Orlando Strong

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Dear Readers,

Something terrible happened in my town. 49 people died while 50 others were injured. I found this out one morning when my friend called. She wanted to know that I was safe. I was safe but not from the effect of the tragedy.

If you’ve read my blog then you know that some of the posts were about Pulse. Holiday happened around this time of the year. It’s hard to imagine that my story took place in the same place that this one did.

I think that’s how a lot of people in this community are affected by this event. We all went to Pulse at some time or another. We all danced there. We all made friends there. We know the layout of the club and that’s what haunts us at night. We imagine the sounds and things that happened that night and wonder if that could have been us. For some of us it might have been, if our mother’s hadn’t asked us to babysit or if we felt too tired to go out after working a twenty-hour shift.

Thinking about this affects us each day. And each day it’s hard to believe that Orlando now has this strange history behind it. I came to Orlando to go to college. My friend came to Orlando because he fell in love. Someone else came to Orlando because they wanted to escape the boredom of living in a small town. We all found ourselves here and now we are finding ourselves again.

Grief is something that happens differently to everyone. Some people are attending the vigils. My friend is handing out food to people at the hospital. I am trying to do everything but there’s only so much you can do in a day. I want to feel this pain so that I can grieve with my community. The hurt must be felt so that we can move on eventually. But right now is not the time to move on. We must remember, cry, and live with each other. Here is Orlando and this is what Orlando Strong means to me.

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The Pie Hole

IMG_2308I’m sitting in a Pie Shop with a cup of coffee, a time of the day when all my best ideas are sleeping. They curl against the corners of my mind like cats do in their favorite parts of the home. Some have chosen the bedroom where I store my most intimate memories.

One of them is of an ex-boyfriend that turned on the radio before taking a shower. He called me in, took my hand, and we danced. I remember my naked tummy wiggling against his before spinning around. It was one of the most joyful experiences I’ve ever had with a lover.

I’ve kept that moment underneath the bed in a shoebox. Next to it a sleeping cat lies. If I woke it then maybe a story about two boys that snuck around town in search of places to kiss would unravel. Some of the strands have sewn themselves into Closet Case posts. However, finding a new purpose for this memory will take work.

I’m a writer that’s in their infancy stage. Moments like this, coffee and pie, is the time that I like to reflect on my aspirations. They are lying all over the place but part of finding them is by looking back on old times. I think that what I have to gain this time from reflecting is that I love writing love stories.

Two people that are solely themselves when apart, but combine to make an ultimate personality. That’s what I like to read about.

Until next time,

BoyKitsch

“Don’t Wanna Fight”

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The band: Alabama Shakes

The song: “Don’t Wanna Fight”

Alabama Shakes is a band that I first listened to back in 2011. I was sitting on the living room floor at a friend’s party when Brittany Howard came on the television set. She sang “Hold On” and I remember feeling grateful. Grateful that somebody was talking about the struggle that comes from holding on to a dream. Today, the band’s lyrics continue to inspire me.

I’m just your local part-time server who is familiar with having a bad day at work. It’s the kind where the restaurant is full and only three servers are working the floor. Every guest wants, of course, their refill of coffee as soon as I am delivering another one’s eggs. I might be a fairy but there isn’t a wand powerful enough to make everyone happy.

“Excuse me, have you been helped yet?” I said to a table of four. They had been sitting in the corner of my eye for the past couple of minutes.

“No,” They said. I smiled and apologized before taking their orders. Even though it wasn’t a table in my section, I understood how it could have been overlooked. Attention is like a Sticky Toy Hand that a server throws in every direction during a Rush. Sometimes it pulls away too quickly because someone is shouting for more free bread.

Back in the kitchen I stood by the computer. On it I saw all the tables that were waiting to be delivered. Four red squares stared into the back of my head. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to deliver them all and hand out checks to the other tables in a timely fashion. My coworkers were just as busy as I was.

“Your food is up,” my coworker said from behind me. I felt my heart speed past the adrenaline rush and straight into panic mode.

“Can you help me, please,” I said. Drops of sweat were trickling down my backside. My coworker agreed while I handed out the last of my checks. As I headed back into the kitchen I remember feeling relief, like it was all going to be okay.

