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Chapter Seven – Moving On
“Aaron. Why are you calling me?” says my sister.
“Dad told me you and Nick and the kids are going to move out west?”
“That’s right, we are. Are you pleased now? What’s it to you?”
“Uh, well, I just wanted to call to say thanks to you and Nick for the extra money for school. I really appreciate it, Ariana.”
“What the hell are you talking about? Nick and I paid you what he owed you from the store! We didn’t have much choice in the matter! I suppose this is sarcasm and gloating now because you’re getting all that money from Mom and Dad for Algonquin and Nick and I are having to move because the store is going under!”
“What are you talking about, Ariana!” I say, in total surprise.
“Oh, don’t give me that innocent, little baby brother crap, Aaron! I don’t need any spoiled brat shit from you! Thanks to you, Dad won’t help us to get out from under what Nick owes his creditors! And, it’s all your fault! It’s always about you, isn’t it, Aaron?”
“Now you have the nerve to call me! I know damned well you’re going to waste every damned cent of that money they’re handing over to you and will probably bitch all it away the first semester! You’re not going to make it, Aaron! You hear me? You’re going to fail! I give you three months in that program and you’ll wind up dropping out! You and your damned homosexual friends are going to party with Mom and Dad’s money and you’ll probably wind up getting hepatitis or syphilis from screwing all your pick-ups!”
“Thank God Nick and I are getting our kids away from you! Nick says they don’t need to be exposed to a potential child molester like you!”
My mouth is agape and the tears start to well up in my eyes and I say, “Ariana! Why would you say something like that? I thought you’d be happy for me that I am going back to school! Why are you being this way?”
“Look Aaron, I don’t have time to deal with you and your creepy lifestyle and your stupid, faggy ideas about becoming a world famous decorator! I don’t want to hear anything out of your filthy mouth! You should know by the way, I told Mom just what Nick and I thought about you and your choice to be a homosexual. Nick told me he wants nothing to do with you and neither do I! I’m sorry you’re my brother, Aaron! Now, don’t you call here again!”
She slams down the phone on her end. I am left standing holding the receiver, in complete shock and listening to the dial tone. I’m shaking and just can’t hold back the tears. Mom is in the kitchen and as I rush past her to head up the back stairs, she stops and looks at me and says, “What’s wrong? What’s happened, Aaron?” “Mom! I can’t talk right now! I just need to go to my room and be alone right now!”
“Was that you on the phone just now. Aaron? Who was that you were talking to on the phone?”
“Ariana, Mom! Please! I just need to be alone right now!” I say, as tears start to roll down my face.
“Richard! I think you need to leave the office and come home right away! Aaron called Ariana and he’s up in his room now crying! Please, Richard, come home now!”
“Damn! I told him not to call her! I’ll be there as soon as I can get away here.”
“May I come in, Aaron?” my Dad says, as he slowly opens my bedroom door and looks over at me, lying face-down on my bed. He comes over, sits on the corner of my bed and hands me a handkerchief. Funny, the things I always think of when it comes to my Dad. He never goes anywhere without a clean white handkerchief in his pocket. “What are you doing home from work, Dad?” I say to him.
“Your Mom called me and told me you called your sister, son.”
“I just wanted to say thank you to her for the money she and Nick gave me and ask her why they decided to move and then maybe wish her good luck and tell her I’ll miss her, since I won’t be here when they leave to go out west!”
“What did she say to you, Aaron?”
“Dad! Dad! She said to me she didn’t want her kids around me, because I was a probably a child molester and a homosexual and I’m going to fail in school and probably get sick from venereal disease! She said I was sick and perverted and Nick and she didn’t want anything to do with me because I chose to be the way I am!”
Just then. Mom steps into the room and moves over to stand at the foot of my bed, right behind where Dad is sitting. “Richard. We should have talked to him! He shouldn’t have had to hear this from Ariana!”
“Not now, Iva. You go downstairs and get out that bottle of champagne we were going to open the night before Aaron was to take the bus up to Ottawa for school. I want to have a quiet talk with my son here. It’s time, honey. We’ll be down when I’m done here.”
“Sit up, Aaron. There are a few things I want to say to you.” My Dad says in a gentle voice. “First off, you know that your Mom and I love you very much. You do know that, don’t you, son? That word is not easy for me to say.”
“Yes I know, Dad!”
