The 00's: Year Three

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From The 00's To The Afterlife

It was Friday, March 5, 2004. It was after school. Late in the afternoon, I was sitting in the living room watching cartoons on Cartoon Network at my place.

I heard my mother break down in tears from her bedroom. As my mother was crying, I got up from the living room couch and exited the living room. I went into my mother’s bedroom.

“Mom, what’s wrong?“, I asked. My Mom used a Kleenex tissue for her face before responding. “Your grandma has passed away.“, my Mom said with tears still coming down her face.

“Come on, you can’t be joking. Right?“, I said. My mother continued crying. “Wow, you’re for real.“, I said.

The crying continued. “But what’s gonna happen to our old address?“, I asked. My Mom used the Kleenex tissue again.

“It’s going to be put up for sale.“, my Mom said very sadly. “When in the world did this happen?“, I asked. “Today at five in the morning.“, my Mom said sadly.

“How did she die?“, I asked. “Cancer. But don’t worry, your grandma is in a much better place now.“, my Mom said. “When is the funeral?“, I asked.

“We still haven’t figured that part out yet. I miss her so much.“, my Mom said. “I miss her too.“, I said. I handed my Mom another Kleenex tissue and she used it. “Is there a chance we might be able to move back to our old address?“, I asked. “Why would you want to do that?“, my Mom asked.

“Because I miss my old address. And now that grandma is gone, I don’t want it to go up for sale. I’ve had so many great childhood memories there.“, I said. “That may be possible. I’m not sure yet. I’d prefer not to.“, my Mom said. “What? Why not?“, I asked.

“Because that house would bring back memories of your grandma and that would make me even sadder.“, my Mom said. “Okay, I understand. Sorry for asking.“, I said. “Now, your grandma doesn’t want us crying over her for the remainder of our lives. I’m pretty confident that she wants all of us to move on with our lives and live life to the fullest. Because no one knows what tomorrow holds.“, my Mom said.

“Well, she’s still alive in my memory. I wish she took better care of herself so she could be alive for at least a few more years.“, I said. “I’m going to head back to the living room to watch some more Cartoon Network. Let me know later on when is the funeral.“, I said. I left the living room feeling very sad, but not crying. My Mom broke down in tears again.

***

It was Saturday, March 6, 2004. It was afternoon. I was watching TV in the living room at my place.

A knock was heard at the front door. I got up and walked to the front door. “Who is it?“, I asked.

“It’s me, dude.“, Steve said. I opened the door. Steve came in and I closed the front door.

“Hey, I already see you got Cartoon Network on the TV screen.“, Steve said. Steve sat down on the living room couch. I sat down next to Steve.

I and Steve started watching TV together. “You know what, who needs TV? You wanna play video games instead? We can play on your PS1.“, Steve said. “Nah, no thanks. I’m not really in the mood to play video games today. Maybe another time. Let’s just continue looking at the TV.“, I said very sadly.

“Um, okay.“, Steve said. I and Steve continued watching TV together. “Hey, you sound really sad. Is there something that’s bothering you?“, Steve said.

“What? Me? Sad? No way.“, I said. I and Steve continued watching TV together. “Are you sure? Because you still sound pretty sad to me.“, Steve said.

“I just said nothing is bothering me. Can we please drop it?“, I said. “Okay, fine. Sorry for asking a second time.“, Steve said. I and Steve continued watching TV together.

I sighed and turned off the TV. “So, you do want to play video games?“, Steve asked. “No, it’s not that. I lied. There is something that is bothering me.“, I said.

“Okay, well, I’m your best friend. You can talk to me about anything. What’s bothering you?“, Steve said. “My grandmother on my mother’s side of the family just recently passed away. As a result, my old childhood home may or may not be going up for sale. And I don’t want it to go up for sale since I’ve had so many wonderful childhood memories at my old place. If someone else rents or buys my old place, I may never get the chance to move back into my first-ever home and make new childhood memories.“, I said. “Wow, well, I’m sorry about your grandma.“, Steve said.

