The Importance of Tipping

A couple of weeks ago, I was scrolling on Facebook, and I came across a post by a waitress. She posted a $184.14 bill for a table that she waited, and she got tipped $15.86. So, the grand total of the bill was $200. Also, the customer put a note on the bill that read, “Thank you for a wonderful experience, Erica.” Then, the caption from the waitress stated that the 8% tip wasn’t enough, and a compliment wasn’t going to help her pay her tuition. After that, I went to the comments.

There were like 15,000 comments, and I got a little excited. I just love going through comments in social media and seeing different perspectives on a post/video that I watched as well. Anyways, I saw that a majority of people were siding against the waitress, while a few were on her side. I found it interesting because my mom taught me that it was important to tip at least 15-25%, depending on the service. I thought this was a universal rule, but the comments showed that this wasn’t a universal rule. I didn’t see any mention of the customary 15% tip, and it was interesting to me. As I was reading through the comments, I recalled a time where I was with some people that didn’t want to tip.

Last year, I was eating at Eat n’ Park with my friends Kevin, Mark and Anthony. They all really wanted to go to Eat n’ Park for one reason and one reason only. To get a free cookie. Those Eat n’ Park cookies were extremely important to them, and they wanted a free cookie. Now, despite having a sweet tooth, it wasn’t that important for me to get a free cookie from the restaurant. Yeah they were good, but they weren’t all that. Plus, I would rather have some really good food than mediocre food and a free cookie. I really don’t like Eat n’ Park. Their food is okay to me, but there are way more better options than Eat n’ Park. I low-key feel like the restaurant knows that their food is somewhat okay, and they pretty much reward people for eating and paying for it with a cookie. Eat n’ Park is like, “Thank you so much for eating our food, we know it’s not the best. It’s just okay. Have a cookie” Why are so many people blinded by a cookie? I wonder.

Anyways, they all wanted to go to Eat n’ Park, and I reluctantly agreed to have some okay food. We came in, and it was packed. It took a few minutes, but we ended up getting a booth. We sat down at our booth, and our waitress was this girl named Denise. She was around the same age as us, and it was actually her first time being a waitress. She told us that this was her first day being a waitress, and how it’s been interesting, crazy day for her. We shared a few laughs with her, and we assured that she was gonna be alright. For the most part, she did well. She was really nice, sweet and helpful to us throughout our dinner. Denise seemed like she knew what she was doing as a waitress.

After we were all done with our somewhat decent food, Denise gave us our bills. I looked at my bill, and I was in pain because I had spent $15 on some mediocre food. I just shook my head and said in my head, “Alright, I’ll take the cookie to ease the pain.”

As I was in agony, my friends were asking about the cookies to Denise. She informed them that the cookies were only for children. My mouth dropped, and they were stunned. I was thinking to myself, “You mean to tell me that we had some mediocre food for nothing. That cookie was supposed to ease the pain I’m feeling right now.”

I ended up shaking my head and laughing that we weren’t getting any cookies. However, my friends were begging for them. I was confused because she had just told us that the cookies were for just kids, but they were still persistent on the cookies. I was laughing and saying, “Denise, they’re fine. They honestly don’t need any cookies.”

Anthony quickly said, “Nah, we need them cookies. We ain’t joking.”

They continued to pester Denise about the cookies, when she finally gave up and said that she might be able to get them one cookie. They were satisfied with that, and Denise proceeded to get them a cookie. Then, I said, “Are y’all serious right now? Y’all are really trying to get a cookie like that?”

Anthony responded, “Yeah man, I want a cookie. That’s the only reason we came here.”

Mark added, “True that.”

Kevin said, “I don’t know anymore.”

We started laughing, and Denise ended up coming back to us with one cookie. Anthony was asking where are the other cookies, and she said all she could get was one cookie. Anthony was still telling her that he still wanted a cookie for himself. Kevin decided to be an adult, and he said that Anthony and Mark could split the cookie amongst themselves. Anthony and Mark were still arguing with Denise about having another cookie, and I looked at them and said, “Children, just split the cookie. I am so sorry about them, Denise. You don’t have to get us another cookie.”

They eventually decided to split the cookie, but the damage had already been done. Denise was over this foolishness and walked away from us in anger. I understood her anger all too well, and I was sorry that my friends were being difficult with her.

As we were preparing to pay for our foods, I hear that Anthony and Mark are not giving Denise a tip. I went a little off on them. I said, “Are y’all serious right now? Are y’all really not about to give her a tip? Oh my gosh, I’m feeling some type of way.  I can’t believe y’all.”

Then, I looked at Kevin and said, “Kevin, please tell me you’re giving her a tip? You better be giving her a tip.”

Kevin was looking a little scared, but he laughed and said that he was going to tip. We all laughed that I was feeling some type of way, but I was still mad. I ended up giving Denise a $6 tip, and I believe Kevin gave her a 20% tip.

Then, we ended up driving to see a movie, and I was still talking about how mad I was that Anthony and Mark didn’t tip. They were laughing because they couldn’t believe how mad I was. I said, “Y’all are something else. She literally went to hell and back to get y’all a cookie, and y’all don’t tip her? That’s just messed up.”

Anthony said, “She didn’t get us the cookies. Plus, she was rude and stormed off on us. No tip for you.”

Then, I said, “Yeah, cause y’all were acting like children for no reason.”

They all started laughing, and I couldn’t help but laugh with them. Needless to say, I haven’t gone to dinner with them since that day.

In the end, I think tipping is important because I view it as a form of respect and compassion. I understand why some people feel like they’re not obligated to tip, but I think it’s kind of rude. I tip because I was taught to tip by my parents, and I understand that waiters/waitresses/servers rely heavily on tips. In Pennsylvania, there are servers that get paid $2.83/hour. Tax takes some of that as well, so their main source of income literally comes from tips. Sadly, servers are in an industry that is essentially stacked against them. A change definitely needs to happen in the food industry and more people have to understand the importance of tipping.

This is the end of “The Importance of Tipping.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.

This weekend, I will be sharing and posting some poetry.

 

 

 

 

A Petty-ish Moment at Pizza Hut

It was Valentine’s Day, and I had just finished writing and posting “A Love Story at Walmart: Part Two.” I was in the library at my school, Point Park University, and I was just happy that I had got it done at around 8:00 because the bus to my house would be coming at 8:07. If I missed the bus that time, then I would have to go on an 8:30 bus. So, I rushed out of the library and waited for my bus to come my way. It came in right on time, and I was able to take my seat on the bus.

