The Finch for the Family

Stationed next to the post office was a burlap sack. The wind was a moderate howl that fanned away the early afternoon heat and allowed for the villagers to find the cool of the moon’s enterprise. The post office’s hours were closed and not even the man who turned the sign to indicate so had been anywhere to be found.

The boy looked up and in every direction there were a couple angles where the sun didn’t strain his developing eyes; he paused for a few seconds of uninterrupted bliss – it was just him and the bag. There were no rules and no calling at his name to begin the enforcement of punishment. He knew the sun was going to run faster off the horizon than he’d be able to run back home- he would be late for dinner and his mother’s prayers for supper would include the name of her first born and the apologies for not disciplining him well enough.

Instead of making a hearty effort to run like an African antelope, he stood there marking his territory in the spirit of guarding himself from the troubles of his mother’s voice. He didn’t want to leave until the wind changed direction or until the moon indicated that his shirt was no match for the evening chill.

The bag intrigued his inner boy fantasies- he wondered about the secrets to the seventh wonder of the world, the riches that his father often sought in the gambling town next door, and even simply the chocolate bars that teased him from Ms. Addow’s bake shop window. What seemed like a solid weight pinching at the edge of the bag started moving and caused the boy to run to it. He undid the string that held the body captive and from the hole emerged the beak of a small finch-

“Wowzer, golly goodness of Mary the Saint. I ain’t no dummy but this here is a birdy”.

The boy had a couple options but none of them would ring clearly when explaining to mother. He dropped his shoulders and asked the finch if he could let it loose. After all, the town was big enough for the two of them and however intimate their meeting; he knew it should find its own place. And so, the bird flew towards the sun trusting its endurance and compass to a heavenly realm.

The boy took the burlap sack and hooked the drawstring on his right shoulder. He left the hole big enough in case the finch didn’t say goodbye and wanted to reunite. His appetite for his mom’s cooking was increasing and independent of the scolding he’d receive later, he knew her love was unconditional and his father would tuck him in bed when all’s said and done. He tucked his worries in the dirt and was light on his feet as he sped on home.

In the Unseen Honey

Awakened by the smell of virgin honey, Christik woke up in the flurry to complement the bees in his nest. In boiled water, he dropped a Rose Black tea bag and as it hit the lake, the ripple rushed a dark floral color to the rest of the cup. He ran outside to collect nectar but he noticed something odd. There was already a masked body inspecting the honey combs on the frames.

“Hey, you. You’re on my property. You’re trespassin”.

The empty response quizzed the teenager further and approached the hands of the white suit-

“Son, these are good honey combs.” The wrinkles and brood strength of his fingers took a heated knife and sliced through the frames; he broke off a piece and followed it underneath his mask. “Mmm, great Georgia honey”. Salivating, Christik walked closer. But he first wanted an apology.

“You were gone for four months.  You told me only two.”

The father took a super and the repellent that helped enclose a box without sting; he took one glance at his son who’s eyes were holding its last moments of dry calm. Instead of being unresponsive and letting the title of “Provider” become his stubborn strength, he succumbed to his son’s presence. His height gathered Christik’s head at his torso and with a firm grip, he squeezed his son’s arms as he bent to meet him face to face.

“Son, I’m sorry. Winter is coming earlier every year and ya’ know how it’s been tough for your momma and you. I sold all of our frames and the roots of our bees tend to be scrapin’ the saliva in errybody’s mouth. Goodness, even the Drifert’s complimented us and ya’ know how much bigger their bee farms are than us.  Mr. Forner gave me a job at his shop- saw the Buick’s and Ford’s pull up. I was a thinkin’, “Golly, only if Christik saw these- his mouth would be droppin lower than the hood of them cars.” I’m proud of ya boy. You done your mom well and me well. Your prayers are from Heaven above and the Good Lord looketh upon you and He with you son. Go wake up your mom and let’s give her the blessin’ of this honey.”

Christik felt once again like a child in front of his father and like a man for having done a job well done. He brushed off any remnants of salty water from his eyes and quickly moved the balls of his feet to call forth his mom.

The father trailed behind his newly restored son. He headed towards the smell of the tea that steeped ripely. He took another fragmented honey comb and swirled its solid state into the steaming water. Both of its natures were changing into a lava-like density and changed the ephemeral black tea into a golden tone of circulating wonder. He heard the rampant steps of an excited boy and then the gentle grace of a lover’s footsteps coming down from the stairs.

