From Ice Cream to “Topping”
Daniel’s Flavor – Chapter 1
“Hey Mom how about we get out of here for a bit? We can go to the movies or something. Heck Guiles can come too if you’d like. Please mom… At the least it might help me forget…” I was looking directly at her as I spoke, but couldn’t bring myself to look her in the eyes though. I tried to hold back my tears as I held the crumpled letter in my paw we received from the hospital, which outlined her aggressive treatment plan regarding her newly discovered breast cancer.
“Daniel honey… We don’t have to go anywhere. I’m feeling fine, really sweetie. Always such a good boy though, worrying about your mother like you do. You’ll make that special someone very happy someday I know it… hopefully for you though he’ll be hung like a bull!” My mother chuckled weakly while a smile crossed her face as she reached her hand out to grab mine. I tried not to laugh myself given the gravity of the situation, but I couldn’t resist as we both reveled in each others silliness.
For the last several months since I came out as an openly gay dog to my family (even though I suspect she knew long before then) my mother and I have enjoyed biting quips such as these. It was pleasant to be sure, knowing that not only did she seem to approve, she wasn’t afraid of me or for me either.
Growing up, I had always heard mixed stories about gay kids coming out to their parents and guardians; told with such emotional catharsis sometimes that I didn’t really know what to expect when my time came to come clean about who I really am. Let me tell you though; it was the best decision of my life. No more hiding. No more fear or doubt. Although to be honest, there are times I wish I could hide my feelings like I used too back then. I certainly could use the talent again right now that’s for sure.
I choked back my emotions what I could all the same, trying my hardest not to let them surface knowing all that would do is make her feel worse than I’m sure she was really feeling. I set the letter next to her cup of raspberry tea on the end table stand and sat down on the couch beside her, hoping that maybe some feeling would return to my tired body if I relaxed a little myself, even if my heart was still beating like mad.
I looked back up in time then to catch my tired mother resting her head against the shoulder siding of her favorite chair, its location half way between the kitchen and our foyer she loved entertaining company in. The fireplace nearby thankfully was recently stoked with new embers, lulling her into a state of relaxation with its warmth. The fire roared behind us steadily, helping to keep her comfortable as it looked like her fatigue finally overcame her for the day, even though it was at most mid afternoon. I suppose the news took a lot out of her…
It was weird to me whenever I would catch my mother indulging in such tranquility; always the enthusiastic busy social butterfly that she was whenever she would host a party here at our vineyard villa. Liveliness was a definite part of what defined her as a person, certainly something I always cherished and was often jealous of growing up.
It’s confusing I admit to understand, but my mother helped me ultimately grow into a responsible man I am by being the free understanding spirit she was. Someone other than Guiles, our butler, had to be an adult around here right? I never hated her for making me grow up fast though; I did however hold animosity towards my dad for trying to turn me into the man he failed to be in his youth.
Not that it was worth arguing the fact with him anymore seeing as we both hate each other now in the present day; varied reasons on both our parts. You see, I dismiss my father for the drunken bastard he is, deep down inside under his hypocrisies and the disguises he puts on for his friends and clients. To his credit though I admit, and to what little that is, he is a crafty old man; always managing to stay up-right long enough to crack his whip and make us look like we are a happy family, even if we all understood that was only on the surface when it came to him.
Now on the other end of the spectrum, my father hates me for being, and I quote, “A little faggoty bitch… who’ll just take it up the ass…” and that’s said with me leaving out the more colorful language used regarding that particular speech that day, though I would have to suffer the same dialogue from time to time, again and again after then anyway. From the moment he accidentally overheard I was gay, no less by eavesdropping on the private conversation I was having with my mother on the subject, he’s always considered me less than a person to him, though by the same token I felt the same way about him so I guess we were even.
“Asshole…” I muttered under my breath so as not to wake mom, thinking about how much I couldn’t wait to get him back one day for the man he is to me and my family; something he doesn’t deserve to be a part of.
I felt a twinge of irritation biting at me now as I watched my mom relax, my eyes getting heavier as each minute passed. I figured it out early in my life, and now that her health was in danger I couldn’t help but feel more guilt towards the truth; that it is in great part my fault that she is stuck where she is.
