Friday, August 26, 2005

Twenty Sex

One month from today I will celebrate my twenty-sixth birthday. I love my birthday. It is a time of reflection and celebrating another year of life. God is good. This year, much like most years, as my big day approaches I find myself once again debating what I will do to mark the occasion. To mark my 23rd I had drinks with a small group of friends at Poste. For my 24th I gathered my nearest and dearest District buddies for dinner in the private dining room of B. Smith’s and for the celebration of 25 an evening of delight was orchestrated at Topaz complete with Clay-tini’s flowing all night long. But what do I do if anything for 26?

A prevailing thought for the past few days has been to do something rather quiet and intimate, so intimate I would call the concept twenty sex. The name is so fitting.

Over the past five years there have been a number, one in particular, of sexual acts of which I have refrained from engaging. I didn’t stop engaging in the act because I didn’t like it or because I thought it was causing me some undue harm. I chose to cease indulging in this taboo pleasure because I wanted to hold on. I decided that I wouldn’t find myself in that position again until I was in a relationship with someone I thought really cared about me. Five years later, I’ve yet to be in a relationship, let alone met someone who truly cares about me or loves me. On the surface it would seem that I was holding on to this because I value it so much and I feel it should only be given to some ‘chosen one.’ But in the end Pooquie and Aziza have asserted that I have only been denying myself.

So to celebrate twenty sex I am thinking about giving it up, but not for someone else. I'd be giving it up for me. Actually, I’d be taking it. Control. My body and pleasure belong to me so why not treat it and pleasure it when and how I so please, free from the fear of those seeking bragging rights of it/me, free from the stigma of those who bow and or bend to that position. Madonna once sang, poor is the man whose pleasure depends on another.’

I want to be rich.

Toying with the notion of the fun of a boy’s toy I would also be left to find one very important piece. I don’t know who I would celebrate twenty sex with. No one sticks out right now and the thought of having to search for someone makes it more of a task than I would want it to be. I’m sure I will continue to toy with the idea though. Perhaps I’ll ask someone who has been running through the back of my mind for some time. One of those gentlemen that I’ve secretly wanted to seduce just for the pure pleasure and nothing else. It is what it is. Surely someone must be game.

Or maybe I’ll just have cocktails with friends rather than cock and tail. Who knows? A lot can happen in a month.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Walk with Me

I felt so good. In his bed and in his arms I was every word that I had longed to be nearly all my life. I was comfortable, protected and cared for. When I rolled over to look at him my eyes sparkled at this black diamond that lay next to me. Then, in a matter of seconds I felt a sharp pain induced by guilt. This man was a jewel and I was a thief. I had taken, or had been given, something that did not belong to me. The memory of that moment and of that morning, Sunday June13, 2004 will forever remain implanted in my mind. It was the morning after.

Saturday, June 12 is when I met Langston. I was out of town for a few days catching my breath and soaking up the California sun. I’d been invited to a garden party by a colleague and couldn’t refuse his offer to taste the LA social scene. My eyes weren’t let down by the visions that surrounded me and in such an open and welcoming atmosphere as this venue neither was spirit. Though a distant traveler I found several familiar faces and made light conversation with them as I made my way around and met new people. Finally, I was introduced to a tall, dark and handsome man – what so many dream of – who I felt some gentle connection with. He went about his business and I went about mine. Minutes later I knew what or rather who our connection was. This guy was actually a friend of one of my dearest friends.

I decided that I would approach this fellow again and share knowledge of our mutual friend. This time, our conversation went unbothered by outsiders and the gentle connection turned into chemistry. His voice was smooth and baritone. His speech was poetic. And I named him Langston.

That evening took on a life of its own. We didn’t leave the party together but by fate or sheer coincidence we found ourselves enjoying each others company again later that night. He was certainly a special man and he also made and still does make me feel special. He does so in a way that no other has yet to accomplish. That is part of why I have grown so fond of Langston. But as my mother would say, everything that is good ain’t good for you. It took me a while but I finally realized my feelings for Langston weren’t best for me. So he and I have been nurturing a delicate relationship particularly over the last eight or nine months. It gets even more delicate when he asks me to do it.

It being walk him through the day we met. I spoke with him tonight and after an hour of talking about life, work, our week ahead and even my birthday next month – he asked me. I admit I enjoy retelling the story and filling it with glorious and intricate details of events and emotions. It brings a smile to my face and hope to my heart, though no longer hope that one day Langston and I will be together. It is what it is. But rather that one day someone will make me feel special again, the way Langston does, only this time someone that can be mine.

