"Don't tell me who to love, don't tell me who to kiss, don't tell me something's wrong 'cause I feel like this."
Ray Boltz's words in "Don't Tell Me Who To Love."
Check out the real song on YouTube. You won't regret it. I listen to it often.
I mean it. Look at the video! it's good! I insist!
When Chet came home from school…without his usual explosion he came over to me and looked very puzzled.He looked like he’d had a rough day.The school blazer was still on, but the shirt was half in and half out.His tie was loose and that orange-red hair not neatly combed now.He was a boy!
“Hi, Champ!”Mike greeted his son.
“Hi.”Chet said quietly without looking at anyone.“Hi, everybody.”He came closer.“I heard that song.”He told me when he came in where Mark, Mike, Della were talking about plans and different concerts coming up.Sitting between Mike and me again without asking, nor was he worried there wasn’t enough room.He knew we’d make room for him.He didn’t need to ask, he was comfortable with the two of us.We had been going through the requests for interviews and working out some sort of schedule to do it all.Mike was in school himself, so I had to consider his schedule as well.
I thought I knew what song he was talking about, but he needed to tell me.“I have many songs out.Which one?”
“That Mine at Last.”He said as he was pondering what he wanted to know so he could ask.“”Some of the guys at school were listening to it.Chase told them he knew you and you were marrying my Dad.”
“Okay.”I said waiting for him to continue.
“It’s a good song.”Chet admitted with a nod a little smile.“I like it.”He looked at Mike.“It’s about you, isn’t it, Dad?”
“Well, it was written for me, but it can really be about anybody.”Mike replied.
“I wrote if about how I feel for your Dad.”I answered looking at Mike.“I wrote many songs about you father.”
Chet was again looking confused.“There were some older boys there, sixth and seventh grades.Chase and I were together when they asked me if you were you were fucking my Dad.”
Mark, startled at simple way Chet said what he did, nearly choked on the coffee he was drinking and Della just got up quickly and said.“Okay, I’ll make some more coffee…in there.”She pointed to the kitchen and left.
“What!?”Mike blurted out immediately shocked.
“Mike!”I said quickly and loud then reached over grabbing the front of his shirt. “Parada.Probablemente ni siquiera sabe lo que eso significa.”I said saying he probably didn’t know what that meant.
Chet looked at his father and me, then he looked at Mark and slid down on the sofa.“That’s when they don’t want me to understand them.It’s bad, isn’t it?”He looked at his father.“I didn’t know what they were talking about.”
Mike was shocked, but I was rubbing Mike’s arm and shoulder.“I told you he didn’t.Be calm, Baby.”
“You don’t know what that word means.”Mike said to be sure.
“Chase did, but he wouldn’t tell me what it means and said I should ask you two.”Chet said looking from his father to me.
“I will thank him for that next time we see him.You were right ask me, because that is a bad word, son.”Mike said quietly.
I raised my hand and added.“The word fuck is the name for what adults do when they have sex.”I explained smiling.“It is a word that we consider bad.Though, I will say this: your father and I do not do that.Ever!We make love.The word has been used in bad ways for a long time.Many times, not even talking about the activity.You father and I have sex.We told you that.”
“But the word fuck is often used when there is the activity when there is no love at all.”Mike said.“I love Eric.He loves me.When we do have sex, we do not ever fuck.Fuck is just the act.”
“So, what is sex?”Chet asked innocently.
Mark put his mug down and stood up.“I’m going to help Della.”
“Mark, freeze.”I said firmly to him causing him to stop.“Don’t give Chet the idea that it’s embarrassing or dirty.It’s not.”I pointed to the chair he had been sitting in.“Sit down, please.”
Mark looked uncomfortable, but did what I asked.“If you two are going to talk about it with him…shouldn’t that be in private?”
“Why?”I asked.“We all do it.”
Mike smiled at me and looked at his son.“I can explain the mechanics of sex, but that’s only part of it.The emotion is what makes the difference.There are natural human processes done to have sex.I think we need to do that in private.”He grinned at Mark.“It makes some people…uncomfortable.”
“We view it as something personal.”Mike said.“It is, but we need to talk about it.You’re growing up and…” he started turning red again, “you will do it, too.How can you be ready it I don’t tell you?”
I pulled Mike in and kissed him right over Chet.“That’s right.”I looked at Mark.“And you…” I grinned.“He’s a little boy.He needs to know sex isn’t bad.We all do it.Don’t walk away. There’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.”
Mark nodded.“I know, but…isn’t this family stuff?”
I grinned.“Oh, Mark.You are family to me.I don’t just keep you around because you’re good at your job, but I like you.I always will.You’re a good man.”
Mike chuckled.“I can accept that.In fact, you’re family to me, too.”
