Friday, December 23, 2005

Let It Go- Toya
Let It Go is a song off of Kirk Franklin's latest record "Hero" and it features Toby Mac and Sonny Sandoval from POD. I remember being at a concert one summer and seeing a very olive skinned, sun kissed Sonny walk by as I looked out of the window. An older, much more conservative woman was standing next to me. Looking appalled, she said "Ugh. Could you imagine waking up to that every morning?" I let out a deep sigh, cocked my head to the side and looked longingly out the window. "Yeah", I replied, sounding slightly out of breath, "Oooooh yeeeeeeah".

For some reason or another I woke up this morning and decided that I was no longer going to let myself continue to be shook by unmet expectations concerning men of my past (and a few present). It occurred to me that myself and a good number of my girlfriends are still struggling to get over things that either almost happened/we expected to happen/or happened, it didn't work out and we are left wondering what happened. Instead of a New Year's Resolution, I wanted to make an end of the year resolution: After December 31, any prior situations (mere crushes)/emotional attachments/ex-boyfriends that I still ponder over have got to be let go. Sounds much easier said than done but when you consider it, most of our drama starts with thoughts and if most of us would control our thought lives better, stop living in the past and/or the future and live in the now, we would be a lot happier.

Now I of course have had my heartaches and crushes but I have never talked about Mark at all. This is the first time since writing this blog that I have ever mentioned him because he is a touchy subject with me. He is the only guy that I have ever truly, truly loved. He is the only guy that has made my heart jump every single time he walked into a room. He was my first real kiss. For my own good, I cut him off. We were both scared of commitment: he was scared to commit to God and I was scared to commit to a man. Nevertheless, I loved him but I knew that you can't change a man. Only God can and even God doesn't just force himself on others. Even He is respectful of free will. According to his sister, one day I left the house and his father, a minister, turned to him and said "You know that's your wife, right?" "I know" he answered. He also knew that I have low tolerance and that he would have to get it together. I represented a lot of what he was running from and he refused to change. You can't marry potential. I wasn't squeaky clean either. I told him we couldn't be together and would judge him like crazy but I still took advantage of the hold that I had on him. I could be pretty manipulative. We were both so immature.

I have always been close to Mark's family. His sister and I were best friends in grade school and are still close to this day. She had an accident not too long ago that put her on bedrest so I went to pay her a visit today since I am in my hometown for Christmas. I had no idea that when I walked into her parents' house where she is recovering that all of his children would be there. Yes, Mark has children by one woman that I am willing to bet half my wardrobe and my collection of handbags on, he is never ever going to marry. Coming home to visit over the years, I would always see pictures of his latest child in the house and dreaded the day that I would see them in person. I just didn't know how I was going to feel about it. I walked into the house which was noisy with many kids full of pre-Christmas day excitement. I knew right away which three were his, all beautiful girls.

I have never been a kid person.Before I fell in love with my niece, I thought of kids as just underdeveloped adults. I really, truly did not like kids and kids can pick up on that. In turn, they really, truly did not like me, no matter how much I fronted with them. After becoming an aunt, I have really warmed up to children. However, this doesn't explain why his kids ran up on me, a complete stranger, and took to me like no kids have ever done before. Kids NEVER do that to me. Tia can be in a remote, podunct town and a child will see her and run towards her with their arms wide open, begging her to pick them up. Usually, I have to do everything short of slip a kid a five dollar bill to get them to just talk to me at times. One of his daughters was in a high chair and just kept staring at me, barely blinking. After introducing myself to the kids and giving them each a turn at being thrown in the air, I walked into the room where Anna, his sister was, and stopped cold at the sight of the spitting image of Mark in a pink dress, sitting in his sister-in-law's arms.

