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One Day With My Day One

When's the last time you spent a full day with a close friend? Spending quality time with friends creates stronger bonds, and also gives you a chance to learn more about them. What I find interesting, is that you spend more time with new friends, and you grow distant from your old ones. I am sure you can think of at least one friend that you haven’t spoken to in months or maybe a year (shame on you). I am positive you and that person have made memories that made you who you are today. The same goes for me. I will never forget the day I was one-upped by SK. As most eight years old do. We were debating who knew more about how to get a girlfriend. I was winning the discussion until he said he was eight days older than me, so he knew more than me by eight days. With a defeat in my eyes, I conceded. However, over the years it seems that those eight days did not give him the upper hand. (You're welcome Tina).

On my last visit to Florida, I had the opportunity to spend a whole day with Claudius Krishun Knowles or Sk for short. Since 2011, I can count on two hands how many times we have spent quality time together. The majority of the times all we did was to play Madden, Uno or light a spliff. Somewhere in between me leaving the Gates and SK chasing his dreams, the bond grew weak. There is no one to blame but life. Sometimes we take it too seriously and let it consume us and the time we should spend with good friends. One day will not magically change things back to the way they used to be but it is a start.

Do you think you can beat me up now?

“Man if I did not have this broken knuckle bruh. Do you feel me? That's a question I always had. You had that left my dude. I would not try to fight you right now. You traveled the world. You probably know some taekwondo type shit.”

I am sure you have had tons of fights with your best friend. Most of the friends get into verbal arguments about, hooking up with Xs, jealousy or for not paying them back. SK and I were a little different. Every argument turned into a fistfight. I was 50-0 way before Floyd was making a name for himself. Lucky for SK, we don't settle our differences like that anymore. Now we crack jokes and find ways to meet each in the middle when we disagree.

What is your favorite memory of us?

“I was just telling somebody this shit of the other day. It was when we were at my old crib on 55th and it was a hurricane. I will never forget it. I don’t know what that hurricane bit was. You had the slingshot. We were in my room and we jumped through the window to get some berries off the tree. Then jumped back through the window before moms saw us. We made a little paper target, then started shooting the berries at it and the seeds bounced right back towards us. The front door had a glass window and we were looking outside. In my mind, the hurricane was going down the street. We looked at each other then took off to the room. That is when I knew we would be friends forever.”

Memories last live a lifetime. Some memories are good while others are sad. I believe it's good to have a mixture of both. It keeps you at an even kill. Something that makes me laugh every time I think about it is Savage Jeans. I think it was my Senior year. SK had got a pair of jean shorts from his uncle Keith. He wore them at least four times a week and never washed them. Only GPA and I knew about it. Every time he wore them we would say savage jeans and laugh. I wouldn't be surprised if still had the jeans today.

Here's a little motto I live by. Don't spend time with people you don't like, making memories you want to forget. Do not hang out with people because it is convenient. Find friends that make you lose track of time when you're together. You will thank yourself later when you're old and grey, surrounded by people who truly care about you.

How did things change when I left for college?

“Damn, (he paused for a moment). It changed for the better. Knowing that you were making a better name for yourself. I was always mad though. You feel me? Because I got kept back in the 1st grade. We were always in the same grade. You were my brother bruh… You are my brother. When we were jits it was like we always gonna be with each other. No matter what. So when you left and I have seen you doing good, It changed me like dang. Alright if he can do it then I can do it and we can both be together. I was trying to do good. Everybody was calling me all these names football (star) this and track (star) that. I think I got locked up one more time before I went to college.”

Everyone makes decisions not knowing or understanding what the outcome will be. It can be as simple as asking a girl out. Check one Yes, No, or Maybe. When I was younger I didn't understand the maybe. Now I think it means FWB. I have had a lot of maybes. Moving to another state can be the change you need to turn your life around. Or it can be the worst decision you ever made.

Leaving for college changed me and my life in so many ways. I grew as a person, and learned so many things about myself. One of the more difficult hurdles I had to jump was making Friends. I still remember the day a teammate asked me why I didn't talk to them. I responded I ain't friendly and walked away. For many reasons I only want to win with the boys I grew up with and struggled with. Sometimes I feel like I am cheating them. Every time I reach a milestone in my life I want them to be there. So I celebrate alone and reminisce about the good times.

Do you think our relationship could be as close as it used to be? Shony days

“Man. Hell yea. Because nobody gonna stop us. I wanna have those days. We use to walk through the hallways we didn't give a fuck about anybody. We would chill everyday bro. I would love to have that. I remember that day. CK wild. Every time a bit saw us we were together no matter what 1st block 2nd block 4th block. We were walking through the halls like I'm going to your class and you and going to my class.”

The phrase like two peas in a pot wouldn't suffice for our relationship. If you saw one of us the other we would be somewhere close by. We knew what to order for each other when we went out to eat. We would call each other the day before school and see what the other one was going to wear. We shared clothes, shoes, an even a bed. As Samuel Jackson said in Fresh “Anything lost can be found again except for time wasted.”

If the feeling is mutual. Old bridges can be rebuilt to support better relationships. Not all good things come to an end. It not easy but good things can last forever. If you and someone are willing to put in the time and the effort to make a friendship last. There is nothing that can stop it.

Do you remember what happened on November 21, 2008?

“November 21st, 2008? 2009 you graduated so I was in high school. Elaborate. (Tina) Damn, that was the day? That was a crazy day too. That day right there bring back childhood shit. That was a good day though. I remember that day me trying to holla at her. You were right there. You were the only nigga that can voucher for me bruh. She doesn't remember that it was at a football game. She always thinks it was at a track meet. When I was spooked to talk to her and I was up on the bleachers. You were like bruh you gotta go over there and you gotta talk to her. She said you gotta talk to her. I can't talk to her. I was like shit. That baby got me spooked. I thank you for that shit because she changed my life. I could be locked up right now. I was going through it at that time.”