“How do I convince my Mom to move us back to our old address? She said she prefers not to move back there since the memories of my late grandmother would make her even sadder than she is right now.“, I said. “Well, I don’t know what may or may not convince her to move back to the old address. She said she prefers not to move back which means the odds of moving back there are leaning more towards a no. Plus, she’s an adult. Adults always have the final say.“, Steve said. “Well, that sure doesn’t make me feel any better.“, I said.

“Don’t you like this address?“, Steve asked. “Sure, my current address is cool and everything. But I spent the first seven years of my life at the old address. That’s a lot of time. If we end up staying here, how am I possibly gonna ever get over that?“, I said. “Well, if you two end up not moving back, just be satisfied with all the good times you had back at the old place. And know that enough great memories were made at the old address. Once you realize that, you can be able to move on with your life no matter what happens.“, Steve said.

“Yeah, but only if we don’t move back would I be satisfied with just the great memories I already had.“, I said. “Hey, I bet there’s like a truckload of memories you can up with from those seven years.“, Steve said. “Yeah, but where would I start. There are so many of them. Probably more than a truckload. I remember the first time Ariana came over to visit me after we met in daycare.“, I said.

***1997 FLASHBACK***

It was Saturday, June 21, 1997. It was a sunny afternoon. At my old address, I (three years old) was standing in my bedroom with Ariana (four years old).

“So, what do you usually do in here?“, Ariana asked. “Watch TV.“, I said. “What do you watch on TV?“, Ariana asked.

“Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network.“, I said. “Okay, what else do you usually do here?“, Ariana asked. “I also like to color.“, I said.

“Cool. Show me.“, Ariana said. I went somewhere in the bedroom and pulled out a few coloring books. I sat them down on the floor.

Then I pulled out a box of crayons. I sat those crayons down on the floor. Ariana picked up the box of crayons.

“Wow, you got a lot of colors. I’ve never had this many colors before.“, Ariana said. Ariana sat the box of crayons down on the floor. “What else do you usually do around here?“, Ariana asked.

“I eat, sleep, and drink.“, I said. “Hey, I do that too.“, Ariana said. “What else do you usually do here?“, Ariana asked.

“I think that’s it. So, what do you want to do?“, I said. “I don’t know what do you want to do?“, Ariana asked. “I still don’t know what I want to do.“, I said.

“Ooooh, I know. Let’s color together.“, Ariana said. “Okay.“, I said. I and Ariana sat down on the floor.

I got a coloring book and Ariana got a coloring book. I opened my coloring book and Ariana opened her temporary coloring book. I opened up my box of crayons and pulled out a crayon.

Ariana went into the box of crayons and pulled out a crayon. We both started coloring together. “Wow, these are really cool pictures. I think I’m gonna like hanging out here.“, Ariana said with a smile. Ariana continued coloring with me.

***1997 FLASHBACK***

“Believe it or not, she was the first kid of this group of friends to hang out with me at my place.“, I said. “Yeah, but that’s just one memory. I’m sure you can come up with plenty more memories. Just think.“, Steve said. I was thinking.

“Hey, I’ve got another memory.“, I said. “You do? That’s terrific. Does this memory also take place in the 90s?“, Steve said. “You’ll find out when I describe the memory.“, I said.

***1997 FLASHBACK***

It was Saturday, June 28, 1997. It was another sunny afternoon. I was sitting on the floor in my room coloring.

Ariana walked into the room. “Hey, Jamal.“, Ariana said. I stopped coloring and got up from the floor.

“Hey.“, I said. “So, what do you wanna do together?“, Ariana asked. “Hmmm, let me think.“, I said.

I was thinking. “Wanna go in my Mom’s room and jump on her bed?“, I asked smiling. “But wouldn’t your Mom get mad?“, Ariana asked.

