Then and Now

Chapter Four

Toby's Excellent Blog- Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Listening to-Beck/ Girl
Mood- Blown away!


            Two big things have happened and they are big. First, I met David Rosen. Second, I read Cyrano de Bergerac. And, my life will never be the same after either.

            I woke up yesterday morning with the sound of the Mayflower moving van pulling up in front of the house behind us. I was pretty irritated because I had stayed up late reading 1984. I read the whole book and it was amazing. Actually, I should have said that three big things happened. 1984 was awesome. It totally blew me away. When I read about Big Brother and how they were able to watch everything the people did and control everything the people knew about news and history by changing all the newspapers and books, it's just like what's happening today. The government can monitor everything you do on the Internet. The Patriot Act lets them know every book you check out. The Pentagon is putting together this huge database with every credit card transaction you make, every time you use an Easy Pass on the turnpike, every cell phone call you make. I mean, it’s scary as hell. I mentioned it to Fuehrer this morning at breakfast and he said, "Well, if you don't break the law, you don't have anything to worry about." What a dipstick. How effing stupid can you get. But, that's the way everyone in the country is getting. They don't care how the government invades their privacy as long they think they're safe.

            Well, anyway, I kind of got off track. So, the moving van was pulling up to the house behind us. So, I got up and showered and dressed and ate and went out to check it out. And, there he was.

            I have a friend.

            I have a friend.

            I have a friend.

            He was standing on the balcony watching the movers carry in some boxes. He was so beautiful in the morning sun. He has this kind of tanned skin, well it would look tanned even if it wasn't. And, this thick curly hair that hangs over his ears and down to his collar. He has a grin that just makes your heart want to explode. Dude, I chubbed just standing there.

            He waived and then disappeared inside the French doors on the balcony. The movers were bringing in a piano as he slipped out the front door and came up to me. He was still in cargos and a tee and sandals. He has big brown eyes that I could stare at all day and I guess I was because he said, "Helloooo" like I had been spacing. I was embarrassed as hell, but he laughed.

            We introduced ourselves. David Rosen. His mom is Sarah Rosen. I know about her. She's famous around here. She had several paintings in the Museum and all the rich people in town buy her stuff. She designed the Summerfest poster last year and the Shakespeare in the Garden poster this year. He didn't mention any of that, but I already knew it. He took me inside and showed me around. The house is cool, totally Art Deco and they're fixing it with totally Art Deco furniture and stuff. His mother says she's doing minimalist deco, whatever that is, but I think I understand it's like totally uncluttered- like not lots of stuff. No carpet, hardwood floors, stuff like that. Anyway, his mother was way cool and when I told her about all my books and stuff, she seemed pretty impressed. David was, too! David was impressed. He asked to see them. So I brought him to the house and showed him. Mom acted like she didn't give a damn, as always. I told him to ignore her and he giggled. It was so cute.

            He almost screamed when he saw my room. He loved it! I couldn't tear him away from the books. He said I had some really valuable stuff. He said his mom could sell some of my books for hundreds of dollars. I had no idea. I'm glad Mom and Fuehrer don't know!

            He loved my Dad's classic science fiction. I have books from the forties and fifties before Dad was born. Some of it was his dad's stuff, like A. E. Van Vogt, and Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clark. David went ballistic. And, he loved the history. I have all of Will Durant's history and David couldn't believe it.

            I had so much fun. Mom even did something very un-Mom-like and made sandwiches for us. I about died when she made ham and cheese, because David is Jewish, but he said they aren't practicing Jews. He said they are secular Jews. Mom asked if that meant they didn't believe in God and David said no, but that he didn't think God intervened in life much. Mom didn't say anything much after that. She just got that usual look she gets when she's trying to be polite to people she looks down on. It was great. We both grinned at each other a lot.

            Then, David showed me his stuff. The movers had brought most of it in and I helped him unpack. He had some kewl books, too. But, he builds model ships, like sailing ships, and he had like a dozen. And, he plays the violin. I used to play the violin. Dad had me taking violin lessons from when I was seven until he left when I was eleven. I had a children's size, a three-quarter violin. David says he will help me and I can pick it up again. He doesn't think it would be a problem. It's probably too late for me to get into Orchestra this year, but next year I probably can. He is so kewl.

            Then, he gave me a heart attack. He opened a box and pulled out his sports trophies. In addition to being a reader, an intellectual, and a musician who loves classical and romantic music, David Rosen is a jock. I could have died. He's the quarterback of the Junior Varsity football team for Southside. I looked at him like he was crazy and he laughed his ass off.

            "It's OK," he said. "I'm not an asshole. I'm still a good guy."

            I was like, "Football? Why? It's so stupid."

            David explained that it really isn't and that quarterback actually takes some brains. You have to be smart, you have to calculate trajectories, you have to think quickly, and you have to be a leader. And, he's right.

            I had to go home for dinner and then to go to effing Faithbuilders later, so I didn't get to see David tonight. BUT I HAVE A FRIEND!!! AND HE DOESN'T THINK I'M A DORK OR A LOSER!!!!

