A Project Called Hope

The older we get the more the days seems to run together. However, March 6, 2013, stands all on its own. The day started out typical for me (Johnny). 9am sharp, in the office, multi-tasking responding to a tsunami of emails and conference calls. I'm a celebrity Brand Manager, so this was business as usual. Being the son of a minister, our senior producer presumptuously picked me to head up casting. I guess all preachers' kids hang together... (This is not the Real Housewives of the Clergy Children). But, in good spirit, I put on my "Get these coins" face and got to work.

One thing to know about Reality TV castings is that everybody thinks their already a "star" and wants to be noticed. After hours of sifting through prospects, I finally had my final four. Contestant one, unoriginal. Imagine, Skype video chat opens up and a guy appears shirtless with tattoos and nipple rings! (What the hell was he thinking?) "Sir, this is a clothed interview," Contestant two, emotional. Apparently he had just come out of the closet to his grandfather (a Bishop) and thought this was a call with Iyanla Vanzant. I can't fix nobody's life. "Sir, I don't have a license for this." Discouraged, but determined; I pressed on. Contestant three, aggressive. Every chance he got, he slipped in sly sexual innuendos. "Sir, this is not for Grinder."

They say when you hit rock bottom, the only place to go is up. Contestant four, perfect. From the moment he answered and said "Hello, this is David" I was impressed. His confidence and charisma, stole my heart and made me forget my "coins" pursuit. Unloosing myself of his charm, I snapping back to realty and got back to business, "So David, tell me about yourself." That was one of the hardest questions for me (David) to answer. After a few short moments of conversation I quickly realized I wanted this guy (Johnny) to be more than my interviewer. I wanted him to be my man.

I (Johnny) don't usually mix business with pleasure, but for David I had to break all the rules. I called David and for several days we talked from sundown to sunrise. The hours flowed like the waves in the ocean: seamlessly. There was never a moment of silence. It seemed as if we'd known each other for years! "Johnny, I think we should meet to discuss the show. Yea, the show." I had totally forgotten about "Sons of Preachers" and I thought he had too. However; he was right, we needed to take care of business first.

I (David) could care less about this Realty TV Show. I needed to confirm with my eyes what my heart was saying. Johnny was so attentive and sweet. Could Johnny, really be THE guy for me.

When I (Johnny) arrived at David's house, I was greeted by this short but handsome man. "Damn... Why he have to be so short?" But, I quickly moved past that when the aroma from his cologne tickled my noise: citrus and spice. And yes, it did make everything nice! Despite his height, he was very well put together. Freshly twisted dreads, black blazer, black shirt and black slim fitted jeans.

In preparation, I (David) cleaned, bought wine and made sure it felt warm and cozy. I wanted to make sure Johnny felt welcomed. He, on the other hand, wanted to be fashionably late. I am a punctual person, but I learned that night, Johnny was not. I decided to give him a concession when I greeted him at the door. His attire was casual chique. He wore a black crew neck t-shirt, light-green jeans, and a brown dress shoe. All of that was topped off by a long black scarf he so elegantly wrapped around himself throwing the opposite side over his shoulder. Well worth the wait in my opinion. But I wasn't so sure considering how much younger he looked compared to my "long-term" guy.

David took me (Johnny) on an accelerated tour due to our reservations. As we headed to my car, David politely said to me, "Instead of moving my car from the garage, I'd prefer to drive us in your car, if that's alright with you?" I thought to myself, "no", but I answer, "I guess".

Dinner was marvelous, I (David) didn't want the night to end. Our conversation in person confirmed Johnny was special and I knew wanted to share something special with him. After dinner I drove him to see the home and neighborhood I was going to be living in soon. Johnny smiled at the gesture and read between the lines. I didn't care about "Sons of Preachers", I only cared about learning him. My only problem was what I had to tell him just might jeopardize that ever happening. As soon as we arrived back at my house, I looked Johnny in his eyes and said, "Johnny, I think you're wonderful guy. I want to get to know you better, but I must share something important with you before we go any further."

His response..."Okay..." "I'm HIV Positive." His response... "Oh wow. I appreciate you for sharing this information with me. I'd like to know more info on what it means to live with this disease." As I (David) took that opportunity to provide education I could tell he was literally digesting everything I shared from viral load to medication adherence. He left my place and asked more questions of his doctor who shared a pivotal perspective which was paramount. The guy who shared this information with you must really like you and know that you're more likely to be infected by someone else than you are from David.

That conversation occurred over three years ago and we have been together ever since. We are currently committed to educating others on healthy relationships proving that discordant does not mean discounted!