"Sometimes you need to really get knocked down in order to truly know what your fight is." —Chadwick Boseman
One of the worst things anyone can do is get stuck in their own mind. Yet I can’t ever seem to break the habit of overthinking. I spent the entire bus ride staring out the window lost in thought; five hours of thinking should lead to some kind of progress, right? If so, then I sure as hell wasn’t doing it right because I stepped off of that bus feeling exhausted and just as conflicted. From a span of between the last few months and the last couple of years, the road I found myself on proved intense and emotional. Have you ever watched your entire life just collapse before your eyes? God bless the egotistical because this is the most humbling experience they will ever have, and just like every other asshole, I have a decent sized hand in why it all went south…
Those first steps off of that bus marked the end of the destruction and the beginning of my retribution. I just lost every single thing that was important to me, which is exactly what was running through my mind at that moment. How are we going to overcome this one?
All the things I lost were back in Miami. A wife who didn’t care if I died tomorrow, my daughter who I knew in my heart belonged with her mother, my job, my car—hell, you can say my pride too. Anything that wasn’t already lost got left behind in the city I lived in my entire life. I felt like I’d been exiled from my hometown. While waiting for the Lyft I ordered to meet me at my checkpoint, I kept running the details through my head. So many details, what happened, what didn’t happen, all of the individual steps along the way that lead me to where I was standing that very moment.
I’ve got work to do, huh?
I thought to myself, knowing that if I was going to come back from this one, it was going to take everything I had and then some. You see I knew exactly what it was going to require, but most people usually always do.
Fortunately, it wasn’t too long of a wait before my driver showed up. An older gentleman (whose name I’d forgotten) pulled into the driveway of the gas station I was at and came to a stop right in front of me. I tossed my bag into the trunk of his car and then did a quick leg check. Basically meaning I patted both of my legs down to ensure that they were still there. My uncle John used to say that if you still have your legs and your wits, then as bad as things are they could be a whole lot worse.
Cocoa Florida was everything that Miami wasn’t. It was quiet, small, peaceful, everything that I needed it to be in all honesty. My mom had told me the entire week before that moving up here would be one of the smartest decisions I ever made. And all though I didn’t know it at the time, I would come to find out that she was absolutely right. Sometimes the only way to move forward is to clear the board completely and start fresh. So at 23 years of age, almost a quarter ways through my story, that is what I was going to do… For better or for worse… that was what I was going to do.
When we arrived at the first house my mother ever owned, she was waiting for me outside with one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen. I knew that she was ecstatic to have one of her birdies come back to the nest. As I stepped out of the car she approached me with open arms; a mother’s hug can be powerful enough to make even the manliest of men break down and cry. I was no exception, tears rolling down my face partially from sadness, partially from anger, and partially from relief. The drops were heavy and I could feel some of the weight that I had been carrying around with me for so long leave with them. If life were a fight, then you could say it just punched me straight in the mouth… and I just barely made it back to my feet before the refs count reached ten. Make no mistake about it; the blow that knocked me down was not the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with. No, the hardest thing was finding the strength to get back up when everyone was counting on me to stay down. While I was standing there, wrapped in my mother’s embrace, it dawned on me; I was so close to never being able to get back up again. I knew in my heart that deep down mom knew it too. I could feel it in how tight she hugged me as if she didn’t think she would ever get the chance to again. After several minutes that seemed to stretch on for several hours, we broke up the hug and started unloading my luggage from the car.
"You're here, you're finally here," she chanted, enthusiastically.
The sight of how happy my arrival made her brought a smile to my face. It was at that moment that I knew I had made the right call. She grabbed one of my bags while I shouldered the others and lead me into the house that would come to be my new home.
(To be continued.)