My best friend Angel, whom I've known since ninth grade and whom calls himself "The Original Gay", wrote today's blog post. I cried, but then again, he wrote a lot about me and he doesn't often do the mushy with me. But Angel wrote about love, family and what it all means to him.
Family & Love From a Gay Puerto Rican from Polk County, Florida
When Vic asked me to write a post for Vivianna Week I was beyond confused. I am a gay man who has never even entertained the notion of being a writer (there are some of us out there). I especially didn’t know what the hell he wanted me to write.
“Just write about family. About love. Hell Angel, write about you and James fucking, I don’t care just write something and remember that it’s dedicated to Vivianna, so try not to gross out my child too much.”
So I talked to James and he told me that while Vic said I could write about us fucking, that’s not really what he wanted. He said that Vic wanted meaningful posts about family, parents, children, love. He said that Vic wanted people to show that they loved their family, show that they loved their parents, show that they loved their children, and that maybe through some twisted way in which only Vic’s mind works, people will show that they care for him and Vivianna and Christopher, by showing that they care for their own families. Which makes sense if you think about it.
The thing is, whenever I think about love I think about five people. My Madre, my husband James, my best friend Justin that passed away, my Abuela, and Vic. Especially Vic. And I’m not just saying that because this is his blog, but because it’s true. I know that everyone doesn’t know Vic’s story, at least not all of it, but I do. I was with him the day he lost Vivianna and I saw how much it tore him apart to lose her. I went to the funeral with Justin and Ryan for Christopher to support him. Vic has lost a lot of people who were in his corner, through accidental death, disease, old age, freak accidents, but he keeps on loving people. I told him once before that he’s like the standing punching bag and life keeps beating the shit out of him and he keeps springing right up, never giving up.
Vic is the reason that James and I are married. He wouldn’t let either one of us give up on the other. He’s the reason that my Abuela didn’t disown me when I came out. He’s the reason that I wasn’t killed in high school when the other kids found out that the cute little Puerto Rican freshman boy was a “fag” and had to walk home from school every day. Vic got some of his friends to walk me home whenever he couldn’t and when I got jumped in the hallways at Winter Haven High, Vic was the one who threw down his books and jumped right into the middle to help defend me.
Loving someone, the way that Vic loves people, leaves you open to a world of hurt and grief when people die or when they move on, but it also gives you a strength to survive that loss. I think about Vic when I want to beat the hell out of my husband and I can hear him telling me that people in love argue, because there’s something worth fighting for. I think about Vic whenever James and I have another meeting about adopting, because Vic gave me the courage to try and be a dad.
And no, this isn’t just a “Vic is so wonderful, everyone should love him,” post, though I’m sure it sounds that way. That is merely background.
The day that I called Vic to tell him that Justin had AIDS was the first time I truly understood what family was. We were both angry. We were pissed off. At Justin and his shit for brains ex boyfriend Ian. We were mad at God, at our parents, at damn near everyone. I can remember picking so many fights with James that month, because it hurt, goddammit and how dare Justin do this to us? How dare God!? Didn’t he know that we were friends? That we were a family, the four of us: Me, Justin, Vic and Ryan, with our significant others and pets? What the fuck was going on in the universe when our little family was going to be torn apart by this stupid disease?
But even though we were angry with Justin, because he hadn’t listened to us and dumped Ian or gotten tested for AIDS regularly, we were still there for him. We still got together and paid for him to move from New York back home to his family. We still teased him and held him up when he got depressed. Don’t get me wrong, in every conversation we had, someone would say “And you with your dumbass fucking AIDS, Justin,” or “We’ll make sure you’re still here Justin,” but he would always laugh, because in light of the pain that we were all suffering through, family keeps each other lifted and encouraged, always.
Vic is very much a bulldog in that way. He could be bleeding from a gaping hole in his stomach and if you’re crying he’ll do a quick patch and be there for you. When Vivianna passed, a week after Christopher, James and I were arguing all the time, Justin and Ian were temporarily broken up, and Ryan’s wife, Tiffany, had just found out that she couldn’t have children. We all stayed with Vic to make sure he was okay and while he cried for himself, he made sure to be there for us as well.
That’s what a family is. They’re people that you can fight with, be mad at, but still love at the same time. They are the people who fly across an ocean to stay with you for a few weeks. They’re the ones who put their own pain and hurt aside, push aside their own problems and situations to make sure that you’re okay, whether you do the same for them or not. Family is selfless and priceless. So is love. Which is why those you love become your family.
So while I could’ve written all about James teaching me about the wonder of making love while on the plane flying from Heathrow in England to JFK in New York, and how there is a plane full of people who know what I sound like when I have an orgasm, I decided to write about love instead and about family because that’s what Vic is to me and that’s what he had with his daughter Vivianna and fiancé Christopher and that’s what he gives to others and receives from those who are special enough to see how amazing it is to be loved by him and want to give that love back.
I love you Vic. I really, really do. I’m so glad that you’re doing this for Vivianna and you know that Justin is up in Heaven singing “Summer Lovin’” with her and teaching her all of the dance steps. She’s in good hands up there.
(Angel doesn’t have a bio so I wrote one for him):
Angel Rodriguez-Benton was born to feisty Puerto Rican mother who still maintains that his father is Juan Valdez and that’s the reason that Angel’s obsession with coffee is in his birthright. A graduate of the University of South Florida with a major in communications, Angel proudly states that he does his best communicating when shopping, cooking, dancing, and making love to “the sexiest white boy in the world,” his husband James. Affectionately called "The Original Gay" by family and friends or "Bitch" by those who know him best, Angel is out and proud and tell those who don't like it, that they can kiss his sexy, gay boy, Puerto Rican ass. Angel divides his time between answering the phones at his in-laws company, talking to his best friend Vic about cloning himself, getting fucked by his husband on a repeated basis (in the most delicious places that we can think of) and spending all of said husband’s money. Angel refuses to get a Twitter, a Facebook, a Myspace and only uses his email when he absolutely has to as the internet is “where time goes to die and ugly men become hot gay twinks.”