While I was on the bus, I found myself reading this book called Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. A friend of mine from work had recommended this book to me, and she had a copy that she could lend to me. Anyways, I was reading Mistborn on the bus, and I ended up being interrupted by a text message from my friend Rosa. It read, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

I replied, “Aww thanks, happy Valentine’s Day to you too.”

Then, she asked me if I had any special plans for Valentine’s Day. I texted, “Nah, I’m just probably gonna chill by my lonesome self haha. What about you?”

Rosa ended up telling me that she was actually going on a date, and I was excited for her. I ended up putting my book away and calling her on the phone. I said, “Tell me everything, girl.”

She laughed and explained how they had a class together, and he was just real smooth with her. They had been talking for a week or two, and he ended up asking her out on a date on Valentine’s Day. I was being extra talking about how he was “the one,” and I just couldn’t believe that she found her soulmate. She was laughing and telling me to be quiet, but I just kept going and going with my extra comments about the two lovebirds destined to be together forever and ever. We ended up talking for a few more minutes, and Rosa ended up asking me about this one girl that I was talking to at the time. I was telling Rosa that I wasn’t sure about her, and I was leaning on us just being friends. Rosa understood and told me that she had to go and get ready for her date. I said goodbye to her and told her to let me know how it goes.

Anyways, I looked outside and saw that I was ten minutes away from the Century III Mall, where my car is parked. It’s 8:30, and I realize that I’m kind of hungry. I hadn’t eaten since 10:00 am, so I knew that I had to seriously eat something. I was thinking about stopping at McDonald’s, maybe Chipotle, but then I remembered that I was due for a free pizza at Pizza Hut. So, I went on my Pizza Hut app and saw that I had enough points to redeem and get a free pizza. I ordered my free pizza and saw that I only had to pay $1.07 for it. The thought of a free pizza had me salivating.

When I was a few minutes away from my car, I was trying to decide what horror movie I was going to watch when I got home. You honestly have to watch horror movies on Valentine’s Day, there are clearly no other movies to watch. I was considering a demon-possession type movie, but I low-key wanted to see people getting stabbed and killed. The movies I was considering were Saw, Scream, Friday the 13th, Hush and Halloween. There were a couple other movies I was considering on Netflix, but I wasn’t sure.

My bus made it to the bus stop at Century III Mall at 8:45. I got off the bus and went to my car. I started it, and I drove it to Pizza Hut. It was literally two minutes away from the mall, and it wasn’t hassle to get to the store. So, I parked my car, turned it off and went inside Pizza Hut. When I went inside, I saw that they were extremely busy making orders, and I looked to the side and saw my order would be ready in five minutes. So, I went back to my car and waited seven minutes before going back inside. I got back inside and saw that the status of my free pizza was set to “ready.” There were two people in front of me, and I just patiently waited till my turn. When it was my turn, I saw that the cashier was a 40-year-old white man. Anyways, I tell him that my name is Isaiah, and I’m here to pick up my pizza order. He grabs my pizza and tells me that it’s a $1.07. I say alright and pull out my debit card. Before I can put my card in the card reader, the cashier stops me and says, “Oh, I can’t accept that.”

I was confused and asked, “Oh, are you guys no longer accepting cards or something?”

He responded, “We are, but I’m just not trying to use our card reader for $1.07. I need cash from you.”

I was confused because I had always been able to use my debit card for $1.07 or even less at the Pizza Hut store that I was at. It didn’t make sense to me that I had to use cash all of a sudden. So, I asked, “So wait, are you not allowed to use cards for small transactions, then?”

He replied, “We can, but I just don’t want to right now.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from this guy. What do you mean you don’t want to right now? That makes no sense to me. I looked over at the crew and even they were confused with the cashier. I wondered if they were going to do anything, but they just were working and acting like they didn’t hear anything. In my mind, I was just telling myself to calm down and take a deep breathe. Then, I said, “Ok, so I don’t have any cash in my wallet. All I have is my card. So, am I not able to pay for my pizza, then?”

He sighed and said, “Again, I’m not trying to use the card reader because I just don’t want to use it for a dollar transaction. There’s no reason for that.”

I asked him if there was something wrong with the machine, and he tells me that the machine is fine and works really well. Then, I said, “So, you’re telling me that even though you can use your card reader for a $1.07 transaction, you just won’t because you don’t want to?”

He looked at me and said, “Again, I just don’t want to use the card reader for a $1.07 transaction. You have to pay with cash, otherwise you’re not getting your pizza.”

I was furious, and I was so close to really saying some interesting things to this 40-year-old cashier that was being difficult with me. However, I contained myself and said, “Ok, let me check my car real quick and see if I have any money in there.”

I went to my car, got inside and started screaming. I couldn’t believe this man was trying to really push my buttons. I was just letting out all my frustrations and punching the air like crazy. After that, I calmed down and went in my backpack hoping that I had enough money. I rejoiced as I found five quarters in my backpack. Before I went back inside, and I stopped myself. I was saying to myself that there was no reason to give this man what he easily wanted. Make it harder and difficult on him.

I ended up putting a dollar’s worth of pennies and nickels in a plastic bag. I was so glad that I had plenty to be petty back to the cashier. So, I had my bag full of change and carried it into the Pizza Hut store. Then, I poured all the change on the counter and told him $1.07 in change.

He asked me if I was serious, and I said I was very serious. He sighed and started counting them. I looked over him and saw that they were crazy busy in their kitchen, and it sounded like they needed his help. He hurried up and counted all the pennies and nickels I had, put them in his register and handed me my pizza. I thanked him and showed him my quarters. I said, “Yeah, I did have quarters, but I just didn’t want to use them. I much rather pay with pennies and nickels.”

He looked at me all mad and walked back into the kitchen. I yelled, “Have a good day, and also happy Valentine’s Day!”

I had my free pizza in my hands, and I headed back to my car. Thankfully, it was still extremely hot. I went home, and I ended up watching Saw 2 on Valentine’s Day. Ever since that day, I have refused to eat or order Pizza Hut thanks to the petty-ish moment that I had at Pizza Hut on Valentine’s Day.

This is the end of “A Petty-ish Moment at Pizza Hut.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this story.

On Thursday, I will be posting and sharing the short story “The Importance of Tipping.”

 

 

 

Preferences

A couple of years ago, I was attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), and I had just finished my last class for the day. As I was walking home, I get a text from my friend Howard asking if I wanted to meet up with him and his friend Tasha at Crimson Cafe. I was thinking about declining because I was tired and just wanted to lay in bed in my room, but then I remember it was Wing Night at Crimson Café. Wings are my weakness, so I naturally texted Howard that I would meet up with them. Then, I saw that it was 7:00 and knew that it was gonna be packed. Also, I saw that I was kind of far away from Crimson Café, and I was contemplating if I really wanted to make the journey to the wings. My room and bed were within grasp, but I decided to walk to Crimson Café to get some wings because I was hungry. The last thing I needed to be was hungry and tired, so I might as well not be hungry. I had to mentally prepare myself for a long, grueling five-minute walk, and I hope that I had the will to make it to Crimson Café.

