Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dear Bobby...

We went to your service last Saturday. It was so surreal. I have to admit that until we arrived at the chapel there was a numb feeling of disbelief in my heart. I just knew that I’d see your number pop up on my cell phone and I’d sigh and tell you about the nightmare I had where you died. I’m sure you would’ve told me that my morbid ass would be the first to go so I shouldn’t worry about it.

Your family and many of your friends were at the service – Clent, Algernon, Slugger, Sara and Lorraine attended. Clent even brought Martin. Did you ever meet him? Well, BD didn’t come. I couldn’t have him see me all broke up like that. I was going to have you hang with BD this summer. Oh Bobby, he’s such a great man. You’d be happy for me; I’m sure of it!

When we filed into the chapel I stopped and stared at you in that coffin. I could hear myself breathe and I thought I would pass out. I wanted to touch you, but I was scared…that maybe if I touched you I wouldn’t hold it together – or worse, that I’d end up giving you one of those inappropriate coffin hugs that has folks pulling me off you. You didn’t look like yourself and it hurt my heart to think that as you deteriorated to that point I wasn’t there to hold your hand.

We sat about halfway back in the chapel – not by choice – your family is BIG Ms. Thing! Lorraine had been crying and sniffling a lot. She still remembers how you wouldn’t let Jazmin live down eating Eukanuba dog food when she was a toddler – even after she was all grown up and ready to graduate from high school! I wanted to comfort her, but I knew that it would only send me to an inconsolable place. Clent spoke first and he was the only speaker that really shook my core, since I felt he was speaking from a place of someone who knew you. I just felt that the other folks struggled to really find words to describe you. Lorraine reminded me not to leave anything unsaid and I walked up to the podium. My legs felt like lead and as I looked out into the crowd I didn’t feel afraid…I felt like a little kid that was being asked if I had broken mom’s vase. I told folks how we had fought and never had a chance to make up. I kept pausing to catch myself. A few times my face felt like it would betray me and contort, but I managed to keep it together. When I sat down your family and friends looked back and tried to reassure me that you would’ve been okay with me…I didn’t want to hear it. I know you and I would’ve cursed each other out something fierce, but we would’ve made up like we had throughout the previous 25 years . I did feel comfort in saying it out loud to folks….that they shouldn’t leave things unsaid…that tomorrow isn’t promised.

We went back to Bernadette’s house for the repasse and your folks really put their foot in that food; it was delicious. Your god brother Alvee was there. He kept running his mouth about how he brought you out to Better Days Night Club for your first gay outing. As he ran his trap, I drifted away to a time when you and I were at Better Days and I was too drunk to drive. We caught a cab to the Sheridan diner where I ordered a huge breakfast and you ate my breakfast and yours while I lay in your lap drooling. My eyes welled-up with tears and Alvee said, “Look at you gettin’ all teary-eyed thinkin’ about Bobby.” Your god brother is extra.

I guess the only thing I regret about the service is that I didn’t mention a few key things that I felt were so close to my heart that saying them out loud would’ve had me crumble in front of everyone…
…thank you for always protecting me when my bark was WAY tougher than my bite
…thank you for being my loyal best friend even when I stepped out on faith and hurt your feelings
…thank you for your advice and your mentorship early on…it really made me the man I am today

I know this letter is long and you would’ve said, “What is this bitch…a book?!” but I really miss you. I was laughing halfway into this letter just thinking how you would always give me that sarcastic stare and act like you were playing the violin when my stories went off the beat-and-path and took too long. You’d always say, “There’s a point right???” Well, there is. Periodically, I’m going to write you….and as much as it would probably piss you off, I’m going to post the letters right here in my blog. Yeah, what are you going to do about it Ms. Honey…I didn’t think so. I’m going to do this because I think about you everyday Bobby…probably always will.

Make sure you’re watching me from up there…I may need you to peer into my dreams every now and then to tell me what you’re thinking.

Love ya’

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Supreme Boricua; Sotomayor Is Obama's Pick

Okay, so maybe I’m biased, but President Obama’s nominee for Supreme Court Justice makes my heart swell with pride and conjures the same puffed-chest feeling African Americans felt when they watched Obama head for the Presidential homestretch. Sonia Sotomayor – Obama’s pick to replace outgoing Justice David Souter – is a Bronx-born (NYC) Puerto Rican woman who was raised in the South Bronx just a stone’s throw from Yankee Stadium. This Boricua swam upstream since birth – losing her dad early on, raised in single-mom home, going to Cardinal Spellman – a Catholic High School – before busting-down Princeton, then Yale Law. No slouch professionally, she served as an Assistant District Attorney in NYC under Robert Morgenthau. She even holds honorary degrees from from Lehman College, Princeton University, Brooklyn Law School, Pace University School of Law, Hofstra University and Northeastern University. It is a proud day for minorities across the board, but Puerto Ricans especially. Now let’s knock-out the confirmation process and add the spice the Supreme Court’s been missing.

