Imagine Her Being a Butterfly

It’s hard to imagine a black woman being a butterfly in this world.

Can you imagine that?

I hope that some of you can, but I struggle to imagine it.

I think about a black woman who protested and risked her life every single day for the justice of a black man.

Unfortunately, that black woman would later be sexually assaulted and murdered by a black man.

Can you imagine that?

Then, I think about a black woman who was sleeping in the privacy and safety of her own home.

Her own home would be mistakenly invaded by the police.

She would then be brutally murdered by the police.

Can you imagine that?

I think about how a black woman’s protection is conditional.

For some black men, a black woman has to meet certain criteria points in order to have their protection and love.

At the same time, she must still be strong.

Never weak, always strong.

A black woman must listen and submit themselves to these black men in order to have some of their protection.

Can you imagine that?

 

I think about these things and wonder if a black woman can truly be a butterfly.

Can she fly, flutter and be free?

Or will she always be a caterpillar trapped in a unbreakable cocoon?

I would love to see a black woman be a butterfly.

It would be beautiful and glorious, but I struggle to imagine it.

She always has to meet certain standards.

She’s always expected to stand, fight, protest, protect and march.

She’s always getting attacked for doing too little or too much.

I often wonder does she even have the time and opportunity to be a butterfly?

I’m genuinely asking because I have no idea.

Can you be positive about the future of a black woman?

Can you see a black woman be free and exceed expectations?

Can you see her fly high in the sky?

Can you imagine a black woman being a butterfly?

 

 

A Black Girl’s Dream

Black girls have dreams too.

I wish I could tell you all of their dreams, but I can only tell you one black girl’s dreams.

I hope more black girls’ dreams can be shared.

But for now, it’s just one black girl’s dream I’m sharing.

I promise nothing more and nothing less.

Just one black girl’s dream.

 

This black girl has a dream that she has a choice.

She has a dream that she doesn’t always have to be strong.

She dreams of having moments of being weak and vulnerable because everyone deserves those moments.

She also dreams that she doesn’t always have to be a warrior, a nurturer or an activist.

This black girl dreams of being a dreamer, a lover or even her own woman.

She dreams of not always being in the frontlines of fighting racism and injustice.

She dreams of black men wanting to protect her rather than having her fight as well.

Or fight beside her.

Again, this is not every black girls’ dream.

Just one black girl’s dream.

 

Can a black girl dream?

Can she make her dreams become a reality?

Or is she always expected to face the harsh realities of this cruel world?

I have no idea.

I’m just sharing one black girl’s dream.

Just one black girl’s dream.

 

I would like to give thanks to my little sister Shawna for this poem. She was the inspiration behind this poem.

This poem is also dedicated to Oluwatoyin Salau, Breonna Taylor, black women and black girls. You all matter in this time of protesting, and you all deserve to be treated and protected better by everyone, especially black men.

We Are Always Wrong

Throughout history, we have always been wrong in their eyes.

In times of slavery, we were wrong.

In times of Reconstruction, we were wrong.

In times of segregation, we were wrong.

In times of the Civil Rights Movement, we were wrong.

In times of marching, we were wrong.

In times of protesting, we were wrong.

In times of kneeling, we were wrong.

 

When will we ever be right in their eyes?

When will we ever get their support?

When will our anger, frustrations, disappointments and sadness be recognized in their eyes?

I fear we will never know.

I fear that we can never be right in their eyes.

 

So what should we do?

How can we please them with our actions?

How can we make them comfortable with our marching and protesting?

Honestly, there is no way to appease them.

They will always think we are wrong, but it honestly doesn’t matter what they think.

They have no right to tell us how to think or feel for our people.

They have no right to tell us how to march and protest for our people.

They have no right to tell us how to grieve for our people.

They have no right to tell us how to fight for our people.

They don’t own us anymore.

We are not their slaves anymore.

 

Too many black lives have been lost to racism and injustice in America.

Real change is necessary for our people.

Our anger and mourning are justified, don’t let them tell you otherwise.

Justice for our people must come soon.

I’m tired of them telling us to wait, to calm down and to be patient.

That time has long passed.

White Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Island Americans, Italian Americans, Irish Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans, we need your support against them.

Help us fight them and show them that black lives matter.

 

Who am I talking about?

Who are the “they” that I am talking about?

They are the ones with all the power in this country.

They are the ones that have evil and hatred in their hearts.

They are the ones that allow racism and discrimination to run this country.

They are the ones that turn a blind eye to injustice against people of color.

They are the ones that always change the subject when it comes to black lives and police brutality.

They are the ones that quickly tell us that all lives matter.

They are the ones that tell us to let things go.

They are the ones that tell us that they see no color.

They are the ones that tell us to shut up.

They are the ones that tell us that things are better for us now, and we should be grateful.

