Sunday, May 09, 2004

All About My Mother, Conclusion



When I was fourteen, I went through what any teen who was questioning his sexuality did: I was into Goth.

Goth reflected my deep feelings of isolation, of societal rejection, of my yearning for thick, black eyeliner. Those were the years when I begged to God to change me, to make me straight; my anguish evidenced by the smudged make-up running down my pale, white face. I looked into the mirror and realized in that moment that I could never, never be a heterosexual—I looked too good with eye make-up.

My twin Peter, also dealing with the same issues, became a die-hard Durannie.

My dad was clueless of course. He thought my dark clothes, my sullen looks were an indication that I was running with the wrong crowd, probably snorting coke. I wanted to scream at him, “Yeah dad, I am snorting coke! I go to my dealer and buy drugs with the 50 cents you give me for lunch, you fucking tightwad!”

My dad went around demanding “Are you doing drugs? Are you doing drugs?” To which Peter and I would reply, “Yes!” My dad, expecting vehement denial didn’t know how to respond to this admittance. He would retreat mumbling, “If I ever catch you…”

Peter and I, who then shared a bedroom, came up with the idea to fill little baggies with cornstarch and leave it strategically “hidden” in our bedroom. We had debated whether sugar, flour or baby powder would look more convincing as dope. We smiled maliciously, anticipating the mocking we would do to my father for being duped. In the end however, our brilliant plan was wasted. My dad was too lazy to rifle through our belongings.

My mother would never have been taken in by such a transparent ploy. She knew our twisted teen-aged minds. She would have looked at the baggies and decided to bake Butter Cookies with them and put it back.

Far wiser, and armed with knowledge gleaned from a story arc in “All My Children,” she knew that we dealing with issues that are buried deeper than Peter’s stash of muscle magazines hidden under his bed. While she didn’t understand “it”, as most people didn’t those days, she never wavered in her love. She never did anything stupid. She just quietly locked up the make-up kit.

This couldn't have happened at a worse time, I was going to a Cure concert. I silently cursed her and the sparse eyelashes I inherited from her. Boys don't cry unless they are the only ones going to a goth concert with healthy, glowing skin.

My mom was of the opinion that "it" was just a phase. Maybe it is appropriate that "it" is sometimes called "the love that dare not speak its name," as if we didn’t speak of it, it would go away.

Mom, Dungeons & Dragons is a phase. A mohawk and a pierced eyebrow is a phase. An eye for matching patterns and accessories is most definitely not a phase.

a mother's day cardMy mother’s almost sixty now. I sent her a cheery, sappy Mother's Day card—just the kind she likes. I wrote in every available space inside the card, even around the margins of the trite verses. I wrote of current events, of job hunts, of small victories—no female evident in the story. She knows there won’t be any. She’s my only gal.

Maybe she’ll turn misty-eyed. Maybe she’ll pull off her glasses and wipe it with a kleenex to draw attention away from her face.

Maybe she’ll read it just once and then use it as a coaster for her coffee, just so she can have it near her every morning.

I hope she does.