Whites should try to avoid large groups of Black men in Bed-Stuy. It may sound insensitive to write such a thing, but it’s true. They’ll stir up an argument with a total stranger simply because something bad happened to them in their past– from a white boss perhaps, or a Caucasian school teacher may have failed them in school.
I walked with my head down, trying not to make contact with anyone around me on my way to the A train. I crossed Nostrand Avenue because there was a church on the other side of the street and it appeared to be safer over there. I didn’t want to hear their shit– ‘Hey, cracker, wad up?’I didn’t have the strength to listen to them that day. I was tired. My body ached from head to toe. My mind spun. Their air looked fuzzy. Doctors told me to avoid too much sun while on Zyprexa. It must have been a side effect to being out in the sun after being in an air conditioned hospital for a month. I stumbled in pain. Every step was like a chore. Muscles in my legs felt restrained by the medications just like my thoughts, but I continued to march on.
I should not have been concerned about being jumped by a gang of hood rats on my way to commit suicide, but I was. At the time I would have much rather been all alone standing on a steel beam atop the Brooklyn Bridge with warm summer air blowing under my hairy armpits as I prepared to make the plunge in a wife beater and a tight pair of Levi’s with the rear pockets torn loose. I was going to do a ‘can opener’ when I hit the water. That’s what we called improvised cannon ball splashes while jumping from the high dive at the community swimming pool back home in Three Springs.
Rather than grabbing both legs, as in a cannon ball, when doing a ‘can opener’ the swimmer grabs just one leg and extends the other out straight. It’s much easier to control entry into the water when doing a ‘can opener’. The thud from the surface of the water tends to sting the ass much less. I had decided that death would be less painful if I jumped into heaven doing a can opener.
Before Bradley called out my name I noticed a bottle of water being tossed over the crowds of Blacks on Nostrand Avenue. One of his friends tossed him a bottle of Poland Springs water. I saw the bottle of water before I heard his voice.
“Yo, Harlem, wad up.”
Still slightly paranoid from Schizophrenia I didn’t connect the sound of his voice with the sex I had with him. I only knew Bradley as a lover at the time. He’s a down low thug and our conversations have only been in a bedroom. We never talked on the streets– even on the day we met. Conversation was short and sweet during our initial hook-up.
“Sweet fuckin’ juicy ass on a white boy,” he whispered on the train platform years before, on the night I met him, on my way home from a club.
“Want some sweet man pussy?” I asked. He didn’t answer. He just followed me home. Little was spoken. Even when he came over unannounced and rang my bell on bootie calls over the years, we hardly ever talked. We went straight to my bedroom and got into the doggie style position. I even did him shaped like cannon balls and can openers. Bradley knows how to dig out an ass.
It was his birthday and he was on E– hanging out on the streets with his friends when he saved me.
“Yo man, I came to your crib in Harlem and you wuz gone. The place was empty. The curtains were gone and so wuz you. Damn baby, I thought I lost you forever.”
“I didn’t have your phone number, so I couldn’t tell you that I was moving.”
“Damn baby, it’s so go to see you. I thought I lost you.”
To my schizophrenic mind, he sounded just like Shawn.
“Do you want to hang out with me today? I’m going to a movie I said.”
“Can I take you to dinner for your birthday?”
“That would be cool.”
He left his friends behind. He didn’t return to tell them that he was leaving them. He followed me down the cement stairway to the A train at the corner of Nostrand and Atlantic Avenues.
I immediately felt better and my sight returned when we got out of the sun and down in the subway.