As I have told you before finding those true friends is a rare and beautiful thing. When you find them you need to hold on to them and cherish them. I have one friend that pops into mind almost immediately. This man has been with me through so many things, yes, we have had our problems, and fights, but somehow we have always managed to get past them and work it out. My best friend Jason was there with me the night that I found out I was HIV Poz. He sat with me on my bed at my house and held me, and we talked and talked for hours. This was a very cold night back in December of 2006, it was just a week after he had learned himself that he was HIV positive. I drew strength and courage from him even though he was a lot younger than me.
But, let me tell you a little bit about my friend Jason, see we had met several years earlier when I was still in the Navy and he lived in Chicago, we had lost touch and drifted far apart. However, our story was far from finished. See in 1997 I moved to Atlanta with my lover Joe Royer, and shortly after us being in Atlanta we bought a house in the suburbs. Now, Joe and I were in the party scene and for those of you who have been following my blog from the beginning will immediately realize that when I say party scene, I am talking about methamphetamines. Joe and I had met a guy who was a porn star, who just so happened to have the same birthday as Joe. This young man and I eventually became deeply connected in many ways, and through him I met a lot of people. I mean a lot! Anyhow this guy kept talking about wanting to meet up with this other guy, Joe kept saying that he knew him that he had paid the guy to have sex with him before I ever met Joe. Now, they kept talking about this person that they both knew by a different name, which turned out to be his middle name. Which I won't reveal here because no one needs to know and those that are involved in this story already know, so it doesn't matter.
Vito, who was the young porn star, that Joe and I met convinced me one day to take him out to meet his friend. So I drove out to Roswell, GA to pick up this friend and from what I gathered we were all coming back to my place to party and have a good time. Now when we got there Vito told me to park and stay in the car, he didn't want his friend to know he was hanging out with a white guy at first, he didn't know how his friend would react, and that he wanted to break it to him slowly. Well, long story short they sat outside of the car talking for almost an hour, and when they got in the car, Vito went to introduce us. I looked over my shoulder and started laughing because here was my best friend Jason, as I have said someone I met while I was in Chicago. Now, the reason why I never put the Vito and Joe's friend together with Jason was because they kept calling him by his middle name, which like I said I won't reveal here, but that is why as they were talking about this guy it never dawned on me that I might already know him. Here is an interesting tidbit that you might want to keep in mind, whenever I am introduced to someone, that is the name I remember them by. So years ago in Chicago I was introduced to Jason as Jason and to this day that is what I still call him. Though everyone one else uses his middle name.
Vito, and Jason started seeing each other, Vito was staying at my house with me and Joe, so Jason was around quite a bit. The thing with this is that there has always been a bond with Jason that has transcended that of other people. I grew close and attached to him in such a way, that it is hard to explain. Everybody, and I mean everybody loved Jason and wanted to jump in the sack with him and have sex. I will be honest with you that he is a gorgeous man, and yes I am physically attracted to him, he is a very light skinned black man, with an amazing body and a piece of equipment that was beyond large...let's just say OMG! But, there was something different about my relationship with Jason that made others so jealous and curious about. Yes, we have had sex on several occasions and we partied together for years and years, but it has never been about that for us truly. Here was somebody that I could talk to, confide in, who despite our different backgrounds and culture seem to be able to do the same with me. What is sad is that a week before I found out that I was positive Jason had found out he was positive. He was angry with Joe and Vito, because Joe knew that Vito was positive and hadn't warned Jason. I can tell you in all honesty I don't think there was any love lost between Jason and Joe anyway, because as I have mentioned above, Joe had been bragging that he had slept with Jason and had paid him to have sex. Now, Jason and I had talked extensively about this topic and anything else you can think of and I knew that Jason had done it because he needed the money that he wasn't attracted to Joe and had no feelings for him in that capacity at all. I can tell you this to this day Joe still questions why my relationship with Jason is different from his, and why was Jason comfortable having sex and being around me but didn't feel the same ways about Joe. Honestly, I think the difference was that, Jason and I never intended to have a sexual relationship, it happened, but we were friends first and foremost and everything else just followed.
So here you have our history, but I want to talk to you about the man and the friend that I have in Jason and others, because yes my friends it is possible to have more than one best friend in your life, and I will admit that I have 6 total. I am going to talk about all of them, and show you how each one of them has been the embodiment of "True Friendship". But since we are already talking about Jason, I am going to finish up with him and his ex Vito, who I guess in a round about way I can say was our ex, because both Jason and I had a sexual relationship with Vito and were together for quite awhile. You could even liken it to a 3-way relationship, I don't know if Jason will agree with me, but pretty much it is true, they were dating and I was right there in it with them from beginning to end, and having sex with both, so in a way, yeah it was definitely a bizarre love triangle.
Let me tell you why my friendship with Jason is so special and important to me, and why no matter what we are going through or where we are at, we shall always be friends. All of you should know that I have been battling cancer since 1992, but it wasn't till 2005 that I had to have bowel resection surgery and have the colostomy bag put in place. This man, my friend Jason was there through it all, he knew me before I had the bag and he stayed my friend well after it was put into place. Jason was the first to realize how the bag had shattered my self-confidence and plunged me into a deep dark depression, how I felt like I was a cripple and thought that I was always going to be an outcast and unwanted in the Gay world because I was broken and not a whole man anymore. But you know what he accepted me for who I was, he saw past those bags, he forced me to face the world. He proved to me that I was someone worthwhile and that I had a lot to offer. Literally he helped me find my self-esteem again. He was also the one who stood up for me, he backed anyone down that wanted to criticize or hurt me. Let me digress again quickly to tell you about this guy that I had met on Adam4Adam a gay hook up site, how everything was good and cool until I told him that I had cancer and I had the bag. Now I told this guy about the bag so that there wouldn't be any surprises, even then I felt that I needed to let people know ahead of time what they were getting into. Well, when I told the guy about the bag, he wrote "Oh my god you freak, your a monster, you almost made me throw up, you totally fucked up my buzz". Let me tell you how I burst into tears, and broke down because this was my greatest fear come to life. You know what Jason did, he fixed the guy good, got him on line and got him to come over. Not revealing that he was at my house or knew me, and when the guy got to the house, I opened the door and let him have it. By the way I am still friends with the guy today, his name is Xander and after he got to know me he turned out to be not such a bad guy at all but it was Jason who got him there and got me to face him and overcome my fear.
