HOW COULD I NOT HAVE KNOWN (SHORT STORY)

Leaving the driver’s seat of my car, keys twirling around my finger, and a smile on my face. I can’t wait to walk through the door and tell my wife what an amazing day I had at work. Got myself a promotion and landed a new campaign deal as well. As I put the key in the door to enter my house, I can’t help but notice a really nice sports car parked out front. There the neighbors go again; I guess I’m not the only one who got a raise. I walk in the house, and proceed up the stairs. Something seems to have caught my attention while walking up the stairs. It’s a noise coming from my bedroom, a noise that sounds familiar. It’s the type of noise I was used to my wife bellowing out during our late night evenings together.

Just to make sure it wasn’t in my head I walked to the semi open door to see my wife. Only the man whom she was on top of wasn’t me. I must be seeing things, there is no way my wife is having an affair. What should I do? Should I barge in and confront her and the man? Should I stand there and continue to see it all play out? Should I just turn around and leave? To my dismay, I decided to leave the scene. Here I am walking down the stairs of my own home, while my wife is upstairs having sex with another man. Some men would have ran in the room, but I was too hurt by what I was witnessing. In that moment, everything had been stripped from me; my self-esteem, my confidence, and my manhood.

There is no worse feeling as a man than to come home to your wife cheating on you. Now look at me, exiting the premises of a house that’s mine. A house that took my blood and sweat to build. A house that I raised my children in for years. I wanted to turn around and walk back inside, but the pain was too much to bare; I was a broken man. With so much pain, mixed in with so much anger I was a walking time bomb. So I tried conversing with myself, “Calm down, go for a walk; everything is going to be ok.” I was talking to myself as if what I had witnessed had not happened.

But it was there, it was real, no matter how hard I wanted to ignore it. I could still see them in that room. Now thoughts are running through my mind. Was I not satisfying enough? Is he a better lover than I am? Had she had enjoyed herself with me as she did with him? Then the thoughts started to really move into far left field. Does he have a better sexual prowess than I do? When she is on top of me, is it the same as when she is on top of him? The more I thought about what he was doing to my wife back in the house, the more pain turned to anger. Then the anger turned to rage. Eventually I wanted a way to make her feel the pain I was feeling.

And him, what kind of man would go after a married woman? Are there not enough women out in the world to choose from? Why does he have to have my wife? That son of a bitch should pay, they should both pay. I wish I knew if he were in a relationship, I bet his wife wouldn’t appreciate her husband cheating on her. I wonder if he had children; some nerve, he should be at home with his family. I bet his wife is just as confused about where her husband is at, as I am wondering why my wife is cheating. Then again, he could have an open marriage. He could be married to one of those types of women that don’t mind her husband enjoying the company of other women. Fine then, but why must he choose my wife.

Look at me, this is ridiculous, how do I even know that he’s married. He could be single, with no wife and no children. But what kind of middle aged man has never gotten married or have had children? If it’s true, then he must have some really major issues. What type of woman would want to be with such a man? Hold on a minute, my woman. I am sitting here out in front of my house, talking to myself like an ass, when I should be in there. That’s what I should do, walk in that house and confront her and him. You know what, I’m passed that, it’s times like these I need to make a quick stop to by my wooden cabinet case. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do, I’ll show her.

As I walk back into the house, her sounds which were once soft have become a little louder. Must you have no shame, I could be standing at the door, and yet she’s still going. As I make my way to the wooden cabinet, something keeps me from opening the cabinet; a voice. The voice was my own, almost as if someone else was in the room. It was an inner thought that said, “Think, think before you open that cabinet.” “Once you go forward there is no reverse.” I didn’t care, if someone could hurt me, I felt it justified me hurting someone else. I swung open that cabinet and there lied a plethora of firearms.

