#10 The gay thing
It isn't that my family tries to hide the fact that I'm gay. Even two glasses of wine into the conversation on the deck, Dad insisted on pointing this out. "All of Alex's friends know about you," he said rather cryptically, "so you know, it's not that."
I was quickly taking offense at the whole conversation, but not wanting to be offended since I've never had anything but support from Dad. Perhaps if he'd been less supportive in the beginning, he would have had the opportunity to contrast supportive/not supportive states of mind; since he had no not-supportive reference, he wasn't able to see just how insulting it is to be called aside and told to closet up for the evening (yes yes, I know I know, it's Alabama, it's a small town in Alabama, and a party for my little brother, not for me, so it shouldn't be "about me". Got it. Trust me). But even now, a week later, I'm still trying to work out exactly what Dad imagined Greg and I'd be doing at the party--did he expect us to strip down to our stylish underwear, pop a few E tablets (rolls?), and hold a Big Gay Homo Rave in the living room? Or perhaps break out a rainbow flag and start selling t-shirts?
Also, I was a little hurt that Alex might be uncomfortable around me, so uncomfortable he'd apparently asked Dad to talk to me. The relationship between Greg and Alex was a pretty good one, after all, and Alex should know me well enough to realize I'm a very low-key, rather private person not given to graphic expressions of PDA.
Whatever. Moving on.
#11 The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Caregiver
Saturday morning. Driving into town. Intercepted the puking dog from Greg, who went off to meet his birth family. Greg was a wreck--bits of vomit on his jeans, wild hair because his mom didn't believe in conditioner but had an almost religious devotion to hairspray (Greg's hair requires conditioner, cannot abide hairspray), was suffering from little sleep, sweating from the southern heat (the sun was so hot and the air so humid that it seemed as if everything around you boiled from the heat and the water).
"How's your mom?" I asked him. "Someone is with her, right?"
Greg said his uncle was watching out for her. Because of an issue with her meds, G's mom had passed out the day before while at physical therapy, her blood pressure dropped to an almost fatal level, and the nurses had been moments away from rushing her to the ER to shock her heart back into action when she finally regained consciousness. Greg had not yet told his mother how close she'd been to dying.
"I know you've got stuff to do," Greg told me, "but I wish you could stay at Mom's. I'm so bored and lonely."
"You have the dog," I said cheerfully.
Greg glared at me, then drove off to spend time with his biological mother and half-brother for the first time in his life. In vomit pants.
(Spoiler: Bio-mom turns out to be both sweet and rich, which is an excellent combination. Greg's life is truly a Dickens novel.)
#12 Random moments
Here are some things that I want to remember happening, but see no point in detailing:
Lunch with my mom and aunt and Alex and one of his friends. At Chili's. One table over, a friend from high school sat down, and recognized me about half-way thru the meal. He was one of the few in high school I genuinely liked, and it was nice to see him if only for a minute.
Drinks with an old friend--a cougar of sorts--at her favorite downtown bar. Among the random topics discussed: the coming civil war, which both Greg and one of her friends believe is inevitable.
Being at Dad's house, alone with Alex for a bit. I helped him try on his graduation gown, helped him zip it up. I love my brother, and wish I'd been around more often. Small moments with him have some weight for me because there are so few of them.
After washing the sheets and successfully placing them on the damn bed (two man job my ass), I took Waffles for a walk in one of my favorite areas of Florence: Deibert Park, which was at one time a very sprawling pasture, complete with a red barn, but was signed over to the city by the Deiberts on the condition that it be converted into a public space. It's in a very prime real estate area, and the Deiberts could have gotten millions for the land. Instead: gave it way for the good of the public. Kudos for noblesse oblige!
My step-dad playing with Waf. In a robe.
Mother laying out the new gingham dress for me special (oh wait. That's Our Town. Nevermind).
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