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P. 1
Jesus take my hand.

Jesus take my hand.

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story about a man who hates.
story about a man who hates.


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Jesus hold my hand.(This is retitled S. Story).Hello world. Class is over and I have a few minutes before I pick up my date fortonight. She's a lovely girl who I met in school this week. Perhaps she is yourdaughter? Who knows? So I thought I would sit down and write this letter to allthe mothers and fathers out there. Maybe somebody will read it, maybe not. I amsorry, but I can't give you my name. But that's not important. What is, is I'ma man of ghetto breeding. In a more romantic time I would be called a rebel. Youknow the kind, it's the boy wearing jeans that haven't seen a washer since theMaytag man last came to your house, a tooth pick dangling from his mouth and a tee shirt with a pack of camels rolled up in the sleeve. When you answer the dooryou flash me a cold stare. My grin says stick it pop. At that moment your daughter comes flying down the stairs; grabs my arm and we leave. I'm talking about your daughter, the one who has straight A's, a bod that won't quit and your wife's white dress waiting for her on her wedding day. As I take her away in a beat up Chevy, you watch from the window, a shrug the only company for your thoughts.You turn away, really not worried about your daughter. Not because you trust her. You're not worried because you know the above isn't true, except in movies like Rebel Without A Cause, Reckless or the Outsiders. If it were true, you still wouldn't worry. After all, you, you grew up in the late fifties, early sixties, in a culture where the backyard fallout shelter, and the backyard barbecue were asign of the times; the ultimate death sitting side by side with the ultimate gourmet treat. You sat in a dark theater and idolized James Dean in Rebel WithoutA Cause. You sang along with two men who were synonymous with the word rebel: Buddy Holly and the Big Bobber. You even considered yourself a rebel. At least until you got married. Then you still considered yourself a rebel, but only in yourdreams. So you're not afraid for your daughter. After all you know that rebel is just a word in the dictionary. So many letters high and so many long. You knowthat in the end James Dean always smiled real nice as the credits rolled to a close. The Big Bobber may have crooned, 'Oh baby, you know what I want,' but he only wanted it on vinyl, not on some dingy bed, the dim glow of the hotels neon sign breathing in from a grime soaked window. As for Buddy, in the final analysis, what father wouldn't trust his daughter in white to a man named Buddy who woreglasses? But it really wasn't the glasses that made you feel secure, or the knowledge that James Dean was just two hours of film. It was the boys themselves. They may have acted the rebel, but you knew in your heart of hearts, that in theend, they came from behind the same white picket fences that you lived behind, not the burned out sub-culture passed along side the expressway going to and fromwork. No sir, and as you grew older, they, Dean, Buddy and the Big Bobber, never grew old and in not doing so became a younger version of you. So in your mind,and like you did, they could be counted on to do right by that white dress hanging in the closet. You know something, you were right, the movie rebels always did right by the girl in the white dress. But I don't live in a movie; I live inthe South Bronx. You know, that place that you pass on the way to work. That place where just surviving is a full time job. So yeah, I'm a tough cool mother. Bymy eighth birthday I had seen everything life's had to offer, and then some: mothers selling food stamps for a bag of white dreams, their nods helping block out the real life nightmare of their baby burning up in a tenement; pimps beatingtheir women until it hurt so bad that it just didn't hurt anymore; cops suckingthe serious end of a thirty-eight in the abyss of an abandoned building, crying:I just can't take it anymore. Other cops selling drugs in the same building. Junkies picking the body of the dead cop to buy drugs from the other cops... Yeah,I'm a tough cool mother. But I've already said that. Maybe I'm trying to convince myself. You see, I just buried a brother. He died of AIDS. You know, that disease that Jerry Farwell says is God's wrath on gays. But he wasn't gay. He was only thirteen. His only sin was seeing a toy on TV. But momma couldn't afford it.So he boosted it from Macy's. His second sin was getting caught. The next sin belonged to the police. They locked him up in the Tombs. It was a mistake, they s
ay. He should have gone to juvenile detention instead. Call his parents and he'shome in five hours. Some mistake. At the Tombs a prisoner trapped him in the shower and turned him out... ...three times. I want you to understand he was onlythirteen. I need you to understand he was only thirteen. He was so thirteen thatwhen he looked at me the love in his eyes was never disguised as something else. I was his hero, just like in the movies, just like in Leave it to Beaver. Evenwhen he asked me why, why do the rats gnaw at his little sister's feet at nightwhile she sleeps, why was momma so tired all the time and why was dad, ten years gone, killed by, but not in, a war that couldn't give him a job when he came home. I never had an answer for him. But still I was his hero. I was the big brother who was attending city college. Eventually I would have all the answers. Ashe lay dying, his eyes still believed that. Well he's gone now. But as you can see, sex, drugs and violence were to my upbringing as Wheaties and wheat bread were to your kids in Scarsdale, or an east Fifty-Sixth street condo. I bet you think you're safe behind all that glass, or that white picket fence. Well, you're not. It's time to bring the war home. You see, I also have AIDS. After my brotherdied, I sort of freaked out. I quit school and starting shooting drugs. Guess Ipicked up AIDS from a dirty syringe. But don't worry about me. I stopped shooting drugs several months ago. Doctors say I'm fine. Might even live three years,maybe four. Also, I'm back in college. My grades are great. One more thing. LikeI said at the beginning of this letter, I'm taking your daughter out tonight. But don't worry, I don't wear a pack of Camels rolled up in my shirt sleeve. I quit smoking, it's bad for you health. But if I did have a pack of smokes, I wouldkeep them in the breast pocket of my sport coat. In fact, I'll look very nice when I come to your house. And as I leave with your daughter, I'll think about mybrother, how he died, then about the old adage that what you own comes back tohaunt you. Then I'll take your daughter's hand, smile at you and say goodnight.

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