Monday, June 30, 2008
Last Wednesday night, the whole Cocoa sibling posse’ gathered to pick up the folks from JFK International Airport in NYC. The flight was delayed and we used the time to reconnect and catch up – laughing and carrying-on with each of us being funnier that the last person telling their story. When my parents finally arrived at 10:00 p.m., we loaded them up in my sister’s minivan and I drove everyone home, before bringing my parent’s back home with me. That’s right blogger fam, my folks will be bunking with me until July 8th. As the usual disclaimer, I’ll establish that I absolutely adore my folks. My mom and dad mean the world to me and having them stay with me is both a privilege and a joy. That said, my folks are older now and as many of you will attest, as we grow older, we regress to childhood. My parents are playful, curious and downright nerve shredding. I’m blissfully enjoying mom’s home cooked meals and pay the price for them by thoroughly cleaning my kitchen until 2 a.m. most mornings. I’ve never seen anyone make such a mess preparing meals! My dad lost his hearing aide within two days of arriving – actually, he flushed it down my toilet by accident. As many of you know, I give my parents my bedroom when they stay with me and I take the sofa bed in my living room. By Saturday, I was irritable from lack of sleep, horny from the lack of my man and starting to get downright testy. So, I had a movie date with my man and headed out to watch Wanted. As an aside, the movie is off-da-chain! Four-mutha-F’in-stars! When BD and I returned, my parents were asleep and I decided to rekindle some back-at-home freakiness. I asked BD to spend the night with me on the sofa bed and he nervously agreed. I then crept to the bathroom, started the shower and pulled BD in with me locking the door behind us. We did the hottest sneak-freak since junior high. We then quietly retreated to bed before my parents woke up a few hours later to the surprise of BD lying in bed with me. Hey, I believe in comfort-via-shock…what can I say? My father was initially uncomfortable, but eventually warmed up once the bed was stowed away and I was cooking breakfast for BD and the folks. BD and I then drove my parents to church and returned to christen my, until now, ignored living room. We tore the place down and fell fast asleep. When we woke up we went for broke again and just as we were done and were walking to the bathroom to wash up, my parents knocked at the front door. They hitched a ride with my uncle and returned unannounced and with company! BD ran into the bathroom and I tossed his clothes in behind him to dress there. I then realized that I hadn’t washed up and smelled like hot-butt-naked-monkey love! I yelled, “Coming!” ran into my kitchen and did a 30 second face wash with apple dishwashing liquid. I zipped my jeans while unlocking my front door and greeted my company. Before anyone could make their way to my living room, I dashed in front, snatched the sheets from the chaise lounge and tossed them behind the thing before tucking the lubricant bottle beneath my couch. My father looked at me strangely and I wondered if anyone could smell the remains of a great evening. I served everyone drinks and as my uncle and his wife left I gave them the over-the-shoulder, please don’t get close to my face-and-neck area kind-of hug. BD was slightly flushed and I looked like the cat that swallowed the bird. As I left my parents to get ready for bed and started my car to drive BD home, we both laughed as the reality hit that if my family had arrived 1-minute earlier they would’ve been privy to the loud screams of pleasure pouring from my living room. All said, it was an exhausting and exhilarating weekend. Sometimes taking it back to the days when you had to have a sneak-freak can really add the extra spice to that already scalding lovemaking. I guess the only thing that troubles me is that I haven’t found the condom wrappers in the living room yet! I pray that I find them before my parents do or it’s going to be a really awkward week.
Caught in the act…Tell of a time when you were caught (or almost caught) having sex.
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Ode to the Minnie
I didn’t make one of my own
I didn’t seed; no heir to my throne
Then I met your daddy one frigid day
My life all changed; No longer gray
A partner, a child; gifts for sure
A growing boy; my soul’s cure
Today your 9th birthday we celebrate
My heart is full; now let us eat cake
Keep passin' the open windows...
