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CHAPTER 2. It Only Takes a Couple Seconds and A Commitment
The apartment was a wreck. Empty pizza boxes and bottles of 'chick beer' were all over the floor. A pile of unopened mail lay on the table next to the door. And on top, the only opened envelope was the invitation to Zach and Ann's wedding six months away—another reminder that he was all alone, again.
Juan Martinez sat wrapping and unwrapping the black leather belt around his knuckles, praying that God would give him the strength to do what he felt he needed to do. Diary of a Mad Black Woman played in the background, just something he put on whenever he wanted noise or comfort. This had been their movie. They had watched it so many times they had to buy a new copy of it.
So, why had he left this DVD? Juan wondered. In the six years they had been together, Phillip never forgot anything (which was part of the problem). When he moved out and took all his stuff, including the piano Juan had bought for him for their second anniversary, why had he left this DVD? At first, Juan thought that maybe he had forgotten the DVDs, but he had taken Waiting to Exhale and Beethoven, his two other favorite movies.
As Madea flashed her gun on the TV and went on another rant about Helen getting her half, tears rolled down Juan's face. He thought about the time they both dressed as Madea for Halloween and then went to a church party.
"Haaaleluuujjjaaahh," they spent all night greeting everyone. Another tear rolled quickly down his face.
He looked around the room and for the first time realized all the picture frames had his ex's picture torn out of them. He got up and went to the fireplace to closely examine one of the frames. Catching his own reflection, his wiry black chin stubble made him look a little scary. And dark black circles contrasted his otherwise smooth light brown Hispanic skin. He looked like he hadn't sleep for weeks, which was not far from the truth.
He looked at the other frames and saw that every picture was torn this way. He should have been grateful that he didn't have to look at that face again, but instead he grew angrier and more sad. He felt as if he had been deserted. Juan looked over the letter Phillip had left, a list of the things that were wrong with Juan and their relationship.
The letter reminded him of the speech his father had given him when he left home. About God not approving of his homosexualité and until he repented, God was not there for him. Juan had tried and tried to reconnect with his beliefs, but every time he tried, his father's words used a bullhorn to repeat them in his head. His father had listed all the things that were wrong with Juan and all the ways he needed to improve before God would even consider taking him back. And this list, like the list Phillip left, was overwhelming and compiled to defeat. Juan felt exhausted.
After six years of doing everything together as one being, Juan didn't feel that he could be alone. Worse than that, he was afraid of trying. That is why he decided on the belt. Good, thick leather, long enough to get the job done. He hated the way he was leaving things; that he hadn't said "I love you" to his friends the last time he had seen them. And he couldn't call them up out of the blue; they would know something was up.
So he left a note on the computer screen that said simply, "Thank you, my friends. I love you a lot. Please be strong."
Better to do it now, quick and simple. Just a little commitment, a high set beam, a chair, and a belt. Tears rolled down as he stepped up onto the chair and threw the belt over the beam. Lost in his thoughts, he barely noticed his phone was vibrating. As it continued to vibrate in his pocket his mind wandered and he began to ask himself, What if this is God calling me? He toyed with the idea of not answering it. But he didn't want to take the chance. He pulled it out of his pocket and flipped it open without checking the caller id.
"Help." It sounded like Jonathan, but very shaky.
"Jonny? Is that you? Are you okay?" Juan asked concerned as he stepped down from the chair. "Is Ian okay?"
"Please come quick. Ian . . . His ankle . . . I'm scared . . . He keeps screaming. . ." Jonathan said very quickly.
"I'll be right there." Juan said, as he hung up the phone, grabbed his jacket, and started to rush out the door. He glanced back and thought, I'll be back to finish this.
CHAPTER 3: A Threesome Uncoupled