Notes from the Blender (3 page)

BOOK: Notes from the Blender
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“What are you doing here?” my mom finally squeaked after she was done screaming and throwing a hand over her terrycloth-covered chest.

“I’d ask you the same thing if it wasn’t so obvious.” The
Secret Life
marathon, ice-cream pity party, and TLC from Mommy Dearest clearly weren’t meant to be.

“Neilly, we need to talk.”

My mom—the one who had always prided herself on being so open with me, the one I told almost everything to and thought told everything to me—had just been revealed as a complete and utter fraud. I had no clue who the guy was, leading me to believe I didn’t know who my mother was anymore, either.

“You’re a grown woman. You don’t have to ask my permission to get laid,” I shot back at her.

My mom got that look on her face—the one where her top lip quivers right before the waterworks start. “No. But I would like your permission to get married,” she said softly.

It was the final straw. After my dad announced he wanted a divorce in order to be with “Uncle” Roger—his new law partner who soon became his new life partner—my mom told me she’d sworn off men forever. I believe
all the good ones are gay
were her exact words. And now…this. Total shocker, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

“Permission not granted!” I yelled, and slammed right back out the front door.

I quickly dialed my dad’s cell, but it went directly to voice mail. I didn’t even bother to leave a message, just started walking again. Eventually, I looked up and realized I had no clue what part of town I was in and no one to call to come get me anyway.

The only thing that saved me from going completely insane was the cute little church at the end of the block. It was white clapboard with an old-fashioned steeple, and it had a sign out front that read
ALL ARE WELCOME, ALWAYS
. I figured that must include me.

So I walked inside, looked around to see if anyone was there—it was completely empty—and plunked myself down on a worn wooden pew. And then I just sat there, staring from a stained-glass window of Jesus to the rainbow flags lining the walls to the statue of Buddha on the altar and back again, wondering what crazy kind of religion believed in all those things.

I also wondered what the hell to do next. I’d given up on church once I realized my dad wouldn’t be welcome anymore in the one we used to go to. And I’d also pretty much given up on any God that would condemn a person for falling in love with someone just because they were the “wrong” gender. So I couldn’t exactly sit there and pray, because if there was a God, he was probably just as pissed at me as I was at Him.

So instead, I did the only thing I could think of—I put my head in my hands and cried like a baby. All alone, with no need to pretend I didn’t have feelings like I do all the time at school, my body was flooded with total relief.

Until I realized I wasn’t alone at all.

“I think I know exactly how you feel right now.”

For a second, I thought maybe God, Jesus, or their mutual friend Buddha was making a private appearance. But then I saw through my tears that the voice had actually come from a scrawny, scraggly-haired guy in a black Opeth T-shirt. Though he looked like he’d never spent a single day in the sun—he was so pale I could’ve easily been convinced he was an honest-to-goodness vampire—and he clearly liked listening to music designed to make people want to kill themselves or each other, there was something about him that made me feel like maybe I could trust him. Which was a good thing, since I didn’t have much of a choice now, did I?

“I am
not
crying,” I told him, wiping away those stupid tears. “And don’t you ever tell anyone I was, or I’ll have to kill you.”

It was such a dumb thing to say in a church, especially to a guy who looked as if he’d more likely be the one to kill me, we both started cracking up like long-lost friends.

CHAPTER THREE
DECLAN

I JUST WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT IT’S NOT LIKE
I expected Dad to stay celibate for the rest of his life. I have no idea if the horniness that clouds my thinking at all times of the day and night is something that ever goes away. If not, it has probably been a really long six years for Dad since Mom died. And it’s bad enough that I have to endure this torture; I certainly wouldn’t wish it on anybody else.

So, yes, it has occurred to me that my weekends at Sarah and Lisa’s house might serve the dual purpose of allowing Dad to discreetly get some without introducing the problem of my reaction to a new maternal figure. It was an arrangement that suited me fine. Dad has certainly been more patient and relaxed since I started spending Saturday nights away, and I do suspect this is not just because he’s content that I’m getting a weekly dose of Unitarian Universalism. And I never had to meet whoever the bimbo was and have the horrifying mental picture of my dad and this woman getting sweaty together storm the fortress of my mind.

I mean, really, it was a perfect arrangement. Dad gets laid once a week, I get a more relaxed father, and I can still pretend my dad is an asexual bald guy who just happened to join a gym a year ago and has rock-hard man boobs.

But Dad had to go and ruin it. “Her name is Carmen. Carmen Foster. Her daughter, Neilly, goes to your school,” Dad said, immediately after informing me that he was getting married.

It was at that point that I ran up to my room and slammed the door. I felt kind of bad about that because I was sure Dad would interpret my behavior as an indication I was so upset by his revelation that I had to stomp off and be by myself.

I did have to be by myself, but this was just because the knowledge that I would be living under the same roof as that hottie badass Neilly Foster completely shut down my brain. Neilly Foster was going to live in the same house with me. Which meant I might get to see her eat lots of Popsicles. Which meant her underwear would live here, too. Which meant she would, at least when she was in the shower, be naked in the same building as me.

