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Welcome to an inspirational, short story blog by Kasi Maria Bryon, a pen name, pronounced, "Kay-see." This blog is different topics, but all about life ... through the eyes of a middle aged, single mom of two. Enjoy
years ago I attended a hair show in Vegas and met one of the platform artists.
Months later, I saw him in a magazine and got the bright idea to hire him for
the grand opening party of my salon. I contacted him and he put me in touch
with his agent, both lived in New York. I will never forget the first phone
conversation I had with the agent, Mel. I was sitting at the front desk and at
the first sound of his voice I thought, this
won’t work. I don’t have anything against gay men, but he sounded extreme,
and I’m a little on the conservative side. Maybe I thought he would be dramatic
or just too much for my southern salon, I’m not sure. Now, I look back and
realize how misleading first impressions can be.
and I began speaking regularly, planning the event. During that time, I found a
kindred spirit connection with a gay man, and he came complete with a husband. (They
were the first married, same sex couple I had ever known.) Mel and I connected
in such a unique way, unfamiliar to anything I had ever experienced.
day I went to the airport to pick up the guys, I knew immediately which one was
Mel by his airy, light walk and fashionable scarf. The rest is history.
far as the grand opening, I cannot say it went as planned. I discovered after
the show that the impressive, cute little hairstylist ended up seducing
virtually every model. Not to mention, he did not do any of the looks I had
requested. However, the good that came out of it all was that I met one of the
greatest people God ever created, Mel Mel.
and I continued to stay in touch by phone and email. We discussed everything
imaginable, even the controversial issue of homosexuality. Until that point, I
had never given a lot of thought to the topic or how I really felt about it. I
categorized it together with interracial relationships, neither were “right.”
Being from the south, it is simply the way it is, but I couldn’t decide if I
felt this way from within or because this is what I have been taught by
default. I dug deep, asking lots of questions to lots of people and turning to
far as interracial, that was a quick conclusion. I began to question myself; I
have black cousins who are adopted, but we love them the same. Do I expect them
or my children to love based on color? My best friend is Filipino and married
to a white man, what’s the difference? Many use the argument about the kids,
saying they don’t fit in. That led me to think about an older couple who
adopted a child from China. This child was the only one in her circle who
looked different AND her parents were the age of her peers’ grandparents; yet,
this is seen as a good thing. Hence, I discovered my feelings toward
interracial relationships. They are the same as any other one and no different
than an able bodied person marrying one with a disability. That’s just my
thoughts and feelings on the subject… To each their own.
as I pondered homosexuality, it didn’t come as easily. It simply would not feel
right and the Bible was clear. I went as deep as to ask a nurse who worked with
newborn babies. Some people are born with both male and female parts. Who is to
say which gender they feel they are? What about Autism and such, where some
wires get crossed but we cannot see it from the outside? Maybe some people can
get wired to be attracted to the same sex?
experiencing such a thing, I knew I could not relate … but because Mel was/is
so open, I could ask him and talk to him. One day, I cried because it all
scared me. I loved this man and the whole concept was overwhelming. I said, “I
just don’t understand. How can one tendency be a flaw, like being messy, but
another can be salvation threatening? I’m scared Mel. I’m scared that …”
said, “That we won’t be in the same place after this life?”
was comforting and assuring, but I couldn’t find peace with it. Mel is a devout
Christian and a deacon at his church. It is a gay church, which I had never
heard of before I met him. That put an even greater twist on things, especially
when I describe this man as one of the most Christ-like, loving people I have
ever met. He is love. Walking, talking love.
a year or two after the event at my salon, I had a client who moved to NY and
flew me there to do her hair. The exciting part was getting to reunite with
Mel. One of the first places I wanted to visit in New York? Mel’s church and I
wanted to meet his pastor. I had questions …
I love Mel, but the beautiful part is how much I am loved BY Mel. When he
describes my first trip to NY, he says, “My beautiful friend comes to New York
and where are the first places she wants to visit? Not Gucci or Prada, but Ground Zero
and a gay and lesbian church in an attempt to understand something she does
took me to his church and the pastor set aside time to meet with me, allowing
me to ask her questions and answering all of them in a calm, loving way. In
their church, they accept all. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender … any and
every one, and they focus on caring for the homeless. It definitely was not a
“bad” place and it was one of the more meaningful, profound experiences of my
life. Learning to learn instead of judge.
