Then and Now

Chapter Three



 Toby's Excellent Blog- Thursday, July 14, 2005
Listening to: the most depressing music I could find- Dad's Gilbert O' Sullivan CD
mood- self-loathing

            Well, Anonymous is back and he's not happy. I guess I have to block his comments. They were pretty ugly. However, Velocitigurl has a good point. She says the reason a lot of girls like gay guys is that they’re sensitive and they're not always hitting on them. Well, that makes sense. She says that gay guys aren't always dense and they get it. I'm not sure what I'm getting, so maybe I'm not as gay as I should be. LOL. But, I think I know what she means. That's kewl. Thanks. She also says most guys my age are afraid to say anything nice to a gay guy because they're afraid people will think they're gay. That makes sense. It's sad, but it makes sense.

            Well, Wednesday was weird as shit. I'm writing this Wednesday night and I'll post it Thursday at the library. There is a second house in our neighborhood that is for sale. We live on a corner and the artist lady bought the house behind us. Cattycorner from us is a giant parking garage for the hospital. It's not as bad as it sounds since there are lines of Bradford pears trees and fancy lights all along it. Mrs. Venturi, the older woman that Vermin Number One torments all the time, lives directly across the street. The house next door to us on the right has been empty for a year after the owners moved out when the father lost his job at WorldCom. Well, it finally sold today and Mom says the people who bought it go to Faithbuilders and they have a son who is my age. I don't know whether to be happy or scared. For a moment, I had a fleeting thought it might be The Rebel, but my luck couldn't be that good. It will take them a month to close on it and do all the paperwork and stuff, so they might be in by the time school starts on August 22. Meanwhile, the artist and her son are moving into the house behind us this weekend. I'm really nervous about all the changes. So, I did what I usually do. I took my book and my Discman and escaped to the Peace Garden. I finished Eragon and when I got back home, I started through my library of books that I got from my dad. I have hundreds so I never have nothing to read.

            I found a book called Cyrano de Bergerac, which looked really old and when I opened it up, I couldn't believe it. I found a note to ME from my DAD! He wrote a note for me before he left and put it in Cyrano de Bergerac, expecting I would find it someday!

Saturday, January 20, 2001

Dear Toby,

            I don't know if you will ever find this note, but if you do, I want you to know that this is one of my most precious possessions. This is the last book my father gave me before he died. It is invaluable to me and I hope you will understand how important it is .

            It is also important to me because of the message. It is a play that teaches the reader, or the audience, the value of character, of integrity, of courage, and of being yourself. Read this play and know that you should never bow to the whims of others. Stand up for your principles. Never toady to power and never kiss ass. Be proud of yourself and know that I will always be proud of you!

             With the deepest love,
              Your father.


            I cried for ten or fifteen minutes and when Mom came in before dinner to see what was the matter, I showed her the note. Mom never talks about Dad and I've never been able to get her to explain why they separated or if she knows why he disappeared when I was eleven. She read the note and stunned me. Tears formed in her eyes and she actually put a hand on my shoulder and squeezed. At first, I thought she was going to hug me, but she didn't. She never does. She hasn't hugged me since before Dad left.

            I considered taking Dad's advice at dinner time and announcing that I didn't want to go to Youth Group, but I chickened out as Fuehrer was in a worse mood than usual and I thought maybe I should read the play first before I decide how to stand up for what I believe in. Besides, I thought Rebel might be there. He was.

            I found a chair right next to his and he nodded and said, "Wassup?" as I sat down. The most intelligent thing I could think of was "Nothin'."

            Naturally, the night I finally get a chance to impress the Rebel and maybe show him that I'm not like the others, Brother Seth, the pedophile youth minister, calls on me to testify about how the Lord has made a difference in my life. I froze. There was Dad's note to me in Cyrano de Bergerac about integrity and being true to yourself. There was Rebel sitting next to me, slumped down and bored with the whole thing, and there were a hundred other kids all watching me.

