I don't usually eat my own cookies, you see.
I made them for Nikki's family, as not only Nikki, but her family loves them...
I would take a tin of them whenever she invited me over to family gatherings. She said I didn't have to bring anything, just bring myself, but she knew how I was in that I never liked to show up anywhere empty handed.
I don't have much, and I have a hard time expressing how much I care for you...
But I can make a mean cookie... and that goes a long way in accomplishing such...
And to thank her and her family for taking me in, and treating me like one of their own.
Now, when I arrived at Nikki's house on Wednesday night, there were many people there. People were arriving and leaving and what not. Nikki's Mom, who I affectionatley call "Mama Nikki", was walking down the driveway.
"I'm running to the store, Lee," she said. "Go on in the house, we'll be right back."
That wasn't a problem. I just about know everybody. And I arrived at the same time as one of her cousins, who had been cracking me up with old stories of Nikki. I was more than content to just hang out with her and others.
Mama Nikki stared at the huge silver tin I gripped in my hands.
"5 dozen cookies, Mama Nikki. I told ya'll the other night that I'd be back over, and that I was baking up cookies."
She immediately grabbed the tin from my hands and marched with the quick step back up the driveway and into the house.
I was quick on her heels. Nikki's brother Swad had held me up on the front porch by snatching me in a big hug, but I caught up to Mama Nikki in the dining room as she was attempting to hide the cookies.
"Mama Nikki!" I said. "Uh, I'ma need you to share the cookies."
She shook her head.
"Come on now, Mama Nikki. There's enough for everybody."
"Alright, Lee," she said. She reluctantly placed the tin on the table.
That was just something funny to me.
Something to make me laugh through my tears.
It helps right now just to be over in the house where Nikki lived. Funny how I was expecting her to walk down the stairs and yell "What's up, Sis?"
Over the past year, she'd become like a sister to me. I'm STILL trying to figure out how to process my feelings and put them into words. But right now, it just helps to be around people who knew her all her life and who look like her.
I stayed a couple of hours the other night, and when I was leaving, Mama Nikki walked me out to my car.
"You don't have to come over here every day," she said.
"I know. And I'm not. I just wanted to stop by. When I'm here, I feel like I'm near Nikki."
She nodded, draped her arm over my shoulders.
"I miss my girl, Lee," she said.
I had to blink back the tears, because I didn't want her to see me cry.
She looks like an older version of Nikki, same chocolate complexion, same dred locks...
When I see her, I see Nikki, and that there is enough to get me all choked up. I'd been holding it together pretty well in the house.
"I miss her too, Mama Nikki," I said, trying desperately trying to keep the shake and quiver out of my voice.
She was around there being so strong for everyone. I can't imagine how it feels to lose her child, "my girl", as she called her. I can't imagine her hurt and pain.
I feel for Mama Nikki and her family...
I truly do...
They miss you, Nikki...
May you rest in peace, and may the memory of you live strong in their hearts... forever and ever.