Chapter 7 : “F.I.L.A. and heading home”

 

  I journeyed to the cafe (alone) and come to find out that the ENTIRE football team was in there!! (damn) As I was going to sit down, “Box” grabbed my shoulder,” I told you, you were dead.” “why do you keep messing around with my business?” “I didn’t know we were still in the business of trading people like cattle?” Joshua smirked. “Oh a smart ass,huh?” “I told you I was going to ruin your career here at my school.”  “Are you serious?” I said. “Wayne is my school…you don’t and won’t like it here. I will make sure of that!” (damn, just kill me!) After my run in with the “Grim Reaper and his henchman”, I thanked God that I was going home in a few days….if Joshua Christion doesn’t kill me first!

        As we approached midterms, I, like most freshman and women grew more nervous with each passing test. I knew I had done well in Sarge’s class and I knew I was headed to at least a 3.2 GPA ( quick word of advice: NEVER take philosophy!) Midterms are also the time where you need to be the most focused, so at Wayne they institute “quiet hours” (which by the way is an oxymoron) because they are giving you the opportunity to achieve “maximum study levels” (ha!) either way, I knew  I had done well.

   A few weeks later, as I was packing to head home for Thanksgiving/winter break, I realized that Wayne was beginning to change me. Gone was the immature kid that showed up on her doorstep, here stood a young man who was more self confident than ever before!

   Sitting in the airport, I laughed as I thought about everything that had transpired this first semester. From fights, to the ladies, to crazy professors, to new relationships, to homecomings, to roommate wars, to the Underground Railroad, I had experienced quite a bit so far! And this was only the beginning!! As RJ and Dawn boarded a plane to Texas, (yes, she was going to meet the parents!) I heard the boarding call for Flight 2253 to Connecticut. “Alright, party people. Y’all be good.” RJ and Dawn waved back. As I handed my boarding pass to the agent, I thought about home, my OWN bed, and Thanksgiving morning! Going home is cool, but I honestly can’t wait to get back to the “A” for the second semester to start! “Wait til they get a load of me!” I hope that y’all don’t decide to transfer! (lol) Plane is about to take off, peace ( I’ve really gotta stop writing in this book..)

 

       Second semester

 

 you know what it’s like going home for the first time since leaving for college? (I’m sure you do) you wish that you were back in SCHOOL!! I felt the same way! I mean, yeah you get to sleep in your own bed, don’t have to share a room, and there are no strange noises or neckties on the door keeping you out of your room until 4 a.m. (all the freaks know what I’m

talking about) After arriving at the airport and patiently waiting for my mom, she finally arrived and looked at me like Celie looked at Nettie in the final scene of the Color Purple! (my mom was very dramatic!) While I loaded my bags into the car, I listened to my mom tell me that I was getting fat, ask me how much money I had , and  ask me who had I met this semester! (my mom was a bit of a busybody!) As we drove away from the airport, I started to think about everything that I could expect from being HOME for the Holidays!

  To those of you that have never been in a black family, had any black friends, or been to a black function, then you might want to stop reading now…(please don’t…lol) Pulling into my parents driveway felt different this time. I felt a little more mature, more at ease, and more ready to tackle what I knew was SURE to be an interesting visit “home” as  I got my bags from the trunk and moved past the front door, I heard it. The “it” I’m referring to was “family reunion” by the Ojays. This could only mean one thing: Uncle Charles. Uncle Charles was that Uncle that is in everybody’s family: Loud, obnoxious, know-it-all, Chef, and music impresario! (my uncle was waaaaay off the chain!) My Uncle Charles or “chucky” as my mom called him, was a “singing drunk”…every Thanksgiving/holiday, he would get so sloppy that he would sing old Ray Charles songs…( boy, i missed him…) “Look at what the wind blew in?!” Uncle Chucky exclaimed as he saw me walk into the living room ( drink in hand, mind you.) I knew that he was holding my Dad “hostage” by virtue of how fast my Dad ran over to me! “hey, son! How was your first semester at Wayne?” “it was cool.” (the typical answer from any college kid home for the first time in a while) After “moving” back into my room, it was time to eat! *sidebar* I always referred to Thanksgivings as “Humble experiments in Negro operations”, but this one would truly take the cake!!!! If you’ve ever been to a black family ANYTHING you know that first thing we ask for is dominoes, cards, and or fried chicken! This day was no different.