“There should be ten orders there,” I pointed out to my coworker, as soon I was back in the kitchen. They nodded just as another order popped up in the window. I told them to go on ahead while I plated this one. It was for the table of four that I picked up.

I counted, “One. Two. Three…” There were only three orders. I had forgotten to punch in the last one. I felt my arm wrap itself around my waist. My stomach turned like a waffle in its iron. I didn’t know what to do. It would take another five minutes to cook their meal. I checked the time-ticket and saw that it was already twenty-minutes old.

“I’m sorry. That was my fault,” I said to them. “It’ll be right out.”

The boy sighed. “We’ve all been coming here a long time and this is the worst service ever.” The three girls around him waited for me to respond. A cold wind blew through my open lips. I wanted to tell him that I had five other tables and one of them had ten people. I could have easily pointed this out to him except I couldn’t. My job is to serve him his food.

“I’m sorry.” I said again and made my way to the ten top behind us.

“How is everything?”I said. A woman in the corner waved me over.

“There wasn’t any bacon in my wrap,” She said. I apologized before walking to my manager’s office. I explained to them the situations at hand.

“I made her wrap and there was bacon in it.” They said. I rolled my hands into fists. I knew then that it wouldn’t make a difference what I had done. Each table was going to complain about something. Still, I had to deliver their checks with a smile. My manager walked out to check on each person before discounting their meals.

I followed him until suddenly “Don’t Wanna Fight” came on the radio. Brittany Howard’s wheeze perfectly described the frustration I felt. There was no explanation that I could have given to either person, because I wasn’t allowed to speak. I had to lay down my pride along with the check.

That’s exactly what I did, but at least I had Howard’s words in the background.

2015 Bulletin Board

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Friends,

Thank you for coming back.

  • Since that time I’ve completed two college courses and am ready to start blogging again. I stopped writing it because I was concerned about its content. While my stories may have been entertaining they weren’t always truthful. Truthful to me means a direct play-by-play without any opinionated words to describe people. This is impossible for me to do so I must change the content of which I write.
  • Literary Theories, Paintings, Artists, and Music are just a few things that interest me. I love these things because of their impressions on culture. People can carry away many interpretations from just a single art piece. Yet, they aren’t always willing to share that influence with others. I’m one of those people because often times I feel overlooked. I am a seclusive person by nature but when I do speak to friends I don’t think they listen. In effort to overcome that insecurity I write.
  • I write because I want to reach people. I want to hear their opinions because that way mine can keep growing. Conversations, though, can only start after someone breaks the ice. Smash!  Maybe now we can talk about The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao or Glee. I know that they both opened up my perspective on music and internalized racism.

-BoyKitsch

Whimsy Week

On writing on whims: The hardest thing to do sometimes is just to write. Making mistakes on my own isn’t shameful or embarrassing, in fact I take pride in fumbling. Writing a bad piece for everyone to see though is like exposing acne scars or a mole that looks like the Sara Palin (I don’t think anyone would want to show that). But with publishing the worst pieces I can hope they make the better ones that much shinier.


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This week school is in full swing with the syllabuses put away and the homework out. It feels good to be on a role again however I will admit there is some mourning going on. No longer can I afford to spend two hours writing short stories or take my time going to the gym. Every day is like a march where I’m planning the next step.
However, yesterday I had a great adventure with my friend M. We ran around the park, shared a smoothie while talking on the park bench, and ending the evening with sushi. This all took place after my day at school and the gym. Needless to say I was tired but there wasn’t any place I’d rather have been. The weather was beautiful with the sun setting and sexy gay men running past us. We talked about our lives but how he reminded me of all the ideals I had before moving to Orlando.
“It’s hard to want something back when it feels like it never exited.” I told him on our walk back from the restaurant. He agreed before advising me to just jump into the adventure. Some of the experiences I wanted were:

  • traveling some place for the pure thrill of culture
  • figuring out my politics
  • dance lessons
  • trying out being a vegetarian
  • theatrics

While the list goes on those are my main ones. So between classes I’ve been researching my new life and how I want to sculpt it. It’s very humbling to think about all the things ahead of me. All the things I don’t know. And that’s what friends are there for: to help fill in the blank spaces.