Jason and I have been through a lot, he has always been my biggest defender and champion. Though we are from different worlds and cultures I know that he has my back, he would never let anyone ever hurt me. I know he knows I'd do the same for him. There were nights/mornings back in 2011 that he would call me up at 2 or 3 am and ask me to come and rescue him and pick him up and get him out of messy situations. There was a time when my ex Sterling was talking to another guy name Jo-Jo and how Sterling was telling him how our relationship ended and how he was going to get back at me for all the things I had done to him, when I least expected it and it couldn't be traced back to him. I called Jason and Nathan and asked them to come and get me, to make sure that nothing happened to me and without questioning it they came. Nathan, is Jason's best friend and old roommate, someone that I was madly in love with and dated for a short period of time. He too is a great friend and someone that I know I can trust. Nathan, found out I was out of the hospital back in 2010, just showed up, wrapped his arms around me when I opened the door and hugged and kissed me and told me he was glad I was alright and he would be back in a bit, after he dropped the truck and his friend off. Nathan came back and stayed for 4 days, to make sure I ate and nursed me back to health. I love him still to this day.
Before I go any further, about what true friendship is and what it means to me, there are still several other people that I have to mention and bring to your attention, two of these I have known a very very long time. The first is my best friend John, we met while I was in the Navy and home on leave and he had just graduated high school. John and I have been friends all this time, we have lived together, moved to Atlanta and went to college together and been through some really hellatious times together. John was the person that helped me realize that I had lost myself somewhere in my relationship with Joe, that I had let the physical and mental abuse rob me of the person that I was. He pointed out to me that I used to be the person that knew where he wanted to go and made my own path, and when I saw something I just went out there and did it. That I didn't need people making decisions for me that I was a leader, and others drew strength from me. If it wasn't for the efforts of John that November day in 2010 when I had left Jason in my apartment, yes we were living together, and I ask John to come and get me because my dog Little Bit was taken from me which was the straw that broke the camels back, the Bryan that is writing all of this for you would still be lost today. Everything I have been through all the challenges and lost years I wouldn't change any of that for the world. The next friend is Patrick, we went to the same church when we were younger. His father was the minister and my mother was the church secretary. I spent a lot of time at their house growing up and actually became a part of the family. His mother and sisters are still in my life today and are really close. As a matter of fact earlier this evening I had to go to the emergency room because of an infection in my abdomen. Patrick, John, Kerry, and Lorna and I were texting and chatting via Facebook the entire time I was in the hospital. Kerry I just mentioned above, is also a good friend, always has kind words of encouragement and is a great inspiration to me, because he had a brain aneurysm, and never let it slow him down, he is a song writer, composer and singer and just signed a record deal. I can honestly say I knew him when. Now, just to give you a little more background on Kerry and I, once again I found myself in a strange love triangle 3-way relationship with him and Will that lasted almost 4 years off and on. But through all the stress, trials, abuse, anger, and drugs, we are still so very close today. He was also the only friend that I have that offered to drop whatever he was doing and come and take care of me when he found out how sick I was. Last but not least is my friend Judy whom I met in 1992 and we are still friends today, she is my rock my sounding board, and when my life and energy is out of alignment, one phone call to her and my world starts going right again.
The point that I was wanted to make, is pretty simple. There are few really genuine and sincere people that are going to come into your life, you are going to feel an almost immediate connection with them, and from that develops a life long friendship that nothing is ever going to break. But what is a true friend? It is some who you can talk to, confide in. They are there for you and you are there for them no matter what the circumstance. They are there to help you pick up the pieces of your shattered heart when your relationships go south, they are who you lean on when the world has turned upside and you are lost and don't know where to turn. You do the same for them. A true friend is someone that you need to have in your life, they are the holders of your secrets and you theirs. In other words, these are your confidants, those you know who you can totally trust one hundred percent. You know beyond any shadow of doubt that they have only your best interest and welfare at heart.
A true friend is someone that you keep coming back too time and again no matter how many problems and fights you have had. Time has a way of healing and easing the pain more quickly with these people. There is an empty hole inside of you when you are fighting and you feel complete and whole once you have made up. They are steadfast, stalwart, trustworthy, and accept you unconditionally for who you are, including your faults and strengths. They are the ones that are going to think of you first when both of you are in trouble, and they come running whenever you need them.
Cherish them, love them, tell them how much you appreciate them. Let them know that you realize what they had done for you, and how they have been therefore you and saved you. Let them know how much you care because relationships come and go, people come and go, but true friends stick it out, hang tough, and are very rare.
I love you Jason, Judy, Nathan, John, Patrick, Kerrion, Vito you are my friends my network of people, the only ones who have taken the time to get to know the real me, and inspite of that you love me just the same. My life wouldn't be the same without you, I might not have made it as far as I have if wasn't for your kindness and your support. Thank You, for all you have done and continue to do. Thank you Dear Lord for putting them in my life and letting us still be friends after all these years.
As always my hopes and dreams are with you,