Day 261 (September 19, 2014) – New York, NY
I was in Paris this 9-11 and didn’t get a chance to take the photo that I would have. It would have been something to honor my friend. It would have been an image that perhaps attempted to capture how I still feel today. A wilted flower…..a family crying…an endless vista…or maybe a dragon fly….she loved dragon flies. We were suppose to have lunch that coming weekend. I just moved back to Jersey from Baltimore and she recently moved to Hoboken with her new boyfriend. She was happy. We talked on the phone and you can tell we were both smiling. That’s the effect we had on each other. No matter what, I was there for her and she was there for me. We were the odd couple in college. Dome, a raver chick with funky hair and over-sized clothes and shoes hiding her tiny 5′ frame. Me, a thugish looking cat (if I could be thugish looking and still be in college) with dreadlocks and a cold tooth (yes, I had a gold tooth in college! don’t judge me, I was young…and actually if I could have afforded at the time I would have had a complete front grill :-) ). We met on the bus going to campaign for then Governor Jim Florio – it was one of those jobs that college kids do just to make a few extra bucks. It was my crew and the raver girls hanging in the back of the bus and me and Dome hit it off and became instant friends. Even after college and going our separate ways we still remained great friends. I sent her and her mom postcards from all of my trips. When I became a photographer she got the very first postcard I made myself. She made me happy. Hearing her voice and giving her a hug always did the trick. When Sunday came I called and there was no answer….I thought she forgot about our brunch plans. I know it was a crazy week with what happened to the World Trade Center and I know everyone could use a familiar friend to get through uncertain times. Her mom called me first….”Shawn, we still can’t find her.” What! what do you mean? She didn’t work in the towers, her office was in midtown. What is she talking about? “Dome was in the south tower for a training. She was on the 80th floor. Shawn…..my baby girl is gone.” My friend is gone. The person who I would be friends with forever is gone. The one who would always make me smile…is gone. She wasn’t suppose to be there. This could happen to me. She didn’t work in the towers! We were going to grow old together. Our families were going to be friends forever. I would have been a godfather to her kids and she a godmother to mine.
The world is cruel. It gives you something special and then takes it away without warning.
My heart has been a bit heavier since 9/11/04..or perhaps the better way to put it, is something is missing. I lost a truly special person and I think about her often.
Day 260 (September 18, 2014) – Brooklyn, NY
I hate that the sun is setting earlier and earlier each day. It’s not even that late and I’m feel like I’m walking in the dead of night.
Day 259 (September 17, 2014) – Chicago, IL
Three days, three different time zones. What the hell am I doing?! I’m glad I’m on my way home for a good 10 day stretch. Even when I try to not travel…..I travel….for fun…to see friends…to explore the world. I just wish it was a little easier. I wish we would hurry up and event time travel already! We have that damn Dick Tracy watch where you could watch TV and talk into it and we’ve been flying around space for a minute! So, why not time travel! I’m not talking about going back in time or anything like that…I guess maybe I mean super high speed travel. I want some type of Star Trek or Star Wars intervention. No more 8 hour flights…I want to snap my fingers and be there….fresh, awake and ready to go. Surely someone has to be working on this!?
Day 258 (September 16, 2014) – Memphis, TN
She told me that Ms. Jessie’s is the “spot” in this neighborhood…the kind of place that has a million stories to tell. Like the time that Junebug from around the corner tried the rob the joint and everyone knew who he was as soon as he opened his mouth. They just laughed and told him to ‘get on outta here before there is real trouble’. Every hood has a place like this where the regulars rule and newcomers are greeted with inquisitive stares before they are left alone to the drink. It’s 12pm and I don’t have time for a drink….(I’m working!) but I imagine a version of me sitting at the bar…. yea it’s mid day, but I need a drank. That heat is oppressive outside and a ice cold Miller is what I need. And the ladies in Ms. Jessie’s are fine! I’m talking about with a capital F.I.N.E. I’ve been eyeing that new bar tender for weeks…that little red bone thang’ with the good hair and pretty eyes. Today is my day. I just got paid and I’ma’ let her know how I feel. I play it straight and direct….”Hey, girl…I wanna’ be your man and I don’t care if you got someone else….after five minutes with me…he’ll be irrelevant anyway.” She smiled and I knew I had her…it’s just another day at Ms. Jessie’s.
Day 257 (September 15, 2014) – Paris, France
Paris was fun, but it’s time to go home. Back to the real world and back to the daily grind. That’s my train. I’m on the 7AM to nowhere and everywhere. I’m back on that endless wheel and the rat race that is New York. It was great to escape reality….even if it was only for a few moments.
Day 256 (September 14, 2014) – Paris, France
After 41 years on this planet I’m not sure I can truly love. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me. I’m not sure why I haven’t been able to truly give all of being to someone else. I dream of the perfect romance or love at first site. That moment when you see someone and you know there is no one else for you….that nothing ever mattered before this moment. I guess I have loved before or maybe it was more of really really “like” type of situation, but those relationships have always ended the same way. And today, I’m alone. I have people who love me, but I am afraid. I’m not sure I have the courage to lock my heart to someone else even though deep down inside that’s what I’m looking for.
Day 255 (September 13, 2014) – Paris, France
Even the traveler needs rest sometimes. I’m tired. Yes, I’m on vacation, but walking endlessly around Paris can be tiring. There is just so much to see and I’m only here for a few days. I’m trying to see it all! But right now…I kinda want to use my camera bag as a pillow and catch some shut-eye.