That’s what he told me in a sluggish manner as I sipped my chai on the worn, grey leather couch at OutWrite Books.
I’m from the Bahamas
he blurted without my inquiring.
His saddened face and child like innocence beckoned me.
Oh yeah? What part? Freeport, Nassau, Cat Island?
He paused. As if waiting for the memory to come to him…
You know…Oh! Nassau! Nassau! Giiiiiiirl, I almost didn’t remember.
He chuckled and there it was: his spirit. So pure and so full.
I have a hard time sometimes, forgive me, hunny
My papa and my brothers caught me kissing Travis when I was 11…they suuuuure gave it to me. They beat me bad. Man. I couldn’t go to school for two weeks ya know!
He sat there still & strong.
Daddy took his guiness bottle and slammed it across my face, thats how i got this:
He pointed his finger at the left side of his face and when he turned, there was a scar from left temple down to his jaw.
Agony. Anguish. Anger.
& they beat me and beat me and i cry and i cry & called for my mummy and she just shake her head and watch them. She LET THEM do it! My own ma…And all they told me was I was goin to hell!
Hell!?! I wonder if its da same hell my pastor goin to for touchin me when I was a Lil boy at our church “boys only retreats”?
He shook his head. That was the first boy I ever loved…
Gal, I was so happy when he told me he wanted to show me how to kiss. I didn’t know why, ya know, cuz he was a boy and I was a boy, but it felt so gooood! Like a new something inside of me when we started kissin…
Pause. Tears began to fall. & they beat me to pieces when they caught us and they send him to da states to live with his auntie so we couldn’t kiss no more…
I could feel the pain within ever single word.
He went on describing more beatings and teasing he endured throughout his years as an adolescent. If I walked too girly or sounded to much like a woman, they would put me in this brown, dingy shed in the back yard that was so stink!
Papa used to catch fish and clean em in there & when they caught me, they locked me in there sometimes 8- 9 days with no food or nuthin until I “got that sissie outta me”
My head cocked permanently to the side. At this point, this real life hell he was describing, I couldn’t lean on my own understanding…
They were trying to beat the gay outta me, but it ain’t work!
He smiled so bright as he chuckled.
They still don’t know it ain’t just a choice, chile. This is who I be.
He stood up:
It’s who you are! Who all of us are! He surveyed the gay bookstore.
Aint nuthin wrong with us, chile. God love us all. God love us ALL..