I love banana pudding from Virgil’s, hate every sports team from Boston, and agree with my mother that I have the perfect face for radio.
In seventh grade, my English teacher Mr. Morris encouraged me to be a writer. He said I had a great command of the English language. What I never told him was that English was my second language. I’m my most fluent in the voice that lives in my head that constantly tells me to doubt myself.
Hi. My name is Will. These are my concessions.
My left eye is my stronger eye. I’m left handed to a fault. And when I was five years old I thought I’d gotten left behind by a family that didn’t want me and suffered my very first anxiety attack. I was adopted that same year. And then halfway through kindergarten, I was skipped to the first grade. So I wasn’t left behind. And also my life has rigorous balance.
When I was 8 years old, I was bitten in the head. By another human being. Barely missing my eye. The tetanus shot hurt like crazy. Later that same year, with an attitude, I went out to move the garbage cans. I tripped on the way to the back of the house, and the can hit me in the side of the face. Barely missing my eye. In the 10th grade, the home room teacher asked me to close the door after the late bell rang. While doing so, my classmate, Willie Arias, kicked the door in, and glass shattered in my face. I was wearing my glasses that day. If I hadn’t been, based on the imprint on my lens, the glass would’ve gone straight into my eye. It barely missed. And yes it’s true I have a hard head, and I probably should be the king of bar tales. But I also have an angel. One that literally wanted me to see my future.
When I was 12 years old, I was in middle school band class and sat right behind my crush. Her name was Carol Anne. I was a shy boy but somehow mustered up enough courage to write the infamous “Will you be my girl? Yes, No, Maybe” note. After weeks of “thinking about it” she finally said yes. As long as I didn’t tell anybody. When I was 43, I mustered up the courage to ask a girl to be mine and after thinking about it, she said yes. As long as I didn’t share any photos online. Both times I didn’t listen, thinking I knew better. Both times disaster struck like a Busta Rhymes album title, and I looked like a fool. Sometimes, when I don’t listen to God, and things look like they’re heading to Busta level badness, I wait for the other shoe to drop. And it doesn’t.
I’ve had accidents, including the one during Carnival in Miami when the scooter I was barely controlling barely missed crashing into a car by inches. And when my 1983 Ford Fairmont had brakes that were so bad the only way I knew I was fully stopped was when I tapped the car in front of me. My only accident that did real damage was in a Ford Taurus when an old Mercedes diesel sedan didn’t have brake lights. I also drove cross country by myself. While Black. With no incident. Twice. So while I constantly drive people crazy, which is a bad thing, I’ve never driven myself into real trouble. Which is a good thing.
All of that taught me that having a hard head, thinking I could see my future better than those I’m with, and not saying a prayer will probably be my downfall. But not until God is done with me.
I’m thankful for my blessings. Thankful for everything I’ve been through. Thankful in advance for everything that is to come. Thankful I can see it coming. Thankful for the lessons that will help me see it fully.
This is my life. And on this first day of #NationalPoetryMonth, this is my awkward attempt at a poem. I shared to let you see it. And to let you know how God sees me. These are my concessions.