The Shell of Despair
When I was an adolescent, perhaps four or five years of age, I came face to face with despair. At the time, I did not know this would be the closest encounter I would have with it, but I did know I was meeting it. I had a friend from preschool who was my best friend. She lived in my neighborhood and we would always play together. Then one day she called me and I was expecting a happy voice if I anted to come over. Instead I heard a confused, puzzle voice coming through the phone. To quote her verbatim, she said, “Andrew, I think my cousin is dead. My parents said he committed suicide.” Neither of us knew what that meant, nor was it explained to us. So I went over her house and her father asked me if I wanted to go with them. I could tell he was very sad because usually he was an absolute lunatic…the good kind. So I went with them, knowing I could offer some consolation in the form of happiness. We went to the house, and in the car ride, we learned the definition of suicide. The act of killing yourself defines suicide. So, we drove silently and glumly to the house. Instantly, I saw bright colors, almost like someone dropped neon paint everywhere. Grass as green as a granny smith apple lay in front of me, opening up to a large hill. At the peak of the hill, a sunflower colored house perched, almost like a yellow canary perches on a branch. The walkway, of course, was a bright red, almost hot pink. A swing set stood in the backyard with blue swings. There in the back, hanging from a tree, was an unused climbing rope. I saw my friend’s dad point to the rope and the mother gasped, tears flew down her cheeks. It was an odd state for me to be in, especially as a young child. I walked into the bright house and instantly life went gray. The cool whisper of despair crept down my spine as I looked at the faces of my friend’s relatives. Tears streamed down faces, if captured them I could have made a lake. I heard a lot of talking and I said a lot of “sorry for your loss”. Eventually we left, I left with a better understanding of how sad that day was. As I left the house, despair didn’t stop clinging to my shoulders. All the way to the car it hung on. As I stepped into the car, I looked at the colorful house, and with despair clouding my view; it didn’t look so colorful anymore. When I got home, I went straight to bed and cried, because despair can effect even the strongest of people.
Strength is a physical attribute, however the strongest of people cannot overcome the strongest of emotions. This is particularly true for those who have not experienced despair, or other emotions. However, a certain group of people experienced despair first hand and are hardened against it. However, they may be hardened against despair, but they can’t avoid it. This particular race is the Negro race. Many authors, poets and painters have beautifully captured the despair felt by Negroes all over America during the time of slavery. Despite so many...