I am sure you can recall a time when you and a group of friends had an amazing trip that changed your life forever. Or that time when everything went wrong and now you can look back and laugh at it. As they say, you are one decision away from changing your entire life. It sounds weird but every decision you made has gotten you to where you are right now.

All it takes is for you to befriend a certain person or to finally stop by that cool coffee shop by your house and your life would be on a different path. It is has been almost eleven years since that day but it seems like it was only a few years ago. I am glad I was able to help SK find the love of his life. It is a day I will remember forever.

What would you say at my funeral?

“Bitch, I got a whole twenty seventh (27 )chapter book. A whole lifetime. What would I say? That's a crazy question. Nobody wanna talk about that shit too soon. When you got a long life to live. You got the blessing on blessing. All I can say is. I am gonna love you for a lifetime. No matter if you are here or gone. I can't answer that question.”

For many reasons, we don't like to talk about death. We treat it as some unusual phenomena, that rarely happens. In some parts of the world, dearth is more common than birth. However, no matter when it happens or how it happens people consider it to be a tragedy. I can be ninety years old and die peacefully in my sleep. The headlines would be read. Tony Mitchell suddenly died last night while on his million dollar yacht. It took me ninety years to die there's nothing sudden about that.

Here is a small piece from the book called Death and The Dervish. For many reasons this piece connected with me. I want this to be read at my funeral. [On the day of my death, when they carry my coffin, do not think that I will feel pain for this world. Do not cry and say: it is a great loss! When milk sours, the loss is greater. I shall not vanish when you see them lay me in the grave. Do the sun and moon vanish when they set? This seems like death to you, but it is a birth. The grave seems like a prison to you, but the soul has been freed. What grain does not sprout when it is put into the ground? So why do you not believe in the grain of men?]

What's one thing you have always wanted to tell me?

“One thing I always wanted to say was that I can never hold back with you. You know everything that we have been through. It always gonna be up from there. If you see me falling out I know you gonna have my back. Like that time, we were zooted. (High on marijuana) I was zooted out of the world. I couldn't even breathe, and I was sweating. Then I said I think I'm about to die Dread. Then you sat next to me and let me lay on you. I was damn this is unconditional love. Even J-def said that's real right there. Because they knew I was tripping out. Most niggas wouldn't even try to help and just look at you. But you were there.”

Some of the things are better left unsaid. I am sure you are capable of deciding what needs to be said. There is probably one person you want to have a better or healthier relationship with. It may be one of your siblings or a coworker. But you feel uncomfortable about expressing your feelings to them. I challenge you to take the initiative and tell them how you feel. It probably won't go the way you had it planned your head, but that's okay. You might regret in the beginning but eventually, you'll feel better.

I am a man of few words. Something I always wanted to tell Sk was that you can make it in school and graduate from college if you put your mind to it. The day after I graduated high school SK told me, “Man, you lucky, you good with that school shit. All I got is football.”A lot of people thought I was better than the group of friends I choose to be around because I excelled in classes like economics, government and anatomy. Drake said it best. They give me loyalty and I don't gotta pay for it.

How do we like them?

He smiled at me then yelled, “Butt naked and legs wide open. What do you mean? That's how we like em. Showed out.”

Every real friendship has a language of its own. Certain facial expressions, hand gestures, and words have meaning only you two understand. I know you and your friends have code names for certain individuals. Some are bad like Sandpaper while others are good like Superstar. How we like em is a phrase Dade would say during lunch and Lo would reply, Butt naked. When they graduated Sk and I ran with it. Whenever I saw SK on the other side of the courtyard I would scream out. How we like em?. Then he would reply, Butt naked.

What's your definition of a real friend?

“My definition of a real friend is somebody that knows they're more than what they are. They can always be there in any situation to help you or somebody in your family. Right now no matter what, if I fall off right now I know I'll be able to be like Man, Dread can I go stay with you. I don't have anywhere to go. A real friend is somebody that understands you. Some friends may be cool but they might not be real.”

Every friendship has to start somewhere. Maybe you met someone in your homeroom class or in that group project in Marine Bio (My favorite class in high school). Over the years that hi and bye relationship becomes something more. Even though some people wouldn't like to admit it, but we fall in love with our close friends. Simple everyday gestures such as handshakes, hugs, cheek kisses, and name calling become intimate rituals that create a stronger bond each day. I have grown to love and appreciate my friends. The good the bad and of course the ugly (Most of them are ugly).

Growing distant from friends happens to all of us. Making the time to communicate with one another or at least see each other once a year is something I try to do with my close friends. I had planned to visit a good friend from college last month but my plans changed and I couldn't make it. Once again I left life get in the way. Hopefully, I can make it up to her in the future. There are a number of people I have grown distant from over the years. SK, GPA. Shae, Jesus (not your lord and savior) and a few others. Just like you, I need to take initiative and tell them I miss them and want to keep in touch more often. Receiving texts on holidays birthdays won't suffice anymore.

Spending a day with my day one was refreshing. I always say ain't shit change but the date. But that's not the truth. A lot has changed over the years. We used to be young knuckleheads running the streets. Football, track, school, girls and partying used to be all we lived for. Now we are young men with people who depend on us. You have a little girl on the way. And I'm still traveling and living life on the go. Maybe one day I will l settle down and we will raise our kids (If I have any) in the same neighborhood. Maybe one day we'll have those shony days again.

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