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 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.”

Based on this story, I have some interesting questions that I would love to be answered. These questions will help me prove something to a friend, so if y’all could answer one or more these questions whether you read the story or not, I would really appreciate it. You can comment a simple “yes” or “no” for all these questions or go more in depth. Here are the questions:

  1. Are hopeless romantics authentic?
  2. Should you be exclusive to one person after one date?
  3. Is it okay for a guy to talk to multiple girls while dating someone?
  4. Is it okay for a girl to have multiple guy friends?
  5. Is 6-10 months too long for you to say “I love you” to someone that you’ve been in a relationship with?
  6. Can a man and a woman have a genuine, close friendship without it leading into something more?

Here are my answers:

  1. No
  2. No
  3. Yes because you never know, and you have to keep your options open. Also, it’s okay for a girl to do this as well. I think it takes 5-7 dates to determine exclusivity with a person because I believe in “growing in love” with a person rather than “falling in love” with a person. Growing in love with a person to me is about using your mind, heart and soul. Falling in love is only about using your heart. Love is patient and kind, and to me falling in love is the opposite of that. It’s abrupt, sudden and emotional. There’s nothing stable about it, and it’s not a good foundation to build love with somebody. Again, this is my opinion. In addition, it’s important to be mindful because you don’t know a person, and it’s okay to keep your options opened for someone that is better fit for you to grow in love with. If you meet the 5-7 date requirements with someone, then I think that’s when you should stop talking to multiple people and start building and being exclusive to that person.
  4. Yes, but I think it’s important to be aware of girl’s friends. Same way with a guy’s “girl” friends as well.
  5. Yes
  6. No

Again, if you all can answer one or more of these questions with a simple “yes” or “no” and/or go more in depth with your questions, I would really appreciate it. Also, if y’all want to dispute/argue with any of my answers, I will welcome it. I love arguing.

 

 

Zaiah Bear

I can’t help but smile when I’m with you.

It’s just something that I can’t avoid.

You just know how to make me smile and show off my dimples.

You tell the funniest, corniest jokes ever, and I can’t help but laugh at them.

How did you have such an effect on me?

I guess it has something to do with you being in my life for so long.

 

You were always committed to me.

You were always giving me joy, laughter and love.

My memories of you are pure, and they can never be tainted.

They will last a lifetime.

 

Thank you for never making excuses.

Thank you for never disappointing me.

Thank you for never hurting me.

Thank you for always being by my side.

 

I honestly don’t know what my life would be like without you.

Like my mom and grandpa, you’ve always been a fire for me.

You’ve kept me warm and comforted for years.

I’m thankful and blessed to have a strong relationship with you.

God truly knew what He was doing when He put you in my life.

Thank you for everything you’ve done for me.

You’ll always hold a special place in my heart.

Zaiah Bear loves you so much, grandma.

 

This is the end of the poem “Zaiah Bear.”

 

 

 

Movies With My Grandma

Last year, my Grandma Mollie came from Lorain, Ohio, to visit me and my family in Pittsburgh. I remember we were all sitting in the living room laughing and talking, while I had the remote in my hand. As I was flipping through all of the channels, I quickly noticed that there was a certain movie on AMC that I love with a passion. That movie was The Matrix. 

The Matrix is my favorite movie of all time, and it’s just a known fact that it’s the greatest movie of all time. That’s right, a fact. It’s got everything you need in a movie from the story, the symbolism, the suspense, the action, the horror, the mystery, the sci-fi, the characters (Trinity, Neo, Cypher, Morpheus, Agent Smith, the Oracle), the romance, the philosophy, the faith, the deliverance, the free will and so much more. I ask you to name another movie that has all of that and more? Can you name another iconic movie? No, you can’t. And do you know why, you can’t name another movie? Because there’s only one, and that movie is The Matrix, the greatest movie of all time.

Anyways, I’m so excited to see my movie on TV, so I naturally put it on AMC. My little brother Isaac looks up to see what I put on, and he starts to groan. He yells, “Oh God, can we not have it on this god-awful movie.”