“Only if we get caught.“, I said. “Okay, let’s do it.“, Ariana said smiling. I and Ariana exited my room.

We went into the hallway and entered my Mom’s bedroom. Ariana quietly closed the bedroom door. “Last one to jump on the bed is a rotten egg!“, Ariana said. Ariana quickly got on the bed and started jumping on it.

I quickly got on the bed and started jumping on it. Then we were both jumping on my Mom’s bed at the same time. We had a lot of fun jumping on her bed without her knowledge.

Then my mother walked into her room and we quickly sat on the bed. My Mom saw us jumping on the bed. “What in the world were you two just doing in here?“, my Mom asked.

“Nothing!“, I said quickly. “Yeah, what he said.“, Ariana said. “Are you sure? It sure looked like you two were in here doing something.“, my Mom said.

“We weren’t doing anything.“, I said. “Yeah, we certainly weren’t jumping on the bed.“, Ariana said. “I didn’t say one word about the bed. Ah, so I guess that means you two were jumping on the bed. Come on, now. Tell the truth.“, my Mom said.

“It was her idea!“, I said. “Hey, no it wasn’t! It was his idea!“, Ariana said. “Well, I don’t care who came up with the idea, no more jumping on the bed. Are we clear?“, my Mom said.

“We’re clear.“, I and Ariana said at the same time. My Mom got what she came in there to get and left the bedroom. I ran over to the door and took a peek outside.

I closed the bedroom door. “Okay, the coast is clear.“, I said smiling. I and Ariana quickly got on the bed and started jumping on it again. We kept bouncing up and down on the bed.

Then as more time progressed, my Mom quickly opened the door and we quickly sat on the bed. My Mom closed the door. I and Ariana started jumping on the bed again.

My Mom quickly opened the door and we quickly sat on the bed. “Okay, out. Both of you. You two shouldn’t even be in here. Go on, get. Scram.“, my Mom said. I and Ariana left the bedroom.

I and Ariana were outside my Mom’s room. “So, what do you wanna do now?“, Ariana asked. “Let’s go jump on my grandma’s bed.“, I said smiling. “Okay.“, Ariana said smiling. Then I and Ariana went into my grandma’s bedroom and started jumping on her bed.

***1997 FLASHBACK***

***1997 FLASHBACK***

It was Saturday, July 12, 1997. It was a sunny afternoon. I (three years old) and Amanda (three years old) were standing inside my bedroom.

“So, what do you wanna do now?“, I asked. “Let’s play house?“, Amanda asked. “Okay, how do you play house?“, I asked.

“We both pretend that we run a house just like how our parents take care of a house.“, Amanda said. “Okay, I’ll be the daddy.“, I said. “Okay, I’ll be the mommy.“, Amanda said.

“How do we take care of a house?“, I asked. “By cleaning it. You go grab that imaginary broom over there. And I’ll go get that imaginary mop.“, Amanda said. I got the imaginary broom and Amanda got the imaginary mop. Then we played pretend cleaning our imaginary house.

We were almost finished doing what we were doing. And then we were done. “Now, what do we do?“, I asked.

“Cook.“, Amanda said. “Great idea. I sure am starving.“, I said. We both started pretending to cook grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.

We were almost done with the imaginary cooking. Then our imaginary lunches were finished. We both got our imaginary grilled cheese sandwiches and pretended to eat.

“Mmmmm, that was delicious. Now, what?“, I said. “Now, we fold laundry.“, Amanda said. I and Amanda walked over to another spot in the room and started folding imaginary laundry.

We continued folding imaginary laundry and were doing a very good job at it. Then we both were finished. “Okay, all done.“, Amanda said.

“Now what?“, I asked. “Now we have to pay our bills.“, Amanda said. “Okay.“, I said.

Amanda picked up a real nickel from off the floor and put it inside a real envelope. She closed the envelope and put the envelope inside a drawer that was meant to be an imaginary mailbox. “There, I just paid the bills. Now, just do what I did.“, Amanda said.

