the beginning-chapter 5

Posted: March 5, 2011 in personal history
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I’m sorry, it seems to me that sometimes my timeframes are a little confused. I’ll need to backtrack often to fill in bits and pieces that I forgot. This is one of those posts.

I did happen to accidentally overlook two important parts…before my truck accident, for about 4 or 5 months. I had gotten to know the neighbor who lived right next door. His name was Peron. I still miss him terribly to this day. I was young and stupid, and made my mistakes as usual. And I came out to my parents during this time as well. Here is a bit of fill-in on a couple very important parts.

I was living with Gina, in North Hill in Akron, OH. There was a man next door named Peron. We started talking, and this is our story. There are times when I’m just walking through a crowd, and I smell Patchouli cologne. That is what Peron wore, and it will still bring a tear to my eye. Here is why:

Having gotten to know Peron a little, there seemed to be a mutual interest. He was African, literally from Africa-his Mom still lived there. We got quite close as time went on. As we were getting closer, my parents came up to visit my sister, and I drove over to see them. I was nervous, because I planned to come out to my Mom while she was there. I had to work that afternoon, and I ended up putting off talking to her until I had to get ready for work. Ten minutes before I had to leave, I finally got my courage up, and asked Mom to talk in my sister’s bedroom. I was dressed for work, and had to leave soon, and I never asked to speak to her alone, so she knew it was something important.

I basically hemmed and hawed and said I didn’t know how to really say this….and she said ” I know, and so does your father. We’ve known for years, and we still love you, no matter what.” Being raised Catholic, I had truly thought things would get rough. And it turns out that I didn’t even have to say it out loud. I was in shock, and I asked her that why, if she knew, she never told ME so that I wasn’t dying inside thinking that I might be disowned from my family that meant everything to me. She just said that she’s my mother, and it wouldn’t matter what I did or who I was, that she would always love me. I told her I had to go to work, and ran out the door, trying to keep from crying. I made it to the truck before I broke down, and I cried the entire trip to work, which was about 40 minutes away. I had to force myself to calm down, and concentrate on my work. I was a server in a restaurant, and my boss knew immediately that something was going on. She asked me, and I told her what had happened. She just smiled, and said it’s ok, take a few minutes, pull yourself together, go grab a cigarette, and come back when you have yourself together.

Now while this was going on, I was also growing closer to Peron. I spent some nights with him, and he talked to me about being exclusive. I was a little surprised, but having only had 1 boyfriend before him, I didn’t really know how to react. I pushed him away, and I talked to him about how my father was a bigot that didn’t like black people, and that it was going to be extremely hard for me to take a man home for the first time to meet my parents, let alone with that man being black. I didn’t want to put him OR me through that. I broke up with him.

This was one of the biggest mistakes of my life, and I still feel that if I had chosen a different path, it would not have cost Peron his life.

We were still good friends and hung out. A couple months later, Peron decided that he was moving to Florida, and gave himself a going-away party at the local gay club with some of his friends. I was invited, and I went to the club that night. He seemed to have a blast, and his friends were great! It was a good time. Little did I know what the future held…..

Six months later, another neighbor that worked in a hospice was talking to Gina about one of her patients. She had moved ina few doors down after Peron had moved away, so she didn’t know him. Gina got the impression that the man in the hospice that was dying from AIDS was Peron. She talked to me about it after work one night. I denied it. There was NO way it was Peron. He was in Florida! I thought she had lost her mind.

This went on for a couple of weeks. During this time is when I rolled my truck, so I had to walk to work, or take the  bus. I usually just walked.

Gina finally took it upon herself to go to the hospice and see if it really was Peron. She was convinced it was. She called me at work one evening, and told me to please come straight home after work so she could talk to me, because I had a habit of going to the bar most nights. She had not told me of her plan of going to the hospice.

I went straight home after work, and she told me what she had done. It WAS Peron. She said I should go visit him, because he didn’t have long left. He was dying. I freaked, and I could not bring myself to go see him. We figured out that the going-away party was not for him to go to Florida, but for him to get away from his friends so that they didn’t watch him die. I was devastated.

Three days later, Gina called me at work again and asked that I come straight home from work. I was upset, and had a feeling what she was going to tell me. When I got home, she sat me down and told me that Peron was in the hospital, and he would probably never leave it. His time was close, and I needed to go see him if I ever wanted to see him again. I had a very difficult time of it, but I had to walk past that very hospital on my way to work every day. I decided to stop in and see him. I was extremely nervous…almost to the point of being sick.