            One quick story before I go on. At dinner tonight, I mentioned that David is quarterback for Southside. I thought that Fuehrer would like that and wouldn’t make fun of him or put him down the way I figured he would since he was my friend. But, he was like, “A Jew? Playing football? A Jew football player? That’s rich.”

            If I could have taken a bat to his face right then, I would have. What a dick. What a total, complete, syphilis and gonorrhea covered dick!

            Tonight, when I got to Faithbuilders, Rebel was there but he came in after I did and even though there were lots of empty seats around me, he sat over in the corner near some other guys, even though he ignored them and I ignored him. Oh, well. I guess I really effed up last week.

            Then, when we got home, I immediately went to my room, opened the door and I could see David's window from my door. I watched him walk past it a couple of times without his shirt on and I got hard like instantly. He doesn't look like a jock, even if he is the QB, but he definitely has muscles and a chest, but not like they scream out at you. He doesn't have any hair on his chest, but he has some under his arms, not a lot. He looked so effing beautiful and hot. I immediately got naked and turned off the light and crouched on the floor at the door and watched him walk by a couple more times while I spanked. I know you probably think I'm a perv already and this just made you sure of it, but I have to be totally honest in this. I want to lay in bed and love David Rosen. He is the most beautiful, the most wonderful, the most perfect guy I have ever known. Cept for Dad, but that's different.

            Anyway, after I was done perving on David, I put on my shorts and got on my bed and read Cyrano de Bergerac. OMG! What an effing kewl play! I read the intro which was written in the 20's about this guy who said kids waited for weeks to get their copies of the play because boys loved to read stuff like this back then. Man, I can't see anyone at Central, and I'm sure Southside will be the same way, I can't see any guys my age getting off on something like Cyrano de Bergerac, unless it's a video game and you can hack people to death with organs and body parts flying all over the place and blood spurting everywhere and the winner getting to screw his whore as a reward.

            Cyrano is so kewl. You really have to pay attention cause its written like a poem the way Shakespeare writes, cept it was written in the 1890's.There's a scene in Act Two when Cyrano had insulted the Comte de Guiche, a powerful and influential soldier and one of his friends says to him that he shouldn't try to antagonize all the people who could help him as a writer and a soldier and Cyrano's like, "You want me to crawl up some great man like a vine? Eat a toad every morning? Crawl in the dust? I am too proud to be a parasite! To utter my own words! To cock my hat the way I want! I stand alone!"

            Now I know why Dad wanted me to read this. Now I know why Dad loved it. And, when Cyrano dies in the garden of the convent after Roxanne realizes it was Cyrano who loved her all those years and Cyrano who wrote the love letters and made the speeches and not Christian. Oh, man, what an ending. It was so... I don't know what to say. Nothing I can say would be good enough. It’s like the greatest thing I have ever read!

            So, I'm at the library this afternoon writing about the greatest day of my life and David's at football practice and I can hardly wait till after dinner so I can talk to him and tell him all about Cyrano. I know he'll love it just like I do. I know it. I can see that David has a soul like mine. David loves beauty and courage and I know he will understand.

Toby’s Excellent Blog- Friday July 22, 2005
Listening to- Coldplay
Mood- dreamy 


            It is still too kewl to believe. I keep thinking that something’s going to happen and it’s all going to fuck up and disappear. David is just the kewlest person in the world. He had never read Cyrano, but he had heard of it and when I showed it to him last night after dinner, he wanted to read the part I wrote about. He was so impressed. Then he saw the note that Dad wrote to me. He asked me about it, but I can’t tell him about Dad yet. I don’t want him to know anything bad or painful or difficult about me yet. I don’t want to scare him away. I like him too much and I’m afraid that if I lose him as a friend, it will just be too much for me to take. He understands me and laughs at my jokes and he’s kewl. We went out on the balcony while the sun was still up. His mom had set up an easel there and wants to paint. He played the violin for me. I have no idea what he played, but it was so beautiful and he got into it. I mean he like got really emotional, moving around and stroking the violin like rock stars do their guitars. It was something. And, he was so beautiful. I got so hard watching him, watching his shiny black curls falling back and forth and his eyes get so intense one moment and then so dreamy the next. He was sweating when he finished playing like he had just run laps. He was panting and when he saw the look on my face, he smiled and my heart just exploded. In just three days, we have become such good friends that we don’t even have to talk to each other to know what the other is thinking. We can just look at each other.

And, his mom is the kewlest. She came over to meet Mom this evening while David and me were up on the balcony. She was real polite, but when I got home after dark, Mom said she thought Mrs. Rosen was a snob. I told her she’s kewl and that she just wanted to be friends and get to know them. She said that she can tell when someone’s talking down their nose at her and trying not to sound like it, but doing it anyway. My mom is so sensitive, and not in a good way. She doesn’t have a chip on her shoulder; she has Mt. Everest.