But why Langston asks me to retell the story of that day I don’t know. I don’t know what he gets out of it, perhaps for him too it is a time he likes to reminisce about. For all I know he just wants to be there again for just a second – recapturing the innocence of the matter, or...

Nevertheless, for now at least, I’ll continue to walk him through that day and somehow he and I will walk each other through all the rest.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Standing at the Gate

Sometimes when I’m alone with someone and there is a lull in the conversation I ask him or her to tell me a secret. Often I’m told by the other person that they don’t have any secrets. But every now and then that person will look me in my eyes and reveal a secret that they wouldn’t tell anyone other than me. I’m honored by their candor. I cherish their secret and never whisper it to a soul. I am a secret keeper. I don’t have many of my own. I just have a little few little ones and one big one.

The past few days I have been grappling a lot with my big secret. It effected my health not too long ago and right now it is playing a huge role in where I stand now in life. Right now I am standing at the gate.

My big secret is probably evident to anyone that truly knows me but to the masses it goes unseen. My secret is that I live my life in fear. I am not afraid of any person. I am afraid, insanely almost, afraid of not being perfect, even in my imperfections. I know there is no such thing as a perfect person or life but desperately I seek it or at least its illusion.

And here I am standing at the gate.

Over the past few months I have been traveling down a road that has led me to place in my life when I want to change. I want to charter a new course. I want to delve into the unknown. But the price of that ticket is the risk of failure. It is the risk of making the wrong move. By making the wrong move, by making the wrong choice, I could find myself in a not so ideal space, a man of not so ideal stature – totally not perfect.

So now I am standing at the gate.

My life as it stands is not perfect. I am far from a perfect being. But the illusion that one can create of his or her near to perfection is something I am afraid not to hold on to. A failure is a flaw.

I am standing at the gate. I can choose to enter or I can choose to just look through, and imagine what it would be like on the other side. I want to take that step. I want to walk through the gates. But I am afraid.

I am afraid of what I don’t know. I am afraid of not knowing and uncertainty. Moreover, I am afraid of the possible failure. Yet, I know that I cannot live in fear. My job and this city. Two decisions have to be made. I need to make them. I have prayed about them. Perhaps I have not prayed hard enough. I have thought about them. Perhaps I have not given them enough thought. I have tried to be still and listen. I am now squirming and haven’t heard anything.

Once in the middle of ambiguity, uncertain times and a storm I sat in my living room floor and cried out for Jesus to help me. I felt like only he could hear me and only he could help. Tonight, I’m going home to do it again.

I am standing at the gate.

Give and Take

You always talkin' bout what you give and don't have to give. But you take too. You take and you don't even realize that somebody else is givin'.

-- Fences, August Wilson

I just got a text message from AJones. I responded to his message with a call. AJones wanted to know if he could use me as a reference for some job he has been trying to get for the past year. Initially, my answer was yes. If he’d been trying to get the same job for the past year and he thought using my name as a reference would put him closer to his goal, go for it. Then I started thinking about the last time I got a call from AJones, and the time before that and the time before that. Every time he calls me it is because he wants something. He wants either resources or to use me as a resource. Whenever I called him, on those rare occasions, I call him to say hello and make sure he is in the land of the living. There is something uneven about this relationship and as a Libra constantly searching for balance I now find myself fed up. This small incident is an illustration of a larger issue.

AJones and his ex, The Other One , who called me two weeks ago for the same reason, are prime examples of people in my life who are solely takers and they aren’t the worse. I know some who will take until it hurts. I know a few who have taken from me while I was hurting. I can blame some of this on me. People can only take what I give and at times I know I give too much. But at what point should I just stop giving?

Oh, what a comely world is this when it envenoms him that bares it.

-- As You Like It, William Shakespeare

I suppose I need to examine why I give some people so much. Why are their some I feel like I should nurture even when they won’t, can’t or wouldn’t do the same for me? Maybe because I know that I am blessed and have been given much. Strangers of timely perfection have brightened my day, offered direction and even a hand.

To whom much is given, much is required.

-- Luke 12:48

But there must be an equal balance. I will only take so much. I can only give so much.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Muffins Are Ready

Yesterday afternoon I told my boss I was sick and that I would be leaving the office early. It was Thursday and I knew in my mind I wouldn’t be returning to the office again until Monday. I wasn’t using being sick as a lie to leave work early on a Thursday and call in on Friday. It wasn’t a lie at all. I was sick – of work.

