25
Mar
10

Church, we go hard, we go hard.

My friend, Michael, and I are sinners.

Like, we do it big.

Now, I’m not saying this with any measure of pride.

In fact, I am shaken to the core at the prospect of being as woefully tethered to the pursuits of the flesh at nearly 30 as I was at 23.

Well. Maybe not shaken to the core.

But I am admittedly ill at ease with what is beginning to seem like my permanent residency on the Wayside.

Now, much like myself, my friend, Michael, at times, can hear the faint whimpers of his soul crying out—sometimes on his way to class, other times while a dashing, sinewy man whispers hushed verbal caresses into his boy/boy-inclined ears.

One day it occurred to us that our love for high risk behaviors might bring an abrupt, and premature end to our lives on this Earth. We were desperate to negotiate amends with our Maker.

So, together, Michael and I took to the streets.

The church streets.

And for a period of close to 8 months now, we’ve been on the hunt to find the “right one.”

Now, our quest has gained us some haters.

My linesister has long protested, in no uncertain terms, the mess that is our “church gypsy,” “congregationally promiscuous” existence.

But Michael and I are steadfast. We know our church home is out there. And we’re not resting til we find it.

And we haven’t made any pre-set determinations with respect to denomination, either. In fact, our only rule concerning the matter at all is that, no matter how late we stay out the night before, we go to church the next day. No matter what. This is the law.

Now, generally, we hear of a church, and go visit. But, the majority of the time, Michael has come up with the selected choices. Be it resolved that black gay boys have the franchise on all things church-related.

This is not to say that I haven’t chosen a church myself. Cause, up until the point of today’s story, I had chosen a church. One, to be exact.

You see, I’d selected a Pentecostal number in Northeast. And, Michael was hesitant, but relented against his better judgment.

What followed was a full fledged concert, interrupted once for an awards and recognition ceremony, and then succeeded by a sermon whose message carried us well into the 3.5 hour mark before a wild-eyed Michael abruptly turned to me and whispered harshly, “Can we leave?”

I was precluded from making any further church selections for several months after that, until two weeks ago, when Michael informed me that my probation was over. I was, once again, free to choose a church.
I hadn’t had much time to really give the matter much thought. And I’d long fielded an invite from my fairly religious cousin to check out her church.

When I’d called to inquire about the time service started, she’d indicated eleven. I even thought to myself how perfectly such a late time slot would accommodate our night-before activities.

When I saw the address, I was further delighted still by the fact that it was only minutes away from Michael’s home. I gave him the details and forewarned him that the church might be a megachurch (we aren’t really interested in those).

And then we partied.

We partied hard.

I sported my new slinky, tight LBD, and just knew I could get the biznass with the sweetheart neckline and my lone, exposed mocha truffle-colored shoulder.

It was a night rampant with seductive dances, buckets of liquor with our equally debauched group of friends, not to mention the occasional random outburst of song in the traffic packed streets of the Corridor.

It was a colorful night. A night characterized by bouncers—bouncers we (meaning I) let touch and feel all up on us (me), and bouncers at the Diner who my friends, led by my belligerent, righteously indignant linesister, harassed and assailed with verbal lambasting.

It was a solid night.

And when I walked into my home at 5:30 in the morning, I was certain that death was sure to follow should I dare open my eyes before ten solid hours had passed. But, recalling Michael’s and my rule, I begrudgingly set my clock for 9:30.

Later that morning, as I drove to pick up Michael, I was deeply contemplative about my physical state. My red-rimmed eyes freely gave away the secrets my waning liver seemed to keep. Michael was unresponsive to my calls and texts, but I drudged onward. When I arrived at his home, he finally picked up the phone, sounding like a pre-revolutionary Marcus Garvey. He indicated that he was naked, and in bed, but would rush to get ready and be down momentarily. When Michael got to the car, 15 minutes later, I quickly dismissed his apologies. My gps indicated that the church was only 2 minutes away. We’d actually be on time.

A few short turns later, my gps (programmed to be a British man named, Tim), kept repeating his familiar refrain, “You have reached your destination.” But I saw no signs of a megachurch. I saw no signs of a church, period.

“I think we’ve passed it,” said I.

A disgruntled sigh answered my assertion.

“No———we haven’t,” said Michael.

I turned my eyes to the same direction as my passenger, and saw the reason for his ire.

The church was, in fact, a row house.

A dilapidated row house.

A dilapidated row house with two equally dilapidated row houses on either side of it.

Every single space that would have housed a window was boarded up by wooden panels.

Every single space——–but one.

Cause in the space reserved for a living room bay window was one, sole, colorful stained glass window.

I parked my car a block away, behind a tricked out teal blue Mitsubishi Eclipse and braced myself for the onslaught.

Michael erupted.

“I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!!!! WHAT IS THIS?!?!? WHAT IS THIS?!!?!?! EXPLAIN YOURSELF?!?!? DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS?!?!?!?”

Laughter-prompted tears began streaming down my face.