Naturally, I was appalled by Isaac’s disrespectful words to this work of art. Before I could say anything, my dad said, “Yeah, I agree. I’m not trying see some terrible acting by Keanu Reeves.”

In my mind, I’m saying to myself, “Oh no they didn’t. I know they didn’t just dog my movie like that. Why do they do this to me? Why do they always have to disrespect my movie when it’s on TV? Why do they force to defend the greatness that is ThMatrix?” 

Naturally, I went off on them. First, I went at Isaac talking about how he had no right to be saying The Matrix was awful when he had never even seen it before, but that didn’t stop him from talking. Then, I told my dad that Keanu’s acting was perfect and just the right amount for the movie. “Isaiah, he barely showed any emotion. His acting was poor with his blank stares.Will Smith would’ve done so much better as Neo, my dad added.”

I responded, “No, Keanu was being realistic. I probably would’ve acted the same way too if I found out I was in a computer simulation for all my life. I sure wouldn’t be dramatic like Will Smith and yell, ‘No, no, no,’ at some mannequin like he did in I Am Legend. Just being way too dramatic. No, The Matrix is a realistic movie with everything and a hint of drama, it’s not a full-on drama.”

My brother, dad and I continued to argue for ten more minutes. My mom ended up betraying me and saying The Matrix wasn’t the greatest movie of all time. My sisters just kept laughing, while my Grandma Mollie was silent. Eventually, we stopped arguing, and I was able to watch a little bit of my movie and recite some of the lines. While I was watching this masterpiece, my brother interrupted my moment of bliss and said, “This movie is trash, and it’s kind of sad that you know every single line in this movie.”

Before I could say anything, my Grandma Mollie came to the rescue. She said, “Now, y’all leave my baby alone. He’s been loving this movie since he was three years old. Let my baby watch his movie in peace, please.”

It’s true, I have loved The Matrix since I was three years old. I remember my grandma introduced the movie to me when I was three years old. She told me how I really loved the movie, and it just always held a special place in my heart. I loved Neo. I would always imitate him, and it used to annoy my mom. My grandma told me that there was this one time where my mom had whooped me hard for doing something bad. I don’t remember what I did, but it was brutal whooping. After my mom was done whooping me, I had gotten up and said “Momma.” My mom turned around, I looked into her eyes and said, “How did you beat me?”

My mom had this confused look on her face, but my grandma was rolling. Then, I extended my right arm and motioned with my right hand to come on and bring it. My mom said, “What in the world is my baby doing?”

My grandma was still laughing like crazy, and she explained, “Well, we’ve been watching the Matrix, and he’s imitating scenes from the movie. Morpheus asking Neo how he beat him in the training simulation, and Neo telling Agent Smith to bring it in the Subway fight. Those two scenes.”

My grandma continued laughing, but my mom was still annoyed. I think she gave me another whooping because I asked for it, but I’m not sure entirely. However, The Matrix would be the beginning of my grandma and I watching movies together.

Since I was three years old, my grandma and I watched hundreds of movies together. There was always just something sacred about watching movies with my grandma. It was just special, quality time with her. I remember we watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy together, and I was just so confused with the story. I had no idea what was going on. I was really young when I saw it, but my grandma made the trilogy special for me. She would take the time to talk to me about what was going on in the movie, and she really helped me understand the plot of everything. My Grandma Mollie did so good with me that I started imitating Gollum to the delight of my grandma.

I remember my grandma and I used to watch Never Been Kissed starring Drew Barrymore a lot. It was our movie for some reason. Just like The Matrix, Never Been Kissed was just a classic for me and my grandma. My grandma was just a huge Drew Barrymore fan, and I ended up becoming one as well thanks to her. Every time we watched Never Been Kissed, it just blew our minds that Drew’s character had never been in a relationship or never been kissed. It was mind-boggling to us.

