HE HAD SOMETHING
The phone is ringing ,I look at the clock and it's 1:35 a.m. or close to it. I crawl toward the sound in a daze searching for the phone wire in the dark. I locate it and pull reeling it in like a fish. I can't imagine who would be calling me at this hour on my landline. Very few people have this number and I convince myself it can't be good news. No one calls at this time to give you good news. Maybe the birth of a baby but, I'm unable to think of any other reason.
"Hello please tell me it's good news"
"Hey is this Santiago? It's Dasheil you know your son."
"Ya Dash it's Santi, I know you're my son. What's going on? Please tell me some good news.
"I need to tell you something and I want you to listen." He requests
"It's so important it couldn't wait until morning? You sound a bit diminished Dash are you high?"
"Ya I've been drinking with friends did some Coke and shit. That has nothing to do with it. Let me explain the reason I called."
"Go ahead cut to the chase. I'm listening you know you can tell anything that's on your mind."
"See that's an example of part of the God Damn problem. You always listen objectively without making judgments, never voicing a discouraging comment. No matter what my predicament you're constantly supportive."
"I'm not sure how this is a problem that warrants an early morning discussion. Have you considered discussing this with your mother?”
"Just shut up. She'd think I was being dramatic. Listen to me I need to tell you...I'm Gay and don't comment with any of your trite witticisms, this is serious. I want you to understand that I'm Gay."
"Dashiel I've known of your sexual preference since you were in High School. I never addressed it simply because I didn't consider it as important. Now bestiality I might have to think about that. Secondly I was raised Catholic, that's not an easy thing to deal with your entire life. Now I'm a Recovering Catholic."
"There you go with your sarcastic antidotes that only you think are humorous."
"You have my approval if that's important to you son."
"I'm not asking for your approval.
Will you please just listen to me?"
"Take it easy Arbolito (little tree) No me gritas. ( Don't yell at me) Ok I'm listening."
I head to my bed and fall backward landing on top of Pilgrim my Yellow Labrador Retriever my bunkmate. It causes him to jump up knocking over the lamp and other items on the table next to me.
"Son of a bitch! I'm sorry Pilgrim." I apologize petting his back.
"Is everything ok? What's going on?"
"Fell on top of Pilgrim in bed. Hold on a second."
I set the phone on the floor and walk in the dark to the switch on the wall to turn on the overhead light.
"Damn it!" I scream
I step on various items that had been knocked onto the floor while in bare feet. I crawl on my knees to the wall and flip the switch. Pilgrim has commandeered the entire bed lying cross ways on the mattress.
"Hello Dashiel you still there?"
"Yes I'm here. Are you ok?"
"Absolutely dandy. Just being my usual clumsy self. You were saying?"
"The thing is, we were sitting around getting high partying and then everyone began telling stories about personal experiences that happened when they first "came out." Ya know, told your parents and family you were a Homosexual, Gay. Some told stories where they were hit or beat by their father or brothers. Others told of how entire small towns persecuted, harassed or mocked them. In one instance, parents sent their son to a sexual reorientation retreat to cure him. Mothers cried in disbelief not able to accept the truth. They were disowned, thrown out of their homes, banished."
"Jesus Christ that's horrifying. Shauna and I never considered punishing you for what's a natural occurrence of birth. Who you fuck is your business. You're blessed to be the person that you are and Shauna and I couldn't be more pleased with the man you've become."
"And therein lies the source of my quandary."
"What? I don't understand what you're trying to say Dashiel?"
"I've got nothing! Understand I've got nothing! When I was asked to relate my story I declined saying I didn't want to talk about it. No one is interested in how their parents and family accepted their homosexuality without prejudice. Who wants to hear shit about how my family never treated me with disrespect or disapproved of my lifestyle. Tell them my family knew it wasn't a choice but a genetic trait. I feel uncomfortable with expressing my experience. Do you get it? I've got nothing!"