I cannot say I now agree with or understand homosexuality, I can say that I see
it all in a different way. Ultimately, it’s not up to me to decide if another’s
choices are right or wrong. As Mel says, “If I remember correctly, Jesus said
‘Love one another,’ I don’t remember him saying ‘If or as long as …”
love Mel and he loves me. In fact, I have never had another person completely
stop what they are doing for an entire day to solely focus on me and/or spend
time with me. Gay or straight. He gives undivided attention to me and to me and
my children when they are with us, as if there is nowhere else on this earth
he’d rather be. I would be conceited beyond belief if I thought I was as
special and important as he treats me, and it has been that way for a decade.
the years, I have traveled to NY several times and there is ALWAYS time set
aside for Mel. We walk arm in arm all around his hectic city as if we are the
only two people there, talking and laughing non-stop. I love my time with this
man, just love it. However, all of our visits have been in NYC. He hasn’t been
back to Nashville since the event at my salon. But, we stay in contact by phone
and through texts.
long ago, we were talking one night and he was a little upset. He had a rough
day, and though I was compassionate, I was laughing at the way he was
describing it in his gay way. It was so cute. He said he called for a car to
pick him up TWICE and both times the person said “Ma’am” and proceeded to say
“Pick up a woman at…”
said, “I was saying, ‘NOOOO. I am not a woman. I am a MAN. Be
looking for a man!”
laughed so hard and said, “I forgot … you DO sound like a woman! Now, you sound
like Pinocchio, ‘I’M a REAL boy!!!”
years ago, when I first heard his voice, that’s all I heard (was a woman
sounding person,) now I cannot hear it at all, I just hear Mel. Funny how
things change …
year, I took one of my dear friends to NY in February. She met Mel and fell in
love with him too … as any person would. My friend had Stage IV breast cancer 5
years ago and was given 3 years. She has done great since that time, and we had
a blast together on this trip. Mel learned all about her journey and was so
impacted by her and her life, as was one of his friends who joined us that day.
The four of us have stayed in touch as a quadro (new word) for a year and a
At the end of last year, my friend
developed a severe, chronic cough. After months of trying to determine the
cause, we found out the cancer had returned in her lungs. Mel and his friend
both texted me throughout the day of her surgery and I spoke to them by phone.
Typically, most people would say, “Oh no. That’s terrible,” or something along
those lines. That was NOT how these two gay men reacted. Both were clearly
upset and totally focused on what was going on here. Mel immediately contacted
his pastor and then forwarded a prayer email his pastor wrote for my friend,
who she (the pastor) had never even met. The most genuine, concerned acts of
love and support one could imagine. Makes it hard for me to agree with or understand
the thought process about how “terrible” gay people are …
Obviously, no one knows the outcome of
my friend’s cancer. She’s a fighter and we all hope for the same results as
last time, but for now, she’s sick. What does Mel do? He buys a plane ticket to
Nashville to spend 4 days with me, my girls and my friend … because she doesn’t
feel well and needs to know and feel how important and loved she is.
Mel’s plane landed last Friday at 10:04am.
I anxiously awaited seeing him walk/glide through security toward me. There he
was, waving, wearing a sports jacket and cuffed jeans, fashionable glasses, and
smiling as big as possible. I was snapping pictures of his every step as he was
waving his arms fully extended. The security lady said to him, “I think you are
going to have a good day!”
I AM!!” he said, beaming like the sun.
hugged and hugged and hugged, then walked to get his silver luggage from
baggage claim before starting our perfect visit together. I took one million
pictures. Mel walking. Mel getting his luggage. Mel putting his seatbelt on.
Mel holding the dog. Mel in the bread aisle of the grocery store. Mel at my
daughter’s college. Mel riding co-pilot while my daughter with a learner’s
permit chauffeured him around town. Mel at his first professional ice hockey
game. Mel going to bed … It was like the book “See Spot Run,” or a crazed
parent taking pictures of the firstborn child’s every move. Fun, fun, fun. AND,
a gay man doesn’t mind using our Bath and Body Works scented body wash when
using our shower. J Added
was our first visit together for four solid days, all day. We have never seen
each other after waking up or just before bed. We’ve never watched a movie
together, fixed dinner together, done dishes together or ran errands together.
It was a lot of “together,” and I miss him …A Southwest plane took him away
yesterday at 3:34pm.
But, while Mel was here, we spent only
quality time together. We spent two days with my friend. One day we traveled to
her house and the next day she and her mom came to my house. It’s a toss-up and
hard to say if those visits meant more to him or my friend. I’d say it is
pretty equal. Both walked away with wonderful, valuable memories that only come
from genuine, quality time and relationships. His love for my friend, and her
love for him make me love them both even more.
In closing, I no longer have or need
an opinion about homosexuality. Mel’s identity is far beyond that label. He is
my precious friend, and in New York, a piece of my heart walks with him. I
thank God for him and all of the lessons his existence has taught me,
especially about myself. To me, Mel is neither gay or straight, male or female,
he is simply my friend and part of me and my life. I have even given us a name:
MEL and FE-MEL.
I can’t say I now adore all gay
people, but I can’t say that about heterosexual people either. I can only say,
I love Mel.