There’s just so many memories of my grandma and I just watching movies together with her homemade cookies, sweets, candy, junk food and other unhealthy substitutes. Never vegetables thank God. I’m always going to cherish those movies that we watched together because it just shows how much she truly cares about me. She devoted time and energy to be one of the most fun-loving, kind and supportive people in my life. She always puts a smile on my face, makes me laugh with her jokes and just knows how to make me feel special and wanted. Not a lot of people have that effect on me, and I’m just so grateful that I have someone like my Grandma Mollie to do that for me. She’s done so much for me that she doesn’t know about, and I can’t imagine what life would be like without her. I love my grandma so much, and I’m so grateful that I can continue to watch movies with my grandma.

This is the end of “Movies with My Grandma.”

On Thursday, I will be posting and sharing “Getting Greedy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Interesting Day at PetSmart

A couple of years ago, I was working part time at PetSmart. I was an early morning stocker and cashier. My shifts varied during that job from 5am-10am (early morning stocking), 2pm-7pm (cashier) and 3pm-9pm (cashier). In the month of July, my managers decided to just have me working 5am-10am because they needed me more as an early morning stocker. They asked me if that was an issue, but I told them that it was fine. I didn’t mind just working in the mornings. In fact, I was excited to just work as just an early morning stocker.

In the early morning shift, I just worked with two people. I worked with my manager Jim and my coworker Chris. Jim would work by himself with manager stuff, while Chris and I worked together on getting everything stocked from cat litter, cat food, dog food, toys, crates, treats and other things. We had about four hours to stock everything we needed (5am-9am), then we had a 30-minute lunch and 30 minutes to clean up. It varied if we got everything stocked or not in time. It just depended on how much we had to stock. Also, Chris and I talked and joked around a lot, and this also effected if we got everything stocked in time. However, my first day starting as primarily an early morning stocker was a day like no other.

It was a Monday morning, and I was at PetSmart at 4:55 am. A few minutes later, Chris had arrived. Chris and I had to wait for Jim to arrive because the store was locked, and he had the keys to the store. We’re both in our cars and on our phones just waiting for Jim to come. Ten minutes pass, and Jim’s not at PetSmart. Twenty minutes pass, and he’s still not here. Thirty minutes pass, and Chris and I are wondering what’s going on. We get out of our cars, and I asked him what’s going on. Chris said, “I don’t know, but Jim’s late, man.”

We were both hoping nothing bad happened to him, and Chris wondered if another manager was supposed to be working with us. I showed him the schedule on my phone to show that Jim was scheduled to work with us. Chris started rubbing his eyes and said, “Alright, I’ll just shoot him text and see what’s going on.”

He texted Jim, “Yo where u at?”

A few minutes later, he laughed and texted, “U up lol?”

He started giggling, and I couldn’t help but shake my head and giggle with him. Ten minutes passed, and there was still no response. I looked at and Chris said, “Well, let’s try calling him.”

We tried calling him, but there was no answer. It was 6:00 am now, and we were contemplating if we were able to leave or not. Five minutes later, Chris gets a text from our manager Jim. It read, “Hey fellas, I forgot to set my alarm and my phone was on silent. Whoopsies! I’ll be there in 30 mins.”

Chris and I started laughing because we saw the word “Whoopsies.” We kept joking around and saying that now he can’t be mad at us if we were 10-15 minutes late to work. Also, we were joking about how we could just use this against him.

It was 6:45 when Jim arrived at work. When Jim got out of his car, Chris yelled, “Hey sleeping beauty, did you get enough sleep?”

Everyone laughed, and Chris explained that he didn’t know what happened. His wife ended up waking him up. We all laughed as we all walked inside PetSmart, clocked in and headed to the back room. Chris assured us that he would make sure that we get our two other hours for coming in on time, and we thanked him. When we made it to the backroom, we saw that there was a lot to stock. Also, we only had two hours to stock everything. Jim looked at us and said, “Alright look, I’m not expecting yinz to get all this stocked in two hours. Just get as much as you can done, and we’ll just have to figure this all out later.”

