As Dizzy held me on the couch I could tell Adam’s words were starting to get to him. With every passing second he seemed to grow more and more anxious, until finally he let out a deep sigh.
“What are you looking for with Ezra?” He asked, but I didn’t answer. “I’m not judging you, I just, I want to know where you’re coming from.”
I stayed quiet for a few more moments before finally looking up to him. “He’s my birth father.” I forced out. “I just want to meet him, even if I end up hating him.” I hesitated as I thought it over. “I just need to know” Was all I could manage out.
“You don’t owe him anything.” Dizzy advised, trying his hardest to help me see his side.
“No, but I owe it to myself.” I explained as I sat up and made eye contact. “I’ve been wondering about my birth father since, well, forever.” I shook my head. “Now that I finally have my shot, I can’t just throw it away.” As he heard my words, I notice his concern only growing stronger. “You can’t relate to that?”
“Not at all.” Dizzy denied as he broke eye contact and stared off towards the door. “Our dads, they didn’t want us Artie.” He forced out. “They left our Moms to figure it out, not caring that they barely had enough money for food.” He warned, now looking right back at me. “How can you just forgive that? They made our Moms’ lives impossible.”
“I know and I’m not forgiving him,” I accepted in a sigh. “I just want answers why, don’t you?”
“No, because those answers won’t change anything.” Dizzy shook his head. “My birth father left me. Ezra left you. That’s enough of an answer for me.”
“I need more than that.” I exhaled as our eyes reconnected. “I’m sorry.”
“I know.” Dizzy quietly spoke as he thought it over once more. “I just hope you know what you’re doing.”
“I do,” I lied with a nod. “and even if I don’t, I have you and Adam to help guide me.”
“If you listen to us.” Dizzy muttered to himself but before I could respond Adam came in the back door. “Oh boy.” Dizzy exhaled as he straightened himself up and forced a smile on his face. “Feeling better?” He asked as Adam approached.
“I guess.” Adam shrugged his shoulders before taking his normal spot on the couch.
“You guess?” Dizzy repeated, shooting him a strange look. “Sounds like you need to start buying better stuff!”
“I’m not having this conversation with you.” Adam warned as he turned on the T.V. and picked up his controller.
“Why?” Dizzy whined, knowing exactly how to distract Adam from everything on his mind. “You know, one day you’re going to smoke with me and Artie.”
“When you’re like twenty-one,” Adam shrugged his shoulders. “but until then, we’re not talking about it.”
“Really?!” Dizzy exclaimed, shocked by Adam’s answer.
“We’re not talking about it.” Adam repeated as he kept his stare on the T.V. “Now are you going to play, or keep yelling in my ear?”
“I have to go home soon.” Dizzy replied, letting himself fall against me. “If I don’t win my Mom back over soon, she might actually get strict.”
“Is she actually that mad at you?” I asked, wrapping my arm around him so he couldn’t stand up.
He shrugged his shoulders and looked over to Adam. “Is she?” He asked, seeing what he could learn.
“She’s not mad, she’s just worried.” He answered as Dizzy rolled his eyes. “You’re getting too old for some of the stuff you do. What are you, seventeen?”
“Yeah.” Dizzy forced out, knowing what was about to come next.
“So what happens if one of your jokes goes too far, what if you get yourself in serious trouble?” Adam dug, but got no response. “Pretty soon people are going to look at you like an adult.”
“Yeah.” Dizzy exhaled, he went to stand up but I grabbed onto his shoulder and kept him on the couch before he could.
“I don’t want to see you get in trouble because you were just messing around.” Adam continued to lecture. “You need to find a better outlet for yourself.”
“A better outlet than what?” Dizzy forced out, trying to hide how much the conversation had started to affect him.
“Spray painting every building in San Francisco.” Adam teased, trying to help Dizzy relax into the conversation. “I’ve seen some videos of people doing spray paint art on canvases or poster board, maybe you can try that.”
“Maybe.” Dizzy repeated, but it was clear he was done with the conversation.
“Don’t take it like that.” Adam sighed as he finally turned away from the T.V. and towards us. “It’s not easy to hear, but it’s the truth.”
“I know, I’m listening.” He lied, finally breaking free of my grasp and standing up. “Anyway, I better get home to my Mom.”
