Sunday, April 17, 2005

Jimmy Jam's Jam

Last Friday I purchased a ticket to fly home to Cleveland to surprise my brother for his 30th birthday. For the first time since he was in elementary school he was having a birthday party and for months he had been asking me to come home to celebrate with him. Repeatedly I told him no that I wouldn’t be coming. But as his birthday approached I began to change my mind. You only turn 30 once and as a brother I should be overjoyed my brother who loves and cares about me dearly wanted me to be at his birthday party. That is why I bought the ticket last Friday.

On Monday a colleague brought an envelope to me. I thought it was junk mail. I was wrong. It was a letter and invitation from the director of marketing at one of DC’s most popular nightclubs. The invitation was to attend a private party hosted by two very well known musical artists. I was very pleased. I was moving my way into the heterosexual social circle and a new market for me to really network. I don’t want to be boxed in and this was a good place for me to meet and greet some new faces. The only problem was that this party was the same night and time as my brothers birthday affair in Cleveland.

All week I wrestled with the question of should I go to Cleveland or should I stay in Washington, DC. For some people it may have been a very easy decision but for me it was a difficult choice to make that made me think and question a lot of things. How important is my pursuit of social status? Does family come first? I am the same guy who missed my uncles’ second wedding because I had an oratory contest that day that was the qualifier for the national competition. If I didn’t attend the event in DC would I make that guest list again for another event? Would I be a bad brother if I chose to party with strangers over my family because I thought I could get some personal gain?

I went back and forth for several days. Finally on Thursday night I made the decision to come home for Jimmy Jam’s jam. I am happy that I came. My brother yelled, “Brother!” when he saw me for the first time earlier today. He was quite surprised to see me. I could hear in his voice he was happy. I knew then that I had made the right decision.

My brother is very special to me. I am sure I don’t tell him often enough but I wouldn’t trade him for anyone else in the world. I am lucky to have Jimmy Jam. He and I are as different as night and day but we are still good friends. I can talk about anything with him and feel comfortable. Only my brother would see me bored and pouting on a weekend visit home and take me to the gay club so I could have some fun. Only I could tell my brother “follow that car!” and he help me chase down a cute guy. Only my brother would ask me if I had a Valentine and what his name is. Only my brother would travel cross country to move me into my first apartment without a single gripe. Only my brother would tell me to sit in the floor and just be still while he and my cousin brought in all the boxes, set all the clocks and put everything together. I know that my brother loves, respects and cares for me deeply and I absolutely love him too.

Tonight at his birthday party I saw him so excited. He was dancing, which he rarely does, laughing and having what I think he will remember as his best birthday yet. I am glad that I could be here for it. Besides seeing my brother having a great time the two best parts of the night were seeing Jimmy Jam and my mom do the atomic dog just like when we were little kids and taking a picture with Jimmy Jam, my sister and my mom. I think it is my new favorite picture.