Sunday, January 02, 2005
Never Known Before.......
Never Known Before
We spoke just two weeks ago. It was funny because we joked about cooking for each other one day. I think it was just his way of trying to get me to come see him. More than a thousand miles separated us so our contact had always been limited to the occasional phone call and emails. I've know him for years like this and even from a distance he's touched my life in a special way.
When we spoke a couple weeks ago, it was really enjoyable. I dont think I've ever had as much fun with him over the phone as I did on this night. His dinner menu was just the same as mine and when I called him, he'd told me he was sitting down enjoying his food.
"I can call you back..." I told him.
"No, no...we can talk. It might be a long long minute before you call me back. You know how you do!"
"I'd call you right back!"
I laughed at how he tried so hard to keep me on the line. His efforts were sincere and I was just teasing him anyway. I really did want to talk.
"What you doing over there?" I asked.
"What you cook or did you do like most guys and go get you something to eat?"
"Why you player hating?"
"I ain't hating!"
"If you must know, I cooked me a nice meal over here despite not having anybody to share it with..."
"Yeah, yeah.... what you cook?"
"A little boneless turkey roast thingy, some cabbage, some hot water cornbread and some black eye'd peas!"
I teased him about his black eye'd peas and then confessed to having cooked the same thing. I was one up on him in that I also made a peach cobbler and had real turkey instead of that processed thing that they turn into a roast. I teased him about that too and then at the same time we decided to have a spoon full of peas together.
"You ready?" He asked.
"Yep, I'm ready silly..." I said while holding the phone with my left hand.
This whole thing was his idea but it was fun. He began the countdown.
We both laughed while attempting to chew our food and then we talked some more. Actually, that was the last time we spoke. I didn't hear from him until today, though this time was different. Someone spoke on his behalf, telling me that Michael had something he needed me to see. I questioned the word, needed and asked why. This person speaking for Michael responded very quietly. He had to clear his throat before saying anything.
"He wrote this on a legal document as his last wish..."
"Legal document? What are you talking about?"
The man said to me in a no more questions asked sort of way, "I'm sending you a ticket and this legal document. That's all I can say, for now..."
The man speaking for Michael did just as he said and I'd received a ticket to Dallas. From there I was to drive about eighty miles to a town called Sulphur Springs and locate a woman named Virginia Irvin who would then take me to see this place which was described in the legal document.
When I arrived in Dallas, it had been raining. The skies were cloudy and the ground was wet. I wasn't too crazy about driving on the damp streets nor was I too excited about traveling to somewhere I'd never been before but for whatever reason, this was important to Michael so I had to do it. That was the kind of friendship we had. He never hesitated to do things for me and I know with his crazy self, if I asked him to come see me he'd try his hardest to be on the next plane out. I laugh about it now. He never changed when it came to showering me with kind thoughts of appreciation over the years.
Seems like a lot of memories hit me as I drove down the I-30 to get to Sulphur Springs. The memories were all good except for the one when I broke Michael's heart. I convinced myself it was necessary and unavoidable. That was maybe four years ago and I've questioned myself ever since. I guess what's made it a little easier is that our friendship continued and has been very sweet.
I pulled into this small country town and found the agency where it was stated that this Virginia woman worked at. I gave them my name at the front desk and immediately they seemed to know who I was. Everyone smiled. I guess with this being a country town realestate agency, there were no secrets between anyone. There were about five people in the office and I was introduced to all of them. Everybody said they'd heard about me and I wanted to know how or why. Nobody answered.
Virginia drove me to the outskirts of town. We cruised down a couple really pretty tree lined country roads. She asked me how I felt about what was left to me. I told her that everyone was being so secretive that I'd had no real clue what she was talking about.
"I'm thinking that Michael is playing a sick joke on me because he knows my curiosity is such that I'll take a chance and see this through" I'd said.
Virginia just smiled and then told me that the next driveway would be our destination. We pulled onto this beautiful piece of farm land. It was absolutely gorgeous despite the muddy areas caused by the rain that had just passed through. There was a house in the distance that looked huge and a barn that looked like it hadn't been used in a longtime. It felt good to see all this because it was the perfect country home. It was the kind of place that Michael would love. Then I began to think to myself that maybe this was a special surprise somehow. Like maybe Michael put me through all this just to see the shock on my face when he tells me it belongs to him.
I looked at Virginia. "Michael?" I asked as I stretched my arms out imagining that all of this belonged to him.
Virginia just nodded her head, yes. I wasn't sure if she quite understood my question because she didn't smile like she was happy. She simply handed me a pair of keys and gestured for me to use them once I got to the house. It was so beautiful too. The front porch had Michael written all over it. The rocking chairs and the way it wrapped around the house. I remember him always telling me he wanted one someday.
When I walked inside the house, it felt like this place was truly meant to be a home for some lucky person or family. It was so warm and inviting. The fireplace in the living room was gorgeous. Virginia stepped inside and led me to the kitchen. There was a picture of me on the center island. I remembered the picture as being one that I'd asked Michael to make a copy of since he took it four years ago. He never did it and eventually told me that he loved this picture so much so that he wanted it to be the only one of it's kind. I wanted to strangle him for that but I've lived with his decision.
I'd shed a couple tears when I saw the picture. I knew then that something was up and I was here for a reason. That's when Virginia handed me another set of legal documents which stated that this beautiful property now belonged to me. Michael had done this. It was in his will and just like he'd done so many times before, he'd found a way to bring a smile to my face eventhough sadness flooded my heart. Sitting next to the picture of me was a bag of black eye'd peas and a measuring cup. I guess he was trying to tell me something...