They are the ones that tell us that we’re wrong in how we peacefully protest.

They are the ones that tell us that we are always wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

The Old Man at the Bus Stop

I wait patiently for my bus at an abandoned mall.

I remember my times at this abandoned yet familiar mall.

I remember the sacred moments I had with family, friends and even a girl.

I especially think about the girl and the spot we shared together.

I miss the spot.

I miss the girl.

I think about those two things too much sometimes,

When I’m at the bus stop.

I long to forget about the paradise I once had in my life.

 

A few drops of rain fall from a gray sky.

It adds a little more sadness into my heart.

I wonder why there can’t be more sunshine in the sky or even in my soul?

I miss the sunshine that I once had in life.

I wish for it, but it’s long gone.

It’s somewhere far away, while I’m in a place of darkness.

A place I fear that I will never escape.

Is escape possible?

As usual, I don’t have an answer.

God really does know how to create a depressing situation.

Enters the old man.

 

I look at the old man, and he seems sad and depressed.

He is a white man with a gray beard.

Then, I see a part of his hat that read “Vietnam” on it.

He’s a veteran, I naturally assume.

I start to feel bad for him

Because it seems like he had suppressed one too many things

That I could never imagine.

That weight of suppression has him looking down at not only the world but also himself.

He is lost and abandoned.

 

The old man looks at me, says hi and gives me his best smile.

I did the same thing as well.

I want to keep my distance and not talk anymore.

Nothing against him, but I’m just comfortable with silence and my own thoughts.

There’s just comfort in being alone.

People just complicate your state of mind.

However, he wants to talk some more with me.

I want to politely tell him that I don’t want to have a conversation

But then I stop myself.

I realize that maybe we both really need this conversation.

Maybe our conversation would have a purpose.

Maybe meeting each other was crafted by God.

Maybe I’m stretching, but I need to find out for myself.

 

Five minutes into our conversation, we’re sharing laughter and smiles.

We’re sharing our emotions and feelings.

We’re sharing anything we can.

I never expected to share so much to him.

I share so many secrets and disappointments

How could I admit and open up so much to a stranger,

When I struggle with being honest with others and myself?

 

He looks at me and asks me when was the last time I cried.

I tell him with ease that it’s been a long time.

Then he tells me to not be afraid to do so.

He was a soldier,

He admits that there were times that he had to cry.

Crying really helped him let go.

 

He pleads for me to cry when I get the opportunity.

Before I can respond, my bus arrives.

I look at him and promise that I will try.

He nods his head, smiles and thanks me for having a conversation with him.

I tell him that it was an honor.

I say goodbye to him and get on the bus.

The bus rides away from the abandoned mall.

And I leave the old man at the bus stop.

 

This poem is dedicated to a veteran that I had a conversation with at a bus stop two years ago. It was one of the most realest conversations I ever had with someone, and I’m so thankful and blessed for that conversation.

Happy Memorial Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hugs and Kisses

It’s not hard to show you love and affection.

In fact, it’s the easiest thing.

I know it’s because you’ve taught me so much about love.

It’s also because you’re a person that I can’t live without.

I can’t be without your love because it hits different.

It’s been with me since the day I was born.

It’s been with me in times that I was struggling and needing it most.

It’s a love that is unconditional.

Thank you for that love.

I don’t know who I would be without it.

It has shaped and molded me into the person that I am today.

Without it, I would be lost.

Without it, I wouldn’t know how love really felt.

 

Some people don’t know how to love properly because they were never taught how to.

Thank you for being that teacher for me.

You’ve always taught me that love is patient and kind.

You’ve always taught me that the true beauty of love comes through growth.

It’s consistent and built on the foundations of hard work and trust.

I thank God every day for you showing me that different kind of love.

I wonder how can I thank you for it though?

I don’t think I can even compare to all the time, energy and love you poured into me all my life.

However, I can try every single day for you.

I don’t mind.

In fact, I’m thankful and honored that I can.

I love you so much with all my heart.

 

I promise to strive and give you that special kind of love.

I promise that it will be an unconditional love.

I promise you a love that is patient and kind.

I promise you an affectionate love that consists of hugs and kisses.

 

This poem is dedicated to my mama for Mother’s Day Weekend. I love her so much, and I’m thankful and blessed for everything that she has done for me as a mother. She really put in the necessary time, energy and love in me that has helped shape the person that I am today. Mama, I hope you feel loved and cherished today on Mother’s Day. Thank you again for being such an amazing mother to me, and Zaiah Bear loves you berry much!

The Strangest Compliment: Episode Two

In this episode, I received not one, but two strange compliments from a girl that I consider a friend. The first compliment wasn’t weird or crazy, but it was an unexpected compliment that made me feel some type of way. It was a compliment that she didn’t give to her boyfriend at the time, but she wasn’t afraid to give me this compliment. I didn’t necessarily know how to respond to the compliment, but I think that I gave a reasonable response. The other compliment was more of a realization of where I stand as her friend. It’s a compliment that I think a lot of guys get, but they don’t know nothing about it. Let me tell you all about it.

