Didn't Cha Know
Night fell on that following Saturday and I was running late. Mitch already called once to let me know that he would be browsing some stores on 34th Street until I got dressed and met up with him.
The cab was on its way to drop me off at the train station. I stood outside to wait. In the blink of an eye, I saw a shadowy figure in the dark of night positioned across the street, beside the light pole.
People were out and about at all hours of the night around there so it didn’t disturb me much, although he seemed to be staring in my direction.
The cab pulled up and as I was making my way to the curb, I heard my name being called. The voice was soaked in desperation. Sure enough, it was Gabriel. I hadn’t seen Gabriel since spotting him on campus that day over a year ago.
He wanted to talk so I told him to get in the cab with me because I had no time to spare.
“What’s up, boy? Long time no see—how have you been and most importantly what are you doing around this part of town?” I asked.
He said, “My uncle lives a few blocks away on Summit Ave. I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I saw your face from across the street.
Where are you headed?”
“Downtown to catch the train—don’t worry, I’ll pay for your ride back if you were going to visit your uncle.”
“Why? Where exactly are you going?” asked Gabriel more directly.
“I’m meeting a friend on 34th street.”
“What kind of friend? You can be honest with me, Quincy.”
I said, “It’s someone I’ve been dating for a few weeks.”
“I love you, Quincy,” Gabriel said as the cab made its final turn before pulling in front of the train station.
I lost count of my money and I believe I gave the driver more than I intended. Gabriel stepped out. From the look in his eyes, he seemed to be telling me the truth.
“Gabriel, why were you on the Rutgers campus about a year ago?”
“I contemplated going to Rutgers but eventually changed my mind,” he said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I thought I wanted to be close to you. I wanted a future with you. I’ve never met anyone else like you. I thought this shit in my heart, in my spirit would fade but it hasn’t. Is there something wrong with me, Quincy?”
I told him, “I didn’t pursue a relationship with you because there was something wrong with me. I wasn’t ready at the time. I still hated the fact that I was attracted to boys. It made me sick to my stomach. Sex with another guy was about as far as I willing to go at that time.”
“So what about now?” he responded.
“What about now? I’m not the same person I used to be and I’m sure you’re not either. Besides, I’m going to meet up with someone I care a lot about.”
“Oh. You know, I guess this was all a big waste of time,” he said sadly while hanging his head.
“Don’t think of it like that but don’t hang on to the past. Gotta let it go. I definitely have.”
“Okay, well, I won’t bother you again,” Gabriel said. “Have a good life, Mr. Simmons.”
“Gabriel, take care. Here’s money for that cab ride back, like I promised.”
Gabriel slid his hand down mine from the wrist to the tips of my fingers while collecting the cash. I smiled, then he walked away.