Copyright © 2003
So Much To Tell
So much to tell. Where to start? I think I'll start before the beginning. Friday morning driving to New Orleans to the airport with Aunt Sue, she is babbling incessantly. That's not true. She doesn't babble. She's probably saying something very intelligent and interesting, but I'm not listening to her. I'm listening for the sound of my doorbell even though it won't ring until 6:30 this evening.
At least I don't have to worry about cleaning. I haven't even seen my apartment for three months but Mrs. Landry has been coming by once a week to clean the dirt that isn't there.
I'm trying to remember what wine I have and which I might need to open or chill and should I have any open in advance or just ask when he gets there. I know I don't have any cheese or bread, probably no crackers, I'll have to stop by Byblos Market on the way home. How many lights should I have on? Bright is cheery. Muted is romantic. Candles? No, we're only gonna be there for a little while before we go out to dinner.
Which music? How loud? Classical is always good but Vivaldi is overused. Maybe Mozart. John Prine! Nobody knows John Prine and he's totally interior. But lyrics get in the way of conversation. Maybe Mozart. Haydn is usually perkier. Robert Palmer? Riptide should bend him around a corner, especially if I put it on repeat. Maybe Mozart. Boys Say Go would be pretty obvious but only if he could understand the lyrics. He would understand but he already knows so why advertise? Scott Joplin is neutral. Maybe Mozart. A Little Night Music for our little night. Our big night.
What should I wear? A shirt without a collar makes me look younger, a shirt with a collar makes me look more sophisticated. Well, high school graduate, anyway. Levi's might be like I don't care but khakis are too conformist. Cords are better. What does he like? How can I make everything perfect for him when I don't even know what perfect is? I have a hundred questions but only one answer. At 75 mph, eastbound on I-10, passing mile marker 145 I decided the answer is "Yes.” Whenever he asks, whatever he wants, the answer is "Yes.” In fact, the answer is "Yes, sir!” So that's all settled and I'm relieved not to have to wonder about that anymore. Maybe I shouldn't make him ask or even wonder. When he comes in I can just say, "Here's the living room; here's the dining room; and here are the stairs that lead to the bedroom where after dinner we can take off our clothes and get to know each other better.” Maybe not.
After that it's just a matter of details like how many will I have to buy and exactly where will I place them so that nowhere in my entire apartment, upstairs or down, will we be more than an arm's reach from a condom and lube. Cause I'm definitely doing some sex tonight. Hopefully a lot. Then it's getting really uncomfortable for me to drive with my please-let-me-outta-here, you-waited-way-too-many-months-for-this hard-on.
Unless that's not what he wants! Is it possible that a fifty-something man is driving forty-something miles to take a twenty-something twink to a dark restaurant, a dark gay restaurant, to ask his opinion on the possibility of war with Iraq or the future of interest rates? I don't think so! So I'm okay on that, but what if he's taking some horrible blood pressure medicine that makes things not work? What if he wants to get to know me better first? What if he wants to cry on my shoulder about his divorce or his last boyfriend or his last girlfriend? No way! He can cry on my cock!
Then Aunt Sue is telling me, "James, it's not necessary or safe to drive 90 mph; we have plenty of time. Just obey the speed limit and I'll feel much better.” So I guess you could say I was experiencing an avalanche of anxiety and insecurity. So everything was normal.
Traffic was light; we flew through the swamp and cruised into Kenner. As we exited for the airport, I explained that the New Orleans Airport isn't actually in New Orleans. There was no line for security inspections to get into the parking garage. We instantly found a parking space right by the skyway bridge to the airport. We were so way early I couldn't believe it. Maybe I had been driving a little too fast. After checking her luggage, we still had two hours to wait so we were having coffee and beignets and Sue was going on about what a wonderful marriage Mom and Dad had had for so many years and how rare that is and how she hopes when I get married I'll be as happy as they were when I hear someone using my voice to say, "I'm never gonna get married."
And she says of course I will. I'm still very young; I shouldn't be discouraged; what with all that's been going on with Dad being sick for so long and the funeral and how hard I've been working to keep the family business going, it's not surprising that I'm not seeing anyone right now but all that will change when things get back to normal.
And I'm getting all shaky in the shoulders and tight in the throat and I can't look at anything but my coffee and she just keeps on talking about how wonderful it is of me to have come home to help Mom, and talking about what a big sacrifice it was for me to give up graduate school, and talking about what a change it is to live in a small town again, and talking about what a great job I've been doing with the business, and talking about how proud of me Mom is, and talking about how she would never have been able to go home if she didn't know that I would be there for Mom and my heart is pounding against my chest trying to get out and I can count my pulse in my ears and she just keeps saying pleasant little things one after another until it just becomes a pleasant little buzz with no meaning at all until she stops and we don't say anything for a while.
Until I say, "No, I'm never getting married, I'm sure.”
Then we're really quiet for a really long time.
Until she says, "Don't ever tell your mother.”
So, other than puking in a public toilet for the next ten minutes while she waited for me, I thought that went really well.