One hour after I left my cubicle I found myself in another tight space. This Tinkerbelle had climbed on the Peter Pan was headed to the City. Tomorrow afternoon Foxy is hosting a bon voyage party for Meech Muffin who will be leaving for a two year work assignment in London. I am very proud of Meech Muffin and couldn’t let him leave without having a chance to bid him a proper farewell and spend some time with him.

When I met Meech Muffin I was a freshman in college and he was a sophomore in high school. At the time I was the assistant coach of the Mock Trial team at high school alma mater and it was his first year participating on the team. The team didn’t go far beyond the District tournament that season but he and I formed a friendship that has grown and matured for nearly ten years. I used to wonder what was it about this little straight boy that attracted me to him and him to me. How is it that he and I forged such a bond? I have stopped wondering and account it to an act of God. Our friendship has been a blessing for the both of us.

I have seen him grow so much literally and figuratively. Undoubtedly, he has seen me grow as well. I went through high school and college with him. He went through undergrad and grad school with me. He and I have shared stories about the ups and downs of pursuits of relationships, the men that left me hanging and the women I tend to tell him to hang up on. I am comforted in knowing that in all things we can share. Often when I seek refuge I turn to him. I know he listens. I know he does not judge. I know he loves.

To date, the most amazing experience for me though was being at his college graduation. I recall his senior of high school going through checklists with him, asking all the questions about filling out his applications, taking his SAT and everything in between. Four years later he was walking across the stage in his Columbia blue. A few months after that he was starting his first job which has led him to this exciting new opportunity.

For the first time since I’ve known him he will be more than a one hour plane ride or four hour train ride away from me. That disturbs me just a little. He probably doesn’t mind as much as I do but there is something about me feeling like I can always reach out and touch him or get to him that makes me rest easy and reassures me. As overly dramatic as it may sound I never want him to feel like he needs me and I’m not there or vice versa.

Once he crosses that ocean I will just have to remember that he is always close to me because he is in my heart and I’m in his.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I keep and He keeps me

I have the same couch, chairs, tables, pots and pans that I had the day I moved in here four years ago today. On the surface not much has changed about the interior of my small apartment in Northeast, DC. But so many things have changed in the world since August 11, 2001, the day I signed my lease and declared this my first adult home.

My country experienced the horrific tragedy of September 11, I’ve earned my graduate degree, my thesis dissecting rhetoric of African Americans following the tragedy, I’ve walked across the stage with my mother as she received her graduate degree, I’ve had my first job, I’ve been honored with the opportunity to speak by the Reflecting Pool, my country is at war, my aunt has gone home, my uncle is now serving his country in Iraq, I have had one roommate on two occasions, I have lived to see a quarter of a century, my mother has celebrated her 50th birthday, my country has elected the same President, other countries have given same sex couples the right to marry, I’ve seen my father for the first time since I was in fifth grade, I’ve tasted both sorrow and sweetness, I’ve fought for my life, I’ve shared my words with masses, I’ve seen fruits of my mentoring labor. I have seen, felt, heard, tasted, learned and lived so much more in just four years.

Neither the world, nor I are the same as we once were. One thing however that has remained constant has been the influential power greater than me. I do believe in God. I rest assured in knowing that my four years here have in so many ways been a demonstration of his work, an illustration of his omnipresent grace and mercy.

As this day approached I initially dwelt on the things that hadn’t happened yet in my time in the District. But when I started thinking of my journey of the past four years I realized how far I have come, how far he has brought me. Tonight my candle burns and I hear the voice of Jill Scott. She tells me that
I keep….I keep moving forward…pressing forward…..laughing….dreaming…achieving…...I keep...
Mrs. Scott is absolutely right. I must keep. I also pray for years to come He keeps keeping me.

Friday, August 05, 2005


Friday evening had arrived. In my head I had already chartered the course that would be my weekend. Saturday evening I would attend the local gay Asian men’s group holiday party and on Sunday I would spend a quiet evening at home after church. Then my phone rang. Mr. Kane had been invited to a fabulous holiday party and wanted me to accompany him. I wasn’t married to the gay Asian men’s party on Saturday night so I agreed to change my plans and attend the holiday party with Mr. Kane instead.

I asked him the usual questions. I probed to find out what time did the party start, what would be the appropriate attire and what if anything should I bring. Mr. Kane replied that it would be best if we left first thing in the morning, bring something light, something to sleep in, and don’t worry about a gift for the host. I was perplexed. Why would we have to leave early Saturday morning for a party that was late Saturday night?