The whole thing had me so excited that I was done beating off before Dad even made it up the stairs. “Dec, come on,” he said, and if he hadn’t been my dad, I would have said, “Yeah, I did just come on—a tissue! Ha-ha!”

In my excitement, I’d forgotten to lock the door, and Dad came walking right in. Fortunately, I had zipped up, but I still had the wadded-up tissue in my hand. It occurred to me to pretend to blow my nose in it just for cover, but I just threw it out instead.

“I can’t have you running away from this conversation,” Dad said. “We need to talk about this.”

“I’m sorry, Dad,” I said. “I was just so surprised.”

“I know, and I’m sorry,” Dad said. “Believe me, I never wanted to spring something like this on you.”

“So why did you?”

Dad stopped and blushed and stammered. “Well, Dec, the thing is…I mean…Well…She’s, um…You’re going to have a little sibling.”

“What? What?”

“It was just…It was late at night, and we’d had some wine, and we just weren’t thinking, you know, we’d been very careful for months, but then we just…I mean, at our ages …”

Here’s the part I still feel bad about. The whole situation was so completely absurd, so completely backasswards, with my dad shyly revealing that he’d knocked up his girlfriend because he’d ridden bareback while wasted, that I just started laughing. I mean, that was something I was supposed to spring on him, right? It was funny, right?

I mean, I was cracking up, just thinking about the birds-and-bees lecture he’d given me and the Our Whole Lives sexuality-education class he’d made me take at church, where we put condoms on bananas and learned about the responsible use of the divine gift that was our sexuality. Whenever he’d awkwardly raised the subject of sex, he’d always stressed that when I was ready, I had to make sure I was careful. And he’d gotten wasted and knocked up his girlfriend.

It was hilarious. But Dad apparently didn’t think so. Which is why his eyes started filling with tears. “You know, I didn’t expect you to make this easy, but you’re just being cruel. We’ll talk later.”

He walked out and I fell on my bed laughing, knowing at the time that I should stop, that I should go apologize, that it really wasn’t funny. Except that it was.

But then it got less funny almost immediately.

I put on some songs that some guy in Denmark had sent me by a German band called, I shit you not, Sins of Our Fathers.

It was interesting stuff—mostly about how they wanted to dig up their Nazi grandfathers so they could kill them again and feed their entrails to the demons they worshipped. I guess it was a little confused, but in its anti-Nazi content, it was actually remarkably positive for death metal.

As Sins of Our Fathers assaulted me with waves of gut-churning guitar hellfire, I started thinking. There were too many screwed-up parts of this to think about, but here’s the one that really got me. I didn’t want Dad to spend the rest of his life alone or anything, but having a kid—that was something special that he only did with Mom. Now Neilly Foster’s mom was going to be, like, on an equal plane with Mom, and that wasn’t right.

And it didn’t take much of a psychologist to figure out what was going on here. He was starting over. I’d be out of the house in two years, and then he’d have his new little family, and he wouldn’t have to look at me all the time and be reminded of the tragedy that had marred his life. He’d have a new kid and a new wife and a new life. Dad was starting over.

It got worse. Because why would he need to start over? Because he needed to have a kid he didn’t hate for killing his wife.

I went to therapy. I know bad shit just happens, and it’s not supposed to be my fault, but the fact is that if I hadn’t forgotten my shin pads and run back into the house to get them, Mom and I would have cruised through that intersection and the drunken dildo would have killed somebody else. Or maybe there wouldn’t have been a car in his way and he would have plowed into a tree and killed himself instead. And then everything would be fine.

So you can tell me that bad stuff just happens, but I know in my heart that it was my fault because it was. And every time I had cried to Dad, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, it’s all my fault,” and he’d held me in his arms and said, “No, buddy, it’s not your fault, it’s the other driver’s fault—I never want you to hold yourself responsible for this,” he’d been lying.

I guess it was good that he had told me what I needed to hear, but I really wish he’d actually believed it.

So that’s how my laughter turned to tears and I started punching my bed and why I stopped talking to Dad.

He called me for dinner on Sunday night, and I ignored him. He called good night to me through my bedroom door, and I ignored him. In the morning, I sat in front of the TV and ate a bowl of Frosted Organic Lemur Flakes or whatever pseudo-healthy cereal Dad had bought while he made pancakes in the kitchen, and I got on my bike and rode to school without saying good-bye to him.

I got through lunch, but then I felt like I just had to bail on this day. It wasn’t like I learned a ton on the best of days, and today I couldn’t focus on anything. All I could do was sit there and think about how my dad hated me. Well, that and how I was going to work things so I could see Neilly Foster naked.

I’d like to say I’m such a sensitive lad that the only thing on my mind was my relationship with my father. But my mind kept coming back to Neilly Foster in the shower.

