Just Across the Street, I Became An Adult


When is the exact moment that you realize that you are an adult? When is the exact moment that you realize that you have accepted where you are in your life?  Do you remember where you were when you had your first regret? Do you remember where you were when life became just a tad too overwhelming for you and there was no one to turn to? Do you remember the exact life defining moment that put everything into context? Or when you had the ahh moment that your mom and dad told you you would eventually have as adult? Do you remember your first disappointment in life?

I have had several life defining moments that transformed the way that I view the world and what I choose to value as important. A week ago, I received a phone call from my brother that was supposed to be normal, but by the end of the phone call, I realized that we were finally adults.

My brother and I talk as much as we can, given our lives. He is the younger brother that loves to act as an older brother, protecting his only sister from the “dangers” in life. My brother, tried to no avail, to protect me from a hardship, but did not have the tools to troubleshoot this particular situation.

As I made my way from the subway station, the evening was crisp and the humidity of the spring summer transition phase was dying off. My voicemail inbox began to go off and reminded me the subway is one of the few places where I do not have to babysit my blackberry. I called my brother because he told me that we needed to talk.  This call was different. I wanted to walk home as a New Yorker; fast and in a hurry,  with so many things to do, but my brother let a few words out of his mouth and my big feet, became boulders of concrete and could not move. The steps became so heavy, I thought I was on a movie set and wanted to yell out, “CUT, someone get over and help me!”.  But no one could help me with this weight. No one could help me make it to my house, no one could help me, not even my “big” little brother.

Our childhood friend had passed on because of natural causes the night before. For the first time in my life, I realized how annoying those two words were: natural causes. What exactly does that mean? Natural causes is hog crap at this point because the person that was part of my childhood is gone. Natural causes at the age of 26, is not fair and unjust. For some reason, natural causes at 80 seems fair, but 26, just over two decades of life seems unthinkable.

My brother told me, he did not want to tell me, but knew he had to share this information with me. He knew he had to let me know that life on my childhood block, would never be the same. TC was dead. He would never return from Harvard with his degree, book, or life stories. Rather, his parents would be leaving the next day to go and get their only child. How on earth is this fair? I just realized that I am an adult. Fair is no longer the central theme of our actions and logic does not solve all equations.

Another Black man dies today, but I no longer live in L.A. and Oakland where death was as routine as my morning coffee.  Where Black and Brown men die over ridiculous matters…but hold on, I am not in that situation and TC is was not a knucklehead. He had it together, he was “going places”, he was the “Articulate”” ( AND you KNOW HOW MUCH I HATE THAT Adjective with people of color!) Black man in the room; my word, he was probably the only Black man in the “room”. How on earth could natural causes be a sufficient explanation for his death?

I must be an adult, because I do not have the answers and would love to consult with someone who could provide me with an answer. But as an adult, I realize everyone has their version of the truth for this particular situation. There is no perfect answer and more than likely, the answer will change over time. I am adult and my childhood friend has passed and I will make my to his wake and funeral and be an adult. Despite, how much I want to be a child and just talk with my childhood friend.

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~ by travelling womanists on June 1, 2010.

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