Monday, July 11, 2011

Pride Week!!! Farewell, friend

To those thinking of being at tonight's Orgy Party at Buddies Private Club:

That whisper of trepidation deep within you is the Holy Spirit,
urging you to stay home.

God loves you.

* * * * * * * *
(originally posted in February 2011)

The other day, I got a call from a number that seemed familiar, but that I couldn’t quite place.


It was my dear friend, former neighbor, and Keep Adams Elementary School Open co-hort and rabble-rouser, “Eagle Eye.”

“I have to tell you something awful:  Nikki’s dead – I just now found out about it.  Apparently, he died three weeks ago…that’s what his sister told me when I ran into her at 7-11; he died at a hospice center…”

 We shared a wordless moment…both of us grieving the unspoken “farewell.”

* * * * * * *

Back in the day, when the bee in my bonnet was the closing of Adams Elementary School across the street from my house, I became a little…shall we say, fixated on the school and the activities which took place there after the children were gone.   I made contact with every neighbor in the school’s perimeter so that I could take surreptitious video of the school building from any angle; two of my regular roosts were at Eagle Eye’s, and her long-time next-door neighbor, Nikki.

Nikki was 51 years of age and a pre-operative transsexual; he’d lived next to Eagle Eye since boyhood, and she once remarked that at the age of 18, Nikki was the most beautiful boy she’d ever seen.  He left Colorado Springs for Denver, and worked as a prostitute for the next several decades.

Nikki was popular, as was another like him, and there arose between them a competition of sorts; after his rival underwent breast implantation, Nikki followed suit.  Though he considered “bottom surgery” for many years, in the end he opted to leave things be…for fear that his sexual pleasure might be diminished.  Nikki reported having a high libido, and was unashamed to admit to being a “freak” sexually, cackling at the very mention of  God.

Nikki liked for people to refer to him as “she” and “her”…and while he claimed to have regularly “passed” for a woman, I had to take his word for it.  Standing at least 6’3”, and regularly sporting five o’clock shadow, I never perceived his practised femininity as convincing in the least.

Nikki would laboriously apply his makeup while lounging about in expensive lingerie, regaling scandalous stories of taking a John’s money and then running.  Later he would confess to having been raped at gunpoint more times than he could count.  Yes, Nikki lisped and giggled, but I saw how quickly the mask could drop one time when he thought I stole $40 from him; bellowing that I was a “fucking nigger bitch thief" in a voice registering two octaves lower, he stood up before me and began to furiously strike me in the face.  Stunned and fearful, in that instant, I saw for myself how quickly girl can revert back to boy, if and when a situation calls for it.

I vowed never to speak to Nikki again...certainly to never refer to him as a "girl" again; when I heard that Nikki ended up in jail for similar such hot-headedness,  my only thought was “serves him right.”

Walking down the street some months later, I encountered Nikki working in his yard.  Crossing the street in hopes of avoiding him, I was dismayed when he rose and waved to me; “Praise the Lord, girl; don’t you even try to get past without saying ‘hello.’”

Standing and talking with Nikki then, he told me of the jailhouse minister who’d convinced him that God was real and that God loved Nikki.  Nikki immersed himself in the Bible, going to church on Sundays, and attending Wednesday night Bible study…dragging his friends along.  I’m happy to say that several times, he had me in tow.

I can honestly say that I’ve rarely known anyone sweeter than Nikki was after he found God.  He became gripped with the urge to open his house to the homeless and to give away his belongings, and his sister gave voice to the concern that the church was a cult when Nikki announced he’d donated his car to the ministry.

No one at the church looked at him as if he were strange; they treated him in a way that he hadn't felt for a very long time -- they treated him normally.  For this, Nikki was grateful...grateful to really feel that he fit in.

He stopped wearing make-up and women’s clothing, and mused on his life and his homosexuality.  He expressed remorse for the wrongs he'd done over time, took a vow of abstinence and even considered having his implants removed.

"Why now?" I asked him.

"I don't want to have them in Heaven," he explained, and then looked at me plaintively.  "Do you think I'll still have them in Heaven?"

"No," I answered, "I believe God will restore your body."  And he looked at once relieved and comforted.

Over time, Nikki came to tell me how he left Denver and returned home to take care of his terminally ill father, bringing the lengthy and uncomfortable estrangement between the devoutly Catholic father and flamboyantly gay son to a close.  Before dying in his son's arms, Nikki’s father was able to amend his will, bequeathing that Nikki could stay at the house rent free for the rest of his life.

For, you see, they both knew then what I would soon learn; Nikki's "liver cancer" was caused by his HIV+ status; like his father, Nikki, too, was dying.

I last saw Nikki shortly after Christmas; at that time, he complained about the complicated cocktail of drugs his condition required, and his face wore the pall of death.  He complained of feeling tired and under the weather…; during a subsequent visit to the Adams neighborhood a few weeks later, there was no answer to my knock.

Though his sister lives down the block from Eagle Eye, it wasn’t until weeks after Nikki entered hospice and died that we learned what had become of him.  Whatever our individual association with Nikki, we all mourned the fact of his lonely passing, and Eagle Eye's daughter told Nikki's sister so to her face; came her response:

"Oh well; I guess that's what happens when you live a life full of drugs and sin."

Nikki may have been a sinner, but so is his pious and hypocrite sister - an Obama-fan who never had a cross word for gay Nikki or his dirty money when he was still living and regularly tossing her forever-broke and fat ass a nice, juicy money bone.

Her time will come, no doubt, as all ours will.

Nikki had previously mentioned his desire for me to type up his memoirs, believing his story might serve as a beacon for others who were similarly lost like he was for so long.  I hate that I was denied the opportunity to kiss and hug him and tell him I loved him; I hate that we were denied our goodbyes.

But I know that in his last days, Nikki found comfort in the Bible and in the Lord; I know that Nikki is no longer confused or in pain.  To be absent of the body is to be present with the Lord…and that’s where Nikki is now.

This post is his only obituary; this post is dedicated to the memory of my friend, Nicole.  Restore him to good health, God, and thank you for causing me to know him.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you would never be able to tell that story on the Gazette Web page.