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
After a couples-with-kids night that bled on until close to 2 a.m., BD and I returned home to put the Minnie to bed and shower. Just as we got in the bed and BD was kissing my neck and stirring me into the mood, I heard myself snore. That’s right folks; I’ve officially reached that point in my relationship where I’m suffering from parental wear-out. That’s when you want to do so much more, but your body just won’t cooperate with you. I quickly turned to BD and said, “I’m sorry baby, but I’m just so tired….” As my voice trailed off BD settled into a comfy spoon and whispered, “That’s alright. I know you’re tired.” That was all I needed to immediately fall into unconsciousness. Early in the morning, I felt BD ease back into bed – apparently after a quick trip to the bathroom. As he kissed my cheeks and began pulling down my underwear, I stretched in that classic morning body contortion that precedes a good a.m. quickie. It was then that there was a loud knock on the bedroom door and a shrilly voice asked, “Can I come in?!” BD adjusted himself, got up and opened the door for the Minnie who ran, jumped into my bed and began trying to tickle me. Luckily, I managed to pull up my underwear moments before his leap of faith. As he chuckled and tickled BD and I, we both turned on him and began to act like tag team wrestlers. It was then that the Minnie reached under my pillow and said, “Hey! I think your fairy Godfather left you a card.” Since he’s always a kidder, I assumed he was pulling my leg, but there in his little hand was a pretty eggshell-colored envelope with my name on it. I took it from his outstretched hand and began reading my first EVER father’s day card. I swallowed hard to push the frog from my throat and said, “Well whatdya know…my fairy godfather actually did send me a card!” BD and the Minnie looked at each other and started laughing and I jumped back in the bed. They both gave me a big hug and before I could give in to any further mushiness I blurted, “Okay you two, I’ll start breakfast and you two brush those funky pie holes!” As the Minnie ran past me to the bathroom, BD grabbed me from behind and kissed my neck. “Happy father’s day baby,” he said. “We’re so lucky to have you in our lives.” I gave him a quick peck and said, “I’ll be the lucky one once you brush your teeth.” He turned me around and hugged me tightly and I felt like the luckiest man in the world. As I cooked my boyz some breakfast I began singing in tune with the gospel song playing from the blaring stereo in the living room. “Cocoa, you make incredible eggs, but you really can’t sing,” the Minnie smiled. I said, “Oh yeah, well wait until you’re all grown up and miss my eggs.” He turned right before leaving the kitchen and said, “I love you…” Yeah, this really was my favorite Father’s Day ever!
Any man can make a baby, but being a good dad is much harder than I ever imagined. To be a role model and responsible, protective, fun-loving dad to a child is a 24/7 gig.
What man made a positive impact in your life and gave you the blueprint of what a man should be?
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Sisters; A Study In Contrasts
My older sister Evelyn graduated from college on May 28th. I immediately took a day off and was front-and-center, my eyes filled with tears, as I saw her dream of a higher education become a reality. As I mentioned in a previous post, she has shown amazing strength and resilience overcoming catastrophic turmoil only to use that kick-in-the-stomach as the propulsion to take her to that magical day. This month she’ll close on her second home – in NY no less – and is doing a bang-up job raising two beautiful boys. At the other end of the spectrum, my little sister Frances, who was set to graduate on June 27th, has had a failing report card all year long and is likely to end-up in maternity gear rather than a cap-and-gown by year end. All said, I love them both and recognize that everyone has their own path in life to follow and their own future to create. My best to both.
Ghetto Is Ghetto, So Stop Bitchin’ and Do Something About It
When you live in the ghetto –regardless how great your specific apartment building may be- it’s still the ghetto. Case-in-point, my neighborhood is the epitome of ghetto and my neighbors see any temperature over 60 degrees as an open invitation to hang-out in front of the building and subsequently my window on the ground floor. After repeated calls to the police, the city complaint board and my building’s management company, I still come home to weeknights of frustration and disappointment – even the brink of catching a case for assault and battery. I refuse to give up though and insist that there MUST be neighbors like myself – hardworking folks who want a decent place to live without paying through the nose for it. Sadly, I also find myself saying, “This is exactly why decent neighborhoods show their ass and refuse to rent to minorities.” All clouds have a silver lining and mine may very well include my demanding to be freed from my lease to escape the discomfort thereby facilitating my move with BD. I’ll keep everyone posted.
