Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Czarina died at 1AM Wednesday morning, and is survived by the Great Prince, who lives in the Winter Palace.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas, Baby ...

the Czarina Warrenina Joskes - Empress of All the Russias, Queen of the Steppes, Keeper of the Faith, a Living and Breathing Deity Who Has Deigned to Walk Among Us ... to Bring Us Grace and Beauty the Czarina - sat up in bed, topless and flustered.  His hair was mussed, and his eyes only half open.  It would be said that the Czarina looked a hot mess ... but such is often the result of a massive heart attack.  His kidneys failed.  His heart seized.  And when Ova the Top, the Frenemy, and I went to see the Czarina, he was too weak to even turn his head.  His wit was, however, still intact. 

Of a screaming woman in the next bed,
observed, "That is the Wailing Wall ..."

He was more critical but equally tired when I saw him the next time - commenting on the lemon yellow of my sweater, and the state of the turkey with gravy half-eaten on the plate before him. His hospital room - small, private - while nothing compared to the comforts of the Winter Palace had a certain vitality about it, which is perhaps the only reason I did not burst into tears.

I could not avoid them yesterday, though. I was having gay laundry day (wherein you put clothes on to wash, go have a drink ... return to switch the clothes from washer to dryer, and then go have another drink; ideally, you'll have a buzz as you fold and hang things, and after you put the clothes away, you can go have another ...); so, the Frenemy and I were doing laundry at one of the local gay bars, when a mutual friend of mine and the Czarina's returned from the hospital to say the he'd taken a turn for the worse. He aspirated in his oxygen mask, and there breathing trouble ... there is still breathing trouble.

And it set in suddenly that he might die. I mean I knew this, of course, but there is something so very awful and poetic about dying on Christmas Day. the Czarina expressed both a desire to stop living, several times before this most recent health crisis, and also a fear about dying on Christmas Day. It always struck me an odd fear, and now ... now, with Christmas right around the corner, and the Czarina back in the ICU ... it may be a very sad and lonely Yuletide.

I didn't put up a tree this year. Last year, I had four ... so maybe I get a pass this year. No lights. No tree. And the only gift I am buying is a scarf for my father's Secret Santa.

And the only gift I want is my friend, my dear friend, my gay dad, not to go away.


Friday, December 11, 2009

The Well-worn Path, or Sun(down) is the Darkest Hour

I have been down this road before - and the path, by the way, is so very ugly ... and sad.

I never believed my parents to be invincible, nor did I labor under the delusion they were perfect and all-knowing. They always seemed flawed to me - weak people who did very good things, and who smoked cigarettes and had sex (which they told me was dirty but did anyway). I corrected their grammar when I was five. I started to pay bills and run the house(hold) when I was 9 - after my mother died.

And, at that, she did die. She was imperfect because she left me.

Tonight, my father couldn't find me. I was working today - at a temp job, as I did last week. And, as happened last week, the shuttle from the job-site dropped me and my coworkers off at the office somewhere around 10PM. And like last week, I waited. And waited. And waited.

Last week, it snowed in the morning - although only a flurry, and this week it was raining and cold. There was a chill wind in the air.

And it cut to the bone ...

My father couldn't find me. He was confused. He was lost, and - though he turned on his cell phone and answered my call while driving - he was at a loss to describe to me either where he was or what he could see in front of him. He said it was allergies - that his eyes were burning, and it was hard to see, and that a big truck splashed his little car, forcing him off the road.

At one point, he said the name of a highway and a street more than halfway across town. And then he said that he'd passed me and was going to turn around. I couldn't quite cobble together where he was, or what was happening - because somehow it all just happened so quick.

Quickly - the grammatically appropriate word - isn't right. It was quick - as in "cuts to the ..." and I am at a loss as to what I do, or feel. Beyond, that is, a profound and infinite sadness that I remember what I forgot from childhood - that my father is not invincible, and that nothing golden stays.

I've been down this road before, and the path is very ugly and sad, and familiar.


Monday, December 7, 2009

A Mighty Wind

There is something in the air this time of year. And it is not simply the familiar, haunting melody of "Good King Wenceslas." It is cold out - wet and chilly, with a wind that cuts and, for a brief and wonderful, magical moments on Friday, it snowed. The tiny flakes did not linger long on the ground, but it was the end - at least for the time being - of the cold, cold air hanging over the city.

I was wearing a leather jacket - a fabulous and fashionable cordovan leather affair that a bartender once said reminded him of the backseat of a 1976 Bonneville. The jacket is sharp, snazzy, and soft as only old leather can be ... but it was no match for that lingering chill wind on Friday night. My father forgot me. Laboring, as I am still, under a suspended license, I relied on my father to drop me off and pick me up at a (temp) job site far from available bus lines. The drop-off, of course, was fine; however, the pick-up - taking place at around 11PM, in the dark of night, and with ice forming on numerous surfaces - my father couldn't find me, or the building in front of which I was huddling.

It was a long, cold hour ... and it was only after my father finally turned on his cell phone that the mystery suddenly made sense. He was sitting in front of the building where he dropped me off, or so he insisted. He asserted that I was the one who clearly was lost ... and as I debated the merits of this point, both in my head and on the phone, I started walking. He was two doors down - parked in a handicapped spot, in front of the Butter-Krust Bakery., the car running and yet covered in ice.

It took 2 days and more coffee than is decent to mention to get warm again. And then this morning - Ellen, who brought bacon and the promise of getting out of the house - lured me out into the cold.

And the absurd.

Central Market was abuzz with activity when we arrived. The ambulance and police cruisers may have had something to do with it. Ellen's and my first guess was that an ancient Alamo Heights woman had fallen beneath the weight of both her wedding ring and her Louis Vuitton bag ... but the wild-eyed, black woman with her shirt up around her stretch-marked mid-section, walking around in a zombie-like state with a large bag of Doritos and half a head of weave laying somewhere around her left shoulder blade.

Even the paramedics seemed unsure how to proceed, and several 09ers in designer clothes were clearly trying to figure out why someone's maid was wandering the local grocery high on something and badly dressed.

And then I saw Santa going through the trash.

Admittedly, I never met the man personally, but he had a belly that shook like a bowlful of jelly, a head of white hair - beard and mullet - wore Christmas-themed red suspenders, and a Santa hat ... and he was going through the garbage. No one did much about that either.

This reminds me of something Ellen said earlier in the day, from Miss Manners: "Regarding flatulence, as it is natural and everyone does it, the polite thing to do is to pretend not to notice." And so it went that when Santa went through the garbage and a stretch-marked, half-bald chocolate woman ate chips and paced around the coffee bar, no one blinked an eye.

Polite company is one hell of a thing, mind you. Ellen and I had coffee and cheesecake at MadHatter's Tea ... and I am very lactose intolerant ... so, upon arriving at Central Market, stepping from her decades old station wagon, I let out a fart so thunderous ... and sudden ... I nearly fell down.

It was a quiet parking lot, but I am grateful that in the Central Market parking lot, no one was there to hear me fart.