Friday, October 29, 2010

The Circle

*Just to let yall know, I’ve put a lot of folks business out in this particular post, so I’m changing the names of dang near everyone.*

A while ago, I attended an event called Green House. It’s pretty much an event where people get together in Piedmont Park and house music is played and folks dance the day away. It’s one of those events where you’re going to see a bunch of regulars from the music scene here in Atlanta. I took my homegirl, Sheryl, with me to join in the festivities. I didn’t get to do much dancing because I’d brought my son with me and he was cutting up, but Sheryl walked around and got to meet some folks.

Aside from Sheryl, my friends Kylie and Fred were also in attendance. I looked at Kylie and asked if the little chick with the blonde hair was Ms. C and she responded yes. A few of the other the old homies were in attendance as well.

While in the car on the way back, Sheryl (who is bi-sexual) told me that some other chick hit on her by offering to wipe the sweat off of her boobs. Even though Sheryl is married with kids, she was shocked at how openly the woman hit on her in front of the lady’s husband. While Sheryl’s husband knows about her lifestyle, she said that she’d never disrespect him by hitting on another woman in his presence. It was clear that Sheryl was really shocked by the other woman’s open aggression and sexual advances. I told Sheryl that’s pretty much how the scene is and that damned near everyone there is somehow sexually related to everyone else there.

As I started to explain some of the history with her, I realized that we’re all just a big old ball of dating and sexual experience. I actually shared my findings with my friend Greg this evening and when he thought about it, he was a bit surprised at how right I really was. It's like the unwritten and unspoken thing. It's not uncommon to see some dude you used to get down with, rolling in the club with some other chick you've seen from around the way. It's never really awkward (which is kinda strange in itself). We all just accept that the other person has moved on (just as you already have) and y'all just remain homies. Daisy and I have accepted that although we don't know for sure, there's a chance that we've both at some point bedded the same guy. Of course we would never consciously go after the same guys now, but who knows what's happened before we'd ever really thought about it.

I started the story by explaining to Sheryl that I’d met Sky (another homeboy) through a guy I (regrettably) kicked it with named Iz. I saw Iz one night at a Kelsy Davis show and he and Sky needed a ride home. That same show is also where I'd first seen Divinity Roxx (who is now Beyonce's bassist) perform. She's really good, even as a solo artist, by the way. Anyway, Sky and I were instant homies, which Iz didn’t like so he did everything he could to make me not want Sky. He told me he was a virgin (yeah, right) and that he was a super Christian so I didn’t have a shot in hell. Despite Iz’s attempts, Sky and I became thick as thieves. I’d actually met Fred initially through Iz, because Fred was his roommate, although we never really spoke at the time (although I did think he was a hottie even then). Sky and I were actually so close that he and I used to sleep in bed together. Folks swore we were having sex, but the fact is that Sky and I never even kissed. When I got pregnant, I must have been asked about 6 times if the baby was his. Folks thought he was gay (he isn’t) and that I was gay (I’m not) and that we must be having some kind of freaky sexual encounters together (we didn’t).

Later at a show Sky was having, I met Kylie and Daisy. After Kylie and I met, at another show, I saw her talking to a guy that I’d seen playing guitar at a show Ms. C (the blonde chick from the party) was having. I asked Kylie about him and she told me that he was “good” so I should go for it and she introduced us. His name was George. George and I hung out a few times, and he brought his homie Fred with us. One night George had to leave early, leaving Fred and I alone. While I hadn’t slept with anyone else from the scene (including George), that night when Fred kissed me, my panties melted off and we began having a sexual relationship that summer that was unmatched. George and I stayed friends and one night at my home, we got really close, but I couldn’t do it because I’d already slept with a friend of his. I didn’t tell George my reasons for declining him until a few years later.

