Once upon a time, a small convenience store…elderly clerk, young males (approximately, 3 or 4) and, a single Tomboy/girl…singled out from the pack.
As the youngsters crowded the candy counter…
“You don’t wanna get those candy cigarettes…You are such a fag! Only queers get those!”
Turns and walks out. No purchase. No sign of emotional response. Just a look of confusion. Uncertain, she heads home…slight frown on her freckled face. She packs away the scene of rowdy of kids and their comments in the back of her mind.
In the attic of her thoughts. Where other hidden reflections live…
“Why can’t I ask about those two men that are always together in church. What about my friend Dawn? She so different…So not like other adults. Why won’t my parents let me go camping with her?”
Today, adult Tomboy/woman…group of mischievous preteens at an ice cream counter…
“Did you see that kid? That girl he was with? She is such a dyke! You’d think he would know! What a fag!”
“If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”
As I stood on the marble floors, staring up at the gothic figures of New Hampshire history, many repetitive thoughts filled my flawed mind.
Of course, as a writer, you cannot get rid of those thoughts. Constant ideas, the beating of compulsive thinking, as though, it were a living being.
Funny, as I write this, I am close to tears. Not close enough to be noticed. But I know who they are…those wet droplets and I hide them close to my soul.
Glancing to and fro, waiting for HIllary Clinton, endorsing her with my presence, seemingly wanting her to come and sign that little document…filing for the New Hampshire primary.
Currently, the heart is beating beyond extension.
I have always volunteered. Attempted to help those around me. In some way, in some form, with some respect.
By chance, during the A.I.D.S., epidemic, the 80’ and the 90’s, I assisted many brave souls to find dignity…Pride in a world that had discarded them.
Odd, as I searched the crowds yesterday, I noticed, young, young and even younger, L.G.B.T., people.
Back in real time, I know one thing to be true, in regards to homosexuality…As an addict, in recovery, over the past 20 years…I have lost so many friends to addiction, a deadly disease, cunning, baffling and powerful.
Not so odd, Ruth, you may be thinking to yourself.
Well, strangely enough, at the age of 48. With all those years of sobriety coming and going. The ten years I spent with society’s disposable group, the A.I.D.S., victim, still trumps all. More souls went to rest in that decade than my lifetime of going to funerals.
Ricki, a beautiful man, talented musician, lover of the arts, an advocate to the death…of equal rights for all.
Upon Ricki’s death bed, he one single request,
‘Please have my family scatter my ashes over Mount MItchell. I want to fly…’
For a man of 89 pounds, skin and bone and heart, his words rang out to all…who knew the ‘reality of the situation’.
What I knew? As a handful of Ricki’s friends knew…but didn’t have the heart to say…
‘Ricki, we tried contacting your family…they don’t want anything to do with you and your dirty little disease!’
Not an uncommon response. We heard it daily. As those around us died.
Ricki died not two days later. Many gathered at Mount Mitchell. None of which were his family members.
I came home last night, asked my best friend, my lover, my wife,
‘Of the three choices, mental health reform, women’s rights or equality? Which would be the very first reason for voting a particular candidate into office?’
She said, as I knew she would,
‘Mental health…why, what would be first for you?’
I told her my dilema…
As of late, with homophobia still rampant, but certainly not akin to what I and others like me, endured 30 plus years ago. With equality for individuals still somehow debatable. I think of Stonewall, Harvey Milk, and yes, Ricki. Certainly centuries have past, decades before my generation, where gay people and transgenders, have endured more than what I’ve seen. And, so on and so on, I guess that’s how it goes when you are thought of as different or in the minority.
My answer to my spouse,
‘I don’t know. I want a woman in the White House…I want you to get the help you need. But honestly, I have to stand strong to the original fight…’
There had been more conversation…
But I won’t bore, you the reader, with that.
It has come to light…As with Obama, and others, Hillary Clinton, only relatively…recently, came out in support of my kind of people.
I do not take voting lightly. I haven’t since my partner had her disability payments cut…several years ago. And, I don’t have to tell you who was in office than.
I guess, it concerns me, as it should…
Am I voting for someone, knocking on doors, badgering people on the phone…for a cause because ‘it goes against the grain of the good ole boys?’ or ‘am I just doing what I always do…bucking the establishment?’
I left Hillary…half way through her speech. I had to. I needed sometime to think. Think of Ricki, wonder if he was watching, pondering,
‘Hey, Ricki, what would you do?
As a small child, I don’t know, 7 or 8, I watch, ‘Hello Dolly’, 38 times! And, that was back in the day, when there had been no recording device. Just 3 channels and a constant search for Barbara Streisand.
Was I secretly thinking, I am truly a gay man in love with show tunes?
Do not ask me why, I had an enormous crush on the Jewish Diva with a killer voice. Honestly, I still do. Let us not forget, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
However, my mother never asked,
‘Do you have a crush on her? What gives?’
There had, I am certain of it, never been a thought in my mother’s mind,
‘Is my daughter gay…I should offer her support. Let her know…she is not alone.’
Today, in this age of openness, I believe the conversation, would have gone differently.
So many have lost their lives, for me to have what I have, as a strong gay woman. I would be doing all them…particularly Ricki…a disservice, if I did not give my decision deep thought.
She is up there with me. Being over fed. Thinking herself into havoc…chaos, laced with bedhead.
What is she thinking? Nothing, absolutely, nothing, in here fits right!
I love you? I love you? Pardoning the misdemeanor and miscues.
Somewhere between Elvis and Stonewall. Stuck behind Mr. Milk and crying Indians. An eighties voice of reason rambled roses and ranted…begin again! Mercy, mercy, me. She conveyed in disjointed speech.
‘I have been listening to thoughts with poetic endings…since your soapbox could preach.’
Remember ’81 when they told you to ‘…take your style and all the while. Take the hand Me downs out of the closet…and place them out on the street.’
Call her a psychedelic mage. Or, a flashback sage. I always stop and pay heed to the raving tales. Tainted and obscured the imagination…never runs stale.
Psychotic, obsessive plus neurotic. Days plus years after birth. My rendition of her a bit strange. Currently, my house of freak…does not feel the same.
With the stifled side of my street clean since the Clap On, Clap Off rage. I now know I needed my Forrest Gump stage. So tonight when Google books of faces play. The quietness of the throne will call my name. All be it meditations on what it is to be sane.
EARL'S PLACE: "AN OPEN & RESPECTFUL ONLINE SPACE TO DEBATE OPPORTUNITIES & CHALLENGES FACING THE GLOBE," CURATED BY AWARD-WINNING COLUMNIST, EARL PLANTE, AN UNFLINCHING ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL & ECONOMIC JUSTICE