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.