“Okay.“, I said. I picked up a real nickel from off the floor and put it inside a real envelope. I closed the envelope and put the envelope inside a drawer that was meant to be an imaginary mailbox. “Okay, I did what you just did. Now what?“, I said.

“Now you have to go outside and mow the lawn.“, Amanda said. “But how do you do that?“, I asked. “I’m not sure. Hey, the lawn can wait. Let’s water the flowers together.“, Amanda said.

“But if this room is our pretend house, where is our pretend backyard supposed to be?“, I asked. “How about we use that porch outside?“, Amanda asked. “Okay.“, I said. Then I and Amanda opened the door to the backyard porch from my room.

***1997 FLASHBACK***

“Yeah, you two were truly made for each other.“, Steve said. “Yeah, it’d be cool if the time machine finally gets invented one day so I can go back in time and relive such precious childhood memories.“, I said. “Any more memories you can come up with?“, Steve asked.

***1998 FLASHBACK***

It was Saturday, April 4, 1998. It was afternoon. I (four years old) and Brad (four years old) were lying on the grass in the backyard of my old address watching the clouds go by.

“Hey, do you know why clouds always look different?“, I asked. “No.“, Brad said. “Me neither.“, I said.

“Hey, you see that cat up in the sky?“, I asked. “Where?“, Brad asked. “Up there.“, I said.

“I don’t see a cat.“, Brad said. “It’s right there. The cloud that’s shaped like a cat.“, I said. “I don’t see a cloud that’s shaped like a cat.“, Brad said.

“Hey, I see a dog.“, I said. “Where?“, Brad asked. “Up there. It’s a cloud that’s shaped like a puppy.“, I said.

“I don’t see a cloud that’s shaped like a puppy.“, Brad said. “What about that Lion?“, I asked. “I don’t see a Lion.“, Brad said.

“What about that cloud? It’s shaped like a Tiger.“, I said. “I don’t see a cloud that’s shaped like a Tiger.“, Brad said. “Do you see any cloud that looks like something else?“, I asked.

“No, they all look like clouds to me.“, Brad said. “What about that tiny cloud? Doesn’t that one look like a baseball?“, I asked. “I don’t see a cloud that looks like a baseball.“, Brad said. “You’re not a very good cloud watcher.“, I said. Then we continued watching the clouds go by.

***1998 FLASHBACK***

***1998 FLASHBACK***

It was Thursday, December 24, 1998. It was evening. I (four years old) and Nathan (four years old) were standing inside my room.

“You know a way we could kill time until Santa gets here?“, Nathan asked. “Let’s go jump on my Mom’s bed.“, I said. “Okay.“, Nathan said.

Moments later, I and Nathan were jumping on my Mom’s bed. We continued jumping on the bed until my Mom walked in. Then my mother walked in and we quickly sat on the bed.

“What are you two doing in here?“, my Mom asked. “Nothing.“, I said. “Yep, nothing at all. And we weren’t jumping on the bed.“, Nathan said.

“Nathan, you’re not supposed to mention that we were jumping on the bed.“, I said. “Oh, I mean, nothing.“, Nathan said. “Okay, you know how that song goes.“, my Mom said.

“What song?“, I asked. “He’s making a list. And checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice. Santa Claus is coming to town.“, my Mom sang. “Even though it’s Christmas Eve, Santa still has some time left to change his mind on some children.“, my Mom said.

“Oh, no. She’s right. I don’t want a lump of coal under the tree.“, Nathan said. “Come on, let’s get out of here while we’re both still nice.“, I said. I and Nathan quickly exited my Mom’s bedroom.

***1998 FLASHBACK***

“There were also some great memories made close to Christmas.“, I said. “Okay, what else you got?“, Steve asked. “Let’s see.“, I said.

***1999 FLASHBACK***

It was Monday, June 28, 1999. It was evening. I (five years old), Nathan (five years old), and Brad (five years old) were watching WWE on the TV in the basement.

