Every woman has her own original definition of best girlfriend. Mine is one that is loyal in the face of adversity, honesty, tenacity with the vengeance of the bull, purity of motive, an understanding heart, compassion, courageous, boldness with pride in oneself, authentic, a real example of living their life, adventurous, ability to look at the (wo)man in the mirror, tolerant, vivacious, persevering, motivating, and one that can lead by example. My expectations are no more than what I am willing to give of myself.
My life has certainly been one of much adventure with a huge question mark from society through every desired experience. Beginning with the deep well thought out or off the cuff questions beginning at eight years old that required deep prepared consciousness through respected personal investigation, I challenged our society. In the latter years friends and family would look on as I went out into the world to experience the more challenging choices of life such as; dating and marrying across race lines, refusing to be defined by sexual gender preferences, speaking out against injustices, standing for equality in every arena, stepping up and out when it was for the betterment of humanity, knowing that it would or could bring dire consequences.
Life is meant to be an adventure, not everyone gets the thrill of the ride. Fear can stop one from even getting on! However limited or guarded one wants to live their life is a personal choice. For me, life has been one of some choices and others were just by living the hand that fell on the table, but it all has been a ride of a lifetime not regretted.
I remember through a lot of my young woman challenges, there was a “Best” girlfriend by my side and she was a guy! Her name was Melvin. Through my ups and downs, Melvin was my cheerleader. Always having a smile to lift me, an embrace of compassion, laughter that gave me joy in my difficulties, and encouragement to always get up; to keep moving on.
There was a difficult time one night, whereby after I came out of a club by myself that I was jumped by a guy with a gun and forced into his car. He demanded that I drive to an abandoned house and then he stuck a gun in my back forcing me inside. Once inside the house, he threw me down on an old mattress and tore off the buttons on my blouse. Then he told me to pull down my pants while he held the gun to my head. I can still feel the chill when I recall that night, not to mention the stench of alcohol on his breath. In complete fear for my life, I did as I was told. All I could think of was getting out of there alive. After what seemed like hours, but probably only 15 minutes he passed out on top of me. I managed after he started snoring to slide out from under him. The gun was lying on the bed. I knew I could shoot him right then, but all I could think about was getting out of there. I grabbed his keys and the gun. When I got outside I threw the gun as far as I could into the woods and then I started running down the dirt road. I wasn't going to take the risk of being traced by stealing his car so I just ran hoping that he didn't know or would remember who I was. After running for quite awhile, I threw his keys as far into the woods as I could. It wasn't long before I could hear traffic. It must have been about 4 a.m. and I stumbled out to the highway. Within five minutes, a tractor-trailer truck came to a stop. Without a second thought, I held my blouse together and hopped up into the truck. Scared and crying, the driver asked me if I was okay. Telling him what happened, calmed me down but suddenly I realized I was talking to a complete stranger. He was a very compassionate truck driver, maybe he was an angel. All I know is that I was so grateful that he came by. He dropped me off where I asked him to and said that he would keep me in his prayers. I believe he was my angel, because I made it safely to my best friend's house, Melvin's.
When Melvin answered the door he knew immediately that something was wrong. Melvin and his friends were still up from just getting in. He told his friends that he would be back and turned to rush me up to the master bedroom. Sitting me on the bed he went to get a hot bath cloth and towel. He came back and wiped my face as he pulled me into his chest to embrace me. While he stroked my hair he allowed me to pour out my story, while he cried with me. His sympathy and compassion was just like a big sister. I felt so secure in his embrace. All of a sudden I started to laugh, and he looked at me strangely as if to wonder, was I losing it? I turned and said to him, “I don't know how, in the hell you guys do what you do… that shit hurts!” Melvin starts to laugh with me and says, “Well honey, first of all we don't do what we do in fear, because that causes one to contract. Plus, a big jar of Vaseline is a queen's best friend!” We both rolled on the bed and started laughing. His other friends came up to check on us because we were laughing so hard. We shared the moment with all of them then cried and laughed together. We looked like a bunch of teenage girlfriends rolling around on the master bed giggling and laughing about queen stories. That was the most I ever needed of therapy and when the guys went back downstairs, Melvin stayed with me for some stabilizing words of wisdom.
You listen here honey, he said. You came out of this experience with your most precious possession, your life! You have a precious daughter that needs her mother to protect her from the predators out there, so be grateful that the idiot didn't kill you. I am not demeaning that horrendous act at all, but he could not steal your precious soul which will pass on to other women the wisdom you gain from this experience. Honey, you only lost a petal, you are still the “Rose”! You know that all you have to do is say the word and we will be on him like white on rice! I know Melvin, but you have already done enough! You have been my best girlfriend, all of our days together. Oh, that was easy honey! Not always girlfriend, but most days, it's been a piece of cake! Oh Melvin, I love you. I love you too sweetie, now you get up and go take a hot shower, if that's what you want to do. Here's some pj’s and sleep in my bed this morning for as long as you like! Okay, thank you again Melvin. Don't mention it girl, that's what girlfriends are for! “Best girlfriends” Melvin, I said smiling.
To this day over 30 years later, I have not spoken of this experience because after being nurtured by Melvin I was empowered to go on and live my life with my head held high. I'm sharing this story now, because I know there is another Melvin out there that is somebody's best girlfriend and I want to salute Melvin’s life with this story. I saw that guy about five years later after the incident, and he acted as if he was going to approach me with an angry look on his face. I stood my ground and told him, “look here, you short SOB, I have family that said if I only say the word, you'll be looking for more than just keys and a gun in those woods!” He put his hand on his crouch turned and walked away. I never saw him again.
I dedicate this piece to my “best girlfriend” Melvin, who is no longer in this world but he’s always with me. I know this story is for someone out there and if you have a best girlfriend like my Melvin, be blessed. Know that a best girlfriend is not determined by the color of their skin or gender, but only by their character.