This time of the year I always have mixed emotions when consider who I was in comparison to who I am.
In my book "From Gigolo to Jesus" I laid so much of my past on the table, I sometimes forget many of the moments I wrote about. One of those moments which I'll never forget was this time of the year with my first love over 27 years ago.
Yes there was Love in my life before Tiffany.
I decided when I wrote this book I was going to be transparent. I hope you enjoy the clip from my book. To read the whole story of what went on before and after you'll have to pick up a signed copy. Just click the above book picture to go to my website to get your copy.
This is from the
"Sex vs. Love"
chapter in my book. Pgs 20-24
(Sidebar, I fell in love with this young lady the moment I laid my eyes on her,
Names have been changed to protect the innocent)
As our relationship grew and we started to come upon the holidays Jill and I had agreed we were going to keep gift giving very simple. This was one of the greatest experiences, outside of sex, that I had ever had in a relationship. It was honestly the first. Jill gave me a stuffed toy Garfield cat because she knew I was a fan of the cartoon. When it was my turn to give a gift I decided to do it at school. Anyone who knows me knows that even when I do something simple it has to be grandiose. We were sitting in the main lounge where all the students hung out waiting for their next class. On one side was a wall of windows from floor to ceiling. I could see when a friend of mine came out of her car with the gift I was giving Jill. It was a huge stuffed toy horse. I stepped outside and when I came back I was carrying this gigantic horse on my back. I crave attention so it was nothing for me to stand on a table in the middle of the lounge and explained to everyone that the stuffed animal was for my lovely girlfriend. I almost fell off the table, but everyone laughed.
A few hours later I overheard her tell a girlfriend she wanted a Fendi pocketbook. I had no idea who or what Fendi was, but I could hear the excitement in her voice about having one. I was big on romantic statements and I was going to try to do something special. Armed with grant money that was supposed to be for my tuition, I decided to get a Fendi bag for her for Christmas. I was told the place to get a Fendi bag was Macy’s department store. The Christmas Holiday in New York is not just happy greetings and good cheer. You have overcrowded streets, cranky pedestrians, and tempers pushed to the limits at times. It was bedlam, but I was determined to get a gift to impress my girlfriend.
When I walked into Macy’s I was immediately in a sea of bodies scurrying back and forth. It was like every movie you have seen of New York City, but multiply it by ten. Between the Christmas music, the noise, and the voices it was easy to become overwhelmed but I was powered by love. I was so focused that it was almost silent as I looked for a salesperson to help me find Fendi. Instead I found a neat and professionally dressed security guard standing to the side.
“Good evening, where can I find a Fendi bag?” I asked him. He points to a whole section that is screaming Fendi and says, “Right over there, stupid.” Wow, only in New York can a young man ask about a very expensive designer and be called stupid at the same time.
As I walked over to the Fendi section, a very friendly looking saleswoman was smiling at me. She was about in her late to mid thirties and I could tell that she’d been working at the store for a long time because as soon as I asked her about purchasing a bag for my girlfriend her eyes immediately lit up and she went straight into her sales pitch. Pulling out each bag placing them on the counter explaining what they’re used for and their different features. I started to become overwhelmed. Now, I can hear the noise of all the people around me. The holiday music is starting to sound deafening. I’m feeling pressure because I don’t know which bag to choose. So, like the ghetto kid that I was I based my decision on how much money I had in my pocket
“Which of these bags can I get for two-hundred dollars?”
You would have thought that I had just spit the “B” word at her. The saleswomen turned pale. Her smile disappeared and she looked as if she had been disrespected. She snatched all of the bags off the counter and starts to put what looked like miniature versions of the same bags onto the counter. They didn't come with any speech. They didn't come with any elaborate sales technique like she had just done for those other bags. It was, “Here you go.”
There were basically three bags. One looked like a mutant tootsie roll with a little tiny change purse. Another one looked like a gigantic cigarette case, and the last one looked like a long wallet. She’s gives me the prices of the tootsie roll and the bag with no handle which I found out later was a clutch. Now, of course, when you’re young and in love, none of that matters. It’s Fendi and it was real Fendi. Even though I didn't know I could have gone out on the street and saw one of the street vendors who could have given me the knock-off version for maybe twenty-five dollars, but when you’re in love, you do stupid things. This was my stupid thing. So, I went with the clutch. It was two-hundred forty dollars, but because the saleswoman just wanted to make the sale she gave it to me for $200. I headed back to Jamaica, Queens with a smile on my face.
Jill was due to come to my house Christmas morning because I we agreed I would go with her to her grandmother’s house Christmas night. She had Christmas breakfast with my mother, sisters and me. After we all settled down and got comfortable in the living room I gave Jill her gift. We had already exchanged gifts so she wasn't expecting anything else.
“What is this?”
This is where, when I look back at myself, I realize that the man I am now had roots in me then. The seeds were there, but the weeds of the sexual beast and creature that I was so in control of my life that those seeds had to take refuge in the mud which was my soul only to come out when they knew they were safe. Watching her tear open the wrapping paper was similar to watching a holiday movie and the characters are right at that moment when they are going to get their wish from Santa Claus.
She opened the box with the clutch inside. She picked the clutch up never taking her eyes off of it. I could see tears began to form in her eyes as her fingers slowly caressed it. There was complete silence as the tears now started to roll down her cheeks. When she looked up at me with those eyes, it didn't matter what I went through to get the bag. I had accomplished what I wanted and that was to send from my heart to her heart how I felt. Oh, I can still feel the hug and I can still feel the kiss and I can still feel that excitement of that moment.
Christmas evening I met Jill’s family. The family wasn't too impressed with me. It was as if they could see past my charm into my devious heart. Jill’s mother had a soft spot for me, though, because she could tell that I was troubled, but she could also see that I there were values given to me. I had the potential to be a better person.
I remember being angry that night. Jill’s family ignored me the entire time. They laughed together, reminisced together, but no one spoke to me. I felt as left out at this Christmas party as a person could ever feel. It didn't make a difference what I tried to do I stood out. So I found myself a nice comfortable spot and I sat by myself. Jill came and found me and kept me company. She made me a plate of food and didn't leave my side until the family asked her to sing.
Jill could sing. Her voice was as if God was standing right next to her holding her hand, nodding approval. It’s like the humming of the birds and they are in perfect harmony. That was her gift. It was when she opened her mouth and sang you had to listen. You know when someone’s a good singer, when you close your eyes because you want to hear all of the words. I stood at the top of the stairs angry instead of enjoying Jill’s singing like everyone else. Instead of enjoying that moment for what it was, I was thinking about me. That’s the evilness that was inside of me. At a moment when I should have allowed myself to be taken in by such a blessed time and enjoy and become one, I had become one all to myself. I started thinking I wasn't supposed to be there. Not because I didn't love my girlfriend, but because I was sitting there angry about why no one paid any attention to me.
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