445. Reasons to Be Cheerful

If I were prone to cliche I’d say the next day dawned gray and gloomy. But come on. It was another sunny, mid-sixties day exactly like the day before, just like most of the days in November in Los Angeles except when it was in the eighties.

I want to go home, I thought, from my cocoon, staring at the high ceiling in the studio. When I thought of home, I thought of my room in Allston.

“Daron, you in here?” Remo.

“Yeah,” I croaked. I climbed to my feet. “Sorry.”

“What are you apologizing for? You’re allowed to sleep there if you want.” He was wearing sweatpants instead of jeans, a worn out tour T-shirt, and shearling sheep slippers. “I just wanted to ask if you want some coffee. Or bacon and eggs.”

“I won’t need food again until Christmas but coffee yes please,” I said, balling up the blanket and taking it with me.

While we walked across to the main house he said, “Jonathan said to tell you he’s really, really sorry and he wanted to give you some space. So he went down the hill for breakfast.”

“What?” Apparently my listening comprehension was at an all-time low.

“Why don’t I tell you again after you’ve had coffee.”

“Okay.” I left the blanket on the couch and sat at the end of the counter. Two mugs and coffee fixin’s were was already sitting there. Moments later Remo poured coffee into the mug closest to me from the glass pot. I added milk and sugar and drank some while mulling over last night’s fight. Remo fixed his own coffee and then leaned against the counter by the sink.

“Where’s Martin?” I asked.

“Went windsurfing with some girl. She came and got him this morning. He might be back tonight if you’re hanging around.” He watched me as he sipped his coffee. “So, Jonathan said he’ll come back and get you later if you want, or he’ll leave you be, if you want. He sounded… like he couldn’t have more egg on his face if he fell into a three-egg omelet.”

I swallowed. “Did you hear the fight we had last night?’



“I heard you shout at one point but couldn’t make out what you said, if that’s what you mean.”

“Ah. Okay.” I put more sugar into my coffee. I think the sugar made me feel more awake than the caffeine. “It probably doesn’t matter anyway. The gist of it was I was trying to tell him I felt like he didn’t listen to me and ironically he managed to miss what I was saying, so that only illustrated the point, made me blow my top, and made us both realize that the middle of the night while hungover or drunk was the wrong time to try to actually communicate.”

He nodded sagely. “Well, I’m happy for you to spend the weekend here if you want some time apart. It’s my last chance to rest up before we leave for Japan.”

I put my hands on my forehead. “What does it mean that I just thought I can’t do that because Jonathan will be so sad if he’s alone all weekend?”

Remo got a loaf of bread out of the freezer and put two slices into the toaster. “It means you care.”

“It means I’m trained to worry about what he’s thinking and feeling at every turn is what it means.”

“Not to get all Doctor Joyce Brothers on you, but how about you think a little about what Daron’s feeling?” He pulled a pack of bacon out of the freezer, too, and started a pan heating up.

“Daron’s feeling like he hates L.A. and like he liked his boyfriend better when it was an affair and not a relationship.”

Remo gave me a been there, done that nod. “Anything I can do?”

I took a gulp of coffee. “Yeah. Tell me what the hell all that was with Digger and you last night.”

He looked a little startled. “I thought you didn’t want to know!”

I jabbed him right back. “I thought you didn’t hear the fight last night!”

“I didn’t.” He looked puzzled. “I seriously thought you didn’t want to hear about me and your old man. I’ll tell you anything you want to know, Daron. I will. But there’s a lot of ancient history I’m not too fond of dredging up either.”

The toast popped. If I was curious if he was intending to give me one he answered it by getting out two plates. Then I realized he’d made four pieces of toast anyway, two for each of us.

“Reem, if there’s something you’d rather keep buried then keep it buried. I’m the last person who wants to drag people’s secrets out.”

“I know. I just want you to know though that if you ever decide you want to know, I’ll let you look at the skeletons in the closet.”


“Did I tell you last night he listed you as next of kin at the hospital?”

“He did?”

“In case he dies. I don’t think he’s going to die, though, the tough son of a gun.”

We sat there listening to the bacon frying for a while. I mulled over my relationship with Jonathan. Could I really blame him, though, for having a relationship with the fantasy-ideal me, when I’m the one who tried to become that for him? Was it my fault for not asserting myself? Or did I need a partner who would dig a little deeper, who could coax me to express the stuff I was biting my tongue on? Or did I just need to stop biting my tongue?

I decided to try the speaking my mind thing on Remo, right that second. “Can I tell you what I really want?”

“Of course.”

“I know it’s unfair. To ask this. But I’m going to anyway.”

“Ask.” He flipped the bacon with tongs, separating the pieces that thawed loose.

“I know he’s in the hospital and that’s a crappy time to abandon a friend, but honestly, Reem, I think it’s time you cut Digger off.”

“Oh, I’m right there with you. Did you think me throwing him out last night was just a stopgap measure?”

“I wasn’t sure. I mean, you were both drunk. Some people would make excuses.”

“I’m not big on excuses.” He flipped some more bacon. “I wasn’t even going to go to the hospital, remember? If he hadn’t had something seriously wrong with him I was thinking about pressing trespassing charges. I mean, if that wouldn’t send a strong ‘stay the fuck away’ message, I’m not sure what would. But one of the EMTs said in the ambulance he looked like a liver case so I kept my mouth shut.”

“Martin said last night you had to choose between Digger or me.”

Remo looked me right in the eye. “He’s right. And I’m choosing you. And before you get any crazy ideas, no, you’re not my kid. Not biologically anyway.”

I’d be lying if I didn’t say it felt good to hear that. All of it. “Good. Biology is overrated.”

“Here.” He put the bacon onto the toast. Apparently there were no eggs. He spread a little mayo onto the other two pieces of toast and voila, bacon sandwiches. He handed me one and then sat down on the stool next to me.

We sat side by side eating bacon sandwiches. And I felt happy about it. Yeah, worth noting. I felt happy about something.

(P.S. Yes of course there will be a post on this Thursday even if it’s the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA. Come by and read it after it quiets down…)


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