“Michael, I swear I didn’t—“

“I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!!! YOU ARE 0 FOR 2!!!! YOU ARE 0 FOR 2!!!! YOU HAVE, ONCE AGAIN, PROVED YOURSELF TO BE THE WEAKEST LINK IN THIS CHURCH HUNT!!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DID THIS A-GAIN!!!”

“Michael, my cousin really loves this church. I’m saying. We gotta try.”

Michael just looked out the window, refusing to meet my pleading eyes. “I need some coffee right now,” he tersely replied. “If I’m going to do this, I need some coffee.”

We proceeded to the world’s worst McDonalds, located squarely in the hood, where Michael picked up “coffee” and “chicken” McNuggets.

I knew I had to make a play for it.

“It’s gonna be fine, Michael. You’ll see.”

I drove us back to the same spot as before, and urged Michael out of the car.

“My cousin loves this church. Promise me you’ll behave. Promise.”

My friend looked at me resolutely. “I can’t promise that.”

“Michael—“ I protested.

“I can’t promise that.”

“Then promise me you won’t look at me while we’re inside. Not ever. No matter what,” I suggested.

“I’ll try. I promise you I will try.”

Ours were sluggish steps, each one sounding heavier on the trash strewn broken pavement than the last. When we reached our destination, I gave Michael one last, lingering look as I held the splintered rail and climbed the rickety wooden steps. I noted paint chips falling from the columns and determined that I had to contain myself. I had to.

I placed my hand on the cool door knob. At that exact moment, an older woman’s voice carried over us from a sound system inside. She was singing soulfully into a microphone that I imagined looked like a Don Cornelius throwback. Because there was no musical accompaniment, her time-worn voice was all we could hear. I firmly gripped the handle, and looked back at my friend.

“You ready?” I asked.

And then it happened.

Michael had a meltdown.

“I CAN’T DO IT!!!! I CAN’T DO IT!!!! OHJESUSLORDHELPMEI’MSORRYICAIN’TDOTHIS!!!! I CAN’T DO IT!!!! I CAN’T DO IT I CAN’T DO IT I CAN’T DO IT DON’T MAKE ME DO IT I CAN’T!!!! I JUST CAN’T DO IT!!! OHJESUSICAN’TDOIT!!!”

I almost peed on myself.

On and on he went until I was convinced that we could in no way affect this particular church journey without me being forever-scorned by my family.

Dejectedly, we turned and slowly headed down the steps, Michael faintly whispering, “I just cain’t do it,” all the while.

When we reached the car, Michael again apologized, and we agreed to return to a nearby church we’d attended before. I put the keys in the ignition and a thought occurred to me.

“I think I have to throw up, Michael.”

Thinking i meant metaphorically, Michael replied, “Girl, you might as well. We’re sittin’ here parked behind this spaceship.”

I opened my car door, and before I could even be particular about a choice spot to gift with my stomach rumblings, vomit surged from my mouth. A full minute passed before I was done hurling the last bourbon-soaked vestiges of the prior night from my insides.”

I climbed back into my car, mascara running down my face, and looked to Michael to apologize. “Michael, I’m—“

THE WEAKEST LINK. THE WEAK-EST DAMNED LINK. Oooooooo, I am so done with you, right now! I am so damned done with you.”

Needless to say, the ride back to Michael’s place was a somber one. I exhaled deeply and noted, “My cousin is going to hate me forever. I can’t believe we didn’t go inside.”

Michael turned to me, and with all the earnest he could muster, said, “Listen. Today was a fail. But there’s a lesson in this. You have to know your limitations. And it just so happens that we are two severely limited people. Now, maybe we’ll go back to that church another time. But, after last night, today was not the day. Today was not the day.”

“But my cousin—“

“Trust me. You did her a favor. She woulda hated you ten times more if we’d actually gone inside. Especially after that number you just pulled behind the spaceship.”

“I’m an awful, awful person,” I said, mournfully.

Michael simply returned to looking out of his window. “Mmmhmm.”

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3 Responses to “Church, we go hard, we go hard.”


  1. March 25, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    dear linesister, i just wanna say….i’m glad both of you denied me membership to this beavis & butthead – frick & frack – dumb & dumber coonfest. i’m so glad. cuz remember i asked if i could come with yall to that church and you said, in that drunken voice of yours….”whaaaa? nooooo.this is me and michael alllll the way…besyyssss, dontchu already have a shhhurch?” and you know what?…. i made it to MY church that morning…and you know what else?…i prayed for you.

    • March 26, 2010 at 3:47 pm

      i prayed for you OUT-side of church. specifically, i prayed for the Lord to take away that demon of confrontation that compelled you to talk crazy to that bouncer at the diner like you did…and then tear through that velvet rope like that…as if you were storming the beaches of normandy…..

  2. March 25, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    A – Glad to see you’re writing again
    B – Sometimes the fates protect us from ourselves, it may not feel good when it’s happening but it is often the silver lining when all things are done


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a history of my meanderings….

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