What should I choose from, the Thirty Eight, the Twenty Two, my Beretta, or the Magnum? Better yet, I should use that army knife and just stab the both of them. No, I’m using the Magnum, it’s power and the death is quick. I reached to grab the gun when it came to me. What a minute. I can’t do this, what about my children? How would they feel knowing their father killed their mother? My daughter in college, my son. How will it affect them? A mother dead and a father in prison. Just like that, I placed the gun back in the cabinet. Closing the cabinet I walked back to the foyer where I could hear my wife moaning. The sound of her voice flushed out any feeling I had about the kids being disappointed.

That was it, I didn’t care. Screw this; screw her, screw him, screw this house, screw it all. Walking back to the cabinet, I shut my mind off to any voice that may have had the ability to stop. I once again grabbed the Magnum, only this time, I was headed upstairs to my room. Not even running, I actually took my time, as I let the rage build inside of me. Once at the top of the stairs, I heard a car pull up. From the top of the stairs the headlights of the car was pulling into the driveway. I thought to myself, this is how it’s going to go down. Your wife and her lover in the bedroom and one of my children are about to come through that door.

Instead of trying to convince myself to not go along with shooting, shooting my wife made more sense now than earlier tonight. One of my children are about to walk through those doors and catch their mother cheating on their father. That’s it, she’s going to get it; they’ll both get it. I fiercely stormed into the bedroom. Without even saying a word, I emptied the gun in the bed where my wife and her lover were having sex. Just then the front door slams, and I hear feet running up the stairs. As I move closer toward the bed, the gun still drawn, the bedroom door swings open. My wife is standing in the doorway covering her mouth with both hands.

I quickly turn my attention back to the bed, and roll over  the body of the dead female; it’s my daughter. My wife runs to the bed, screaming at me and crying. How couldn’t I have known? I mean they have the same hair color and body type, but shouldn’t a man know the difference between his wife and daughter? My wife is crying, my daughter is dead, but who is the guy. Is that someone she met in at school? Maybe she was bringing him home to meet me. Whatever the case may be, I couldn’t believe it. I had shot my own daughter in a rage of jealousy because I thought she was cheating.

While my wife is still consoling my daughter I back paddled out the bedroom. I could barely keep my footing, as I walked down the stairs. As I reached the bottom stairs, my eyesight caught the attention of the open wooden cabinet. The gun was slightly hanging in my hand as I dropped it to the floor. Looking upstairs and hearing my wife’s screams, I almost turned around, but decided to walk back to the cabinet. Only this I grabbed the Beretta and closed the cabinet. After closing the cabinet, I walked to the living room and sat on the couch.

Here I am, sitting on the couch with my Beretta in hand. A distraught wife, a dead daughter, and someone’s son is dead. I could not believe it; I took the life of some innocent young man because of my own insecurities. I took a look over my shoulder as if I were checking to see if my wife was coming downstairs. After no one was in the vicinity, I looked to the ceiling, and closed my hands. Handgun on the trigger I put the Beretta under my chin, “Honey dad’s sorry, please God forgive me.” Then, I pulled the trigger.

WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?

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“You ever wonder what’s behind their eyes?”

As a young man who has never had children, I often contemplate what it would be like to be a parent. But the topic today is what are they thinking. What are behind the eyes when they look at you? The world to us as adults, is the norm. We don’t see our surroundings the same way an infant does. They crawl, they pick things up, and even try the old taste test by placing random items into their mouths. But of course, there is always the parent near to yank out of their hands the contents that they are about to place in their mouths. Or parents panic as they scramble to remove whatever is already in their baby’s mouth.

But to the baby, they may typically start crying because they don’t understand. They can’t comprehend why you would remove something from their grasp that they are currently consuming. Then again, ever wonder why babies try to eat everything they pick up. What is the reason behind this? Is this some sort of evolutionary response that we can’t grasp as adults. Because by the time you become an adult, there is no thought that goes into eating; you just eat. It’s so involuntary, your days are consisting of shoving random food into your mouth.

But why is the mouth the first choice of the child. What is behind the decision to place a piece of string, a toy, or even ink pens in their mouths. Maybe they realize that hunger exist, but don’t understand hunger. That would mean we as humans are born knowing we’re hungry, placing things in our mouths, yet learned behavior as to what is good or bad for you. The look on the infants face gives off how something taste to them. They either continue to consume if it’s good, or regurgitate if it’s bad. Their taste buds are starting to recognize what they like and don’t like.

