No Longer Waiting
It was a rainy day in Houston, Texas and I woke up to a nail in my tire.
Usually ultra-optimistic, this has really fucked with me today. I mean, it is an easy fix and won’t take much of my time, but it seems as if I am already on a downward spiral. I never really paid any attention to it, but whatever it is won’t let me go- He won’t let me go. It seems as if, for every moment I deny him, another situation arises and forces me to acknowledge his presence. Today, he refuses to be silenced. Now, a little nail isn’t anything I would normally be bothered by, but today it seems to be an enormous mountain to climb.
I got up and started my day as I always do: with a couple good morning texts, a breakfast taco and a little gospel. Still, my “mojo” just wasn’t there. Even as things were beginning to come together on the drive from getting my tire patched up and picking up my PrEP prescription, this little guy wouldn’t leave my side. So, I decided I was going to let him ride and it was going to be me and him today.
My first stop was my favorite coffee shop. Sitting there scrolling through Facebook, I saw that my middle brother sent me a message to tell me he missed me. I didn’t even click it to read it before my companion sitting next to me became noticeably saddened. Wondering what the hell was wrong, I had to ask him, “Why are you doing this in public?” I knew that I had separated from my family willingly over a year ago and so I didn’t know why my companion was being so damn dramatic. See, my mom passed away 5 years ago: her and I worked on our relationship towards the last couple years of her life, but I was in fear of her for most of my adolescence. She was verbally abusive and a control freak. Although she had her issues, I felt I had come to terms with the fact that she did the best with what she had. As far as the rest of my family, I had no major ties to them. We were all struggling to get out the hood and loved each other, but I would rather struggle alone. Knocking me out my thoughts, my companion still wouldn’t stop his emotional whirlwind. Being so young, he remembered that during that time, my brother did what he had to take care of me and shield me from the effects of an abusive mother. He missed my brother. Not being able to figure out if he was showing up to tell me to reach out to my brother or not, I decided to shut him up by walking out feeling like I was losing control. I quickly moved from the bench towards my car to escape.
As I began to back up, I realized my best friend had sent me a long text explaining that his mother still hadn’t completely accepted his sexuality. He was in his first relationship in years and was planning on introducing the guy to his family at a Thanksgiving function. Being an adult about the situation, he let his mom know and asked her to do her best at not making his boyfriend feel uncomfortable. Her response was, “I love you and always will, but I do not agree with the lifestyle because it is against what God says. That’s where I stand always and I believe God will enlighten you and all your friends.” I responded letting him know that approaching the conversation was an important step in his liberation all the while my companion had started crying in my car. He knew my best friend and I met in high school and that we helped one another figure out our sexuality over the years. Our mothers seemed to hate the other child for “introducing their child to being gay”. We, however, knew exactly what our attraction was from the moment we met. My companion hadn’t gotten over that. He so wanted for his mother to love my best friend—and him— after over a decade. Then, there was the whole “God” issue that hadn’t been reconciled.
Key loaded ready to leave, I put my car in reverse, tears streaming down my face and drove home finished with my day out. I sat on the bed for a while before I realized I needed to go and take my prescription. Feeling like a ton of bricks were weighing me down, I walked into the restroom to the sink where I laid my PrEP and opened the bottle.
As I was about to go to the kitchen to get some water, I proudly looked in the mirror. In my reflection, I saw a resilient black, gay man. A little overweight (but all in the right places), with a beautiful gap-toothed smile. Out of nowhere, my unrelenting shadow came and hugged me. Together we cried. Holding me he told me, “You are the savior I have been waiting for.” His mind became mine and we went through the journey of feeling afraid at home latching on to my middle brother while my mother was being beaten. We rode the wave of sleeping with adults for favors and being introduced to the concept of HIV before I was legal enough to consent to testing. We zoomed past the moment I met my best friend and didn’t know we would be all we had some days. We sat in the moment of being exorcised of the homosexual demon by the only person we looked up to. And I showed him the journey made him stronger even with no clear destination. I ministered to the broken church boy that his life mattered and God loved him. I let him know that he struggled so I could live the life I do and change the lives of people I meet.
He turned me to the mirror and we looked at our differences. He: much smaller, fragile, and soft-spoken than I, but with unbridled passion. He was the embodiment of an entertainer and speaker, but rattled by his environment, he was too scared to accomplish it. And, I: I was his savior. I was everything he wanted to become: I took the chances, went against the norm, conquered my fears and became a haven for hundreds of people. As the moment passed, my emotions subsided and came back to reality, I knew that today more than any time before I couldn’t keep him waiting anymore. And I wouldn’t.