“Why don’t you stay a little longer?” I asked, not wanting their conversation to end on such an abrupt note. “Just hear Adam out a little more.”
“It’s nothing I haven’t heard already.” Dizzy complained, not paying either of us much attention. “ I know you and my Mom are buddies now, but you don’t have to do everything she asks you to.” He exhaled, finally connecting eyes with Adam.
“What do you mean?” Adam asked, shooting him a strange look. “You think she asked me to talk to you about all of this?” Dizzy shot him a sarcastic look as he refused to answer.“She didn’t.” Adam insisted as his voice began to grow louder. “I mean, sure, we spoke about this stuff, but she didn’t tell me to talk to you.”
“Mhm. Dizzy hummed, slowly getting his stuff together as he continued to ignore Adam.
“You’re not just Artie’s boyfriend anymore.” Adam warned as Dizzy’s attitude began to get under his skin. “You spend nights here, you came with us to Texas, hell you even come over when Artie’s not home!” He shouted, trying his hardest to break through to Dizzy. “Your Mom isn’t the only person worried about you, I thought you knew that.” As Dizzy heard those words he stopped moving and turned back towards Adam. “I’m worried about you too.” Adam confessed in a sigh. “So just, dial it back sometimes.”
“Smoking makes you a lot less fun,” Dizzy teased, unsure how else to respond. “but I get it.” He forced out before Adam could say anything else. “I, I hear you.”
“Oh, good.” Adam nodded, trying his hardest to read past Dizzy’s reaction.
“I’ll walk you to the bus stop.” I offered as I rose to my feet and Dizzy slowly made his way over to Adam.
“You don’t need to hug me.” Adam quickly argued as he noticed Dizzy growing closer.
“You’re worried about me.” Dizzy teased as he forced a hug on Adam. “Thank you.” He let out, but this time I could tell he was being genuine.
“You’re always welcome here” Adam forced out as Dizzy finally let him go.
“Careful what you wish for.” Dizzy shot back as he returned his attention to me. “You have to teach your Uncle how to hug, he’s really bad at it.”
“He is pretty bad.” I agreed with a nod as Dizzy wrapped himself around me.
“Would you two give one another space?” Adam complained as our hug began to linger on. “I swear I’m going to start keeping a spray bottle in here.”
“Good hugs take time.” I shrugged my shoulders as Adam rolled his eyes and we began to walk towards the front door.
“Maybe Mason could teach you that one day.” Dizzy teased with a smirk.
“Go home Dizzy.” Adam exhaled as things quickly began to return to normal.
“I’m going, I’m going.” Dizzy played along as he let me lead him out the front door. “Is it me, or is Adam more responsible when he’s high?”
“I think he’s just more emotional.” I answered as I thought it over. “He meant what he said though.” I supported, seeing how Dizzy would respond.
“I know.” He nodded his head. “Now I have two people trying to lecture me, how annoying.” He complained, but I could tell he didn’t mean it.
“What if I want to lecture you?” I teased as Dizzy looked over to me.
“You’re just as lost as me.” Dizzy shrugged his shoulders. “Not that that’s a bad thing.” He quickly tried to clarify as he saw the expression on my face change.
“I’m not lost.” I began to argue as I thought it over.
“You’re lost.” Dizzy confidently nodded his head. “Not that it’s a bad thing.” Dizzy stopped and pulled me in close as he noticed I wasn’t understanding. “You don’t know what to do about Ezra, I don’t know what to do about life, so we’re lost.”
I went to say something, but stopped as I realized what he was trying to say. “I guess I am lost.” I confessed as I let my head rest against his shoulder.
“Well lucky for you, I’m pretty great at being lost.” He forced a smile as he kept his hands on me but took a step back.
“So then what do we do?” I reflected his smile, but noticed the bus turning coming down the street.
“If I knew that we wouldn’t be lost.” He answered with a laugh. “How about you come over my house tomorrow after school and we’ll figure it out.”
“Dizzy,” I warned as trouble began to spark in his eyes.
“My Mom has to take her turn watching us do homework too.” He interrupted with a smirk. “Plus, she doesn’t care if we go hangout in my room all night.”
