Will Smith is often clowned and is deemed corny for most of the hip hop he has made since dropping the Fresh Prince moniker (No one denies that DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince weren’t dope). With the exception of Big Willie Style, I agree. Not only has that album aged well, it was produced by Trackmasters in their heyday, and Nas wrote some of the biggest songs (Getting Jiggy With It, Men In Black, Miami). There’s even a mention of Smith kicking it with “Nas Escobar” on the title track
It’s 5:53 in morning and I am currently on the Long Island Railroad en route to work. I usually listen to smooth r&b music during the morning commute. I do this so that I too can be asleep like all of the construction workers headed to Manhattan to continue to make my city the marvel that it is. I’m slowly beginning to finish the first draft of my book and turned on my playlist of the songs that narrate these posts. I began to nod off as Anita Baker’s “Giving You The Best That I Got” played. The best song on Big Willie Style, “Chasing Forever,” played next.
“No car I ever drove. No ice I ever saw. No music I ever made. Ain’t nothing I wanted more.” Nasir Jones/Will Smith
Those lines made woke me up as ideas began to race in my head. I thought about a recent encounter I had with someone in which we just never seemed to get it right. We had amazing chemistry and after not seeing each other in months, it was still there. I’m pretty sure I hurt her feelings that night. There was a rare moment in which the ever present tension between us resulted in both of us being vulnerable…and I feel pretty bad about it.
Here’s the thing…
I sat in her apartment, looked around, and couldn’t help but chuckle in a positive manner. I looked around her place and I could see a few things that I had bought for her within plain sight…all while sitting on the edge of a bed that was extra soft because of the mattress foam got her when all she did was mention she was having trouble sleeping because of her back. She was also wearing a silver necklace that had a heart pendant with small diamonds in them.
I have always known that she appreciated these items as well as some that were tucked away and put in their proper place. A few months ago, I saw the same thing as well as a couple of others that were for some reason or another on display.
What she may see at as pieces and accessories to her life that were presented from a heartfelt place, I looked at all of them and saw the effort I had put into trying to make her days just a little better. There was a pair of black stilettoes on the top shelf of a shoe rack; second to the left. I was broke and bought them for $20 on the discount rack at DSW for her birthday two years ago. I remembered thinking to myself she would love them and that I wish I could have done more. She was having a gathering for her birthday and I told her that I couldn’t make it, so hopefully I could come to Manhattan to say hello, happy birthday, and buy a shot for her. I did so, took the E train and the Dollar Van back to my grandmother’s house in southeast Queens to change my clothes and drop Cydney off, took the train back to the city, and surprised her by showing up.
I saw the bag on the floor that that one evening she asked her aunt to buy for her because she needed a new one to carry her laptop in. My ex was going to do so; but a check hadn’t cleared so she couldn’t afford it. Two days later I sold all of my gold jewelry with the exception of the ring and earrings I am currently wearing-as well as a bracelet of Timile’s-to surprise her with it. The necklace that she donned was something I had bought in the mall. Cydney saw it and told me that I needed to buy that for her. Still broke, I used a gift card my grandmother had given me for Christmas a few months earlier. It was the last thing she gave me because she passed a few weeks later. All of which I had presented in a nonchalant fashion because I didn’t want it to seem like I was showing off. Truth be told, almost everything that I had given her had some kind of crazy backstory to it.
Everything that I had done was an investment. It was in her just for being her as well as in what at the time seemed like our future. I looked around and felt some sense of validation for my work. If I never spoke to her another day in my life, there would be no regrets because I did the best that I could.
Honestly, that mindset is why I don’t miss Timile. Lord knows that I did all that I could and the peace that I have knowing that there wasn’t much more that I could think of to do during our five years together made moving on relatively easy. It’s why I could chase forever looking forward and the baggage on my back wouldn’t slow me down.