forgiveness

A Date on World AIDS Day

img_6230
The last time we went on a date was 2008 maybe 9. Maybe I have an affinity for the past. I write period pieces about slavery and the civil rights era. On average, I think I keep in touch with more exes than most people. Here we are 2016: he has asked me on a date. Those were his exact words: date not chill.

I remember I met him when I was at Hampton University somewhere between a freshmen and a sophomore. He was a little dark, a little chubby, a little navy seaman. Now he’s retired and I’m bachelor degreed. He’s gotten more muscular and I’ve gotten a little thicker skin clearer. But there was always a certain symmetry in his face that I’ve been drawn too. With the baby weight off it’s a little more pronounced.

We’ve fucked in the interim. There was passion and lust and unbeknownst to him (probably) a little trepidation before, in the midst of, and after he act. But there’s a certain symmetry in his actions. I let my feelings be known he takes action. I said you haven’t taken me out on a date and day’s later he asked me if I wanted to go out on a date. I enjoy a man like that. I reveal in a man like that. I could honor a man like that.
The date: December 1st World AIDS Day. I don’t remember when I told him I was HIV positive, but I do recall telling him several times (because I kept forgetting I told him) and he told me to shut up, because he already knows.

A date; I can’t think of a better way to honor myself, others that are diagnosed with HIV, and those whose mortality has succumbed to the disease.

Advertisements

Before The Hiv: A Lie Pt 3 of 4 (Coming Clean and a Confrontation)

I’m a lazy liar. Couldn’t keep up with the effort of portraying a newly diagnosed HIV person. I lied and tried to make him believe that I just found out I was positive after going for a STD panel screening. He believed me at first, concerned and torn and tears. Ugh — I ain’t shit, but frankly I couldn’t afford to get my ass beat by telling him the truth to his face when he asked. I mean we fucked in the heat of the moment. Why wasn’t he responsible before he crept inside me raw? Shit — why wasn’t I. Usually I am. I have a good track record of disclosure. So much so that I tell people over and over again, because I forget that I’ve told them. I never sit down and have a heart to heart about it. I just tell them. Sort of like —

“Hey, Patton, where would you like to go for lunch?” Me: I have HIV. But let’s go to that place off Piedmont with the mussels that I like.

No lie; but in the moment, I froze, I panicked, I didn’t want my pretty face bludgeoned. But I had to come up with a way to know he was at risk so I came up with that lie.

 

A month then two went by and I kept up the statement of how I got it, but I couldn’t fake a somber deposition that you would assume one would have with a new diagnosis. So I confessed. I told him the truth. Through text — of course. Again, I couldn’t afford to get my ass beat. He asked me to come to his place. I agreed. I told my best friend; he has a gun.

 

I was greeted with a kiss and hug, like I always had been. However, he wasn’t going to catch me with my guard down. Told my best friend if I didn’t send an ‘I’m safe text’ at the fifteen and thirty minute mark to come rescue me. I scanned the room for things I could use as a weapon: a potted plant, a pen on the table, a prayer to God. Positioned myself between him and the door, so I could take off if need be.

 

We sat and talked about a few things like why I lied, about each of our account ability in the matter, the fact that he knew cause I can’t act worth a damn, and where we would go from there.  I text my bestie and said I was okay.

 

Where did we go from there? We went to the bedroom without a condom in sight.

Hating the Freddie Grays

I remember being a little faggot; at least that’s what they called me. I was a faggot; color didn’t matter, dashing down the street, hurdling over 6-inch curbs. Though we all looked alike to outsiders, to me, they looked like dark demons: red eyed, with needles for teeth. To them, I looked like, well I’m not sure. You’d have to ask them. With feet that have always been too big for my frame, I began to trip over myself. I was near the front door of 744 Gravel Cork Rd., and just as I made it onto my front lawn, *WHACK*. I fell to the grass and covered myself up so at least if they stomped me, maybe they wouldn’t get my face. They didn’t stomp me. As all the other kids in the neighborhood arrived, the Jamaican boy and his sister, both seven years my senior, grabbed me (one by the feet, one by the wrist). They swung me like a jump rope counting down from ten. When they said one, I went hurtling into the air and landed in a puddle of water on my mother’s cement driveway. I remember the eldest brother watching and not having much to say.

I’ve always felt uncomfortable around heterosexual Black men. I’ve always hated heterosexual Black men.

There’s a lot of killing right now. A lot at the hands of systemic racism and the police force in America is just the vessel. Though my skin and genitals say Black Male, my spirit does not. I’ve long separated myself identity from being a Black Male. I call myself a Black Queermale, which for me holds a very separate distinction. I am not like them, therefore I have not shed a tear, much less blinked when Trayvon Martin was killed by a vigilante, or Michael Brown was left in the street like an opossum hit by a 18-wheeler. Most recently, I thought it was sad when I heard about Freddie Gray. I was also disgusted by the way the police (allegedly) broke his neck — killing him in their custody; I was disgusted as an outsider for those people. Not those people of Baltimore, but for Blacks, because I am not one of them. Though, at times, I think I should be.

Now I know hypothetically, if the Ku Klux Klan were to run through my neighborhood lynching niggas, they wouldn’t say, well he’s a Black Queermale, not a Black. However, I’ve never been habitually abused physically or emotionally by the KKK, so I don’t see them as much a threat. However, to me, Black men in my overwhelming experience have been like a pack of wild hyenas. I had a thought when all this epidemic of Black slayings was happening, and the thought is not kosher: If they want act like a pack of wild dogs, then perhaps they should be put down like them. Then I looked at the Black man in my life, specifically last night (April 28, 2015), and I thought, “I’m falling in love with a Black man.”

I look at him as a Black man, and not the queer adjective I’ve designated as a noun for myself, not because he’s masculine in mannerism and physical in appearance, but because of the fellowship he has with heterosexual Black men (one that has eluded me). The friendships he has forged, the comradery, the philanthropy towards Black men; these things have eluded me moving me continents away from my kin. When I look at him, I see a Black man and I see love. I’ve expressed my ideology to him and my hate; his eyes say he’s sad for the demons I keep as company. To think that I would be disgusted by him or wouldn’t be moved by his untimely death if I didn’t know he was a same gender loving man actually does hurt me to my core. I am hoping for change.

Freddie_Gray

We once had a conversation on his antique couch; he asked if I believe people were put into our lives for a reason. I lied. I said no. Though, I do believe it’s true. I believe he is my gateway into loving Black men again.