Saturday, December 25, 2004
Home for the holidays
If there's one lesson I hope people take from reading this weblog, it's that honesty really is the best policy. Not just "not lying", but not holding back. Because people are smart, for the most part, and even the ones who aren't will be better equipped to make decisions with more information than less.
As I've mentioned before, Maureen cooks to relieve stress, so around shifts at the hotel, she's been making sugar cookies and egg nog. Mmmm... Holiday eggnog, with the rum.
Of course, inhibitions drop with that, especially if you're like Maureen or Sam and don't drink so much. Not that I'm a lush, by any means, just that I've built up a wee bit more of a tolerance than the younger girls have. So, anyway, I won't attempt to reconstruct the conversation here, but let's just say that around nine-thirty last night, why Maureen was so angry at Carter and so dilligent about visiting Sam in the hospital came out... and Sam didn't like it one little bit.
I can't exactly blame her for feeling violated, even as we tried to explain that Maureen didn't know that it was someone else inside Sam's body. Of course, I did, so why didn't I do something to break it up? Well, I'd sort of figured that since I responded to men despite thirty years of being a heterosexual male, so if Carter was responding to women...
Sam didn't like the way that line of thinking went, especially when I tried to rationalize her relationship with Dmitri in a way that that was, admittedly, uncharitable. I mean, I thought Dmitri was using her, seeing her as a warm body that wouldn't be missed, and I wasn't trying to judge, because if I'd been on the streets with winter coming.
Yeah, I know. I can be a well-meaning ass. We all can. Maureen and I managed to convince Sam not to just leave the house then and there, to at least sleep on it. I took the couch, and Sam locked our bedroom door.
This morning, she had her bags packed, and said that even though she understood why Carter-Sam and Maureen had hooked up, and I'd stood by... She didn't think she could stay around us. I asked where she was going, and she said home, that all the Christmas stuff had been getting to her anyway, and even if she and her parents didn't see eye to eye, well, it had been a year and a half for them, so maybe...
I helped her carry her bags to the bus station; she asked me to call her folks so that they'd know to pick her up. She'd do it herself, but... I got it.
When I got back, there was a note from Maureen on the table, saying her sister had called and asked if she was coming home for Christmas. She'd hemmed and hawed, but eventually decided that she would, that seeing Sam not afraid to go home made her a little less scared of facing her folks for a couple of days.
So, looks like I'm alone this Christmas. Kind of sucks, but better for it to suck for just me than both of them, I guess. So... What movies are opening today?
Friday, December 24, 2004
The others are sleeping in
It seems sort of unseemly to write about other people when they can look over your shoulder while doing it. On the one hand, it's just hard to write when someone is watching you do it - part of why this blog hasn't been updated as often as it was when I was living alone - and on the other, the impulse to censor oneself is always there. Silly, sure, since anything I write about them will still be here tomorrow and the next day, but it feels less rude.
But, since my roommates are sleeping in this morning while my body is still running on "must leave house by 8:00AM" time despite having today off and being up until one, what the heck. Nothing really bad about Sam and Mo in this, anyway.
The three of us went to see It's a Wonderful Life at the Brattle last night (Maureen's idea), found it not playing, and couldn't agree on what to see instead so headed home. That's when it started raining, anyway, and none of us had an umbrella with us. So, on home we went.
Carter was waiting outside, having evidently been released by the Feds. Maureen didn't say anything, but just kept going inside; I would have, too, but he put his hand on my arm. Sam saw that, and asked if there were going to be trouble, but I said I could handle it. Not sure what Sam would have done, tiny as she is, although I get the impression that she would fight dirty if it came down to that.
After the girls went in, I sort of positioned myself under and overhang so that he'd be out in the rain to talk to me, even if he had been smart enough to bring an umbrella. So, I asked, "comfortable?"
Don't you get all proprietary about this body to me, he says. You could have had it back, but we both know you weren't going to. Believe me, there were days when I wished I could be as open-minded and flexible as you, but I couldn't. This way, everybody wins.
Except Alexei, I start, and he interrupts.
Fuck Alexei, he says. He could have done the right thing, and said I'm not going to be walking around at Michelle's expense, but he didn't. And even if he couldn't stand the idea of going back into a coma, which I get, he could have decided not to screw with your life, or he could have stopped Dmitri before I got involved, or he could have accepted the consequences of his actions and not been a total shit to Natalie. If we could have set things right without taking him out of circulation, that would have been better, sure, but are you going to begrudge Sam her walking around, or me my not going nuts? I am okay with this.
Well, of course you are, I said. You get to pee standing up again, and there's nothing in life more important than that. You're not really "you" again, but you've got the crucial factor.
I won't deny I wasn't cut out to be a girl, he says, but it's not just that. I went down to Kinko's today and started hitting Monster; hopefully next week I'll actually be able to start interviewing for non-retail jobs.
Great, I say, glad I can help you build a career on my work experience. You going to be flying to Florida to spend the holidays with my mother, too? Or out West with Nat and Alexei's son? I'm afraid you missed my ten year high-school reunion, though.
First off, he says, my old resumé could kick your resumé's ass, and second, it's not like you balked at working a job Michelle had interviewed for. Third, Nat and I haven't decided what we're going to do - to be quite frank, I think she really wanted you in this body, and just took me because it would punish Alexei. She won't say it, but someone who would take someone else's body probably isn't the father figure she wants little Marty to have.
And your moms? Girl, I've seen how hard you've worked to try and get cool with her, and I won't screw that up. Telling you that is the second reason I came here tonight.
And the first, I asked?