Now that we’ve cleared up food, how about the eyes. What are behind the eyes when they look at you? They stare at you, and you smile, then they smile. We are elated by them mimicking us, but why do they smile back? Could it be that they are trying to figure out what our expressions mean? Or could it be that as infants we have that expression, but not only not know what it means, but we don’t understand how it happens. What about when they cry, what is the hurt behind their eyes? It is so hard to see parents not understanding what is wrong with their child, but the child not able to communicate with the parent.

But see that’s the eyes, what about the touch. Children are always picking things up off the ground. And once again parents rushing to their aid to grab what is in their grasp. But why do they pick up everything? Could it be they are trying to understand this world around them, or is it that they are not aware of the hands. The hands could be something that throws them off and picking up random items is interesting to understand how to use their hands.

In the end, the reason they want to taste and touch everything, their eyes as they look about their space, is because it’s new. This new surrounding makes them ultra sensitive to everything. And their senses are too heightened with so much going on at one time. But once they come out of this stage into their childhood they are able to know more and understand more, parents are a little more at ease. Parents feel more secure and the child is more secure.

I GOT YOU: DOUBLE STANDARDS OF WOMEN AND MEN IN RELATIONSHIPS

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“Ever wonder what happens when we flip the script?”

Ever wonder what would happen if there were full on gender role reversals in society? But what about only changing certain aspects of society as it pertains to gender? What about if women had to ask men out on dates? What if women were the main breadwinners? What if women had to deal with losing the majority of time in child custody or divorce proceedings? This topic came to mind over all the upset over Kylie Jenner being accused of taking financial care of her boyfriend Hip Hop artist Tyga. But women always say they can do what men can do, what’s the problem?

Number one, going back to my question about being the breadwinners, in my opinion it’s harder for women to be the main source of income. For women, there is a deadline for you to get on your feet before the relationship dissolves. You sometimes find men who lose the woman he’s with over money. But that’s the average guy, what if the man is upper middle or even upper class? Kylie has more money and women say, don’t take care of some man. But a man with her money who takes care of his woman is considered a good man. I mean, aren’t feminist trying to eliminate these double standards in society?

Which leads into my next explanation regarding asking men on dates. I live in New York City, I wonder how women would go about asking us on dates. I also wonder how women would fair with the rejection aspect. Considering a lot of men have to approach a woman more than one time to get her to notice him. How would a woman win us over if we reject you initially? What would be a method you use to get us to notice you? For instance woman approach man, he says not interested. How do you make him interested? Because that is something we have to do, is make you want us, meaning be desirable. How do you as a women drive desire from a man who doesn’t want to be with you?

That would be a very interesting experiment to see conducted by women. But how about something different. How about we are currently ending a relationship such as in the case of divorce? What do you think about women paying us a divorce settlement so we can keep our standard of living? Soulful singer Mary J. Blige is currently going through this situation. Her ex-husband is seeking $120,000 per month in spousal support to maintain his living because she made all the money. Women say that’s unfair, why should she have to care for him; you mean how we have to care for you when the relationship ends. Which leads me to believe that women are not all in on this role reversal.

There is an aspect of this role reversal that’s not honest. Women always say we can do anything men can do, but are always the first to reject women to live by this ideology. An older man date a younger women, it’s fine. Women say we can do it, and the first time a woman does, it’s another woman who attacks her. Remember, women are the ones who attack Jenifer Lopez for dating a much younger man. So what is it about women who say they want to eliminate so many roles, but attack the women who do change.

My theory is that women and men like what we like. Nature never lies and we respond accordingly. But we have these social agendas, yet it’s not an internal feeling. Women typically attack other women for actually living that agenda because it’s not what women do. So why adhere to these agendas? The reason being is that so many women fought for you to have the rights you do today, yet you really don’t feel certain ways they feel. You don’t want to show a divide in the faction, but it ultimately manifest itself in the end. Because when the agenda becomes real, now everyone is held to something that is not a true gut feeling.