This is sure to be a good week.

S.O.S. New York Part 3

I laid on the sofa shivering. My feet curled under a blanket that seemed more the size of a dishcloth. All I wanted was to be back in Brooklyn where my cousin was, family photos hung on the walls, and I could cuddle my iPod beneath a comforter. Instead, I was stranded in a room on the fourth floor of a Manhattan apartment, with an air conditioner thats was blowing away any sense of drowsiness.

I couldn’t venture outside though. The darkness seemed as deep as the ocean where any tourist would surely drown. My only life buoy were the Subway Apps but they didn’t have a chance of floating me all the way down the island. Eventually I’d have to ask a stranger for directions.

Hurricane Sandy Bears Down On U.S. Mid-Atlantic Coastline

My experience with New York residents was already tainted though thanks to a man who called himself Ice Queen. A guy that had stood 5’6 in baggy jeans shorts and a book in the pocket. He had approached me tonight in the club and asked me to dance before taking my hand outside to talk. Ideally, it had been the moment I was searching for. Me up against the wall with a cute guy. It’s the kind of scene that happens on television screens, the one I’d envisioned in my head, the reason I’d come to New York.

Now alone I couldn’t get away from the picture fast enough. Every time I closed my eyes the cold air reminded me of Ice Queen, unwilling to leave when I said goodbye. He followed me all the way to the stoop of my friend’s apartment where I sat for over an hour. All texts and phone calls I sent went unanswered.

“There’s a coffee shop right around the corner.” he kept saying. There probably was such a place, but my relationship with the stoop was about as strong as a shadow’s with the pavement on a sunny day.

He wasn’t a bad guy. The book in his pocket was about philosophy and he read it when no one at the club interested him much. We talked about gay history and body language, although he couldn’t read much of what mine was telling him. In fact, he was a very nice guy but I wouldn’t allow him to put his arm around me. I didn’t trust him and he said that was ok, but then we said goodbye. My friend had come downstairs to pick me up.

I could have had another kind of adventure instead of couch surfing, I might be in somebody’s bed. Waiting out the darkness might have been a little bit warmer.

S.O.S. New York Part 2

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I think you’re going to need those.” the bouncer said, looking at the ground. Three golden condoms laid in plain sight until I grabbed them to stuff into my pocket. They had come out conveniently with my I.D. that proved I was old enough to go into the club, Ritz.

“Thanks.” I said and went in. I touched my cheeks that felt warm from the waves of embarrassment. Getting laid was actually the furthest thing from my mind. I wouldn’t be able to reach the stoop of someone’s apartment before I’d begin to have regrets.

I pushed the rubbers all the way down until I felt their corners nibbling at my leg. Everywhere I looked were sexy-looking-men. Round and lean bodies that glowed in the darkness of the club. I needed to get closer.

Walking down a narrow hallway, the beat of music tumbled, chests balanced against one another, and I wound up in the middle of the dance floor. Men spun around me and spilling their beers, I wanted to be as carefree. I swayed side to side but the rhythm of music swam right past me. How do I do this? I must have mouthed the words because I noticed a pair of twinkling eyes staring at me. They belonged to a guy that was dancing with a bunch of people. Friends. He nodded for me to come over.71Qwx0Q4eaL._AA1000_

We had no introductions. Our feet passed around the beat of the music and when it was my turn I did it without any hesitation. Sometimes it’s not such a bad thing to lack confidence because then you meet new people. I felt the sweat running down my forehead.

By the time the guy and his friends exited the floor my shirt was soaked. The addiction had me wondering how I had ever been afraid to dance. With every new song my torso spun like there was a hook in it, pulling it, until releasing my hands into the air.

“You’re a good dancer.” somebody said. Their words were close to my ear. I had seen him come at me from across the room but only now realized we were dancing together.

“Thank you.” I said, feeling my hands along his back. Smooth muscle swayed beneath the cotton shirt. My hand moved up behind his neck when all of a sudden he took it and spun me around. Feeling the pulse behind my body I noticed there was something different in the way he moved. The itch in my pocket from the condoms threw me off balance but he caught us by placing his arms around my waist. His hold felt firm but not aggressive. I was comfortable to keep dancing.

