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-New York circa 2000.
Some background to this New York discourse – After the end of a two month period of “dating” a writer from Florida (I’ll call her the Floridian), which consisted of us reading each other’s projects and drawing conclusions on the people that we were both from our interactions and our works ended in the culmination of these conflicting ideals, and her move to Atlanta. Writers of different ilk’s, she was a big reader of “Black” fiction, and was looking for her manuscript to be a best seller in that genre, I personally saw Blue Lines as a book that would be in any fiction section of a book store. Her writing used voice inflections, and phonetic spellings, my writing used standard English, at best, and added “regional” words to add authenticity to the characters and time period. Needless to say, she was in Atlanta and the two months of hell, which seemed like two years was over, thus an offer to come to New York.

I knew that in coming to New York, I would have to temper emotions and expectations. These were conflicting times, as a 24 year old thinking he knew everything. I in the initial final stages of a manuscript about a woman that I had recently told I loved her (through e-mail, because she had left Atlanta, I had recently heard back from her to which she responded that my “words were nice” and we were having some discourse, much to the Floridian’s chagrin, I’ll call her Key, since that is the manuscripts character’s name). The Floridian and I had ended our “relationship” that was strife with wanting to live up to Key, although it was through reading and the Floridian asking me about Key, that she was brought up (I didn’t ask about the man in her manuscript). Tempered, because the Trinidadian, a great friend from college and to this day, however we had our misstep and entered into a relationship my freshman year, and now she was bringing me to New York to escape. So while at the Bentley Hotel (a boutique hotel that was a precursor to what we see in Hotel’s such as the W and their Whatever/Whenever mantra) on East 62nd Street we enjoyed a weekend that was enlightening, and helped put a stamp on solidifying and maintaining our friendship. I had to go in, knowing that although I needed this escape, maintaining our friendship, and just that was key.
Early the morning of my second to last day in New York, I sat in the corner of the room, the bridge in the distance of the wide open windows. We had had the coolest dinner at the spot I wish I could remember, we saw a film that had the Portishead composition “Roads” in it, and we had discussed that our friendship would be just that. Though, that’s my girl, I’ll always have her back. I sat reflecting, while I had Blue Lines open on the laptop, and tried to dial into the internet (this was 2000) to check on correspondence from the Floridian (this I expected) and from Key (I still did not know how to deal with the woman of my dreams popping back into reality), as the Trinidadian woke, we began OUR discourse as it pertained to relationships and reciprocity. Reciprocity, being young my concept of love dealt mainly with feeling being reciprocated. Though, I consider myself and observant man of few vocal words, my thoughts and discourses, especially at this time, were verbose. Our conversation about reciprocity had less to do with the Trinidadian and I going forward, or even our past, but more so with love and the future on our different paths. And as the sun cut through that bluish New York morning and into our room and she woke, I placed the computer down. My contacts burned, and the sun was at my back, and we spoke of how you can want something (man/woman) with all your heart, but if that feeling/love/want/happiness is returned to you, then at the end of the day, it is all for naught…it may at best be unrequited love and at worst infatuation. And although, not specific to what she at one time wanted for us, we both knew what would come up, had the option to say know, and continued to forge that mutual respect that allows for us to be the greatest of friends to this day.

Why do I bring up my story, and reciprocity? Not to tell a tale of my life, or to speak to recent events in my life, more so it is for a good friend, who even recently has been there for me in to unrelated and equally crazy, and events. You, Dub-Dub, as I call you (since I usually do not use peoples proper names) you have reciprocity, you have knowing, you have time. If you felt like I felt recently (the GOOD), and you want to keep feeling that good, because as you said, there is nothing better, don’t sabotage yourself. I may have taken way too long, I may have followed a dream, your dream is real and evolving. You live it, I’m here, I’ll play “Devil’s Advocate,” I’ll tell you if I’m concerned, but right now my concern is you, and that you do not squander an opportunity that is staring you right in the face. You two reciprocate your feelings, wishes, wants…let it evolve. No one else makes you feel this way, I wasted it “being respectful,” “being noble,” you don’t even have my hurdles. You know what you want, he’s what you want, don’t get cold feet…you’ve been working on this for a while. Love you.

With that said…What I LEARNED!!!
-My mother is the most amazing woman on this earth. My mother has old world values, old fashioned concepts, that I sometimes find unrealistic when talking about things today. She can be current also, but to set this seen, while trying not to let the weight of the world weigh on my back, we (both Cuban Tauri) locked horns in a vicious way. When you get two Tauri started, just move out of the way…as my temperature rose, I had to realize this was my mother, and if I didn’t say anything now, we as stubborn Tauri would be on silent treatment longer than these few minutes, which were two long now. I grabbed my Starbucks cup in disgust (it was spilled everywhere) and started to speak about everything with me…let me say, when it comes to our conversation topic yesterday, and things I’ve held back for so very long, the conversation, discourse, responses, her intuition…everything was unbelievable, amazing, and unexpected. I am glad I could take advantage of that.

-To be able to see my niece Asanah (as planned) and she remembered me and jumped into my arms after she woke up, was the most heartwarming experience this entire week. And to add, I got new pics of my niece Beni when I was with her!!!

-Sick of Tornado weather, and sleeping in my downstairs bathroom covered by bedsheets was not cool. My house being hit by one tornado was quite enough. Also my heart goes out to the citizens of Tuscaloosa, AL and all affected.

-Opposites don’t attract, I used to think that similar people did, but the person I’m the most similar to, and I did not, so I guess it’s the middle???

-Ending up in the hospital, after a whirlwind ½ week and weekend, not the best. Although I got one diagnosis, but could not get an explanation of why I ended up in the ER…worse. Maybe, this is just an onset of he lifestyle change I need and I’m moving toward.

-Glad to have new music again.

-I have to say that the first song in today’s shuffle was/is Nine Inch Nails – “The Fragile,” and I had to put it on repeat…so epic.

-People can’t skirt from their duties.

-To my friend that asks about my finding “Peace,” I think I’m closer. The next item kind of explains.

-For that last year and a half, with family and friend losses, those who know me, or follow me have heard me emote two concepts, Dr. Seuss’ “Don’t cry because it’s over, Be happy it happened,” and telling those you love that you love them. There was one person I kept mentioning, but never told…and I was finally afforded that opportunity face to face, not e-mail, not phone etc. Though not my desired outcome, I still can mark that off of my to do list. I don’t have to hold onto that anymore.

-I think the past molds me, but now I have less back there to look at.

-Time to get Blue Lines out, however, I just got some material that will bolster and condense a few chapters/scenes (i.e. I’ll have to update that copywright but that’s after changes and prof editing).

-I need rest so bad, but yesterday with my niece I realized, time waits for no man, and life happens. The only way I would have slept through that was if she had fallen asleep in my chest, and I went to sleep. That’s my heart.

-Although I need to get published, have film, etc. this is the Post-Blue Lines era.

-Common sense is key, don’t put yourself, or your stuff in a bad place. I’ll leave it at that. Some people.

-If I remember anything else, I’ll amend.

The manuscript Blue Lines is the fictional coming of age narrative of a young California woman Key Yemaya Walker, and her 2 year growing journey through school, love, and life period piece, written by Kenneth Suffern, Jr., taking place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between the years of 1997 – 1998. Loosely based on true events, and experiences during that time, told through the eyes and voice of the main female protagonist, a freshman first attending the school.