I just feel that public opinion is the reason so many people don’t live their lives the way they want. A lot of people are wired to conform and do what’s safe. Yet in the end, a woman is just attracted to men who are in successful positions, and a man substantially lower than herself is not only frowned on by society, but causes an inner conflict as well. So I still say men and women are just built different. We don’t look at you the way you look at us. And with that, I don’t see it ever changing in life.

GRRRR! RAGE AND IT’S EFFECTS ON THE MIND

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“How anger effects your mood.”

I want you to conduct and experiment if you ever get the chance. I want you to think about a particular topic. Not just any topic, but a very controversial topic. Something like politics, racism, homophobia, religion, etc. Sit at home alone and engage in a full on debate with yourself. And try to get as mad as you can possibly get regarding the topic. Then after about an hour I want you to evaluate how you feel in the moment you stop being mad. Write down how you feel about yourself in this current state. What do you think you feel in this moment?

Now this all sounds crazy, but the thought behind something this extreme is because of the hate on social media. Some of the comments are so over the top hateful you wonder what is going on in people’s lives. And it’s not sarcasm, but flat out hatred. Now, I have conducted this experiment before a few times. Then I tried performing a productive task afterward. I noticed that my head hurt and I couldn’t focus on more important tasks. One of which was performing my daily writing for my blog and novel.

But I was only experimenting, what about the people who actually live like this on a daily basis. For me, when I see something or hear something I don’t like I tend to move on. So, why is it so hard for people to do the same. I have a few theories as to why people are this way. The first is that people don’t have anything going on in their lives. So when a famous person post their lives, even if remotely interesting the viewer just meltdown. Well why does their interesting life effect you so much? Because if you are home, work, home, work, and that’s your life, you look for reasons to be mad.

Which leads me into my next theory why people build rage. In their daily lives, they have no voice, which is why they protest. It makes them feel like they’ve accomplished something in a world where they accomplish nothing. Me on the other hand, unless you’ve broken a serious law, I don’t see the point in getting so mad about someone else’s life. So when a famous person is forced to apologize, they may have been one of the protesters, so it makes them feel like they did something important. It’s the prison inmate mentality. Hey, we’re in prison with nothing but time, let’s file complaints against the corrections officers. Hell, there’s nothing else to feel the time with.

And my last theory is that people spend so much of their lives not preparing for life, that when it’s time for them to get serious they’re now scrambling. For instance, they use their 20’s to have fun, then when life dawn on them, they have spent 10 years partying. Now some people go hey time to build. But others have this inner disdain for wasting a decade now 30’s are arriving. But instead of buckling down the disdain continues into their 30’s to 40’s. And now they have wasted 20 years. And just like that, the rejection of wasted time sets in. That’s why it’s important to pursue a career and life from three mindsets: what do I love, am I good at it, and can I financially sustain over a lifetime.

GUILTY: BLACKNESS ON TRIAL

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“Are you Black enough?” “And what does that mean?”

Stop acting White. You’re not Black enough. You’re a sell out. These are a few of the statements you hear growing up in the Black urban community. But why, why is it that deciding to live your life in a certain manner brings your ethnicity into question? Is it at all possible to act like another group? And if it is, then how do act Chinese, Russian, Indian, Spaniard, or Egyptian? The reason why the previous sentence sounds ridiculous is because it’s not possible to act an ethnicity. That is a constraint that is placed on you in America between Black and White People. Well then, why do we say it?

For starters saying you’re acting a certain group is an ignorant statement to make once we breakdown what that means. Let’s assume I say you’re acting White. Then you say, what am I doing that would constitute me to act White? And when you listen to the response, it generally is from a place of ignorance. But not only ignorance, the reply is usually a dangerous statement. You say to yourself, why is that dangerous to say? For one, it implies that you are appropriating the cultural norm which exist in another ethnic group, which means you must reject your own. False, you can be proud of who you are and express admiration for another groups culture.