Last summer, I was hanging out with my friend Rosa at Taco Bell on a Saturday afternoon. It had been a while since I hung out with Rosa, and it was nice to have an opportunity to catch up with her. At Taco Bell, we both got Doritos Locos Tacos and some drinks. We’re sitting down, taking bites of our tacos and we start to realize that there’s something missing in our tacos. We both smiled and realized that we needed some hot sauces on our tacos. So, I got up and went to get a handful of different sauces for our tacos. I brought the sauces back to our table, and we went crazy and drenched our tacos with hot sauces. Then, we started eating our tacos with pure satisfaction.

After we were done eating, we started talking, sharing a few laughs and catching up. I ended up telling her about this girl that I had been on one date with and how there was something strange about her. Rosa was excited and ready for me to spill the tea. So, I explained that on my first date with this girl, she was talking about being exclusive.

Rosa was surprised to hear this and said, “Wait a minute, she asked if you wanted to be exclusive on the first date? That’s interesting, but I know that must’ve freaked you out.”

Rosa knows me and knows that I don’t believe in putting all your eggs in one basket. Meaning, I don’t believe in hopelessly chasing after ONE girl and putting all your time and energy into that ONE girl, even after one date. I think that it takes time and 5-7 dates to determine if you want to be exclusive with that person. Also, I think it’s okay to be talking to other girls, while you’re dating someone because I think it’s important to have options.

Going back to the story, I replied, “Yeah, it kind of caught me off guard. It surprised me. I guess she was really feeling me on that date.”

“Wow, and what was your response?”

“Well, I said alright and told her that I wouldn’t be talking to other girls anymore. It would be just her.”

“Really? Why would you say that? Aren’t you talking to three other girls?”

“I was, but not anymore. I gave my word that I would be exclusive to her, and I’m keeping it. I cut them other girls out, and I’m just talking to her. I mean, I guess I kinda like her and maybe there’s something there.”

Rosa smiled and said, “That’s what’s up. I hope things work out.”

I shook my head and said, “Yeah, I just have a bad feeling about just being with her. I don’t know, I feel like I’m gonna be disappointed at the end of it all.”

Rosa groaned and replied, “Isaiah, you are such a pessimist when it comes to girls. I just don’t understand it.”

I explained, “I just don’t trust y’all. It’s just that y’all be playing too many games.”

Rosa responded, “Says the guy that talks to multiple girls and has a really hard time committing to one girl.”

I chuckled and said, “First of all, I don’t have an issue committing to one girl. I believe in pursuing the right girl rather than aimlessly chasing after some girl like a hopeless romantic. By the way, why do girls find hopeless romantics attractive?”

She responded, “Because there’s just something sweet about a guy obsessing over you and thinking about you and only you. He goes out of his way to win your heart and treasures everything about you. It’s so romantic.”

I replied, “But that kind of sounds forced and tiring for the guy though. Plus, that level of consistency is unrealistic, and how do you know it’s authentic? What if a guy’s just being this way to catch you like a fish. He has the right bait by being a hopeless romantic, and he ends up deceiving and catching you and you’re disappointed with the results?”

“Isaiah, you’re reaching, that’s not how it is.

“I’m just saying that it sounds like hopeless romantics force love and try to control it, but that’s not how love works. Love is this beautiful, uncontrollable, natural force. It’s patient and kind, and it’s something that is shared and mutual between two people, and it’s not so one-sided.”

Rosa was impressed with my thoughts on love, but she still pointed out that I was still the guy that talked to multiple girls. I sighed and said, “Oh my goodness, y’all are just as bad if not worse. Y’all be talking to other guys too, y’all are just really slick about it.”

Rosa shook her head and replies, “Maybe before we meet a guy, but once we start dating a guy, we’re invested in him.”

I responded, “I definitely believe that, but y’all still have guys around in case things don’t work out. Y’all just have them disguised as your ‘guy’ friends.”

Rosa rolled her eyes at me because she knew where I was heading. She knew that I was about to bring up an interesting rule that I apply to girls all the time. This rule could also be attributed to guys, but in most cases it’s attributed to girls. It’s called the 20% rule. This rule implies that at least 20% of a girl’s friends that are guys are attracted and interested in being with her. For instance, if a girl has 20 straight guy friends, then at least four or five them are interested in being with her.

