I long for the days when things were simple; when love didn’t have its ‘ifs’, ‘buts’, & ‘maybes’. When Mama would take my sisters & I to the park & I would swing, watch the sky explode in oranges & reds, when the sunset.When eating ice cream made my day better, when the only men in my life were my father, uncles & cousins; only there to love, teach & protect.When my parents took care of me, before I had to take care of everyone. I long for the days when I felt my heart beat with the prospect of being close to him. When we talked & walked through sinews streets. The nights we spent making love, when dusk turned to dawn, his body still curled around mine like barbed wire. I was bleeding love. I miss when we awoke & he made coffee. The images: A cup in his hand & his ash pink lips pressed against the ceramic. The scents: morning breath & ‘it’s a new day’ filtered cocoa beans. I felt: Like every day was more beautiful because it was filled with him, every day my heart swell with love. I long for when Mickey was still living in NDG & she used to sing, back then, she still had beautiful dreams. Before the heartbreak, yeah, it was him that stole her magic. I miss the feel of snowflakes on my tongue, sliding down mountains of snow, walking to the park, hand in hand with my father. I miss the small things; Getting my first set of designer sneaks when I was 16. I used to wear my mother’s battered shoes until my parents scraped enough money for a new pair. I miss having 5$ in my pockets & feeling like I have a million bucks. I miss eating patties & drinking chubbies after school with Naya, parading on Walkley & seeking cute boys, passing by the building apartment where Kishorn got shot. Mostly, I long for the old me. The ‘me’ before struggle, drama & men created a new Nana: responsible. Strong. Fast with my tongue but slower to trust. I long for my younger days, before I shed my childish ways. Although I am grateful for the blessings along the way, sometimes I dread the responsibilities that come with being a woman.