Another reason why saying you’re acting like an ethnic group is dangerous is because typically when Black children are told this, it most certainly means you’re doing something positive. Whether it’s reading a book while everyone else part take in fun or speaking with a clear English vernacular rather than slang. Children will grow to think that being Black equates to ignorance which leads to negative views on ones’ self as well as lowered expectations. How and when did this change? And what I mean by how and when because Black people have not always had this in our community.

Being a Black intellectual was celebrated throughout history. But somewhere along the historical timeline, it became popular to exuberate low cognitive abilities. Let’s try to backtrack in time to where this approximately happened. I would say coming from the 1970’s into the 1980’s is when there was a major shift. Poverty during this time was on the rise and narcotics were taking hold. Single parent homes were the norm and gang violence was rapidly spreading. Eventually all of this found it’s way into our pop culture.

And once something becomes mainstream, that’s it. And it’s not because of mainstream alone, but the economics behind the entertainment. Meaning, once young males and females saw the profitability through entertainment such as rap/hip hop music they acknowledged an out. Everybody wanted to be rappers; dress like rappers, talk like rappers, and act like rappers. These men became so influential, you could say they were on par with civil rights leaders of the 1950’s and 1960’s as far as their influence. This was an aspect of the decline in expectations. But what else, entertainment is powerful, but not as strong to cause the shift of low expectations in the community today.

The biggest shift was the lack of quality education in inner city schools throughout the recent decades. On top of poor education, you have students dealing with hardships of poverty, and some even victims of abuse at home. All of this was a recipe for disaster as things worsened, so did the expectations. Now you have a smart Black child being called out for his or her intellect simply because someone or the entire class lack quality knowledge that he or she does. So what takes the place of knowledge when knowledge diminishes; valuables, that’s what.

Black people have been accused of not assimilating into society. But we have, we are a fully economic base. Meaning America is a capitalistic society based around goods and services. Blacks are in full swing where we spend nearly more money than any group of people in America. As a matter of fact we are worth roughly $2 – $3 trillion per year to the America economy. That means if we were a country (Black People), we would be somewhere between 4th and the 7th of the top ten wealthiest nations on earth. So with all that money why such poor education. Well because we have assimilated into this system of economy, that’s the problem. But why are we fully economic.

The reason being, when you grow up poor, it’s hard enough being poor now you look poor. And to top it off, your school environment is poor. So dressing in the latest fashion distracts everyone from your impoverished situation. Now, some economist might go America still benefits. But others will say, if we could get more of this group to come up through the financial ranks, then more money is pumped into the economy, the better America will do. But it starts with education, which brings me back to blackness. Blackness can’t continue to be reached and defined by means of ignorance. A people bereft of knowledge effects us all because we all now take on the financial impact due to the lack of quality education in the environment. But more knowledge, equals more people in the know. More people in the know means elevating yourself. Through elevation comes finances, and from finances comes prosperity. Ultimately, we all seek to benefit being that we share this country.

GANGLAND: WHY WE CHOOSE

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“What is about them that make us join?”

No father, single mother, and the city is riddled with crime. With so few opportunities felt, young males and females look to each other as some means of guidance. This quickly turns into violence once the males start to clique up and form bigger groups known as gangs. Then as narcotics is introduced the situation gets worse. As a young male myself, it would have been easy to join a gang, yet I didn’t. Well, how come, it’s not like I didn’t grow up in the neighborhood. What were the reasons I decided not to join?

For starters, the city I grew up in did not force you into a position to join. For instance, in a city like Chicago or Los Angeles, you can be affiliated just by being from the neighborhood. Some boys figure I should just join because I’m getting shot at anyways living here. Others just take the risk and not join. But if you do choose to join a gang to keep from getting shot, it will only increase your chances. Because now you are on the radar of other gangs.

Another reason why I decided not to join is because I understood the psychology behind the gang life. And that is kill whoever disrespect our turf; but only if they look like you. I understood at a young age the gangs operate on this basis of disdain for each other. Why, well it comes from the mentality that I can’t touch this guy, but this guy is fair game. You say you don’t know better, but make a real conscious decision not to touch certain people. Someone who don’t know any better shoots anybody. But the dynamics around the gang is this self hatred. Hatred which stems from the idea that I hate myself, so killing someone that looks like me is fitting because it’s like removing me, without taking me out of the equation.

