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My second daughter had been born. I was so grateful and happy to have her.
I imagined co-parenting.
The whole hospital fiasco really got me shaken up but I tried to convince myself that I would bounce back.
I knew I would. The jobs would eventually come in, somehow. I always had that belief but the thought of losing a family I spent so much trying to build was devastating.
The things that I lost and would never regain, the look in her eyes. I just continued to wonder, how things go so bad, so quickly.
I couldn’t sleep for nights after being denied entry at the hospital. I just imagined a world where I was treated like a second-class citizen because I had no shelter.
The people at the hospital had a point but my ego was bruised.
How could they not see past that?
It was impossible for them to recognize the standing of the man I was before I lost everything. How I lost everything from one of the most shocking situations still baffled me.
But through everything, I couldn’t imagine a life without Kim, Daisy and Diamond.
Think of the people that make your life worthwhile, how would you feel if they were not there, present and involved in your day to day happiness.
My exact sentiments
. . . . .
I realized that I loved her too much to give up on her like that.
So one day, I hopped on the bus and snuck into a Fitness SF gym, I took a shower put in some clean clothes that I had picked up from the local Ross.
Just a shirt and jeans but I looked clean. When I had my car, the trip was only 35 minutes and now it was just so long. Almost two hours using the bus. I remember that day and it just continued to humble me as I missed my old life.
I finally arrived at the bus stop and I got off.
I was down the street from her mother’s house. I was second-guessing myself. I hadn’t called ahead of time. I began to wonder and question,
“What if she’s not home?”
“What if she asked me to leave?”
I somehow continued down with the courage I had gathered up and I finally got to the door and knocked.
There was no answer.
I knocked again.
Still no answer.
I began to get this sinking feeling in my lower belly. I just felt defeated.
I felt like one of my fears was being realized square in front of me and I couldn’t do anything about it.
I knocked one more time.
My heart pounding as my bare and chapped knuckles kisses the mahogany of the door.
I swallowed hard and I turned around. Out the driveway and onto the sidewalk. I had no way to tell time because I had no wristwatch or phone. I just figured I would go to the bus stop and wait for the next bus before heading towards the shelter.
I must have been about 50 yards out the driveway when I heard my name
it was Kim.
I immediately, turned around and smiled. There she stood, waving and motioning at me to come towards her. I just felt lucky.
Like a huge burned was lifted from me.
I could not imagine the ride back from there without seeing her.
I walked towards her and simply said
She smiled back and said
She just looked so beautiful. I couldn’t imagine another day without her and my daughters. She responded
“I’m sorry I didn’t come to the door, sooner. I was putting her down for a nap.
She had been fussy all day. Kinda like her daddy”
She reached out and gave me a hug.
It just felt so good holding her again. It had been a while.
I could smell the citrus in her hair. Her silky skin, welcoming the warmth from my body.
My heart was racing uncontrollably.
She said as she pulled away slowly.
She led me into the house. It was tidy but there were some toys and baby formula lying around.
We sat down at the dinner table as I began talking
“Kim, you look great. How are the girls doing?”
“Thanks Darius. You know, there are great days and then there are okay days but they are pulling through it all”
I felt a pull in my heart. These were my daughters and I should have been the one to take care of them.
I just wish I could give them more.”
“Kim, I know you left to find yourself but I am lost without you. The man I was, is no longer here and I need my wife and my home back”
She reached her out towards me and held my hands in her hers
She looked me dead in the eyes and said
“I’m sorry I left but I had to, the stress we were going through and being there for a new baby was hard. I just needed space.
I want you to know that I never stopped loving you and I want us to work on us. Our daughters need their father and I need my best friend back”
I almost cried as she finished her words. I moved off my seat and gave her a huge hug.
“We will work on us. I know I have lost so much but we will rebuild. We will never give up.
And we restore our footing. With your love, we will do much more. ”
That was all that was needed and I knew in my heart that my life would have meaning again.
Darius stopped and
Darius looked up at me and then back at the dashboard clock.
It was 11:03pm.
He looked at me as if grateful for the opportunity to share and then he said
“I need to go James. The doors to the shelter close in 2minutes.”
Sometimes, we put people in corners and they feel like their stories are irrelevant.
He sighed and I stretched out my hand to shake his. Darius is a good man, one of the very few.
And I was lucky to have met him.
I gave him my office information and asked him to contact me if he needed anything.