“And what will we be doing in your room all night?” I couldn’t help but ask as I caught his smirk.
“Finding ourselves.” He shrugged leaning forward and laying a kiss on my lips before breaking free and heading towards the bus. “So what do you say?”
“It’s a plan.” I nodded as his smile grew and he hopped on the bus. He gave me a quick wave as the door closed behind him and the bus slowly began to pull away.
Adam and Colleen can try and lecture him as much as they want, but at the end of the day he’ll always be Dizzy. He’ll always be the goofy, fun loving kid who isn’t afraid of making a scene. But then again, it’s not about trying to change him, it’s about keeping him out of trouble. About trying to help him understand the right time and place to be, well, Dizzy!
When I walked back through the front door of our house, I noticed the same serious look on Adam’s face. I let out a deep sigh as I took a seat on the couch and turned towards him.
“Still thinking about everything?” I asked, trying my hardest to steal his focus away from his game.
“I guess.” He replied in a sigh of his own. “It’s not exactly something that’s easy to forget.”
“What’s going on with Dizzy, or what’s going on with me?” I asked, but already knew the answer.
“You,” Adam answered with a shake of his head. “and I guess a little bit of Dizzy, but mainly you.”
“Why?” I asked but got nothing back. “I can’t understand what’s going on if you don’t let me in.”
“I just don’t want to get into it right now.” He grumbled, keeping his eyes on the T.V.
“Alright.” I shrugged, but as I went to pick up my book I noticed him glance towards me. I pretended to ignore it, and kept going until finally I noticed him glance towards me again. “You sure you don’t want to talk about it?”
“No.” He confessed in a sigh as he paused his game. “I guess I want to talk about it, but I, I don’t want you to feel like I keep bashing your birth father.”
“Say what you need to.” I encouraged, but felt my anxiety slowly begin to rise within me. “If you can keep yourself calm.”
“I can keep myself calm.” He nodded his head. “Everything that happened with him, it just still gets to me is all.” Adam confessed in a heavy breath.
“Yeah?” I let out, putting my book down and looking over at him.
“We were so close as kids.” Adam finally began to explain. “We did everything together.”Adam emphasized. “Sarah had Sadie, and I had Ezra, that’s just how it was.” He explained. “But when we became teenagers, things just got, complicated.” He paused as he began to think it over.
“Complicated how?” I asked as his words began to sink in. “Did, did he know you were gay?”
“I never told him.” Adam confessed as his eyes began to drift. “But he knew, and there was a time I thought maybe he was too.” Adam explained. “That’s just how some teenagers are, you know?”
“Sure.” I hesitated, not fully understanding what he was trying to get at.
“Like you never got curious with friends.” Adam pressured as he shot me a skeptical look.
“I didn’t.” I shook my head. “Well, not before I came here, but that’s different.” I began to nervously ramble. “I don’t think I would’ve tried anything with guys before I came here.”
“Alright,” Adam backed off, unsure if I was telling the truth or not. “but Ezra certainly wasn’t afraid to.” He shook his head.
“So you guys,” I paused trying to find the best way to ask what was on my mind. “hooked up?” I finally managed out.
“At first.” Adam slowly nodded his head. “Then over time, it just became one sided.” Adam confessed. “I let him use me for years before I realized it.” Adam began to grow angry, but suddenly the anger turned to sadness as he thought it over. “I thought I was getting what I wanted, somehow I convinced myself it was what I wanted.” Adam shook his head. “But by the time I realized I was his play thing, it was too late.”
“Play thing?” I repeated more to myself than to Adam. “It was that bad?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“He used me.” Adam confirmed before falling quiet.
“So when he started seeing my Mom, were you two still,” I paused, waiting for Adam to fill in the blank.
“No.” Adam quickly rejected. “That was after we had stopped, but even then, he got worried I was going to tell her.” He said, now talking in a near quiet voice. “He convinced her my lack of faith was turning me into someone she couldn’t trust.” This time when he spoke his sadness seemed to only grow stronger. “By the time she was pregnant with you, Sarah didn’t trust a word that came out of my mouth.”
“So what’d you do?” I asked as the story slowly began to pull me in.