“Come on, Stone Cold, you’ve got this!“, Nathan said. “No way, The Undertaker is gonna win!“, Brad said. “In your dreams!“, Nathan said.

“Jamal, who do you think is gonna win? Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Undertaker?“, Brad asked. “Do I have to pick a side?“, I asked. “Yes, you do.“, Nathan said.

“No, he doesn’t!“, Brad said. “Yes, he does!“, Nathan said. “No, he doesn’t!“, Brad said. “Yes, he does!“, Nathan said. “No, he doesn’t!“, Brad said.

“Guys, guys, can we please all just get along?!“, I asked. Nathan and Brad stopped arguing. All three of us continued to watch WWE.

On the TV screen, both wrestlers got inside the ring. The Undertaker punched Stone Cold Steve Austin and Stone Cold fell to the mat. The Undertaker attempted to pin Stone Cold but only got a count of two.

Then The Undertaker tried to win by submission but was unsuccessful. Stone Cold Steve Austin did some punching of his own. A few moments later, both wrestlers were lying on the mat.

Both wrestlers got up from the mat and Stone Cold Steve Austin kicked The Undertaker after he was backed up into a corner by him. Stone Cold did some more kicking. Then The Undertaker was backed up into a corner by Stone Cold.

The Undertaker was getting kicked by Stone Cold Steve Austin. Moments later, Stone Cold Steve Austin performed a stunner on The Undertaker. Stone Cold Steve Austin attempted to pin the Undertaker.

Then just before the referee made it to a count of three, he was pulled from underneath the bottom rope. The referee was outside the ring. Then Stone Cold punched the dude who pulled the referee from underneath the rope.

Stone Cold and the referee were back in the ring with The Undertaker. The Undertaker performed a wrestling move on Stone Cold. Then Stone Cold performed another stunner on The Undertaker.

Then Stone Cold Steve Austin won the match and the WWE championship. “Yes, yes, I knew it! Stone Cold wins! In your face!“, Nathan said to Brad. “Hey, no fair! He cheated!“, Brad said.

“No, he didn’t! He won the title fair and square!“, Nathan said. “But no one beats The Undertaker! So, he cheated!“, Brad said. “Can you two please stop arguing? You are really starting to irritate me.“, I said.

“Sorry, Jamal.“, Nathan said. “Yeah, what he said.“, Brad said. “Come on, let’s continue watching wrestling.“, Nathan said. Then all three of us continued watching professional wrestling.

***1999 FLASHBACK***

***2000 FLASHBACK***

It was Saturday, July 22, 2000. It was a nice and sunny afternoon outside with clear skies. I (six years old) and Amanda (six years old) were in the backyard at my place. Amanda was putting in some basketball practice after me before we went head-to-head.

“Okay, every made shot is worth one point. Last one to twenty-one points is a rotten egg.“, Amanda said bouncing a basketball up and down. “You’re on.“, I said. Amanda passed the ball to me and the game officially started.

I was bouncing the ball up and down trying to figure out a way to get past the defense (Amanda) and score. I tried getting past Amanda but was unsuccessful. I kept trying to score.

Then Amanda quickly took the ball from me and scored easily. “Is it just me or do I smell a rotten egg cooking?“, Amanda asked. Amanda passed me the ball again.

I was bouncing the ball up and down trying to figure out a way to get past Amanda and score. Amanda quickly took the ball from me again. And she scored again.

Amanda passed me the ball. I quickly got farther away from Amanda and tried to score but the shot wasn’t even close to the rim. It was an “airball”.

Amanda started laughing. “What kind of shot was that?“, Amanda asked. I picked up the ball and the game continued.

As the game continued, I attempted another shot. I missed it again. It was another “airball”.

“Ha, you can’t even hit the rim.“, Amanda said. “I will sooner or later.“, I said. I picked up the ball and the game continued.

