I’m clearly getting old. I often spend more time remembering than planning or building for what’s next. That, I believe is a sign of ‘old age’. I met Yazid during those stormy years of college in the late sixties. I don’t know what I was thinking or hoping or even ‘doing’ sometimes those days. I don’t even remember how I met Yazid. It seems back then that people would just ‘show up’ in life. That phenomenon seems to happen more rarely these days—but then, time has so much more meaning, the shorter that it gets.
Yazid was could be found around college and activist events of the time. I don’t know when he expressed an interest in me, but I remember that is was often evident when I would see him. One time we met somewhere and he took me to his home. He was an active member of the Black Panther Party at the time. He told me that there had been a crack-down by the Boston Police on Panther activities. He asked me to carry his gun in my purse in case we were stopped. I remembered the weight of the pistol in my purse and my heightened anxiety from the danger of ‘carrying’. That was the first and last time I have ever had a gun in my possession. Even then, I had chosen ‘the word’ as my preferred weapon, when necessary.
We went to Yazid’s place that evening. I met his mom and then we went to his room where we talked, hugged a little and so on. At that time, I was still searching and betting on the “knight in shining armour”. Somehow, I don’t think Yazid fit the bill in my mind at that time although he was were wise, caring, intelligent and as true as anyone can be when they were navigating through early adulthood in the panorama of the 1960’s. Where are you Yazid?
I remember a few other times we got together or met in passing and Yazid’s counsel was always solid when needed. I converted to Islam in 1969 and used to walk the streets of Boston transformed in my Muslim regalia. Even then, being aware of the ‘stated’ differences in our policies and politics Yazid showed me care and consideration when he saw me.
I went on to live my life in the ways that it came to me and I’m sure Yazid did the same. I married, had two children, divorced and kept living. I ran into Yazid one time in the late seventies or early eighties. This was after my return to Boston after a stint in Chicago in the mid to late seventies. I was with my children at Boston’s Franklin Park. We chatted for a bit and I remember a certain longing that was ever-present in me during those times for something personal and substantial. Yazid seemed as if he was searching as I was in his own way. He mentioned that he was ready to get out of Boston to go somewhere but he didn’t know where. I understood the feeling. I remember giving Yazid my business card, but clearly seeing that our connection, our ‘magic’ was most likely a thing of the past.
I never saw Yazid again. At the time of our last meeting I had clearly been vetted by the reckonings of motherhood, life and time itself. I believe there was a ‘hunger’ that hung around me like an awning. This ‘hunger’ was something far different than the innocent longing that I walked with in my girlhood. It was something more palpable and ominous to me and probably to others as well. In 1986 I followed my California Dream to the San Francisco Bay Area. During the early to late 90’s I traveled, worked and lived frequently on the African Continent while keeping northern California as my home base. In 2003 I moved to Houston where I live presently.
These days I often take time to reflect on the past– its passion, its purpose and its endearments. Often thoughts of Yazid come up as do those of many others. My life is extremely rich with love, experience, experiment, knowledge and travel. I hold these all sacred and remain thankful for all the varied experiences and people. Hungrily, I still hope for more. But I still wonder: Yazid, where are you? Thank you.