Rosa couldn’t necessarily say anything because this rule is accurate with her. In our friend group, it was me, her, Jake, Paul, Stanley and Bryce. Five straight guys total that she was friends with. Three of them (Bryce, Paul and Stanley) were trying to get with her. That’s way above the 20% mark with it being 60% of the guys she’s friends with were trying to get with her. Jake and I knew this, and Rosa eventually and slowly found out about this. She claimed that she was oblivious to this, but I didn’t necessarily believe that. I do think that some girls are oblivious to guys liking them, but for the most part girls know when guys are interested in them. Rosa is a very smart, attractive, flirtatious girl, and she always knows when guys are trying to get with her. Rosa likes receiving attention from guys, so it was hard for me to believe that she was clueless about the whole situation between Bryce, Paul and Stanley, but that’s another story.

Going back to this story, Rosa asked me then if I think it’s wrong for a girl to have “guy” friends. I quickly replied that it’s not wrong at all. I do believe that a guy and a girl can have a genuine friendship with one another as long as boundaries are created and set. At the same time, I do believe that girls keep certain guys around in case things don’t work out with their significant other because you never know. I think girls have backup options because I don’t think girls want to completely start over, and it’s more convenient for them to have backups.

Rosa understood where I was coming from, but then she had another question. She asked, “So, do you think that the girl you’re dating now has backup options?”

I replied, “Yeah, she probably does. I just really don’t care too much about it. I’m aware of it, but I’m not gonna stress about it because it’s not necessary. I’m mostly just thinking about her. I promised to be exclusive to her after one date, and that’s what I’m gonna do. I gonna be as real and as honest as I can be, and we’ll see where it goes.”

Rosa liked my response and assured me that things would definitely work out with us. They did not, but that’s another story. Let’s just say that I will never again put all my eggs in one basket.

Alright, let’s get to the juicy part of this story. I ended up asking Rosa how things were with her boyfriend Dexter. Rosa quickly told me that Dexter wasn’t her boyfriend. I was confused, and Rosa told me that he doesn’t necessarily believe in titles. It sounded like they were in some kind of a situationship. This surprised me because she is the type of girl that wants to claimed, and it just sounded like she was settling for less.

I asked her if she was okay with that. She replied, “Yeah, it’s honestly not a big deal for me. We’re definitely in a good place, and he’s just so romantic and sweet with me. We have amazing conversations and our text messages are funny and ridiculous. He’s just so obsessed over me, and he’s such a hopeless romantic, I love it.”

I responded that’s what’s up. As she was talking about him more in detail, it sounded like they were “single but together.” I asked Rosa how long have they been together, and she told me eight months. I was shocked. Then, I said, “Oh that’s what’s up! Look at y’all going all strong and everything, that’s awesome! Being all in love and everything and—

Rosa interrupted, “Oh, we’re not in love. We’ve never said ‘I love you’ to each other.”

This was quite strange to me because Dexter and Rosa had been together for eight months, and they never said “I love you” to each other. I asked Rosa how come they haven’t, and she just told me that it’s not a big deal to them. They just haven’t felt it for each other.

Rosa and I kept going back and forth about them not saying “I love you” to each other because it’s just super weird and confusing to me. How could you not love someone after being with them for eight months?

I started joking and saying that they’re in “luh” rather than in love. I explained that it’s a term that my best friend Obi created. It means that you have a little bit of love for a person, but you’re afraid to be fully in love with a person. You’re simply in “luh.”

Then, I said, “You and ole boy are in luh. You can’t deny the luh that you two have for each other. Your luh is real.”

She laughed and told me to shut up. I chuckled and continued, “Dexter has so much luh for you, and you’re playing games. You luh that boy, and he luh you. It’s that simple when it comes to luh.”

We both started laughing, and she said, “Oh my goodness, I can’t with you. You sound so ridiculous. But nah, I’ll say it when I mean it. I don’t want to say it if I don’t mean it, you know? Plus, I don’t want to look like a fool. When I say it, I mean it, especially with a guy.”

I nodded my head in agreement and said, “Yeah, I agree and understand. You should definitely say it when you mean it. At the same time, you shouldn’t be afraid to love somebody.”

Then, Rosa looked at me in my eyes and whispered, “I mean…I love you.”

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that strange compliment from Rosa. It took me by surprise because it came from a place of vulnerability, and it meant something more than just a friend. For a second, I didn’t know what to say, but I knew I had to say something fast. So, I smiled and responded, “Aww thank you.”

After I said this, I could tell that my response kind of upset her a little. So, I added, “I’m just kidding, I luh you too, girl.”

My comment put a smile on Rosa’s face, and she just responded, “Isaiah, you’re something else, you’re so weird and extra.”

We both laughed, and I said, “Yeah, I am a little crazy and weird every now and then. And I most definitely extra, I can’t even front. Also, I’m not ashamed of it thank you very much.”

