Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Year of Sundays, ch 9 pt 3

Chapter 9 - Sunday June 26
Part 3 of 4

Silas showed up at my house Sunday morning, just as I was at my wit's end trying to get Annabelle to move from the house to the truck. She was spending the day with Sam's mother, and was not very excited about it.

"I don't want to go to grandma's. It's boring there."

"I'm sorry it's boring. Bring a book. You promised you'd help her with the rummage sale, and you're going. The end."

Every year I thought raising my daughter would get easier. Every year it did not.

Silas raised an eyebrow at me and said, "Sobered up, yet, Sis?"

"Ha-ha," I said. "I should hope so. What are you doing here?"

"Isn't Sam doing something to your car today? I thought I was supposed to pick you up. We talked about it when Sam came to get you the other night."

I vaguely remembered something about that. Maybe. "Huh. I forgot. I'll have to remind him." And when I did, Sam groaned, because he'd forgotten, too. "New headlight," I reminded him. "And check out that awful squeaking belt noise. And an oil change would be nice. And a wash."

"You're funny," Sam said. "Give me your keys."

I rode with Silas to Mom's house. Or... Josie's house, I guess, because that's who lives there now. Josie and Jeremy. Silas still wasn't a hundred per cent comfortable with that.

Josie and Jeremy were in the kitchen making hamburger patties.

"We're going to grill again," Jeremy explained. "Special recipe hamburgers."

"That's special," Silas said.

"We watched a cooking show last night," Josie giggled. "So we learned all about grilling and backyard ambiance."

"You are so gay," Silas growled.

Jeremy laughed, "Yup. Out and proud. Just like you."

Silas growled again, without words this time.

"Grilling works for me," I said, "because I don't have to cook. I'll get the chairs out." I headed to the garage. Silas came to help.

"Man," he said, shaking his head. "Those two are like… in each other's pockets."

"Jealous?" I asked.

"Weirded out," he said. "God only knows what Jeremy is telling her."

"I'm sure it's fine," I said, because why wouldn't it be?

By the time we'd dragged all the chairs into the back yard and put the cushions on them, wiped down the outdoor tables, and put the cushions on the yard swing, Elizabeth and Eric arrived.

I passed out soda for Liz and wine coolers for everyone else, and we all settled.

"Is Sam coming?" Eric asked.

"Maybe later," I said. "He has to do some maintenance on my car."

Elizabeth asked, "So Jessamine, what's the story of the week?"

"Well," I said, "Silas came out at work."

"He did WHAT?" she looked horrified.

"Oh, I did not," Silas said, still grouching.

Melanie joined us then, and right behind her, and quite shocking to me, was Alex.

Alex from Friday night at Grandma's Saloon.

"You don't think coming out to your secretary is coming out at work?" I waved at Melanie and winked at Alex, although them being together didn't make any sense to me at all. "No beer?" Melanie asked, and grabbed a wine cooler.

"She said she wouldn't tell anyone," grumbled Silas.

"Yeah, right," I said. "She can't wait to tell everyone."

He groaned.

"You gave her permission to," I reminded him.

"Oh my God, everyone is going to know." Elizabeth was genuinely upset.

"I don't see what the big deal is," I said. "That's kind of the point, tell someone who will tell a bunch of people, and then you're out. No more hiding."

"I liked hiding. It was comfortable," Silas complained.

Melanie sat forward and said, "Oh bullshit. Hiding is for cowards."

"I'm not a coward," he refuted.

"Exactly," she said, and finished her cooler in one long swallow.

"God, do you have any filing I can do tomorrow?" I asked. "I'd love to see people's reactions as the news gets around."

"There won't be any reactions. They wouldn't dare."

"I hope you don't lose business," Elizabeth said.

"Liz," Eric said, "I'm not sure now is the time – "

"Well, I'm just saying," she cut him off, rolling her eyes and shaking her head.

"Fuck it," Silas said, "Jeremy was going to out me one way or another. I figured Susan could handle it, and she'll handle anyone who doesn't. That's why I employ her – she takes care of things. I don't expect a single raised eyebrow or second look over the news. If I lose business, well, it's not like I need the money. I'm doing all right. There's no point in even trying to hide it when I'm constantly tripping over Jeremy. Who's going to look at him looking at me and not figure it out? I could introduce him as my nephew, but people will believe that for all of three seconds. I may build dreams, but I do live in reality."