So you’re probably thinking to yourself, why do so many young people join? It seems to be counterproductive, and if you do gang up, why not care for each other. Why be apart of something built around so much violence? The main reason is the need to belong in a society you feel you don’t belong to anything. Another reasons why young people join a gang is to have family in their lives. You so many young people with no family, so dying for the group is better than being alone. And the other reason people join is to escape. They have nothing else going on in life, or going anywhere else, why not join.

In the end, there will always be gangs. Truth is, they have been around for a very long and will continue to be around. As long as you have a demographic of men and women who feel they don’t belong you’ll have gangs. As long as people feel they need protection they’ll join. And as long as their isn’t a stable family structure, then you’ll have gangs. But most of all, poverty is a main source. When you only think of life in the now and not tomorrow, you can’t see the future. So as usual, more and more join, even with the high numbers of deaths linked to gangs.

DIDN’T WORK FOR ME, WHY WOULD IT WORK FOR YOU?

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“Why do people seek to destroy what they can’t do?”

I have always found it to be quite sad how people are so quick to shut down your ideas. Your visions, your dreams, your ambitions, and your goals. They seek to shoot you down because they have not managed to succeed in their visions themselves. Why is this? Why do people carry such disdain for those who have had the courage to step into the world in the face of failure? Then when you fail they love to look you in the eyes and say I told you so.

Let’s try to figure out how they have come to this mind frame themselves. We all start out in life with a vision of where we would love to be. It usually starts as a child where our imaginations runs wild. But somewhere along the way between childhood and adulthood we lose our imagination. Or maybe we don’t lose it, better yet, someone or something kills it along the way. Well, what is it that can kill our dreams.

For most people, it is those that are around them. It can be their family or their friends who kill that dream. That vision that you see, touch, taste, and smell, yet you never pursue. Well how come? Your family, mainly parents and siblings; and friends as well will tell you to go out and get a day job. Find something which will get you a check every two weeks and let that be it. Keep your head out the clouds. And then that moment you attempt and fail they can’t wait to say, see I told you.

They do this because they have had the same visions. They either didn’t achieve their dream or was too scared to step out into the world. And in some insulting way, they fill you shouldn’t be there because they failed or were too scared. The reason I say insulting is because it’s almost as if they think you are dumber than them, and no way could you out do them. But what is in the pleasure in waiting for you to fail. The pleasure comes from their lack of success in their goals.

If you succeed in what is it you are embarking on, then it makes them feel their existence is futile. You would not think that friends and family could view your life this way, but sometimes they do. Not everyone wants you to do well in life, and as bad as it may seem, it comes from the people close to you. My other reason such disdain from the ones closest to you is because they remember where you came from to where you are now. It really magnifies much of their own lives they wasted.

But why view life in that form? Why feel that your life is a waste because of someone else’s success. It’s not their success as much as it is they are the embodiment of time you spent not doing what you wanted to do. Meaning, you don’t want to pursue entrepreneurship because it could take 10 years of constant work on top of your day job. Then 10 years go by and you look back wondering why you wasted so much time being afraid. Then you see someone who did put in that 10 years and the taste of sour grapes fill your mouth.

On the other hand, your success and fearlessness will free up others to pursue their endeavors. You see, people in society don’t know you before you were you. When they hear your rise to success, their confidence in themselves increase. You will motivate people to pursue; even with failure lingering they’ll fight. The whole time they will think about your climb.

In the end, the cost of doing nothing may be higher than the cost of doing something. It’s the reason why I am pursuing my goals. My biggest fear is not failure, more so it’s getting to the end of life and reflecting. Reflecting on your life and realizing the whole time it meant nothing. That is the scariest thing about life for me. Rejection and failure is normal, but not trying should never feel normal. Because the way I see it, we work everyday doing so much we don’t like, why not try something new. Even if the success is minimal, it’s still more than you had prior to not trying at all.