I was at the airport last night waiting on my flight to board and there as a man next to me. I couldn’t tell his age because he was dressed young, like faded sweats, crocs, old tee shirt young but he was going bald; he was on the phone the entire time we were waiting. I mean like at least an hour. He was on Facetime and when someone is five feet away from you, it’s like you’re eavesdropping but you can’t help but hear. He was talking to a woman and they were “caking.” Google it if you don’t know what that is.
By coincidence he was sitting right next to me on the plane and do you know this man didn’t get off of that Facetime until we were about to take off. And even then he started texting like he was crazy. And even then he spent the hour flight from Charlette to Atlanta telling a woman next to him about his woman and his relationship.
At that moment it hit me. I can’t remember the last time I was on the phone like that. I can’t remember the last time someone picked me up from the airport and had that glow that said, “I’m so happy to see you.” Before I left yesterday my mom called and asked if I wanted her and Lennox to drop me off at the airport. I didn’t want to inconvenience her so I said no. But that entire evening into the night I realized just how quiet my life is. I’m always looking, “Not to inconvenience people.” Always sidestepping love or affection.
I have a big family, I’m married, I have a child but my life is still very much quiet. Outside of the couple hours after work I spend at home the majority of days are just me. There are no facetimes, no phone calls, no group chats. I’m not sure when it happened but at some point I cut everyone off. Unless it’s business or random personal things there’s very little casual conversation.
The majority of my life it’s never bothered me. I’m not even sure I like talking to people on most days but yesterday felt incredibly empty. I’m not sure I want to live like that anymore. DMX died at 50 and I barely hear anyone saying he died too soon because he didn’t. He started doing drugs at 14, he touched a million lives and his music will live forever. He loved, he made art, he was spiritual and passionate. He died young but he lived a full life. One where he danced at random weddings and washed dishes at Waffle Houses in the middle of the night. I think I’m too good for that sort of thing and that’s a problem I’m starting to realize.
If I died tomorrow would my family mourn me, of course, but what have I left in this world? I sat in airports half the evening thinking about that. What have I left? What will be my legacy? What are the friendships that I have impacted to the point of tears. What are the relationships that I had where a woman can never love again because of me?
I’m sitting in this hotel room in a city I’ve always wanted to visit as an adult, it’s raining hard and nothing is changed from when I’m at home. I have my laptop, I have my thoughts and I have my words. I didn’t even come in until last night because of work. When I’m on my deathbed, will I remember the moments I missed out on because of work?
There’s no one to call to say, “Hey, I’m in your city, come pick me up. I won’t be here long but I’ve love a good meal and to see a couple of spots before I have to be at this wedding.” The best I can do is call my job and they’ll send someone to show me construction projects. I can call a couple writers and publishers I know and they’ll try to sell me on some ideas. I let these friendships go, I never tried to make new ones or embrace people and here I am.
I haven’t said this outloud in awhile but I feel such a sense of emptiness most days it scares me. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel like I had something to do. Being a good man is cool, working, providing, trying to build something. Trying to leave a legacy and future for my son. But I can’t remember the last time I laughed. Every man close to me only talks to me about business or accolades because that’s all they think I care about. Every woman close to me walked away once I got married. Making me understand those were probably never real friendships.
I hide behind material things. I convince myself that if I get this home built or get this car or stay in this hotel that I can see the progress. It doesn’t matter what I don’t do, it only matters that I can see the progress.
There is not a day that goes by where I don’t build something dope or write something or come up with a new idea. But what’s the point off all that if eventually it’s just going to end up with me being alone? Even if I’m in a room full of people or lying next to someone that loves me. Being alone in your mind is far worst than being alone on an island with a beach ball and mailbag.