Dating the Right Reverend, Part Two
By Rae Lewis-Thornton
May 4, 2012
This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.
I know y'all been waiting on part two of "Dating the Right Reverend," so here you go. You can read part one here.
We left off at the phone call from the other woman. So I couldn't wait to let whoever this heifer was know, there's a NEW woman, so step the hell back. So I said, "Sweetie, he's in the shower right now, I would be glad to take a message." There was silence and I smiled. "Mission accomplished," I thought! She chimed in, "Will you please let him know, (whatever the heck her name was) is on the phone." "Sure," I said and went to the bathroom. "Hey Babe Kathy Mae is on the telephone." "WHAT?" he said. I repeated myself, "Kathy Mae is on the phone. I told her you were in the shower, but she's insistent."
There was a deep sigh, "Rae, I'm in the shower, tell her I can't come to the phone." So I politely went back to the telephone. "He told me to tell you that he can't come to the phone right now." There was silence and then a defeated voice. "Alright," and then click.
I had won! But I knew he was irritated, so I slipped off my clothes and slipped into the shower with him. I would make him forget all about her. Make him remember that I was all the women he needed. My tongue made my way down and it became just the two of us all over again. But later that day it was nagging at me, so I asked the Right Reverend, "Who is she?" "Baby, she's an old girlfriend that won't let go." He added, "I have nothing to hide. You have been all over this small town with me. You've met my family and friends, I have nothing to hide."
He was right, if he had another woman then he was slicker than slick because I had been everywhere and met everybody. And then I started to think about it, I had HIV. Why would he be with me if he wanted someone else? And why would he put someone in a triangle with HIV in the middle? He was much smarter then that. So I continued to enjoy the day. I put Kathy Mae or whatever her name was, out of my head.
As the day turned into night, I couldn't get it out of my head. I just couldn't get it all of my head. So that morning when he left for work, I went looking. Now the thing about looking is this: Don't look if you are not prepared to find. For Real ... For Real ...
The fact is, when you go looking the relationship is already over, trust has already gone out the window. If they are cheating it's confirmed, if they aren't cheating, then you have overstepped boundaries for no reason. Ummmm, but sometimes, whether you find it or not, there is something inside of you that says something is wrong. No one should be made to feel as if something is wrong. A man should make a woman feel like she is the only woman in the room all day long, bottom line.
So I went looking. I looked and looked and found nothing. It started to seem as if I had been silly. I got a cup of tea and relaxed on the sofa and then something in my spirit told me to look in the hall closet. WOW! There I found it, a bag of letters, OMG! And I mean letters. But there was nothing locally, they were all from another town in Michigan. I sat there are read them and I was blown away. The girl wrote, "While you were in the pupil preaching, I was getting wet and thinking about fuckin' him." WOW!! HUH?
This was too much for me. I paced that damn floor all day waiting on his ass to get home from work. I was hurt, mad, pissed-off and whatever else you want to add. How could I have been such a fool? How could I have been such a fool? I have HIV why would he add a third party? Yes we were using condoms but this was still so not right on so many levels.
The minute he walked in that door we had it out. But in the end, it became more of an argument about why I had invaded his privacy, rather than what I had found.
He had me on the defensive; I knew I was wrong looking through his things. Let me be clear, that bag of letters was wayyyy back in the closet. I was digging deep. I was wrong. I had no right. I was ashamed of myself and mad as hell at him. Mad that I had found these damn letters. Mad that another woman was thinking about lovin' him. Mad! Mad! Mad! All of my insecurities stared to surface. Maybe he would choose her over me because I have HIV. It was a mess!
But the more we talked the more he seemed to smooth it over. He had a great explanation and it sounded good. She was an old girlfriend, look at the dates on the letters Well, they had been sent right before we started talking. He pleaded his case and it sounded good. It sounded good because I didn't want to be with HIV and alone. It sounded good because he was the perfect man in all other respects: Minister, good job, running for political office in his home town, compassionate about social justice, well dressed and good lawd that boy knew how to rock my world in bed.
I surrendered to his madness and explained it away. Just months before I met him, I was thinking that I would never find a man that would be with me because I had HIV and now I had one that was inhabited to the third power. I explained it away, "It takes time to clean house," I said to myself. Maybe she was old news. Yep, I explained it away because I didn't want to be alone.
He had to be a keeper. This had to work out, it just had to. But I missed the golden rule that day, When someone shows you who they are believe them, don't make excuses, don't explain it away and don't wait for a better day. It is what it is!
I put it all out of my head. I explained it away and went back to D.C. lovin' this man for lovin' me. The relationship seemed to be going steady. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and I was head over heels in love. I was in DEEP!
Then in one night it all came tumbling down and I had to face the truth and make a hard decision, keep a man, or lose myself and all of my dignity in the process.
To Be Continued ...
I know, I know ... I'm sorry my life is crazy right now, and I'm trying to balance it all. I will work on the rest later tonight ... *blows kisses*
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Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks
Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.
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