            Well, I babbled some shit about how he gave me strength after my Dad left. I never meant to say anything bad about my Dad at all. I can't believe I did it. But, it came out as like I was abandoned by some bastard of a father who didn't love me. Brother Seth came over and hugged me, which majorly grossed me out, and lots of kids came up to me after and told me how sorry they were for me and how they would pray for me and for my dad. Rebel never said anything. I couldn't look at him afterward. I just sat in total humiliation.

            Afterwards, when Mom picked me up, she asked me if I was OK. I said no and asked her if she would tell me why Dad left. She said she couldn't. I got mad and started telling her I had a right to know. We were on the freeway and she looked at me and screamed, "I can't. OK? I just can't. You just have to accept it. Maybe someday. I just can't right now."

            Mom never screams like that. I mean she's on the rag most of the time, but not like that. Man, it must have been something. I wonder if Dad did something. I can't guess what. He was the nicest guy in the world. He was depressed a lot. I know that. He was the smartest man I ever met and I could never figure out why he never did anything more than be a waiter or work in a call center. I mean he could have been a great lawyer, or a writer, or a college professor. I mean, he was brilliant. But, he never did anything more than be a waiter and a customer service dude on the telephone. He couldn't have broken the law. I just can't figure it out.

            So, tonight, Wednesday night, I'm sitting on my bed with my door open and my window open and my fan on because Fuehrer says we can't afford to air condition the back of the house, too. Oh, since my room used to be the back storeroom, there's actually a door from my room outside to the back yard! Sometimes, I sneak out at night and just sit in the yard and stare at the stars. Anyway, its hot as hell in my room and I'm just in my shorts and writing on my laptop and listening to some of my father's old seventies stuff. Man, if you ever want to slit your wrist, listen to The Carpenters or Janis Ian. That'll do it.


Toby's Excellent Blog- Saturday, July 16, 2005
Listening to: The Dandy Warhols/ Welcome to the Monkey House
mood- indifferent

             I stopped by Borders on the way to the library this morning. The new Harry Potter book went on sale last night at midnight. The TV showed lines of kids and adults all dressed up like characters waiting in line. How lame. I mean, I like the books and the movies were cool. Well, the first two were; I didn't really like the third one, except that I thought Rupert Grint as Ron looked HOT. I think he would be lots of fun to get nasty with. I love redheaded guys with long hair.

            It's really weird. Now that I think more about being gay, the more I think I have this weird thing going. There are guys that I think I would love to snuggle and cuddle and kiss and be romantic with and then there are guys I just want to get down and dirty with. Does that make any sense? Are there any gay guys out there who will comment or email me and talk to me honestly about this who DON'T want to just talk dirty?

            I've tried to look up stuff on being gay on the computer at the library, but its all blocked. I can't look anything up. I couldn't even look up the word "homosexuality" in Encarta because the library had blocked it.

            Anyway, the book is $30.00! Are they crazy? And, people are paying it! I think I'll wait a month or so. Every time Borders or Barnes and Noble order lots of a bestseller, they always wait a month and then discount it like 30%. But, I'll have to be careful. Fuehrer says that Harry Potter is satanic and he won't allow it in the house. What a load of crap. It's about the battle between good and evil. They talked about that at Youth Group Wednesday night, too. They want to have a book burning, except that means they have to buy it and give J.K. Rowling money for buying it! A book burning! One of Dad's books that I read was Fahrenheit 451, about a society in which books are banned. The Nazi's burned books. I guess it's not so far from being a fundamentalist Christian and being a Nazi.

            Well, it’s later now and I'm home. Mom and Fuehrer are at work and Aunt Letitia is watching the Vermin. I get to use the computer when she's here. I think she secretly thinks her brother is an ass, but she can't say. I also think she is secretly drinking because she sure drinks a lot of cranberry juice and the more she drinks the more relaxed and happy she gets.


Toby's Excellent Blog- Monday, July 18, 2005
Listening to: Andris Shiff / Bach's Goldberg Variations
Mood- hopeful 


            I saw Rebel at church this morning, (I'm writing this Sunday night). He paid no attention to me, but I noticed that he sat the entire time. Even when the entire congregation stood to sing or pray or whatever, he just sat. His parents tried to ignore him, but I could see his mom was irritated. She kept looking down at him out of the corner of her eye. His dad, who looks like a golfer in his khaki slacks and white Ralph Lauren pullover, gave him one withering look and then totally ignored him for the rest of the service. When we were all making our way up the aisle after the benediction, our eyes met and his simply raised his head an inch in greeting. I did the same and then Vermin Number Two pushed me and Vermin Number One barked at me to hurry up.

