“Good afternoon,” Daddy Hooks, said Mark; Hooks opened the door to let him inside. Hooks was Mark’s mentor, since the two met in the military. Hooks was 20 years older than Mark. The men had seen some rough times together but were grateful to still be alive. Mark entered the vestibule soaking wet, no umbrella his jacket weighted him down. He quickly removed the jacket and baseball cap. Hooks took them from him and placed them on hanger to dry. He handed Mark a towel. Mark started drying himself off.

Hooks stated, “How are you getting along without your significant other?”

Mark replied, “I miss her presence every day, but I deal with it, each day it gets little bit easier.

I have no love for cancer, because it is doing a number on my friends and family.” I never thought one disease could do so much damage.  Sad part of it all, everything happened so quickly. Watching my lovely wife disintegrate before my mind eyes, was heart wrenching.  A nurse came inside my wife’s room and said, “Your mother is doing fine today.” I looked at her then my wife, I quickly corrected her. That is when I knew her time was near. Buntricia, went from 140 pounds to 80 pounds. But time heal all wounds, it already been three years, and I have a new love interest. I still miss my wife, but she wanted me to move on and that’s what I’m trying to do.

Hooks responds, “Unseen occurrences become us all.”

Mark said, “That is why I am here today, I just had to talk to someone I could trust. You know just venting.”

Hooks said, “I know, what’s on your mind?”

“I’m seeing the world through different eyes now,” said Mark.

“How so?” said Hooks.

“I have mix feelings about what I see. One part of me wants to cheer on all the accomplishments of mankind and our people. The other part of me sees humanity as not having a clue to what is going on in the world around them.”

Hooks sat there with a smile of understanding on his face.

“Violence and hatred still top the list, as the main stimulus that govern our society. Lying and cheating to one another, is way of life for most,” said Mark.

“You’re in school once again; being with youth must give some hope?” Said Hooks.

“Engaged with the younger generation, I see they are oblivious to all what’s happening around them. They believe violence, killing and wars are just another form of entertainment.”

“Why do you say that?” Asked, Hooks.

“From the instructor to the student, everything they produce or encourage has these themes,” said Mark.

 “I just want to be loved once again. For me love has always been my inspiration for living. From Columbine, Parkland and Sandy Hook shooting to Black Lives Matter, Proud Boys and the attack on the capital, I’m sick of it all.

“Hoping humanity wakes up is a fruitless ambition” Hooks replied. Handing Mark, a cup of hot chocolate. The two men were sitting in Hook’s art gallery, where Hooks painted and did all his artwork.  An Accomplished artist in his late 70s, Hooks could draw and sculptor anything.

“I guess I am trying to find my place once again in this chaotic world” Mark stated. People are obsessed with the material world; not caring, how their existence affects each other.”

“Ever since mankind has been in existence, this problem is at the forefront of society,” said Hooks.

“I guess my ultimate question is, what can I do, to make a positive change in society? Or do, I even care anymore.”

Hooks replied, “Only you know this answer.”

“Maybe it is time for me to step aside and start smelling the roses and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine on a Caribbean Island,” Mark replied.

Watching my mentors move on, from this form of life, is truly a humbling experience. It only begs the question; what will I do with the remaining time I have left in life?”

“Well! Mark, that is the million-dollar question, we all must ask ourselves at some point in life.

            I say to you be cognizant of the signs the Universe is sending you and live your life to the fullest. After you graduate take that beautiful woman you have been talking to and go to some Caribbean Island and enjoy. The answer to question you seek, will find its way to you.”

“Thank you as always for your much valued advice.” said Mark. The two men hugged each other.

“Stop beating yourself up with the problems of the world; It is your time to just live,” said Hooks.

“Amen” said Mark.   


Ken Bastian Hails from the Bronx, New York. Disabled Army Veteran and community leader. Deputy executive director for youth organization in Queens N. Y. Follow on twitter@kennethbastian3