I woke up under that bridge to beautiful sunshine, the pressure of rocks throughout my body, and feeling like shit. As soon as I woke up I started hacking like a 50 year smoker and gnarly green phlegm pouring out of my nose. On top of that I was feeling something I have not felt in 11 years, home sick…
When I was 17 I got caught with quite a bit of weed on me in separate bags. I would not say that I was a model son. I have never done very good with authority and wanted to do my own thing, parents telling me what to do and when was not my idea of livin’. A felony for intent to distribute was the last straw for my pops, he informed me that he had talked to a Army recruiter and that if he signed papers I could go in at 17. I felt like it was the best option at the time; so I went for it. I thought about it and if I am going to do this then I am going to go as far as I can and be stationed overseas. After I finished basic and advanced individual training I was shipped out to Germany. For the first three months of being there I found myself feeling real home sick. I realized that the people I had spent my entire life with were now thousands of miles away and all the times I was out running the streets I could have been spending with my mother, father, and little brother Mikey. I didn’t see my family for two and a half years. My parents had further grown and my brother was now a college student. I had been living in Europe growing in my own way and just came back from 15 months of war in Iraq. We were all figuring out how to reintegrate into each others life’s. Since I have been out of the military I have been moving back and forth between San Diego and the Bay area trying to figure out where I fit. I see my parents and my brother maybe two times a year now and have never really thought much about out. I love them with all my heart and that will never change. When I woke up under that bridge it hit me hard. I was in the middle of a place I had never been all by myself, and my family is miles upon miles away.
Connections are made for a reason and the ones that are worth anything will always be there even if you have not seen each other in years. I lived with Jazzy J for a little over six months. We had a sick apartment 3 blocks from the ocean in Ocean Beach, San Diego. Her and I had some up and down times and that is only because she is a good friend and I was not living to my potential at the time, she let me know it. Real friends will always tell you the truth, even if it hurts both of you to do so. When she graduated from the University of San Diego her mother came out and I had the opportunity to enjoy lunch and briefly get to know her. During this lunch collard greens got brought up and I explained that I had never tried them, but have always wanted to. Ms. Williams told me that if I ever made it to Mobile, Alabama that she would make me some of her collard greens.
I put it in my mind that I needed to make it to Mobile that day. I got out of my tent stretched out and packed up quick fast. I cleared ten miles before stopping at a truck stop to clean up and make myself some oatmeal. After a bit I got back on the road. I was not feeling good and thought about starting to look for a place to set up camp, it was around 2pm. Something in me said NO! ‘Keep going, you told yourself you were going to get to Mobile and you are not quitting until you get there.’ I walked another five miles before I got picked up. Luckily It was only a short 20 miles to Mobile because this guy was weird as hell and I really thought I was going to have to knock him out. Conversation started going south and I told him he needed to drop me off quick fast or else, he obliged. I got out and gave Jazzy J a call. Told her I was in Mobile and wanted to know if her mother was around. Jazzy says, “Give me a a second, I am going to call her right now.” Within five minutes she calls back and tells me her mother is waiting on me and that she was going to have someone come pick me up. Yes! As soon as I get into Ms. Williams house she is showering me with smiles and a lot of love. That home sickness I was feeling earlier is gone. The very next day she reminded me of that conversation we had four years ago. That evening for dinner I tasted collard greens for the first time, and it was made with love. My heart was filled with joy and I was recharged to get back on the road. Ms. Williams dropped me off on the side of Interstate 10 and I got to steppin’. Love!