Got back from California 2 days ago. It was great, much better than I'd expected. So many stories to tell... I really enjoyed my family over there. I'm going to go back this summer, but by myself and with a car. I'll be able to 'relative-hop' around the state, so I won't have to pay for hotels! ^-^ But if I tell you no other stories, I must tell you about my cousin Calvin Jr.. I haven't seen him in over 6 years, and back then I was too young and clueless to notice the things that I did on this trip! Let's start at the beginning:Naomi (Penny) Fowler
We met all the family a Pappy's for breakfast. I shook hands with everybody, said hi, all that good crap. Then Cal came up to me and gave me a big bear hug, let go, and went, "Oh my god! You're so much bigger than last time I saw you, you've grown up so much!" To say the least, my gaydar was harshly tweaked. Then he introduced the person sitting next to him. "This is my friend JP." JP waved, looked me straight in the eye, and said, "Oh, hi! Cal's right, you do look bigger! He was showing me pictures from last time you were here." My gaydar was screaming. I wound up riding to the beach with them, and yes, they are most definitely gay. Well, unless straight men hold hands when nobody but their younger female cousin is around!
I love Cal to death... he's got that kind of pudge that can only be described as the infamous "gay pudge", y'know, he just looks big and soft, not overweight at all. He's sweet, and not quite flaming. JP, on the other hand, is just about the most stereotypical gay man that you can imagine. He reminds me of Jack from Will & Grace, but nicer. I have just one absolutely awesome story about him: They were over one morning, and as I walked into the living room after changing, JP sees my shirt and starts beaming. "Oh my gosh, you like the Killers? They're my favorite! The lead singer... wooooo!" I was like, "O.O... Ah I love you!" (except that I didn't say that) They're saving up for a house, so hopefully by summer I'll be able to go and stay with them for a while. They said they'd be happy to have me.
I had a great/aweful day today. It sucked because I had a shitload of work and tons of tests to make up and I was stressing like there was no tomorrow. I got to writing, and it was just a normal day. Class went as usual, until just after the 'North News Network' (I hate that name). Some girl behind me asked Mr. Weida if he had graded our personal narratives that we turned in a few days ago. He said not really, he'd only read a few of them. She asked how they were. He said he was pleasantly surprised, he was happy with how everyone was doing so far. Then he pointed to me, and said, "But I hate you!" I'm like O.O?, and then he says, "You made me feel strangely inadequate." Then he shook his fist at me and said, "You and your darn talent!" and walked away. I was just sitting there, stupified. I feel so SPECIAL!!! He never gives compliments like that! That was the great of my great/aweful day. I'll leave you with a copy of the narrative too chew on:
A short narrative, style inspired by Sandra Cisneros' 'House on Mango Street'. This is a little collection of fragments and snapshots of my recent trip to California for my Grandma's funeral.
The flight was miserable, but less miserable than I had expected. The three-year-old behind me was adorable, even though he pulled my hair and drooled a bit. I’m tired and I really just want to sleep, but the city lights are always catching my eye as they flash past. It’s a good thing that I don’t live in this city of angels; even my tiny aunt with her withered old bug eyes is a terror behind the wheel. Palm trees and baseball diamonds fly by; I wish I could fly, fly away from here.
My bedroom, the ‘ocean room’, smells like sand and old fabric. All the most valuable treasures are in little boxes, waiting to be opened and broken. In the halls there are eyes everywhere, smiling eyes frozen in time and dead eyes that look right through you; Uncle Cal’s trophies. It’s almost like being in the wilderness, with trees jutting through wherever they please; up here they’re no man’s property. Dad says that Santa Maria will not be near so relaxing, so I should enjoy the mountain peace while I can. I wonder if he’s talking about the town itself or not.
The house feels like it is waiting, like Grandma has gone to the store and soon she’ll be bustling in the door with bags full of things from the Latin market. Dad’s gone to find a taco truck for dinner, but I think he’s just cowering, afraid that entering this old place will mean that she’s really gone. The aged volumes cry dust and musk as Aunt Carol piles them into boxes. The breeze blowing in the windows smells like Mexicans and poverty; Uncle Cal says that we shouldn’t leave them open in this part of town.
The waitress looks irritated the instant that we walk in the door; probably a hole-in-the-wall like Pappy’s isn’t used to playing host to an unofficial reunion. My cousins and their children pour in the door after me. All these grade-schoolers are a far cry from the toddlers and babies I met six years ago. The Dalke boys all sit around Aunt Carol, probably guilty that they don’t come to visit as often as she’d like. Dad sits next to Barry’s wife Kayleen, who yells at little Andrew all through breakfast. The empty chair between Calvin Jr. and me whispers the unease some people feel around certain others, family or not. They must think that homosexuality is like some kind of disease; if you’re around it too much, you’re sure to catch it. I guess that’s why Dad stopped coming to Christmas dinner after Mom asked Jody to move in.
I’m trying to forget about my blue toes as I watch to seals sleeping along the shoreline, wrapped up warm in their layers of thick fat. Amanda offers me her coat, but I don’t take it; it probably feels like dirt and old cigarettes and I don’t want it, even though I know that her fat will keep her warm like the seals. Women shouldn’t be built so big, they’re too cruel to hold physical power. I saw her yelling at Todd last night, towering and pushing and spitting her crude contentions all over my good night. I wish that he would leave her, but the same force holds him at home that keeps him from work each Saturday and keeps meat from his diet; a good Adventist never disobeys the Lord’s law. Dad must never have really paid attention in Sabbath School.
The funeral is ending and everyone is leaving the dining hall with their bellies full of the food that those meek Korean women made. Dad says that’s what they’re good for, they’ve always cooked for the potlucks. He is done crying now, reduced to glaring at the people with salty tears rolling down their dark cheeks. Grandma’s friends. Dad tells Troy to take her picture down before they wet all over it.