Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Lean On Me
Last week, in my Principles of Management class my professor had me crackin' up. He'd never seen the movie "Lean On Me", before so he was highly amused by the "stay Black and die" line. I encouraged him to the see the movie, one because he's an educator and two because it's a classic. Little did I know, that I'd soon be cast in my own version of "Lean On Me" .
This past weekend was fantastic. The weather was great and New York City was beckoning me to come out and enjoy her. I'd spent my Saturday jaunting all over. I started in Williamsburg viewing million dollar condos, if for nothing else but to show myself what I needed to do in order to get where I want to be. By night's end, I'd had brunch in Long Island City, a few glasses of wine in Fort Greene, listened to a live reggae band at The Shrine in Harlem, and hit up One Fish Two Fish for a late night/early morning dinner at about 1 am (Thank God their kitchen closes at three 'cause after all that running around, me and my peeps were hawngry as hell *not a typo*). Sunday we decided to take it a bit easier and grab lunch at a local spot. As I waited outside for my comrades to join me to head to out, I decided to call up my homegirl. As we're catching up, a lady walks by me hysterically crying. I say to my friend:
"Oh my goodness, this lady is crying and I want to ask her if she's okay but I really don't know what to say..."
She tells me to just say "Ma'am are you okay?". It sounds so simple but I've been so conditioned to mind my business that it seemed hard for those simple words to come to me. I walked over to lady and said the words, and she just continued to cry. I began to gently rub her shoulder to provide the only sort of comfort I knew how in the moment. I asked her if she'd lost someone. She continued to cry but managed to utter, "Yeah. My mother. Yesterday."
My heart broke.
We began to talk and she started to tell me how things transpired. I don't know what it was, but I felt like I'd been sent there for her right then and there. For her to lean on. She told me how her mother was her best friend, and I immediately thought of my own mother and our close knit relationship. But then, I thought of how my mother lost her mother at the wee age of four, and my father lost his at the age of twenty three. When you put things in perspective, my new friend, Shonda had her mother longer than both of them put together (38 years). We all have to go, death is inevitable. But to have our loved ones even for a day is more than many are afforded.
We talked for about 45 minutes. She cried. I listened. We bonded. I told her the time for "being strong" would come, but until then be authentic in your feelings. I gave her my number and told her I'm here if she needed me. As we parted, she complimented my bracelet, and I took it off and gave it to her. Granted, it was just a cheap beauty supply store costume bracelet, but I felt compelled to do whatever I could to brighten such a dark moment. She didn't want to take it, but after my persistence (or annoyance, take your pick) she reluctantly did. She told me how our talk really helped her. I told her I just wanted her to know that there were still good people out here. She agreed but said she'd been crying all day, and I'd been the first to ask her what was the matter. That damned law of averages.
My weekend was so great with all the fun things I did. Trendy neighborhoods and restaurants galore. But the best thing I did was meet Shonda. Being there for people, even strangers is what we were put here for. To help one another, to be there for each other. Unfortunately, I missed Shonda's first call but she did leave me a message saying thank you and everybody loves the bracelet. If I never see, or hear from her again (which I hope I do), it felt good to be somebody to lean on.. Who knows?? Next time it could be me...
Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on