Life for me has always been strange; heck I’m strange! I didn’t know it then but in retrospect, “weird” is the word I would have chosen. My garb, fun – ky! I never knew what to expect from me and neither should anyone else. Today it was Goth, then prep, then punk; that’s how I presented my fashion and my gamut of emotions. However, I loved my varied styles, the “Goth look,” although it didn’t always go well because my skin is extremely dark. Can you imagine a really dark teen in an oversized black trench coat and all these chains hanging off? Baggy black pants with a black mail bag or duffel? Black boots and oh, I almost forgot, the black lipstick with the dark eyeliner? That’s a fashion no-no, for me but it went with the style. And the “locals” – can you say “shameless”? That’s what I call them. No matter what time of day, I could always find them doing the same thing. Either standing on the corner, about five to ten deep or inside the Chinese store; not buying anything just there taking up space and sucking up air. Even when I went to school and came home they were still “posted up” in either location. I wondered if any of them had ever been off the block or out of the neighborhood. However, the “locals” laughing me to scorn was the daily routine. If not for my style of dress, it was for the darkness of my skin. Anyway, a 15-year-old black kid with spiked reddish hair or even blond hair living in the heart of Baltimore’s East Side. You can imagine the stares and violent insults I got as I waited for the bus to get for school or just to meet up with friends. The insults whirled at me were heart-wrenching and unbearable – being called: gay, fag, queen, punk, sissy or even a bottom boy. I thought many times “How can people speak so mean about someone they don’t know?” My mental consolation was “They’re the locals! Who cares what they think?” It still hurt though.
The really strange part, I came from an awesome family, with great manners and intelligence, and my parents are devout Christians. They are very grassroots, but educated and hard workers. Mom is an epidemiologist at a local hospital, while my dad is a blue-collar worker who worked his way to upper level management with a sizeable raise, his own secretary, and an elaborate office. They met junior year of college and the rest is history. My siblings and I were reared to have much respect for our elders and even people we didn’t know. Every Sunday morning my family went to church and my mom would ask me to go. But she not 15 no more so … I got enough problems, so I decline.
You ever had that strange feeling that this day is going to be interesting? Not sure what or how but just a feeling. Well, I woke this morning and had that feeling.
It started off good and then, well…. The bell rang to change class and my next period was gym. My good buddy Samuel came to chat for a few. His class was immediately before mine. Sam normally stayed around later to work out and do the “jock” thing.
To be continued next issue.