His name is Maurice Diggs, a very successful medical logistician for the Army, in his late twenties. He is a southern gentleman who is currently stationed at Fort Knox Kentucky for Temporary Duty (TDY). I call it fate, that stuffy April night that brought us to the same nightclub. We met at Vibe, another club that boasts the usual watered down drinks in plastic cups and a catchy bass induced atmosphere that keeps its patrons coming back for more week after week.
Feeing scandalous that night, I pulled out the big guns. A one piece stripy body thong under a sheer, sleeveless low-high shirt, and a pair of form fitting red jeans. I decided to come alone so I was doing my usual two-to-one routine: two martinis and a sweep of the club. I was halfway through my first drink when I felt my phone vibrate. Honey, these social apps annoy me sometimes, but what can I say? I do love the attention.
It was a message from Moe: "it says you're 0.01 miles away. You must be here in Nashville"
We exchanged locations in the club and with no hesitation I quickly made my way to him. He was simply stunning. A simple graphic tank top with cargo shorts, a fitted cap wearing the Jordan retros. How could something so simple look so damn good? Our eyes met while I was contemplating my approach and something I didn't expect to happen, happened: butterflies.
Eventually he said hello to me and as we talked I got the strangest feeling that this man would be much different than the usual rabble that decorated the club. There was something in his suave demeanor and gentle baritone that enticed me. There was something in his amber eyes that allured me. There was something in the soft scent of his skin as we hugged that tantalized me. There was something in the way he softly kissed my cheek goodbye that paralyzed me.
As I watched him leave the club with his friend, it was a comfort to know that in an age that seems to relish quantity over quality there could be someone, somewhere who potentially shared my vision for a light in the dark.
In the weeks that passed since we first met, Mr. Diggs and I walked a very slow and frustrating path toward getting to know each other. I live on Fort Campbell. He was at Fort Knox. Though we both admitted to feeling a curious tug at our emotions, we were as anti-long-distance as possible. The LDR had been the bane of what I consider my most successful relationship. I had no interest in replaying that chain of events. Neither of us wanted to get our feelings involved.
So you could imagine Moe's surprise, and I'll admit mine too, when I invited him to my Battalion Ball only about a month after we'd been talking. Maurice told me he was "immensely flattered and would love to come" while I breathlessly awaited his answer. I sat in stunned silence after his response. On the one hand I did want to go to the ball with him, but on the other I hadn't expected him to say yes! I held back the shouts of joy that were itching to get out as we started going over colors for suits for the occasion.
It seemed like in no time it was July 11th. The date that will live in infamy…the first date, that is. Up until the ball Maurice and I hardly had phone conversations let alone go on a date. I had to give it to him, the man knew how to play hard to get. I can't tell you how many times I ran to vent to my best friend Shianne about how this man wouldn't answer my call, return a text, or initiate any form of communication.
All was forgiven of course when he pulled up to my barracks in his BMW. Not that I'm into expensive things or anything, but come on. It's a BMW. What's not to like? So we went to the hotel to change a few hours before the ball. I got changed into my dress uniform and he donned his freshly tailored Men's Warehouse rags. We snapped a few pics in front of the mirror (we're gay, ok?! We are creatures of habit) and head off to the function.
Now I know I'm secure in who I am and my orientation. As we pulled up a flood of questions popped into my mind. What if people say something? What if the people I work with begin treating me differently now that they know? (Child, by this point my coworkers knew first hand my affinity for Beyonce. They knew, but I digress). What if they don't like him? Will he enjoy it?
All it took was for me to look over and see the worried expression Maurice himself was trying to mask to let me know what needed to be done. "No matter what happens, I will be brave" I thought to myself. So I took his hand and we skipped through the double doors of the James E. Bruce Convention Center.
The rest of the night was a blur of emotion. From the moment I introduced him, everyone loved him. We took pictures together, danced together and had a chance to talk. He carried himself almost exactly the way I had imagined. There was a point when we were walking down a large curved staircase in the lobby and we could see everyone on the first floor. I felt paralyzed. He simply took my hand and we walked down the stairs together.
That was the highlight of the night for me because it solidified my interest in this man. He didn't care what anyone had to say. He was there with me and there for me. I allowed myself to let go of the guard I had in place and embrace the happiness that threatened to burst from my every pore. I found a man who wasn't afraid to speak his mind. I found a man who wasn't afraid to be genuine. I found a man who wasn't afraid to be intelligent.
I once read in a book long ago that happiness is a gift that we should stop expecting. Instead we should relish in the moment when it so chooses to arrive. For some of us that happiness in a cocktail glass at half price during happy hour. Perhaps even for some it's this season's Steve Madden boots at half price. For me, it was definitely Mr. Diggs.
Money Matters by Fred Mitchell