Dedicated to Theo Hike III, Lawrence, and Jalyn – One Love


Adulthood feels strange and comes early when all your clubhouse friends (from kindergarten up) become institutionalized. We tell time by the progression of life’s complexity: homework piles up undone, small crushes that explode into sexual exclusivity, and before you know it your comrades don’t have time for silly jokes. My mother calls them “growing pains.” There are friends that you never manage disconnect from—to a point where one of you can experience something that the other automatically taps into with the same sensitivity. I haven’t spoken to a long-time childhood friend in a while, and recently his problems have been keeping his name in my thoughts unlike anything before. Somewhere in Joliet, Illinois, my first best friend is locked up.

For what? It doesn’t matter, once you get past processing the situation. My boy sits solitarily, looking over his shoulder at every step he takes. An elder of mine made it clear that the society outside the penitentiary understands nothing about the society inside. I guard my belly thinking about all the bruises and emasculating circumstances that will have to teach him the new ways of survival. It shouldn’t be this way. The plan was that we would live as neighbors with decent standards and happy coexistent families; I feel like I failed.

As children we make pacts without needing to consider struggle. It’s not apparent how much we need each other until it’s too late. In the midst of girlfriends, popularity, and unpaid bills, we forget to hold on to our clubhouses. If my mans needed money I wish I would have been on his mind, I may not have control over his fatal decision but I do have control over making it known that I care about him. Between all of my close friends is a motto: “If I’m eating, then we eating”. Now as adults, there has to be a deeper understanding that our feelings only have sincerity when they are brought into being. With anything truth reveals itself in what we do. So if you have a friend make an effort to release love out of your thoughts and into reality. So call. Listen to their pain and strategize.