We continued talking some more, and we eventually ended up leaving Taco Bell. I drove her home, and we said our goodbyes. As I was driving home, I couldn’t stop thinking about how Rosa told me that she loves me. What does that even mean? Then, I slowly realized that she does in a sense see me as a backup option for her. I didn’t know how to feel about being Rosa’s backup option, when I just saw her as a friend and nothing more. It’s honestly a strange, weird compliment to be someone’s backup.

It’s kind of nice to be someone’s backup, but I wonder if Rosa and I could still be friends. Can I really be friends with someone that has strong feelings for me? I have an answer to this question, but that’s another story. I just can’t believe the two strange compliments that I received from my friend Rosa

This is the end of “The Strangest Compliment: Episode Two.”

 

 

My Conversation With God

Why do I pray to you every single day?

Is it because I’m required to?

Is it because I’m trying to get something I want that only you can give me?

Or is it for a specific reason?

 

Please, give me the answer.

Am I praying because religion requires it for me to get into Heaven?

Am I praying because I have to place my hopes, wishes and dreams in you?

Am I praying because it will help me fulfill a specific purpose in my life?

I don’t know, but I hope that I can find the answer for myself.

 

I’ve lost my faith in religion, I hope that doesn’t offend you.

It’s just that I recognized that I can’t rely on church to get me closer to you.

There are too many rules, politics, judgement and discrimination involved within the church that make it hard to get close to you.

Please forgive me when I say that church is not the gateway to you.

Instead, I think that it’s a dangerous tool.

However, I still want to use it but with caution.

But I recognize that it’s not the answer to you.

Only my faith and relationship with you is the answer.

 

I hope that you’re with everyone that I care about.

I hope that you’re with everyone that has hurt me in different ways.

I hope that you’re with everyone that needs you right now.

I hope that you can give them all the strength to fight the demons that they’re dealing with that I have knowledge and little knowledge about.

I hope and pray.

 

As our conversation is coming to an end, I want you to know that I love you with all my heart.

I’m not ashamed of having you in my life.

You’re the one thing that has helped me believe in myself.

You taught me that hard work, patience and dedication will lead to the miracles in my life.

I thank you for the strength you’ve given me to go get my blessings that you established in my life.

Thank you for all the things you have done in my life.

And thank you for this conversation.

 

 

 

 

 

No One Like You

When I’m with other girls, I think about you.

I compare you to them, and I’m disappointed with the results.

I wonder why they can’t be like you?

Why they can’t put my mind at ease like you can?

Why they can’t hold me like you can?

Why they can’t kiss me like you can?

Why is it so hard with them, but it was easy with you?

 

I know that we didn’t fall in love, but we were close.

I remember that night in your room where love was patiently waiting for us.

I knew that if we took things further that night, love would be certain in our relationship.

You were all over me, and your kisses were different.

They wanted something more from me.

They wanted every part of my body, and they were hard to resist.

 

The taste of your lips was irresistible to me.

I couldn’t stop sucking and licking them.

They were just like candy.

So sweet and so delicious.

They knew how to treat me right.

Why can’t other lips be like your lips?

 

We almost make love a reality, but I push you away at the last minute.

You understand, but you’re hurt.

How could I not give love a chance with you?

Sadly, I was bound to the fears and rules that shaped me.

God was so proud of me, but I was disappointed in myself.

I try to tell you that you did nothing wrong, but you don’t believe me.

Instead, you want me to leave.

I do as you wish and leave you alone.

 

How could I be so foolish with you?

How could I not take things further with you?

How could I not allow myself to fall in love with you?

I know I was young, but I could’ve done better.

That night with you always haunts me because you could’ve been the first girl I ever loved.

 

I fear that you were the one that was supposed to be my everything.

I fear that you were my one chance at love.

I fear that you will always be a nightmare.

I fear that no one will ever be like you.

 

 

 

 

 

The Strangest Compliment: Episode One

In this episode, I witnessed an old man give one of the strangest compliments I ever heard to a female coworker of mine. It was compliment that had me dying of laughter, and it really made my day. I remember the old man trying to explain his rationale to me, but the damage had been done. The compliment he gave was weird, off the wall and a little creepy. It’s a compliment that one should never use on a woman, especially a young woman. It’s a compliment that all men should stay away from. Let me tell you all about it.

Back when I was working at Sheetz, I remember that I was coming in for my usual 6am-2pm shift. It was a Friday, and I was somewhat in the mood to work with only four hours of sleep. I came in at 5:59, and I saw this new female coworker of mine behind the counter. Her name was Fate, and it was her third day on the job. She was a gorgeous, attractive, young woman, and she was a very optimistic and happy person at Sheetz. I enjoyed working with her all of the time. It was always fun and cool working with her. She would always make me laugh, and I would always make her laugh too, and we just had a really good vibe. It also helped that she was black too. It was nice that another person of color was working at Sheetz, and I didn’t feel so alone.

