Every time I see a commercial for The Bachelorette as I watch last springs’ recordings—don’t judge me—I think of her.
The classy woman on TV with chocolate skin smiling from ear to ear spins in a red dress sweeping behind her as she turns. And then I think of her.
Her. She’ll never see the next season in 2018. In fact, prior to Rachel getting the gig, I never watched that show—and I still haven’t watched The Bachelor. However, I probably won’t watch The Bachelorette in 2018 anyway. If I did, she and I would message each other intermittently throughout the program to throw shade and roll eyes at the men who rubbed us the wrong way, or we’d share who we thought were the cutest contestants. Ohhh, the memories. Yeah, she hated Kenny and Whazooo man. I equally shared the same sentiments of the Whazoo man but usually stuck up for Kenny. Glad Rachel didn’t choose him. She and I were happy that she chose Brian. She made the right choice. She and I wanted Peter to be chosen as the next bachelor and agreed that we’d watch that if that were to happen. It didn’t.
So yeah. No Peter as The Bachelor, no more Rachel and no more her. Here is where I pout.
Well, who is she? Or at this point, who is her? And I suppose without a doubt that this post is well overdue. Hell, this blog post is well-overdue. Haven’t written since June. Grrrr. I swear I wasn’t dragging my feet, but I wasn’t skipping to do it either. I wanted to acknowledge her sooner. I guess somewhere in my head, I needed time to do it without getting too upset. So, as I write this, I’m okay. But it doesn’t mean when I feel that spirit of New York through any means, that I don’t think about her and how she loved her place of residency. The native girl/long-time resident loved the fall and New York, just like me. Oh, and she loved to write. Yeah, there’s the painful part. Reflecting on the fact that an author cannot and will not be writing anymore. Doesn’t sound . . . humane. Sounds like a writer’s worst nightmare. It’s a nightmare though that only us mere mortals are aware of but, not Qiana. And thank God for that.
I know Qiana is probably looking down saying, “Oh, don’t worry about me, baby. I’m good up here. But while you’re down there, be all that you can be while you still have time.” That’s what I imagine she’d say. That’s comforting. No, really. I have a brother in heaven. The last thing I’d want or believe is that he’s up in heaven worrying about the trivials of what used to be. What’s important on Earth won’t be the same when we leave. And that’s a good thing. Okay. Back on track here.
Well, yes, the Brooklyn babe was named Qiana. She was married. I often wonder how her husband is. Aside from the obvious, I just want to know how he’s holding up. I could tell he loved her just by what she shared in Messenger. I shared a little, she shared a little . . . We traded the names of our boos. She sent me a pic of their wedding photo—a tall, handsome white man with a baby face stood shoulder to shoulder with her short, petite frame. They looked cute, happy. And now that’s no more. They’d just celebrated their anniversary in August. And then she passed away seven days into September.
I knew something was up when she told me she had been sick and weak, suffering from a flare up. She’d told me about her disease. It’s prominent in blacks more so than in other ethnicities. Unfortunately, I was used to her disappearing for about two weeks and resurfacing out of the blue. It’d happened twice before. One of those times, she’d come close to dying. This time, the same thing that almost killed her last time actually did this time. I still want to preserve her privacy even though she’s no longer here and omit what exactly happened and what she suffered from. But, yeah, a minority woman in New York City working as a school counselor really does go against what’s best for a woman in her condition. Nothing but stress! At least she was happy!!! I would take the same gamble as well. Wouldn’t give up New York or counseling. I almost became a counselor, so I know how deep the love and need to help goes. She and I had so many things in common I tell ya. Oh! And we used to ask about each other’s states. She’d tell me about New York and how things were up there, though I’d been there countless times, it’s nothing like talking to a native. And she’d ask me about DC and Virginia. We’d share the culture of situations and social repsonses based on where we lived. It was nice. She’d tell me how she wished she was further along in her writing, but how life would interrupt a rapid flow of progress. She’d encourage me, ask for advice as well. But the day I found out she died, was because toward the middle-end of September, I’d grown suspicious of the fact that she hadn’t reached out. The other times when she didn’t, we hadn’t grown as close. But this time, we did.
