-ready to leave to finish her mission.

Between words we spoke, hers-I could not really hear, because I was mostly talking
to the side of her neck as if her mind was telling her that I was talking out of the
side of mine.

She wouldn’t let me in.

As I talked to the back-side of her head, I noticed her pigtail was pulled so tight
that every strand of her hair and scalp fold had to have been beneath that tan rubber
band that secured it. Her eyes were tightly pulled back toward the direction of that
tight pigtail-pulled such that you could tell she brushed with it a vengeance from
thinking about so many things that made her temperature rise while planning her mission.

She would glance over at me, while looking down to the ground as if that was where I
lay-looking up at her for conversation. Each time I could get a glimpse of her
eyes-I wanted to keep staring. Because still-like I always remembered-they had a kind of
innocence like that of a kid.

Still, her eyelashes were long, still silky and new. They stood straight out and erect,
and shined like the hair that sat on the mannequin in the window of the wig store across
the street from where we stood. I could tell that in her lifetime since I had last seen
and been acquainted with her, her lashes had gotten so much moisture that they had no
choice but to lay flat and shine.

Her lips reminded me of a place where countless boys through men placed theirs and told
her all the things she wanted to hear while picking from the unripe fruit of her emotional
numbness-telling her things that she no longer believes-from anyone, for that matter.

She continued to moisten her lips with a small jar of something that looked like petroleum
jelly as she puckered out and rolled them from side-to-side with a permanent twist of
“mm hmm” [mixed with mistrust, numbness and apathy] as a result of the hand in life she was
dealing with: the antithesis from how she was raised.

She was so numb, but the child was smiling though.
The creases of the right side of black satin jacket that Kintahmee wore had a fast-food
restaurant chain’s name: some joint so small that you can barely cuss a cat in, much less
eat a meal in-but she worked there. She was also the anti-thesis of lazy. Always kept a job on deck.

I smiled.

A phone rang.
I reached for my duffle sac while she reached into the pocket of her satin jacket.

“HELLO?” she yelled with anticipation and completely turned her back to me as she
spoke into the phone while checking the clock on it for the minutes would be using.

Finally she turned her body and face to me, which looked a little different this time:
He must be in’na neighba’hood tal’mout:‘Whatchoo ova’dere doin?’ ”

Mission accomplished.

“Here come Mista,” I said in my head, while the guy with the trendy clothes approached.

No introduction.

No hellos.


Just a slight smile came across her face while she chewed on her barely there nails whose
tips nearly met the cuticles.

Child: still smiling-not a care in the world.

Mista moved closer to Kintahmee and the baby; playing with them both, giving them the
kind of affection that put a smile on her face which made me happy to see as well-the
kind of affection that he could care less about the boys on the corner seeing that he
had him in to give.

Soon thereafter, he was done with the affection as if he had a curator timing him and
with a wooded stick-forced him to turn it off.

The child: still smiling.

Kintahmee: slightly smiling-no longer feeling numb.

My turn.

I squatted down to Baby and turned the stroller towards me so
Kintahmee and Mista could talk, but they barely said a word to one another.

Baby’s deep dimples held my attention as she cooed-still smiling and happy
that I finally made my way down to her from her constant stare and smile up at me.

I would occasionally peek up at Kintahmee-she had that same slight smile and
finger in her mouth; reminiscent of a blushing pre-teen with a school-girl crush.
I could tell…this woman-she still loved this man. In her eyes-in her world: “this no-good man.”

Mista eventually walked away and disappeared into the crowd on the corner
where he originally stood the whole time that we stood there: watching over
Kintahmee and his child.

Remembering what she told me the last time I saw her about not having a phone,
I was caught this time between trying to figure out how to ask for her number
or even if I should. I wondered if I should give her mine-just like I did the
last time I saw her.

I took the plunge.
“Well here, take my number,” I said.
Again this time to grab a pen and paper, I reached for my duffle sac while she
reached back into the satin jacket.

“Give it here,” she said, with the monotone expression in her voice as if she
was about to fake like she was entering it with the elite list of people in her
world-already programmed.

“I use ‘dis here,” she said, pointing the cell phone, not giving a damn about
what the hell I thought of her. Carelessly, shamelessly, frank, and honest,
she defensively concluded: “I aint got no phone at home.”

Glancing over at the corner where Mista stood, I imagined the sky-high home
phone bill that she probably had stashed away in her dresser drawer somewhere from
accepting one too many of Mista’s jailhouse phone calls, now learning to live
without a home phone.