The party was in Boca Raton, Florida.

So, of course I logged online, purchased a ticket, packed a bag and went to bed early because I knew the next day I would have to be up early to head to the airport. I couldn’t resist the idea of a holiday party in Florida. More than anything at the time I just couldn’t resist the idea of Florida just for the weekend. It was a trip I won’t forget and tonight I was reminded of it.

This evening I went to a reception for the opening of a new Black owned and operated men’s and women’s clothing boutique on U Street. While the ribbon cutting took place on the first floor of the building where the boutique is housed, upstairs is where the real celebration took place. Following the formal ceremony and cameo appearances by some city politicos and those who want to be everyone slid on to elevators going straight to the rooftop. We’d gathered to share the special occasion of a new venture and enjoyed libations and wonderful view of the District.

I moved away from the crowd and decided to take in the postcard like view of the monuments and clouds. Finally, the temperature was dropping and so was the sun. I could feel cooler air around me. It was at that moment that I checked the time. It was 8:07pm. Ironically, it was 8 months to the day that I stood on the balcony of that condo in Boca with a cocktail in my hand alternating from staring at a full moon then the ocean. I was feeling at ease, soaking up the breeze and putting faith in God and in life. Tonight I was standing on the rooftop in the District with a martini exchanging glances with the Capitol building, the Washington Monument and the street once known as Black Broadway. I was at ease, delighted with the small breeze and thankfully reminded of the role that God and faith have had in my life.

Eight months ago I was involved in a process tonight I was reminded that stage of the process was or is nearly complete. Seven is the number of completion.

8:07pm. That completes the evening.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Destiny Fulfilled.

This night really started over a month ago. I was at a reception being hosted by an African American owned lobbying firm jamming to the beats of a jazz band they flew in from Las Vegas to ignite the crowd and celebrate the owner’s birthday in style. I was dressed in my best and doing my thing mingling through the crowd when a woman walked up to me and told me that she knew me. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence. In this town people have seen my face in more venues and for more reasons than even I can name or count. After sizing each other up we realized that our connection was first made several years ago long before I ever moved to Washington, DC. She and I first met while I was a student in Cincinnati. My time at UC is the period of my life which I sometime refer to as the dark ages, seems like so many years ago when really for all intensive purposes it could be considered recent history. That night she and I exchanged business cards and agreed that we would be in touch. In DC that could mean a number of things including I will simply say hello the next time we find ourselves in the same shared space. But with her it meant more than that. A few days ago I invited her to dinner.

Over dinner we laughed and talked about a myriad of things. At some point her latest junket to New Orleans came up. She had gone for the Essence Music Festival and had the opportunity to catch Destiny’s Child in concert. I marveled at her telling of their live performance escapades. I have for some time now been a fan of Destiny’s Child. She told me that their live performance was something I should definitely check out if I ever had the opportunity. I noted to her that they would be in concert in the District tonight. To that she murmured something about getting tickets for the concert from her job and if she did that she would pass along any extra tickets for the concert to me. My face lit up. I haven’t been to a concert since MC Hammer, Jodeci and Boyz II Men in the 7th grade. A chance to see Destiny’s Child in concert titillated my appetite more than a Black Inches cover model. Finally this afternoon she called me to say the words I had been longing to hear since our dinner on Wednesday – she had two tickets for the concert and she was offering them to me.

Who would accompany me to the concert and enjoy it as much as I would? One answer. Mr. Kane. At 7:30pm Mr. Kane picked me up and we were on our way to MCI Center to lose our breath. I was casual but cute. Kenneth Cole and Banana Republic would have thought I was a model they had endorsed because from head to toe I looked like one of their poster children. We walked in the arena, headed to the bar and then to our seats, fashionably late but right on time for the place to go dark, fans to start screaming and images of Beyonce, Michelle and Kelly to begin flashing across the hanging screens. It was time for the main attraction.

Three words appeared. Say my name. From the floor the three women appeared and belted out the song that I think of every time I think about my official coming out on the East Coast. It was January 2000 and I had just transferred to my new school. I knew no one there and was feeling alone. I picked up the phone and called my mentor, the Good Doctor and told him my woes. He told me to hop on the next bus to Philly and spend the weekend with him. From the moment he picked me up from the bus station to the moment I left Philly, Say My Name was the song on his tongue, playing in the clubs and in his car. I consider that weekend my official East Coast coming out and that song was an integral part of the experience. Tonight with that song I began to realize how much the music of Destiny’s Child has been a part of my young adult life.