“Honey, you’re back”.

 

Mr. Coffee

Angie and Steve are the first couple in my circle who have had a triumphant explosion from dates to engagement through Coffee Meets Bagel. While I celebrate their new chapter, I still wouldn’t advise online dating as an immediate tool to meet people.

Perhaps I consider my methods archaic but perhaps I value the function and spirit behind meeting people on the basis of already being friends, being set up, or personally asking to meet to be a tad bit more human than using apps to cleverly connect the social “Let’s Meet” world.

I do think that excuses often pervade the privilege of preference- work is time away from finding a partner for most people, but in the same way that too much work can be unhealthy, so is not leaving enough time to venture into public places to spark intentions for meetups and dating. But I think there is a deeper pond to reflect in- the water is murkier and more vulnerable to look into when social outcomes are independent of the filters, photos, and a carefully worded bio. I’m a proponent to uncover the vulnerability rather than letting filters determine how comfortable that first meeting can be.

I do have to wrestle in my own debate as well. How big of a factor is age? I just hit 26 and I don’t need to meet a toasty, wheat bagel right now- but if I were 35, would I cry more desperately and hope that I’d be Mr. Coffee? Baristas do recommend that fresh coffee sit for a few minutes before consumption- I think that before I hit life’s 30 year mark, I’d like to be ready, but if I sit cold thereafter, would singleness lead me to fear loneliness?

Every journey needs a starting point, but online dating makes the destination seem more important than how we start. It’s the spiritual DQ in our 40 yard date-dash; we run before we cross the starting line. I’m not trying to mute every Christian from online dating, but the basis of anxiety or fear aren’t great starting points to justify algorithms to do the match making for us. And I’m still not sold that it’s JUST a matter of preference. The young adult story revolves around success or failure and stepping out of our comfort zones usually isn’t the path we want to tread, but it’s something that should become a more trusting and prayerful practice than simply thinking an app can do the hard work for us. I never really liked bagels anyways- I do want a donut right now DOE.

My Type

I’ve never really handled the “What is your type?” question in a suave or concise way- it’s always started with a long pause and the reminder that every English teacher would correct the Umm’s and No’s and most people would cringe at the indecisiveness of my answer. Umm, yeah let me write something now, so that I actually sound interested next time.

The day was one of an Autumn morning, one rare day that LA had to offer to vary the season. I woke up having merely brushed my teeth and managed to flatten my hair with a Nike SB cap. The stem of my banana was sticking out of my pant pocket and exposed itself to the wind of my run in hopes that I could catch the next earliest subway. I got on the Purple line – the one that extends through La Brea & Wilshire- and I met her. There she was- a standout sitting down reading a Marcel Proust novel. She was dressed in black skinnies with black boots while closer to her face brushed a pigment of the blue collar and white sweater that made her look like a hip millennial with a religious approach. A glance wasn’t it. I looked and started floating in the “What if’s”.

The clouds appeared closer than they were and the promise that I kept constrained under the title “Single” for the past 6 years was finally about to meet its natural end.

“Hi, would you like to grab coffee one day?”

Our one year anniversary hit and the plan was to bring her back to the place that started our meet. “You look very pretty”. I noticed again, that her makeup was light and her smile somehow extended mine as well. She looked long and the normal LA weather caused her to wear a white lace Peplum dress. Coffee was our order and conversation was our connection. The more we talked the more we synced to finish each other’s sentences and to laugh and play make-believe with silly representations of life. We knew we were two lovers who grew with the answer to each other’s questions about the past, present, and future. Throughout our year, our words hit the scale and trust became the weight to present more internal discussions- we were both tremendously flawed and our stories were redeemed through a Savior who wasn’t for Himself. He was for us and with us. We took that faith on our journey every Wednesday and Thursday nights- the block of the week that we dedicated to each other and let our faces mask the emojis that we were adept to picking to relate throughout the week. We loved long winded hikes at far-away Mammoth and short winded runs at close-by Griffith, and supported each other’s hobbies – mine on a basketball court and hers at a choir practice. She would be my Cinderella at every formal gathering and my Beyonce at more ratchet conventions. Every praise between us wasn’t forced and every complaint between us wasn’t breached. We disciplined each other to turn the bad into good and sought the privacy of every tear to be as meaningful as the laughter that gave us reason to hope. Today was a celebration.

You know what? I still won’t have a clear way of explaining who I’m into- or who my type is- but I’m happy I dreamt a little while.