Dreams Are Just Reality Waiting to Happen

My actual writing career started with Facebook notes. I would write them every morning before work. I literally mean every morning. I had this whole routine where I couldn’t sleep so I would just lie in bed and look at the TV on mute; then I would get up, go to my computer and write a story.

The first six or seven months no one really read them and I would tag people and talk about it but nothing and then something really cool happened. I was at work and my phone started to blow up and one of the stories I’d written was getting shared. Now I would wake up and write and people would look forward to my words.

I could literally see them sitting in traffic or at their desk, drinking their coffee or orange juice and reading my words, my words. I would live and die with every like, share and comment.

Those Facebook notes at the crack of dawn got me a book deal, a blog that does good numbers and changed my life. If I’m being honest I have no idea if I would be writing on the level I am if it wasn’t for that.

I didn’t take any literature or English classes. I still confuse sentence structure and tenses to this day. I never loved writing because I thought it would be cool to have my name on a book or it might get me cute shy girls. I loved writing because it always came so easy to me and it feels like the most natural thing in the world. Don’t ever give up on your dreams.

The Depth of A Sister’s Love: Excerpt One

img_2555A sneak peek into The Depth of A Sisters Love

He was no longer the first call she made when she had good news.

Kisses against the refrigerator door were replaced with arguments against the front door.

Naked bodies cuddling in the moonlight a distant memory, now simply two strangers sharing a bed ignoring the fact that neither could sleep.

What do you say to someone that you know loves you but you also know is no longer in love with you? People have written love songs for years about missing the love of their life or wanting their lover back, who has ever written a love song about the love fading away?

Standing at the door watching her place the last of her things in her car he felt the tears in his eyes. Tears not caused by a broken heart but tears of regret. What could have been, should have been, had their beginning been different, had he been more willing to be the man she deserved?

She took her time trying to make the bags fit in a car that wasn’t made for moving. Glancing back at him trying to be strong even though strength was the last thing on her mind. She’d yelled and screamed and made threats about how he would regret it but in the end, when all her energy was gone and the facade of a potentially great love was shattered. She knew the truth. Her heart was no longer in it and it would hurt her losing a friend more than it would hurt her to lose the man.

No tearful goodbyes asking her to stay.

No midnight text messages telling her he needed her to come home.

Love meant needing to see her happy. It meant needing to see her smile. Being with him brought a storm to her life that she was willing to brave no matter what. What he knew that she didn’t was that storms weren’t meant to last forever. Storms were beautiful nightmares.

Watching her speed down the street hear taillights fading as she turned the corner he knew he’d made the right decision. He knew she’d fine happiness in the world she could never find with a man like him.

Every corner in the house, every couch, every chair, every inch of his desk was a reminder of her smile, of her innocence, of their passion. Reminders that would burn deepest when the nights are the quietest. Looking in his phone there were dozens, hundreds pictures of her. Some innocent, some that only he would ever see, the memories too much to handle.

In the silence he closed his eyes wanting to hear her laughter, wanting to hear her car thump over the gate. In the silence he wanted to be selfish.

“I have nothing, you took it all and now you’ve taken my heart. You said you’d break me and you did, I’m too good for you.” Her words a constant reminder of his failures as a man.

He now knew the meaning of love songs and looking at the blood moon out his window he smiled as though he’d made the revelation of a lifetime.

“Why are they called love songs when the words that inspire them hurt like hell.”

Lying down on the floor he just listened to the music and stopped fighting the pain.

BOOM!!!!!

The sound of metal hitting metal jarred him awake! Jumping up and looking around he heard it again!

BOOM!!!!!

“I told you not to hurt me! You must be crazy to think I’m the only one that’s going to walk away from this devastated.” He looked out the window to see her and her younger sister standing on his front porch with baseball bats, her older sister was leaning against the car.

He laughed, “Now I see why they call them love songs. You have to be crazy in love to put up with this shit.”

Dreams At 23; Reality At 33… Life Happens

IMG_0001I remember being 23 and feeling like I had all the answers. I was a year away from being a Civil Engineer, smiled a lot, thought I knew exactly what I wanted. 33 seemed like a lifetime away but when I saw 33 I saw a wife, a couple children, a career, stability. I was a “good guy,” you know the type. Never in any trouble, parents liked me, always did what was right. I was happy but it’s hard to explain what happiness feels like when it was a mirage. I figment of my imagination.