I miraculously made it to Crimson Café. I walked inside and saw Burger Studio completely empty. Then, I immediately saw a long line into Fire Place, where they serve the wings. I rolled my eyes and went to the back of the line. As I waiting, I looked to my left and saw Howard sitting with this pretty, black girl. I waved at them, and they saw me and waved back. After a few minutes, I eventually got some hot wings and a fountain drink. Then, I made my way to Howard and Tasha.

I sat down with them, and Howard made sure to introduce me to Tasha. We started eating our wings, talking and joking around. While we were talking, I noticed something interesting with Tasha. She was laughing hard at Howard’s jokes, giving him googly eyes and touching him a lot. I was asking myself, “Does she like him or something?”

It was around 8:00, and I was ready to leave and go back to my room. My room was at Suites at Maple East. As I was getting ready to leave, Howard got up and said that he would join me as well. He had lived at Stephenson Hall, so he was relatively close to my hall. Tasha lived at Wallwork, it was further away from Suites on Maple East and Stephenson Hall. Since it was kind of dark and late, I asked Tasha if she needed one of us to walk her home. She kind of looked at Howard, but he was looking at his phone. Tasha said that she would be fine and thanked me for offering to walk her home. Howard and I walked together, and Tasha walked home alone.

As I was walking with Howard, I found myself thinking about Tasha. It seemed like she wanted something more with Howard, but he wasn’t feeling her like that. I needed to know why. So, I said, “You know, Tasha seems nice.”

Howard responded, “Yeah, she’s cool, man.”

“You ever think about dating her or something,” I asked.

Howard replied, “Nah, man, she’s just the homie. I don’t like her like that. Also, I only date white girls.”

Howard’s reply took me by surprise. Howard and I had been friends for a couple of weeks, so we really didn’t know that much about each other. However, it quickly all made sense to me. He always talked about how beautiful white girls were to him, and I never heard him talk about black girls. I just couldn’t believe he only preferred to date white girls. How could he not see the attraction and beauty of not only black girls, but other races as well?

I asked him, “How come?”

He said, “Well, they’re just more attractive to me than black girls, man. I like what I like.”

I could tell that he thought that I was judging him, so I quickly said, “Hey man, I’m not judging you or anything, I just find it interesting and just a little curious.”

“Yeah, and I don’t hate black girls, man. I don’t want you thinking that at all. I just prefer to be with a white girl,” he said.

I told him that I didn’t think that of him, but I wasn’t sure. I still found myself confused with my friend’s preference for just white girls. Maybe Howard was just going through a phase. We were both young, and maybe Howard would see the beauty in all women in a few years.

A few years passed, and I found myself talking to my friend Howard last year on the phone. We talked for a little bit, and he told me that he was talking to this white girl. He talked about how she was really cute, and he had a date with her that he was really excited about. He said, “I think this could be the one, Isaiah. I’m finally about to have my white girl.”

I joked, “Man, if you weren’t obsessed with her being white, you’d probably would’ve been having someone right now.”

We both laughed, and he asked me what my excuse was for being alone. I just shrugged and said, “I’m trying to be single. I don’t have time to be with anybody right now. I only have time for God.”

We started laughing again, and we talked for a few more minutes. Then, he had to hang up and prepare for his date. I still found myself confused with Howard, and I needed some answers. I ended up talking to my mom about Howard, and she said something interesting to me. My mom told me that Howard’s preference for white girls wasn’t wrong, but it was limiting. He had a right to prefer white girls, but it puts a limitation on him to potentially find someone that’s perfect for him.

Then, I asked her if it was wrong to have preferences, but she quickly said not necessarily. Certain preferences are necessary to make sure that you find the right person for you. If you don’t have preferences, then you’ll end up with anybody, not that special somebody.

In the end, I learned that everyone has a right to their own preferences. If you want to base your preferences on how somebody looks, then it’s perfectly fine but limiting. For me, my preferences are not about somebody’s look, race or ethnicity. My preferences for somebody is based on what’s in their heart, mind and spirit. My preferences will not limit me in finding the one for me.

This is the end of “Preferences.”

 

 

The Girl I Never Want to See Again: Part Four

Just to recap, Jessica was excited that I decided to message her because she thought that I was sexy and attractive at Sheetz. We talked for a little bit, and she was constantly asking me to come over house. I constantly declined because of the experience I had with the Philadelphia girl and my discomfort to be alone with her. However, I decided that I should at least give her a chance but not too much of a chance. I asked her if she wanted to have dinner and see a movie with me and some friends on Friday, and she agreed. On Friday, my friends, Jessica and I agreed to meet at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) South Campus at 6:00 pm. My friends and I waited for Jessica, but she never showed up. I tried calling and messaging her, but she never answered me. At around 7:30, Jessica messaged me that she was at CCAC for 30 minutes and did not see me. Jessica accused me of standing her up, but my friends and I were at CCAC till 7:45 and never saw her. Then, I discovered on her story that she was actually with her friends from 6:00-7:30 and realized that she had lied to me. She had stood me up and tried to manipulate me into thinking that I stood her up. After I was done hanging out with my friends, I make it home and message to her that I don’t appreciate her dishonesty, and all I really wanted was for her to be honest and tell me the truth. Jessica replied, “You’re right, I wasn’t at CCAC. The truth is I didn’t want to see you because you’re not trying to get with me. You’re trying to get with Vanessa, and you’re just using me to get to her.”

Now, let’s dive on in to the fourth and final part of “The Girl I Never Want to See Again: Part Four.”

It was around 1:00 am, and I was just tired and ready to go to bed. I just wanted to sleep and deal with Jessica in the morning. Then, I saw Jessica’s message and couldn’t believe my eyes. Her message had woke me up, and I just found myself in disbelief. Her message made absolutely no sense to me at all. I couldn’t believe that she was literally trying to use her friend as an excuse for her terrible lying, deception and manipulation to me. I was angry and started typing what I really wanted to say to her on my phone. I texted, “Jessica, are you serious right now? You’re gonna sit here and use your friend as excuse for your behavior. I can’t believe your childish behavior, and I’m about to go off on you.”

