Not all of my love stories ended in tragedy. Some ended before they even began. Others were near misses. This is a tale of a near miss that came closer than I could admit at the time and also ended in tragedy.
I was 15 years old when I met Dominic. He was the first boy I ever had a legit crush on. Everyone that met him, male or female, had a crush on this guy. He was legit gorgeous. He was charismatic, popular, athletic, kind hearted, giving and a true gentleman. He was also African-American. That isn’t as relevant but it comes up later. He and his brother were the only two black kids in our whole school. The majority of students were Hispanic. There were a few other ethnicities including some white people such as myself. It was a great example of everyone just getting along.
Dom and I met in choir. He also lived next door to two of my friends, Israel across the street and Victor immediately next door. So growing up I spent a lot of time at his house. Every single person I knew wanted to date, bone, or be Dominic. He was that guy. He was *THE* guy. And he was a great man.
Dom was the type who would host the best parties in town. If you wanted to have fun you hung out with Dominic and Phil. The fun times followed them. Dom was the first person to get me drunk. He was the first person I lived with outside family. He was a last to be around.
I remember every moment we spent together as a moment worth living. He was really cool guy. He was into comic books. He was the first person to explain to me how the DC Universe worked. He was in love with Superman and Green Lantern, two of is favorite superheroes. Oh and he idolized late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, whom he met and took a picture with before his passing.
Dom was such a Lakers fan he literally, NOT exaggerating, only wore Kobe jerseys. He owned every single one, from his All-Star jersey to his different Laker number. If it was a jersey Kobe wore it hung up in Dominic’s closet.
It was 2007 when he asked me to move in with him. His sister moved out suddenly. I was fighting with my parents and desperate for a place to live. He offered me the bedroom, rent free, as long as I helped keep the place clean and didn’t bitch if he was up all night with a sexual partner. How could I the man was a legend every night just about he had someone in his bedroom, on the couch, etc. He wasn’t shy about his looks, personality or his charm. He knew he had the stuff.
Even when I was suppressing my trans feelings I never hesitated to let myself explore fantasies of me and Dom hooking up. He was a beautiful man and no just physically. I could tell stories of his generosity all day but frankly there’s not enough time. Let’s just say NOBODY he met was ever in need.
Was he perfect? Fuck no. He did drugs. He drank excessively, he was not a stand up “boyfriend” to the women in his life. He treated them right but he wasn’t into long term he wanted sex. He made that known. He was basically a walking hard on, as he put it. That, well frankly, did get him in trouble with women he went after who were less than available. But I still felt admiration for him in every way I could. He took care of me when we lived together. He made my car payment for me. Let me stay there rent free. He took me with him to the supermarket to buy groceries and he insisted if I wanted it just put it in the cart and he got it. He bought me clothes. Hats, shoes, shirts, jeans, etc. Hell, he even gave me a big screen TV when he bought himself a brand new one. This was BEFORE flatscreens were the rage, he gave me a 37 inch Sony CRT monstrosity. He even gave me permission to sell it when I was broke and needed the cash he said hey it’s our tv do what you need. He even bought me parts to upgrade my computer.
He confided in me one day he was gay, or bisexual. He said gay. He said he did women because it was his cover. He said he had been into men and told me he wanted me to know because he cared about me and he trusted me more than anyone. As he told me inside I was giddy because I thought I too could come out of the closet and the two of us could have a relationship together. But I had since moved back in with my parents. I was going to church every Sunday to purge myself of those feelings. So, in a real dick move, I said I couldn’t be his friend anymore because my parents wouldn’t approve. He didn’t give me shit. He said I understand. We remained friends until the day died.
Speaking of his death, that was torture for everyone. He had been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease around the same time his first marriage ended. He deteriorated fast and was gone within five years of his diagnosis. The day I got that phone call Dom passed I broke inside. Here was a man I truly loved, who loved me in ways I never fully recognized who told me such and I rejected him because of my own internalized homophobia directed at myself and him. I spent a good lifetime with Dom. I met him when I was 15 and I lost him when I was 29. It wasn’t enough time but I cherish ever moment we had together. Even the ones we’ll both take to our graves. I miss you Dom, rest in peace, I know you’re an Angel now.