Anyway, I got to see David again Thursday night through his window when he was getting ready for bed. It was almost like he was parading around in front of the window just for me. I turned the light off in my room again and did it on the floor in the shadow by the door as I watched. I did it again later thinking about how totally beautiful it would be to lay in bed and love him, how totally beautiful it would be for him to put his arms around me and hold me and to gaze into his eyes and kiss him.

OK, I’m getting smarmy, I know. But, that’s how I feel.

I love David Rosen.

Toby’s Excellent Blog- Sunday, July 24, 2005
Listening to- David practice the violin
Mood- excited 


            I don’t know what to say or how to say it, My emotions are a total jumble. Everything is just completely weird. It’s like someone put a mixer in my head and scrambled my brain. My whole world is like upside down.

            I am writing this on Sunday night at David’s. He is letting me use his computer. He promised he wouldn’t read my blog. He is the best friend a guy could ever ask for.

            OK. This is the situation.

            David spent Saturday with some of his friends from the football team, which is cool because he’s a great guy and why wouldn’t anyone want to be his friend. He asked me if I wanted to hang with them, but I told him I had plans. I lied and I know you don’t lie to your best friend and Cyrano wouldn’t have done it. He’d have just come out and said he had other things to do. I didn’t. I just rode my bike over to the Gardens and re-read my favorite parts of Cyrano and dreamed of living in France in the 1600’s and writing great plays and poems and being respected.

            Saturday afternoon, late, when David got back from seeing his friends, he told me he had rented the video of Cyrano de Bergerac. He couldn’t find it on DVD, so we watched it on VHS. Anyway, Mom and Fuehrer had just left and Letitia was here. She said she didn’t care if I went to David’s. So we watched the movie. It stars Jose Ferrer and it was great. The ending was too wonderful. I knew just what was going to happen and when and how and it was incredible. I loved it and so did David. I never thought I would ever find a friend who could like the stuff I do. And, here’s one who’s a football player, a violin player, and a reader all in one who likes me.

            I love David Rosen.

            Anyway, I had to be home before Mom and Fuehrer got home, so I left just before midnight and Letitia was sitting on the couch watching the end of Saturday Night Live and drinking more cranberry juice. She looked at me and asked if I had a good time. I said yes, I had a great time and that I was happier than I had ever been.

            Then she said something that totally blew me away.

            “You looked just like your father did, just then.”

            I stood there for a moment and then said, “You knew my father?”

            She nodded and said, “We went to junior high together. He was just like you, quiet, intellectual. Never had any friends, except one. The only time I ever saw him really smile was in the ninth grade once.”

            I couldn’t believe it. I just stood there.

            “You knew my dad?”

            She nodded.

            “He was a sweet guy. Everyone picked on him. I felt sorry for him. He was so sweet and there was no reason for everyone to treat him the way they did.”

            I didn’t know what to say. Dad had never talked about school. I had asked questions when I was younger about where he went and stuff like that and he would give me like general answers, but he never ever said anything direct to me about his life in school or what happened or anything.

            Then Letitia got this really weird look on her face.

            “Toby, you deserve to know the truth.”

            I froze.

            “What truth?”

            She sat there and I could tell she couldn’t make up her mind.

            “Tell me! Tell me about my Dad!” I almost screamed.

            “There were a lot of boxes of books when your Dad left and there was one they didn’t give you. I don’t know if I should tell you this, but there’s a box up in the attic with some things of your father’s that I think you should see.”

            I started to run to the door in the hallway ceiling that swings down from the attic when we heard the Odyssey pull up. Letitia thought for a second and said, “Go to bed. I’ll tell them you’re sick and tomorrow when they go to church, you go up there. OK?”

            We planned it out and I went to bed just as Mom and Fuehrer came in. Mom came back and I convinced her I had eaten something bad.

            “Well, Jewish cooking doesn’t always sit well with normal people,” she said. I didn’t tell her that Mrs. Rosen was at a party and that David and I had ordered Dominoes.

            Well, this morning, when they left for Hell, I got up and went to the attic. I found the box Letitia was talking about. I carried it downstairs to my room. It’s incredible. It’s all of Dad journals and writing! Notebook after notebook of all of his journals from when he was a kid and the novels he tried to write when he was older and pictures and yearbooks and cassette recordings. I don’t have a cassette player, but David said we can get one cheap at Target.

            Anyway, Dad was pretty good looking for 1973! His hair was redder and longer than mine! He let it go over his ears when he was in high school. It was like a military cut in junior high. He had freckles. HE was cute when he was younger, but he did look a little nerdy. He used to button the top button sometimes. There was one picture of him and this really cute blond kid with their arms around their shoulders. I know where the picture was! It was a in front of a small dogwood tree in the Peace Garden. That three is huge now, but the date on the picture was spring 1973. They looked so happy.

            There is just too much stuff.

            I couldn’t look through anything this afternoon after the family got back from church, but I am tonight after they go to bed. I am dying to read Dad’s journals. He kept journals through junior high and high school. Back then they had junior high from 7th to 9th grade and senior high from 10thto 12th. That would suck, being a sophomore and the low man on the totem pole. Anyway, I’ll write more tomorrow or Tuesday.


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