On Blast
Stereotypical jokes abound; learning to laugh at yourself…When Obama appeared certain to win the Presidency, many joked that we’d add a basketball court to the White House lawn or maybe have 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue smellin’ like chitlins (chitterlings).
What stereotypical joke can you come up with to get a good cackle going during this festive occasion?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Three WAS Company Too

One day after we laid our beloved Bobby to rest, Sara - who attended the services with us - posted pics she found when we all were enjoying great times together. There are over 25 years of life experiences and treasured memories Bobby and I can't do those moments justice. Thanks for sharing Sara...the pictures brought tearful smiles to my eyes AND my heart.
(My Bobby in red-center)

On Blast

Has anyone ever shared a picture with you that sent the emotional floodgates crashing open?

Keep passin' the open windows...

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Last Hoorah; Service For Bobby

Services for Bobby Sims are being held tomorrow, Saturday, May 23rd from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Powell Funeral Home in Amityville, Long Island. Driving directions from NYC to the funeral home above.

Powell Funeral Home
67 Broadway
Amityville, NY 11701

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Robert Sims R.I.P.; The Skipped Exit Interview

At 16, I already had a year under my belt hanging out at the grown-folks clubs. It was during one of these party nights that I met Robert Sims – Bobby – and many of my other close life-long friends. Bobby looked at me with a crazy expression two years later and said, “You’re only 18?!” as I happily cut my birthday cake. Last night, just after 11pm, I received a call from another member of our crew who, fighting-back tears, informed me that Bobby passed away. Twenty four years of friendship and BAM!....he’s gone. I sat down, stood up, sat down again and fought back an emotional breakdown while I heard some of the details of the devastating tale of Bobby’s end. Bobby had been sick for over six months – in a wheelchair for five of those six months – and a hospice for a couple of months before passing on. I didn’t know this. I couldn’t know this. I wouldn’t know this. Why? Well, as long-term friends sometimes do, Bobby and I were fiercely opinionated and had a fall-out that rendered us officially on the “outs”. He refused to call me and apologize and I insisted he owed me an apology and would wait until he gave me one before we chummed-it up again. That moment never came. Bobby would take our petty feud to the grave and somehow leave me holding the bag…the guilt bag. Last night I lay awake for most the night having an exit interview with one of my best friends in the world. My ears filled with tears as I lay facing the ceiling and demanded he tell me HOW he could leave me without us making amends! WHY DIDN’T YOU CALL ME BOBBY?! I would’ve been there…I would’ve chased the gossipers away…I would’ve comforted you…I would’ve been your fierce protector…your comforter. The silence following my questions is deafening. Bobby and I had a friendship that defined who I am as a person…he taught me to be strong, to be witty and use my powers for good…and evil (LOL). Bobby was my good witch….my Glenda. Bobby was also the friend of our group who brought all others together. If any of us argued or fell-out, Bobby would be the go-between to make it all better. It’s no surprise that without him in that capacity during our tiff, we were left to come together on our own…a make-up that never happened. I can’t really share how devastating it feels not to be able to call my friend and say, “This is ridiculous boy….let’s make up you hateful bitch.” :::Insert laughter and threats from Bobby here::::: I just want a quick exit interview. It’s one of my toughest life lessons to date. Say what you mean…when you feel it…Mean what you say…Don’t wait…Nothing in life is guaranteed…..Nothing and no one last forever…My inner circle has been shattered. Bobby is the first of my tight-knit crew to die. I love you Bobby. I miss you Bobby. I wish I could just speak to you one last time and say, “Whatever it is we’re fighting about, it doesn’t matter….I forgive you…and I’m right” Yeah…we’d laugh…he’d say, “Do it again and see what happens…” That’s what I hear him say in my heart…that’s what I’ll hear until I see him again. I’ll never be the same. You skipped your exit interview Bobby. You owe me.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

R.I.P. Bobby; 'Til We Meet Again

There are just no words....

