By Juneisha Burrowes
You lay crying your heart out staring at the ceiling. The dark, lonely room left
the responsibility of your comfort solely to the tiny pink blanket and the sad
teddy bear which lay in the corner of the tall confinements of the crib. Any
sign of calm? Alto, even baritone please come? The thoughts of the virgin,
undeveloped brain could not have been any more simplistic. The silence screamed
and the profundity of the implications remained inconspicuous - temporarily.
You are now deprived forever of the first experiences of male love. Now, as a
teenager however, you have had to live and adapt to this situation. Adapt may
even be inappropriate as this bond, so thin, never existed. You have forgiven
but never forgotten. So what now you ask? What is love? Can males love, or even
better yet, are you capable of loving them?
The crushes, the upset stomachs, the infatuation that defined your everyday and
the yearning for that initial conversation all characterized your being for a
couple of years. This was later transfigured into the dates and the excitement
that came with innocent physical contact. You swore this was love - but was it??
You feel the intensity rising, after all, you are about to graduate and to be
independent. You know everything about the scourges of modern day youth and with
the added late night privileges, you get closer and closer. You open up to him
and his voluntary reciprocity is the obvious indicator, or so you think, of your
mutual love. Naivety is the trademark of adolescence - isnít it?
Many painful experiences after you feel older, mature, almost a veteran. The sad
part lies in the fact that you feel this way at age nineteen. A victim of
violence, corruption, drugs and disease, your world has blunted your sensitivity
to a point where morals and values are at an all time low. Again you have met
him. No longer confident in your ability to love, you wonder if this one could
be that special case of love jones. Like you, he has finally yielded to life,
patiently giving it a chance to teach him day by day. You no longer know
everything, in fact, you are slowly becoming aware of the contrary. You both
coexist learning from each otherís successes and mistakes. Strong-mindedness
and autonomy are two qualities that you both share but, it is the
open-mindedness, spontaneity and sincerity that make the relationship unique.
Your attitudes, backgrounds and values are so startlingly similar that the word
destiny immediately comes to mind. Despite this, your differences in opinion,
respect and genuine admiration for each other have cemented your feelings into
the concrete of love.
Do you love him?
The one thing that life has taught you after nineteen years is patience. Now you
both live to learn and have accepted this challenge - together. This was
definitely a correction to the mistakes of the past. Support is needed to
coexist in this painful world and so, fortunately, you both have committed to be
a loyal player on each otherís team. Nevertheless, it is of paramount
importance that you be the champion of your own team first.
So, his eyes say it. Your eyes say it, but more significantly, for the first
time in your life, your heart has beat it. Your life has been tinted by notions
of male-female relationships, but, despite the absence of the original source,
fatherly love, can you love again?
I know I can ... because I have.
© 2001 Juneisha Burrowes
© 2001 Howard University.
(First Published in limited print edition, An Anthology of Verse and Prose, by the Composition for Honours Class, Howard University, Spring 2001. Professor E.R. Braithwaite)
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