The Eviction Chronicles part 2
The room was still. Naked, I sat in the closet, holding his gun. Quiet but controlled breaths entered and left my body as I breathed them as slowly and deeply as possible. My finger and hand were shaking as I tried to hold on to the trigger. I began to mentally count my life down, three . . . two . . .
“Kori, what the hell are you doing?”
Entering into the room just in time, Jerard knelt down into the closet with great force, yanking the gun away from my head just as I was about to count down to one.
“What in the hell are you doing?” he yelled again, shocked to find me, his wife of ten years and the mother of three of his children, sitting in a closet, naked, with a loaded gun. Jerard didn’t even know that I knew how to use the 9mm Glock, let alone considered killing myself. When he walked in the room, he saw my leg just shy of the closet, so he knew I was sitting in our spacious walk-in. Later, he would tell me that he’d been calling me from the moment he entered the house. I hadn’t heard at all. I was too involved with carrying out my mission.
“So, you’re going to kill yourself now?” screamed Jerard, not waiting to hear the answer. “Oh my God, are you serious?”
I couldn’t say anything. I just sat there with so much shame on the inside of me that it had begun to eat at my psyche.
“Is this what you want to leave for our kids to find?”
They weren’t home yet. I knew Jerard would make it home before the kids got out of school, so he’d be the one to find me and not them. I was thinking straight enough to know that, but everything else was a question. I was so horribly screwed. All I knew was that I wanted to end the battle I had been fighting against myself all of my life. Trying to convince myself that I wasn’t the person I felt most disgusted by. Never comfortable in my own skin, I thought for my children’s sake I’d be better off dead. Who wants to live with knowing their mother is gay? My thoughts were starting to get louder with each day. The fear of someone finding out who I was began to eat at me. I tried hard, but I couldn’t evade everything that I had ever heard in church and from others about homosexuality. The bondage was getting to be too tight. I didn’t want to abandon my children, they were my world, but even still they weren’t enough to take my mind off of the torment going on inside my head. How do I abandon them like my father abandoned me? I of all people knew what that felt like. Even still, I questioned myself daily, do I stay or do I go? Is it better that I killed myself now rather than live like this later? What would happen if my children found out? Would they hate me? How would they feel having a mother that is gay? I couldn’t let that happen.
Every day I tried to be a happy, straight woman. I even slept with a couple of different men before getting married. I tried to tell myself that I liked dick just as much as the next woman. I lied to myself every time. My body would not allow me to deceive my mind though. Every single time afterwards I’d get sick. “I just have to get used to it” – that’s what I would tell myself for a long time. I knew I could never get used to it. Who could get used to wanting to vomit every time they had sex with someone of the opposite sex? I didn’t even have to be entered; the whole man on top of me thing was sickening to me.
Daily I prayed to be straight like the majority of the world. But I wasn’t. I was so far from it. I knew that even if I never had sex with another woman as an adult, I was still a lesbian. I just had a propensity to be drawn to women no matter what the situation was or how I restrained myself trying to keep it from everyone that I knew.
“Tired of living like this, Jerard,” I said in a voice barely audible. “I just can’t imagine continuing to live like this. I love my kids, I do, but I am not happy. I can’t even lie to you anymore. I love you but not like a woman is supposed to love her husband.” I didn’t really have to say the words because Jerard already knew that, and even though he was having his share of affairs, too, he wasn’t ready to give up on me.
Even after what happened just two days before.
I was sleeping, weary from the day and in no mood to do anything other than sleep.
“Bay,” Jerard said after I felt him give me a soft kiss on my neck. I didn’t move, thinking if I didn’t move he’d roll over. But then I felt his hand between my legs. I threw his hand off of me and rolled over and said, “Not tonight, Jerard. I’m tired.”
“You’re always tired, Kori,” he said with bitterness in his voice.
“Well, tonight I’m extra tired, and I don’t want you flopping all over me,” I snapped and rolled right back over into the position I was.
“Flopping? Flopping all over you? You act like I’m a fish or something.”
I huffed. “Jerard, please leave me alone and let me go back to sleep.”
“Just give me five minutes, bay. I promise I won’t take longer than that,” he whispered, trying to sound sexy.
I lay there as if I was already sleep, not saying a word, hoping that he would leave me alone.
“Come on, Kori,” he pleaded a number of times.
I could tell he was getting frustrated. “Oh my God! Why would you even want it if you gotta beg for it?” I knew he was trying to wear me down, and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. “Come on damn it!” I pulled off my pajama bottoms, showing bare skin. I’m watching you. I don’t need all that foreplay shit because you only have five minutes and five minutes only.”
Jerard slid on top of me rock hard, and I could feel myself getting sick. I wasn’t even wet, so he spit on the head of his penis, and I thought, How fucking gross is that and gagged in my mouth. Jerard began pumping, and I lay there like a dead fish staring at the clock. Two minutes, three minutes, and then four minutes went by.
“You’ve got one more minute.”
“Come on, bay,” Jerard said. “At least act like you like it, and I can finish up.” He continued to pump and sweat all over me.
“Times up!” I grunted and pushed him back onto his side of the bed.
Jerard caught himself before he could fall off the bed. He dove back on top of me and grabbed me by my neck. “I’m sick of this counting me down bullshit, Kori.”
I tried with both hands to stop him from choking me, but he wouldn’t. I punched him as hard as I could and caught him on the side of his head. We scuffled, both hitting each wherever we could. Eventually, we both fell off of the bed, quietly fighting so we wouldn’t wake the children – something we did quite often.