Liz clapped her hands. "Very nice speech. You going to give that one when you win the Minnesota Architectural Award?" She closed her eyes, let out a long sigh, and shook her head, wearing her disapproval like a nun's mantle.

Melanie asked, "Why should you stress out more about it than Silas, Liz? It's not like it has any bearing on your daily life."

"I don't know," she answered. "But it really bothers me that people will know. I mean, we're Meyerhoffs. In Duluth. We don't breed gay people."

"Obviously we do," I said, thinking not just of Silas, but of Alex kissing me on Friday night.

After we left Grandma's, we somehow coaxed Sam into taking us to the Main Club, tow truck loaded with my car and all, where Alex and I did a little dancing and a lot more kissing. I dared not think of it much right this minute though, or I'd start blushing.

"It's not that big a deal, Liz," Eric soothed. "It doesn't reflect on you."

"Thank God gay people don't breed Meyerhoffs," Silas said, sighing, and for some reason that totally cracked everyone up.

"You guys should have been there," I said, laughing. "Silas was awesome. Susan asked him if Jeremy was like his nephew or something, and Silas told her he was his boy-toy. Man, the look on her face. Almost mirrored the look on yours, Liz, when Silas dropped his big news on everybody."

Melanie joined me in cracking up, and reached for another wine cooler. Alex, I noticed, was drinking soda. Slowly.

"Nice," Elizabeth said. "I need to let go and let God." She started doing deep breathing exercises. "Melanie, you could introduce your friend."

All in all, Liz really was handling this stuff pretty well. She even seemed to like Jeremy, now that he'd practically become a permanent fixture in the family.

"Sorry, arriving mid-discussion and all. This is Alex. We're friends from AA."

I shot Alex a look, and she flashed me a grin. "Sam and I know Alex," I said. "Nice to see you again."

Silas finally actually looked at her. "Oh, yeah. Hey. Didn't we meet just the other night, at Grandma's Saloon?"

"Yes, we did," Alex answered. "I didn't realize Mel and Jessie were sisters." She shook her head and laughed a little. "Duluth, man. Not even six degrees of separation. Too bad I missed the coming out part – that would have been fun."

"You know each other from AA," I said. "Are you supposed to share that information?"

Alex shrugged. "Nobody's perfect."

Josie and Jeremy came out the back door of the house with a platter of hamburger patties and a stack of cheese.

"Ah, there's my boy-toy now, coming to feed me." Silas said, patting his stomach.

"Fuck off," Jeremy said, flicking a speck of raw hamburger in his direction.

Liz sighed. "Jo-Jo, did you call the doctor?" she asked.

"I did, yes. I can't get in to see him for a week. In the meantime, he called in prescription-strength Motrin and some kind of migraine med to try if I get a headache. He also wants me to keep a food and sleep journal."

"Do you need money for the prescription?" Silas asked, his eyes steady on her face.

"No, I have a flex dollars at the moment. Might as well use them."

"Who's paying the house bills, anyway?" I asked. Someone must be in charge of that."

"The estate lawyer," Silas said. "He's in charge for the year, said the mortgage and taxes are paid, and the utilities are on auto-pay. So no worries unless something breaks."

"So… I could stay here instead of going back to the dorms," Josie said slowly, "and save a lot of money."
"I thought you wanted to live in the dorms," I said, surprised.

"Well, you know, it was strongly encouraged for all freshmen, and it felt great getting out and being responsible for myself, and then it was habit. But now it's gotten pretty old. I'd love to live here this last year."

I nodded. "Well, see how the summer goes, but I don't have a problem with it if nobody else does."

Josie and Jeremy exchanged a look that overflowed with meaning. Jo-Jo looked like her eyes were watering.

"Let's shake it up next weekend," Josie said suddenly. "Let's circle the wagons at Fourth Fest, drink too much alcohol, spend way too much money on food, doze in the grass, and wake up in time for fireworks. Everybody comes. What do you think? It'll be like a celebration."

It sounded good to me, despite that Annabelle would be too hot and too thirsty and too bored. Maybe she was old enough to run the festival grounds on her own, especially if she ran into friends there. I'd have to talk it over with Sam – who was still slightly in the doghouse from last weekend when he didn't roll home until eight-thirty in the morning.

But that's a whole other topic.

Everyone agreed – we'd meet with our Sacred Sunday blankets and lawn chairs when the gates to the park opened Monday and have a Meyerhoff Family Fun day. Because pretty much whatever Josie wants, Josie gets.

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