            But, the worst thing happened in the lobby. Brother Seth came up to Mom and Fuehrer and put his arm around me. I tried to wriggle away, but he held me hard and I couldn't do anything without making a scene. He gives me the total creeps. He told Mom and Fuehrer about what I said Wednesday night at Youth Group and how proud he was that I was able to share my feelings about it. Fuehrer tried to smile and be polite, though I could tell he was hiding his contempt and how much he really didn't give a damn. Mom looked at me really funny, I guess remembering our talk in the Odyssey as we were driving home. Our eyes met for a moment and I thought that when we got home, she might want to talk. But, she didn't. She immediately changed her clothes, fixed hot dogs for lunch and then went outside to work in the yard. Fuehrer turned on some NASCAR crap on TV.

            I thought about taking Cyrano de Bergerac out to the Peace Garden to read, but something is stopping me. It's like I'm afraid to. I want to read it, but I'm afraid of what I might find. I don't know. I think that because it was so special to Dad, I'm afraid I won't be as impressed or moved by it as he was. Or, maybe it's because it will make me miss him more. Dad is still the only person who ever really showed me any love and sometimes, it's more than I can stand. Sometimes, I just want to kill myself. Sometimes, I just want to escape from all this. I just want Mom to say she loves me. I just want my Dad to come home. I want it to be like it was before he moved out, when we would sit on the floor of the apartment and watch Home Improvement and X-Files and cool movies like Sound of Music and Star Wars and Breakfast Club and Ferris Buehler's Day Off, when Dad would read to me or ask me to read to him and he would teach me to add and subtract and we'd play backgammon and he'd take me on walks through the Peace Garden.


            OK. It's Monday at the library now. I had to stop writing last night because it just got too hard. I miss my Dad so much sometimes and I get so depressed I don't know what to do. It just gets bad.

            Anyway, it's way hot today and so I'm at the library instead of the Peace Garden. I think I saw our new neighbors, the Jews as Fuehrer calls them. I just barely caught a glimpse of the boy. He looks like he's high school age, maybe, with dark really thick and long curly hair. He was wearing shorts and sandals and a tee. He went in the door before I could see much more. His mom, though, looks like an artist. She was wearing this long, flowing, kind of tan hippy dress and her hair is black and long. They weren't moving in; I guess they were just checking the place out.

            It's a really strange house. All the houses in the neighborhood were built back in the twenties and most are two stories. They have long front yards and back yards, but they're all real close together. Ours in a one story house that they call a bungalow. They're all pretty nice and everyone takes care of the neighborhood. It's not rich like Oakridge is across the hospital and the shopping center, over by the Museum and the Gardens. But, its OK. But, the house behind us is pretty weird. It was from the twenties, too, but it doesn't look like anything else in the neighborhood. It's Art Deco, with weird tall, narrow windows and the window panes are all arrow shaped and pointing upward. The whole house is white and covered with like concrete or stucco, except it's smooth and it looks like a bunch of vertical rectangles all put together. There's a balcony on the second floor looking out to the southeast over the front door. Fuehrer says it's ugly and ruins the neighborhood. I love it. I wish I lived there. I guess it makes sense that an artist would move in there.

            I read a review of Cyrano de Bergerac on the computer and I think I might like it. It's about a real-life soldier in France during the 1600's who is valiant and courageous and writes poetry and plays. He pisses off all the powerful people because he won't basically kiss their ass. He falls in love with Roxanne, but he has this huge nose and is afraid to tell he that he loves her because he doesn't think any woman could love a man with a nose like his. So, he ends up telling this other soldier in his company what to say to woo her.

            I kind of wish now that I hadn't read the review and that I had just read the play. Oh, well. I will read it tonight. Maybe it will help me understand why Dad left. He obviously wanted me to read it, so maybe there's a message in there.

            And, then, maybe tomorrow, I can see more of the new guy.


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