A week later…
Jonathan Water’s Funeral Service
To my complete amazement, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church was filled to capacity. I sat in the front row, alone. I didn’t invite my mother nor Lynn Waters. In my opinion they were never for us. So taking away her right to tell her son good bye charged my hatred of her in ways that was slowly turning black.
Plus Lynn Waters was enjoying her fifteen minutes of fame. Being invited to various church programs on television. Bashing gays with famous preachers. They stood behind her and rile her up. She didn’t mention me by name, thank God. She always said, “That homosexual,” or “that wicked seed” influenced her son to renege on his faith and travel down the wrong path.
He willingly made up his mind to love me. It’s not my fault that I had a dick and knew how to keep a man longer than Lynn, and she’s the one with the pussy, or so she said…
Once the doors closed, the ceremony began. Behind me was a sea of close friends and those we considered family. I thought that I would need them to get through this difficult time. I haven’t coped with his passing because something in me wouldn’t let him or his memory die.
Rubbing the wedding ring he slid on my finger after promising to love and honor me for all of my days, it has turned to ash. Tarnished with his injury, cemented after he took his last breath while I was in a coma.
At a moderate tone, beautiful gospel music from Jonathan’s favorite singer, Yolanda Adams, didn’t help my mood.
Obituaries were passed out to folk as they arrived and filed into church. Per my request, cell phones were banned from service. Leave them at home or in your cars, I didn’t give a shit how many kids you had or your profession. No phones.
Miami-Dade police patted them down as they entered the church and there was a bag check for phones.
Before me were three 16x20 color photos on wooden tripods, framed in gold...of my husband during various stages of our union.
Was breathtaking. It was lacquered caramel topped with a gigantic bundle or orchids, lilies and black eyed Susan’s.
Grief and turmoil filled the church.
Pastor Kendall Long, fifty-ish, an easy going man that was loved by nearly three hundred churches around the country, was sitting next to me.
I couldn’t take my eyes off of my beautiful husband. He died before I could tell him that yes. I am in love with you but I hadn’t realized until after you left me, I thought to myself.
“Everyone’s here, my brother. We’re ready to start service,” said Pastor Long, barely above a whisper.
“Jonathan Waters’ funeral service”, I said, curtly correcting him.
He seemed bothered about something.
“Shall we proceed with the viewing of the body?”
It took a minute for me to speak. He was throwing shade in indirect ways that made me take a second look at him. Clearing my throat, I said, “What is it, Pastor. You’re speaking as if you don’t want to acknowledge my husband or this funeral by his name. Shall we proceed with the viewing of Jonathan’s body would suffice. It’s not that hard to do. Just do it, please.”
Tears welled in my eyes as I sat, lifeless, blinking my husband’s photos back into focus, trying to refrain from choking the shit out of this obvious homophobic Man of God.
There were so many flowers. But they weren’t pretty enough to distract me from the beauty of Jonathan’s eyes. The life in his smile made me shutter.
The first photo was of his high school graduation. The second of us on our very first date, South Beach and the third was on our wedding day. We wore matching suits.
His loyalty to me took my breath away, but I took it for granted.
Pastor Long said, “I’m doing you a favor. I don’t even believe in same sex marriage yet I made an exception because you paid me.”
“So you’re a bitch for hire,” I retorted. “A profit, I’m sorry, a prophet. A defender of the Word. God this, and abomination that. Are you serious, Kendall? The hell with referring to you as a pastor. Keep the money…I’ll handle this myself.”
I said it at a moderate tone. No one else heard me. I planned a very interesting program. This wasn’t going to be an average funeral.
Standing up, I walked on the stage and adjusted the microphone, clearing my throat. I should have taken my HIV meds later on tonight, since I was on a one pill regimen. Sometimes it gave me a bowel movement, cleaned me out. But I didn’t care, really. I was burying my husband, my companion and life partner on this day.
All seventy-five attendees looked at me, feeling what they thought I felt. My pain was all my own.
I literally wanted to run into speeding traffic and snub my way back into my husband’s life in the spiritual realm, but knew that wasn’t humanly possible.
I held up my hand and Yolanda Adams was cut short in the middle of a vocal run.
I surveyed our family and friends.
Quiet. I couldn’t find the words to say.
My heart felt like it was about to explode from the pressure of holding back my tears.
My eyes blood shot red, my lips twitched a few times. I felt like a conscious zombie. Knowing what needed to be said, but no breath to say it.
My voice cracked, horridly, but I continued.
“I fired the Pastor from emceeing my husband Jonathan Waters’ memorial service. I’ll be facilitating to the best of my ability. Hello, everyone. I’m Harry Waters...”
Tears fell from my eyes. I was about to break apart.
“At this time if you wish to pay your respects to Jonathan Waters, the sweetest, most caring man I’ve ever known, do so, starting from the back row to the front. Single file line on either side of the church. Take all the time you need.
“Once the very last person views his body I have a very important announcement. The closing of his casket will be the end of our journey…”
Once everyone individually paid their respects, took about twenty minutes, I stood behind the podium once again and said, “I want...I want to thank you all for being here. I thank every one of you that was never for us.”
There were whispers.
“All seventy five of you smiled in our faces and stabbed us in the back. Every last one of you. Half of you are Bible totting hypocrites. Just like our mothers.”
Walking down the steps, I pushed the flowers from his casket and kissed his lips before I closed it.
I stared at my hands before I faced those fake bitches behind me. I assembled them all together for one reason and one reason only.
Pastor Long said, “Harry. I know you’re upset about Jonathan’s passing, but the question of where his soul wound up doesn’t seem to concern you.”
“It doesn’t. Because I know where he is. In heaven with my Heavenly Father, you biased fuck! You need to worry about where you’re going to end up. Last time I checked no one is good, not even you or that ugly ass robe you’re wearing.”
“It’s bad enough you defiled God’s house with your presence, but the fact that I allowed a homosexual funeral in my church has me questioning my leadership.”
“I should beat the robe off your ass. I guess two thousand dollars bought your morals without sales tax. Security!” I called out and a couple police officers were by my side.
I paid them nicely. None of us were getting shot in our heads today.
“Escort Hypocrite Long outta his own church, please.”
“You are an abomination before God!” Pastor Long ranted, trying to get some religious recognition, but hadn’t he forgotten that there were no phones, no videos, no Facebook or Instagram Live today. It was all about laying my husband to rest, and cutting off phony people, forever.
“No man will ever lay eyes on God so technically I’m not anything before Him.”
Once he was gone, I looked my frenemies (enemies posing as friends) in the eyes.
“After today we will be no more. I cut all of you out of my life. The closing of Jonathan’s coffin was the end of who you were to us. I can’t heal if I keep all this fake crap in my life.
“Don’t say a word. Please. I don’t want to hear it. I don’t think you all realize that my soul died with Jonathan.”
There wasn’t a dry eye in the building. They cried for a number of reasons. Mainly because they were taken aback that I knew that they never took our friendship seriously. Called only when they wanted something or when it suited them.
“I’m leaving now. I’m not having a repast. Everyone…go your separate ways. I changed my number this morning and I’ve moved out of my apartment. I don’t care to be reached. Every memory you have of us. Force yourself to forget. Any pictures of us, set them on fire. Any pictures with you in them with us, cut our faces out of those fake moments in time. As of this moment I forget you all.”
Holding on to the mustard seed of faith, all the faith in God that I had left, I was escorted to Jonathan’s hearse, strapping myself in the passenger seat.
With police detail, I was driven to the grave yard in Richmond Heights.
The only vehicle in the middle of the motorcycle police detail.