After Jim said all of this, he left the backroom and went to his office. Chris and I looked at each other, and we were so excited because we pretty much had a free day. We didn’t have to feel rushed or anything, and it was gonna be a fun day at work. We only had to work for two hours and thirty minutes.

Chris and I started working, and we were just two happy campers. We’re smiling, talking and having a great time together. Chris was talking about his iFunny page with me, and some interesting memes. It was all sunshine and rainbows, until Chris came at me with a thunderstorm.

It’s around 8:00, and we were stocking dog food. All of sudden, he remembered something. He told me that he forgot to mention something interesting to me. I asked him what, and he explained that last week a cute girl was asking about me on Friday. I was excited and wanted to hear more. Chris said, “Yeah man, she was fine. Her body was popping, her booty was looking right. Everything was just on point, my man. She was such a cutie.”

Chris was really hyping her up for me, and I just wanted to know more. Chris continued, “Yeah man, she was talking about how sweet and cute you were, and she just wanted you to have her number.”

After he said that, we both got excited and started clapping our hands and jumping up an down. It was a great moment we shared together, and all I needed was the number to solidify this moment. So, I said, “Alright bro, let me get them digits.”

Suddenly, Chris stopped jumping, made a face and said, “Yeah, about that. I actually didn’t get the number.”

I stopped jumping and clapping, and I asked him what did he mean. He replied, “Well, I just didn’t get the number. It just never came up in our conversation.”

“Conversation? How long were y’all talking together?” I asked.

“Like a good five minutes,” he said.

“Wow, so you were talking to this goddess that wants me for five minutes, and you somehow don’t have the necessary information I need to pursue this girl,” I said.

I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing, Chris yelled, “Now, wait a minute! In that time, I was hyping you up. I told her all these great things about you, and I got her really excited about you. I mean really excited about you. And I did get some information. I found out that she works around here.”

I said okay, and I asked him where does she work. He gave me a scared look and started looking away from me. Then, I said, “Chris, please tell me you know where she works. Surely, you would at least get that information for me.”

Chris turned to me, gave a weird face and said, “I wasn’t able to find out—

“Oh my gosh, Chris! You didn’t get any information for me! I thought you were my boy, how could not give me anything to work with?” I interrupted.

“Jan was around, Isaiah. You know how strict she can be. I didn’t want her thinking that I was just talking to a customer,” he said.

“But you were talking to a customer! For five minutes! You could’ve gotten some information for me. It’s not that hard to ask people where they work. Also, you have my number. You could’ve just given it to her in less than ten seconds. I just can’t believe this betrayal by you. I thought we were brothers,” I said.

I started to fake cry, and Chris started laughing and asking why did I have to be so dramatic. I responded, “Because this is a serious moment. If the situation was reversed and you were the one she wanted, I would’ve gotten her number, her place of employment, her Facebook, her Snapchat, her Instagram, her address, her driver’s license number, her social security card, her birth certificate, and so much more in under five minutes for you. I would do that for you. Give you everything and anything you needed to be with this goddess you described to me. I just can’t believe that you didn’t give me anything. I thought we were brothers, but that was clearly a lie. I just can’t believe this betrayal.”

I continued my fake crying, when Chris came to me and embraced me. He started fake crying and said, “I’m sorry, Isaiah. I’m ashamed of myself. I let you down, and I didn’t get you your goddess. Please, forgive me, my brother.”

I responded, “Your betrayal is unforgivable. The damage has been done, and there’s nothing you can do to fix it. That goddess you described was probably the love of my life that I’ll never see again.”

We fake cried some more and then we let go of each other. Then, we started laughing. I told him that I was still low-key mad that he didn’t get anything from me. He said, “I know, but I also found out that she comes in the afternoons at PetSmart. I told her that she’ll probably eventually see you again in the afternoon.”

I sighed, looked at him and said, “Nah bro, I only work the mornings now. So, I’m probably never gonna see her again.”