“Do you wanna go outside?” He said.

S.O.S. New York Part 1

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I was riding the train into Manhattan when a bell rang from the speaker and an electronic voice spoke. This was my first vacation in New York without a chaperone. I wasn’t about to call my parents saying that I was lost. Instead every imaginable Subway App was already downloaded onto my iPhone. The only problem was that there was no internet connection in the underground.

“Now arriving at 42nd Street.” the voice said. I shuffled my feet to the door. Like all the previous stops I had this one memorized. There was a sense of pride with every step out of the subway. I had seen right through the riddles of the city. From the streets of Park Slope, to switching trains because of construction, I was finally in Midtown. My friend Jesse greeted me on the intersection between 42nd Street & 8th Avenue.

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“I’m so glad you made it!” She said. I brushed my shoulder. She didn’t have to know about the Subway Apps. We hugged before heading over to 46th street to meet up with another friend at a bar. Tonight all of us were going to celebrate the beautiful state of New York for passing the Marriage Equality Act only a night prior. When we arrived our fried surprised us with drinks.

“Normally Happy Hour would already be ova but they extend it for me.” she said. Her name was Liz and she was a red head who sounded much too like Lucy Ricardo. “They also don’t check I.D.’s so orda whateva you want.” She winked at my friend. We all extended a glass for cheers before ordering another round of drinks.

This all felt so rebellious, even though I was twenty-one it felt like I was still breaking the rules. Where I came from, a small town in Florida, the law seemed damp and lingering like the humidity. My friend wouldn’t have been able to sneak a drink and I wouldn’t have been allowed to get married.

“Why do they extend Happy Hour for you?” I said to Liz. She threw her hands up and explained that she in fact lived upstairs and knew the manager.

“It’s all about the connections you make.” Liz said through her nose. With that in mind I recalled the gay club across the street. I wanted to go but by the time it’d let out it would be much too late to go back into Brooklyn by myself. I might have had the Subway App but a body guard is something I couldn’t download. I mentioned this to Liz who smiled before saying, “You can stay with me of course darling!”

Closet Case Part 3- The Detour

Hello, Readers! (Those of you who have stuck with my story about The Closet Case, I sincerely thank you!). I am SO sorry for the lack of writing lately. Honestly, posting three three times a week is a very hard goal to do, though, that is no excuse for my week long drought. I was trying to tidy up my experience about The Closet Case in three short posts but alas our relationship was not that easy. The reason I decided to write about our relationship in the first place was because it really set up my current perspective on dating life. So I want to continue the series but not sell short the experiences. Thank you for continuing to read. Enjoy!

 

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There once was a boy I always imagined being with. I saw him every day after school. The detour I took walking home was longer than the original path. He was always playing the guitar with a group of friends. They’d stand around outside a garage until retreating into the shade. I always waited on the outskirts with the sweat dripping down my nose, listening. Once they finished playing I untucked my shirt and pulled my pants below the hip. I wasn’t a cool kid like them but still wanted to be close.

I’d walk by very slowly until I spotted him. He was the one with long blonde hair. In the cool shadows of the garage he’d sit on an amp with a beer dangling in hand. I didn’t understand how someone could break the rules so easily. I knew he wasn’t twenty-one. My first instinct was to always run and tattle but I wouldn’t reach anyone fast enough. A couple of text books and binders would slow any kid down. So I kept walking until one day he spotted me.

We didn’t say hello. We couldn’t speak without someone noticing. Our two worlds were as far apart as a kid that drank beer illegally to the one that tattled on said rule breaker! I suddenly found myself wishing  a Nirvana t-shirt on me even though I had no idea who they were. Anything that could make me appear cooler seemed like a good option to make visible next time. He kept watching me though until the end of the street.

In the shelter of my bedroom I thought about the blonde haired boy. He floated above my head while I laid down with my hands wrapped around myself. In my imagination we rolled around on a mattress naked, kissing. He’d hold my head until walking his hand down my belly. His back felt smooth like the whip cream I dipped my finger in on every sundae. I tasted his lips while he played with my private parts. There weren’t what he was used to. His fingers had to roll over me more than once to become familiar with the territory. So I kept taking the detour after school.