I said so much in my angry message to her, and I was so close to sending my long, angry message to her. Then, I took a breath and erased all the anger I typed in my phone. Instead, I calmed down and messaged her, “Ok, why do you think that I’m trying to get with Vanessa?”

She responded, “Because when we first started messaging each other, you said that you thought she was pretty, and I could tell you’ve always wanted her more than me.”

I looked at Jessica’s message, and I just couldn’t believe the ridiculousness. It made no sense to me at all. I only said Vanessa was pretty one time, and it was to tell Jessica how my coworkers thought Vanessa was trying to get with me. I was just honest with Jessica and told her that her friend was pretty. That was the only time. I never mentioned her once after that, and there was no evidence that I wanted Vanessa more than Jessica. Before I could respond, Jessica added, “You know, you’re just such a player. You act like you’re this nice and friendly guy, but really you’re just trying to get with anybody but me because I’m clearly not good enough for you. Vanessa warned me about you.”

I was really praying to God to give me patience with this girl. I prayed, “Please don’t let me go off on this girl, God. Please, please, please, God, I need you now more than ever.”

After I was done praying, I didn’t understand how Vanessa thought that I was player. Then, I quickly understood that it was because of Derek. Derek was talking about how I was a player that was just constantly trying to get with any pretty girls at Sheetz, which wasn’t true at all. He was the one that was doing that and failing miserably at it. I gave him advice, and he just brought me down. His false words about me traveled to Vanessa, which resulted in Vanessa creating this false, player image to Jessica. I understood that Derek was responsible for Jessica feeling insecure.

I took a deep breathe and realized that I needed to address this. So, I responded, “Ok, but wouldn’t I have gotten Vanessa’s snap too if I was just trying to get with anyone because it would increase my chances? I was just thinking about you because you were the first girl I saw, and I wasn’t trying to get with Vanessa. And like I said, I’m honest and I admitted that I thought she was pretty too, but I wasn’t trying to get with her. I got your snap, not the other girl because you’re not just anybody. You’re the girl that caught my eye at Sheetz. You’re the girl with the sweet, pretty, green eyes that always mesmerized me. You’re the girl that is so adorable, funny and cute. You’re the girl that is a true, priceless treasure. You’re the girl that I wanted to be with. But thank you for your honesty, I appreciate it and it means a lot to me. At least now you know how I truly feel about you.”

Jessica said, “Awww thank you, Isaiah! You’re so sweet!”

I told her it was no problem. Then, I messaged her that I would talk to her later because I needed some sleep. I messaged her goodnight, and I realized that night that I was done talking to her. I needed to keep my distance and never talk to her again.

A couple of days had passed, and I had a change of heart. I thought to myself that I should be nice and at least try to be friends with her. Give her another chance. I texted her what’s up, and we were talking for a little bit. Then, she asked me when we were going to see each other, and I responded, “You know, I don’t think that’s a good idea. I think it’s better if we just text each other and just be friends with each other. You’re an awesome girl, and I think there’s someone better for you instead of me.”

She texted, “See, there you go again being a player. When will you learn? You clearly didn’t mean what you said about me a couple days ago, and you just wanna talk to other girls.”

I sighed, and I was irritated with her. She was still believing in her lie, and I was annoyed with it. So, I responded, “Again, I’m not a player. And I did mean what I said about you a couple days. I just can’t be with someone that lies and hurts me and doesn’t even apologize for it. You stood me up, lied and never apologized for your mistakes. I geniunely wanted to talk to you and possibly be friends with you, but not anymore. I want nothing to do with you, and I’m moving on with my life. I’m gonna find someone way better for you, and I hope and pray you find someone that’s good and a perfect fit for you. You were the girl I was interested in, but now you’re the girl I never want to see again.”

This is the end of “The Girl I Never Want to See Again: Part Four.”

Thank you for following the four-part story “The Girl I Never Want to See Again.”

This weekend, I will be posting poetry on Saturday and Sunday.

The Girl I Never Want to See Again: Part Three

Just to recap, the black girl ended up telling me that her friend, Jessica, wanted my Snapchat. I went to get my phone in the break room, and I told my coworkers that the black girl’s friend wanted my Snapchat. My coworkers made so many distracting comments about me getting a girl’s Snapchat without saying anything. They had me in tears, and I couldn’t resist laughing. Once I got my phone out the break room, I went back to the kitchen and saw Derek trying to talk to the black girl. I could tell the black girl was uncomfortable, so I quickly came over, opened my Snapchat and started searching for Jessica on it. While I was doing this, Derek was telling the black girl that she needed to be careful with me because I was a player and constantly having really pretty girls throw themselves at me. I didn’t understand why he said this, but I decided to not think too much about it. After I got Jessica’s Snapchat, the black girl smiled and left. My coworkers congratulated me for getting Jessica’s snapchat. Monica asked me if I was going to message Jessica, but I wasn’t sure. Then, she encouraged me to give her a chance and remember that not every girl is like the Philadelphia Girl. I contemplated and decided to message Jessica. She responded, “Heyyyy, I’ve been waiting for you to message me! I’m so excited you messaged me!”

Now, let’s dive on in to “The Girl I Never Want to See Again: Part Three.”

After she expressed her excitement with me messaging her on Snapchat, I asked her what made her want my Snapchat. She responded, “Well, you were looking so sexy and hot in the kitchen, I just knew that I had to get your Snap. And when you looked at me, I like couldn’t believe it. I told my friend Vanessa that I needed your snap because you were too fine.”

I smiled and laughed as she was really making me feel myself. I told her how my coworkers thought that Vanessa was trying to get with me. Then, I said, “Yeah, I thought your friend Vanessa was pretty, too, but I was glad that you were feeling me because I gave you the look and all.”

She sent me laughing emojis and told me that I was funny. After that, she asked me if I wanted to come over her house. Now, this was a couple of weeks after the Philadelphia girl, so I wasn’t eager to go to a girl’s house. Plus, she was living with her parents. I didn’t know them or know how they would react with me if they were to ever catch me with their daughter, so it was better to be safe then sorry. So, I told her that I was good, and I would come over when the time was right.

For two weeks, I was messaging Jessica, and I found myself interested and annoyed with her. I was interested in her because of her serious interest in me, her humor and her eyes. She had really pretty green eyes that were just so hypnotizing, and I loved them. Jessica would always send me pictures of her mesmerizing eyes and pretty face, and they just always made my day. However, I was annoyed with her because she was constantly pressuring me to come over her house. Also, she needed my attention. Jessica would feel some type of way, if I didn’t message her right away or as soon as possible. She felt like I didn’t care about her, but it was just really about me being busy with work, summer school, projects, writings, art and other things. My world didn’t revolve around her, and it bothered her. In addition, Jessica didn’t like it when I complimented or talked about some of her friends on snapchat. She explained to me that it bothered her, and I stopped doing it. I had some very mixed vibes with Jessica, and I didn’t know what to do because I was interested and annoyed with her.