“Oh. Whoopsies,” Chris said.

We both started laughing, Chris looked at his watch and said, “Well, it’s 9:00 right now, so it’s break time. Do you want to go and get some Chick-Fil-A?”

“Yeah sure, I could use some Chick-Fil-A right now.”

So, Chris and I headed to Chick-Fil-A, ate and talked for thirty minutes, came back to PetSmart to clean up our mess for thirty minutes and went home afterwards. It was truly an interesting day at PetSmart filled with bliss, laughter, fun and betrayal.

This is the end of “An Interesting Day at PetSmart.”

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

This weekend, I will be posting and sharing poetry.

 

 

 

Checking Out a Scared, Black Woman

Now, I was gonna share a different story today, but I found myself compelled to share this story. I don’t know why, but I really felt like I needed to share this story. It’s a sad but necessary story about honestly being at the wrong place at the wrong time. At the same time, this is a story about being at the right place at the right time. This is “Checking Out a Scared, Black Woman.”

Last week, I was working my usual 6am-2pm shift on Friday. I was extremely tired because I had about two hours of sleep. I was up till midnight writing a story, and I ended up watching Pulp Fiction after I was done writing. Now, I usually watch The Twilight Zone or some horror movie before going to bed, but I wanted to watch Pulp Fiction that night. I’ve seen it a lot, and it’s one of my favorite movies behind The Matrix, my all-time favorite. However, I really wanted to see Pulp Fiction again because I had just watched Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in theatres and wanted to get my “Quentin Tarantino” on. It was necessary, and sleeping isn’t that important, right?

Anyways, I was struggling to stay awake. Even with coffee in my system, I was a literal zombie. My coworker Marie is used to me being all sleepy and tired, but she said, “I can’t believe you do this to yourself. How are you functioning? You need to get at least five hours of sleep. Minimum.”

I laughed and said, “Marie, you know me. I can’t help that I’m a late-night writer, and I enjoy a good scary movie before going to bed. I’m only human, Marie.”

We both start laughing, and Marie just calls me silly. It’s around 7 am, and my manager, Michael, sends out a new person to me and Marie to train. Her name is Jenn, and she was really nice and cool to work with. Marie explained to Jenn that me and her were extremely tired, but we promised to perk up at around 9 or 10 am. An hour passes, and I’m slowly but surely starting to wake up. Plus, Marie and I are training Jenn, but for the most part she was doing pretty good on her own. Also, it was kind of slow in the store. Everything was alright. Then, everything changes when I’m stocking cigarettes, and I hear, “Excuse me, sir.”

I turn around and see a black woman in front of my register. She’s pretty, and she’s about few years older than me. However, I could tell that she was a little scared. Not knowing what’s going on, I said, “Yes mam.”

“Can I talk to you really quick?,” she asked.

She was a little quiet asking me, so I leaned in and whispered, “Yeah that’s fine.”

Then, she asked me if we could actually talk in private. I told her that it was perfectly fine and suggested that we talk in the dining room. She started walking to the dining room, while I followed after her. Luckily, we weren’t busy, and Marie had Jenn helping her up front. So, it was fine for me to talk to this black woman.

Anyways, I’m in the dining room with the black woman, and I asked her if everything was alright. She started crying a little and explained that she was drunk and far from home. She lived at North Side, and she somehow ended up in Jefferson Hills. She apologized to me for smelling drunk, and I assured that she was fine. Then, she continued, “Yeah, I ended up going to a party I shouldn’t have gone to. I was drinking too much. I don’t remember much of what happened, but I know these white guys…they…you…know did things to me.”

She was having a hard time breathing, and I just told her to just sit down and take a deep breathe. She quickly sat down and tried to catch her breathe. I sat down as well, and I was assuring her that it was alright. Then, she added, “I’m so scared because my kids are home alone, and I just can’t believe that I was so irresponsible and go to that stupid party.”