We had been high-school sweethearts even though Jerard already had a child on the way with another young girl when we first started dating. Jerard for some reason picked up on my sexuality long before but never said anything about it. He knew from the times that he’d have to beg me to make love to him. When I gave in, I’d feel sick afterwards and told him as much. It didn’t take time for him to put two and two together. He felt it when we’d watch movies together. He knew that I never minded when he said some woman in the movie was fine or beautiful. I’d just concur. He knew that most of the women around him would’ve gotten offended in some way, but I never did. He watched how I watched women. Even though I didn’t realize that I did. He saw me when I didn’t even see myself. Jerard loved me because I was not only his wife but his friend. When were young newlyweds, we were always wrestling, acting silly, and could just be playful together. He loved that about me. He would tell me that he loved my deep chocolate skin and that’s probably why I was so sweet.
Still in the closet, more confused than ever, I looked up into Jerard’s sad and confused eyes; he lifted me out of the closet
“What are we going to do about this, bay? Do you want to go see someone?” When I didn’t respond, he asked, “What’s wrong?”
I began to cry uncontrollably and couldn’t say a word. The knots in my throat felt as if someone’s hands were squeezing the life out of me. Jerard pulled me into his chest and wrapped his arms around me while I cried. I cried until I allowed the comfort of his hold to relax my body, and I could gain control once again over my breathing.
When I felt okay, I pulled away from his grip, wiping the tears away from my eyes and face with both hands. I scanned the room for my robe, and when I found it, I put it on and went about the remainder of the day as if nothing had ever happened.
Weeks turned into months, and I continued to act as if Jerard had never found me in the closet with his government-issued gun.
Monday through Friday, I went to work with a smile painted so big on my face that no one including my best friend even knew the pain in my heart.
“Girl, you remember Jennifer Thomas?” Patrice yelled across the table. Patrice and I had been friends since we were eight years old. We played together as children, went to high-school together, got married around the same time, and even had our children around the same time. We were the best of friends who always found the way to work at the same jobs. Needless to say, they were always some temp jobs until we both got hired on at the hospital.
“Yeah,” I replied, “Why?”
“She is now J.T.”
“What do you mean, she is now J.T.?”
“I just ran into her in the bathroom right before we went on lunch. Girl, she no longer looks like Jennifer but John. She should’ve been in the men’s bathroom looking all out of place!” Patrice started laughing hysterically. “Girl, you know she is that way.” Patrice started shaking her hand left to right. “You know, funny.”
I didn’t know how to respond for a minute. I didn’t want to give myself away. Actually, I began to hope that I could run into Jennifer who was now John and ask her about her life and how she came to her decision. Not wanting to alarm Patrice by my silence, I let out a wail and began laughing as hard as I could.
While I laughed, Patrice said “Girl, you should see her. All of her hair is cut short just like my husband’s. I ain’t going to lie, she looks cute as a boy, but um . . . I’m not sure if I want her to be around me. I don’t want anyone to think I think that shit is okay. I know we all used to be cool in high school, but we are grown now.”
I stopped laughing and began to listen intently to Patrice’s words. Her words let me know that I could never share my secret with her. Deep down that made me feel sad. I couldn’t confide in the one friend that I’d known for almost all of my life. And here it was the only person that I knew was that way, and I couldn’t even talk to her because I’d be guilty by association.
Patrice and I worked in different departments. I thought I wouldn’t have to be subjected to more of Patrice’s homophobic comments after lunch; I was wrong.
She called me on our work phones, still talking mess. “Girl, a sandwich just ain’t a sandwich without meat. Bread is just plain ole boring.”
I almost said, “Clearly everyone doesn’t need meat that’s why some people are vegetarians.” But instead, I just laughed and said, “You are stupid” and hung up the phone.
Patrice expressing her negative thoughts about homosexuality didn’t deter me from wanting to explore my own feelings. I knew I needed to talk to someone who wouldn’t be judgmental, but I couldn’t think of anyone that I could talk to about it.
I tried not thinking about it anymore for the rest of the day, but right after clocking out from work, I thought, Hold on . . . I know someone I can talk to.
My family didn’t really talk about it, but when I was younger, I overheard them talking in code about my brother. They’d never use full sentences, just a couple of words when speaking of him. I think they didn’t want me to know who they were talking about, but I always knew. I remember walking in on a cousin saying “He’s different.” Her eyes were wide and eyebrows rose when she said it. Or another time hearing the word flamboyant being used. The one thing that really stuck with me was overhearing my aunt say, “His body has betrayed him.” It wasn’t like they didn’t love him. I just think that they dealt with his lifestyle the best way they knew how.
If anyone knew about being different, my brother would. Maybe I could talk with him. I picked up my cell phone, looked in my contact list for his number, and hit send.
“Hello,” he said, answering on the first ring.
“Hi Brother! How are you?” I was glad he had answered so quickly before I had chickened out.
“I’m doing good, Little Sis. I was waiting on a call from my agent,” he said rather quickly.
“I don’t want to hold you up. I just had a question for you.” My voice shook from embarrassment and nervousness.
“How did you know that you were gay?” I said it so fast I thought maybe he didn’t hear me, and I’d have to repeat my question.
But he heard it.
“I’m not gay!” he snapped at me as if he were mad I could even think such a thought.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t know why I thought that. Well, that’s all I wanted. Good luck on the call with your agent.”
I hung up before he could even say bye. I didn’t want him to associate why I was even asking the question in the first place.