I decided that I should at least give her a chance but not too much of a chance. I asked her if she was busy on a Friday, and she asked me, “No, what you tryna do?”

I told her that I was thinking about having dinner and seeing a movie with some friends. I decided that I wanted to have a group date with her. There was some anxiety at the thought of being alone with her, and I never want to be alone with a girl that gives me discomfort. She agreed to have dinner and a movie with me and some of my friends, but she wasn’t excited about it.

On Friday, the day had finally arrived, and I was seriously nervous. I asked Jessica for her address so that I could pick her up, but she told me that she was good. I found this weird because she always wanted me to come to her house, but now she changed her mind just like that? I don’t know, it felt weird to me. Anyways, I explained that we were meeting at Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) South Campus. Jessica told me that she understood, and she couldn’t wait to see me.

When I had arrived at CCAC South Campus, it was around 6:00 pm. My friends and I had all agreed to  meet up at CCAC at 6:15 to plan everything out. All of my friends (Jake, Stan and Nick) were at the school on time, while Jessica was not. I tried calling and messaging her, but she wasn’t answering me. I was worried that something had happened to her. I wanted to do more, but Jake told me that there was nothing more that I could do. I agreed with him, and I was just hoping that everything was alright with Jessica.

My friends and I ended up being at CCAC for over an hour to just talk and figure the restaurant/movie we wanted to go to. Once we decided the movie and restaurant, it was around 7:30. A minute later, Jessica responded that she was actually at CCAC South Campus for about 30 minutes and didn’t see me. So, Jessica ended up leaving and said she couldn’t believe that I stood her up. I was confused because my friends and I had been at CCAC South Campus for over an hour, and we never saw Jessica. I asked her if she went to the wrong campus, but she told me that she did not. It didn’t make sense to me. My friends were even trying to make sense of it, too. Then, I checked her story on Snapchat, and it showed that she was actually with her friends from 6:00-7:30. Jessica had lied to me. How could she do that to me? I messaged Jessica that I saw her story and wanted to know the truth with her. She didn’t respond right away, and I was a little upset. How could she stand me up, and try to manipulate me into thinking that I stood her up?

Instead of thinking about how mad I was with Jessica, I decided to enjoy the company of my friends. We ended up going to Eat-n-Park, and we went to see a great movie as well. After the movie, we all went our separate ways. As I’m driving home, I start thinking about Jessica and wondering what’s going on with her. When I make it home, I message her, “Look, all I ask is for you to be honest with me. That’s all I ask. Just tell me what’s going on. Were you not comfortable hanging out with me and my friends? If you weren’t, then I can understand that. Or if it’s something else, please let me know. I just don’t appreciate your dishonesty with me about why you were or weren’t at CCAC. I just want you to be honest and tell me the truth.”

A few minutes later, I get a message from her that read, “You’re right, I wasn’t at CCAC. The truth is I didn’t want to see you because you’re not trying to get with me. You’re trying to get with Vanessa, and you’re just using me to get to her.”

This is the end of “The Girl I Never Want to See Again: Part Three.”

I will be posting the fourth and final part on Thursday.

The Girl I Never Want to See Again: Part Two

Just to recap, I was working at Sheetz on my usual 6am-2pm shift last summer on a Saturday. Instead of working at the register, my usual spot, I ended up working in the kitchen with my coworker Monica because we understaffed. Around 11:00 am, it got really busy and hectic at Sheetz, and I just wanted craziness to end. Miraculously, it all ended at noon, and these two pretty women came into the store. One was black and the other one was white. As they were ordering food, the white girl was staring at me, an it was weird to me. So, I decided to give her a sweet look and smile at her. A few minutes later, my coworkers were on the headset telling me that the black girl was staring at me like crazy. They were joking around and telling me to shoot my shot, and I was thinking about it because both women were beautiful to me. However, it wasn’t important to me because it’s not my prerogative to get girls at Sheetz. I’m just at Sheetz to work and be friendly. Anyways, I handed them their food and thought that it was the end of that. Then, the black girl came back inside Sheetz, approached the order point and asked for me to come over. Then, the black girl smiled and said, “So, my friend Jessica thinks you’re cute, and she wanted me to give you her Snapchat.”

Now, let’s dive on in to “The Girl I Never Want to See Again: Part Two”

I found myself smiling and laughing in front of this pretty, black girl because my coworkers were in my headset still making distracting comments in my ear. I tried to tune them out, but it was a struggle. The black girl chuckled and asked, “Is everything okay?”

I laughed and responded, “Yeah, I’m sorry, my coworkers are in my ear like crazy, and I didn’t catch what you asked me. Did you want my snapchat or something?”

“Oh no, my friend Jessica wanted me to give you her Snapchat,” she said.

I understood, and I said, “Oh yeah sure, I just have to go to the break room real quick and get my phone.”

So, I walked towards the break room and everyone on my headset was asking what was going on. I said, “Well, I have to get my phone because the black girl’s friend wants me to add her on Snapchat.”

Everyone was going crazy. Monica was saying, “Okay, Isaiah. I see you. You got these girls shooting their shots with you.”

Mario added, “Isaiah is just too cute! It’s ridiculous!”

My coworkers had me in tears, and I just couldn’t resist laughing. When I made it back to the black girl, I found Derek trying to talk to her. I guess he was trying to shoot his shot or something, and I didn’t know what to do. Then, I saw the black girl’s eyes meet mine, and she pleaded with her eyes for me to hurry up and come over. I quickly come, and I start opening my Snapchat and trying to find Jessica on it. While I’m doing this, Derek is still talking. He was jokingly saying, “Yeah, you know Isaiah is somewhat of a player around here. He gets about 10 or 15 numbers a week. There’s just so many pretty girls trying to get with him, so you know you got to be careful with this one. You’re just so pretty, and I just want to make sure you know what you’re getting into.

I was laughing a little, but the black girl was just trying to ignore him. Then, I found myself kind of confused because he was joking about me being a player. Last week, Derek told me that he was trying to get a girl’s phone number, but she asked him how often he tried to get a girl’s number at Sheetz. Derek responded, “Oh, all the time. I do this like 10-15 times a week.”

This was unappealing to the girl, and Derek ended up not getting the number. I told him that it was definitely a mistake to tell her that he constantly asks for numbers all the time because it gave off major “player” vibes. I continued, “Don’t make your first impression something that you’re not because it’s a lie. You’re not a player, Derek. You’re a nice, chill guy. Show that authentic, true side of you because a girl will more than likely appreciate that more than you being something that you’re not.”