I hate math, I hate numbers so why was I going to be an engineer? I hate test, I’ve never tested well but I picked a career where in order to succeed you have to take and study for countless test. It made no sense but it felt right.

Sitting at my desk at 4:30am, the house quiet, not hearing or feeling any sounds other than my fingers hitting my keyboard those 23 year old ambitions feel like a lifetime ago. Instead of building homes or bridges I build people, I use words to tell stories that I hope make someone smile, cry, laugh, get aroused, want to fight. I’m not sure I know what happy is anymore or where to find it but I know this path is where I’m supposed to be.

Nothing is happening how I planned it and that scares the hell out of me. I’m the guy that washes dishes and makes up my bed before I go to work in the morning. I pause television shows before dramatic scenes to prepare myself like I know the characters on the screen. I read novels and send personalized emails to the authors thanking them for giving the world their art.

There’s a chance I’ll never have a Christmas tree in my home again. There’s a chance my children will never know what it is to sit on the front porch with their hands over their eyes while I plug in the Christmas lights for the first time. Something I did with my grandmother since I was old enough to remember. This time of year when the leaves start to change and the weather gets cooler I feel so far removed from who I was at 23. It’s a good thing and it’s a terrifying thing.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve come home from work and walked into a house with food cooking and that smell making me miss home. There’s so many days I just sit in my driveway and wonder if this is where I’m supposed to be. No one knows my innermost thoughts. People would rather group chat or text or be on social media than sit on the back of a truck drinking a beer or whiskey and talking about life. I hold my secrets and fears close to my heart because that’s the world we live in.

Questioning if I’m any better than the people that choose the love and attention of strangers on social networks just because I choose wordpress or novels. I fear for my sanity, for my health, for my happiness.

Just some random thoughts from a guy that can’t sleep and is craving a breakfast that doesn’t consist of leftover food from last night. I’ll sip this drink and go make that happen. Thanks for reading if you are.

Dear Little Black Boy and Girl; You’re Perfect Just the Way You Are

o-BLACK-CHILDREN-facebook Dear Little Black Boy and Girl; You’re Perfect Just the Way You Are
I read this week about a prominent teacher in Chicago telling little black boys they had a greater chance at success in life if they conformed. Cut their hair, have names that are more pronounceable, be more humble. If you do these things you’ll get people to like you more; give you more opportunities. You know what I’ve learned, stop asking people for opportunities and start taking them.

I grew up going to the largest African American school district in the country. North Forest ISD located on the Northeast side of Houston, TX. All my teachers were black, the parents, the students, the coaches. Demez felt like a normal name. It wasn’t until I started applying for colleges that I realized it wasn’t so normal. It wasn’t until my first summer interning for an engineering company and everyone wanted to call me D that I started to notice, “maybe my name is different.”

There isn’t one meeting I walk into or one email I send where someone doesn’t ask how to pronounce my name. Even though we live in a global society where Africans, Asians, Hispanics all have names that aren’t “traditional American.” Though yet and still my name is “unique.”

I learned early on something that has stayed with me every day since. People will look for reasons not to like you, not to give you the job, not to want to be impressed by you. I don’t care if you cut your dreads or change Demez White to D. White. I don’t care if you come to work on time every day and never make a mistake. You can’t conform or blend in enough. The only way they respect you is to be impressive. Is for you to wear your confidence, to know what you’re doing. To be professional and to not back down from ignorance but to face it head on.

The first time I sent my novel to a publisher they told me it was really good. In the next paragraph they told me that if I changed writing name to D. White or David White I could get more of a readership. At that moment I thought, “I’m going to have a son one day and I want to take his little hand and take him to Barnes and Noble or sit him on my lap while we’re online. I want to show him the books his father wrote and I don’t want to have to explain to him why my name isn’t on those books.” Our little black boys and girls are different from how we were but different styles, different lingo, it shouldn’t take away from how amazing they are. If only we nurture them and stop trying to teach them to fall in line.

You can be whoever you want to be. No matter your size, height, color, hair style or financial upbringing. You can get into the college you want to get into no matter your name, no matter your hairstyle, you just have to want to work for it. There are going to be people that look like you and people that look like complete strangers that will tell you otherwise. Don’t listen to them. Let your creativity flourish and let it mold you to be everything I believe you can be.

