The Mad Ink3r

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MR. JOHNSON ON 24TH STREET

I used to visit the coffee shop on 24th street, everyday for my normal dosage of caffeine. It started when I was sixteen, working a retail job at Old Navy on 68th street. Normally, I'd catch the train from Long Island, and then get off and walk the rest of the way. There was this African-American guy that would always sit in the coffee shop with his notebook and small dollar cup of coffee.

There wasn't a day that I wouldn't catch him sitting in the same old spot, cornered at the very last table to the back of the coffee shop by the window. On my sick days to work, he'd be in here drinking nothing but that coffee. There may have been once when I saw him with a bottle of water and a croissant.

I was having a bad day one of my days off, so I decided to leave home and take the train to sit in the coffee shop. It wasn't anything significant, but a quiet environment with friendly people who sat at separate tables, either reading newspapers or drinking Lipton Green Tea. That day, there were no more seats so I asked the man who I'd always see writing, if I could have a seat.

"Umm, Hello." I said.

One Year Later . . .

On Where Pianos Roam

One year ago today, I was held at gunpoint in east Nashville.  Two young, teenage, African American males used a large revolver to rob me of my wallet.  I was on my way to a bar called The 5 Spot to watch a couple of bands I knew perform, and I never made it that night.  It all happened at the corner of 11th and Russell in east Nashville.  You can read my full written account of the events HERE.

When I walk alone to places at night, I still look over my shoulder.  Before I get out of my car, I still look around first.  I still remember what I felt that night a year ago, and even though it is now a far gone conclusion, I don't ever want to forget.  I've always believed that our memories can make us stronger.  If we choose to put them in perspective and be constructive, they can arm us for the battles ahead.  Even though I wish it never happened, it helped me become who I am today, and I can only be proud of who I am now.

I shudder to think about all that I would have missed in the year that passed since then  .  .  .

The birth of my niece Sophia

Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family

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