After reflecting on the advice I gave Derek last week, I didn’t understand why Derek created this image of me that wasn’t true to this girl. I found this interesting, and I was wondering if he was trying to get the girl’s Snapchat for himself. I was thinking to myself, “I hope it’s not that serious for Derek. If he was really trying to finese this girl by painting me in different light, then that would be messed up.”

I decided to not give it too much thought because maybe Derek was just joking around and what not innocently. However, Derek’s words to the black girl would come back and hurt me later in this story.

Anyways, I had Jessica’s Snapchat information on my phone, and the black girl smiled and left. Afterwards, my coworkers came over to me and asked what happened. I told them everything that happened, and they applauded me. I thanked them, and Mario asked, “So wait, all you did was literally look at this girl, and she just wanted your Snap just like that.”

I shrugged and said, “Yeah man, I just gave her the “look,” and she just couldn’t resist. I guess the force is strong with me.

We all ended up laughing, and Mario appreciated my little “Star Wars” joke. After all of that, it was close to quitting time. Before I could leave, Monica pulled me to the side and asked if I was thinking about messaging Jessica, and I told her I wasn’t sure. Then, she said, “Isaiah, you gotta give her a chance. Not every girl is like that Philadelphia girl you talked about with me. This girl is probably different and better. I think you should give her a chance, it could be fun and good for you.”

I agreed with Monica and reluctantly told her that I would give Jessica a chance. I was just worried I would be in another crazy situation like I was with the Philadelphia girl.

Anyways, I went home and contemplated if I wanted to give Jessica a chance. After a few minutes, I went on Snapchat and messaged, “Hey what’s up.”

Ten minutes later, she responded with a cute picture of herself with the caption, “Heyyyy, I’ve been waiting for you to message me! I’m so excited you messaged me!”

This is the end of “The Girl I Never Want to See Again: Part Two.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this story. Also, check out “The Philadelphia Girl,” if you haven’t yet! Parts 1-4 can be found in the table of contents on The Warfield Zone!

On Tuesday, I will be posting and sharing part three of “The Girl I Never Want to See Again.” On Thursday, I will be posting and sharing the fourth and final part.

This weekend, I will be posting and sharing poetry on the Warfield Zone.

 

The Girl I Never Want to See Again: Part One

Last summer, I was working at Sheetz on my usual 6am-2pm shift on a Saturday. I was expecting a normal, typical day up at my usual spot, which is the register. However, the manager had other intentions for me. My manager needed me to be in the kitchen because we were understaffed that day, and I was needed more in the kitchen. I didn’t mind working in the kitchen, but again I was expecting a normal day at the register.

Anyways, I was working with Monica, my coworker, early in the morning. Now, she was usually in the kitchen, while I was up front at the register on the weekends. I didn’t mind working with Monica because she was really fun and awesome to work with on the weekends. We had a brother-sister type of relationship at work, and it was great. We would tease and annoy each other like crazy, and it always made the day go by faster when we were having fun at work. Now, we were going to be working in the kitchen together, and I knew that it was going to be a blast.

I remember how we were just joking and arguing with each other, and it was the best time. We were doing this the majority of the morning, and it really made time past like crazy. We even had time to have a serious, personal talk as we were cooking and making food. I just listened to her as she was talking to me about her situation. Monica talked a good 30 minutes about her situation, and I gave her sound advice. I was telling her that she was strong enough to get through her ordeal and create a better life for herself. She just had to be willing to fight and go get her blessing. Monica thanked me for the encouragement, and we went back to joking around.

At around 11:00 am, Mario and Derek, two of my coworkers, came into work. Mario was helping Monica and I in the kitchen, while Derek was helping up front and other places. Then, it got crazy busy for about an hour. Everyone was all over the place, and it was just complete chaos at Sheetz. Orders were piling up on the screen like crazy, and I didn’t think we would survive in the kitchen. I was sweating and working myself to death trying to make food, and I was asking myself why I decided to come to work today. I should’ve called off, I said to myself. I should have called in sick to have a nice, chill Saturday at home. It was a messy hour, and I didn’t know how I would survive.

Miraculously, I was able to survive the crazy rush at Sheetz. I was tired and winded from the rush we had, when these two pretty women came into the store. They were around the same age as me, and it looked like they had just finished working out. They were both very attractive, and they were just looking nice and fit. One was black, and the other one was white. Anyways, they approached the order points, and I noticed that the white girl was kind of staring at me. I didn’t know what to do because it was weird to me. I was just making food, and I didn’t know why she was staring at me. So, I gave her a sweet look and smiled at her. She blushed, smiled back at me and walked away. I thought that was the end of it, but it was only the beginning.

As I was making food, Monica on her headset said, “Isaiah, don’t look now, but the black girl is staring at you like crazy.”

Whenever you use a headset at work, it’s primarily used for an individual to communicate with everyone simultaneously. So, when Monica said this, everyone heard and chimed in with their opinions. They were telling me to shoot my shot and get the digits. Mario said on the headset, “Wow, I wish that I could have Isaiah’s looks and get girls staring at me.”

I laughed and told Mario to be quiet. I said to him, “Bro, chill. You’re just as handsome as me, okay?”

“Yeah, whatever, Isaiah. I don’t need your lies. I’m ugly and I’m proud. We all know that you should be a model or something, ” Mario stated.

Everyone agreed, and I couldn’t help but laugh. Mario started laughing and started saying that I was just too cute. I was laughing some more, and I told him to just be quiet. Then, I thanked him for pumping me up.

Derek added, “Isaiah, this girl is pretty. I’m gonna try and talk to her friend, but you have to try and talk to your girl.”

Monica said, “Yeah, she’s a cutie. Isaiah, do you want to jump at the register and get her number?”

I was thinking about it, but it wasn’t that important to me. I don’t really try to hit on girls or get their numbers at Sheetz. I might try to “talk” to girls once in a blue moon, but it’s not my prerogative to get girls at Sheetz. In fact, it’s the last place I would go to pick up girls. Honestly, I’m at Sheetz to work, be friendly with my coworkers and customers, and that’s it. Nothing more and nothing less.

So, I told Monica that I was good and continued to cook in the kitchen. I finished two orders, and I gave them to the black and white girl. I smiled, handed them their food and told them to have a good day. My coworkers were making jokes on my headset and telling to shoot my shot, but I ignored them. The girls thanked me and left Sheetz.