So what, what da hell do I want ‘choe numba fo’ anyway. If I was gone call
I woulda called the last time I saw you and you gave it to me,
” I read her mind,
brows and body language telling me while she looked me up and down…then at me
(finally)-wondering now, in our two separate worlds-what the hell we even had in
common that we could even talk about.

Little did she know, our experiences were the same difference.
We just never got around to sharing them together…

But I let her off the hook, yet again.
So as to give her an easy exit; I turned my attention towards the meat market’s
door and she prepared herself to finish her stroll on the strip.

Her mission was complete.

Yes, knowing that it would invade her space, I still hugged her tightly while in
a flash in my mind; I played out fantasies of being able to set her up straight-give
she and the baby enough to put away for many-a rainy days. She needed it oh so badly.

She relaxed and accepted my sincere embrace-her body did. And although it was in my
head that she smiled, her face did not.

I could deal with that, because smiling like the way I once remembered her-just wasn’t
her thing these days.
I was merely glad that she let me in with my hug.
I was merely glad she now knew that I still loved her-and that I still saw her as the
same happy little girl that she used to be, even after all these years.

Standing at the meat market’s door, I looked her in the eyes and said:
“Hey Kintahmee-keep in touch with me okay?”

“Okay,” she lied.

“Hey. I love you,” I said, sincerely, knowing that she would be numb to that-I
didn’t care though. I only cared that she heard me say it to her.

“Talk to you later,” she replied, as she turned to walk to the right.
Her satin jacket was shining brightly from the cool spring sun beaming onto it.

Mista still stood across the street to the left-watching everything.

By the time I picked up the meat order, loaded it into the car, and pulled out
of the parking lot, I could see the shiny black jacket a couple of blocks down the strip.

From my rear view, Mista was still posted on that same corner-he and Kintahmee
still hadn’t said a word it seemed. Their body language told me so, even from the rear
view short distance. It didn’t even look like what I knew was a fact: that they lived
together and slept in the same bed.

Driving slowly, I watched her as a smile of familiarity came across her face while
she yelled down the street.

Some girl stepped out with the same satin jacket Kintahmee had on-and even the cap to match it.

I think I got a little bit jealous as I drove off the busy strip. I could feel my own
expression on my face-looking as such, so I admitted it to myself.

Kintahmee. A woman now. But once was the sweet girl that I used to think was my little
doll who for years and filled with so much energy and laughter that nothing in the world
could have told me that she would not have grown up to be bubbly, playful and wild like
I remembered her-then.

Way back then she had an amazingly natural sense of humor and was filled with so much
energy and laughter, that sometimes she would wear me down. She was such a doll. I would
pinch her cheeks and burst out and sing to her: “Little Lou Lou, I love you just the same!”
She would laugh so hard, then smack me and run-thinking that I was insulting her.
But it was my “doll song,” because she was a doll to me.

That was all way back when-before “life” stepped in.

Still feeling a little jealous of that familiar smile that came across her face for
BlackSatinJacketWithTheCapToMatch, I played out a corny thought in my mind-wondering if
I had busted out and sang the “Little Lou Lou” song would I, too, have gotten that same
smile of familiarity that she gave to BlackSatinJacketWithTheCapToMatch. I reminisced about
how she used to hang onto my legs and wrestle and fight with me. She was so rambunctious
and cute-loved to be up under and around me any chance she could (really wanting me to sing
my “doll song” to her so she could laugh and act like she hated it).


It has funny way of grabbing hold of people.
People melt and mold themselves into certain ways that life beckons them. I realized that
to be true-at that moment.

Kintahmee had gone through so much in her life that she could only not be numb
around what was like, or familiar to her.

I understood that.

I had to accept that.

I didn’t judge her, and I wanted her to know that. And although I knew it would invade
her space; I hugged her anyways.
I needed to tell her that I loved her-to let her know that I still saw her “as-was.”
And as we are now, I insisted on treating her “as-if.” As if her life (at that very moment)
had gone the direction I thought it would. Her mother was a debutante and she was raised well,
and with all good things and good people who loved her. Somehow, she settled for a life
that was different than expected but I never judged her.

I could tell that she was so used to being judged, that she could turn her
automatic brick mode on and off with the switch of familiarity. BlackSatinJacketWithTheCapToMatch
showed me she could.
Jealous, but I understood.

So many years had gone by and had taken a lot of her with it.
I knew of (personally), so many changes that she had gone through.
Tears came to my eyes as I wondered what it was really like on the inside
of her-nowadays.

In an instant, I got mad at every situation in her life that I knew about-that chipped
away at her bubbly spirit.

I got mad at the environment and slumlords that permitted a human being with a baby to live
in all the places she had lived in over the years.

I was pulling out everyone I could that most probably contributed to bursting her “bubbly.”

