I feel like this my time to talk…here is a tribute to my forever friend.
It was 1996 I was a senior in high school. Fortunately I had found a way to escape from all of my computer classes till my senior year. It was a gross humiliation that I was placed in a keyboarding class at the last hour of the day . I walked slowly into the class and just like I thought, the class was filled with freshman and sophomores . There were a few Juniors spread throughout but I was quite possibly the only senior in that class. I could do nothing but laugh . The first day of that hot Summer I met some individuals that would perhaps be apart of my life forever.
During the first weeks of school we didn’t have enough computers. I’m still trying to figure out why but we didn’t and had to share one keyboard between two students. Let’s face it , I could already type so I wasn’t interested in learning how to type properly, neither was I interested in who I had to share that computer with …my only concern was how quickly the bell could ring. I shared a keyboard with some guy who was extremely upbeat, kinda loud and very talkative. He somehow already knew my name . And called me by my first and last name everyday as he walked into class. We eventually became friends…if you knew me and you knew him , you’d know it was all laughs all day for no reason. Pretty soon this guy was walking me to every class . I could not understand how he knew my schedule and how he was available to meet me at every class. I mean Tupelo High is basically a Jr College, it was no easy fleet to run across to any class within 5 minutes. A few months passed and there was a letter given to me …an old school type letter that ended with write back. I had not written a letter to a guy in some time . Was he joking ? I eventually wrote back.
Letters came more frequently and letters turned into cards . Most of them were simple just saying to have a good day and asking me if I wanted to hang out on the weekend. It would be months before I agreed to finally go to the movies with him. We also attended prom together. He was a great friend . I would go on to graduate and he had another year to complete . I walked him through his senior year, stayed up late to help him complete his English project. I remember attending his graduation party and having one his uncles walking up to me saying…Nephew is that you ? It was the first time I had ever heard that phrase. It was also the first time he ever admitted he thought of me as more than his friend.
During my sophomore year of college I was ready to meet new people. Though I was dating other people…we still remained friends. Just like High School this guy was consistent in his pursuit. In those times he attended all of my events, church, pageants, speaking engagements, met all of my friends , we even worked together for some time (LOL) and were perhaps the best of friends. I was a junior in college it was time for me to move forward in life and with school. In the fall of 1999 I moved to Alabama to attend the University of North Alabama . Situations happened . We were young. Lots of things were said but the truth is … none of those stories were completely true, we ( Rodney and I ) know the truth! My heart and our doors were always opened to him. I still tried to leave the door opened for him for the friendship that we had always had. And as my family continued on with the marriage to Anthony and my other babies were born I still left room for Rodney to be a part of our lives.
It’s been 25 years since we first met. We experienced hits and misses, sad times and fun times but by far the best thing that happened throughout our relationship was the birth of our son Peyton. Because of Peyton we were tied to each others lives forever. Rodney , left our lives early . Too early. I was waiting on the day that he would marry, or at least tell me that he had found the one and was ready to settle down. He talked to me about buying houses and things he wanted to do in life. I just knew one day he’d be an amazing school teacher and carry on the family tradition . Its funny that though we had a complete relationship in our past we were still able to communicate as friends. It was overwhelming for me to accept that none of those things would happen because his life ended too early. One of the most difficult things for me was to wake my son up and tell him that his father was no longer with us. My heart breaks for his family, his Dad , his mom , brother and sister, niece and nephews. I can only pray for strength in the weeks to come. Peyton will graduate from college soon and pretty soon he will be married and our family will continue on. I wish he could have experienced those moments with us. Today I said my final goodbye to him but you , Rodney will forever be in our hearts… Basically Tesha