It was January of the following year that Pooquie and I would roll tough here to DC from Baltimore on Sunday nights to fun and fury at the Cage. We would dance the night and our senior cares away with the trio. I recall many times during my final semester of undergrad walking across the bridge to main campus and singing Survivor. It became my theme song to help get me through the home stretch of a semester that until the end I didn’t know how it was going to work out. My entire undergraduate career had not been a bed of roses, even if one would call it that, they would acknowledge the thorns that sprung up from time to time. I was going to successfully complete my undergraduate education. I was a survivor.

After making it through undergrad then graduate school and then living here in the District there was another Destiny’s Child song that struck a chord with me and will forever be ingrained to the pictures of my life at that time. Independent Women. There were five of us. We were young, black, educated, loving, friends and gay. We often referred to ourselves as the Progressives. I loved and still do love each of my four Progressive brethren though I am the last to remain here in the ever so transient District. When we got together we would often mimic the poses of Charlie’s Angels and the chorus of Independent Women. When they performed that song tonight memories came flooding back to me of my crew and the times we shared together.

I heard the beat and knew it was coming next. I leaned over to Mr. Kane and said, “Girl.” It was the song I was first introduced to by Foxy Brown in November. When I listened to the words I fell in love. There have been so many times since that night that I have simply told friends to go listen to number six on the latest Destiny’s Child cd. I have just had to let them know, “girl, I’m here for you and I hope you are here for me too.” In November I was at a point in my life that I needed my friends for their support as I battled a tough time.

For as long as they were on stage I remained engaged in their performance and talented dance and vocal abilities. Not until tonight had I realized how much their music has served as a background for my life. I was pleased.

After the concert Mr. Kane and I decided to grab a bite to eat and head to the Sunday night spot for a performance of our own. We hadn’t been out and a while and felt like it was due time to give some of the locals a little bit of what they have come to expect from us – excitement. We drank a little, flirted a little, danced a little, laughed and enjoyed each others company a lot. I even bought AJones a drink for his 24th birthday.

At the end of the night when the lights came up I was saying my goodbyes to folks and noticed across the room a figure that was familiar. Fresh Rain. This is where I first met him and the only place that I’d ever seen him outside of when he and I would set a time and place for us to meet. I was out done. The past few weeks I had been holding back from calling him, wondering how he was, wondering what he had been up to, wondering why he hadn’t called me, wondering when and if I would see him again and praying that whenever I did see him again I would look great. Tonight, unexpectedly was the night and I did look good.

I figured that if I saw him then he probably also saw me. Mr. Kane and I scrammed outside and stopped for a few to hold a conversation with Patty Cakes and some of the locals. I wanted to find Fresh Rain and speak but I knew better and I knew to stay firmly put where I was and give him no thought. As I was standing there talking to Patty Cakes I saw an arm extend in front of me. It was his. I gave him every bit of a Colgate smile and greeted Fresh Rain with a warm hello. We exchanged the most simple pleasantries. He looked very well. He excused himself and went back to his friends.

Patty Cakes asked what my relationship with Fresh Rain was. I told him none. I explained only that he was someone that I knew from being out and about. Patty Cakes wanted to probe further. My goose and cranberry didn’t want to reveal too much. Patty Cakes kept probing and offered that she and Fresh Rain were actually good friends. They even speak to each other on a regular basis. On the inside I was turning colors. On the outside I refused to be anything other than my beautiful unmoved get down brown. The story Patty Cakes tells begins to unfold and I learn that one of the guys that Fresh Rain was with is his boyfriend.

When I met Fresh Rain in March he was just getting out of a long term relationship. He said he was not looking to date. Yet, he and I talked frequently and saw each other once a week for a few weeks. When he stopped calling and stopped returning calls I thought it was simply because he thought that he and I were moving too fast and he would find himself seriously dating someone sooner than he wanted. He never told me that verbally he just stopped calling and stopped returning calls. I was left only being able to wonder. I had no definite reasons. I couldn’t ask him of course because he wouldn’t communicate with me. In the beginning I was hurt by this. By the end I was just disappointed he couldn’t man up and tell me what was really on his mind.

But after all this time, tonight I learned from Patty Cakes that ‘what had happened was’ Fresh Rain got back together with his ex.

Destiny Fulfilled.