Archive for the ‘Chapter 3’ Category

On the afternoon of June 9th I was coming from a conference in Newark.  The Cornwal Center for Urban Policy Research hosted their annual conference on the Rutgers Newark Campus and this year’s topic was about women involved in the criminal justice system.  I was invited by a mentor to be a morning panelist to speak about my work at the women center.  It was all bitter sweet because we were being celebrated for our innovation, while at the same time I knew that we would soon be closing.  As a last attempt at protest, I sat on the panel with a bright orange tee shirt on (the color that women in New Jersey wear in the county jail). The Tee-shirt said “9-5 Beats 10-Life / Prevention is Cheaper than Incarceration.”  Later I sat at a table and sold those Tee-shirts to persons who were interested in the cause.

"9-5 Beats 10-Life"

The entire time that I was at the conference, I was wondering: “Where in the world is Kesner??”  My blackberry had not been working that week.  Kesner and I managed around this problem by communicating via email and spending time together in person.  We were together on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and part of Monday.  The last I had heard from him was on Monday evening.  He sent me an email that said “Thank You Very Sweet.”  This was in response to a bag of groceries that I left on his back porch on Monday after work.  He’d complained of a headache, so I went to the grocery store and bought some things he might like.  I also printed a picture that a friend had taken of us a few weeks earlier and I put it in a card that said: “Hope you feel Better-Love, Kim.”  I intentionally left it at his back door because I wanted him to receive it as a pleasant surprise.  I then went home that night to try on my new white gown that I was planning to wear to the Kappa Black and White Ball the following Saturday – people typically wear black to that event, I wanted to dazzle in white sparkles.

The following day- Tuesday- was pretty busy for me.  I woke up early to go feed the cats at the house where I was house-sitting, then I had coffee with a friend and then a worship planning meeting at my church.  I was leading worship planning that day (as I was scheduled to preach the following week), on the topic of the demon possessed man in Mark Chapter 5.

"The Demon Posessed Man" Mark 5:1

During the course of the worship planning meeting my fellow church members kept telling me how calm I seemed.  I seemed really peaceful to them that day.  I felt very peaceful too; very serene. I now believe that this was the exact time that Kesner was transitioning, but of course I didn’t know that then.

I left the meeting and went back to the house where I was house-sitting to check my email and feed the cats again. When I opened my inbox I saw the email that Kesner had sent on Monday night (Thank you Very Sweet), and I responded with: you’re welcome, how are you feeling?  I also emailed him some information about a reception at a local art museum that he’d said he would meet me at.  Then I packed up and headed to the reception.  He didn’t make it to the reception and I thought that was strange, but I didn’t have time to fully investigate –  I had a sorority executive meeting to go to..

busy busy.  

After the sorority meeting I went home to prepare for my big day at the Rutgers conference the next morning. But I couldn’t sleep that night.  Where in the world was Kesner??  Why hadn’t I heard from him?  I thought I would give my phone a try and, miraculously, after several days of not working it cut on!  I called him – no answer.  I sent an email – “is everything ok?”  By this time it was 1AM.

I got up and sat on my couch next to a bulletin board of affirmations.  I’d just been turned on to Louise Hay who professes that affirmations and positive thought can heal your life. I had a bunch of them on my wall on little sticky notes; affirmations for me and for many of the people that I love including Kesner.  His Affirmation said “Kesner is happy and healthy and choosing to enjoy the happiness of each day and the sweetness of each moment”   – this was the affirmation for diabetes.  I had also written the exact same one for his house, he kept it on his dining room table.

Louise Hay

As I was sitting on my couch, my cat Diva climbed into my lap and pulled the affirmation for Kesner off of the wall with her teeth.  She handed it to me.  She had never before messed with any of my affirmations (which were all written on post-it notes).  I thought that this was a sign. Diva was using her special animal intuition to tell me that Kesner was ok and that I should go back to bed. I put the affirmation back on the board and went to bed.

                             Diva. My Cat.

When I woke up in the morning that same sticky note was chewed up and on the floor in front of my bathroom door. I was worried, but I  had this big thing to do in presenting at this Rutgers conference.  I got up and went out to the house where I was house-sitting to feed the cats.  Then I went by the women center to pick up the 50 lb box of orange protest tee-shirts.  Then I drove by Kesner’s house.  I drove by the back and saw that his back door was wide open and his garbage was on the curb.  I thought to myself – phew!  he’s ok!  he just took his garbage out, im over-reacting! 

At that point it was 7:30AM and the panel began at 9AM. I had an hour commute to Newark in rush hour traffic so I opted not to go in and instead to head to Newark.  I would see him when I got back…

And so there I was that afternoon:  the panel discussion went well, there were positive talks about the potential of funding for my degree, and the tee-shirt was selling.  But I still hadn’t heard from Kesner. I called his phone and by this time the calls were going straight to voice-mail.  I decided to pack up early and head home.  Something was wrong.

The drive from Newark seemed endless.  I was breaking the speed limit laws.  All the while I was playing a Kool and The Gang CD in the car.  On the ride there I enjoyed listening to classics like “She’s Fresh,” “Jungle Boogie” and “Celebration.”   But on the way home the song “Cherish” came on and I had a visceral reaction and took the CD out immediately.  The radio would have to do.

When I pulled up at his house the door was still wide open, exactly as it had been in the morning before I left.

© Copyright Thank You Very Sweet, 2011

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