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My first words
THE ART OF BLUNT ROLLING: PART 3
Back at home in Toronto. The barbershop is packed today but time wasn’t important back then. My only apprehension was answering the questions:
How’s ball going?
When you getting drafted?
Remember that dunk you did in high school?
I smile and lie. Feed them stories that will never happen again. They looked at me vicariously as if their hope was my responsibility. I imagined the weight of their disappointment if I told the truth so I kept feeding them.
Back at home in my apartment. My girlfriend and I rented a one-bedroom space. Cute. We painted the kitchen burnt orange and sparked a blunt to celebrate our first lodging. We were both running from something and found each other. Me, from the heavy gaze of disappointed friends and family; her from not having that gaze present in her life at all.
This was October.
In April the next year, I woke up early enough to beat the sun. I poured a cup of water from the tap and put my legs up on the couch. I placed the laptop gently on my thighs, opened the screen and stared at the blank page.
The night before, I had read the final chapter of Toni Morrison’s masterpiece. Beloved was still with me as I stared at the blank page. The cursor flickered and I thought that it must be scared, too, not knowing what instructions it would have to follow, what words it would be forced to write.
And what would my first words be?
When I closed Beloved the night before, I promised myself that I would start my own journey to writing stories that touched people’s souls the same way Morrison filled my own. I wanted every word to feel meaningful, for every sentence to grab hold of my readers and propel them through each paragraph. This was the pressure I felt necessary to create greatness. No one else might have expectations, but I did.
What would my first words be?
I sat up straight on the couch, searched my mind and pressed my fingers to the keys.
“I’ve been here before…”