My phone vibrated while I listened to a panelist talk about youth violence and policy with a group of political progressives.
I looked at the phone. It was one of the boys.
I texted. “In meeting. Can’t answer. If you want community service hours go to church at 8-9 pm and sit in youth group meeting. I will not be there. I will be late. But my husband is expecting you all.”
He wrote, “Wat happen.”
“Do you want to do some community service,” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said.
“Alright, go to the church at 8. I will be late. But my husband--”
“Food there?” he asked
“Ight,” he said.
Almost an hour later he texted, “R u gunna be there to write up the letter 2 day?”
I had promised to write a letter for his probation officer.
“Why? You need it tomorrow? Can I write it tomorrow?” I asked.
“Well r u gunna be there?”
“Hopefully by 8:30,” I said.
“U sure?” he asked
With my head looking into my lap, swallowed up in the texting conversation, I was taken aback. He asked me if I was sure. That terse question innocently suggested I wasn’t telling the truth. I realized that I have been disappointing a lot of people around me – my husband, my daughter, my son, the youth at church, my pastor, my publisher, and my friends. Even God. Yet I had been sure that I would never disappoint the boys.
“Yes,” I responded.
And then to confirm the uncertainty behind his question, I didn’t make it to the church on time nor did I write the letter. I am beginning to ask myself these days, “U sure?”