Ribs and Mash
A couple of days before Memorial Weekend I took a quick run a few blocks from the office to a sporting goods store and bought racquets for BD and I to take on my new spontaneous passion – racquetball. After a romantic Friday and Saturday it was time to hit the courts for what was set to be a competitive endorphin boost. I find that working out and competing against my partner in sports invigorates me and serves as a sort-of aphrodisiac. So as I was acting like Rafael Nadal on the court the most incredibly haphazard accident happened. My right foot slipped on a wet leaf that had been inconspicuously sitting on the court for the first two hours of play. As my the momentum propelled my body backward and my right leg forward, my left leg folded like an accordion under my weight twisting my torso like a crunchy cheese doodle. I heard a loud crunch and assumed my leg was broken. Suffice to say, that I’ve never had an accident in sports before and the shock and adrenaline-spiked fear that I was sitting on a broken leg had me scream in horror. I quickly asked everyone who attempted to help me up to back away and straightened my body and my legs in front of me. I felt my left leg and realized it was extremely sore, but not broken. After a few moments I stood up and had a ghastly pain in my left side and a throbbing leg. So, what say you would be your reaction? Well, I did the opposite! I played another 30 minutes hobbling on my pained leg and excruciating side. Finally, BD and I came home, showered and went out on a dinner date and a romantic walk through the city. I purchased a knee brace during our walk and – you guessed it! – walked on. When we returned home I swallowed 800mg of Ibuprofen and made passionate love with BD. Caution to the wind, we spooned until about 3 a.m. when the throbbing in my leg and breathtaking side-pain were unbearable. I quietly climbed out of bed and took another 800mg of the anti-inflammatory pills and lay back down. I spent the next three days in unbearable pain before setting my machismo aside for a doctor’s visit. The results were devastating. I tore tissue around my left knee and have a fractured rib. The doctor assured me my leg would be as good as new in two weeks, but my fractured rib would take 4-to-6 painstaking weeks before it mends. Nothing could be offered – well, outside of numbing narcotics. Today, two weeks after my accident, I am popping more than five Percocet pills a day just to function. A testament of my determination to plow forward is that I haven’t missed a day of work and was front and center on Saturday’s 93 degree scorcher trying to play a more docile game of racquetball. The pain and discomfort are still very real, but I will not be sidelined. The gym is on a 6-week hold – which is anxiety-overload for a person who suffers from Body Dysmorphic Disorder – but I have resorted to avoid the scales after realizing I had gained six pounds in just two weeks. In another four weeks, I’ll just pick up where I left off. Today, hearing the words ‘ribs and mash’ conjure wincing, rather than salivating.
What about the Black and Latino culture makes you feel that some housing discrimination is justified?
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Monday, June 09, 2008
…And That’s How Cocoa Was Born
Over twenty years ago, while living in Plainfield, New Jersey, I came face-to-face with my reality as a Puerto Rican man of color. A young black woman approached me during a barbecue and asked where my accent was from. Shocked that I even had one – an accent that is – I simply said, “I’m Puerto Rican.” The woman took one step back and said, “Child please…why is it that black men can’t just be black? …they always tryin’ to be somethin’ more exotic and shit.” Offended, I explained that although I may be a man of color and look like many of the African American men who were in attendance, I was Puerto Rican. The argument was short-lived, but the discussion lived on in my head for quite some time. I always knew I was perceived to be an African American man at first glance, but that reality didn’t diminish the enormous pride in my heart for my culture; being Puerto Rican. For years, I struggled between what others perceived and what I believed in my heart to be an obvious reality. Then, just before my twentieth birthday, it hit me. Regardless of what anyone thought, perceived, believed or felt, I was a Puerto Rican man who just happens to be cocoa-colored. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with being African American – if you’re African American – but if you’re Korean and someone insists that you’re Chinese, it’s a problem; a problem I let the ignorant dwell on today. As I enjoyed the Puerto Rican Day Parade with my girls Chocolate and Pumpkin yesterday, I marveled at how I was among more than two million other Puerto Ricans celebrating our culture, our heritage, our homeland in all its amazing splendor and with all our different influences and complexions. I was never one to be pigeon-holed by anyone, so I knew that choosing to create and tattoo Cocoa Rican on my right arm was my reconciling my pride in who I am and who I will always be.
Perception is reality…or is it? Has anyone judged you based on your appearance and got it wrong?
Keep passin’ the open windows…