The Circling of Vultures and Vampires

Writing is very therapeutic and it makes me feel good.  So many things have happened since my husband’s passing on June 9 that I couldn’t possibly blog about every single instance.  Overall, I’ve received tons of love, prayer and support and I’ve chosen to focus on that rather than some of the uglier things.  However, after the calls that I received last week, I changed my mind and decided to let a few things out.

Longtime readers, as well as friends and family know that MrTDJ and I came from two different worlds.  He called my life, “The Cosby Show” and I called his, “Boyz In Da Hood”; two loving households, set against very opposing backdrops.  Neither of us took offense to the others perspective.  We agreed and laughed about the parallel yet dissimilar experiences often.  He found it especially humorous that although I’m a Huxtable through and through, folks don’t recognize my gangsta because they let the bougie fool ’em.  I’m nobody’s fool and when necessary, I can handle foolishness with a quickness.  I’ve always had a good amount of street smarts and my dear husband helped to instill tons more into me over the years.

It seems that some folks think I’m 100% Huxtable and born yesterday without the ability to to know how “the game” is played.  M’kay, they’ve got me confused with someone else.  Just to be 100% clear – calling the widow of your deceased “friend” at 1am sniffing for signs of weakness is NOT o.k.  Nope, sure isn’t.  The convo went a little something like this:

MrsTDJ: Hello?

Vulture #1: Hey MrsTDJ

MrsTDJ: Who is this?

Vulture #1: This is Vulture #1, MrTDJ’s buddy

MrsTDJ: How did you get my number and why are you calling me so late?

Vulture #1: Oh, I got it from Vulture #2 and I was calling to check in on you and the little man.  Seeing if y’all needed anything.

I scrunch my face up and consider the comments.  I’m pretty sure that I’ve never spoken to Vulture #1 on the phone before.  He certainly was not a “friend” of my husband’s.  Acquaintance – yes?  Friend – NOT!  The audacity of the person that ponied up my cell # so easily along with his gusto to proceed with the call rubbed me all kinds of wrong.

MrsTDJ: It’s late and we’re sleeping.  I’m not sure who you got my number from, but I’m gonna need you to never call me this late again.

Vulture #1: Oh, I’m sorry about the time.  I know MrTDJ was a night owl, so…..Anyway, you know, if you need anything, I got you.  I mean anything at all.  I hate to see you all lonely and trying to raise little man by yourself, so if you ever –

MrsTDJ: Look dude. I’m not the one. Go prey on someone else because I’m not THAT type of grieving widow searching for a hero to take away the pain.  Damn!  And if I was, it damn sure wouldn’t be you.  Please lose my f*cking number.

Later in the week, another call came in while I was driving.  Again, lets be 100% clear – calling the widow of your deceased “boy” in an effort to fleece expensive electronics equipment from her is NOT o.k.  Nope, sure isn’t.

MrsTDJ: Hello?

Vampire #1: Hey baby girl.  How you holding up over there?

MrsTDJ: Who is this?

Vampire #1: Oh, this is Vampire #1.  You know me and MrTDJ was boys.

MrsTDJ:  I know who you are.

Vampire #1:  Yeah, I’m still messed up behind him passing away so suddenly.  I remember the last time I saw him a few months ago.

MrsTDJ:  Uh huh.  Is there something specific you wanted?

Vampire #1:  Yeah, well Vampire #2 and I were rapping yesterday, and thinking back to rolling with him in that Suburban he loved so much.  Man, that was a serious system he had in that truck.  Everybody used to talk about that system.  I know you’re not really into all that stuff, so if you were needing a friendly face to help take it off of your hands, Vampire #2 and I could help with that.

MrsTDJ: Oh yeah?

Vampire #1: Right, right.  Most of that stuff only meant something to him, you know?  Like it was a nice setup he had, but the parts didn’t cost a whole lot.  So you wouldn’t make too much money off of it and we’d only take a small cut, but yeah, it’s the least we could do for our boy.

MrsTDJ:  So, now trying to trick a widow out of material possessions is what’s popping in the streets?  You and Vampire #2 can kiss my ass.  Kindly lose my f*cking number.

**smh**  Really y’all???  Really??? That’s the way the game is played, huh?  Hmph.  Well, I’ve got a different set of rules and folks don’t seem to recognize.  I wasn’t the shrinking violet type before my husband’s death, and I’m damn sure not it now.  In the moment, both of those fools irritated me, but in hindsight, I’m forced to laugh.  I suppose they both really thought their cons would work.  How sad but I’m happy that my sense of humor is not completely lost and I can see the comedy in their desperation.

