I Have His Hair, I Have His Story
Something was taken.
Someone was broken….temporarily.
Recently, someone of a less sophisticated countenance broke into my home. Of course some materialistic items were taken, that was to be expected, about as much as what could be assumed about the character of the person who took them. Of course it was scary, I hadn’t experienced that fear since the other times my old home was broken into, the one I had the irreplaceable joy of growing up in. That home was soon surrounded with burglar bars on the windows, gated doors, and more astute inhabitants. I became complacent in that home, with the newfound iron-barred security as with the presence of my burly brother and the warmth of my mother’s loving aura and bosom.
This vivid flashback serves nothing more than to communicate that this certainly wasn’t the first time I had been robbed, and most likely will not be the last.
Things get taken, we all know of this unfortunate and ever-revolving fact.
Aside from a few replaceable electronics and handbags noticed through the initial walk-through with the cops, I saw something more disturbing as we rounded the corner of my closet.
A grey box, opened, barren.
My stomach became the most twisted of a thousand knots, my heart became the most sunken of a thousand ships, and my body became incarcerated with the most chilling air.
The necklace was gone.
Mind you, it wasn’t of flashing reflections and shimmers from an overwhelmingly sized diamond. It was of modest appearance, unlike the story behind it.
My father had given it to my mother before he died of cancer sometime about 20 years ago. The only physical remnant I had of him, his thoughtfulness, his labor he undoubtedly endured and bent over backwards to work for. The kind of work unknown to the felon who apprehended it.
Of course my brother inherited the pleasure of getting his coats, his sweaters, his pants... any clothing adorned with his scent. I was entrusted with the more timeless piece by my mother but just six months ago on Christmas, exactly 23 years after his death. I remember looking to my mother with such uncertainty then, questioning her with my eyes if she was sure that I was worthy. She assured me, like always, with her exchanged glance into my soul (as if she were reading my mind) that I was.
Reliving that moment of joy and gratefulness caused me to have an emotional breakdown in front of the cops. The camera, the purse, some cash taken…none of them were met with a wince of grief. This was a different reaction.
After about 10 minutes of panic, shouts of loud and echoing obscenities and throwing myself on the floor like a chid no older than a 3 year old, and undoubtedly making everyone around me feel loads of an uncomfortable nature, I was picked up off the floor and somehow found the strength to finish the walk through.
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t a running hose all weekend. I remained dehydrated for another two whole days, especially thinking of someone adorned with the jewel around their neck, ignorant to its origins, especially after I had never mustered up the strength to remove it from its cherished box and wear it.
Consoling texts from friends, classmates, and family of course helped. But the most profound came from my mother-in-love (yes you read that right) when she stated something so wise that it extended beyond my years. What I thought was lost to me of the highest value from my father was not the necklace, nor was it lost in the first place. She reminded me that while I didn’t have a physical relic of him anymore, I had is story.
I have stories of how he graduated summa cum laude, how he was the only black member in his class to receive his graduate degree, how he spoiled us with whatever he could give us, including his time, how he broke into questionable dance moves every time “Take Me There” by the Staples Singers played on the record player, how he constantly threw me on his shoulders every time he came home to have me (his perceptive hair stylist) comb through his thick, nappy roots, how he endured all of the yanks, tugs, pulls, and laughed seeing his kinks fall to the floor.
I see his tall figure and his perseverance when I look at my brother, I see the enduring strength in my mother, I see his light and caring nature when I stare into the eyes of the love of my life, a man I have no doubt he would approve of. I see his course and thick head of hair when I gaze in the mirror at my own crown... those same kinks that fell to the floor during our times at our make-shift barbershop, draped across my head.
I see his smile as he thinks of how his wife bore more than strength to raise two children on her own after he was called home to rest, or when he sees his son preaching while holding down 2 jobs of being a math teacher and a DJ, when he sees that I took after his tenacity, and got my M.D.
I have more than the necklace: I have his hair, (and I'll be damned if I get a perm now!). It's more than just dead protein, it's a piece of his DNA walking around with me wherever I go. But more than that, I have his wit, I have laugh, I have his story beneath that said crown.
I know this was a long post, but I really wanted to share this message with you that I’m sure God meant to arise from this situation: Let your legacy as a human being be a testament to those that have left this Earth.
I hope whoever felt the need to mindlessly take, or steal rather, from me finds piece with his/her new found “wealth.” Maybe the people that left them were essentially a piece of shit, and that’s why their legacy thus far from what I see easily follows suit in that role (sorry not sorry, still a little sensitive here). God can punish better than I, so I digress. But I hope they change that with the same quickness that they mindlessly stole, and with a deeper joy and closeness like I found afterwards to my father.
Something happened. Something was taken. Someone was broken….temporarily. Someone found she was rich...in more ways than one. Someone found that she has an angel in her father.