Anyway, Kylie, who had kicked it with George, had also kicked it with Sky, back in the day. Sky also dated Ms. C. The night I met Kylie, when we talked about the many things we’d had in common, I admitted to her that I once dated the guy that hosted Sunday nights at a local poetry spot. That’s when she told me that he was her ex. There is also the time that I found out that the guy I kissed at Roderick’s party (good old Spin the Bottle), Raphael, was dating Daisy at the time, which helped solve the mystery of why she stopped our kiss (I didn’t find that out until our day trip to Helen, Georgia with Fred and Roderick in the car). Awkward moment it was when we talked about that…

On to others, at one point, Sky dated a girl that he really liked name Charmaine. Sky, the eternal bachelor, really liked her and was actually thinking about being exclusive with her. Sky and Charmaine came to a party of mine together. That night, Charmaine met Fred. Sky told me he wasn’t comfortable about the whole thing and that he didn’t trust Fred. I assured him that Fred was cool and that he didn’t mean any harm. Two months later, Fred and Charmaine were dating and Sky and Charmaine were barely speaking. I actually hung out with Fred and Charmaine and a few other friends at the Southern Comfort Music Festival one night while I was pregnant. To Fred’s credit, when he and I met for coffee a few weeks ago, while I laughed about him swooping up Charmaine, he said that he didn’t know that she and Sky had been a “thing” the night they met.

The circle actually gets A LOT wider, but I’m not going to bore you with the details. Not only that, I’m running out of fake names to give the participants. Now, I can honestly say that not everyone was actually having sex. A lot of people thought I was getting around, but the fact is that I was primarily sleeping with only one person who wasn't on the scene, so I settled for innocent dates with the guys I came across. Some people just dated and hung out. Some people were in relationships (although honestly, not many). Despite the kookiness, I love those folks (some of them, at least) more than they’ll ever know. The creative energy and love that is emitted when the room is filled with those people is unmatched. We may be a giant cesspool of freaky intermingling, but those people helped me to hone my social skills and helped to show me that being a free loving spirit is cooler than I ever thought it could be. I’ve also learned that sometimes you just want to get your rocks off, and if you find someone that helps you feel good about yourself and your sexual independence, then there’s nothing wrong with it. I love myself. And I love my cesspool.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I don't really know how I know Billy Fields. He worked at The Junkman's Daughter, a funky, kitchy little store located in Little 5 Points in Atlanta, Georgia. Little 5, as it is affectionately called, is the epicenter of coolness in Atlanta. It's the place where all of the kids that were never really cool come to hang out and bond. We're former nerds and outcasts turned hipsters. There aren't many days when I walk around there and don't see someone that I know. Either I'll be walking down the street and run into them, or I'll visit the many shops that I'm a regular and tell them hello. Anyway, I don't remember exactly meeting him. I just remember him always greeting me at the store. He had long locs, a soft voice and a gentle spirit. Those boot cut pants and his funky style made him blend, while always making him stand out.

One day I walked around another shop where I'd heard music that called out to me. I asked the sales girl who it was playing. They told me that it was a group called Seek. Then she told me that Billy who worked in Junkman's Daughter was in the group. I was in heaven. About a year later, they dropped another album, which I quickly copped. It remains among my favorites.

A little later Billy started a band called Rev Rebel which also great music. Atlanta being as small as it is, he and I always ran into one another and I tried to make it out to see him whenever I could.

Although he and I didn't see each other much later, we still managed to stay in touch with one another through Facebook. I remember how last summer he kept calling me a murderer as I complained about feeling bad for having to cook live crabs to eat them. I laughed as he kept saying how good murder must taste.

The other day I noticed a post on Facebook where Billy thanked everyone for their well wishes and said that he was doing okay. I got ready to shoot him a message asking what happened, when he posted that he'd been shot when four kids tried to rob him the previous Sunday. He then felt it necessary to mention that the punks didn't get his money. My heart sank. Not Billy. He's such a good guy. For the 8 or 9 years that I've known him, I've never known him to be in a bad mood. We always joked with one another. He's too nice for that to happen to him. I asked if it was okay with him if I came visit and he said that he'd love to see me.