So, I’d visited her wall after waking up one morning. She instantly popped into my mind, and I finally got my answer after it clicked: Dawn, check her FB Page. Maybe someone posted something. Saw someone say they missed her once I scrolled down. When it said ‘RIP’ my worst fear had been confirmed.
Well, the last day we spoke was on September 5th. The last thing she said to me was a question, wanting to know if my boyfriend helped me with the business side of my writing. When I responded, I didn’t get anything. I shrugged it off. She was heading to work to get ready for the school year before the children’s first day back. Or, students, I should say, because she worked in a middle school. So, I brushed it off. But when the days added up, and I considered her health, I told myself, ‘She’s done this before and will pop back up.’ Nope. After week two, I didn’t like the feeling that I had. That’s how I came to find my confirmation. I never thought she read my last message but that day of sadness prompted me to review our messages. Back then, yup, just a few months ago, I didn’t know that the check mark beside a memo meant that the person didn’t see the message. Then my curiosity grew and wanted to get to the bottom of what it meant when a person’s profile pic showed up beside your message. So, I clicked on it, and her avatar popped up. Then it became clear that she’d actually read my response when all this time I thought she hadn’t. That comforted me. That day, I needed to see that.
I miss her.
I never met her. Had plans to. I mean they were loose, but we had plans to do some New York City promotion with another indie New York author. I’d pictured the three of us meeting for the first time, having fun in New York. Two New Yorkers, one Washingtonian. Now it’ll be one New Yorker, one Washingtonian.
Qiana was supportive. Look at her Instagram wall. It’s gorgeous! She liked expensive things but in all the right areas. Makeup, clothes, technology, and simple day-to-day items. This was a girl I could get girly with. Tea drinkers with the desire to write on an Apple. Hell, we both had that interracial love in common. Hers, white, mine, Latino. How’d you meet your man? How’d you meet your man? So many things to keep a conversation going in person. We just, had a lot in common. And you know us ladies, we like to establish that line of commonalities real quick. Somehow, we think that’s what’s gonna make that friendship magical. And you know what, in most cases, it does! Put a little keepin’ it one hunned, loyalty, and supportiveness in there, and you’ve got a good friend on your hand. From what I can tell, she had it in her.
Qiana reminded me that some of the coolest and the best people can be the ones who’ve never smacked a greeting hand into yours. That sometimes you need that online voice of confidence to cheer you on. And that even if you’ve never met someone physically, they can still touch your heart and be on your mind shall they pass away. Well, Qiana is the first person to do all of this.
We authors live in a world where we typically support one another. We share the same complaints, same concerns. We belong to a bubble that gets popped by readers who wish to step inside as well and embrace the world where words give life. Outsiders may not understand the deep, online camaraderie among authors who typically, have never met. We have the filthiest mouths decorated by a sense of humor, killing all stereotypes that authors are nothing but socially awkward freaks and geeks. No, we’re outspoken, brazen, supportive, festive! You’ll find many hand-over-the-mouth-worthy words than you can count in one day. Then our world can turn feisty, petty, gossipy. But at the end of the day, we offer assistance to those who need it. And then the author world is full of some love again. *Shrugs*
But Qiana admitted to me that she needed to work on her level of interaction with fellow authors. Regardless, once upon a time, she was a part of this world—the author world. True, she didn’t get to drop that book among her readers. At best, she was able to share some work on Wattpad. So, at least some people got to see her work. At least she made some meaningful connections, connections she would’ve probably never made had she not been a writer in the first place. And for someone like me, she’s already published. How? Because when authors share their work, you get a piece of their souls. So, since she shared bits of her life with me, she told a story to me already, albeit indirectly, out of sequence, untitled, and without an ISBN number. Everyone has a story within, a story to tell, and that’s why we need to listen when others speak. Yes, Qiana was an author of fiction, and, I didn’t get to read her book. However, I read her book already without even knowing it. This one just happened to be an autobiography. 💕💗💕