I thought I was a bright child. I never got in trouble, made great grades. When I was in the 9th grade I remember staying up late watching a Chris Rock stand up special. I’ll never forget what he said in a joke, “If you have a name where people have to double take to ask you how to pronounce it, you’re ghetto. If you call your grandma mama, you’re ghetto. If you can’t call your daddy on the phone because you don’t know his number, you’re ghetto.” I remembered laughing and then I remembered I fell into all three of those categories. I didn’t feel ghetto, I didn’t feel like I didn’t belong but in that moment I felt sad that I didn’t have a regular name. That I didn’t go on summer vacations with my mom and dad.

My name is Demez, I’m the product of an 18 year old mother, no father. I was raised by my grandparents and went to one of the worst high schools in the State of Texas. I failed out of college my first year and almost failed out of Community College. I allowed people to call me D when I first started working because I thought Demez was ghetto. I didn’t have a bank account until I was 21 and my credit was in ruins by the time I was 24. I didn’t remotely get my life together or start being proud of where I came from or who I am until I was almost 30. I tell you this because if I can’t make the mistakes I made and come from where I came from at this age. Then I know you can at 15, 16, 18. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your name or hairstyle or origins make you less than. Don’t ever believe that you’ve messed up so much, that you can’t come back from that. I promise you; you can.

Demez White

Changing My Brothers Fate

20140703-065049.jpg“Where is he?” It had been at least two years since I’d seen him. Maybe longer than that. There were about ten or twelve people in the room and I didn’t recognize any of them but his wife. She stood out from the rest of them, her posture and mannerisms were the first thing that gave her away. Even though she didn’t come from where we came from she still played the part. Asking them if they wanted anything to drink or fixing plates. A part of me knew it was all just to keep herself busy.

Rubbing her shoulder, trying to meet her eyes, I asked her again. “Where is he?”

“Why are you worried now? He blames himself you know. He still talks about you like you’re his bestfriend. I didn’t know bestfriends gave up on each other.” She needed someone to take her frustrations out on. I knew she missed me, they both missed me but I did what I knew was best. At least that’s what I thought, until looking in her eyes.

The woodwork in the kitchen was beautiful, hand crafted. The entire living room was glass on three sides. The last time I was here they’d just started construction and now it was everything she designed.

“Where is he?”

She slammed the glass down on the counter making a few of the men in the room look our way, the look she gave them let them know this wasn’t their fight.

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“One picture. He only keeps one picture in the garage. It’s not of his mother or his brother. It’s not of our children! Who I’m afraid to have around right now because some fool might come shooting! The only picture he has in his beloved garage is of us. You, me and him. It’s not just him you gave up on Alek! You gave up on me, on your godchildren. He’s in the garage. He wanted to be alone but his people aren’t going to leave him. They have their faults but their loyal.”

I know she needed to talk, needed to vent but today wasn’t about her.

They all grilled me as I walked across the living room but they were his dogs and his dogs wouldn’t bite unless they were instructed to. I didn’t recognize the young guys in the living room but the two at the door immediately started smiling and stood up when they saw me.

Aaron and Allen were twins and they’d grown up with us. We all played baseball together. My career ended in high school once I realized my fast ball topped out at 60 mph. Aaron and Allen were suspended for fighting and just said screw school. Niles was the best out of all of us. He could swing a bat like Ken Griffy Jr. and throw a ball like Roger Clemens but once the three of us stopped playing, so did he. I graduated to college and the three of them graduated to the streets.

Aaron and Allen lived Niles because he gave them purpose. They were just being thugs to be thugs but Niles gave them a reason to be thugs. He took pistols out of their hands and told them to use them only when necessary. He showed them how to save money and get what they wanted with respect and not fear. They were his soldiers and even though they were smiling I could see the disappointment in their eyes.

“It’s been a minute Alek, hate for this to be the reason you’re coming to see your man.”

“How is he?”

“You know Niles, he’s ice; but that’s mostly for the soldiers. It was his brother. Outside of us going to the funeral home and the service today, he hasn’t left the garage. The streets are waiting and the goons are getting antsy but we won’t do nothing until the boss tells us which way to rock.”