I thought and I thought and I thought, but then a smile came across my face.

I had forgotten about the permanent smile on the Baby’s face-and how so very happy
she was-it was just like Kintahmee’s when she was a little girl, toddler and
pre-teen-before life stepped in and got real mean.

Baby was clean, she smelled good, her clothes were clean and she wasn’t hungry-so
I smiled (with the same kind of smile that Kintahmee had on her face when she saw BlackSatingJacketWithTheCapToMatch).

I couldn’t help but smile-because in that moment, I realized that as long “as-is” is treated
“as-if,” everything will fall into its place-no matter who it is.

I couldn’t help but smile.
Because although they barely said two words to one another, I forgot about the way I would
catch Mista looking at Kintahmee with complete adoration in his eyes, but physically showed
it to Baby while Kintahmee stood there with her finger in her mouth like that girl with the
high-school crush.

It was cute to observe.
How soon I forgot.

I couldn’t help but smile.
And in my mind-as I thought about Kintahmee while on the road, she really was
happy-her mission was complete, she got a sincere hug and was told “I love you” from someone
that she loved and adored once upon a time. And little did she know-she was also being adored
by a man that she too, obviously adored-but didn’t even notice the adoration in his face for her.
I did though. I saw it.
And I couldn’t help but smile.

I smiled for her because she, at that very moment in time, was in the company of
BlackSatinJacketWithTheCapToMatch who too, was making her smile and laugh-which therefore,
put a smile in my heart. And
I couldn’t help but smile.”



{February 10, 2011}   The Old Man with the Can.

Everyone laughed, (including me).
He was startled.
The frown in his brow had the familiar look as if he had heard
those kinds of taunts one time too many, and especially here of late.
He tightened his utility belt and gathered his bags, and extra-large
heavy-duty garbage can then pushed it to the center of the isle.

My eyes met his.
I could feel his heart beating and a mile a minute; matching the
uneasiness he was feeling from everyone laughing so loud and so
hard…belly laughs.

I had to let him know that the burst of laughter had nothing to do
with him at all. (I only had a few seconds to communicate this without literally
communicating it to him). So I looked at the guy and girl who were the
subjects of the laughter:
“Oh man, you should have seen you two guys both sitting right next to each
other-chair-to-chair; both of you nodding and falling asleep in unison.
I’ve never seen anything like that!”
I lead.

(Everyone began to adlib and imitate the sources of our laughter).

I looked back up at the man and gave him a respectful nod and said to him:
I beg your pardon,” while using my hands to demonstrate the need for
all of us to make room in the isle for him to walk through.

He relaxed his brow.
Although his heart beat slowed down a bit, he still did not fully trust me,
(so he gave me an “e” for effort).

I handed it right back to him though (mine was for empathy).
Because I understood…
That startled expression on his face told me everything I needed to know…
Regardless, even if he were in a $3000 double-breasted Italian suit and $800
leather shoes, I still saw a man-a man whose face and facial expression had a
story to tell.

He had cleaned enough office buildings, and walked through far too many isles
to this same kind of laughter (most probably about him: An aging veteran,
insisting on working any job available to him. He would much rather die on one
of the many floors he swept, vacuumed and mopped than to die at home on his own
floor-doing nothing but pacing it).
I could tell.

I knew his story…
While turning the pages of it, I could tell that he had experienced life as-was
now caught up into life as-is.
It read:
“Look at all these inconsiderate kids in this isle. Computers, laughing and
playing on the job-sitting on their asses most probably watching new-age cartoons
and playing video games 90% of the day. Probably doing real work only the other 10% of it.
They have no idea what “real” work is. Neither one of ’em haven’t a
callous on their hands or a real soul in their chests-insensitive, pompous assholes and
inglorious bastards, these kids are. No care in the world and especially none for the next man.
I could sit and tire them all out with stories of what “real” hard work is.
They couldn’t even handle it in a conversation; much less entertain the thought of doing it!”

I closed the page of his book and watched him walk through the isle with his extra-large
heavy duty garbage can leading the way.
Still, I sent him packing and off with that respectful nod, letting him know that
I read his story.
Final score:
E: Empathy for Him.
E: Effort from Me, (still) 😦

And still…I went home to my “as-is” life, and my “as-is” living: A side of hurry up-no wait,
wrapped with everything in an instant.
This is life!

I thought nothing of the old man for the next twenty-four to thirty-six hours.

Then, he reappeared.
Same bat-time.
Same bat-channel.