Carter doesn't say anything, just takes a step forward, puts an arm around my body, and kisses me. I probably should just push him away, but it's been a couple months since anyone's done that, and it feels good. My eyes close for a second, and I can concentrate on how much it feels like the old Carter, and my mind slips back about a year, and I think that's the time when I was most happy since waking up a girl.
Then there's a loud noise as the sky opens up and it starts to rain HARD, and I open my eyes and I see my old face, and I back off. He just smiles, and says he's been waiting almost a year to do that again. And part of me, as big as the part that says it would be incestuous, wants him to do it again right away. But...
You've been waiting a year, huh, I say. So where's Maureen figure into this?
Hey, I was sleeping in the same room, sometimes the same bed as you, and you just weren't interested. I had to have some sort of release, and I thank god she was up for it.
Release? I practically shot the word, and give him a shove that pushes him out from under cover and into the downpour. Is that what you're going to say to her? You son of a bitch. What, you think just because she's gay, she just cares about the sex? There is no "just sex" with a girl like Maureen, Carter. She came out of the closet for you. Her family practically disowned her, and the night you left was like the worst of her life. And she means so little that you can't even be bothered to find out if it's just girls she likes or if maybe, just maybe, she loves you.
I've got a good mad worked up at this point - it's good to have a bona fide reason to push him away and not be called on the hypocricy of saying I don't want to be with him because it would be like some bizarre form of masturbation even though I say I'm a new person all the time - so I lay it out: There can't be anything between us until he makes things right with Maureen... And that's never going to happen.
I go in, and slam the door behind me. Mo and Sam ask if I'm okay, and I say, yeah, he just had some idea of picking up where we left off before, like none of the other stuff mattered. Maureen heads toward the door to kill him, but he's already gone. Sam says she's a really good friend to me to be that upset on my behalf, and I agree, even though that's not all of it.
We spend the rest of the night sharing evil bastard boyfriend stories (though I throw a few girlfriends in, which makes for weird discussion). But we all have trouble sleeping, afterward - the idea that we might meet up with Carter on the street is too disquieting.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Just got some email with baby pictures from Natalie today. Little Marty's a cutie, I must admit, although Nat assures me that the pictures don't convey his tendency to get loudly hungry at two in the morning, or the toxic waste that later lands in his diapers. I'm tempted to write back and say, remember, he's not making it out of anything that doesn't come out of you, but I'm not sure she'd appreciate it. Or maybe she would; she adores the little guy, just amazed at how worthwhile the whole last year acually turned out being.
Apparently, I'm supposed to distribute these pictures. Nat still feels a little awkward talking to my mom, or at least feels that way more than I do. So, after work, I'll go to one of those photo places where you can get prints from a CD and run some off. Speaking of which, I'd better start using the office computer's CD burner now.
I'm also supposed to get them to Carter. He is, after all, the baby's biological father, I guess. I wonder what he feels his obligations to the little guy are. After all, he never did anything to get Natalie pregnant, although that might not matter to him. I remember toward the beginning of the year, when I was dating "Carter-prime", so to speak, he was initially kind of miffed at how fastidious I was about the birth control. Apparently some other girlfriend had quoted the statistics about black guys who grow up in the inner city being deadbeat dads to him the last time he'd felt annoyed that she wasn't totally swept away by his charm but instead able to make a point of things like condoms. Well, that's not me, I just really don't want to be a mother right now.
Still, the guy did grow up in foster homes, with the sort of assumption of absent fathers. As grateful as the new Carter probably is, is he going to dive in and by Marty's dad? Not just father, which he's sort of stuck with, but dad? That's a taller order. Did he feel some sort of biological connection with Nat and her unborn child when he was out there? Will he look at these pictures and just have his heart melt? If you're not used to seeing a certain nose in a mirror, will seeing it on a baby be a big deal?
Speaking of kids... It's easy to forget, since there was a thirty-year-old in Sam's body for the past year, but she's still a kid who ran away from home. And, okay, she's been through a lot. But, geez, you'd think Maureen and I were sending her to her room without her supper when we said smoking in the apartment was right out. Yeah, it's cold outside, but it's not like the body had the same cravings for nicotine - aside from the time Carter spent held prisoner, she'd worked at getting the body healthy, including kicking what was left of that habit when she escaped (oh, the pronoun-related headaches). But, what's the change that impressed Sam the most in the year she'd missed? Old enough to buy smokes.
Hey, what I said about not wanting to be a mother holds, but I'm still territorial about my air.
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Wow, would you look at the date?
Christmas is this week.
THIS WEEK. I mentioned the holidays coming up yesterday, but, damn, I didn't realize they were coming up so fast. I'd been so caught up in the whole Maureen-Natalie-Sam-Alexei-Carter drama that I didn't connect the appearance of snow on the ground with it being mid-December, or notice the holiday-centric advertising and store displays because, heck, that starts earlier every year, right?
Didn't hit me until Kate called me this morning, asked if I was doing anything, and then came over and gave me a present. Just a little thing, a stuffed monkey marionette, but it made me realize I'd done no shopping at all. Heck, if I wanted something to get to my mother in Florida by the end of the week, I'd have to send it tomorrow and hope.
Fortunately, Kate's Insanely Efficient Woman, and had be out the door before I quite knew what was going on. We started at Games People Play and worked our way into Harvard Square. I had to be kind of cheap in some cases, but I had a lot more shopping to do than last year - Martin-friends, Martina-friends, mom, Maureen... Just crazy.
Anyway, I also picked up the Barenaked Ladies' Christmas album and am about to start wrapping. It's silly and fun. I can use silly and fun.