For My Girl Bev (found the poem!)

Beverly F. Thomas

In my earlier blog post about my dear friend Bev, I referenced a poem I wrote for her. Well, I just found it and I guess that means I am supposed to post it. Here it is:

Me,you and Lisa
Singing in the basement
(Well I thought I could sing)
Playing slow jams, smelling the sweet incense
We thought we were stars that hadn’t been discovered.

Hanging on the steps, up and down the street
I loved hanging with you girl
Because everybody knew the Queen B!

You were the star that hadn’t been discovered.

There was always fun and laughter with you and
No matter what trouble you were in, that bright smile would get us through

We partied all night long
There wasn’t a place we didn’t flo
But when the party was over, I always had to beg you to go

You were a shining star waiting to be discovered.

You wanted me to come your way, To hang out until the break of day
But my momma wouldn’t let me stay
I needed to walk another way.

Why didn’t you come with me girl?
I hate to say goodbye this way.
Why couldn’t you have walked my way Bev?
I prayed for you each night and day.

We were stars that soon would be discovered.

I love you. R.I.P.

Written the morning of her funeral 2/23/06

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.


It’s been quite a while since I’ve sat down to write even though so many ideas have entered my mind since my last post. The summer is an insanely busy time for me and now that the kids are back in school and on a fairly normal schedule, I am able to take some time for myself. My four and a half year old’s latest obsession is the Disney film Tangled. She is a girly-girl and she loves all of the princesses, so that’s no shocker. I chose not to take her to the movies to see the film because I didn’t want her to become fascinated with long, blonde hair and turn against the beauty of her own. And at this young age it can be an easy blow to a brown kinky-haired girl’s self-esteem. However, after time had passed and she had joyously embraced her wavy brown double strand-twists and braids and provided us with numerous neck-jerking performances of “I love my hair”, I figured it was safe to let her venture into the world of Rapunzel. I have to admit that other than The Lion King, this is the only Disney movie that really touched me and almost brought me to tears. I think mostly because of all of the symbolism that I could so relate to in my life. She was trapped inside a tower for most of her life because she was taught to fear the unknown. Even though she made good use of her time there, and blossomed in her own way, she always felt a pull towards the light – specifically lanterns that she had a burning (forgive the pun) desire to see. She knew that there was a calling on her life just outside the castle, but she needed the right guide, and the witch, posed as her mother, was so afraid of losing Rapunzel and hence her own life, that she used fear to keep the princess within the walls of  her domain. Once Rapunzel trusted her inner voice and ventured out, she found unconditional love and her true calling. What a great message for our children to receive.

I think it’s also why I’ve been thinking of my friend Beverly so much lately. She was a bright light that never had a chance to come into her own and I think her life also mirrored that of Rapunzel. She yearned to know what was behind those four walls and she got caught up in the glamour of the streets because she was still trying to find someone to love her without fear. Bev was my home girl from around the way. She lived on one end of the block and I on the other. It was a long block and I wasn’t even allowed to walk to the other end of the block when I was little because I was only allowed to go as far as my mom could yell for me. Most of the girls on the block didn’t like me or were jealous of me – I am not sure which was most true – because I stayed in the house, did my homework, minded my own business and they mistook my meekness  for snobby and stuck-up.  I can’t even remember the day that I met Bev, but I loved her for seeing past all of the rumors and assumptions and becoming friends with me because of what she saw in my heart. Bev was so much fun! She had the most beautiful smile and always found a reason to smile and could always make me laugh. I think she got such a thrill  pulling me out of my comfort zone. I was such a goody-goody and she was the complete opposite – always on punishment for sneaking out to parties, bars and just plain never making curfew at night. Other than going to parties with my brother the DJ, I had no idea of what transpired outside of the the few blocks between 60th and Webster Street and Cobbs Creek Parkway. I was told that good girls didn’t do the things that Bev did, so until I met her, I didn’t. I had spent four years at a boarding school and never even tried to have sex with a boy because I knew my dad would kill me if I came home pregnant. I was so naive that I didn’t believe my mom when she told me that boys wanted to go all the way when they invited you to their house without their parents home.