"So let me understand. You're upset with me because I never reacted negatively to your lifestyle? Hey Dash, if they're your friends it shouldn't matter that your family was supportive or how you were perceived by them. Should I be apologizing for having not acted like an asshole?"
" No Santi I'm just apprehensive about relating my experience I guess. I don't know. Well they're not all my friends just people from the film industry."
"Oh really. Since when have you given a shit about what other people thought about you? That California mentality is starting to mess with your sense of identity. To hell with those self righteous hipster snobs. If you're bothered by the truth then make something up. Damn son you're a Movie Director, you write Screenplays and Television Scripts use your imagination. Make me out to be an Ogre, I don't care."
"Not sure I'm comfortable with lieing."
"It's not actually lieing , it falls under the category of embellishment. Say I am a bigoted, macho, asshole, I won't be upset. And if anyone thinks your story is Bullshit, just say you were testing an idea for a new movie you're writing. Although, possibly by having said nothing was actually saying something. You created a mystery by holding back. Understand?"
"Ya that's it! You're the best Santi. Thanks man, I knew I could count on you. And thanks for almost creating a great childhood. Don't get all full of yourself, there are still some things you're going to have to answer for. I love you Santi."
"I love you....." He dial toned me that little shit. Hung up before I could finish my response.
I sat on the bed with the phone receiver still in my hand. I try to make sense of what just happened. Did Dashiel actually call me to voice his displeasure with my demeanor concerning his Homosexuality? He was upset because he didn't have a horror story to tell his San Francisco hipster friends? What the Hell? I decide not to contemplate the reason or purpose of his inquisition. I dismiss it as a result of him being drunk and high.
The fallout from the earlier fiasco has claimed a small night stand lamp, now in pieces on the floor. A ceramic coffee mug that had been filled with tea, an alarm clock that never rang and ran fast rarely displaying the correct time, all victims cracked and broken. I'll take care of the mess in the morning.
"Hey Pilgrim are you going to share the bed?"
He pretends to be sleeping , his eyes closed while his tail wags thumping the mattress. I'm not going to wrestle an eighty pound ball of hair out of bed only to be stared at with a sad, pouting expression of disappointment.
" I feel like having a snack. Maybe a Gringo Taco or scrambled eggs. What do you think buddy?"
He immediately responds standing and stretching as though he's not excited about an early morning treat. I suspect otherwise. We've been acquainted for eight years and are aware of each other's idiosyncrasies.
The only request I made in my divorce with Shauna was custody of Pilgrim. We settled on joint custody. I would have him on weekends or when my former wife was out of town or spending time with her boyfriend. The children I decided were better cared for with Shauna than with a drug runner and part time father. She is a wonderful mother and much better disciplinarian. The court granted Joint Custody of our two boys and girl. It was never actually enforced. I can't think of an instance when she denied me spending time with them. Holidays, Birthdays, School functions we discussed and were usually spent all of us together. The house, car, furniture, TV, stereo system, killer vinyl album collection and antiques I willing gave to them. I didn't like the idea of disrupting my children's home environment by taking articles I really didn't need. Although I ended up with a variety of mismatching single socks. Pilgrim I determined would be better off with me or more so me with him.
In the years following that night Dashiel became a recognized talent in the Film Industry. He won numerous awards for his Directing and Screenplay Writing. The story that catapulted his career into the spotlight was based on a young man that continually grew more mentally unbalanced. The cause of his illness was that he was unable accept the tolerant and supportive attitudes of his family and friends to his Homosexuality. It was the fact that he never paid the price, experienced the emotional pain for his lifestyle. Somehow he had been cheated and was not worthy of being Gay. He became so distraught by the guilt that he orchestrated a mass shooting. Turns out the seven victims of the massacre were terrorists preparing to blow up the building that he chose for his assault.
The young man became a Hero and was awarded many honors. He also became a recognized celebrity in the Gay Community. His notoriety created a greater acceptance of Homosexuality worldwide. The destiny of the story's protagonist was blessed with compassion. Dashiel finally realized there was a story to tell. He had something!