    Nothing is like a black family gathering. My first Thanksgiving since coming home was “special”. For starters, my Connecticut family was all over my mom’s house like roaches!! (my mom neglected to mention that it was going to be “Madea’s Family Reunion”) I started to feel like I didn’t even know some of these people and just so you know there were at least 5 HUGE tables for all of these people that had invaded my moms house!

  I always enjoyed being home. I found it therapeutic. I was an escape from “college life”. (sike, who am I kidding?) I missed Wayne, RJ, Dawn, “the Dragon Lady”, and most importantly, Teresa. But I was “home” and this was where I would be for the next few weeks until I got to go back for second semester!

    Ok, so upon entering the dining room for Thanksgiving dinner, I was serenaded by Uncle Chucky with his drunken rendition of “Rainy Night in Georgia” (and it was only 4:30 in the afternoon) and to add to the chaos, my mother had invited half the church and my cousins from White Plains, New York that were hell bent on trying to figure out where the good strip clubs were at!! ( I could only say I have never been. They proceeded to look at me strange for the rest of dinner.) Like I said, my mother’s house was like Grand Central during the regular days, but on holidays you had to multiply that by one thousand! We had a ton of people over and it wasn’t until I sat down at the table, not only did I realize that black people cook a WHOLE lot of food, I also realized that eating in this scenario was going to be crazy as hell!! You can’t have fried chicken and “momma’s” mac and cheese and not have an “all out war” for that first corner piece! After the longest “saying grace” EVER by my momma’s favorite pastor, everything proceeded like a whirlwind! I mean, there was fried chicken, potato salad, and greens flying around like the “Swedish chef” was cooking it! ( I was just trying to find a quiet place to hide with my plate , so I could make my Thanksgiving day phone calls) After allowing myself to be poked, prodded, and inspected like I was cattle, I finally had the opportunity to make these calls. (between my momma yelling at what seemed like my uncle for what seemed like 45 mins about him spitting on the turkey, I thought I would never be able to move past the walkway from the kitchen to the sunroom in my parent’s house!) After I nudged my way past the throng of people shovelling food on their plates and down their throats, I reached my destination: my mom’s leather couch…and with cellphone in hand, I began dialing numbers…….

    “Dialing numbers”

   I touched the last digit and breathed deeply as the phone rang. “Hello?” Teresa said…” Hi. This is Khalil from Wayne” “Hey, how are you?” Teresa said excitedly…” I’m doing ok, how does it feel to be home?” I asked. “I should be asking you that…,” Teresa said. She explained that she was at her aunt’s house for the holidays and would be there because her parents were in St. Tropez..(Well, damn) We sat on the phone and spoke for another 45 minutes about everything under the sun (Wayne, food, movies, first(s), and what happens in the second semester that I should be worried about.) We were really becoming good friends and I hoped that we could further it in the second semester! After my conversation with Teresa, I was on Cloud 9! (then I remembered I was on the ‘Island of Misfit Toys’, it just so happened that there was turkey on the table!) As I re-entered the kitchen, I was cornered by my already tipsy Uncle Chucky asking me to borrow money then told me about how he used to be on the road with James Brown.( I just said I don’t have any money and that’s great Unc!)

    My mother was in the process of “herding”, I mean “saying goodbye” to all the family  and moving what was left of the food into Tupperware and into the fridge, I decided that two more things were very pressing with black people…1. They don’t know how to leave as long as food is present and 2. The O’Jays are like the 3 Wisemen at a black family gathering! (say something bad about Eddie Levert and you might get cut messing with my family!)

  11:00 pm– I was beginning to hate being home! back at Wayne, I would be on my way to Harrison’s to get some wings, onion rings, and a strawberry soda, now all I have to look forward to is cold cuts and orange juice. (for some reason, my mom and dad decided that they no longer wanted to have soda in the house, and I was going through withdrawals like Jamie Foxx in “Ray”)  I’ll see y’all in a few….

8:00 AM—

The more I think about it, the more I realized that being home was a lot like being at Wayne (even though I didn’t want to admit it!) I mean, in my mother’s house, you had people that couldn’t figure out when to leave (sort of like those dudes from the 1st floor that knew R.J.) OR those people that wake you up doing the CRAZIEST things early in the morning!! This is where my Uncle Chucky comes in AGAIN…I’m resting comfortably in my bed when all of a sudden…..”Before I Let Go” by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly comes blaring out of the speakers from the living room! (damn, Uncle Chucky!! Ugh) I rose from the bed, watched my steps as I moved down the stairs, and walked into the living room and silently watched my Uncle doing what appeared to be the “stanky leg”, while listening to this soul/R&B classic! I just stood there, shook my head and grabbed the remote that controlled the stereo system. (my Uncle never used technology, he thought it was too “new school” for him.) As I turned the stereo off, my Uncle looked at me like I was a “runaway slave” and was staying with “Massa”! “What are you doing?” he asked. “I was TRYING to sleep, up until you decided you wanted to have a concert.” “Your ‘posed to be used to this much noise! You in college, ain’t you?”