I guess this day was pretty much adolescence in a nutshell: I had a constant boner, and I wanted to cry.

Now, I do have enough self-control to make it through a school day without milking myself. I’m not going to be that kid who gets busted for beating off in the bathroom. That would probably land me on the sex-offender registry.

I’m also not going to be that kid who goes to cry in the bathroom because he’s afraid his daddy doesn’t love him anymore. That would get me branded a hopeless wuss and raise my profile among the school’s troglodyte population enough that I might as well paint a target on my head. I think that would actually be worse than being on the sex-offender registry.

But if I didn’t get to either cry or beat off, or both, my head was going to explode, so I headed over to First Church to cry.

Sarah insists that the sanctuary of the church be left unlocked all the time so that those who need a quiet spot can come to pray or meditate or whatever. I guess it will continue like this until the first homeless guy decides to camp out here or some depraved teens have a drug-addled orgy among the splintery pews late one night. So far, nobody’s taken advantage of it, though, believe me, I have filed this away as the most likely spot to lose my virginity in the unlikely event some girl decides to notice me before College, Where Sensitive Guys Can Actually Get Some Booty. Which is how I think of it now.

Also, there’s never anybody in the sanctuary actually praying or meditating. I guess there were a bunch of people in the weeks after that school bus crash two towns over, and Mom’s death hit people in this church pretty hard, so Sarah set up this candle where Mom used to sit, and people came and cried around it. Or so I’m told.

Otherwise, it’s always empty in here. Except today. I came in here to cry by myself, and somebody else was already in here crying. A girl.

Jesus
, I wanted to shout,
you’re a girl! You get to cry anywhere! Why do you have to hog the one spot where I can safely empty my tear ducts without getting my ass kicked?

Fortunately, I didn’t shout that, because as I got closer, I thought I recognized the back of that head. I ought to—I’d spent enough hours picturing it bobbing up and down on my lap. Yep. Neilly Foster. Who apparently wasn’t quite as tough as I’d always thought.

And yes, it was the Return of the Uncontrollable Boner. But something else came up, too. I knew what it was, mostly from hearing Aunt Sarah sermonize about it: compassion.

This girl was crying because she was all screwed up because her mom was marrying my dad. (And possibly because she’d have to share a house with a perverted little monster like myself. I suppose, in her position, I’d probably cry about that, too.)

I knew how she felt. In fact, I was probably the only person in town who had any idea how she felt. And she was probably the only person in town who had any idea how I felt. And if we could form a bond and get it on before our folks got married, then it wouldn’t really be incest, and it might be okay, right? Nah—I knew that was almost certainly never going to happen. We lived in different worlds. Except those worlds were about to collide in my house. Or maybe hers.

“I think I know exactly how you feel,” I said as I approached her pew.

She looked up, her eyes all red and puffy, her mascara smeared on her cheeks. She was completely adorable. After warning me she’d have to kill me if I told anyone I’d seen her in such a state—which was pretty arousing, but then again, Neilly Foster noticing my existence was pretty arousing—she said, “Yeah? How do you figure?”

“Well, I mean, your mom is marrying my dad, so there’s that.”

She looked at me like she was seeing me for the first time, which she probably was, which just seemed kind of funny considering the starring role she’d played in my fantasies for the last year or so.

“Well. Mom didn’t mention you.”

I couldn’t help laughing. “Yeah, I seem to have that effect on women.”

She gave a sad little smile, and I just wanted to keep it on her face, so I kept talking, which knowing me was probably a bad instinct. “I mean, I don’t know what your exact situation is, I don’t know if your dad is alive or what—”

“Alive. Marrying a man next month.”

“Whoa. Probably right here in this very church. Anyway, my mom’s dead, and I’m an only child, so the whole new baby thing was kind of hard to—”

“New baby? What new baby? What are you talking about?” she yelled. Her voice echoed through the sanctuary.

It occurred to me that I was the wrong person to be telling her this, and it also occurred to me that I was about to go from Strange Guy Who Comforted Me When I Was Down to Complete Freak Who Delivered the News That Crushed My World. “Uh, well, to use my dad’s words”—here I launched into my Dad impression, which I’ve had a lot of years to hone and which would be funny if she actually knew him—“er, um, uh, it was late, we’d been drinking, and normally we’re very careful, but, uh…at our ages…well, you’re going to have a little sibling.”

I was afraid this would touch off another round of tears, but instead, she just started laughing. “Oh my God! My mom’s knocked up!”

“I’m guessing she gave you the same ‘be responsible’ talk my dad gave me.”

She cackled kind of hysterically, which clued me in that her laughter could turn into tears at any moment. “Only…oh shit…only every fucking time I left the house since the eighth grade! Hee-hee!”

She had a foul mouth. I didn’t think I could be more smitten. Also, her laugh was infectious, and if you put aside the horrifying picture of our parents going at it and the knowledge that Dad hated me, the whole situation was pretty funny.

BOOK: Notes from the Blender
4.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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