Thursday, August 2, 2012

Me and Omar


I woke up this morning and Omar Little was in my kitchen opening up the cabinets.

Hey.
Hey yourself.
What, uh, what's going on?
Trying to find some honey nuts.
I'm all out.

Omar hangs his head and braces himself on the kitchen sink.

Don't say that to me again.
Okay, I have--
Don't
Sorry.
Don't say nothin just yet.

Omar closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. Then he turns and shakes a Kool out of a packet and lights it. He inhales deeply and eyes me full on.

You know why I'm here?

I think about this for a full minute.

No?

He persists.

You know why I'm here?

I search his face trying to find the answer. I fixate on the long scar. I speak as though I'm reading the answer on his face.

You're here...because..you want...to collect money...from a drug deal gone wrong?

He blows smoke through his nose and shakes his head slowly like he's laughing. But he's not smiling.

You ain't involved in no drugs baby, relax. Don't fool.
Okay.
Close your eyes if you have to. Ain't nobody gonna hurt you. Just think.

I do as I'm told. I breathe. I try to relax. I can feel the menthol from the smoke in the back of my throat. Even though my eyes are closed tight I can feel him looking at me. I can feel his eyes like the palm of a hand on my cheek. When I open my eyes, he is staring right at me waiting for the answer. I stare right back so hard I get a lump in my throat. I speak slowly.

You're here because you want to tell me that I need to slow down (he nods). I need to pay attention without getting distracted. (nod) I need to stop wanting what I don't have ( that's right) I need to love myself (ain't nobody else gonna). I need to take care of my own (uh-huh). I need to be honest (just to yourself baby) and...(I wonder if I should say it, I weigh the pros and cons, and then I just blurt it out) good things will happen.

He tilts his head and I'm afraid he's going to say Don't be an idiot. All I can do is worry that he's about to tell me No, Good things won't happen. All I can do is process that whole answer right then and there and feel tears come to my eyes at how stupid I am for wishing. I wait for him to say simply and kindly, Don't be a fool.

But he doesn't.

Instead he just softens his gaze, and smiles.


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