I was sitting in a colleague's cubicle at Jive Records with my heart, Ali Shaheed Muhammad. I looked up and sneered as someone passed by.
"Whoa, Soph, what was that about?" he asked.
"Ugh, Chris. He's so arrogant."
A Tribe Called Quest's manager Chris Lighty had just sauntered past. It was 1992 and he was a rising star in hip hop. He was big and tall and imposing and always let his presence be known. Shaheed laughed and said "Nah, Soph, give him a chance." I've always trusted my wise friend and this time was no exception. I decided to see what this man was all about.
Shortly thereafter Chris and I were having lunch at the Shark Bar, legendary Upper West Side hip hop spot. We sat at a small round table, crowded with food, knees bumping, determined to get to know each other. We started talking and it feels like we never stopped. I asked him about his childhood and past and future. He shared things with me that I will never repeat. I remember looking at his giant eyes and freckles and understood why he was nicknamed Baby Chris.
Throughout the years we shared quiet moments filled with an almost unbearable intimacy, deepened surely by the fact that we were never lovers. When he opened up to me and showed me who he really was, I understood that he had placed in me his most precious and rarest commodity: trust.
He would have been 49 today. I know they say time heals all wounds and to be sure, this one wanes at times, but then on days like today it strangles my heart and won't let go.
I love you Chris. Always and forever.