Stepping past them and taking the stairs down into the garage he saw why he spent so much time down. Calling it a garage was a disservice. There were three cars in there and a couple bikes but there was also a pool table, a bar, a couple couches and full bath. He was still wearing the suit he wore at the funeral, the sleeves were rolled up and his tie was loosened on his neck.

There was music playing in the background but he didn’t know the rapper. He was polishing the candy red Impala. There were two luxury cars and an SUV in the driveway but he was focused on the oldest car in the garage. The one he’d bought from his brother when he was only 16 for 600 dollars. They went all over Texas in that car and got stuck so many times they both learned how to work on cars.

Walking towards him he looked up and threw the rag on the ground before breaking out into a big smile. It started with a handshake before he pulled him in to a hug. They’d been friends since they’d both been forced to sit in church all day at the age of 5. They’d borrowed clothes, fought together, shared women and money. But at some point Alek had to make the decision that the life Niles was living was going to get him killed and he couldn’t watch his bestfriend go down that path. Walking away from his friend meant walking away from the wife he introduced him to and the godchildren he’d come to love.

“They shot him like a dog in a ditch A! They caught him leaving home and going to work and hit him over 24 times. My brother wouldn’t about this life! You know that shit! Everybody know that shit! The police acting like this over a bitch but what nigga you know do ambush him and hit him that many times and be that clean getting away if it was over a bitch?”

He grabbed the bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label off the bar and poured us both a glass before he picked up a football and started throwing it in the air.

“He asked about you a lot. He thought maybe you tried to creep with my wife or some shit like that. Everyone asks about you, even my kids and you know… I don’t have answers for none of them because like them I’ve spent so much time trying to realize why my bestfirend got ghost on me when I needed him the most! When his bestfriend, my wife needed him! I buried my brother today but I buried my other brother the day you walked out on us!”

“You know why I had to leave bro. You have enough money, you got the house and the wife and the businesses, why the streets!? If you don’t get got by whoever hit your brother or the cops, it’s going to be one of those young boys upstairs that want your spot!”

He threw the football at the wall and got in his face.

“They don’t want my spot! They just want to be on a winning team! They know loyalty, unlike you A. What do you want man? What do you want?”

Putting his drink down on the table he straightened his own tie and looked Niles in the face.

“I know who killed your brother.”

To Be Continued…

Till Death Do Us Part

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Melanie

Looking at his reflection in the elevator, the way his eyes were burning a hole through my ass. I just closed my eyes and fought the desire to cry, to scream, to hit every button and get off at the next floor and run! My body was a resource, a tool, I wasn’t the first woman to use it to get what I wanted. What I needed.

I wouldn’t be the last.

Everything was happening in slow motion, the key card sliding into the door, the lock slipping. As soon as I heard the door slam I felt his lips on the back of my neck and his hands sliding under my skirt. The room was dark, my face and hands were on the wall, only one tear fell. I wouldn’t let anymore fall. His hand was on the back of my neck, he spread my legs with his thighs and bent me over like I was being frisked. I could hear my panties being ripped and his zipper coming down.

I could hear the ripping of the condom wrapper, his grip tightened around my neck. I was too dry when he pushed himself inside of me but either he didn’t feel it or didn’t care because he wasn’t taking his time. The harder he stroked, the harder he squeezed my neck, he pushed me down further so that my back would arch more.

His breathing, his grunts, my hand hitting the wall trying to brace myself was all I could hear and then it was over.

He stepped back and I stayed with my face against the wall, pulling my skirt down and leaving my ripped panties on the floor. I wanted to turn around but I couldn’t face him.

“I’ll keep the account with your company. If you want to branch out on your own I’ll back you.” He opened the door, the light from the hallway came blasting in. I didn’t even want to go to the bathroom and clean up. I picked my purse up off the floor and held my head up, forcing myself to look him in the eyes.

“Thank you.” I didn’t recognize my own voice. All I recognized was the throbbing between my legs and pulsating pain through my wrist.

I stepped into the hallway, he rubbed the back of my arm and I turned around. “I’ll expect this arrangement to continue once a month and next time I want you to look me in my eyes when I’m inside you.” He let the door close and I knew things would never be the same.

But did success come without sacrifice?