“I couldn’t do much of anything,” Adam shook his head. “and I was only growing angrier at everything around me.” Adam explained as the look in his eyes began to grow dull. “Ezra, my parents, the town, hell, even Sarah.” Adam confessed. “I would drink when I could find alcohol, smoke when I could find drugs, then one night when I got loaded enough, I went after the church.”
“You did that while drunk?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“You thought I vandalized a church sober?” He asked, almost in a joking way. “I was a dumb kid, but I wasn’t that dumb.”
“Did your parents know you weren’t sober?” I couldn’t help but ask, starting to get side tracked by his words.
“By the time they found me I was sober, and they never pieced it together.” Adam answered in a sigh. “But that’s not the point.” He shook his head. “The point is Ezra played me, over and over again.” He explained. “I was naive and vulnerable and I fell right into his trap.” This time his eyes finally returned to me. “He manipulates people Artie. That’s just what he does.”
I nodded my head but stayed quiet for a few moments. “Did you ever get a chance to try and patch things back up with my Mom, you know, before everything happened?”
Adam let out a deep sigh as my question hit him. I know I’ve asked it before, but maybe, maybe this time he’ll tell me something he’s been holding back. “There was some time after Ezra left and before I came out.” Adam nodded his head. “Sarah started to really see Ezra for who he was, but whether she trusted me again, that’s something you’ll have to ask Sadie.”
“Okay.” I accepted before growing quiet once more. “I’m sorry.” I offered, looking back up at him. “I’m sorry he treated you like that,” I hesitated. “and I’m sorry, I, I still need to give him a chance.”
Adam let out another sigh, but nodded as though he had expected my answer. “Alright,” He accepted as I felt guilt start to crawl into my mind. “but you have to listen to me, and you, you can only talk to him when I say you can.”
“I know.” I slowly nodded my head. “Do you, do you think he’s gay?”
“No, I don’t.” Adam rejected as he looked away once more. “He just enjoyed being in control of someone.” I could tell he wanted to say more, but left it at that.
“I’m sorry.” I offered once more, not knowing what to say.
“Don’t be, just, learn from my mistake.” He exhaled now laying back in the couch. “Not that I’m worried about Dizzy.” He shook his head.
“Good, because he, he doesn’t use me like that.” I forced a smile as a light blush began on my face.Adam let out a small laugh as he heard my words but turned back towards the T.V. “What?” I asked but he refused to answer. “What?” I whined as my voice grew louder.
“Nothing.” Adam shook his head.
“Just tell me.” I insisted as I began to stare at him.
“That’s just the first time you weren’t afraid to mention your sex life.” Adam shrugged his shoulders as my face turned an even brighter shade of red. “See!” Adam began to laugh as the tension in the room broke. “Now you’re all uncomfortable again.”
“Like it doesn’t make you uncomfortable too!” I complained with a roll of my eyes.
“It does,” He nodded his head. “but at least I can have the conversation without turning bright red!” Adam continued to laugh.
“I’m still adjusting.” I warned, picking my book back up and trying to hide my face in it.
“You snuck Dizzy up to your room a few days ago,” Adam pointed out as he glanced over at me. “you’re well past adjusting.”
“Maybe that’s part of adjusting.” I lied with a shrug of my shoulders. “Besides, that wouldn’t happen if you let us hangout in my room.”
“That’s not happening for another year or two.” Adam quickly shot down before the idea could even grow in my mind. “Once I know you’re emotionally mature enough to handle that serious of a step.”
“Then why even buy me stuff for it.” I complained more to myself than him.
“Because if you really have to do it, I want to make sure you’re doing it safely.” Adam shrugged his shoulders, once more causing my face to turn red. “Trust me, there’s a big difference between doing that, and just letting you two spend the night in your room.” He shook his head. “I learned that one the hard way.”
“We just slept,” I lied in another whine. “I swear!”
“Sure.” Adam shrugged not believing a word of it.
As the room finally fell quiet again, Adam couldn’t help but let out another laugh, setting me off once more. Yet as much as we went back and forth, it was hard to ignore that Adam had let me in even closer than before. What Ezra did to him, that must have been one of the hardest parts of his life. Am I making a mistake by giving him a second chance? Am I selfish for doing this? Dizzy better have some kind of answer for me tomorrow night!