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Posted on June 26, 2012 by Hobart Fowlkes

My name is Winston Wellington Worthington van Cartier Johnson.  Yes that really is my full name on my birth certificate and my passport and every other official government document.  I think my mother thought that my name would somehow shape my future.  She’s just plain old Karen Johnson, but my brothers are Basil Barrymore Johnson and Aloysius Rothschild Van Cleef Arpels Johnson.  I must say that in a way she had a good point.  Our names alone have opened many doors for us.  If anything they’ve draw lots of attention to us.  Mom worked multiple jobs and spoiled us badly while we were growing up, but she made sure we got full scholarships to the best prep-schools on the East Coast: Exeter, St.Paul’s and Groton.  I’m the oldest so I’m supposed to pave the way for my brothers which is a pretty tough burden.  In a way, I feel like my mom considers the three of us like lottery tickets and expects for one of us to eventually pay off the mega-millions jackpot.  We’ll have to see.  I’m home on break from Yale, and I’m heading out to hang with some of my old gang.  I feel myself growing more distant from my old friends, and that makes me kind of sad.  But the single thing that is the source of most of my anxiety is that my mother has engineered a sort of faux romance between me and a super well to do black girl (Katreece) from a family who made a fortune in hair products about 50 years ago.  I am terrified of Mom’s eventual reaction when I break the news to her that I’m gay.  I’ve known it all my life, and ever since my freshman year at Yale I have been madly in love with Nathaniel. And he loves me back.  He comes from a fancy background, he sails, he rides, his family owns a cottage in Newport (all things my mother has always dreamt of). His family has embraced me with open arms, but since he is not an African American woman, loving him shatters Mother’s dreams for me and of advancing black culture by our becoming an eventual black power couple as she imagines.  On several occasions she has threatened suicide if she discovers that any one of her boys is gay.  She won’t. She has always made idle threats for shock value, but it fucks with my head.  We’ll see where this all takes us.  For now I’m just heading to Brooklyn to hang with my buds, drink malt liquor and shoot the shit.  If I think too far into the future, I’ll drive myself completely insane.  I can really only live for now.  Peace.