Untitled – Non-fiction

Aaron Connnelley

Second place, Nonfiction, Arlington County Detention Facility, August 2019

Ima look back on my life and roar with laughter if my frail body allows me to do so. I can see me now khakis, suspenders, a fishermans hat and orthapedic New Balance somewhere in a rocker. No smokes, no 1800 vodka or Remy 1738. Why, because I gave all that up a long time ago. My hope is I’ll see some grandkids and maybe some great-grands. Humph.

Let me tell you about my Pop-Pop. Truth is I can’t wait to see him in heaven. I want to see 2-Pac too but first I need to talk to Pop-Pop. When Pop-Pop died I was just a kid. Was he spiritual I dont know. I didn’t see him in a church until his funeral. He looked peaceful in his blue three peace suit with matching tie. See he had this blue ring around each of his eyes from the cadiracs. I’d miss looking in his face as he gave me a toothy grin. He didn’t care to much for his partials.

The truth is I’ve been lost and stressed. When will I find my peace. Let me tell you some more about Pop-Pop. His grandparents were slaves. He witnessed the movement of civil rights. Somehow during the pressures of the times he found his place in a crazy world. His trade a mason working with bricks, stone and concrete laying a nest egg while providing for his family. Not biologically connected to the family tree his wife extended herself and their home to a innocent baby produced from ignorance, youthfulness and the naievity of a sixteen year old child, my mother.

Pop-Pop, I wish you could’ve told me what the good fight was all about or so I didn’t continuously fail repeating foolish behavior. Left just a note detailing how to manuver in a cruel world until I grew myself I wouldn’t get it. If he ever did suffer it wasn’t for him to share with a boy. His brain was stronger in the end that his sight so while the evening news broadcast detailed the war on drugs then in a sense the epodimic touched my mother causing her to escape responsibility leaving me as a addition to his home.

As a little boy I watched uncle “J” as I called him, Pop-pop’s son tend his garden located behind the house. In summer watermelons, peas, tomatoes, tall corn stalks. I dashed through the rows until I fell tierd in the grass exausted but content unaware of the true meaning I lived in Pop-Pop’s home. I can’t forget the grapevine aside the back garage, the rose bush with thorns I’d better watch for as I circled the house running at top speeds as fast as my short legs would allow me. Pop-Pop had made it though navigating in a world through world wars.

Oh I didn’t tell you about the two rifles I found in his bedroom closet. I’ll save that for another time.

One time PopPop with his failing eyesight drove me three blocks to school in a nice Caddilac he’s kept in his garage. I knew he kept a liquor bottle hidden in the kitchen in the top cabbinet. Was it rasicm, was it marriage, was it having a cancer that was slowly eating away at his life. I got some questions for him.

So, Pop-Pop dies I moved. Still little in a grown up world I didn’t understand. As I tell you all this I know, one day Ima be able to lean back and laugh so hard that tears fill my eye’s unashamed to fall because I’m happy not now though. No way I can laugh. Ain’t shit funny. Its not a game. I feel like its me or its you.

Life isn’t easy. I hooked up with some people started smoking cigs smoking weed and drinking. I lost intrest in school. Began to hang out with some other not so interested people. Hanging out turned into putting in work. The living situation I was in couldn’t contain a hurt looking for exceptance growing boy. The streets excepted me at least I thought so. The game will use you up and discard of you in a jail cell or a deep grave.

A negative energy has covered me. A man-child in a place dark as a black screen. Bitting my nails placing the bit nails in a neat pile. I need to get myself together. Lost in addiction holding on to my life with a thin thread. Let me pray maybe someones listening. Why am I in this abandoned place all alone. Hope Pop-pop cant see me like this. I’ve embraced ignorance. After I crawled out for some air the revelation is in the end of carelessness, self-pity, addiction, alcohalism, drug-use, sex out of marraige, incarceration and personal abuse. The insanity.

I choose even though I was served a bloody hand dealt challenges which come in forces of negativity. I will reflect the good and the bad. Journey into tommorrow’s with sure confidence. The reason I cried will be the significance that one day I will laugh. Successful like Pop-Pop (a black man) against all odd’s made it through. In the end yes, one day I will laugh with tears of joy and then share with all the history of my Pop-Pop and of the Malcolms, the Martins, the Mandelas, the Marcus’s, the Micheals, the Marvins that made it. I wont segregate the truth of our history but allow knowledge to set the chains free untieing the oppressing demonds of the past, present and future. Yea, one day I will laugh.