Yet like Bev, I knew there was so much more to life and I wanted a taste of it. Her parents were strict Christians and I could always see an underlying war within her soul because of the household she lived in. I would meet her at her house and after we listened to the “sermon” from one of her parents or her sister and mother singing Gospel music, we would go up to her room and plan the escape route for the night. They figured that if she was with me, she wouldn’t get into trouble, but if they only knew! I just wished that she had not gotten all caught up in the illusion of love that awaited her in those dark bars, speak-easys, private male clubs and hotel rooms.  She was so happy to introduce me to her friends and brag about where I went to school as if having  a smart homie made her move up a notch and give her more street cred. I admit that I met some of the most notorious young gangsters, drug dealers and players in the area, but they were just men to me. Bev knew who they were and what they could do for her, and I was just along for the party. I didn’t do drugs and I knew when to put the drink down, so many a night I went home without Bev, because she didn’t. She got caught up in the fake love that she found late at night and in the drugs and wine that they were happy to offer her to keep her happy and performing as the life of the party. And she was. Bev could light up a room just by walking near it. She was destined for the stage, loved attention, loved to dance and sing and was ready and willing to try any new adventure.  If she had not gotten tangled in her own search for unconditional love, she may have made it to the stage.

When I got the phone call a few years ago about my dear friend Bev’s passing, I was devastated. No one had even told me that she was in the hospital again and in such a critical state. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to the mother of my Goddaughter or even allow her to cry on my shoulder. All I could think about were the last few times I went to visit her  to check up on her and I left each time feeling sad and powerless.  The last time I saw Bev, the authorities had taken her children away from her, she was in kidney failure and even though she was supposed to be going to rehab, she told me that she just wanted to see what crack tasted like. That’s how powerful addiction is. It robs everything from you.

The next time I saw Bev, she was in a casket. Somehow, from the depth of my heavy heart, swollen with grief on the way to the funeral parlor, I wrote a poem for my girl Bev. I didn’t think I would even have the strength to read it but when they asked for comments, I felt compelled to share it. I don’t think I even saveds it  because her son asked me if he could have it, but I remember  the last line was “why didn’t you come my way Bev?”.  Everyone thought that I would “rub off” on her, but when you’re caught up and it feels good to you, where else are you going to go? When you meet up with infatuation and it’s labeled love, why wouldn’t you want more and more? It was only through God’s grace and the fear of my father that I didn’t get tangled in that web of deceit. I searched for the light and I’m still captivated when I see the sun’s beauty and the bright moon at night. Bev never stayed still enough to allow these simple pleasures to consume her. If so, maybe she would have found true love within herself. Why didn’t you come my way Bev? I wish I could have saved you, but you didn’t love yourself  enough to allow the unconditional love around you to brighten your soul. I love you for loving me unconditionally and miss you my friend. Rest in Peace Queen B!


Facing the fear

Kids at the beach
A Day at the beach

I can’t tell you how good it feels to sit and write. I have been riding this rollercoaster called life hard for the past month and a half and for now, the ride has stopped and I have a chance to sit still. No rocky bumps, no feeling of my heart falling to the bottom of my feet, no nausea and no loss of breath.

On my 45th Birthday, my husband gave me the gift of peace. After the year and half of couples counseling, the bargaining and the anxiety, anger and tears and passive aggressive behavior, he agreed to pack his things and leave. I chose to spend a few days at the shore with the kids. I used every last penny I had saved and booked two days at the Trump Taj Mahal, rented a car and met my best friend for life at the shore. I needed to separate myself and my children from the disease that had affected our lives for too many years. I knew as I was driving away that I had made a decision that would change my life and my children’s lives forever. Did I do the right thing? Was I being selfish? Was I ruining my children’s lives forever? Would they hate me for protecting them from a world and a future that they were oblivious to? Or did they know exactly what I was doing and were thankful? I wouldn’t have the answer to any of these questions anytime soon. I had to step out on faith and sit with the inner knowing that I was doing the right thing for myself and my children. I was feeling so may emotions at once. Sadness, pain, sorrow, peace, freedom, joy, confusion and fear. And my kids didn’t have a clue.

The joy in their eyes when they saw the gold, gaudy rooftops of the Taj Mahal and the six-foot chandeliers, the rainbow colors lighting the escalator and the bells and lights of the slot machines. It was their first time in Atlantic City and I wanted it to be a memory that would hopefully dull the pain that awaited them at home. The empty living room and the heartbreak of knowing that Daddy doesn’t live here anymore.

The most difficult thing I’ve had to do since burying my mother, was telling my kids why the furniture was missing and why Dad wouldn’t be living with us anymore. My husband chose to leave the fun part to me. Wiping away their tears and rebuilding the comfort and safety of our home. And through the financial stress, support hearings and full-time parenting, I regret nothing. I am so thankful for the love and support of my family and friends who have held me up when I felt like I couldn’t stand any longer.

I didn’t think I would ever be able to step out on faith and insist on a life of peace and joy. I take things one day at a time and I thank God for the little things. I am thankful every day that we have a roof over our heads, and food to eat. I am thankful that my children sleep peacefully at night and that I have a monopoly on peace and quiet when they do. And I am thankful that I am free to feel my feelings and sit in the peace and quiet and write.

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