- Growing Up Bronx
In politics, you’ve seen the two opposing sides talk about this. One will say, “It takes a village,” and the other will say, “That’s the government trying to interfere in your life.” Look man, I don’t give a damn about that crap, but where I grew up, they were all our parents.
The first time I met him, was to exchange and lend each other video games. Me and a few of my friend’s were playing outside, when they pointed to his window, “that guy has a lot of games, maybe you can lend each other games.” At that time, he was in Puerto Rico, but we’d soon meet and become the best of friends.
Thing is, where we come from, when you become friends, you become family. That means their family also becomes your family. You spend countless hours in each other’s houses. You sleepover, share meals, and ultimately, their parents become your second parents of sorts. Your parents away from home so to speak.
This fine woman is no exception to this rule. The amount of hours we logged in this dude’s house far exceed any of the others. He had the big living room, the spacious sofa, (covered in plastic to this day, YES!) more games than the rest of us, and his place just seemed to be the most welcoming to our rag tag crew of nerdy kids. So, his house became our main go to, and his mom became my second mom.
She could be strict and stern, but funny. She had days where she’d be mean to us and then show us kindness. This woman had such a fiery spirit, this defined her. She was loud, with sleepy eyes. Her eyes are a dominant trait passed down to her son, and now to his daughter. I can see her genes there, the genetics run strong with this one.
If I close my eyes, travel back in time, I can still hear her screaming my brother’s name. Her bedroom was right next to his, and he had a rock band. Need I say more? But even then, when she was screaming at us because we were making noise playing games, or pounding on a drum set, she was still our mom.
I can still remember those days when I hadn’t been home since early morning, hoping that she had made enough food so that I could join them for lunch or dinner, I really liked her food too. My mom would cook for us, but that would mean that I’d have to leave his house, and we’d be hanging out together all day. Who wants to leave when there are so many teenager things to do?
Last time I saw her, it was during a surprise visit. I didn’t tell them I was coming, I was in the area and I was compelled to go see her. When she saw me, she hustled over and gave me a big fat hug. Her ailment had all but taken most of her communication abilities by then, but she forced out my name, “Do you know who I am?” She laughed, and said “Angel.” I’m not entirely sure if she could process it by then, but she said she remembers, and then she laughed at my stupidity. I could tell she was sick, some of the things I said were not funny, but she still laughed. She looked at me, and I wasn’t sure what was happening behind those sleepy, beautiful eyes of hers. Did she want to tell me things? Did she really remember me? Was she just echoing my name? Was she happy? I’m glad I went, and I was happy to see her, but I was heartbroken that the ailment was slowly taking away that which defined her, the fire of her personality.
I saw it happen to Ali, Pryor, and other vocal celebrities, but it never hit this close to home. These things don’t happen to us “normal,” people. Or so I thought. The diseases that take our minds are some of the worst, and I hope that one day they can be eradicated.
I am not a very religious or spiritual person, but there is a part of me that feels as though her leaving was made known to me, before I actually knew. The last few days she has often been on my mind. I’m talking non stop, why would that be? Two days ago, I wrote a message to her son asking about her, but I deleted it without sending. I thought that bringing her up to him may hurt him or ruin his day, so I remained silent. Part of me believes that the universe was letting me know that she had moved on. I do believe that there are connections we have with people, and sometimes we can “feel” or “know” things. It’s unexplainable, but it seems so. Perhaps one day, when I am long gone from this world, it may all be explained? I don’t know, but someone or something was letting me know.
I will always love and miss her. Ladies and gentlemen, in a nutshell, this was my second mom.
I have purposely omitted any names, or specifics here to respect the privacy of the family. Those who know, know.
Just a life long New Yorker sharing the journey through my lens. Please take note of a post’s date. The views I express here are subject to change and evolving as I grow and learn.