Friday, April 28, 2006
First Time Misunderstood
"The beautiful thing about living is paying close enough attention to have memories..."
I remember when she first misunderstood me... Dad thought I had a crush on this older lady.. A beautiful woman named Janice who used to come by his record store on Alameda Blvd in Houston, Texas. She'd come by especially on weekends and make me smile real big. I was in the ninth grade at the time and I'd see this lady walk in and be like "whoa!" before it was cool to say, whoa! She'd have on tight jeans and I dont even know what she'd be wearing above that. My eyes usually traveled from her jeans to her face... Her skin tone was soft chocolate. Her eyes were either dark brown or black and her hair was always lookin just right. Janice had a slightly southern voice.. She reminded me of some actress but I could never put my finger on who. It didn't matter, she was fine...
Janice used to always joke with my father about taking me home with her. Images of an older lady taking advantage of me had my mind doing cartwheels and thinking "damn, is she gonna do something to me? I dont know what to do or say if dad ever says it's okay.."
One day, my father gave the okay and I went home with Janice.. I was nervous the whole ride; answering her questions with yep and nope... Janice would smile or laugh. She'd call me cutey. She'd ask me about my life in Cali because at the time I was just visiting my father during the summer time. She asked me if I had a girlfriend. I shook my head, no. She'd laugh and say she didn't believe me..."a cutey like you has got to have a girlfriend." I shrugged; a response I'd give way into my adulthood with the way ladies be trippin..
When I stepped inside Janice's home, I felt different. I wasn't nervous. It was cool. She had a really nice place. Seemed like she had it fixed up especially for entertaining and having fun. There was a nice looking pool table in her family room. She was a single lady, late twenties, no kids and had a real cool vibe about her. She was a tease too.. She told me to relax and then she kissed me on the cheek... She laughed and asked me if I wanted something to drink. I said to her "dad told me I can have wine if I want to!" I was trying to sound older. Janice said "is juice okay 'cause boy you dont need to be drinkin no wine!" I smiled and said "yes, thank you..."
Funny thing, once me and Janice settled in on the couch, sipping our orange juices and snacking on some pizza rolls, we got lost in some cool conversation. She had me really thinking about school and making sure to do the best I could. She told me that she would be real disappointed and she'd laugh at me if I brought home a bad report card. Something about her saying that made me feel like that would be worse than anything my father would do to me. As time went on I used that as motivation to hit the books in a serious way and when the semester ended in school I'd gotten the best grades I ever had. I wanted to repay Janice though she never knew why. She and my father misunderstood my gesture.. I bought Janice a beautiful diamond ring simply because her talk motivated me to doing my best. She was confused by my gift and from that moment began treating me bad, ignoring me and acting as though I got on her nerves... My father tried to lecture me on what it meant to have a crush on someone and how it can make you do things you shouldn't. He said my money was wasted but I didn't think so. Looking back, it appears that that was the first sign of my giving and being grateful when a woman blesses my life in some kind of way... It was also my first time being misunderstood because of the way I give and in return getting hurt as a result of being so giving.
I dont know what Janice did with the ring except that I'd never seen her wearing it. And then a year later something tragic happened. Janice died of a heartattack. I was again visiting with my father at the time and this happened just before I was to return to Cali. Before I went home, I said something to my father which caused him to pause; catching him off guard. I told him "I never had a crush on Janice. That ring was just my way of saying I appreciated her and what she meant to my life." Then my father mentioned how he didn't sleep well that night after hearing about Janice's death. I told him "I slept just fine." And despite what she thought of me, I never stopped treating her nice...