“I know I’ve never been very good pinbahis yeni giriş with you talking about sex and intimate, personal feelings in the past, Aaron. I remember the time I tried to sit down with you when you were thirteen to give you the talk about the birds and the bees, and you looked at me and said, ‘Sure, what do you want to know, Dad? What can I explain to you about it?’ Well son, I just never knew how to talk to you or what else I could do after that except to give you that little pamphlet and tell you to keep yourself zipped up and not to let it out until you fell in love and got married. I was hoping your gym teacher, Mr. Logy in high school would give you all the information you would need to know about sex in the boy’s grade ten Health class. That was, until I found out he was having sex himself with his assistant male coach on the football team.”
“Aaron, you know that we come from a long line of staunch Roman Catholics who grew up in Victorian England and who never spoke openly or freely about such things. When my parents died in England, soon after World War One and my two older sisters and I were sent off to Canada from Liverpool to go work on farms and in kitchens for sponsoring Catholic families for our room and board, well, son, those times were very different from today. You need to understand that I come from that time. And it is still hard for me to express my feelings and talk about those things I now realize I should have said to both you and Ariana when you two were growing up.”
“First off, I do love you, son. Very much. Never forget that, Aaron. That is a word that doesn’t get spoken often in British households. But, I want you to know that I always have and I always will. When you made the choice to stop attending Church with me at the age of fifteen, I prayed for you at that time and I still do to this day. My faith is everything to me, Aaron and keeps me going, son. I believe in God and I hope that you still do as well. This isn’t easy for me to talk to you this way, Aaron.”
“I know, Dad.”
“You know the Church teachings and what the Bible says about Sodom and Gomorrah. Monsignor O’Grady from St. Francis has certainly had more than enough to say about that, every damned Sunday from the pulpit in his sermons. You know the Ten Commandments and served as an altar boy for him for four years when you were in grade school. And you, no doubt heard all kinds of talk and opinions and judgements about right and wrong from the Notre Dame Nuns and Catholic lay teachers at Saint Francis Xavier back then as well.”
“Well, Aaron, here is what I think is right. First off, and I’ve never said much about this to anyone else before, your Mother included. But for you now my son, I will. You remember the story I told you about how I worked for the first sixteen years of my life after emigrating to Canada at the farm for the Jordan family in Carleton Place. As an orphaned boy, I saw all kinds of secret things that went on there. It didn’t really make much difference to me though, and in hindsight it wasn’t any of my business as long as no one was being abused or hurt by what was happening. Live and let live, Aaron.”
“It took years, but eventually I was able to save up enough money and gain enough freedom and independence to move to Brockville on my own for the first time in my life to start training and working as an Orderly at the Psychiatric Hospital. I’ve seen a lot of good and bad in my life, son. The hospital and the patients and staff there have shown me a lot too, Aaron. What I’ve come to learn over the years is that most of the ‘good’ comes from kindness and wanting to help others in this life. And most of the ‘bad’ comes from unhappiness and wanting to judge or hurt others.”
” Don’t hate you sister right now, Aaron. She is having a hard time and is unhappy and needs to do whatever she must in order to help herself and her children. Deep down, she still loves you, son. Envy and greed are sins, Aaron. Being who you are, is not.”
“Last time I read the Ten Commandments I don’t remember God saying to Moses, ‘Make an eleventh commandment forbidding any kind of sex or love or physical intimacy outside of marriage, or with anyone other than a man and a woman.’ I bet you are shocked by what I am saying to you here.”
“You know, Aaron, outside of the Ten Commandments, most of what is in the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments was written by the Apostles or by men interpreting with they ‘thought’ God was intending for his flock. And what twelve grown-up, long-haired, middle-aged, unmarried men in flowing robes were doing following Jesus around all the time, well, I could make a funny comment about that right now, but, I don’t think you’re in much of a mood to appreciate the humor, so we’ll just leave that alone. Do you understand what I am trying to say to you, son?”
“But Dad! What she said to me! It hurt so bad! I’d never hurt her kids!”