We were all turned to the computers (actually doing “real” work as we knew it).
The isle was free and clear.
It was quiet this time.
Not so quiet that you could hear a pin drop, but you could hear the keys of about ten hands
(free of calluses) typing at a speed that was still unimpressive to the old man.
No one seemed to be impressed with him either-ever, he didn’t even exist.
His presence was so unacknowledged and unimpressive that, if he was crazy and wanted
to do anything crazy; no one in the whole office could probably even identify him.

As if I had eyes on the sides and back of my head, while still typing, I watched as
he would do his norm: reach under or around each of us at our cubicles-in search of
our mini garbage cans filled with soda-cans, paper and snack wrappers from having eaten
all day (allegedly, while working -so his mind said, and I read in this open book of his).
I read on:
“I hope none of you spilled anything that’ll smell,” said the man.
“Because I’m going to grab and dump-no new clear plastic baggies for you little
boys and girls,”
he laughed to himself.

By the time he got closer to my cubicle, I quietly turned to look at him across from me,
dumping my co-workers mini garbage can-still lined with the same liner warmed-over and over and over.

I turned my head quickly, so that he couldn’t see me stare while reading his book.
I closed it quickly.

Instead of the norm and what he was used to happening to him floor wide;
I had to show him different.
I had to show him that someone acknowledged his hard work and that it was work nonetheless.
I had to show him that not all boys and girls were inglorious, pompous, insensitive and
inconsiderate bastards, and that sometimes-we just get swept away in our own little
cubicles of the world and only tend only to (unfortunately).
Blame it on the as-is (or just, as we are)-still, I wanted him to know that he was
appreciated and that if no one read his book, I at least did.
So instead of having him bend down and underneath the cubicle desk where I sat,
in search of my mini garbage can; I took it upon myself to reach under and hand it to him-making
sure that I still acknowledged his presence while still typing onto my computer.
Like a kind of curtsy, along with the mini garbage can; I also handed him a nod, a friendly smile,
and a barely-there whisper that could be read by eyes: “Hello to you sir.”
He returned the nod.
I read his lips and barely-there whisper:
“And hello to you,” he smiled back.

I continued to type and noticed that it was taking a longer than usual time for him to
hand back to me-my mini garbage can, so I slowed down and turned to my right to look at him.

He smiled again and placed his index finger in the air to signal for me to “wait.”
He winked at me as if he had a secret he was a about to tell me.
I smiled.
He then reached into his utility belt wrapped around his body to get a
new clear plastic bag for my mini garbage can, and snapped it open like
a magician performing a magic trick!
I smiled harder (as did my heart).
“Thank you,” I barely whispered-and he read…
“You are quite welcome-thank you,” he barely whispered (and I read).

He insisted on replacing my newly decorated can neatly- and back in place beneath my desk.
Yet this time, like the proud man and gentleman he was, he wanted to return the mini
garbage can in its rightful place as a gesture of appreciation for merely being acknowledged,
respected and appreciated-all without having said or done much of anything but a mere look
in the eye, a barely-there whisper, a nod, and a smile.
He did me one better.
He wiped down the sides of my cubicle with something smelled like heaven.
And me (with all my “as-is” life-living in all its splendor), I somehow felt
“special” …in an “as-was” kinda way.
The smile on my face probably matched the feeling I could tell he probably had never
felt in many years: the acknowledgement of a hard-working old man who would probably
out-work the average young man.
I just had to let him know; somehow, someway, someday-that I noticed if no one else did.
I simply cannot explain to you (in words) how much that meant to me, too-being acknowledged by him-(too).
We both got something out of mere gestures of kindness that did not even require conversation.

You know.

Sometimes we get caught up into our la-di-da lives and whether selfishness is to blame,
or the mere routine of having tunnel vision is to blame; we have to slow down sometimes
and acknowledge the fact that there are people in the world around us who
[if they receive nothing but a mere smile and nod] could make their day.
You never know someone else’s story, what they are feeling or what they have gone
through that put them in or out of a situation that they are in.
Everyone’s (true) story is not always on their sleeve, their forehead, behind their
smile [or in our as-is lives]; on some internet wall.
Simply because we may not identify with some things or some people in the world around us,
does not mean that they or those things will just-go away: poof and be gone.
A mere leg turned to the side to allow someone to reach beneath you to grab a garbage can
without so much as looking up to acknowledge their presence can communicate: “Poof! Be gone!”
Continuing to work and if not acknowledging them by looking them in the eye, but rather,
merely saying: “thank you,” is acknowledgment nonetheless.
So be that as it may… smile at someone today.
You never know, it just might make their day.

(And at the very least, make your desk cleaner than your neighbors) 🙂

The end…

{January 29, 2011}   ABOUT THIS BLOG SITE

Just: Angie

Doing Angie

Always…All ways.

et cetera