My friend “Damon” knew when he started dating “Luther” the odds were against the relationship working.
Damon is an out and proud gay black man. A professional with a well appointed townhouse in a gated community and good government job. Meanwhile Luther, a tall, dark Jamaican with a big dick and sex game Damon found irresistible, was so deep in the closet you couldn’t find him with a flashlight.
Damon lives in Maryland and Luther in northern New Jersey so they only got to see each other weekends. No matter how much Luther enjoyed Damon’s company, he always insisted on leaving by Saturday evening.
“It was strange,” said Damon, who met Luther online while visiting his sister in New York City. “I never met his friends. He never introduced me to his family. He never invited me up to his home. He always came down to mine.”
Two months went by. Spring slipped away. Then four months. And six months and then eight. And it was the dead of winter and snowing and Luther still made the weekend trips to lay in the bed with Damon on a Friday night and Saturday morning.
“Why do you always have to leave on Saturday afternoons?,” Damon said as he spooned Luther one morning. “Can’t you stay on Sunday and come to brunch with me?”
Luther got quiet a moment but finally spoke.
“Well, I have to admit something. I’m a Catholic priest and I have to be back to perform Mass on Sunday mornings.”
Damon listened and tried to be understanding. He knew that considering Luther’s Jamaican culture it would be difficult to have a real relationship with him. But he had always held out hope.
But now this priest thing complicated matters. Weren’t priests supposed to be straight and celibate?
So he decided to back off. But a month went by and then two months and Luther didn’t call or text so Damon decided to reach out again. The dick really was that good. So he texted Luther’s phone number.
A day later a text came back. The texter explained that she was Luther’s sister. Luther was very sick and hospitalized and she had taken his phone and was texting and calling back people who contacted her brother to let them know.
“Who are you?” she inquired.
“Oh, just a business associate of his in Washington, D.C.,” said Damon, who was reluctant to inadvertently push Luther out of the closet to his family.
Weeks went by and no word so Damon texted Luther’s number again.
“How is Luther doing?”
The message from the sister was short and blunt. “He is dead.”
Damon was upset but not devastated. The relationship had cooled by the time Luther disappeared and Damon had started to date others.
But he thought it odd the sister didn’t text more about the cause of death or the funeral arrangements. She just went silent again. Maybe she was too distraught to relive those sad events, Damon reasoned.
A few months went by and it was summer again.
And Damon was looking at his LinkedIn page on his laptop and a suggested contact came up. A man whose picture looked like Luther, down to the shaved head and neatly trimmed goatee. “No, this can’t be. He is dead. Unless he has a twin,” Damon thought.
Damon read the man’s profile. Instead of “Luther Davies” his name was “Lawrence Davies.” And although not a Catholic priest the man had attended a Protestant divinity school and had started at a new position as a minister at an African Methodist Episcopalian Church at roughly the time Luther had “died.”
His curiosity got the best of him. Damon called the church in New Jersey and left a message with the secretary asking Rev. Davies to call him. A day later Damon’s phone rang. It was Rev. Davies.
“Sorry to bother you but your photo came up on my LinkedIn page and you look remarkably like a friend of mine named Luther Davies who died,” Damon said. “Could you be him or related to him.”
Rev. Davies mumbled something about his not knowing a Luther Davies. He then gave Damon his sympathies, some rushed, generic advice about handling grief and quickly got off the phone.
Damon was shocked. The reverend sounded just like his Luther. It had to be Luther. But why deny it?
Damon picked up the phone the next morning and called back. Surprisingly Rev. Davies accepted the call. This time Damon cut right to the chase.
“I know you are Luther,” he said. “Why the fuck would you lie about some shit like that? That was sick and cruel. Do you know how it felt for me to think you had died. We weren’t dating then but it was still a loss.”
Luther “Rev. Lawrence” Davies sounded a bit contrite but didn’t really apologize or explain why he did what he did.
Damon later theorized that his paramour had finally gotten his dream job as a minister at a large congregation andwanted to start fresh without the suspicion of his being gay hanging over him.
So like a surgeon excising a tumor he cut all contacts with the secret gay side of his life. Including Damon.
He probably didn’t even have a sister. It was likely him sending the texts all along.
“Damon, that sounds like some crazy movie plot,” I said. “I just watched this old movie where Goldie Hawn plays this woman whose husband is a psychopath who fakes his own death. But this is better than that movie.”
“Yeah, who would believe this shit,” Damon answered.
“Yep, It’s crazy what some down-low men will do to stay in the closet,” I said.