“I know that, Aaron. Come here, son.” My Dad moves over closer and pinbahis giriş puts his arm around me and tries to comfort me and continues to talk quietly and says, “Aaron, your Mom and I know that you didn’t choose to be who you are. We do make choices in life, of course. But, each of one of us is born into this world with a conscience and a soul. This, to me makes us all the same. It is God who determines and chooses what makes us all different and special. And, I don’t believe for a single second he would intentionally choose to make anyone less of a human being than anyone else. It falls to us to take what he has given each of us, those traits and qualities that make us unique and special and make the most of them without hurting either ourselves or others by doing so.”
“Aaron, son, you are going to find in your life that there will be many, many people who think they are God and who will judge you. You need to be true to yourself and take whatever special gifts He has given you to make your life and the lives of those you touch the best that you can, the way you know He would want you to.”
“Thanks, Dad. I really do love you and Mom.”
“We know that, son. You prove that every day to us just by being who you are. Now, I want you to take the gifts and talents that God gave you and move ahead now with your life and make us both proud of you, Aaron. We have faith in you and believe in you and know you are going to do great things when you start school and after, when you graduate and go out into the world. And, by the way, the world out there is a much bigger and more fascinating place than small-town Brockville, Ontario.” He just sits beside me for a couple of minutes more with his arm around my shoulder, and then quietly adds, “And Aaron, I want you to know, the same holds true for Adam as well.”
“You really like him, don’t you Dad?”
“I do, son. But, I think he needs a little push right now to get him back on the road I see in front of him. You be sure and tell him that he is welcome in our house here any time. Now, let’s go downstairs and check to make sure your Mom hasn’t drunk all that champagne from the bottle I told her to open up. And from what Adam told me about you and your tolerance level for liquor, I’ll keep an eye on your consumption at the same time!”
“And, Aaron, the talk we just had, son. Well, it stays as just a father and son talk between the two of us for now, OK?”
“Are things better now, Richard?” Avaasks, as Dad and I come down the back stairs into the kitchen.
“They will be, Iva,” He says.
“You know that we love you very much, Aaron. You do know that, don’t you? We’ll always be here for you, sweetie,” my Mom says.
“Yes, Mom. I do.”
“Please try to forgive Ariana for whatever she may have said to you in anger on the phone, Aaron. It may take a long time for healing and forgiveness. But, brothers and sisters in the end are always there for each other when it comes down to what is important in life. I truly believe that and I hope that you will as well.” Two glasses of champagne, coupled with copious tears from Mom and emotional gush about how she is going to miss me so much when I’m gone and eventually I finally turn to Dad and say, “Is it OK if I go over to see Adam, Dad?”
“Aaron, I’ve already told you that you don’t need my permission to go see or spend time with him. If you need to go see him to talk, then you go on ahead and do that.”
“His old car really broke down badly again on him when he took me up to Brown’s Bay for Labor Day, Dad. And he was so upset about it. I haven’t really talked to him much since his Mom had to come to get us and drive us both back to Brockville. Except for when he came up to Ottawa to help you and me with moving my stuff and all. And, we really didn’t talk much to each other then. He hasn’t called me either. I just want to make sure he’s OK and ask him if he’ll maybe take the bus up with me to Ottawa to finish with my unpacking and stay overnight with me before the Tuesday when I start classes. I’m just going to go and walk over to his place and see if he’s OK.”
It’s three blocks north up Bethune Street from our house and then a ten minute walk down Pearl Street, heading west until I get to Adam’s place. I’m still thinking about everything my Dad said to me, and with each passing block feel a little better about everything he said. And I’m really glad he included Adam in what he was trying to tell me. “I’ll tell Adam what Dad said about coming over to the house on his own when I move up to Ottawa. I think he’d really appreciate that.”
Crossing Perth Street and coming close to Mr. and Mrs. Nicholson’s house on Pearl Street West, I can see the back of Aaron’s old Bonneville. It’s sticking its prominent rear end out onto the sidewalk and overtaking the driveway. “Well, at least he was able to get it home and parked OK,” I say to myself. “I’ll surprise him and just go knock on the door.”
I head up the exterior stairs on the side pinbahis güvenilirmi of Mr. and Mrs. Nicholson’s garage and knock on Adam’s front door. The place is in total darkness inside and after several minutes, it’s obvious he’s not there.
I just don’t want to go back home right now. I don’t want to be alone by myself in my room. I’m tired and I want Adam to talk to right now! The only thing I can think of to do is climb into his car and wait for him to come back from wherever he is. He won’t mind if I curl up in the back seat and just wait for him.