“James, you have been a great blessing today and I thank you. I pray you never know such pain
Keep your head up and in the right place. You will definitely make it”
I smiled and said
“Thank you Darius.
Meeting you and hearing your story has been the highlight of my last few months. Thank you for sharing with me. I appreciate it.”
I watched him walk into the shelter. And I turned as I looked at the dashboard.
It was late.
And it just sat there for me. I didn’t sleep all.
. . . . .
Like many people like me, Darius’ story must have struck a cord but would many do anything about it. Sometimes we experience certain things and we either feel like there s nothing we can do to change the situation or we are just not bothered to affect the situation.
I spent the rest of that weekend after my encounter with Darius just pondering on life. Every story being different, every learning process unique; the ups and downs of life and love are hard to explain to others.
I returned home that Sunday night and typed the whole encounter up. In actual fact, I was just going to store it as one of those encounters that one has and one can and should not forget.
I battled it in my heart on how life could just easily turn a family around and change the whole outlook a person had towards life.
People are often expecting the “normal” things that break homes and changes lives. The defenses towards the other things are not always focused on. A simple accident changed the life of Darius and his family, even his kids.
It was certainly a lot to think about but it left me thinking. How much can people really take?
Showing up to work the next morning, I was the first one there. I had spoken to my mother very early that morning.
I was sitting at my desk at work while the staff all filtered in. Some in ties and others dressed up, fancy cups of coffee and croissants; everyone ready for the day.
From my vantage point, all I thought about was “What is each person’s story?”
Aside from the fact that they all came from various homes, I wondered about the state of their lives. Like how many actually had homes?
Many live today, two paychecks away from homelessness.
Some with empty hearts or even folks that are surrounded by many but alone.
If I had met Darius in the first few months when the issues were piling up, I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t have been able to tell what was really going on.
Many of us walk around like perfect models of life and happiness but not many know why I left Columbia or what people are really going through. I immerse myself in work and try not think about my life but I know it’s empty.
Mine had been empty because I hadn’t been able to figure out my purpose.
And it didn’t occur to me that sometimes people run into their purpose or calling in the most unexpected way.
To think that I ran in Darius at the Laundromat and the story he was walking around with, was so different from anything I had ever heard, it opened my eyes.
That situation taught me not to look down on people. The back-story is always different and the circumstances that get people into situations are just as different.
For Darius, life came at him unexpectedly and strained his marriage. For the next person, it could take their life.
. . . . .
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. . . . . .
It’s been roughly a month since that encounter.
The manager for the shipping department is Darius.
I finally couldn’t sit on his story any longer. So I sent it to my boss.
Anonymously, I placed it on his desk and it got published a week later.
I think my boss knows that I was the one that placed it there but he never approached me directly.
Darius’s story moved so many people reached out to the paper and they began a fundraiser for him.
Every time I think about it, it makes me smile but I am also realistic in knowing that not every story will have a positive outcome. Darius and Kim are in couple’s therapy and working on their relationship. The love is still there, I personally think he and Kim will be back together in a few weeks but as usual Kim is making him “earn her”.
I’m still here, working my neck off but I know for sure now that this is what I want to do. Find the stories and share them with the world. Inspire people and motivate them.
But I’m racing against the clock here, I need to be out of the office in 25 minutes. It’s almost 2pm and I’m leaving work early.
I’m meeting up with Darius and Daisy as he is spending time with her today, we are grabbing lunch and looking at a few apartments and Daisy is adamant that she gets her own room too. So she’s coming along.
Honestly, being alone in your heart is scary and a home can be made by the people in your life that make your life worth it. We met at a Laundromat through a woman Darius doesn’t even know anymore but meeting him and then his family has made my life feel whole.
Darius’ life is on a track.
However fast it moves, only God knows but I said I was looking for purpose, and if I died today, I can be thankful that I was useful for one thing in life.
Helping bring home back together
The real life “Darius” still lives on the streets of Oakland.
He is not married to a Kim. He did work for the city of Oakland and he has 5 kids.
I learned that life can test you and yours in the most unique ways. Always stay alert, have faith and pray. So you’re not the prey.
I learned from this story that first impressions can need second evaluation to arrive at a concrete idea of a person.
Realizing that there is a call to action but not answering the call, is as good as openly ignoring the existence of the problem.
There are many Darius’ in various ways in today’s world.
Be a chapter in their book.
Thank you for reading the Homeless Series 1-4. Please comment. My new story comes out on Monday!