B1 Intermediate US 9 Folder Collection
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(serene music)
- I grew up in a mega church in the South
with one of those huge stadium style
places with the jumbotron screens.
So, when my dad's endodontist, stick with me,
asked if I wanted to join him in a team of adults
on a mission trip to Ethiopia, I said, "yeah."
I was so stoked.
When we arrived at the airport,
we were greeted by our translator and liaison,
who was a local Addis woman named, Donick.
Now Donick had received her formal education in London,
so she had a pristine BBC accent,
a gorgeous flowing head of hair and the most
piercing perfect eyes I'd ever seen on a human.
She went down the line of our team and hugged everyone
and when she got to me, she took my face in her hands
and she said, "you're so small to be here,
you're like a little bird."
that night, the local church that had set up our trip,
sent us to an incredibly opulent dinner,
they were like, "well, you guys
are American, you love excess."
so we go, we're eating Injera, it's delicious
and these women come out and perform
this sort of erotic traditional Ethiopian dance.
They have staffs, they're all beautiful, they're dancing.
I don't know how I mustered the way at all,
but I turned to Donick and I remember I said,
"can you do that dance?"
and she looked me dead in the eye and she said,
"before your trip is through,
I'll dance for you, that's a promise."
The weeks go on, Donick and I are getting closer
and closer, one thing that is important to mention is,
she's 23, I'm 17 and she is engaged
to be married to her Conservative
Christian Ethiopian fiance, David.
One day we're riding on a public bus,
which is essentially, an emptied out VW van
and, an older gentlemen was chewing on a root
and he handed it to me and he motioned
for me to chew on it as well and being a yes man,
I said, "sure."
so I started gnawing on it.
As soon as Donick saw what I was doing,
she whipped out of my hands and said,
"no, don't do that, you mustn't."
it was in fact, a hallucinogenic root
that locals would chew on and use recreationally.
So next thing I know, I'm riding in this van,
I don't know what's happening,
lights were flashing, Donick has three faces at one point,
I was so done, I mean my palms were sweating,
my jaw was clenching, I was hearing Crimson and Clover
playing in my head, like I was done, love of my life.
A couple of weeks later, the trip was coming to an end
and Donick as she snaked her way through
the crowd of people, said, "come upstairs with me."
she took me upstairs to the room
that I had occupied in this hostel
that had now been stripped of all its bedding
and she sat me in a chair in the corner
and she closed the door behind her
and then she did the dance.
She did this beautiful, ancient dance
that was so holy to her culture
and she was sharing it with me, silently
and it rattled such a passion in me
and such an experience that I physically shook.
I became crying and I remember thinking,
she's going to know that I love her
and in that moment, I had to face the thing
that I had been running from for so many years,
which was not just a crisis of faith or culture,
it was the fact that I am gay and that
was a word I had not used consciously before that moment.
She finished the dance and she kissed me on the cheek
and she left and didn't ever see her again.
I think back on how malleable I was at that time
and the myriad love affairs I've had since then,
there truly has not been an experience
that was that profound and I never even kissed this woman.
I heard years later, that Donick had married David
and she has a couple of kids.
I don't know what her experience was on the other side.
I don't know that I'm supposed to,
I don't think that it's mine to know.
But what I do know is that, she and I
existed in a sort of holiness together for that brief time.
Not the overt holiness a Christian
do bidding a philanthropy, but
the quiet, intimate holiness of loving someone
in secret and loving someone, completely against reason.
♫ Soul Pancake
(upbeat electronic music)
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That Moment You Realize You're Gay

9 Folder Collection
jeremy.wang published on May 22, 2020
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