She was really beating herself up, so I looked at her and said, “Look, you’re fine now. You did the responsible thing by coming here and seeking some help. It’s better that you’re in here than out there. You’re being responsible now.”

She thanked me for my encouragement and explained that she didn’t have any money. Also, her phone was dying, and she was having a hard time reaching a friend. So, she had no way of getting home. Then, I asked her if she maybe wanted to call the police about the incident. She responded, “No, no, no cops. I just want to forget about last night and go home to my kids.”

I understood that she just wanted to go home, but I still wished that she reported what happened to her to the authorities. Even though I don’t know all the details about her assault, her trembling and crying illustrated to me that she had been through some serious trauma. I wish that she wanted justice for herself, but I understood that she was drunk, tired and ready to forget and be home with her kids. She saw the whole situation as her fault for getting drunk, and she just wanted to forget the mistake she made. Yes, she was drunk, but that doesn’t give men the right to do whatever they wanted to her. Her behavior and drunkenness is not a free pass for men to do with her as they please. She kept saying to me that she should’ve known better, but in reality it’s the white men that hurt her that should’ve known better. They’re the ones that hurt her . They’re the ones that assaulted her. They’re the ones that took advantage of her. How could she not see that? How could she place more blame on herself than on the white men that hurt her? Then, I remembered that it’s the society that we live in. It’s a toxic society that has infected both men and women. It’s a society that places more blame on women for their “mistakes” rather than help them seek justice from the tyranny of evil men.

Anyways, I told her that I understood that she didn’t want the cops involved and asked if she wanted something to drink like coffee or water. She said that water would be fine, so I went and got her a cup of water. When I came back with the water, I was still trying to figure out how she could get home. I was suggesting to maybe take the bus, but she didn’t want to take the bus. Then, I said, “Well, I’m not sure what we can do. I can maybe talk to my manager and see if he has a solution.”

“Wait, is your manager white?”

I told her that he was, and I could tell that made her uneasy. So, I assured her that my manager Michael was nice, and he would do his best to help her. I added that she could trust me, and he wasn’t going to call the cops. She said okay, and I went to my manager’s office.

I told Michael everything that was going on with the black woman, and he handled everything with compassion and respect. Michael talked to her a little, gave her a sausage burrito and a breakfast sandwich and assured that everything was going to be alright. He pulled me to the side and explained how he offered to give her money for the bus, but she didn’t want to do that. Also, he could tell that something serious had happened to her, but she didn’t want to tell him. I explained to Michael that she talked to me about it, and he was relieved with that. Then, he told me to just do inside trash, but also to keep an eye on her. Make sure she doesn’t fall asleep and just check on her and make sure she’s doing alright.

I was thankful and glad that Michael was there as the manager that day. He’s one of the most compassionate managers I ever worked for, and I just couldn’t imagine another Sheetz manager dealing with the scared, black woman as Michael did. He kept it quiet, and he showed her so much kindness and respect to her. Michael was honestly the right manager at the right time.

Anyways, I was checking on the woman like Michael instructed. Making sure that she was doing alright. She told me that Michael was nice to her, and someone was coming to pick her up. They ended up coming at around 9 am to pick her up and taking her home to her kids.

Despite being at the wrong place at the wrong time at the party, I was so glad that the woman ended up being at the right place at the right time at Sheetz.

This is the end of “Checking Out a Scared, Black Woman.”

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

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

I Promise

Why does life have to be so hard?

I’ve relied on you for years to help me through the struggle, but you’ve gotten weaker.

You’re not as strong as you used to be.

What changed?

 

Can you tell me what I have to do with our without you?

I long to keep you by my side, but I’m worried you’re slipping away from me.

I’ve failed so much that I’ve forgotten what success was like with you.

You’re like a distant relative now, but you’re supposed to be my best friend.

 

I’m ashamed that I’ve allowed others to take your place.

These others want to hurt, kill and destroy me.

These others want me to cater to my lustful needs and desires.

These others don’t want me to reach my destination.

