The Day He Saw Her

                               By Omari Jackson

    James could not admit that he was fast losing himself. He was twenty two, and for the last three weeks, he had found it hard to even sleep and eat. Why? It was the simple question that had come into his mind, since the beginning of the three weeks.

   Sitting under a shade, he held a book between his hands, and frantically searched in between to see something. What did he want, really? He appeared confused, and on several occasions, he put the book down on a table beside him and looked into the heavens. He was searching for an answer, and that answer was not in the house of God.

   “Hmm…” His breath was long and hard. He was about one hundred and forty pounds, and his hands were rather long. His face was coarse, and it was said that he looked like his father. But who should he resemble? Sony was not the type to argue when others decide to make him the subject of their gossip. He was not the one to even challenge others when they spoke badly about him.

   He was not the kind also to fight back in any way, which did not mean he was some kind of a coward.

   Now his heart was completely empty, and had been empty the day he came to know Dorian Gray, the beautiful eighteen year old, who lived a block away from his residence in his Arizona quarters.

   He was taking the situation very hard, and for all he knew he might find life more attractive if Ms. Gray did not agree to share her love with him.

   He had heard about people, some his age that had committed suicide when the love they had anticipated failed to respond to the dictates of their hearts, and had wondered how that could be. To die for love could be a noble thing to do in fiction, he knew, but in reality should be in the hands of God. His determination was to win Ms. Gray’s heart by telling her how he felt about her.

   And when the opportunity came to him three days ago, he had told her, despite the difficulty he had felt from the beginning:

   “I cannot explain this, Ms. Gray.” He had begun the confession with a little difficulty, his voice losing its vitality, and his hands shaking. He held his hands as if he was playing with his belt to keep them steady. “I must confess my love for you.”

   There was a giggle, as if of derision from the young woman, as both sat under the very shade of the tree they were occupying. Initially she had feigned angry, and had twisted her mouth like any little girl would.

   Then she laughed, and turned her face away from him.

   “Do you mean it?”

    It was not a question to Sony, for he had meant it the moment he set his eyes on her, one Sunday after church, and he had said it all. Looking around him, he realized the opportunity for him to re-emphasize and spill what had been in his heart for several days, until then had presented itself.

   “To demand whether I mean it,” he said, a smile curling up on the corner of his mouth, “is like asking me if I am sound in mind.” He waited a couple of seconds, to hear her speak.

     Then she spoke, and laughed a little louder, before she said again, “Give me sometime to think about your request.”

    What seemed like cold bumps had descended upon him, and in a daring move, he thrust his hands to hold her, which she did not withdraw.

     That day was like day of blessing for him.

      Afterwards they had walked together, holding hands, and after he had come out of what seemed like some confusion in his mind, the young woman told him, she was not sure she understood what was happening.

    “I have observed you in our community here,” she told James Sony, “You’re different and you appear to be a serious kind of guy.”

     “I appreciate your comment,” he had also told her, grinning from ear to ear.

     “But,” she continued, and James pricked his ears to hear what was coming, “I feel we are different, since you come from Africa and….”

     “But we’re the same, and I love you to death.” James’ open retort had held what he considered a kind of fascination for her, for she had looked into his eyes, and seeing the fire in there, had remarked, “I’m not sure my parents will agree for us to become what you just told me.”

     She had walked on hurriedly and before James knew what was happening, she was gone.

    Now as he considered that experience, he could only sit and wait, hoping that someday, some power from above would come down and direct his actions. The thought about a young African girl, who had recently come to their neighborhood, now came to his rescue. She was young, and beautiful, too!

    He remembered the first time they met somewhere, also at the church. Her face radiated some innocence, and she had smiled at him. He now wondered why he failed to read the meaning on her lips. That Sunday, she had simply said, “Hi, I’m Mickey.” Now he remembered the sweet aroma that had emanated from her, and he wanted to ask himself how he could have failed to understand her.

   Now that Ms. Gray had reminded him that he was an African, he decided to take some interest in those of his kind, maybe he could find a companion, to give him the kind of happiness that he had always wanted.

   He felt bitter, but not angry, for love was meant to bring happiness.

   Standing up, he looked into the heavens again, and instead of questioning himself, he understood the truth that he must go for his kind, the very people that would not remind him of where he had come from.

   There was a smile at the corner of his mouth, as he picked the book on the table beside him. He walked leisurely and crossed the road, feeling a sense of peace in his heart. He would not worry anymore, no matter what.

   The reason, he now admitted with all his heart, saying, and “love is made to be celebrated and enjoyed to the end.”

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