Monday, May 18, 2009

BD Holds Court; Birthday Brunch At Duke's

Yesterday, BD enjoyed a birthday brunch at Duke’s. The attendees included an intimate group of his close childhood friends, along with some of my closest buddies. Duke’s off of 19th Street and Park Avenue South is a down-home southern food restaurant that skimps on ambiance and delivers on family-feel. Once stuffed we hit Chi-Chiz in NYC’s West Village for 2-for-1 cocktails, games of cards and some crossed-eyed pool matches. A special thank-you to Maria, Basil, Sean, Glenn, Andrew, Herbie, Nancy, Slugger, Derrick and my pumpkin, Evelyn, for making this day such a fun-filled, memorable one! Here’s to building life-long memories one event at a time! Happy birthday baby!! Below are some pics of our day…

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Parent Trap

Life really is a full circle. When you’re a kid you admire your parents and look up to them. As you get older you think they don’t know much and figure-out that you can do things better – even outsmart them if you have to. When you’re finally a mature adult you recognize that your parent’s wisdom is invaluable. My parents arrived from Puerto Rico to visit me in the BIG Apple. Until 5/24 I will play host and try to sponge up as much of them, their love and all they have to offer. Last night my brother Carlos, my sister Evelyn, my sister Frances and I hung out with the folks at my crib. My mother says we all need to push away from the table…morsel of wisdom #1.

On Blast
Our time with our folks is limited. Whether your relationship with your parents has been a great one or one riddled with angst, do you recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with your folks?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I Don’t Know Much, But I Know You Need An Open-Hand Slap

I don’t profess to know it all…shoot, I barely claim to know enough to keep my own relationship from crashing and burning, but I somehow do. I find it amazing that some of the folks that allege to have trouble meeting someone “special” or keeping the flaming embers of a romance burning are also the jack-asses that do some pretty irritating shit. My observations stem from people-watching while traveling to work or simply trying to get through a weekend without catching a case. If you see yourself in any of the following excerpts, there’s still time to change your ways…if not for yourself, please do it for those of us who are tempted to haul-off and kick you to the floor.

Energizer Trap: This person can’t seem to shut their mouth no matter what topic comes up and where they are. It seems like the only thing that is a sure thing is that they will progressively get louder; intensifying their tone and irritating a greater number of people. Strangely, they appear 1) oblivious to those around them 2) defensive about the dirty looks they consistently get from a public held back from kicking their ass by a mere thread of good judgment. ADVICE: Your partner wants to hear your thoughts, but give them a chance to respond and MOST important a moment to hear their own thoughts.

Techno-Of-Solace: This fool wonders why they haven’t been touched by someone in years, but they can’t keep their fingers off their QWERTY keyboard long enough to look up and see the beautiful person waiting to capture their heart. They have a Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Blogger, Chat and Linked account, but haven’t had a decent date in centuries. See, technology is great, but some of us have lost sight that it isn’t everything. Nothing – NOTHING – nothing, compensates for a human voice, a skin-to-skin touch and the warmth of a smile. While I’m a technology user myself, I find that I disconnect to make time for my man and turn it off when we’re intimate to avoid any interruptions. ADVICE: Technology is the vehicle to get you there and not the destination itself. Don’t allow your vibrant years to be spent making love to a camera.

Anti-Reflector: Some folks appear to have an inability to see themselves – really see themselves – and determine whether they look presentable…notice I said presentable and not good? Invest in a full-length mirror and take the time – EVERY DAY – to look at yourself in that mirror. Both nude and clothed, you should thoroughly look at yourself for no less than 2 minutes each day – FRONT AND BACK – and ask, would I find ME attractive? If you have issues with how you look, what makes you think that others won’t. Adults are taught to be polite and not everyone is a Simon Cowell, so man-up and be prepared to give it to yourself straight. The nude reflection is to check what you need to work on physically and the clothed once-over is to insure you’re not leaving the house looking inappropriate, ridiculous or disheveled. ADVICE: Know that you won’t be attractive to everyone in the street, but give yourself a fair shake by being presentable to yourself on a daily basis.

Prude-ish Hookah: I’m consistently surprised at how times have changed – or maybe how I have changed – and how I don’t think it’s necessary to be such a prude in today’s day-and-age. What happens today will be ancient history tomorrow, so stop wondering whether folks will find some action of yours “out there”. Be forward and go for what you want. Things tend to escape us because we’re afraid of what others will think. Also, it’s 2009 and there isn’t one reason why folks can’t safely have intimacy on the first date or the fiftieth date. It’s all about what you FEEL, not what others – including the prospective suitor – will think. If there’s one thing I’ve learned is that you’ll, more often than not, regret the things you DIDN’T do, rather than those you did. Today your body is bangin’…yes bangin’…and you don’t have the good sense to recognize how wonderful that is. ADVICE: Enjoy that bangin’ body – SAFELY – and you’ll have plenty of time to Ziploc the koochie later in life when less folks want to take a “stab” at it.

There are plenty more pointers, but let’s start with these. Remember that a conclusion is simply where folks got tired of thinking.

On Blast
Keep it real…Can you identify with any of these? If so, which one?

Keep passin’ the open windows…