Episode 31 – Confrontation

My friends leave in the nick of time. Literally minutes later, my Dad’s car pulls up.

Azalea and I are sitting on the living room sofa with a clear view of the front door. Outside, we hear the car door slam…then his sharp, clipped footsteps coming up the walk…like he’s always wearing new shoes.

The door flies open and he charges into the room, stares at us wild-eyed. Focuses immediately on Azalea. “Young lady, could you leave us for a few minutes?”

Even though he looks tall and scary, I still feel deep, righteous indignation, especially after all the bullshit about our supposedly distinguished family…who’s related to whom…and the “right” way to do everything, as if our family had some lock on the truth, but even more disgusting is the bullshit, the lies, he fed me about Mom getting sick and dying. “Son, her poor heart just gave out.” Total fucking bullshit!!!!

Azalea starts to get up, but I say, “No, stay.” Turn to Dad, totally pissed. “Listen,” I say pointedly, “Azalea can hear anything you’ve got to say. She’s my new family.”

His eyes zero on me like lasers…like he’s trying to burn me up. “How dare you talk back to me! There are private family issues that need to be addressed, especially now that you’re fourteen.  You don’t know the history like I do, but I expect you to be civil…I have the right to speak to you alone if I want to!”
“No, Dad, you don’t!” I say defiantly. “I can’t believe the bullshit you fed me.”
“Gus, what’s this about?” He asks. “The club? Is it because I work at The Cherry Pit?”
The whole thing suddenly makes me really sad. “Partly,” I admit, “but what really pisses me off are the lies. I found the letter Mom wrote before she died, and everything you told me was crap!”
His jaw drops, but he…like…ignores my statement, gives me this self-righteous frown. “Can’t you use the English language as you were taught? Must you add so many disgusting words?”
I glance at Azalea. She looks serious, concerned…watching me intently. I feel her warm thigh against mine, and I’m so glad she’s there for me.
I turn back to Dad. “Time out, okay? I’ve had a pretty shitty couple of days. I’ve found out some fucked-up stuff…you’re not a great actor…but actually some weird sex performer, or hooker, or whatever…and you have a house up in Albany where you live with some guy. Plus, Mom didn’t get sick. She killed herself, because you lied about everything, and all this time, you’ve been feeding me grandiose crap about the Dodson lineage, but who gives a flying fuck? I’m not sure that stuff’s really true either!”
As I’m talking, Dad’s whole face changes, and suddenly, he doesn’t look angry…plus, I suddenly realize how fucking wound up I am…like I could totally explode, and I picture my body flying apart, splattering guts everywhere.
“Cornell, everything you’ve said is true, but it’s not because I’m an evil person. I just wanted a life of my own that wasn’t like some idealistic TV program. I was not your run-of-the-mill kid. Some of the things I liked were totally disapproved of…like cross-dressing and being gay…so I went totally underground. Unfortunately, your Mother made some discoveries, and I had to confess everything. I know I hurt you both deeply, and I’m terribly sorry, but I am who I am. Now,  everything’s out in the open, and I see you can handle it. I’m impressed. You’re amazingly strong…a very confident, handsome young man.”
“Well, not exactly,” I mumble.
Azalea nudges me. “Yes, you are!”
Dad steps closer. A smile spreads across his face…half apologetic, half embarrassed. “Obviously, we need to take the time to sit down…take a deep breath, and talk through everything. I want us to have a real relationship…never, ever, want to lose you! I was deeply shocked when you showed up at the club, but I have to say, I got some compliments too. Artie at the inn made a point of telling me what an impressive kid you are.”
I’m not sure what to say. Dad’s sudden 360 has me totally confused. Is he for real or what?  Wonder if he’s just bullshitting me to smooth things over???? Feel like I want to get the fuck out of the house as fast as possible…maybe shack up at Azalea’s, or both of us stay over with one of my  friends. I’m like incoherent…can’t, like, process it all. “Uh…okay,” I say. “Let’s talk…like…next week.” It occurs to me I’m so used to being on my own, being closer to Dad is like a step backward.
He gives me this sympathetic look. “Listen, I realize you’re getting hit with a lot at once. I’ll take a day off and we can talk.””Great!” I exclaim, relieved I can get the fuck out. “Can you drop Azalea and me at her place?”

“I guess so, but Cornell, I’m really serious. I’m glad all this is out in the open, but I want to talk it through.”
I grin like a moron. “Me too.” A total lie. Can’t help thinking about Mom and how much I miss her.

To be continued… Read next episode.