Jerry is talking to his psychiatrist. Although he has officially
Doctor Lieberman, you’ll be happy to know, I’m down to just a pack a day. Really! Well, maybe a few more. But not a pack and a half. Those days are gone! I know, I know. you’ve been telling me for years, but Vincent…he wants me to quit. Says he wants me around for a long, long time.
The most attractive thing about him is… who knows? Chemistry, I guess. All those same old same old things, the tried and true things, it just feels right, yadda yadda yadda. And he keeps visiting his mother. He’s adopted, which makes it even sweeter, the bond they have together…You should see the care he takes when he brushes her hair. And I’m kind of jealous, in a way, watching the two of them, together. I mean, my mother…You know why I keep going out to that little sh#t-hole row house where I grew up… man, she lets me know, if I don’t come, she’ll feel…well, she feels like that anyway, no matter how many times I go all the way out there. She’s not shy about telling me, my sister, anybody within earshot. Thank God she doesn’t know how to use a computer, she’d update her Facebook every five minutes…4:15, and kids still have not called. 4:20, still abandoned in Queens with three sick cats and an old goat who won’t take his medication…4:25, I know Jerry’s off shift at 4, so why no phone call? 4:30, took the quiz, “Which Abandoned Mother Type are You”, and it came out, “Mother Who Deserves Better.”
But Vincent’s mother, she’s gone to the Other Place. That’s what we call them, on the ward, when they don’t even recognize their kids. We don’t want to say it out loud, sometimes we just say, “Looks like Mrs. Silverstein went to the O.P. this weekend.” After that, the family, they freak out. If she doesn’t know if they’ve been there or not, then…it’s easy to stop coming. They don’t get any points for showing up or not showing up, you know? On the ward, we give extra props to the ones who come… after that.
That says something about a person, doesn’t it? They aren’t there to get the gold star, the hug and kiss, the “thanks for coming”, a moment where she lays her head on your shoulder and says, "aren’t you a good son to come and see me every week”. At least I get that, along with a side order of guilt to go. At least I get something back. Vincent gets…he just gets to brush her hair. You should see how he does it. So careful, it breaks your heart.
That’s how I know it’s right, it’s right to get married so soon, it’s right to skip the months of dating and the obsessing and the awful ups and downs of maybe, maybe not…I’ll tell you how I know. He’s coming out of the closet for me. No offense, Dr. Lieberman, but there are certain things about being gay that even a good shrink doesn’t know, not really, not like we do. I was never in the closet…but Vincent’s generation, they all grew up lying about themselves. But my generation, we’re here, we’re queer, and…well, you know. So when I found out Vincent still hadn’t come out, I put my foot down. Yes, little scaredy-cat me put my dainty little nurse’s foot down, and said it was time. Because, truth matters, you know? I mean, without it, waddaya got?
He makes me want to have a backbone, Dr. Lieberman. He makes me want to fight for him. And I’ve made him come out from the dark. You should see him, he’s got a lightness to him now, and it’s a gift I gave him. Little me.
And besides, he makes me feel like…like I can take a stab at it again. I know I said I’d never go back to it, but Vincent makes me feel like I can do anything, like it’s not too late! Every other man I’ve been with, I want to make them happy. That’s what I thought it was, you know? Them letting me in far enough, I can make THEM happy. But Vincent, he wants to make ME happy.… And when I think about what makes me happy…what used to make me happy…I signed up for acting classes again. Neighborhood Playhouse. I’m not gonna say anything to Vincent, not yet, don’t want to jinx it, I’m not sure, it may not lead to anything…And it would be awful to make the Big Announcement and then find out I don’t have it any more. My Grandpa D, he used to call it “the gift,” like it arrived, and you didn’t have to work for it. Part of it comes from some place, like it “arrives.”. But if you don’t work at it…. Maybe it’s gone. We’ll see.
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