“Yes, I am. That doesn’t mean I wanna go deaf in the process.” My Uncle did nonsense like this all the DAYUM time! (my momma warned me about this…) Where in the hell were my parents any way? My uncle walked out of the room and into the kitchen (where the liquor cabinet was (surprise, surprise) He poured himself a glass of Hennessey Privilege and then asked me did I want any. “Nope…it’s only 8:30, you know that right?” He responded with, “it’s 5:00 somewhere! Aw, hell) While I was trying get myself some breakfast, my parents walked through the front door arguing over if they were going to the casino that night with my Aunt Rhonda. “Hell, no!” my dad said. “Why not?” said my mom, I don’t want to go anywhere with your crazy ass sister! Wait? Wasn’t she over here just yesterday eating all my food and drinking all my juice? I don’t want to be spending money on somebody that already OWES me money! (needless to say, they went to the casino that night!) My mom called Aunt Rhonda or “Rho – Rho” as she was called by my family and told her that they would be there. My dad didn’t take that too well. He just muttered about “trifling, shiftless negroes”, my dad had a tendency to do that sometimes. He even though he was college educated and a successful businessman, he did get “ghetto” on occasion. (My mom said that’s where I get it from…I just shrug ) I wondered what I was going to do when my parents went to the casino. *Insert 80’s segway music now*

           NIGHT AT THE CASINO/ FRIED CHICKEN TESTIMONIALS

      Among the two things that anybody reading this should know, Black people love two things: gambling at the casino and church dinners. I always enjoyed being home, but after being there for about 2 weeks, I was SO looking forward to being back at Wayne! I had been through Thanksgiving, heard my Uncle sing so many 60-70’s soul classics I could do all the steps in my sleep, I had heard my father curse more than an a rapper on a Lil Wayne record, and was about to experience the two incidents that would push me ALL the way back to the “A”!

      If you have never been in a black family then you know that “casino night” is every week or if you get paid weekly then it’s every week. Anyway, you get my drift. My family was NO different. On the days that the “Sisters Committee” decided to head to the casino, they got on the phone and planned strategy like they were the Joint Chiefs of Staff! This night was no different, except the fact that my dad was in tow! They mapped out which slots they were going to hit, how they were going to eat, if they had enough “points” to stay overnight if necessary, how many cars they planned to take and who was driving what car. The funniest thing was watching it. I sat and watched in amazement as in a matter of moments my mom jotted all of this miscellaneous information down like it was scripture!! As my mom and dad prepared to leave the house for their “casino adventure”, I grabbed my keys to hit the Whole Foods about 10 minutes away because they had the best macaroni and cheese EVER! (and to get out of the house since Uncle Chucky was at the house, singing old Temptations hits, plus he had eaten most of the leftovers since he was there since 8 o’clock this morning!)  I got in my car and put the Bluetooth in my ear (don’t wanna catch a ticket in Connecticut) and began to pull out of the driveway. As I honked “goodbye” to my parents, my phone started ringing in my ear. “Hello, who’s this?” I asked. “Don’t act like you don’t know my voice!” Teresa responded. “What’s going on? How are you?”. “I’m doing well. I was just thinking about you and thought I would give you a call.” * I remained silent due to the fact that I was going to start screaming like a school girl if I was forced to speak!*   I tried to play it cool, like Billy Dee in “Mahogany”. “ Oh really? I was just thinking about you as well”, I said calmly. Teresa and I spoke about the holidays, getting back to Wayne and when we were going to hang out when we got back. Every time I spoke to Teresa I was taken away from the “craziness” of my home life and was on some deserted island, where we were the only two people. I was living a fantasy whenever I spoke to her. (that’s a different story for a different time) As, I pulled in to the Whole Foods parking lot, I realized that 1. No one ever expects black people to shop there and 2.white people are SLOOOOW as all HELL!) as I maneuvered through the aisles, watching every pair of eyes on me, I grabbed some chips, a few green juices that I knew no one in my house would drink, and made my way to the “Hot Foods” corner in this mega-mart! It always surprised me that no matter how many times people had been to this counter, they always acted like it was their first time!! ( don’t worry, I feel the same way when I go to McDonald’s too…) what I assumed would take me 15 minutes ended up taking me 45 minutes because of this elderly white lady who repeatedly asked for thin sliced roast beef and paper thin provolone cheese. I just gave the lady a blank stare and shared a disgusted look with the attendant at the counter. After paying for my dinner and some late night snacks, I ran to my car and put on “A-Town” by The Dream featuring Shawty Lo and Ludacris and sped off into the night as white people watched scared for their collective lives!

