Writing Prompt: 17 Year old me meets 27 Year old me

As presented by Ben Huberman’s Good Tidings:
“Present-day you meets 10-years ago you for coffee. Share with your younger self the most challenging thing, the most rewarding thing, and the most fun thing they have to look forward to.”



Our life is quite busy, so I won’t take up too much of your time; especially since we don’t live in Chicago anymore. Let me start by congratulating you on the birth of your nephew. He will not be the only one, but pay attention to this one. He will grow to be a wonderful boy, and come to value your relationship. In his words, “Your my favorite Aunt”. Since you don’t officially drink coffee yet I have taken the liberty of ordering you hot chocolate, but some day you will work with lots of children and become addicted to caffeine. Don’t laugh, I’m serious. But let me cut to the chase here.

We have a lot of work ahead of us. Some days will be easy, some days will be difficult, and some days you will question whether or not you have what it takes to go on. A year from now, you will meet a very funny young man. He will give you what you need in that time and you will love him. It will begin with a fight, and your bond will be built on that foundation but do not get too attached—he will not be the one you will marry. I must warn you, that his heart will melt for you and his love will be stronger than yours. Do not depend on this love however; it is not the one for you. It will end almost abruptly, and you will be sad. In fact, one of the most challenging things you have to look forward to is that your life will end shortly. Don’t look at me like that, I know, you have not attended prom, and High School graduation has not reached you. However, your death is not a physical one, but the life that you live today will soon come to an end. Nothing will be the same. Nothing will be as you imagine it will be. You will not go on to own a big house, you will not be a famous writer, and you will not attend Clark Atlanta University. The way of life you’re used to will vanish with the speed of light.

But you will be, in a sense, reborn.

In just a few short years, you will hear a voice. I need you to stop fingering the strings of your micro braids right now because this part is important. Which, by the way, that’s another thing I’m afraid I must tell you. Our hair has been in dred locs for five years now. But in any event, you will hear a voice. No matter what takes place around you I need you to follow that voice. Pay no attention to the emotions stirring inside of you, and pay no mind to what people tell you. This change in lifestyle will be the most challenging, yet the most rewarding, part of your life. So ignore the criticisms as if escaping a plague. Do nothing opposite of what the voice tells you. In return it will lead you into knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. You will look at the world with new eyes and will find a profound sense of serenity because of it. In short, you will find truth, and in such you will find freedom.

But you will not be alone.

You will soon meet the man who will become your husband. I warn you that your meeting will not be a planned one, but it will be fun. Encompassed in this individual will be everything that you’re currently dreaming that he will be but at the same time nothing you can ever imagine. You will travel together and see places you never thought you would see. Florida, Jamaica, Cozumel pick a place, chances are you’ve been there. You will live on 40 acres of land in a two bedroom house, you will have animals, two beautiful daughters and you will be surrounded with love. Fun is an understatement to the kind of joy you will experience. But your life will have to end first, and you will have to undergo many challenges. He will be there though, just as unexpected and sudden as love itself, he will be there.

I hate to be cliche, but you will know of him the moment you meet him, so do not search for him now. Though he searches for you, longing for the day to which he may meet his wife, even deciding to attend school in search of her, he is looking for you now, but you must not look for him. Instead he will come to you and you will know it is him. And when it is time, you will love him more than you’ve ever loved any man, and he will cherish our heart as if come from his own flesh. The things coming your way will not be easy, they will be very hard, but you will have him and together you will carry the strength of one man.

*I look down at the watch our husband has given us.*

I’m afraid my time is up. Do not underestimate the tiny voice in your head. Listen to it, and wear it’s discernment like a sacred garment. And may you go on to make the decisions you have already made.

“Wait”, says annoyed 17 year old me. “But I’m not gonna be a writer?? It’s like what’s the point?”

Smiling, I decide to get up from the chair and walk to the door, pausing, I turn to face my own reflection, “No. I said you won’t be a famous writer.”

The Invisible Woman


November, 2001

The dust particles flying from the duster floated slowly off the boxes, strangely reminiscent of the worst terrorist attack to occur in the United States. Each set seemed to align themselves parallel to the others, and tilting dangerously off the Brooklyn Brownstone as if to mock her. The coming of dawn splashed its hint of shadow off the dull cardboard, distorting its true image. They were taller it seemed, and almost menacing. The woman looked on sadly, fastening its flaps, tucking them one inside the other. It was safer this way, but still she took a step, and rested her bottom against the course concrete as if finding a foundation strong enough to hold all of her baggage. That’s when she saw it, its pages flapping quickly in the wind almost blowing the book off the steps; she caught it, along with a strange feeling with how her arm had extended itself in rescue. It had only been two months and she was intrigued to find that Ellison had read her mind. No, she did not believe he was an invisible man; she instead was prepared to insist he was a mind reader. The only other explanation available to explain his knowledge of her departed state was if he was talented enough to take her heart and contextualize it in ways that even she could not. Of course now she understood that Ralph Ellison was neither mind reader nor genius. Like a mirror that penetrates the souls of the invisible, she could easily see herself in a similar situation. The neighborhood had gone on as it always had; the people continued in their routine way and it made her angry, how could they? “To the mall!” she says. “To the workplace!” he shouts. They move about, “To the city!” they shout. But there is no city, and there is no mall. There is no workplace, there is only darkness. What’s everybody so happy about? Nothing was the same and she was utterly alone. Why was that so hard for them to understand? She has tried to make them aware that their journeys were in vain, but she has been pushed over. She has been blocked. She has been ignored. They have walked right through her, and for a split second they’ve become one with her, but only to come out on the other end and still they cannot see. None ever noticing that she has just pushed against them, and burned the top of their flesh with her light. Cymbalta wasn’t helping much either. But that’s because she is invisible. It is she they cannot see.

Candy wrappers and Anthrax warned Newspaper clippings loiters the sidewalk in front of her, and the screaming engines of cars sped by in a desperate attempt to escape the moment for the one at the corner, shattering the woman’s thoughts and calling her attention away from the book. And as the brisk November wind rattled angrily against her blouse, she disregarded the unopened mail laying idly on top the brown boxes. Inside, the small sirens going off seemed to rattle the cordless resting comfortably on the sofa like tiny explosions.

She was sick with exhaustion with the interviews and radio shows, and journalist thirsty phone calls that promised never to bring her husband back, just a hot story. It’s not like they were really talking to someone anyway. She had never been around a group of people who enjoyed talking to themselves so much.
“I don’t think so”, she annoyingly spoke into the receiver before hanging up at the sound of a trucks engine; the movers were here. “Great”, she said exasperated, managing to make it out the door. She was going to be late…again.