Tracy: I’m the only child. I was born in New York. My father was a business man. He had a couple of stores up in New York. My father was like a gangster. He was a short skinny dude but you didn’t want to mess with him. Everybody respected him. My father’s name was Jack. They called me Little Jack. So, you know, I used to go watch my father play baseball. He was semi-pro. I had anything I wanted: piano, drums, whatever. Used to always go on Broadway. Watch the show.
One day, my mother and father… They broke up. My father wasn’t coming around like he used to. That’s when stuff started happening in my life. I began to get in trouble in school.
When we moved to the South [Montgomery, AL] I was in sixth grade. That’s when I began to experience racism. [At school] they had passed out cookies. I had a cookie and I set it on the table. This white dude came and knocked the cookie on the floor. I said, “I’m gonna get you.” After school I caught him outside going down the sidewalk past the school buses. I tagged him and he broke his collar bone. This other white dude, big white boy, came up on me and I beat him up. So, the next day they called the police on me. Had the police in the office. Had me put out of school.
But, I went to college and everything. I was a straight A student. I studied law. A whole lot of stuff. But deep down inside there was a void. I always been a loner, man. I always hang by myself. I began to use alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. That’s really when I began to get stuck in this type of cycle. I started to get in trouble with the law.
I [got] incarcerated and I wanted to talk to a psychiatrist. I told him I liked to hang with older people. He said the reason why you like that is cause you miss the relationship with your father. You still trying to find that relationship. I reflected on what he said and that’s actually what it was. I miss the relationship with my father and I was seeing that relationship through other people.
BW: After [your dad] left, was that the end of your relationship?
Tracy: Yeah, he didn’t come around like he used to. He got married. He married this rich white lady and they had a daughter in Connecticut. I didn’t hate him or nothing like that. I just missed the relationship that me and him had.
Anyway, I started doing my drugs. I started having sex with these females and stuff. I contracted HIV back in 1994. When I found out I was like wow. I didn’t think it could happen to me. I thought it was a gay disease. It hurt me so bad. I fell on my knees and asked the Lord to please heal me or something.
Once my mama found out, she began to [treat me different]. It made me upset to the point I just didn’t want to be around nobody. Her people, her sisters and brothers, them some ignorant folks when it comes down to HIV. I’d have to clean with Clorox every time I used the bathroom. I went into a shell. I went into a deeper depression.
BW: How are you doing with the HIV now?
Tracy: When they stole my bag and stuff, they got my medicine and everything. I haven’t taken no medicine in a minute.