These others don’t want me to see that I have a purpose.

These others don’t want me to see you in my life.

 

I need to make you essential in my life because I can’t do it without you.

You’re the one that makes me who I am.

I can’t blame you for being weak when I’m the reason you’re weak now.

I should’ve catered to you constantly.

Instead, I treated you like a withered house plant.

I ignored you and didn’t you give you the necessary care to blossom.

 

I want you and no one else.

I realize now that if I don’t have you, I can’t have nobody.

You help me see the good and beauty of this world.

Without you, I only see the wickedness and the hopelessness that exists in this world.

 

Please, come back into my life.

Please, help me believe again.

Please, help me forgive myself for losing you.

Please, I need you.

 

You’re always going to be in my heart.

I promise that I’m gonna make you stronger again.

I promise we’re gonna be a team again.

I promise I’ll love you again.

I promise that you’ll be my strength again.

I promise.

 

This is the end of the poem “I Promise.”

What do you think this poem is about? Let me know in the comments what you think the poem “I Promise” is about and any other thoughts you may have. Also, if you’re following “The Green Mask” story in the Dark Colors series on my blog, this poem is connected with that short story. I will be posting part three and four of “The Green Mask” this week on Tuesday and Thursday.

The Green Mask: Part Two

Just to recap, it’s the summertime for Matthew, and he’s having a hard time adjusting to his new school. It was the sixth grade for Matthew, and he struggled to adjust to his new school and make new friends. In addition, Matthew finds himself tormented by his troubled past with his old school, more specifically with Bryan. Matthew recalls seeking vengeance against Bryan, but it would come with a cost. Matthew would lose his innocence, condemn Bryan to a terrible fate and bear the red aviator sunglasses. Now, Matthew walks alone in his neighborhood, gets an ice cream cone from Sal’s Ice Cream shop and finds himself alone at the park. As the sun starts to set, Matthew takes off his sunglasses and begins to cry. Matthew prays to God to help him stop crying, but he’s quickly soothed by a kid around his age. Matthew realizes the kid is wearing a tiger mask covered in yellow. He thanks the kid for calming him down, and the kid tells him it’s no problem. Then, the kid says, “By the way, my name’s Goldie, but a lot of people just call me the kid in the yellow mask.”

Now, it’s time to get into “The Green Mask: Part Two.”

Matthew quickly puts on his red sunglasses and tells Goldie that it’s nice to meet him. Goldie tilts his head to the right and this confuses Matthew. Matthew asks Goldie what’s wrong, and Goldie responds, “Oh nothing, it’s just that you’re so interesting to me, Matthew, and I honestly want the best for you.”

There was a concerned look on Matthew’s face because Goldie knew his name. Also, why did he want the best for him? Before Matthew could respond, Goldie excitedly asks, “So, how was the ice cream from Sal’s? Was it good? Was it the best ice cream you ever had? Did you have sprinkles on it? Please, please, please, I have to know.”

Goldie got close to Matthew waiting for an answer. Matthew told him that Sal’s ice cream was great, but he didn’t get any sprinkles on his ice cream. Goldie says, “Oh, that’s so awesome. Now, I definitely have to give them a whirl. I just love ice cream, especially ice cream with sprinkles. I have a feeling you will too, eventually.”

After Goldie says that, he proceeds to laugh and starts running around. He talks about how beautiful and amazing the park and summer is for him. Matthew couldn’t help but chuckle at Goldie’s excitement. Matthew could tell that Goldie was a very enthusiastic, positive kid. It seemed like the world was all sunshine and rainbows for Goldie, but it was a red, dark world for Matthew thanks to his red sunglasses.

Goldie stops running around and rushes back to Matthew. He sits back on the swing next to Matthew, tilts his head to the left and asks Matthew why he was crying. Matthew responds that it was for no reason. Goldie tilts his head to the right and says, “It doesn’t look like it was for no reason. Were you bothered by Bryan and your new school?”

