8:34 AM

NP: Kanye West, Drive Slow

Take a deep breath. Hold it for 5.. 4.. 3... 2... 1... Let it out. Ahhhh.. That's it. Just breathe. 

Okay, so I'm totally feeling like this song is the theme to my life in this very moment. You need to pump your breaks and drive slow homie.
It was 7:23. I rushed into the black Uber cab that waited outside of my house. He took me to the BP gas station to grab some cash for the Bolt Bus. As soon as he pulled up to Maryland Ave., the big orange bus was already there. I waited on the line behind a pretty and petite, caramel skinned, young lady with jet black locks and a silver hoop nose ring. She had long, full lashes that reminded me of the tamed camels that I rode in Egypt. She was beautiful. And looked a little familiar. I mean, I even thought I recognized her voice. She spoke with a thick New York accent, carrying a feminine rasp in her tone that gave her a rough boyish-like appeal. She reminded me of Jada Pinkett in "A Different World". 

"You're hair is on point." She turned and said to me. 

"Thank you, I love your locks. I'm contemplating locking my own. Locks are really not as permanent as I used to think. If I get tired of them, I can just cut them off and start all over again." 

"Exactly. Or put on a wig and go!" 

I smiled at the thought of putting a wig over a head full of locks. I don't know if even I, with my sometimes rather outlandish style, would be able to pull that off. 

"You go to Morgan?" I asked her. Assuming that she was about 19-20. 

"No, I used to. You?" She asked me. 

"I used to as well." 

We both seemed to have an unspoken connection to one another as we shivered, watching all of the people who actually had tickets for the bus climb on, leaving us to exercise our patience as we waited for the driver to give us any left over seats. 

"I missed my bus. I was supposed to be on the 7." She turned and told me. 

"Well, I'm sure we'll get on this one. People are going to miss this, just like you missed yours." 

Spoke too soon. 

"Sorry ladies." The bus driver bashfully smiled at us. "I don't have any more seats." 

"Is he serious? I can't tell 'cause he's saying it with a smile."

"Are you serious? You dont even have that empty seat that the drivers leave open for their personal items?" 

"I have one seat but you'll have to drive." He kept smiling. A lighthearted, chocolate faced black man with a foreign accident. He seemed so carefree. Our problem of not being able to get on the bus was by far not his problem. He wasn't rude but he was just free. Young Jada and I smiled back at his joke and told him thank you as we walked away. 

We walked up the block, heading to Penn Station. She was going to wait for the next Bolt and I was going to try to catch the next train. 

"Ewwww!!!! That's a dead rat!!!" She screamed. I just looked at it, unphased. "Ughhh!" She kept showing signs of utter disturbance. It was disgusting but it was normalcy for me. All part of living in Baltimore city. 

We kept walking and learning a little more about one another. 

"I didn't graduate but I came in 2011. You?" 

"I finished in o8. We couldn't have known each other." 

"Yeah but you still look so familiar." 

"So do you. We probably blazed pass ways a few times somehow along the way." 

She opened the door leading to Penn and we walked in. I headed straight to the counter and told the clerk, "I need the first thing smoking to New York!" I always wanted to say that. I was blessed enough to be just on time for a train that was scheduled to pull ten minutes later. 

I walked back over to Young Jada and told her how everything was going to work out. I would make it to give my lecture on time. 

"I knew it would!" 

"Hey, by the way..." I said, as I carefully placed my Nikon back into my brown leather satchel. "What's your name?" 


"Diamond..." I repeated her name. Thinking of my Blossom girl.. My favorite Rihanna song... And my favorite ring that I lost when I was 16. "That's a beautiful name, for a beautiful spirited girl." 

"Thank you." She looked up at me from the old wooden bench and for the first time, I noticed her purplish specks in her hazel eyes. "What's your name?" 

"Valencia. Are you from Uptown?" 

"No. I'm from Brooklyn." 

Of course. She had to be Brooklyn's own diamond in the rough. I should've known from that rasp and cool funk like demeanor. Real laid back but probably would pop off in a minute. 

Not even a minute went by and my train was called. 

"Take care Diamond. Be safe." 

"You too Valencia. It was nice to meet you." 

It was nice to meet her too. Good vibes. 


When I got on the bus I was sad because I couldn't find my own empty seat. I wanted to stretch out and work on my speech. I walked through 3 carts until I finally decided to sit next to a slender, black man, wearing a grey pea-coat. 

"Hello." I smiled and sat down. 

"Hi..." He smiled too. "Going home or visiting?" He asked. 

"Well, I'm going home. But it's a visit because I don't live there anymore. Where's home for you?" I asked because I could hear his accent. 

"South Africa. Johannesburg." 

"Wow. What are you doing here?" 

He explained that he was visiting a friend in DC and was now heading to New York to site see. After that, he'd head down to Miami to take care business for about 5 days, before heading back to the Motherland. I was so amazed. I can't wait to be able to live like him. One day, I will be traveling full time to "work" as well. But right now, it's all about school, more school, the kids, and did I mention school?Waking up too early and trekking through icy conditions and snow storms. What a life it would be if I could travel to islands and places with warmer climates as a part of my day job. Crazy thing is, I have a plan to make such an idea possible but it's just not as feasible right now --- and that's okay. Because right now, I'm driving slow. Enjoying the journey. Meeting beautiful people along the way. Gaining invaluable experiences. And finding new reasons to smile. 



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