“Good. He’s left his jacket in the back of his car. I can use it for a pillow like he’s told me he’s had to do sometimes and smell him and feel safe and pretend he’s tight beside me.” I think to myself.
A half hour later and I am fast asleep in his car, with his suit jacket over me as a blanket and all I can smell is his comforting man scent in my dreams.
It’s 12:30 am in the morning and I wake up to hear the two long, loud horn blasts from the VIA Rail overnight sleeper car passenger train starting to leave for Toronto from Montreal. It’s passing the Perth Street railway crossing on its way west.
I wake up holding a tear-dampened sleeve of Adam’s jacket up to my face, with my thumb and forefinger slowly rubbing the texture of the fabric. It feels like I’m four years old again and still sucking my thumb with my old, red and green Indian blanket in my hands for reassurance, security and protection. I slowly start to figure out where I am and what led to me being there. As I start to come to a state of full waking consciousness, I realize Adam is quietly sitting in the front driver’s seat, with his right arm on the back of his seat, gazing back at me.
“Cookie, I came home after midnight and looked in my car before heading up to my place and found you asleep in the back. Babe, what’s wrong? You have an argument with your Mom and Dad or somethin’? Or didya’ just miss my sweaty suit jacket there?”
“Oh Adam! I missed you! Something really, really bad happened with my sister, Ariana and me today! And, then my Dad and Mom talked to me! I just needed to see you and you weren’t home! And I, well, I just needed to see and talk and be with you! And, you weren’t here!”
“Well honey, I’ve been watchin’ ya’ cry in your sleep and mumble stuff in the back there for the past half hour. How’s about I get ya’ upstairs and then you can tell me all about it, baby?”
“I’m too tired to talk now, Adam. Can I please, please just come up and stay the night with you and we’ll talk tomorrow in the morning?”
“Do your Mom and Dad know where ya’ are right now, cookie?”
“Yes, Adam. I told them I was coming over here to see you.”
“OK baby. Let’s get ya’ upstairs then.” Once inside the door, I reach to hug him as tightly as I can and then say, “Will you just hold onto me in your bed tonight, please, Adam?”
“Sure thing, cookie. C’mon, let’s climb into bed.”
Delphine Blanchard is one strikingly beautiful woman. It’s obvious who Adam got his looks from when you meet his Mother. Think Ava Gardiner from ‘Night of The Iguana’ and you’ll have the image of one sultry and sensuous, voluptuous woman. Those words serve to capture Delphine perfectly.
“Mom, thanks again for coming to get Aaron and me from Brown’s Bay last Saturday,” says Adam to his Mom. “It cost me another fifty goddamn bucks to have Gerry tow my car back to Purvis. And, then he checked it all over. It needs a new fuel pump, starter, carburetor adjustment and all new spark plugs. And, he said there is a slow leak in the gas tank and the tires are practically bald in the back. It’s gonna’ cost me more than seven hundred bucks to fix it! I guess I’m gonna’ hafta’ get rid of it, Mom. I just can’t afford to keep pouring money into that old piece a’ crap car. I don’t know what I’m gonna’ do now. Gerry told me there was some guy in Merrickville who was lookin’ for a parts car to fix his old Pontiac up. He said he’d give the guy a call to see if he’d come and take it away and maybe give me a few bucks to take it off my hands. Gerry said he’d tow the car away for free, just to help me out. I think that’s what I’m gonna’ do, Mom. But after that, I’ll just hafta’ walk, I guess.”
“Adam, do you remember when you and I sat around this table and had hot chocolate together when you were young, and we’d talk?” says Delphine.
“Um, yeah, I do, Mom.”
“You haven’t come to really sit down and talk with me in a long time, Adam. It’s good to know you feel you can still come and talk to me even though you’re a grown man now.”
Adam, how do you feel about your friend, Aaron leaving Brockville and going back to school in Ottawa?”
“Um, Mom, well, I’m really gonna’ miss the kid. I know he’s a lot younger than me. But, I’ve got to know him pretty well in a short time and I just feel so bad now about losing both my old Bonneville and him at the same time. My car always reminded me of Dad. And not having it now is like having to go through him leaving us all over again. And now having Aaron leaving this coming week and heading off to school, well, I just feel really sad and alone right now! It’s like everyone and everything is movin’ forward and I’m stuck here in Brockville and not goin’ anywhere!”
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