John Kirkwood. Part 3

John

As you can see, Jay wasn’t a joke. You may be thinking, “but John, you’re Jay.” Well, yes and no. Jay was a boy; John is a man. It took me a while to get from Jay to John, but eventually, I got there. 

So, I know you’re curious as to what I was doing all the times I was either sneaking out or coming home late. Well, I’m going to get to that. I’m also going to get to how I know that God is real, but first, I want you to keep something in mind that has stuck with me for the last fifteen years. “No matter how much potential someone else sees in you, you’ll never live up to that expectation, if you don’t want more for yourself.” The crazy thing is, sometimes it takes someone else to believe in you, before you can believe in yourself. 

Aunt Brenda believed in me, and obviously God saw something in me too, or I wouldn’t be here with you.  He had a calling on my life, why? I have no idea. There wasn’t anything special about me. One thing I do know, God has always been in the business of turning nobodies into somebodies.

So, after I got my car, I thought that I was Mr. Hot Shot. All the girls were choosing, mainly because of my whip. I mean, I’m not an ugly dude, but girls didn’t really pay me much attention before my car. I never even had sex until I got to New York, and met Honey. Everybody called her Honey bun, because she had skin like honey, and a fat booty.

Honey was the baddest female I’d ever seen. Coke bottle shape, hazel brown eyes, naturally curly ginger colored hair. She was like a goddess to me. I didn’t have any game, and damn near wrecked my brand new car when I saw her for the first time. Me and my homeboy Braxton was riding in my car. 

“Bruh, a yo chill dude! You almost hit that tree,” Braxton said. I didn’t even realize I had went on the curb. “My bad, dog,” I said, still focused on Honey. Honey smiled at me, and I smiled back. 

Then she giggled and waved. “Oh, you’ve been stung by the bee, huh?” Braxton said. “What? What Bee? Man, I’m allergic to bees. 

Is it a bee in here?” I said, panicking. Braxton started laughing. “Listen, my bee allergy is serious. My face swells and becomes distorted like Quasimodo.” I wasn’t trying to let Honey see me like that. 

“Dude, chill. You’re really bugging right now. No pun intended,” he laughed again. “Man you so corny. Get out of my car,” I said after parking. 

We got out of the car and Braxton said, “Listen, that’s the new girl, Honey. She got all the dudes going crazy, so if you want to shoot your shot, you’ve gots to get in line, play boy, because I’m first. He took off running, “A yo, Honey. Wait up!” he said. “This dude,” I said. 

I kept walking until I caught up with them. I wanted to see Braxton get shot down. He was my homeboy, but his misfortune meant my opportunity. I mean, I didn’t have no game, but Braxton really didn’t have any game, but he loved black girls, and they loved him. Honey was different though.

I could tell that she was the one who did the choosing, and she could have any dude she wanted. I had to play it cool. Every dude at our school was already drooling like a thirsty puppy. “Hey, Ms. Honey. You’re looking real good today. 

Does that shake come with some fries,” Braxton said, before putting his arm around her shoulders. In my head, I was cracking up. This dude was cornier than I thought. He was the whole corn field. “Eww, and who are you?” Honey said, as she moved Braxton’s hand away. 

“I’m Braxton, from Chemistry class, remember?” he said. “Oh, yeah. The guy who peed himself yesterday,” she said. Her and her friends began to laugh. I wanted to laugh too, but I had to rescue my boy. 

“Please excuse my boy. He gets nervous around beautiful women,” I said. “It wasn’t pee either; it was vinegar from the project we were working on,” Braxton said. “Uhn huh,” Honey said. “Come on man. 

We gotta get to class,” I said. “And what’s your name, friend?” Honey said. “Oh, my bad. I’m Jay,” I said. “Nice to meet you, Jay. I’m Honey,” she said, before licking her lips and then biting her bottom lip. 

Damn, I wanted a taste, but I had to play it off. The bell rang. “Nice to meet you Honey, but we gotta go. “See you around Jay, and Mr. PEE body,” Honey said, before her and her friends started laughing again. “So, you do remember me. 

I knew it. Braxton Peabody is hard to forget,” Braxton said. “You’ve got that right,” Honey said. “Bruh, I don’t think she was referring to your last name,” I said. By the end of the week, I had bagged Honey and her buns. I had never had sex before, but I fronted like I did. 

Whenever I’d come home late, I had either been over Braxton’s playing video games, or sometimes when his parents were out of town, he’d throw these massive parties that I’d go to. More than likely though, I’d be at Honey’s house. I had to sneak in, because her parents thought that she was this Virgin Mary or something, but she was really a naughty little devil. I would come home late and get in trouble, but for Honey, it was worth it. But let me tell you about the night that I knew that I had to put a lot of things to an end.

I had got into some trouble with a gang one night. Me, Honey, Braxton, and his girlfriend was at a cafe when some dudes came in. One of the guys tried to holler at my girl, and I checked him. I didn’t know that they were in a gang until Braxton said, “Aye, man chill.” “Nah, bruh. 

