I had just busted from a tournament and was about to shut down my laptop for the night when my cousin Bobby IMed me. It was pretty late on the east coast, so I figured he must have just stumbled home after last call at one of the bars he frequented. Bobby was a champion drinker. The last time I saw him two Thanksgivings ago, he got me wasted on some concoction called "Red Death" at a locals dive on the side of a South Jersey highway. The next morning I woke up in my hotel room covered in a red rash and flipped out. Turns out I had not caught a disease, but that the drink contained peach juice, peach Schnapps, or some form of peach, to which I am violently allergic. He had no idea about the peach in the drink or that it would turn me into unattractive blotchy girl and we had a good laugh about it as he drove me up the parkway to Newark airport that afternoon.
When "I love you so much...I have to tell you something" popped up in the chat window, I had an inkling of what was coming next. It wasn't going to be that he crashed his car, tried a new drug, or narrowly avoided arrest. I had waited for this day for a long time, though not nearly as long as he had. I was beginning to seriously doubt it would ever happen, given his parents' proclivity for all things Republican and rednecked.
"I am gay. And I know you know."
We were both so relieved and I was so touched that he trusted me enough to be the only family member he's come out to. Bobby and I have always had a close relationship even though we were raised on opposite coasts by two products of 1960's North Jersey. His father and my mother grew up together and though my mom eventually left the Jerz behind in her early twenties for a different sort of life in California, his father never gave a thought of leaving behind the place he was born. He taught at the high school he went to and raised his family in a small, conservative town down the shore. Thick-necked, beer-guzzling, sports-loving, and traditional to the core, Bobby's father would totally flip out if he found out. Though on some level, I'm sure he already knows.
Bobby asked me if I remembered when I figured out he was gay. I told him I knew the exact moment. I was maybe 17 and he was 12. He'd come out to L.A. with his family in the summer for a couple of weeks to visit and they were all dying to go on The O.J. Tour. The O.J. tour was something we native Angelenos had to do quite a bit of back in the mid- nineties when out of towners would come to visit. It began, of course, at O.J. Simpson's Rockingham house, continued to the now-defunct Mezzaluna Restaurant on San Vicente, and ended at the scene of the crime-- Nicole Brown Simpson's condo on South Bundy. While our mothers gawked outside with the rest of the tourists, Bobby and I stayed in their rented minivan, blasting the air conditioning on ourselves. He had just finished appearing in a musical theatre production back home and in the privacy of the car, he sang me his solo since I couldn't be there to see it in person. Being a total unabashed high school drama geek, I totally ate it up and introduced him to my 200-strong collection of Original Cast Albums the second we got home. Bobby got back on the plane to Jersey with at least three mix tapes.
If that wasn't a clue, his purchase of platform shoes a couple of years later might have been an even bigger red flag. But that was no matter. Bobby came out to me and a weight has been lifted from both of us. Both of us cried good tears at different points. Though I was psyched for his visit to LA in July before, it carries even greater meaning now. I can't wait to see him. He's got a hotel room on Sunset Blvd and promises to let out his alter ago, "Bobbo Downey Jr."
Bobby asked me not to say a thing to my parents and I'll keep my word. Now we each have a secret to keep-- he's the only member of my family that knows about this blog. He's the only one I trust enough to tell.
Speaking of gays... Showcase got a callback for a fast-food commercial. He phoned me up the second he got the call from his agent and asked if I would come to synagogue with him. Church, synagogue, voodoo ritual, I'll do whatever it takes to get the man upstairs to give my boy some luck. His car just broke down (in the middle of an intersection...in Hollywood) and it's going to take almost 2 grand to fix it. We both agree that revenue from greasy sandwiches should pay for it.
I spent all morning trolling Expedia for a cheap rate at a motel out in the desert. I need to get out of here for a couple of days and make some significant headway on my script. Though I've been more disciplined than I really ever have as a writer in recent days, there's still a helluva lot to distract me around here. Tivo. Email. Phone calls. Showcase. My karaoke machine. Poker. Friends coming over. The can fairies that pick through the dumpster in the alley behind my building. I think a 48-72 hour binge in a room with nothing but my laptop, a gallon of Diet Coke and a view of the mountains might bring out the rest of the first act more quickly than it will writing here for the same amount of time. Then I can come back to the city and have 4-5 days for a rewrite before showing it to Charlie. I'm thinking tomorrow morning. I'd go tonight, but it's already 5:30 and I don't feel like sitting in gridlock on the 10.
That, and Showcase is on his way home from his callback. If it's good news, there's no way I'm missing the celebration.