I went in, went to the nurse’s station on that floor and asked for his room. She pointed out the room, and told me to go ahead in. I stood outside the door for a minute, then knocked lightly and went in.

I still cry to this day when I think about my reaction. I walked in and saw someone laying in a bed. That person was so skinny that his bones protruded. There was nothing left, just skin and bones. I didn’t even recognize him. But I knew I was in the right room, and I knew that this was Peron. Dying. He looked at me. He couldn’t even speak at this point, he just looked at me. My eyes started to fill with tears and I panicked. I walked over to the bed, kissed his forehead and said “I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have come. I can’t do this. I am SO sorry Peron.” And I left. Nothing else said, nothing. I had been in the room a total of about a minute and a half.  Again, I cried all the way to work. I was a wreck and couldn’t work. I tried. But my boss understood, and sent me home. I went to the bar instead, and got utterly blasted. Crying most of the night, drinking until I couldn’t see anymore. I sat alone, and ignored all my friends there. They knew to leave me alone.

Peron died 3 days later.

I was compeletly lost. I knew I didn’t handle things well with him, and I felt guilty for not being there for him, guilty that if I had stayed with him that he wouldn’t have contracted AIDS in the first place, guilty that I had cared so much for him and let him down with no way to ever make it up to him. This began an even MORE alcohol-ridden existence. I was already drinking heavily, but now I was getting trashed every night. Gina and I went to the funeral, which took weeks to get together because of Peron’s mother having to get Visa’s together to leave Africa to come to the U.S. for the funeral. Gina and I went through the line to show our respects after the service, and I hugged his mother. I was speechless, and I couldn’t say anything. She didn’t even know he was gay when Peron and I were seeing each other, so I had no idea if she even knew who I was, but it didn’t matter. She just hugged me back, and we left. And I, of course, went to the bar.

Everyone tells me not to feel guilty. But I do. I know that if Peron had been positive when we dated, that I would no doubt be positive. It took me over a year to get the balls up to go get tested. I was negative, and at that point I fell apart again, knowing that he was negative when we were seeing each other, and that if we had stayed together he would still be here.  And all because I was afraid of taking a black man home to my father. I truly cared about Peron, and I had let him down so massively that I couldn’t get over it. And still to this day, haven’t gotten over it to some degree.

My father never liked any single person I had ever dated. Not one. Nothing I did was good enough, but at the same time, no one I ever dated was good enough for me, according to him. I never understood it, and still don’t, and doubt that I ever will. And I doubt that he will ever like anyone I ever date in the future. But that’s just a part of my life that I have to deal with.

My father so disliked Red when I dated her, that she hugged him at my grandfather’s funeral in ’95, and he went to my mom and told her to let me know that Red is NEVER to touch him again. Try explaining that to someone that you care about…”my father doesn’t want you to ever touch him again, not even to show support at a funeral.” This was the beginning of a short rift in the family with me. Everyone just says “that’s dad” and I was having none of it. We had never gotten along well, but that very moment when mom told me that, i had to pull away from him. We had never been close, and the distance I put between us then stays there to this day. We are civil to each other, but that’s about it. There was a time that, along with my guilt over Peron, that I blamed my father as well, but I realized that I was just being stupid. It was MY fault for being afraid of rocking the boat.

I will never forget Peron, and I will probably never forgive myself for what happened. I have moved on  with my life, but I still think that this plays a part in my relationships with everyone I go out with. I have trouble getting close to people, or I go to the complete other extreme and fall for them completely.  I don’t think I’ve had a healthy relationship since. And I’m not sure how to fix it. But again, that’s life I guess.

Well, another chapter of my life, so those of you wanting to know about me, this is my story. It continues, and there are many more chapters to come. It’s very hard for me to write about these things, but I think I have to. It’s only a little about sharing my life story with my friends, it’s more about purging my own soul in some way. But I’m glad that some of my friends are interested enough to visit this blog and learn about what makes me Scottie. There are only 2 or 3 people on the planet that know all of my history, the rest just know bits and pieces. So this blog fills in some gaps that even my closest friends and family had no clue about. With the end of Chapter 5, we are still in 1996, and  things are rough. Still another 15 years to go, and they are longer stories because I remember more details, so keep up if you want. Tons coming, a chapter at a time.  And you are welcome to comment or ask questions about any of my posts. Thank you all, for reading this, for being there all these years, for just being you. I do appreciate all of you! Love you all!

scottie

 

 

 

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