I walk inside, see Fate behind the counter and say hi to her. She gives me a big smile and says hi back to me. One of my other coworkers, Sara, noticed my interaction with Fate. I put my head back and sighed because I knew what was coming. I went to the backroom, clocked in and saw Sara. I said hi to her, and she gave me a big smile. I chuckled and said, “What is it, Sara?”

“The new girl is kinda cute, huh,” Sara said.

I laughed and replied, “Yeah, she’s cute, I can’t deny it.”

“So, when’s the biggest flirt in the store gonna get her number?”

I laughed and said, “Sara, I’m not a flirt. I’m just friendly, that’s all. I am not flirtatious in any way.”

“Whatever makes you sleep at night, flirt, just go out there and work your magic,” Sara replied.

I just laughed and shook my head. Before I could say anything, Sara left and went to the kitchen. I grabbed my headset and went to the front where Fate was stationed. There was a little line formed to the register, so I wasn’t too concerned with taking care of it by myself. I went to an open register and started ringing customers’ items. I saw that Fate was almost finished with a customer, so I said, “Hey Fate, after that customer, you’re good to go, I can take care of this line myself.”

“Wow, you’re so eager to push me away, I thought we had something special,” Fate joked.

I laughed and replied, “Nah, we don’t, it’s about time for you to go and get the steppin.”

We both laughed, and she said, “You’re so silly, but I have to help you with this line.”

I didn’t object because if she wanted to stay, then that was her prerogative. If the situations were reversed, I would’ve been gone already. Her shift was over, and there was no reason for her to stay and help me out. At the same time, it was sweet of her to stay with me and bring down the line.

Anyways, I was ringing up a customer when this old, black man was at Fate’s register. He was in his late 40s, early 50s. He was a regular customer that would come in Monday-Friday in the morning before he had to go to work. However, he was at Sheetz earlier than usual. I wondered why he was at Sheetz, but then it was revealed. He looked at her and said, “My oh my, I heard about you but you looking even better in person. How you doing?”

Of course, he came for Fate. I was nervous because I didn’t what this old man was about to say to Fate, but I knew that it was going to be something crazy and off the wall. I just had a feeling.

Fate gave a nervous chuckle and said, “Oh wow, I’m doing good, I’m just about to be—

I interrupted, “Fate, hurry up, we got a line forming, you gotta talk and work.”

I interrupted because I knew that Fate was about to tell him that she was about to be done with work. There was no reason for him to know that, especially with the fact that he came for her. The old man laughed and said, “Isaiah, she’s doing a fine, great job with me, you don’t have to worry about her.”

I chuckled and said alright. Then, he continued, ” By the way, you’re such a pretty, little thing. Isn’t she pretty, Isaiah?”

I nodded in agreeance and Fate thanked him for the compliment. Now, I thought that he was done after he said that. That would’ve been a good stopping point for him, but there was more. Yes, what he said next was a truly strange compliment. He said, “Now, are you sure that you’re old enough to work here at Sheetz? You don’t really look that old, but you’re looking¬† just as cute and pretty as a 12-year-old girl.”

My mouth was wide open when he said that. I was so confused and perplexed that I didn’t know what to do. I looked at Fate, and she had this horrified look on her face. I’ll admit that Fate did look young for her age but to call her a 12-year-old girl was kind of pushing it and a little bit more of an insult than a compliment. How was she going to respond? I wondered. She looked at him, gave a nervous smile and chuckled and asked him what did he mean by that. He explained, “Nah, I meant that you have this youthful look about you. You know what I mean? It’s like this, you look like you’re 16 years old. It’s a compliment to your youthful look, baby girl.”

I was trying so hard to keep my laughter, but it was so hard. I was in tears and just trying to keep it together. Then, Fate laughed and said, “I’m older than 16 years old, though. That’s kind of messed up that you think that I’m a child.”

“No, it ain’t even like that,” he said. The old man tried to plead his case, but he was failing miserably. He wanted me to help him out, but I couldn’t. I was trying to keep my composure because I had just heard the weirdest compliment I ever heard. Eventually, he ended up looking at his watch and realizing that he needed to go. He grabbed his things, looked at Fate and said, “I’ll see you around, baby girl. You doing an amazing job, don’t let Isaiah tell you otherwise.”

Once he left the building, I ended up just laughing like crazy. I was rolling. Fate smiled at my laughter and asked me what just happened. I ceased laughter, wiped the tears out of my eyes and said, “Clearly, he likes them young, my bad, real young with his old, pedophilic self. I can’t believe he compared you to a 12-year-old girl.”

We both ended up laughing, and she just couldn’t believe it herself. She said, “Yeah, it was so weird and creepy, I hope I don’t see him again.”