"Whose baby is that?" I asked Anna. "Mark's! Remember I said something about a new baby?" I vaguely remembered her saying something but my phone was cutting out and I kept asking her whose baby she was talking about. I had no idea it was his. Kids, four, wife, zero. After we caught up on the current things going on in our lives, I went back out to the dining room and before I could get to Anna's mother I found myself playing with the kids again. The little one that was grittin' on me from the high chair, came up to me and just started running her mouth at record speed. She was so small that i was surprised that she could talk at all. I bent down to listen to her as she came closer to me, pressed her forehead firmly against mine and just smiled. We sat there for a while until I stood up and she wrapped her arms around my leg as I carried her to the middle of the floor. "This is unbelievable" I thought. It was all fun and games until Anna yelled from the other room "Uncle Mark said to behave and stop all of that noise !". All of the kids' including this big kid's eyes got really big as we quickly covered our mouths with our hands. I looked towards the steps hoping that he had not been in the house all that time. As I walked slowly to Anna's room, she handed me the phone. "I called him and told him that he would not believe who was here." "He doesn't know it's me?" "No." "He doesn't want to talk to me." Last time I called Mark to apologize for all of the drama I put him through, he refused to talk to me. Not all guys want to be friends with benefits.

I took the phone and said hello. "Hello, who is this?" he asked cautiously. "Hey Mark, it's Toya." I answered quickly, not at all interested in playing the Guess Who game. "Toya? Oh my God. I had no idea who this could've been. How are you? I wish I could see you." I walked to another room and told him how beautiful I thought his girls were. Just then a bunch of kids found me and started swinging from my arms and big curly afro. "Wait, your children are attacking me. There is one that just keeps staring at me though." "That would be Shana" he confirmed. "So are you going for a boy?" I joked. "Girl, no. I already have one too many." One too many, huh? Wow, dude. WOW!!! I could barely hear what he said as we tried to catch up because of all of the noise the kids were making so I said goodbye and walked into the other room to give the phone to Anna. I stood there as she spoke with him. "Uh huh, yeah. I know, right? Okay, I'll tell her. Hey, Mark said he loves you." I turned to get my cell out of my coat that was on the floor, knowing that I was making a quick get away to the bathroom to text Tia of the drama that is my life. I acted like I didn't hear Anna. She repeated what she said and I yelled a "Love ya too!" that I really tried my best to make believable. I looked in the chair and saw that his new born was hiccupping. "Can I pick her up?" I asked Anna. "Toya just asked if she could pick a baby up. What happened to you?" I picked her up and went onto burp her. I started to give her back to Anna. She started crying. I took her back and rocked her until she went to sleep. Everytime I went to give her back, she started crying again.

"Okay, this is a trip" I thought as I held her in my forearms with her facing me. As I watched her fast asleep, I thought of how all of the other kids in the house, 8 total and half Mark's, were grandkids that had all been born out of wedlock. I thought about how Mark was the only guy that I have ever considered possibly, entertaining the thought of sleeping with and that says a lot. I thought of how I had continuously thought that maybe I was too hard on Mark even though deep down I knew that letting him go was the right thing to do. Even so, I realized that I had never truly let him go because after all of these years I still found myself entertaining what if's. So after silently praying for his newborn child, I praised God that this child was not mine because the word that kept coming to mind as I looked at her face was "timing". There is no way in the world that I am ready to be a mother now so I know there was absolutely no way that I would have been ready to be a mother back then. I would be a fool to think that if I did not have a lick more sense that I would not be in the same shoes as the woman who has born his four kids with no ring to show for it.

Just then Anna's daughter walked into the room and I asked her how old she was. She is 11. I did the math in my mind and realized that Mark and my drama came to a head right around the time she was born and officially ended about two years later. I am embarrassed to admit that I have not let this man go for about 9 years. Now I don't know what the statute of limitations are for getting over a relationship but it sure as hell can't be no 9 years! I quickly gave the baby back, said my goodbyes and got in the car with my phone whipped out to call Tia before I even put the key in the ignition.

The Mark chapter is officially closed. So is the Tag chapter, the Mr. Beautiful Surprise chapter, that kid from band camp chapter and so on and so on and so on. I do not want the right guy to pay for something they did or didn't do. Most importantly, I don't want to be bound to how we women think that we just weren't enough for someone else. There are just some things that don't happen according to plan and we have got to learn to let them go and move on without ever looking back.

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