“I’m Good…”

Nina Simone-  Feeling Good

Pardon me for my lack of blogginess over the last few weeks. I’ve had some things going on and I just wasn’t feeling it.

About two weeks ago I took a few days off in the middle of the work week to head home to the woods to see my family, more specifically my mother who is still fighting cancer’s b**ch-a**.[I]

Due to the fact that I’m literally from the middle of nowhere my PCS doesn’t Sprint very well. I can receive texts and e-mails when I’m at my parents but phone calls aren’t going to happen because I’m not falling for the additional roaming charges swindle. Just before I got home I get a text from my friend Harry, whose issues with mental health and homelessness I chronicled a while ago. I opened the text and read the message. It was brief and said “PLEASE CALL”.

When I get home I talk to my parents for a bit and take over for my pops who was in the kitchen cooking. I start making some mean gravy and I gave Harry a buzz to see what was going on. Everyone has had that moment when they know that a close friend isn’t doing well by the tone of their voice on the other end of the line. This is exactly the way Harry sounded when he picked up.

He answers “What’s going on Murray?” [II]

I told him that I was at home checking on my parents and some other things.

Hesitantly he then said “I… I just needed to talk. Are you coming back to Charleston tonight?”

“I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon. Bo, you need something?” [III]

Harry retorted with “Cool, call me when you get back and we’ll hook up then.”

We said goodbye and I told him I would do just what he asked. My mom who overheard my end of the conversation over the Bonanza re-run playing loudly in the den asked me what was wrong with Harry and I told her that he said that he needed to talk and wanted me to call him back the next day. She saw the concern on my face and made a comment about and I just went back to making the aforementioned bomb-a** gravy.

Honestly, the brief exchange with Harry worried me. It was another worry that was heaped atop of a pile of pre-existing worries that I was having that day. I compartmentalized what just happened and went about the other tasks in front of me.

The next day, Thursday, my sister Dale and I took my mom to her radiation treatment, something I should do more often.[IV] I then came home and took a nap before I headed back to Charleston. After a while I headed out and waited until I got into my coverage area to give Harry a call. He sounded startled when he answered and I asked how he was doing.

He said “I’m good!” Harry followed that up by saying “I just wanted talk… but I’m good now.”

Harry told me that he would talk to me later and I told him to call if he needs me. He still didn’t sound right or completely truthful but I had to take his word for what it was. Another week passes and I find out that Harry was hospitalized because he had a bi-polar episode the Sunday after our two short but awkward phone conversations. I felt like I let my man down for some reason.  Moneypenny told me not to beat myself up about it but naturally I couldn’t shake it all off. I talked to Harry on Saturday and he was out of the hospital after some new meds and some counseling. He thanked me and we briefly talked about football. Things were back to being normal. Well normalish.

On this past Sunday Moneypenny and I were watching Homeland and she asked if I was okay. I replied with “I’m good.” Hell, I actually was good but on the way home I realized I said the same thing that Harry said except that he wasn’t. People say “I’m good.” all of the time but like Harry sometimes they actually aren’t. My point is that if someone you care about has known mental health issues by all means ask if they are actually “good” from time to time. They may say yes and that could be the actual truth but on the other hand when you engage them they may just tell you that they aren’t. I’m usually pro-minding my own damn business but your question may just open a door for them to talk which is all some folks want at times.

Sorry that I rambled. Vaya con Dios.

[I] My hometown is rather small. 1/3 of the population is made up of prison inmates. If I were a rapper I could have very well used the same title of the old Field Mob cd “Pine Trees and Light Poles” to describe where I’m from. Well that or the Tru song “Swamp N***a”.

[II] Murray is another nickname that some of my friends from back home call me.

[III] I’m not sure if this is a South Carolina thing or something specific to the region where I’m from but we will not hesitate to call our people “bo”. This transcends both race and education levels.

[IV] Shout out to my littlelest big sister Dale for taking care of our parents. She’s a beast. She blew off my phone call the other day to watch an episode of “Life After” with Ginuwine but she’s a beast none the less.


9 responses to ““I’m Good…”

  1. The fact that you mentioned “Swamp N*gga” has kilt me. I drove that TRU tape into the ground back in the day. Far as the “I’m good”, my variation is “I’m fine”. Only if you are truly close, will you be able to tell that how I say it, is telling you all you need to know…lol! Prayers to your friend & your parents. Hang in.

    • Lol. “Swamp N*gga” popped into my head right after I typed “Pine Trees and Light Poles”. Considering that Percival Miller and his brothers did the heavy lifting on that Tru tape it was strangely listenable.

      Folks all have variations on “I’m good” but the tone is mostly always the same when it’s said. Thanks. My mom is a fighter and Harry is showing me a lot of his mettle right now too. There was a time when he wouldn’t have hospitalized himself. I find that telling.

  2. Wow, I’m glad Harry got the help he needed before things escalated. You shouldn’t feel guilty. You kept your word. Its not your fault you weren’t in Charleston at the exact moment. I’ll be sending up a prayer for you friend.

  3. I’ve pulled out the “I’m good” many a time when I just didn’t feel like talking about it or was in denial. Doing that is dangerous when you don’t find a safe outlet. And I echo LaLa. I can understand feeling guilty about what happened to Harry, but it wasn’t your fault. Glad he seems to be okay now.

  4. my mother who is still fighting cancer’s b**ch-a**.
    just from our passing convos about that f*ck sh*t known as cancer, i can literally picture your mother throwing bow’s at cancer, trying to kick its ass with all the strength she has 🙂 my prayers are still with her!

    i am not the type of person to say “im good” when im not, but it took me awhile to get to that point. but i think its a fine line between checking up on a friend and harassing them to talk to you. i have a very close friend who tells me she’s “good” but thats almost never the case. i used to constantly check up on her and damn near beg her to tell me what was going on (because i knew ish wasnt right) and that only seemed to make her less likely to talk to me about whats going on, and sometimes she’d down right avoid me. so i just let her talk to me when she’s ready. i at least remind her that im there for her when she does want to be proactive about telling me whats on her mind.

    and in the end, thats all we as friends can do for others. timing isnt always right, and sometimes its not always possible for us to physically be there for our friends. you just gotta hope and pray things work themselves out. and it seems like it did in your friends case (thank God).

    best wishes to him in his battle with his illness. and to you as well 🙂

    • Thanks Gemmie! Her weapon of choice is a old cast iron skillet.

      It really took me some time to arrive there too. The line between bugging the hell out of someone and being concerned is razor thin and even harder to navigate. All you can do is be there. We seldom have time on our sides but that doesn’t always mean things won’t end well. He is doing better and maybe he needed some treatment so here’s hoping.

  5. Pingback: Random Thoughts: My Favorite Sh*t of 2011 | Up Here on Cloud 9

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