Matthew is shocked and asks Goldie how he knows about Bryan and his struggles at his new school. Goldie shrugs his shoulders, tilts his head to the left and responds, “I just do. I’m very, very, smart kid, bro. So, were you thinking about Bryan, school or something else?”

Matthew quickly replies that it’s nothing, and he thinks about running away because Goldie was starting to freak him out. Matthew starts to get up from his swing, but Goldie stops him. He says, “Please, don’t be scared, Matthew. I just want to help. Please, just give me a chance.”

Goldie’s touch calms Matthew down. Matthew thinks to himself that he could trust Goldie, and it’s a weird feeling. Matthew believes in Goldie. Matthew responds, “Alright, I’ll give you a chance. Tell me what have to do.”

Goldie tilts his head to right and says, “I know you can’t see it, but I’m actually smiling. I’m glad you’re letting me help you out, bro. Just follow me.”

They both get up from the swings, and they start walking with Goldie leading the way. As they’re walking, Matthew finds himself getting a little tired and wear, and he sees just a clear path in front of him. Goldie yells that they’re almost there, and Matthew ends up closing his eyes for few seconds. He opens them up and finds himself in front of tree. How did a tree suddenly appear out of nowhere? He looks around for Goldie, but he’s nowhere to be found. Where could Goldie have gone? Matthew continues to look around, but the area is unfamiliar to him. Matthew’s heart is racing as confusion and terror run rapid in his mind. Did Goldie abandon him somehow? Matthew doesn’t know what to do. He begins to pray, but there’s a yell from above. He looks up at the tree and notices a treehouse on top. Then, Goldie pokes his head out of the treehouse and says, “Hey bro, there’s no need for that. I got you, just come on up man.”

Goldie motions for Matthew to go around the tree and climb the ladder that was waiting for him. Matthew starts climbing and makes it to the treehouse. Goldie opens the door and helps Matthew get inside. When Matthew gets inside, he notices that the treehouse is covered with masks. Then, Matthew sees a big mirror in front of him, but there was nothing else in the treehouse. Just a bunch of masks and a mirror. Matthew looks around at all the masks in the treehouse, and he finds himself intrigued by a white mask. The mask had evil eyes, sharp teeth and a sinister smile. Matthew reaches to touch it, but Goldie quickly stops him. Goldie looks him in the eyes and says, “Don’t touch that mask. Ever.”

Matthew asks why and Goldie explains that it’s for someone else with sinister intentions. “Trust me, that mask is not for you,” says Goldie.

Matthew gets away from the mask, and Goldie tells him to just stand in front of the mirror. Matthew listens to Goldie and just looks at all of the masks in the treehouse. Why did Goldie have so many masks? Before Matthew could think more about the masks, Goldie presents a mask to Matthew. It’s green, and it was just a face with a big smile on it. Matthew didn’t understand. Then, Goldie says, “This is the green mask, Matthew. This mask will help you in unimaginable ways, bro. All you have to do is give me your red sunglasses, for this green mask.”

This is the end of “The Green Mask: Part Two.”

This weekend, I will be sharing poetry. Also, I will be posting part three and four of “The Green Mask” next week.

Khalil

I can’t believe how close we are, despite being miles away from each other.

I wish were closer in proximity.

However, it wasn’t meant to be.

Sometimes I worry that I’m not doing enough, but you assure me that I’m fine.

You assure me that you love me and appreciate the best I can give you.

I only wish that everyone can give you their best.

However, it doesn’t matter to you.

You continue to allow your confidence to fly and wake up in the sky.

I can’t describe how proud I am of you.

How are you so awesome?

How are you so cool?

How did I get so lucky to have you in my life?

I’m thankful that you look up to.

I hope and pray that I won’t let you down.

I know that we’re going to have a bright future together as brothers.

I love you, Khalil.

 

This is the end of the poem “Khalil.”

On Tuesday, I will be posting part one of a four-part story titled “The Green Mask” on the Dark Colors series. Then, I will be posting part two on Thursday.