It had died down at Sheetz, and it was nice and chill. A few minutes later, the black girl came back inside Sheetz, approached the order point and asked for me to come to her. As I was walking to the order point, my coworkers on my headset were oohing and aahing like crazy, and I couldn’t help but smile. When I made it to the order points, the black girl smiled at me and said, “So, my friend Jessica thinks you’re cute, and she wanted me to give you her Snapchat.”

This is the end of part one of “The Girl I Never Want to See Again.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this story.

I will be sharing and posting part two on Thursday.

Checking Out a Soon-To-Be-Mom: Part Two

Just to recap, I found myself thinking about this regular Sheetz customer that I had last year. Her name was Brenda, and it was important for me to be friendly with her. She was pregnant, but it seemed like she was going through a rough time in life. So, I befriended her by talking to her about candy, making her drinks and making sure that I acknowledged her presence with a wave and a smile. Months passed, and I learned from my coworker, Marie, that she was unemployed and having a hard time finding a job because of her pregnancy. Plus, there was no father in the picture with Brenda. Finally, Marie informed me that Brenda was having twins. Now, let’s dive on in to “Checking Out a Soon-To-Be-Mom: Part Two.”

When Marie told me that Brenda was having twins, I couldn’t believe it. I thought to myself that it was crazy and unbelievable the situation that Brenda was in. She was unemployed, single and having twins. I couldn’t imagine going through that, and my heart was breaking for her. Marie saw my uneasiness and asked me if I was okay. I replied, “Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just such a shame that she has to go through this on her own. It’s just not fair.”

Marie said, “I agree, I’m hoping for the best for her. I’m just hoping that she can take care of the children somehow. I’m hoping the kids will come out alright.”

I agreed with Marie, and I started telling her about my mom and how she was a single mom for a few years in my life.

I explained how my mom was really holding it together for us before she met my dad Shawn McNeil. My mom got pregnant with me in college, and she had to drop out. When she had me, it was important for her to take care of me and show me love. She was working as a waitress and other jobs to really make sure that I was taken care of. My mom was on food stamps at one point, but she got off them as soon as she had enough money to provide for the both of us. As the years passed, my mom has always assured her love to me and implemented that I wasn’t a mistake. She talks about how I saved her from a dark place, and she’s so thankful and blessed to have me in her life. My mom’s love for me means so much to me because it’s genuine and true. There’s nothing like a mother’s love.

After I said all of that to Marie, I added, “As long Brenda loves her twins, then they’re gonna be alright.”

In my opinion, love is the strongest thing in this world because it will push, drive and motivate you to provide for the people you love. Of course, you need the money and the opportunity to present itself, but if you don’t have love, then all that money and opportunity will be for nothing. What good is an apple if it’s filled with worms and no fruit? You need love to be at the forefront before anything else.

Anyways, I was hoping and praying that Brenda would have love in her heart for her children. In addition, I was hoping for money and opportunity to present themselves to Brenda because she needed it.

During the last month that I saw her, I was debating if I should have a serious conversation with her. I was asking myself if I needed to talk to her just like I talked to the stripper a few months back. However, I decided against it because it wasn’t needed from me. I just felt like I needed to continue to treat her with kindness and respect because it put a smile on her face and be in another place. A place where she wasn’t gonna be a soon-to-be mom.

I remember the last time I saw her, I was stocking some cups and lids. She came over to me and said, “Hey babe, how’s it going?”

“It’s going great, I can’t complain, how are you doing?” I replied.

“I’m doing great, hon. I’m about to have these babies soon, and you probably won’t see me for a while,” Brenda said.

I sighed and said, “That’s a shame. I’m definitely gonna miss seeing you. But thank you for being one my favorite regular customers, and I’m wishing you nothing but the best. I know you’re gonna be an amazing mom and do what you can for your twins.”

She smiled and said, “Thanks, babe, I really appreciate it. I’ll see you around.”

After that day, I haven’t seen her since. I’m just hoping that she has a good job, and she is also providing her children with love and care. I pray for her as much as I can, and I hope to one day see her again.

This is the end of “Checking Out a Soon-To-Be-Mom.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.

I will be posting and sharing poetry on Saturday and Sunday!

Checking Out a Soon-To-Be-Mom: Part One

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself thinking about this regular Sheetz customer named Brenda. Brenda was a regular Sheetz customer last year, and she was always a delight for me. Brenda was funny, friendly, sweet and so much more. She was one of my favorite customers last year, and I just found myself praying for her because she ended up being a mom. Brenda was a couple years older than me, and she was about to be a single mom. I remember seeing her for months as she was pregnant. Now, I’m hoping that she got it all figured out, and she was able to be a great mother.

Last year, I was working up at the register at Sheetz, and it was a normal, typical day. It was the summertime, and we were busy and actually working a lot. Then, there was this moment during the day where the craziness died down, and I was able to relax. A few minutes later, this black woman came into the store. I took a look at her, and she was pretty. I could tell that she was around the same age as me, and I saw that she was pregnant. She was a few months pregnant, as far as I could tell, and she was in a serious rush to get out of Sheetz. I didn’t understand it. I was wondering to myself if everything was alright with her.

A few minutes later, she comes to my register with some drinks and snacks. I say hello to her, and she quietly replies hi back to me. As I’m ringing things up, I notice she’s looking down and really trying to avoid eye contact with me. I don’t know why, but something was telling me to strike a conversation with her. So, I looked at the stuff I was ringing up and noticed that she had candy. I smiled as I discovered that she had sour patch kids, my favorite candy.  So, I said, “Okay, I see you with the sour patch kids. These are so good, you can’t go wrong with them.”

She chuckled at my remark and responded, “Yeah, these are good. Sour patch kids are banging.”

I laughed and said, “True that.”

We had a whole conversation about candy, and she was in a much better mood and more engaged with me. She eventually told me her names was Brenda, and I noticed that she was more relaxed and comfortable. When I had bagged everything and gave her the receipt, I was glad that she was smiling and happier. Before Brenda left, she asked me how are the drinks here at Sheetz. I responded, “Oh they’re pretty good, I enjoy them. You can’t go wrong with them, especially if I’m making them. I make sure to put nothing but TLC in them.”

She laughed and said, “Okay cool, then I’ll be sure to get one the next time I come in. You gonna make sure that you make it for me, babe?”

I responded, “I got you, the drink is going to be amazing and out of this world.”

She smiled and said, “Thanks babe, I’m looking forward to it. I’ll see you later.”

I told her it was no problem, and I watched her leave Sheetz. I was glad that I was able to put a smile on her face and put her in a good mood. I don’t know, it just felt like she needed it.