      If you’ve ever been to the casino with my family then you know exactly what to expect: DRAMA! As I was sitting in the living room reading through the course book for the Spring semester at Wayne, I hear my dad at the front door. “I told you they were out of their minds!” he exclaimed. “It wasn’t that bad” my mom proclaimed. “So, you think somebody winning $2,500 and losing it ALL in one night is the act of a sane person?” my dad quipped. My mom just shrugged, laughed, and then asked me what I had been up to all night…I told her that I just went to Whole Foods, got dinner, and received a phone call from a friend from school. “Oh, R.J.?” she asked. “No mom.” I responded. “It must be a girl then!,” my dad yelled from the bathroom! “Hush!!” I screamed. My mom would proceed to ask me questions about Teresa until I was tired of hearing her questions! She came to the conclusion that she liked Teresa without even meeting her! (“Any young lady that has you grinning like you just won the lotto when she calls has got to be SPECIAL!”) After listening to my mom tell me about how Aunt “Rho – Rho” put all of her winnings back into the casino and almost getting into a fight over a seafood buffet table, which to hear my mom tell it, included a group of those “holy rollers” , the ladies with the glittery hats and walkers, and a shrimp cocktail. (trust me, LOOONG story, very funny, but LONG.) After hearing about the craziness that occurred at the casino over a damn shrimp cocktail and $40 dollars, all I wanted to do was go to bed. So, as I made my way to way room to crawl into bed, I realized two more things: 1. tomorrow was Sunday and 2. Uncle Chucky was starting to invade my dreams!! (Damn… “and I wish it would rain….”) 

9:30 AM-Sunday mornings were always great when I was home. Mom woke up early and cooked a great breakfast before we had to be at the 11 o’clock service. This was honestly the ONLY thing I missed while at Wayne, nothing topped Mom’s homemade pancakes, fresh fruit salad and drop biscuits with cheese! We finished getting dressed after breakfast and headed off to church. I could tell, just from the way that we took off from the driveway, today was going to be an interesting day!

             What do you think about when you think about a “black” church? Is it the “fire and brimstone” preaching, the “falling out”, the singing, or does it remind you of that scene from the “Color Purple” when everyone is leaving the juke joint headed to the church with “Shug” Avery fighting for her soul?! Or is it the slick haired preacher stealing money from the collection plate talking about the “building fund”? The church that my mom belongs to has all of these things AND more, trust me! My mother’s church was OFF the HOOK!! I never had a problem going to church with her because I knew that they would always give me something to talk about during the week! (baby Jesus was working on me! Don’t judge me!) I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a “black” church, but let me be the first to tell you that it’s like a Broadway musical before you even walk in the front door! People are bustling everywhere, old folks are moving to their seats, children are begging to try and stay upstairs instead of going to “children’s church”, teens are trying waste as much time as possible on their smartphones before doing the same thing that they will be doing during service and then you have the “tweens”, running to the store to go on “breakfast/ candy runs” and smell like bacon, eggs, and cheese and sour patch kids for the duration of the service! (that is NOT a pleasant smell.) I almost forgot about the overabundance of “choirs” that dominate the black church (especially old black churches, like my momma’s) It just so happened that today was my last Sunday before going back to Wayne. (so, I knew that I was in for it.)