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Party Like a Rock Star

One quality about MrTDJ that I simply love is his ability to lift my spirits during the crappiest of crappy moments.  That dude is straight comedy.  Just silly.  And he is always able to turn my evil, frowning azz into a laughing, coughing, snotting ball of giggles.  We’ve shared tons of memorable moments over the years.  Over the course of 20+ years, he’s forgotten a few of these memorable moments.  **sigh**

Over the weekend, we had some home repair frustrations, so MrTDJ suggested we go out for dinner.  Sounded good to me, so we headed out.  As we were exiting the car and preparing to enter the restaurant, a voice called out, “MrTDJ!”  We looked up and saw a family friend from his old neighborhood.  The three of us caught up for a quick minute and then we proceeded inside.  MrTDJ  said, “Babe, do you remember Ralph from the old neighborhood?”.  And he was serious.  I stared into his eyes for about 15 seconds before responding.  “Kinda hard to forget the first person to casually smoke crack in front of me.”  MrTDJ stopped in his tracks and said, “What??? Da hell?? Where were you to be around Ralph smoking crack?”

Ah, how we forget.  I proceeded to refresh his memory.  And just like that, we were D.E.A.D.  Laughing so hard, we couldn’t catch our breath.  Coughing and choking, while the hostess stared to make sure we weren’t getting ready to pass out or something.  We were fine, just lost in the memory.   MrTDJ shook his head while apologizing, “I’m so sorry that I exposed you to that kind of stuff.”  Eh, no worries homie, makes for good blog material.

Picture it, Alexandria, VA, 1994

MrTDJ and I were long distance dating.  There were about 2 hours between us, so we made every effort to see one another as often as possible, which usually ended up being once a month.  MrTDJ and I come from two different worlds.  He calls my life, “The Cosby Show” and I call his, “Boyz In Da Hood”; two loving households, set against very opposing backdrops.

On this particular weekend, I traveled home to Northern VA to see the parents and spend some time with MrTDJ.  After my ill-advised sneak trip that I wrote about here, I always went home to see my parents and chat with them before making any plans to see MrTDJ.  This Friday night, my folks and I enjoyed a nice dinner together, then I headed out to see MrTDJ.  I was in college, but I still had a curfew of 2a.  I know most college kids didn’t, but again, Mama and Daddy TDJ ain’t most parents.

Upon arriving at MrTDJ’s house, we hear that a few of his friends and neighbors are heading to Ralph’s for some cards and laughs.  I’d met his Ralph once or twice in the neighborhood and he seemed ok.  He was a bit older than us, so I wondered if the whole crowd would be older.  MrTDJ was curious too, but promised we could leave if we didn’t like the crowd or if we weren’t having fun.

We walked the 2 blocks to Ralph’s house and found we were the first to arrive, other than Ralph’s mousy girlfriend and a neighbor dude.  We were chatted and laughed for a little bit. They were ok company, but not what I expected.  I was more than ready to grab a movie from Blockbuster and head  back to MrTDJ’s crib.  This was early in our relationship, so we hadn’t yet worked out our verbal and non verbal cues.  I was certain that I was putting ’em down, but MrTDJ sure as hell wasn’t picking ’em up.

The neighbor was engaging MrTDJ in small talk, so I tuned out the others and began to pick the tiny chips at the edges of french manicure.  I heard the flick/whooosh sound that a lighter makes.  You know the sound I mean?  I looked up, prepared to tell MrTDJ that we needed to go.  Ya girl used to suffer from asthma pretty bad and I knew the cigarette smoke would irritate me.  My eyes narrowed and then bulged!  I studied cousin Ralph for a full minute trying to turn the images I was seeing into something I could understand.  A plus B was equalling a whole lotta fuckery, yet image C was clear as hell!

A

PLUS B

EQUALS C

Holy shit!!  Even as Pookie flashed before my eyes, I didn’t truly believe that I was in the midst of a crack lair.  As I watched the smoke curl it’s way across the room, I had thoughts of us all catching fire like Richard Pryor did in Jo Jo Dancer Your Life is Calling.   Sweet Jesus!!  I could see the headlines, “Local College Student Arrested in Drug Sting”.  I wanted to flee, but I was frozen in place.  Struck mute by the entire situation.

MrTDJ and I finally made eye contact.  He was at first confused by the look on my face, but after looking past me to Ralph, he understood.  He yelled, “Yo Ralph man!  What the hell?”

Ralph glanced up, shrugged his shoulders and responded ever so nonchalantly, “Y’all gonna have to excuse me.  I gets high.  This is my house and I don’t share.”  My mouth dropped open in shock and MrTDJ grabbed my hand, pulling me the hell outta that apartment without another word.

Walking the two blocks back to his house, I’m certain that I was still in shock.  I knew that he was talking, but I didn’t hear a damn word.  I kept thinking that I had dreamed it, but um….NOPE!  I had just watched someone smoke crack.  Seriously.  Right in my face.  No pretext, no warning, no apology.  Just pulled it out.  Struck the match.  And went to town.  New Jack City, live and in person.

Well damn.  THAT would NEVER happen on The Cosby Show.