Under Pressure

This is my ninth post for the Indie Ink Writing Challenge. My prompt this week comes from the lovely and incredibly talented Jason Hughes. Jason's prompt will be at the end.

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Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure - that burns a building down, splits a family in two
Puts people on streets

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He told them he was different. That he didn’t like girls like his teammates on the soccer team did. That he had a boyfriend; the redheaded boy who played the saxophone in the high school band.

That he was gay.

His Catholic family – his mother, his father, his two sisters and his one brother -- disowned him. Abandoned him. They let him go as though he was not their son, their brother. As though they hadn’t loved and supported each other deeply for 17 years. As though they weren’t family. They told him he needed to leave. That his home of 17 years was no longer his.

Cut off. Kicked out. Done. Finished. Homeless.

Turned away from it all like a blind man
Sat on a fence but it don't work
Keep coming up with love but it's so slashed and torn
Insanity laughs under pressure we're cracking

Six years later, after a visit to the health department, he was scared, terrified, worried. He told his love -- his boyfriend of two years, nine months, and 28 days -- that he needed to tell him something. That he had to tell him one of his worst fears had come true. That he had to tell him his younger years of living on the streets – all the partying, shared needles and unprotected sex -- had caught up to him. 

That he was HIV positive. 

He went to work the next day, and when he got home, his things were boxed up and a note had been left. His boyfriend said it was over. That he needed to leave. That his home for the last two years was no longer his.

Cut off. Kicked out. Done. Finished. Homeless.

It's the terror of knowing what this world is about
Watching some good friends screaming "Let me out!"
Pray tomorrow - gets me higher
Pressure on people - people on streets
Chippin around - kick my brains around the floor
These are the days it never rains but it pours
People on streets

Three years later, he started missing quite a bit of work.  He caught every office cold. And every office cold turned to pneumonia. And every case of pneumonia put him in the hospital.

After being out of work for 13 days, when he returned, his boss told him that they needed to meet. That they appreciated his nine years of service with the company. But that he had missed too much work. 

That he was being let go. 

Unemployment wages were not enough to cover his living expenses and medical bills. One day, his landlord told him that he had to leave. That his home for the last three years was no longer his. 

Cut off. Kicked out. Done. Finished. Homeless.

Can't we give ourselves one more chance
Why can't we give love that one more chance
Why can't we give love...

A few weeks later, at a shelter, a young social worker met with him. She told him that he qualified for a prescription program. That the program had a grant that targeted people like him – members of the homeless population that were HIV positive. That he could get the drugs that he needed at no cost to him. That he had to attend a support group to remain in the program. 

Cause love's such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves

During the first support group meeting, he was guarded and quiet. He was scared. He was frightened that he would lose something. 

That he would be cut off. Kicked out. Done. Finished. 

However, one support group meeting led to another. One day, he was invited out for coffee. One coffee date led to new friendships. Those friendships eventually led to him being introduced to a new job, one where he could help others like himself. That job eventually led him to finding a new boyfriend. That boyfriend eventually became his partner, his family.

This is our last dance, this is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure
Under pressure

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The prompt:

Here are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, "Pulling Heaven Down" by Blue October: http://www.elyrics.net/read/b/blue-october-lyrics/sound-of-pulling-heaven-down-lyrics.html. Tell me what your favorite song is, what it is about the song that speaks to you... You could even incorporate this into a fictional piece if you so desire. 

This was the perfect prompt for me, Jason! The song I chose was Under Pressure by Queen. It's my all-time favorite song, and it still moves me as much as the first time I heard it 21 years ago.