A friend whom I trust explicitly, in lesser part because she is a psychologist, professor and assistant dean and more because she never wastes time on bullshit and weakness, who felt the dean at my college missed an opportunity to assist me in symbolically honoring my friend Gloria (who passed away last year and was also a student at Hunter College) by allowing my request to choose as my remaining electives those classes Gloria needed to take to satisfy her requirements for graduation (we had already hatched our plans for grad day and they included the purchase on my very first red-bottoms), encouraged me toward Plan B. “Plan B” was to involve my becoming Valedictorian and, at that podium on that day, repeat my dear friend’s name as often and as eloquently as I chose. What she reminded me was, as the West Indians say, “There is more than one way to skin a cat.”
Amazingly, subconsciously and thankfully our minds and hearts receive messages continuously and hold on to those that matter (and yes, even the troubling ones that matter as well). Thankfully, this reminder from my friend resonated, sprouted and determined to show its ass… even while handing me my ass! School is tough; but more than ever, I am determined to show it I am tougher.
I do not yet know whether I will be standing behind a mic in front of fellow students on graduation day as Valedictorian, or whether, knowing how absolutely gangsta my God is, I would be up there for any other reason. But this I do know, I will finish. And, I will finish very well. I will continue to mind my business, show up for class and do my thing. I will learn, write, cry and pray. I will graciously accept all accolades they realize I qualify for (Phi Theta Kappa, Graduation with Honors, Dean’s List, thus far)… while I mind my business. And “my business” now on this academic journey is Gloria Foster.
Continue to rest in peace my friend. I got you.
“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living…” Cicero.