I went down to see him yesterday at Grady Memorial Hospital and they said that he'd just gotten wheeled into the o.r. and wouldn't be available for another few hours. I asked the nurse how he was doing and she said that he was doing great and in great spirits. I decided to go down today again. Before I went down I decided to Google him to see what I found. When I heard that he'd been shot initially, I thought he'd been hit in the shoulder or in the leg. Online, I learned that he'd been hit in the jaw and that some of his teeth had been knocked out, his tongue was slightly hit, and that the bullet went into his cheek but came out of his jaw. My dear friend Billy had been shot in the head. Oh my God.

I knew that I needed to go see him, but I just kept thinking to myself that I hoped I didn't cry. He'd just had plastic surgery was all I knew. How bad would he look? I didn't know. I asked a neighbor if they'd watch Pumpkin while I drove on down to Grady. I got there today and I walked around looking for him.I walked past a few rooms and saw a guy that looked kinda similar then I kept moving. I looked down at my name tag, which held his room number and realized that I was in the right room. Oh my gosh, I didn't even recognize him. I was immediately happy that at least they didn't cut his locs, which I was afraid they would. His faced was so swollen on top of such a frail body. His eyes were closed and he seemed peaceful. It shocked me a little because he looked dead.

There was a woman in there with him. I asked if he'd been asleep long. She explained that he wasn't asleep but the swelling in his face made it easier for him if his eyes remained closed. He wiggled his finger to let me know he was lucid. I admitted to him that I was fighting back tears. He raised  his finger to his face and rubbed it down is cheek from his eye, to tell me not to dare. I knew that my Billy wouldn't want me to be upset. Her name was Camryn and she was his roommate. She and I made chitchat and occasionally talked to him as well. He would sometimes grunt to express agreement or not at what we'd said. I told him that his friends were busy raising money for him and I warned him not to go to Vegas to blow the whole thing. I told him that if he blew it, don't do it gambling, use it on strippers instead. I saw a very slight smile come across his swollen lips.

She and I talked a little more. I was so amazed looking at him. He was so fragile. His eyes remained closed for most of the time, except for about 2 seconds when they opened and he managed to look at me. I waved. He waved back. I was glad that his eyes were closed because I really did have to fight back tears at one point. It was so close. A few inches in another direction and he'd be gone. No more Billy. I managed to shake it off. I told him that we'd have to hang out when he got out. I said that we'd have to go to the park when he comes home. He raised his finger in agreement. I also asked if he was getting the good painkillers and again i saw his agreement finger. Eventually a woman came to the room and told Camryn and I that visiting hours were over. I offered her a ride home since she'd said earlier that her car was having problems. I looked at Billy and told him that normally I'd kiss him, but I was petrified of giving him an infection, so I chose not to. I kissed my hand and touched his leg. He then reached up and gave me what the nation now calls a "fist bump" a la Michelle and Barack Obama. He held Camyrn's hand.

When I dropped her off, she marveled at renovations that had been done to their home that friends of their had donated to them. I went in to see them as well. It was just more proof how how loved his is. On the way home I couldn't help but to think of Pookie. What on earth would I do if that had been him. What if I'd gotten a phonecall that he'd been shot? I don't think I could stand to see him like that.

Last night, Pookie told me that he'd like for me to be more affectionate toward him when he gets home. I can see why he asked it of me. There are days when he comes home and I'm short with him. Last night when he got home, he asked questions about my day and I answered them all with one word. Its nothing personal, I just feel that most people probably don't want to be crowded over when they come home. Other times I'm just pissed or in a funky mood and really don't want to be bothered. But something tells me that tonight is going to be different. I'm going to hug him and kiss him and tell him how much I love him. I'm going to tell him that I think we should quit beating around the bush and just tied the damned knot already. I'm going to tell him that I love him even though I don't always show it. Billy would want that.