***

Years later, him and I were lying naked together on his bed. I couldn’t believe he was really there but on my belly was proof. A white wash of cum I had asked him to paint. It still felt sticky though no longer warm.

“You don’t have to go.” He said quietly. It was the first time I was invited to stay the night. To say I was shocked was an understatement. I was touched.

“You’re not worried?” I said, referring to his parents. I didn’t want to leave but I also didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable. When I saw him shake his head in response I felt the corners of my mouth lift into the biggest smile.

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Soon enough there he was between my legs with his lips on mine. Inside of me I felt “sex” but on the outside was his stare. The same one I saw on the detour home but this time our worlds were as close as could be. The wind from his mouth was the same one causing my heart to feel like a hurricane. It’s pulse was everywhere inside causing me to pant.

When it was all over I decided not to stay. I had a hefty load of college work to do back home. I told him that I’d be back the following evening before kissing him goodbye. If I had known that that was the last time I’d have any contact with him for three months I think I would have stayed…maybe.

Closet Case Part 2- Lover’s Wall

Welcome back reader! This is the second installment of my Closet Case series. I meant for this to be a posted a day earlier. After this there will be one more installment to the Closet Case series. Enjoy!

I lifted my leg as far up on the ledge as I could without losing balance. The trashcans beside me smelled dangerously like cat pee. One slip of my foot and I’d be the new kitty litter. This was the first time I ever snuck into someone else’s house, not to mention a boyfriend’s! However, it was kind of “romantic” that two lovers had to meet in secret by a window. I just hoped I didn’t ruin the experience by falling.

“Sit on the ledge. I’ll help you down.” He said. So I sat down with both legs dangling on opposite sides of the wall. He came to the window and held me by the waist. I chucked my other leg over but  with too much force. The two of us stumbled into the bedroom, over dirty laundry, beer cans, and books before tumbling onto the mattress. It smelled just like the trash outside. I shot up and brushed my body off as if a thousand ants were crawling over it.

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“Settle down dude! My parents will hear you.” He said quietly. I looked up to see him closing the door and locking it with a bolt. The bolt was there because the knob was missing! After stuffing it with a sock my boyfriend came over to give me a kiss. One peck on the lips before I put up my hands in protest. There was underwear piled around the room like maybe he organized them according to their cartoon character, but after collecting them he decided to do something else. Like drinking. Bottles and cans were the common knick-knack on bookshelves, nightstands, and windowsills.

“What’s the matter?” He said. A goofy smile was spread across his lips. It was the normal expression he had but now I wondered if maybe it was because of the alcohol.

“Oh. Umm….nothing.” I said. I clenched my gut and sat down on the bed. He came down with me. I wanted to kiss him but there my thoughts were stopping me. Was he drunk every time we met? Could he not express affection without being intoxicated? He touched the inside of my leg with his fingers. I watched them try to nuzzle their way in like a bee crawling into a flower. If he was tipsy then I didn’t know what this meant.

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“There’s this movie I want you to watch.” He said. “It’s an old Sci-Fi set in the dystopian future where the robots rule over the humans.” He got up and walked over to an old VCR. Inside there was a tape all ready to play. I looked around the room a second time. Underneath the dust in a corner of the room was an entire layer of cassette tapes. Some of them I recognized from copies in my living room while others I had never heard of. I suddenly remembered why I liked this guy so much. While the rest of the world had moved onto using downloads and DVDS this guy was vintage.

He came and sat down next to me but this time I had no apprehension about opening myself up to him. I snug my head under his arm and watched the movie, at least for the next five minutes. I needed him to be closer. I tired pulling him on top of me but before I could he shut off all the lights. Afterwards he mounted me, slid his legs back so that we were chest against chest, mouth against mouth. There was indeed alcohol on his breath. I still let him kiss me though. I didn’t care what it took for him to get past some of his fears because somehow he took me away from mine. I was the boy that snuck out of his parents house at night, to an abandoned pool, to a lover’s window.