“Oh, you will. He likes you, and he’s trying to get to know you. These old men that come in here, are trying to get young, pretty girls that are employees here like you in any way they can. They think they can say or do whatever they want to you because you can’t run away from them. Ironically, they think you’re product in the store that they can own. It’s sad and pathetic, which is why you gotta be careful here, especially with the male customers. This place is toxic towards the women that work here, remember that.” I stated.

She understood, but she wondered what she was going to do about the old man. I replied, “Oh, that’s easy, all you gotta do is just tell him that you gotta boyfriend,” I responded.

Fate laughed and responded, “But that’s lying, Isaiah. Plus, maybe I won’t see him again.”

It’s true, she wouldn’t see him again. In fact, he would come in the very next day trying to find her. She wouldn’t be there, but I would be there. However, that’s another story. I just really wasn’t expecting such a strange compliment at Sheetz.

This is the end of “The Strangest Compliment: Episode One.”

Be sure to like, comment and share your thoughts on this short story. There are more episodes to come in this short story series “The Strangest Compliment.”

 

 

Getting Condoms With A Friend

Last summer, my friend Marvin and I were working out at Planet Fitness. It was a Thursday, around 8:30 when we met up at the gym. We ran on the tread mill, worked on our stomach and arms. We ended up being done at 10:00. After we’re done working out, I remembered that I needed to get some water and bread from Walmart. I asked Marvin if he wanted to come to Walmart with me, and he said yeah sure. As we were walking to our cars, I joked, “Hey Marvin, while we’re at Walmart we should get some condoms.”

I laughed at my comment, and Marvin had this confused look on his face. He looked at me and said, “Oh my God, Isaiah. Why would we get condoms? There’s no reason for us to get condoms, bro.”

We both started chuckling, and I said, “You’re right, there’s no reason for us to get condoms. After all, I have so many anyways.”

Marvin stopped walking. I looked at him, and he had this shocked look on his face. I started laughing like crazy at his face, and he was yelling that this was not a laughing matter. He wanted an explanation. So, I chuckled and explained, “Yeah man, I got two in my wallet, four in my backpack, two in my jacket and two in my car. I may have a few at home, too. Other than that, I don’t have that many.”

Marvin exclaimed, “Oh my God, Isaiah. Why do you have so many condoms? There’s no reason for you to have that many condoms, considering you’re…you know…a…um…a…

“A what? Come on, say it with your chest. Don’t be scared,” I interrupted.

Marvin nervously said, “You’re…you know…a…um…virgin. And there’s nothing wrong…

“I know that there’s nothing wrong with being a virgin, thank you very much. Do you know how many girls have been trying to get with this irresistible, caramel body? I’m thankful and blessed to be a virgin, it’s nothing that I’m ashamed or embarrassed about, and you shouldn’t be either,” I said.

Marvin chuckled and said that I was right. Then, we went back to talking about me having condom. Marvin asked for proof of condoms that I had.¬†I said okay, and I showed the two condoms in my wallet and the two in my jacket. Then, we went to my car, and I showed him the two condoms in my car. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my backpack and jacket with me, but the condoms that Marvin saw were enough evidence to him. He had this horrified look on his face, and he said, “Oh my God, Isaiah. Why do you have condoms in the first place? Are you talking to someone that I don’t know about or something, bro?”

I laughed and said, “Nah man, I ain’t talking to nobody. I mean, I hung out with that one girl and nothing crazy happened. I just have condoms for protection, and it’s nice to have them because you never know.”

“Oh my God, Isaiah. Wait, are you still trying to wait till marriage?” Marvin asked.

I told him that I was still trying, then he said, “Then, aren’t you more likely to have sex with a girl if you have a condom with you?”

I laughed and replied, “No because having a condom is like an emergency break for a car. You’re never gonna use it, but it’s good to have it with you. You’ll only use it in case of an emergency.”

Marvin didn’t understand my argument, and we kept going back and forth about me having a condom. We argued for five minutes, until we decided to agree to disagree. Then, I smiled and added, “Well, I think you should get some condoms at Walmart.”

Marvin asked why he would do such a thing. I said, “Well, aren’t you going to visit your girlfriend in Virginia this weekend? You don’t want to be unprepared when she’s ready to get it on and all.”

Marvin blushed and said, “Oh my God, Isaiah. You honestly think that me and Mary are gonna do it?

I chuckled and said, “Oh yeah, it’s very possible. I’m like 80% sure that y’all are gonna do it. You two haven’t seen each other in months, and it just wouldn’t surprise me if y’all did anything.”

He agreed with me, and I told him that it honestly wouldn’t hurt to get some condoms. Then, he looked at me and wondered if maybe he should try to wait like me. The thought of having sex made him nervous. He didn’t know if he was ready or prepared for something like that. I laughed and said, “Relax man. You’ll be fine. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. You just gotta go with the flow man. You love her, right?”

Marvin nodded his head, I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Well then, it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared just in case something does happen.”

