Chapter XX – That Ole Wind

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Alex McCarty had tossed and turned all night long. There was something about the suite at The Southern River Hotel that made him feel uncomfortable or maybe it was the bed he thought as he sat up and looked around the room for her – his bedmate from the night before. He found her perched by the window staring down at the river.

“Hey. What are you doing over there?” he asked. “Come back to bed.” Alex told her and when she didn’t respond he questioned, “How long have you been awake?”

“Long enough to know that last night was a mistake,” Angela replied as her mind reeled with confusion. “I’ve been standing here thinking about how I let this happen,” she gestured towards the bed. “Damnit!” she cursed.

Alex climbed out of bed and reached for his boxer briefs on the floor. He knew better than to go near her because it would only make things ten times worse than she thought they already were so he kept a respectable and safe distance.

“I know you Angela and you weren’t thinking about how you let this happen,” he said from across the room, “you were over analyzing the situation. You’re putting too much thought into what happened. This isn’t that uncommon you know, we were two people who loved one another…”

“You hit me!” she screamed at him as their eyes met. “You busted my lip. You gave me a black eye. You fractured my cheekbone. You sent me to the emergency room for Christ sake Alex,” she told him.

“Regardless of whether or not we used to love one another the things you did to me should have prevented this from happening. I’m not supposed to love a man who could lay his hands on me,” she told him, “and I’m sure as hell not supposed to want to sleep with him ever again!”

Alex didn’t know what to say to that. The fact of the matter was that they both knew it was the truth. He sat down on the edge of the bed with his back to her when he finally was able to speak.

“I know that I hurt you. It’s the worst thing that I’ve ever done in my life Angela and I live with that every single day of my life. I am ashamed of the way I acted and even more ashamed of what I did to you,” he admitted. “But I’ve changed…I’m not that man anymore.”

Angela cut her eyes at him and shook her head, “That’s nice to hear and all Alex, but I don’t know that for certainty. You’re sitting there telling me that you’ve changed but let’s face facts here – you have said all of this before. I can’t even count how many times I begged you to quit drinking and you didn’t. You promised me over and over and over Alex that you would change but you never did. So please give me another reason as to why I should trust what you say now?”

The room fell silent. After several minutes Angela wiped away her tears and walked across the room to retrieve her  clothes.

“This was a mistake,” she said as she turned to face him. “Go home Alex. Go back to Dallas and forget that you ever saw me again, because that’s what I’m going to do.”


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April Bradshaw closed the front door behind and watched as Emily ran to the car. She somehow managed to balance her purse, briefcase and a cup of coffee as she headed down the steps of her porch. Just as she was almost to her car she saw Luke Stevenson making his way up the front lawn. She opened the back door of her SUV, dropped off her items and started to walk towards him.

“Emily get buckled up,” she called back to her daughter. “I need to see what your Aunt Leslie’s husband wants with me at this time of the morning and then we’ll be well on our way…” she sighed at the thought of Emily being late once again.

“Good morning. I hope I didn’t catch you at a bad time,” Luke smiled. “I was hoping that I could have a few minutes with you…”

“It’s seven-thirty in the morning on a school day,” April told him, “so I would say that you’ve pretty much caught me at one of the most worst times possible. Plus if I didn’t know better I would say that you’re borderline stalking me Luke. Does my aunt know that you’re here right now?”

“She does not,” Luke answered. “I was on my way to meet with a real estate agent about some office space in downtown this morning and I was thinking about our conversation last night..”

”Oh you mean the one where you insisted that you knew me and then proceeded to call me a liar when I said we’ve never met?” April snapped. “And if Leslie doesn’t know that you’re here how exactly did you find out where I lived? And don’t even try to give me some bullshit answer because I will know if you’re lying.”


 

Words Matter…Don’t They…

Hold up…Wait a minute…It appears that late night television host Stephen Colbert is finding himself in some hot water after his Monday night monologue that of course went after the President of the United States, Donald Trump. Colbert’s rant/monologue was in reference to an interview that President Trump gave to John Dickerson, a CBS reporter who began questioning the President about his March 2017 claims that former President Barack Obama had wire tapped his phones. Through his discussion and questions Dickerson had opened up the sitting President of the United States an opportunity to explain himself and to ensure that the mainstream media was getting the real news directly from the mouth of the President. 

However, President Trump refused, abruptly ended the interview and stormed off to his chair in The Oval Office. As Colbert eluded to in his monologue, Dickerson is to much of a gentleman to go after the President – but he was not. A few one liners into his rant on the President of the United States, Colbert made the following joke:

“In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.”

