The first time a man touched me was my first experience at a club. He was security with the duty of patting down patrons, checking for weapons. After all, it was Mardi Gras. With a scrawny physique but big hands, the bouncer patted underneath my arms, my hips, my thighs, and my legs. Lastly, the bouncer sprung up to eye level. “Oh yeah, this one is good.” Though I was creeped out by his statement, I brushed off my offensiveness eagerly anticipating the unknown.
As I began to move from the creepy bouncer, he nudged me back into place. “Baby, give me that identification.” the creepy bouncer ordered. Suddenly, I froze. I was seventeen years old; granted, it was my eighteenth year, but my birthdate was in August. It was mid-February.”Similac!” the once creepy now annoying bouncer shouted while checking my identification card. I felt my heart pounding; However, I focused on the music that blared from upstairs.
Finally. I entered.
The room was lit with black lights. There was a sea of beautiful black people. Some were not
ideally beautiful but their glowing spirits stripped my preferences. The sea of people was
smiling, dancing, singing, and countless activities that I associated with liberation.
“Here!” my cousin Meka said.” Sip this.” I took a gulp of her drink. “GODAMN! Slow down.” Meka said handing me the cup of Amaretto and Pineapple Juice.
Subsequently, with a half-a-cup of alcohol in me, liquid courage introduced itself. First, my hips made a figure-eight to the rhythms of hip hop classics. Second, I mouthed lyrics while my hands did impromptu choreography. Eventually, I began to wink at attractive people.
Moments later, a gold chain eclipsed my view. The jewelry belonged to a guy wearing an all-white ensemble. He asked,” Are you ok?” I raised my eyebrows.” Baby, you’re drunk.” He stated. With a cheerful expression and robust voice,” I’m Herbert. You can call me H.B.” “So,is this your first time here ,Herbert? I informed him about how my cousin dragged me to the club and that I was a senior at Riverdale High School. “Can we dance? “ I assumed he would leave. However, he led me to a corner. I faced the crowd with his arm around my shoulder and the other resting on my hip. We danced by rocking from left to right. “Cuz we’re ordinary people, we don’t know which way to go. “His voice was lovely like most voices are when whispered. He gripped me tighter. “H. B., let’s go!” Meka said holding an empty cup-within-a cup. I nodded. He removed his shield from my body. Bringing his arm back to his side and raising the other to sip from his watered drink. Before I was filled with embarrassment, he gave me a hug. “Jesus” I exasperated. He pulled out his wallet and handed me a business card.
On the ride home, I studied that crème business card with black lettering. It read: Calvin Johnson, Winn-Dixie Produce Manager. There wasn’t a contact number. Over the next three months, I became empowered. I would stride through the halls of Riverdale with my chest out and shoulders back. When teachers would address me, I made it a priority to sustain eye contact. Granted, unoriginal, daily insults about my sexual orientation were slung at me. However, the slurs didn’t stick anymore. I knew the truth. High school was a fraction of the real world, and there was a Calvin out there for me.