My friend understood exactly what I was saying. We talked a little bit more, and we ended up walking to our cars and heading to Walmart.

When we made it to Walmart, we went in the grocery section, so that I could get some water and bread. After I got those things, Marvin and I headed to the other side of Walmart to get some condoms. As we were getting closer to the treasure, I noticed that Marvin was getting a little nervous. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, “It just feels weird getting condoms at Walmart. Like what if somebody sees us?”

I laughed and dramatically said, “Now that I think about it, we are very, very bad boys right now for getting condoms. I mean, these people in Walmart, who probably aren’t virgins themselves, will probably look at us with judgment and disgust. Why, they’ll be thinking to themselves, ‘Those boys are nasty. Getting condoms to have safe, protected sex. It makes me sick. How dare they consider it. Fornication makes me sick. Lord, please forgive these sinners for even considering getting condoms. I beg of you, Lord Jesus. I cannot believe what I am seeing with my unclean eyes. I am appalled at these heathens.'”

“Oh my God, Isaiah,” Marvin laughed.

Then, I continued, “Yeah, they just need to wait till marriage. That’s all they need to do. I mean, I didn’t do it, it was hard for me. It was a struggle, but they can’t know that it was hard for me too. They just need to know that it’s expected of them, and they can surely do it. They don’t need no condoms at all until they are married to their wife. And if one of them do decide to fornicate and shame a girl, well then she’ll just end up pregnant and it will be all a part of your plan, God, for his life.”

“Oh my God, Isaiah. You’re so dramatic,” Marvin said.

I laughed and said, “Of course I am. But look man, I promise you that these people in Walmart don’t care what’s going on with us. And it’s normal and responsible of us to get condoms. It’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, I promise you.”

Marvin appreciated my words, and he admitted to me that there was some fears he had in regards to religion and how they would view it. I replied, “Look man, I wish the church would be more helpful in these situations. I wish that they were more open and honest with the young people that are confused about their sexual desires. I wish the church would be willing to educate and help those that are confused about sex, but they don’t want to deal with that in an effective way. They want to continue to do what they’re doing, even though it’s clearly not working because it’s the way it must be according to the elders. This old-school mentality to just abstain from sex and fear fornication when it’s clearly not working. You still have people in the church getting pregnant left and right because you’re afraid and uncomfortable to have an open dialogue about sex.”

“Oh my God, Isaiah. You’re right, it’s up to us to really be responsible,” Marvin said.

I nodded my head and said, “Yeah man, you just need to get some condoms because you never know what’s going to happen. You could easily have sex with Mary or maybe nothing’s going to happen, but it’s good to be prepared and responsible with some condoms. If you do end up having sex without any condoms, and she ends up pregnant, then your life is going to change completely. Why take that risk? Just get some condoms man for protection.”

Marvin appreciated my words of wisdom and thanked me for them. Then, he was ready to go to the condoms. We looked at different condoms from Skyn, Trojan, Magnums, Durex and others. Marvin ended up finding the right ones for himself, and we ended up checking our things out. Then, we headed out of Walmart.

When we made it outside, we headed to our cars with our things. As I was putting the water and bread in my car, there was a thought that came in my head. There was something important that I needed to tell Marvin. So, I rushed over to his car and yelled wait before he left. He got out of his car and asked what was wrong. Then, I said, “Make sure you practice putting the condoms on before seeing Mary.”

Marvin laughed and said, “Oh my God, Isaiah. Is that really necessary?”

“It’s absolutely necessary. You need to make sure you know how to secure that thing. Otherwise, it will be going all over the place. I’m just trying to help you out man,” I replied.

“Ok will do, bro. And thank you again for helping me out with this. I would’ve been lost without you,” he said.

I told him that it was no problem, and I was glad that I could help him out. As I walking away, Marvin asked me to wait. I turned around, and he asked, “Do you think that you’ll still be a virgin till marriage?”

I was surprised by this question, and I was surprised by my answer. I said, “I don’t really know man. I don’t know how I feel about waiting till marriage anymore. I remember that I was 15 years old when I got my purity ring, and I’m 22 years old now and I’m a different person now. I don’t have the same views like I did before, and I don’t know if I want to retain some of them. For right now, I don’t know anymore if I want to be a virgin till marriage.”

“Oh my God, Isaiah. My boy’s gonna have a little bit of the sex,” Marvin responded.

I laughed and said, “I don’t know about all that man. I mean, if I fall in love with a girl, then maybe I will. But again I don’t know man, it’s something that I need to think about. I mean, I don’t know if I want to be open for business for these ladies that have been waiting for me, and just give them everything they needed and wished for such a long time. But for a girl I love, maybe. It’s open to interpretation.”

This is the end of “Getting Condoms With a Friend.”

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone, and I hope that people that are having a little bit of the sex tonight have protection.