I had possession of the ball until Amanda took it from me again and scored. The score was 3-0 in favor of Amanda. “Only rotten eggs can finish a game with zero points.“, Amanda said.

Amanda gave me the ball and the game continued. I had the ball. Then Amanda took it from me and scored again.

The score was now 4-0 in favor of Amanda. “You really suck at this game.“, Amanda said. “Just give me the ball.“, I said.

Amanda threw the ball at me. I had the ball and the game continued. I had possession of the ball for a while until Amanda took it from me and scored. The score was now 5-0 in favor of Amanda.

Amanda gave me the ball. Then I tried to score and it missed the rim. After the ball missed the rim, Amanda caught the ball and scored. The score was now 6-0 in favor of Amanda.

“You give up yet, rotten egg?“, Amanda asked as she gave the ball back to me. I tried my hardest to make one basket. Then I attempted another basket and finally hit the rim.

Amanda caught the rebound and scored. The score was now 7-0 in favor of Amanda. “This is too easy.“, Amanda said smiling before giving me the ball back.

Moments later, the score was 21-0 in favor of the winner (Amanda). “Dude, you suck at basketball. I turned you into such a rotten egg that you’re rotten scrambled eggs. Remind me to have you for breakfast tomorrow morning with a glass of orange juice.“, Amanda said. “I’m not a rotten egg.“, I said. “Okay, whatever you say, rotten egg.“, Amanda said smiling. Then we both left the backyard after Amanda got the last say.

***2000 FLASHBACK***

“So, you see, it’s not going to be the end of the world if you never move back to your old place. You’ve made so many great memories during those past seven years that you should be satisfied with whatever is going to happen and move on with your life.“, Steve said. “Yeah, you’re right. Thanks, Steve. And I’m also gonna move on with my life knowing my grandmother is in a better place.“, I said. “There you go. That’s the spirit.“, Steve said.

“In fact, who needs that place anyway? I’ve got a home right here that’s just as great as the last one.“, I said. I got up from the living room couch. “I’m gonna go tell Mom that I want to stay right here. Looks like we’re not moving anytime soon.“, I said. I left the living room. “And go get some basketball lessons while you’re at it.“, Steve said before turning the TV back on.

***

It was Saturday, March 13, 2004. It was afternoon. I, my Mom, and a few other family members were at my previous address.

I was helping out with carrying the remaining stuff into a U-Haul truck. We were all almost finished with clearing the place out. There was still work left to be done.

I and my Mom were standing outside near the U-Haul truck. “Okay, that’s the last of our stuff. I’m gonna call a cab so we can both head back home.“, my Mom said. “Wait, before you do that, can we go get some Wendy’s after we head back home?“, I asked. “We sure can.“, my Mom said.

My Mom pulled her flip phone out of her purse and started a phone call for a cab ride. I looked at my old home as stuff was still being moved out of there. “I sure hope the next people who live here enjoy this place as much as I did.“, I said to myself.

Moments later, a cab arrived. I and my Mom got into the cab and my Mom closed the cab door. It was a very short drive back to my place, so the cab fare wasn’t going to be much. I looked outside the cab window at my old address. Then as I continued looking, the cab drove off to my current address.

***

Later that afternoon, I was back home on the living room couch watching TV. Meanwhile, some food from Wendy’s was sitting in the kitchen for dinner. I continued watching TV.

Then a knock was heard at our front door. I got up to go see who it was. “May I ask who is it?“, I asked.

“It’s me.“, Amanda said. I opened the door. “Hey, I and the rest of the gang are hanging out at the playground right now. Do you wanna join us? It’s fine if you don’t want to.“, Amanda said.

“I want to.“, I said. “Great, see you there.“, Amanda said. Amanda walked away and left the apartment complex. I closed the front door.

I walked to the TV remote and used the remote to turn off the TV. “Man, I’m so glad I have a playground just down the street from where I live.“, I said to myself. Then I went ahead and got ready to go outside and hang out with my friends at the playground.

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