Up All Night

(Saturday post! Yeahhhh!)
In the end Colin stayed with me that night, and Flip went in search of amusement, and I fell asleep with Colin rubbing my hand at like, eight p.m.

When I woke up a few hours had gone by and I was disoriented at first because I wasn’t used to having slept at that time, plus the whole thing of having to remember where we were and what day it was. Colin was sitting across the room, reading a book by the lamp on the desk.

He came to check on me when he saw I was awake, though. “You doing all right?”

“Fine. Just…awake.”

“Hand okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Your head?”

“Fine, Col’, really.” I sat up. “I feel really tired. But now I’m not sleepy.”

“You’ll probably get sleepy again,” he said reasonably. “Want to see what’s on Chilean TV?”

“Sure.”

So we channel surfed for a bit, but there wasn’t much compelling on at midnight on Santiago television. We eventually gave up.

“Hey,” I asked him. “Things are really okay between you and Brad?”

“Yeah,” he said, sitting on the bed next to me. “He’s a really interesting person. I never would have known anything about him if we hadn’t gotten together.”

“I still don’t know much about him,” I admitted. “He doesn’t say a lot.”

“Neither do you,” Colin said. “Not a coincidence.”

“What’s not a coincidence?”

“That Bradley acts like you. I’m pretty sure you’re his role model.”

“I’m his what?”

“Role model. You’re the guy Brad wants to be.”

I jostled my head like that would help the idea settle in, but it didn’t. “I can’t wrap my head around that. I can barely handle being me. Why would someone else want to be like me?”

“He tried to explain it, actually. The whole being a new man thing.”

“He told me it was like having second puberty,” I said. “Is that what you mean?”

“No, not that, the whole thing about choosing a name, that kind of thing, and figuring out in a conscious way what kind of person–and what kind of guy–he wanted to be. It was kind of interesting because of course every person has the power to make these choices for ourselves, but so few people actually do it deliberately. They just accept that the way things are–and the way they themselves are–is how it should be. Folks going through transition–as well as punks and most queers–have made conscious decisions to make themselves in a specific image. And it isn’t the image their parents had for them, most likely.”

“And Brad’s all three,” I said.

“Yep.” He yawned. “Which is why I’m his crush object and you’re his role model.”

“I’m still weirded out by someone picking me as a role model.” I mean, really. “But I guess better me than my father or someone like that.”

“Yeah.” He yawned again and this time I caught it, too. I think we talked for a while longer about role models, but I flipped from insomniac back to nearly narcoleptic so fast that I fell asleep while we were talking and I don’t really remember the lead-up to it.

Two hours later I was insomniac again, though. Not good. Colin was sound asleep and I didn’t want to wake him.

I did the only thing that seemed sensible. I broke out one of the emergency nips of bourbon I had stashed in my traveling bags and drained half of it in one gulp. I left the other half on the nightstand and curled up next to Colin to wait for sleep to hit me again.

Which it eventually did. Thank goodness. Since most of the time I had gotten thinking about my parents, and that never leads anywhere good, either. What kind of person did they want me to grow up to be? I realized I couldn’t really answer that question. I guess I kind of had become what Digger had always wanted except for the being gay part? But had he wanted to have a son who was an accomplished musician, really, or just a cash cow? My mother, on the other hand, didn’t really seem to want me to do much of anything at all.

I thought about the way she smiled at Remo–and me–when we saw her in Texas or wherever the fuck that was. Brad thought trans people and punks made themselves in a specific, non-mainstream way. Whereas people in the mainstream–conformists–because who society dictated. I had a feeling Digger thought he was being a maverick, but really he was a sheep, acting exactly the way men like him always acted.

But Mom. I couldn’t put my finger on what she was trying to do or be. Maybe I couldn’t tell because I couldn’t read her.

Or maybe because she was trying to conform to what she thought Remo and I would expect of her…but she couldn’t figure out what we expected or wanted? Or with both of us there should couldn’t decide which of us to please?

My head went around and around and around with thoughts like that until I gave in and drank the other half of the nip, and then I finally fell back to sleep.


(Can’t believe I didn’t use this song already…? But it seems I didn’t. We’ll hop back to 1981 for this one. -d)

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