By Treona Jones
Life can change in an instant. That realization makes you look at your life through different eyes. With all this excitement of the robbery and now being in the hospital, it made me think of how different my life would be without my wife. How our relationship almost didn’t happen at all.
This journey began on a snowy day in January volunteering with a group of local kids.
“Hello, everyone. My name is Melissa and I’m the Special Events Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club. I would like to welcome you all to our annual career day. We know it’s snowing outside, but we are glad all of you braved the weather to hear what they have to say. I would personally like to thank all the volunteers that are working to make this event possible including those that donated our refreshments; I know the hot chocolate is definitely welcome. We would also like to thank all of the professionals that have taken time out of their busy schedules to come talk to us today. Please give yourselves and them a round of applause. With no further ado, may I welcome our first presenter, Maria Martinez, who is going to talk to us about journalism.”
I walked into the gym, where the career fair was in full swing. I looked around the room trying to find my cousin Brian when I spotted him leaned up against the wall in the back of the room.
“Hey you Mr. GQ smooth. You’re late. You were supposed to go before this lady that’s presenting now. I expected you to wear your uniform, not a suit.”
“I had every intention of wearing my uniform, but I was at church last night when I got a call and had to go to a scene. When we finally wrapped that up I didn’t expect the roads being so bad, so I came straight here instead of going home. When do you go on?”
“I’m like the fourth person in my category.”
“What is her profession?”
“I think she said graphic designer?”
“What’s with the black and whites then?”
“She hasn’t said yet.”
Brian and I turned our attention back to the presenter on stage, where she went on to explain what a graphic designer does.
“Whenever you create anything you have to come up with an idea. You don’t always get those ideas sitting in front of a computer. You might be at lunch and draw something on a napkin. These two pictures behind me represent an idea that I sketched on a napkin. At first glance you see a simple drawing of a bird and a tree, but when you sit down at your computer you can make that bird take flight.”
She turned her tablet around so that we could see that same simple bird on her screen as a beautiful blue jay with wings out stretched.
“Then that tree you see here is now in a field with the wind blowing through its branches.”
The tree was placed in a wide open field rustling in the wind while the grass bent in the direction the wind was blowing.
“Keep watching,” she said. Just then out of nowhere came the blue jay. It slowing came to rest on the branches of that big tree in the field.
“That is how graphic designers create; it all starts with a simple idea. Thank you so much for listening.”
Everyone clapped as she gathered her things from the stage. She set off to the side next to another woman with long, dark hair. They looked as if they knew each other.
Due to time I was not able to present, but I stayed to watch the rest of the program. Melissa made her way back to the stage after all the presenters had finished. “Thank you everyone for coming. Remember that the center is open Monday through Friday from 1:30 pm to 8 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm. Please drive safely, and I hope to see you all here for our regular programs.”
The presenters were invited to stay for a “thank you” reception right after the program. The room was a buzz with all the different professionals talking amongst themselves.
“Hello Ben, how are your parents enjoying their long overdue vacation?”
“Hello Melissa. They are quite enjoying it. They are enjoying it so much I’ve barely talked to them. It looks like you had a great turnout this year.”
“Yes, in spite of the weather. I’m sorry you didn’t get a chance to speak; the kids look forward to your stories every year.”
“It’s OK. There is always next year.”
“Well, I just wanted to thank you myself for the Foundation donating the refreshments for the event.”
“No need. You know this is one of my family’s favorite places to be. My parents have been bringing me here since before I was born.”
“Well we’re glad to have you and your family. I’m going to go speak to some other presenters. I’ll see you next week.”
“See you later.”
Brian walked up just as Melissa walked away.
“Ben, I saw her touch your arm as she walked away. You should try and talk to her.”
“I was just talking to her.”
“You know what I mean. Ask her out. You’re single, she’s single.”
“No, thank you.”
“God don’t mind you giving Him options.”
“God is the decision-maker, not the wing man.”
“Alright, I’ll leave you alone.”
“Brian you did a good job up there. Computer programming is really technical, but you broke it down so they could understand. Kudos.”
“I do have some kind of skills with the kids.”
“Excuse me for doubting you.”
“Excuse me, gentleman.” We turned to see the graphic designer staring back at us. “Do you know where I could find bottled water?”
“We actually happen to be standing in front of it. It’s inside the Pepsi cooler. How many did you want? I can get it for you.”
“Two please, thank you.”
I reached into the cooler to retrieve the water she requested. “You did the presentation on graphic design. That was a pretty neat thing you did with the bird.”
“Why thank you. I figured the kids would like it. Art is all around us every day, but it’s the most underappreciated art form.”
“Why do you say that?”
“When you say art to most people they think of what they see in museums hanging on the wall. But they don’t see the art in their everyday lives. Take for instance your suit; there was a fashion designer that sketched that out before it was put into a computer. Then it went to be cut from the fabric before being ready for you to buy it off the rack. As a consumer all you see is the suit, not the art behind the suit.”
“You’re right; I’ve never thought about it that way. Hopefully the kids can see it that way now that you explained it to them.”
“Hopefully. I’m just glad that cop couldn’t make it and I didn’t have to wake them up first.”
“Yeah, I know that somebody has to do it, but our kids have to aim higher than a high school diploma. Don’t get me wrong, being a cop is hard work sometimes, but if you spend your entire day riding around in a car eating donuts, it lowers your drive to do more.”
“That is a very strong opinion. Have you been wronged by a cop somewhere in your life?”
“Not personally, but in my neighborhood police only show up to harass people. As a citizen, if I call the police because someone broke into my house, I would have to go to my local precinct to file a report. What if the person is still there and my life is in danger? That doesn’t matter; they are not coming to my house.”
She looked like she had more to say when the lady she sat next to earlier walked up and interrupted her. “Cynthia, I don’t mean to interrupt your conversation, but we have another appointment we have to get to.”
The graphic designer looked down at her watch. “I didn’t realize the time. Nice talking to you both.”
I almost forgot that Brian was standing there with me until he broke my concentration as I watched both women walk towards the door.
“Ben, did she just call you a boring, lazy, dumb cop?”
“Yes she did.”
“Wow. Why she talking about art? She can’t even tell the difference between a tailor-made suit and one that’s off the rack.”
I turned my attention back to watching her walk away with her friend. There is something about her that I just can’t put my finger on. Very interesting.
“Ben I don’t know about you, but I’m starving. Let’s go grab something to eat?”
“The only thing I’m grabbing is some sleep. I’ve been up so long I don’t even remember how long it’s been. I’ll see you at church tomorrow?”
“It’s Sunday again?”
“Yes Brian, every six days it rolls around again. And if you want to eat at my house tomorrow, you better be at that church in the morning.”
“When does Aunt May and Pops come back from their vacation, I’m tired of you?”
To Be Continued…
Click here to find out how this all started.