The joke has angered many. And while it was risqué to say the least, many would think it was tame in regards to the Hollywood Access video/audio tape that was released in October 2016 of then reality television star, turned President of the United States boasting about being able to grab women by the pussy without having to even ask, because he was famous. We have all lived through the audio tape – it even traumatized some of us, myself included – I had to explain to a small group of close loved ones what a pussy actually was. It’s a sign of the times, that we live in a world where many people gave indication following the election that Trump’s words did not matter to them. What mattered to them were their jobs, the economy and their safety. Women came on to national television, supporters of then candidate Trump and said they were disgusted by what he said and rightfully so, but they would still support him and vote for on Election Day 2016. 

And so a comedian on a late night talk show makes an off the cuff remark and the world has a meltdown. Personally I don’t find the joke funny or distasteful. I find that Colbert made a joke that he knew many would find offensive and that would lead people to start talking about it in the mainstream media the following day. I find that Colbert knew it would become a viral clip that would be played over and over and over again. I find that those who took to Twitter with #FireColbert to be a little hypocritical considering who the country elected as President. So I’m clear, we are expected to tell our children, that it’s okay to say a man can grab a woman by their genitals if you’re famous, but it’s not okay to make a joke about fellatio between two men? Where do we draw the line of being offended. 

Gay Trump supporters…and let me pause here…because I think everyone should be able to support whomever they so choose in an election and in politics…but Gay Trump supporters who have “spent the last 2 years of my life working to defeat Hillary” are angered and outraged over a joke made by a comedian – one who only holds pop culture power over his fans, but yet support a President who is reportedly preparing to sign a religious liberty Executive Order on Thursday, May 4th. 

Most of us were raised to know the difference between good and evil, right and wrong and that our words of consequences – but we live in a different world now. What consequences did President Trump’s words have from the Hollywood Access video, in order to find out that answer – we should probably ask Billy Bush, I think he knows. 

But the point is mainly this, if Stephen Colbert is to lose his job for making a sexually charged joke, shouldn’t the President? 

LGBT: What If…

Since the end of February 2017, reportedly, Chechen authorities have arrested some 100 gay men. Those men have been, reportedly, beaten and tortured with electric shocks and glass bottles have been used as torture devices. Three men, reportedly, have died after being sent to secret prisons, described as concentration camps. As of last week, United States Ambassador Nikki Haley remains to be the highest official in the country’s government to speak out on these, alleged, hate crimes in Chechnya. The ambassador, at the urging of GLAAD released the following statement on April 17, 2017:

“We continue to be disturbed by reports of kidnapping, torture, and murder of people in Chechnya based on their sexual orientation and those persecuted by association. If true, this violation of human rights cannot be ignored – Chechen authorities must immediately investigate these allegations, hold anyone involved accountable, and take steps to prevent future abuses. We are against all forms of discrimination, including against people based on sexual orientation. When left unchecked, discrimination and human rights abuses can lead to destabilization and conflict.”

And yet there has been no word from President Donald Trump to condemn these torturous acts of violence against humanity on his twitter handle regarding these horrible acts. Since Ambassador Haley released her statement on Monday, April 17th here are some of the items that the President has since tweeted about:

  • 04/17/2017: A Retweet of His Approval Ratings
  • 04/18/2017: Democrat Candidate Jon Ossoff 
  • 04/19/2017: The Super Bowl Champions Visiting The White House
  • 04/20/2017: The Failing New York Times
  • 04/21/2017: The Ridiculous Standard of the First 100 Days in Office
  • 04/22/2017: Big Upcoming Rally in Pennsylvania
  • 04/23/2017: Still Beat Hillary in Popular Vote
  • 04/24/2017: ABC & NBC Fake News
  • 04/25/2017: Fake Media
  • 04/26/2017: Signed Another Executive Order

And while sure there were tweets that the President mentioned signing other things, I’m sure that will please the Republican Party and many of the voters in the country – the point remains…were are his properties. Reportedly, human lives are being taken at extremely violent ways across the world and this sitting President has nothing to say. And while there will be those who may say I am nitpicking and that the President can’t condemn every horrible action that occurs in the world – this is the same President who shamed Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep – if there was time to do that there is time to do this. This is after all the then-candidate who said he would be the best friend to LGBT ever in The White House! 

But even more so, beyond the President of the United States, not using his power Twitter profile to condemn such hate, a sitting United States Senator from Wyoming told a group of middle school and high school students, this, after the Chechnya LGBT crisis was reported:

“We always say that in Wyoming you can be just about anything you want to be, as long as you don’t push it in somebody’s face. I know a guy who wears a tutu and goes to bars on Friday night and is always surprised that he gets in fights. Well, he kind of asks for it. That’s the way that he winds up with that kind of problem. I’d be interested in any solutions that you have for how we can make that work better. The biggest thing that we need is civility.”

