Sunday, May 15, 2011

Are You My Daddy?, Or - What I Did Not Say

A man can amass a great many stories in the course of 90 days, and my stories include a furtive fling with a man named Rusty - who is five feet tall and reminded me, vaguely, of a hobbit ... but a hobbit that could suck a golf ball through a garden hose.

All things considered, there is little more to say about Rusty (except ... mmm ...) but there is plenty to say about Uncle Counselor - my primary counselor, who may or may not be my daddy. The truth is that Uncle Counselor reminds me of someone I once knew - an unpleasant memory of a rangy black man who used to come over to borrow money from my mother, Charles is my biological uncle, and also - probably - my biological father. So, when I sat across from an educated, recovering crack-head whose last name happens to be the my biological mother's (and father's) last name, I couldn't help thinking that serendipity is a mother-*****

I was fairly sure he was not my daddy, but after he told a story about - at 28 - meeting his half-brother, who was also a crack-head and, in fact, died of an overdose, in Fort Worth - where, I hear, Charles moved when he left San Antonio, I felt I was on to something. I never asked the question. Any questions. Some dogs need to lie, especially the ones you know to be sleeping.

If nothing else, what I learned in 9 months of rehab is that one has to pick one's battles. As battles go, don't fight with family - even if you're uncertain they actually are family; still better advice is to avoid drama with someone who has a hand in determining your freedom.

I wish I could say I learned these valuable lessons early in life, but the Old Black Man and I are not exactly the best of friends. Since he's damned near a hundred and has mellowed in his old age, to a refined and shrinking Southern gentleman - who still works 30 hours per week and carefully forgets that I'm gay, we reached a stalemate.

I forget, from time to time, about the time he held a hot iron near my head and said, after I came out to him at 13, "Stop it, or else ..." I forget about the time I refused to go to church - the first time, after a 15 year lifetime of going every Sunday. I refused to go because the preacher, the previous weekend, made Sunday's sermon all about the evils of homosexuality. So, my father and I had a fight. He cracked a belt at me, I threw the family Bible at him ... and then, because Timmy was barking incessantly, my father threw my French poodle at me. I ducked and the poodle bounced off a couch.

I don't recall how that one ended, but I haven't been back to that church in years.

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