I’m not about to let him disrespect me, or my girl,” I said. I was in the guys face. I didn’t care what gang he was in. Bruh, let’s just go,” Braxton told me. “Yeah, you’d better listen to your lil friend,” the guy said. 

“Come on baby, let’s just go,” Honey told me, before grabbing my hand. When we got to my car, Braxton said, “Dude, are you crazy? Do you not know who that is in there? That was Z-Bo. You don’t want trouble with the Bloods… trust me.

Late at night, a few weeks later, I was getting gas after leaving Honey’s house. I ran into that gang. “Look who it is y’all,” one of the guys said. Another guy said, “A yo, isn’t he the busta from the cafe?” “Yeah,” another guy said. “Look man, I don’t want no trouble. I’m just trying to get home,” I said. 

The first guy mocked me, “I don’t want no trouble. I’m just trying to get home,” he said, in a girly tone. “Man, shut your bitch ass up,” he said, before punching me in the face. I punched him back and we began to fight, then the other two guys pulled out their guns on me. I held my hands up. 

“Yeah, look at you now,” one of them said. The cops pulled up. The dudes tried to rush to their car, but they weren’t quick enough. The officers locked them up. One of the officers were Tim. 

Had they not pulled up when they did, I’d probably be dead. That’s when I knew, that God is real. “Jay, what are you doing out so late?” he said. “I was on my way home,” I said. “Look man, I don’t like to get in your family’s business, but you have to stop this. 

Do you want your auntie to end up seeing you in a coffin or in jail? Look man, take my card. I know you didn’t want to join the program before, but just try, not for me, but for your aunt. Look, God was on your side tonight, because these guys don’t pull out guns unless they’re going to use them. Now, go home,” he said.

When I got home, I was in trouble as usual. I was already pissed about what had happened, and aunt Brenda started yelling, and we began to argue. I wasn’t mad at her, but I took my anger out on her. When she broke down and began to cry, I felt bad, and promised never to disrespect her again. I also promised to obey her rules, and try out that program. 

Aunt Brenda took my driving privileges for a month, except for going and coming home from school. Tim would drive me to the youth program on Monday, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s. I grew to like Tim. He was cool. At first I was skeptical, because he’s a cop, but getting to know him reminded me to never judge a book by its cover. 

Tim ran the program for troubled teens, and the male program helped us get involved in urban communities by helping build houses, work food pantries, plant gardens, learn different trades, and do many other community projects. We also took vacations. I had never been anywhere except Georgia and New York, but in the program, I had the opportunity to go to Florida, California, Colorado, and even Vegas. The program was great. I made a lot of friends that come from the same type of background as me. 

Some were in the program as a part of their probation, some were forced by their parent, and some really wanted to change their lives. I even invited Braxton to join, because dude had a serious drinking problem. He came from a wealthy family, but I learned from him, that the rich and the poor goes through the same things. His mom and dad were in his life, but they were too busy with their careers to be a part of his life. They gave him more money than love. 

Don’t get me wrong, they loved him, but they went about showing him the wrong way. Kind of like my parents. I know that they both love me, but they allow certain things to get in the way of them giving their best to me, in regards to parenting. Braxton joined, and the guys clowned him at first, because in their eyes, he was this rich white kid who already had privileges.

“Come on guys. Since when do we clown anyone for wanting to better themselves? We don’t do that here. Come on; do better. Now let’s welcome brother Braxton, just as we would anybody else,” Tim said. 

I liked that about Tim. He was all about brotherhood, regardless of race. Braxton was my best friend. I never had a white best friend before moving to Manhattan. Hell, I never even lived in close proximity to a white person when I was in Kirkwood, but gentrification soon changed that. 

Anyway, when I first came to private school, Braxton was the first to welcome me. I made sure that he felt welcomed when he came to the youth program. “Aye, Tim’s right. Y’all gonna respect, B-dog,” I said. “Be dog?” Braxton asked, with a raised eyebrow. 

“Just roll with it,” I said. “Yeah. What’s up everybody. I’m B-Dog,” he said. “A yo, B-dog got some swag though,” one of the guys said. 

“Cool kicks, B-Dog,” he said, before giving Braxton some dap. The guys accepted him fairly quickly. There were some that didn’t warm up too fast, but they learned to like him over time. There were other men in the program who mentored us, and there was even a psychologist. We didn’t see him as a shrink though. 

He was so cool, you didn’t even realize that you were being counseled when you were in therapy. I guess that it was all about establishing a relationship first. Once we learned to trust our counselor, it was easy to open up to him. That program taught me how to become a man. I learned that it was okay to cry sometimes.

I learned that it was okay to communicate what I was feeling. I learned that it was okay to ignore insults, instead of trying to prove myself to everyone. I learned how to be secure within myself. I learned that it was okay to earn an honest living. The mentorship program also helped me get my first job, and a letter of recommendation from two of my mentors, including Tim, is what got me into Howard University.

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