Sure you can say cancer isn’t just an illness you up and catch one day, but I’m sure years upon years of stress and regret didn’t help keep her health in high spirits either. She stays for my happiness; so we’re not just out on the street, homeless and broke. That’s why I stay too; to pay her back in kind.
I recognized along time ago too that the only reason my mom stayed with that dog of a person was for me; their own relationship seeming to be a stretch for any imagination to fathom. I never understood what she saw in him to begin with, though she did confess to me once that the best parts of who my father was grow more and more everyday, even if I for the life of me never comprehended and still don’t what she meant…
“There is nothing that man has ever done that has turned out good!” I screamed in my head, knowing I could have howled it from the rooftops with the rage inside me.
After a while of rest, I saw Guiles approaching slowly carrying with him in his paws both a blanket and a cup of what smelled like hot chocolate. A perfect fit to combat the cold weather sneaking in from outside, I arched myself up from the chair and grabbed for the drink, eager to get something down my parched throat. “Thank you Guiles. What we have done all these years without you?”
Guiles looked over at me as he threw the covering over my mother and grabbed a nearby pillow to place against her head. He walked in front of me then and took a bow in proper fashion while raising his paw out for me to grab so he could help me up. “No Master Daniel, what would ‘we’ have done without you? Young Miss Marsha here was so sad it seemed before you, and even if she isn’t at her best now, I know she wouldn’t trade her time here with you no matter what; just as I wouldn’t my friend.” He smiled then; an infectious tendency of his to be sure but one I loved ever since I was young.
Under the employ of the Adams Estate even before I was born, he is so engraved into this place I doubt he’d ever leave. Always the kind of old wise soul legends are made of, he is the only male figure I’ve ever looked up to in my life, and for that fact I’ll always be eternally grateful of him.
Guiles St. Thomas III; always more of a father to me than my own fur and blood. Even when he turns away from me to go perform his duties, whether it’s making dinner or cleaning the toilets, I’d always call him ‘dad’ under my breath, hoping that he could hear me with those huge Dalmatian ears of his. Optimism mixed with a chivalrous nature we’re always a forefront of this man; a true example any should live by I thought.
“Yeah I’m sure she’d do it all over again… I mean, who’d wanna give up this life of glamour and riches for a happy one huh?” I said with a smartass retort as he pulled me upward onto my feetpaws, myself feeling bad immediately after saying it, knowing I directed my anger at the wrong person often as I am wont to do. “I’m sorry Guiles…”
“Daniel my boy…” He said as he looked at me sadly, obviously sensing my frustrations as I refused to look him in the eyes as well.
Guiles then did something I will never for the rest of my life forget, and will always remember as the reason he means the world to me just like my mom. He leaned forward then and pulled me into his warm embrace and hugged me, holding me strongly in his deceptively buff arms. I didn’t really know how to respond to his affection at first, but I knew somewhere deep down that it felt right. I hugged him back as tight as I could, never wanting to let him go. “Oh Guiles what am I to do?”
I loosened my grip as I fell down to my knees, weeping into his legs, no longer concerned about my disposition at this point. I couldn’t hold in my emotions any longer, my thoughts threatening to consume my soul if I didn’t let them out. Given everything before coupled with what’s happening now to one half of my family I felt my tears were justified; no matter how much they burned.
“It’s ok Dan; we’ll get you through this. I promise. I swear it on everything I am. I will not watch idly as your world collapses. You deserve more than that.” Guiles said as he stared down at me, my weakness melting in his words. I took them in, breathed in their essence, hoping that it was all true.
“I love you Guiles.” I cried out as he came down to the ground with me, allowing me to wash over my emotions in his shoulders as he held me tighter; tears I could swear coming down his face as well.
“And I you.” He said in return; warmth truly to his words.
Guiles looked up then towards my mother’s direction, which to my knowledge I thought she was still fast asleep. “Marsha…” He mouthed to her, staring at her hard as though they were sharing a secret. She just held her hand to her muzzle in awe as she cried too, trying to keep her own sadness unheard from me.
My family is ending and I don’t know what to do… Let’s see what happens…