A few days passed, and Brenda came back to the store. When I saw her, I acknowledged her presence, smiled and waved at her. She smiled and waved back at me. She yelled that she was about to get a drink, and I responded, “No worries, I got you.”

Brenda ordered a frozen drink, and I started making it. We made conversation as I was making her drink, and she was telling me that she was going to be coming to the store more often. I was excited to hear this, and she appreciated my excitement. When I was done making drink, she took a sip of it and loved it. She said, “Ok, you got some skill. I’ll give you that. Thanks for the drink and conversation, babe, I’ll see you later.”

I smiled at her and said no problem and have a good one. She left the store, and I was once again happy that I had made her smile and forget whatever troubles she was dealing with in her life.

A few months had passed, and Brenda was a regular Sheetz customer. Every time she came in, I made sure to acknowledge her presence by waving and smiling at her. It was important to me to do this because I felt like she needed it. I wanted her to know that she was appreciated by me, and I could that that it meant a lot to her. I remember one of my favorite coworkers, Marie, had witnessed my friendliness to Brenda, and she told me that it was really sweet of me. I responded, “Yeah, I could just tell that she’s going through a lot and something told me that she just needs a friend.”

Marie was also kind of close to Brenda, and she told me that Brenda had gotten pregnant at a party. So, Marie wasn’t sure if there was a father in the picture to help Brenda. Also, Marie informed me that Brenda was struggling to find a job. Marie explained, “Yeah, Brenda told me that no one would hire her, and she’s just worried as she’s about to have her babies. No one will hire her because she’s pregnant, and it’s such a shame.”

I couldn’t believe it. I was wondering to myself if that was a form of discrimination, and Marie replied that she wasn’t sure. I just couldn’t believe that she was unemployed, but then I found myself confused as Marie said babies to me. I asked what she meant, and Marie replied and said, “Oh, she told me that she was having twins.”

This is the end of “Checking Out a Soon-To-Be-Mom: Part One.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this story.

On Thursday, I will be posting part two of “Checking Out a Soon-To-Be-Mom.”

 

 

Never Missing A Thing

When I think about my dad, Shawn McNeil, I’m thankful for having him in my life. I think about his integrity, determination, hard work, respect, kindness, wisdom and love for others. In addition, I admire his faith and how he’s a true man of God. These things and more that he has instilled in his body, mind and soul are things that I strive for and cherish in my life thanks to him. He taught me how to be a man when I was three years old. He came into my life, and he did his job as my father. Throughout the years, he was always by my side and made sure that I not only felt love but understood it. Looking back on the years and now, I realize that my dad was never missing a thing with me.

When I was 11 years old, I remember that I was starting to learn how to play the drums thanks to my dad Shawn McNeil. He wanted my siblings and I to learn how to play either the drums or piano. Since all my siblings decided to learn how to play the piano, I naturally elected to play the drums. I was thinking to myself that somebody has to do it. We have to have a drummer in the family, right? Anyways, I learned for years how to play the drums by Mr. Charles and every year I would participate in a recital. When I was 12 years old, I had my first ever recital with my little brother Isaac. We were performing the song “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly. I remember I told my biological father Keith about the recital. He promised that he could make it to the recital, but he never did. I invited him to four recitals, but he never made it to any of them. I’ll admit that it bothered me a little when he made false promises to me, but it didn’t destroy me because of my dad. My dad went to all of my recitals, and I felt loved and appreciated because of him. I had my mom and dad at my recitals cheering me on, and it was all I needed to feel loved and appreciated.

In high school, I was a sprinter on the Track and Field team. I participated in the 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter and 4×400 meter relay. I told Keith about me being on the track and field team, and he was proud of me. It meant a lot to me to have his approval, especially in high school. I remember year after year he would always promise to come to a track meet, but he never did. It didn’t bother that much because I was used to his empty promises by now. Anyways, I wasn’t hurt that Keith wasn’t there because I had my dad supporting and cheering me on. In fact, he was always exercising and training with me to be a better runner. If it wasn’t for my dad, I probably would never have lettered in track and field. He pushed to be the best possible version of myself, and I’m constantly striving to be the best version of myself thanks to my dad.

One of the things that I really wanted to do in high school was join the theater and drama club. I wanted to act in a school play and/or musical. I talked to Keith about it one time, but he didn’t approve. He said that I shouldn’t do theater or drama club because it was “gay” to him. He didn’t approve of guys that did theater instead of sports, and he didn’t want me doing it. I couldn’t understand the toxic masculinity that existed within Keith, and it was sad and disappointing to me. At the same time, I was still trying to get his approval, so I didn’t do theater and drama club in my sophomore or junior year of high school. However, I did do it in my senior year of high school.

It was the fall play “Murder in the Knife Room” that really enticed me to want to join drama club in my senior year of high school, but I was hesitant because of Keith. My dad actually encouraged me to audition for “Murder in the Knife Room.” He told me that this was something that I needed to do, and it wasn’t gonna make me someone that I’m not. It was going to bring me happiness, and he was going to be there for me and support me. I appreciated my dad and his encouraging words. I ended up being Plastic Politician in “Murder in the Knife Room” and Lucas Beineke in “The Addams Family Musical.” Those two shows, the cast and crew hold a special place in my heart, but that’s another story. Anyways, my dad came to all of my shows, but Keith never came to one.

Around the time of my high school graduation, Keith was talking about how he was gonna come to my graduation. He made a promise to me, but he couldn’t come. I remember I was deeply hurt by this because I had opened myself up to him and believed him. Surely, he wouldn’t disappoint me on this important day in my life, but he did. Thankfully, my dad was there for me, and he was all I needed. He made sure that I wasn’t thinking about Keith rather all the people from my uncles, aunts, family friends, mom, siblings and others that were there for me. My dad made sure to be there with me when I got my diploma, and it meant so much to me that he was proud of me.

Now, I’ll always have love for Keith. I don’t know what’s going on his life, but I know that he’s struggling right now. I pray for him every single day because he is my father, and he will always hold a special place in my heart. However, I’m so thankful and blessed to have Shawn McNeil in my life because he made sure to be a father to me. He knew that I needed that support, and I needed an earthly father figure to believe in me. My recitals, track meets, shows and graduation were special to me because my dad was there for me when Keith wasn’t able to be that father to me. My dad made those things meaningful to me, and I’ll always be grateful for that. I’ll always cherish my dad for teaching me what love was because of those events in my life. I love you always dad, and thank you for never missing a thing with me.

This is the end of “Never Missing A Thing.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.

This weekend, I will be posting poetry dedicated to my dad Shawn McNeil on Saturday and Sunday.