       This church experience was the stuff of legend. Where should I begin? Should I start when the “Who so ever will” choir decided that they would do their rendition of “Peace Be Still” by James Cleveland with no piano and only 7 people! (blank stare) or the part of service where the youth choir decided to rap along with Lil Wayne…..(yup, my mom actually hit me when I started laughing) I really have to stop writing in this journal. My mom asked me what I was doing and she said put that damn book away! (this is in church by the way. LOL ) After putting the book away, I proceeded to do what every black kid did in churches across the country: wrote on the ‘notes’ section of the bulletin!) While I snuck and wrote notes about this “fried chicken testimonial” moment, Rev. Drake came to the pulpit and spoke on the subject, “Where are we going?” and the craziest thing about the entire sermon was that he referenced hip hop artists (i.e. Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Young Jeezy, and Jay-Z) and I could’ve sworn he cursed at least three times! Anyways, at the end of the sermon, which had the entire church on their feet (ala The Blues Brothers), and singing in unison like the Muppets in “The Muppets Take Manhattan” during Miss Piggy and Kermit’s wedding! This is where it got really crazy. “Brother Khalil?” Rev. Drake said. “Yes?” I responded. “Could you come join me at the altar?” I moved past Sister Jones at the end of the pew and moved to the altar, followed by my mom. “Brother Khalil, we are so proud of you here.” ( tell me something I don’t hear ALL the time!) “We just wanted to say that we will be praying for you and hoping that the second semester is better than the first!(which was followed by a few ‘Amens’ and ‘Hallejuaers’) I looked at my mom and saw that she was crying and grabbing at my shoulders like she was never going to see me again. Rev. Drake commenced to say a prayer and then gave the Benediction. I really hadn’t been at my momma’s church in a looong time, almost forget they have “fried chicken testimonials” Sunday dinners! I named them “fried chicken testimonials” because the chicken was good, it made you want to tell anybody and EVERYBODY you saw how GOOD is was! I was tired and so I decided to get a plate to go. Sister Jones (every black church has one) made me a “supersize” plate and gave me a sweet tea and a slice of pound cake. As I made my way through the “sea” of church folks looking to get a plate, I spotted my mom and told her that I was heading back to the house because I had a lot of packing to do. She kissed me on my head and said be safe. While moving towards the door, I shook more hands and kissed more old ladies than a politician! Got to love church folk! I put my plate in the trunk, hopped in my car and turned up “The Food” by Common featuring Kanye West and proceeded to the house on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

  4:00 PM – “What’s up, Dad?” I asked. “What’s in the plate?” he asked. “You already know.” “Oh, they had dinners at the church huh?”  “YUP.”, just as I began to place the plate on the table, my Dad grabbed the foil off the plate and grabbed one of the pieces of bbq chicken and ran! * I was too tired to chase him, I was just waiting to tell him that 90 year old Sister James made that chicken and she didn’t use enough seasoning! * I just waited to see him running around trying to get into the bathroom!

                       After secretly laughing at my Dad, I went upstairs to finalize my course selection, start putting my things into boxes, and washing my clothes. I really needed to go shopping, but I decided to wait until I got back to Wayne. (I knew it was going to be HOT by the time I got back, so I knew that I wouldn’t need a whole lot.)  I finished my plate and finished inputting my courses into the system and was prepped for this semester, class wise. As I was moving to my closet, my cell phone rang. “Hello?” I said. “What’s up, KT?” R.J. yelled. “What’s going on, Tex?” I asked. R.J. said he and Dawn were doing well. (I almost forgot Dawn had decided to go with RJ) “That’s cool…” “When are you heading back?” I asked. “I should be back by Wednesday, day before classes start back.”  RJ proceeded to tell me ALL about his trip home. He told me that his family LOVED Dawn and that she was getting accustomed to the Texas lifestyle. He told me the classes that he had chosen (we had 2 classes together this semester) and told me that he had decided to run for Student Government this semester. We had already decided that the room we would share would have a different vibe. More political, more polished, less twelfth grade! We wanted to be “grown and sexy”, even though we were still freshman! Our conversation lasted a few more minutes and went from the silly (jokes from New Jack City and Coming To America) to professors ( Dean Soto and Professor Chambers, I’ll tell y’all about him later) and then the most important topic of the night: girls! RJ told me that he and Dawn had been cool ever since that “little” incident that almost caused RJ to “run north” to avoid Dawn’s “wrath”! We said our goodbyes and said we’d see each other in a few days. As I rung up the phone, I heard my mom screaming from the kitchen, “KHALIL TRUE!” I jumped up and ran downstairs to try and figure out what my mom was screaming for.

“Boy, when are you leaving?” she asked.

“On Tuesday” I said.

“I thought you told me you were leaving on Wednesday?” she responded

“No. I need to get all my stuff into the room before RJ gets back.”  I quipped

“Are you taking your car down to school?” she asked again.