The irony that Senator Mike Enzi would call for civility in the same the statement that claims a man who wears a tutu is asking to be beat it up. For those who may not understand what the big deal is and claim that he’s right – would it be okay for someone of his authority in The United States Senate to say that a woman…your mother…your daughter…your sister…your best friend deserved to be raped because she wore a low-cut blouse when she went to the bar!? FUCK NO! 

I am horrified at the thought process that we are seeing in our society day after day. The levels of hate to which we are descending to is scary. I end with this, perhaps the next time someone wants to speak out against men being beaten up for who they are in this world…how they were born…that people think, “How would I feel if this were my son or my daughter?” And go a step beyond that, before you agree with them and cheer them on…perhaps you should think the same thing! 

We should no longer ignore, nor should we want to ignore the crimes against humanity that are occurring. It’s time that we all rise above ourselves and learn what civility truly means. 

Visit the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to find out how you can help and to donate. 

Until Next Time…

Life Happens…

A few years ago I was engaged in a frequent text message exchange with a boy who I really liked. We met through a mutual friend that we had both worked with at one time or another and after I made fun of his fully decorated Christmas tree, that was apparently put up the day after Halloween, also known as November 1st, we began a friendship. As it turns out it would lead to nothing more than a friendship, because that’s how all things in my life seem to turn out – but that is a different story. One of the topics we discussed through our frequent text messages was “Being Irresponsible” and it stemmed from me revealing that I have never, not once and I pray to keep that record strong for the remainder of my life – have run out of gasoline in the car! His response was…

“Really? You’re so responsible. What is the most irresponsible thing you’ve ever done?”

I couldn’t answer him. I was at a loss. I sat there in my bedroom thinking back over my life and I couldn’t think of one irresponsible thing I had ever done – at least one that wasn’t tied to something responsible. My answer, which didn’t impress him any was…

“I purchased a house once and then regretted it.”

The fact of the matter is that I have never been irresponsible. My entire life I’ve followed the rules and walked the line, so to speak. As I’ve grown older, yes I have zero problems saying that, my opinions may have gotten the better of me at times – but even in those moments I tried to come from a place of respect and professionalism. Since May 2000, I’ve had a job – and for those of you who know me will note that my birthday is in June. Well see as “luck” would have it my Grandmother knew someone at Warehouse Market in Okmulgee, Oklahoma who let me start work a week shy of my 16th birthday in 2000. I suppose, like many things, my need to be responsible can be traced back to my Grandmother…because I couldn’t drive myself to school once I got my driver’s license unless I went to Vo-Tech in the morning or got a job in the evening. There was a reward for hard work. With the exception of a brief time in August 2006 – December 2006, I haven’t had a job. Since December 2006, I’ve worked full-time and then some. I like working, it gives me a sense of purpose. It allows me to focus on something, when there is nothing else to focus on and sure I bitch about my job and my work like just like everyone – but I enjoyed going to work…until I didn’t. 

I quit my job on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. I’ve never been in a relationship that I would consider serious, but I reckon that the emotions I was feeling up until that day could be compared to what one may feel like with a partner who they feel is under appreciating them, blaming them for things, having an affair and overall smothering them. I didn’t come to the conclusion that I should quit my job easily. After all, I was working for a company that I actually wanted to work for since 2013. Let that sink in a moment, a company that I wanted to work for. Not only that I had left a high demanding, but good job in order to take this one – in the moment of presenting my resignation letter, I felt the sudden waves of relief and failure sink over me. I didn’t know which one to embrace first, the truth is I still don’t know which one to embrace. 

Feeling defeated is hard. Feeling as though you failed is harder. What I have come to realize over the course of the last two weeks is knowing when to walk away. When the statement, “We look like fools. Fools who are idiotic and do not know what they are doing. And I am no none of those things…” come out of your mouth, after reading an email that you predicted would come, but no one else thought would…to me is a sign. As individuals we have to want to better ourselves in order to move up in corporate America. But at what point, does a company find that they need to better themselves by listening to the talent they have on their “team” in order to continue to be successful in corporate America? 

I’ve been on a soul searching road trip over the course of the last two weeks, since quitting my job. It turns out I only have a minor freakout during the last fourteen days. One that rendered me bedridden and speechless – but I persisted and moved forward. It’s funny as I write this, I had forgotten about my August – December 2006 state of unemployment. It’s given me hope on what may come in the aftermath…because at the end of that four months I found a little casino in Perkins, Oklahoma, where over the course of my time there met two women who at different and multiple times throughout the last ten years help shape my life for bigger and better things. 

I’m reminded of a quote from one of my favorite television shows of all time, as I end this blog post…”Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.”