“No.” I retorted

(This “blank stare” conversation would go on for the next twenty minutes. My mom and I decided that she would take me to the airport and I begged my mom not to make a scene, AGAIN!) Crisis averted. It was a very weird long drawn out conversation about NOTHING. (sort of the way ALL conversations went your first time home) 

“HOUSE OF PINK ROSES”

   7:00 AM – Being home, I almost forgot what it was like to get dressed in the dark. I REALLY hated not being able to see what I was doing. After forcing myself to get out of the bed, I pulled on my shorts, sneakers, Ipod and ran out the door to start my “new” workout. RJ had convinced me that I needed to increase my stamina because he needed a workout partner. He convinced me to begin running and then he had me do this thing called the “300” workout. It was after doing this workout that realized how much I truly hated RJ! (laugh) Upon returning from my “workout” (which only lasted about 30 minutes), I washed up and then went to finish my packing.

    9:00 AM – Labeling boxes is hard damn work! I never really knew how much stuff I had until I had to re-box and repack everything. Realizing that I only had a day left to get all my stuff boxed and into the finished basement. After packing my bag and placing my boxes in the basement, due to the fact that my day was turning “my” room into a “man cave”, I had to move everything!!

     12:00 PM – Right around lunch is when my mom started getting all “old slave” on me. She started trying to make sure I had food (C’mon here, baby…eat something), she’d say stuff like “Kizzie” from Roots and I think she told me not to run because they were going to chop off my foot like they did “Toby”. I just stood there in stunned silence. After traveling forward in time, I made a sandwich and went out to the porch. My mom mentioned to me that in honor of my last day, we were going to have a fried chicken/margarita/fried fish party. (Oh, shoot!)

      7:00 P.M. – “SHOWTIME!” shouted my Uncle Chucky. (He always did this whenever he knew there was going to be food and drinks!) My family came in droves; like this was the LAST time they were going to see me! (I thought it was the free chicken, you know about black people and chicken!!) The party went well. Nobody was hurt, Uncle Chucky stayed upright (for once), and everybody left at a decent hour. (if you call after 12:30 am decent.) I really have to get some sleep and I need to stop writing in this journal. One day, someone’s going to find this and have a lot of dirt on me! Good night.

    Tuesday

       5:30 AM – “Khalil, let’s go.” My mom said. “I’m up” I replied. I really disliked early morning flights. My parents however found it beneficial to get me on the plane/train/or houseboat EARLY, so they could get me out of their hair! After exchanging good byes with Dad and Uncle Chucky (yea, he was there that early….ugh)

       6:45 AM – After my mom dropped me off at the airport quicker than the Roadrunner being chased by Wil E. Coyote, I heard it.

      “Kareem?”,I know that voice. (Please, God, no) as I did the slow motion “Matrix” turn, I saw her. It was Ms. Grayson. She looked a bit different from the other times I had seen her in the dorm. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I was going to figure out what it was before we left each others sight. “Where’d you come from?” I asked. “I was on vacation in New York City and decided that I didn’t want the hustle/bustle of JFK, LaGuardia, or Newark, so I came here.” She responded. “Ok” (I looked at her confused). “Where’s the rest of your team?” I questioned. “Here they come now…” I always had to prepare myself for Ms. Grayson’s entourage, but this was totally unexpected. They (all 3 of them) came around the corner dressed in all pink t-shirts that read “TEAM GRAYSON” on the front and “HOUSE OF PINK ROSES” on the back. What’s with the “House of Pink Roses” thing? I asked. “It’s the name of the new social organization I’m starting this semester.” Aww, hell!(now I had to hear about this BS for the entire flight!) While trying to unsuccessfully avoid and dodge the “black-tourage”, I realized that Ms. Grayson and I were seat mates. This day just went from weird to surreal. After boarding the plane and take my seat, I was bombarded with so many useless facts from Ms. Grayson about this “House of Pink Roses” thing that I was actually considering helping her out! (by the end of the two and a half hour flight, I had reconsidered.) So, while Ms. Grayson or “the Dragon Lady” was speaking about her social organization, I was trying to determine how and when I was going to make my exit from this crazy conversation! I decided to make an “executive decision”… “Have you spoken to Dawn?” (I knew she hadn’t spoken to her because of the fact that they spent an entire semester trying NOT to KILL each other!) I knew that would get her to stop talking to me about this “House of Pink Roses” nonsense.

      After arriving in the “A”, I grabbed my bags and damn near ran out of the airport. I hopped in one of those “ATL cabs” (in case you’ve never seen an “ATL cab” those are the dudes that hang outside of the airport, put you in their Cadillac and drive you to SouthWest Atlanta for $40!) As we were leaving the airport, I could’ve sworn I saw Ms. Grayson and her “black-tourage” heading towards the MARTA station.(I could tell that this was going to be a mystery I was going to have to solve.) 

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