Mark looked surprised to hear that.“I’m your husband’s ex-boyfriend.”
Mike shrugged.“You’re my…ex-boyfriend-in-law?”Then he looked with a stern look.“But no more kissing my husband.”
Mark laughed pointed to me.“He’d kill me if I tried.”
As I was getting things done to go to bed, having brushed teeth and all that, I came in the bedroom to see Mike propped up in the bed reading the script.I smiled at Mike as I approached.The feeling I had seeing him there was just hitting me again.He glanced up and looked momentarily puzzled and then smiled.
“What?”Mike asked as I got the bed.
“I just love this.”I admitted waving at him.“This is so…right!The one person I’ve always wanted is here…with me and I feel…” I sought the words to tell him, “at peace with everything!For the first time in my life, I’m happy.You belong here with me, Baby.Not just in our bed, but our lives.”
Mike chuckled as he nodded.“I wholeheartedly agree!”He held the script up.“This is good.This isn’t Brokeback Mountain.Brokeback Mountain was about two guys that hid what they felt for decades!This isn’t.This story is about triumph!They love each other and that in the end, they begin a life together and it is a victory!”
I slid in next to him.“It would be better if you were in it.”I said simply.“I wouldn’t have to act like I was in love.I am.”
“I think the message is important.”Mike said putting his arm around me as he brought me close kissing the side of my head as I looked at the script with him.“Love conquers all.Even for us, that should be what it’s all about.”He chuckled.“Now, there are a few scenes that I question.”
“You’ve read the whole thing?”I couldn’t believe that he could have.
He gave a shrugging nod.“Well, yes…I skimmed through a lot.”He turned some pages.“There are a few scenes where…you’ll be naked with whomever.”
I looked at the page he was holding up.“Okay, well…I don’t have a problem with showing my ass.We’ve all got them.How will you feel if I show my ass?”
Mike chuckled.“Aroused.”He said simply as he kissed me more directly on the mouth and a little more intent.“You’ve got a beautiful ass.”
“You’re the one that gets my ass.”
Mike nodded.“That’s right.You’re the only one to get mine.”He turned back to the script.“What I do like is the fact that…whoever wrote this has to be gay. Neither your character or this…Cory character isn’t portrayed as a dominate or submissive.No top or bottom, but simply a man in love with a man.”He put down the script.“This isn’t you?It reads very much like you.”
“It will be me if I do it, but no.”I got up dragging him behind me, not having asked if he would.I brought him to the computer in our room.“Have you heard Don’t Tell Me Who To Love?”I asked to confirm what I knew.“I’m pretty sure you haven’t.”
“No.”Mike said.“Ray Boltz?He wasn’t Catholic.David Haas is who I know.The Baptist Temple never played Ray Boltz’s stuff.”
“He came out as gay.”I said simply.“He became the enemy.”I typed quickly.“By the time you got to Charleston, he was out.”I pulled up some of his older work and he listened to a couple of the songs.“Now.”I said grinning.“Listen to this!”I pulled up the song, Don’t Tell Me Who To Love.As the video played, Mike’s face got softer.The words were…just right at the heart of it all.Starting with 1966 when the law and preachers were saying interracial marriage was against the law and a sin.Then to men and women like Mike and I being told the same thing.The people in the video showed…everybody.Men, women, drag queens, lesbians, the flamboyant gays and what the church considered odd…everyone who was there and told by Ray’s song the world just didn’t understand!
“Wow.”Mike muttered as it ended.“He hit the nail on the head with that.”
I nodded.“He sure did.When I wrote Don’t Blame Me…I was really inspired by him and this song.Our messages are similar, but while his song explained that people simply didn’t understand.Mine was about me being who I am and also the world was blaming me or something I simply was.It wasn’t a choice.His life and mine were parallel in that…he thought since he became a Christian, that longing he had would go away.I did, too.I thought if I did things as I was supposed to, I wouldn’t be gay.”I shrugged.“I am gay.”I pointed the man’s image.“He is gay.Fortunately, I woke up and didn’t have the marriage and four children, but our paths were similar.”
Mike nodded.“As I’ve told you.Being gay in Cuba, pretty much got you nothing but killed.Those like my mother who came from Cuba carried that hatred with her.All Cubans did, for the most part.”He got up.“Granddad Calhoun was over in Cuba when Castro came into power.He got himself and Grandmother out of Cuba before it was too late.The hatred of gays in Cuba arrived in Florida.”He said walked back to our bed.“Miami and most of Southern Florida were full of people from Cuba.There were gays in those numbers, but we could never be out.We would do it in alleys or the back of cars…or in private at home, but never out.”
We crawled back into bed and I tossed the script on the bedside table.“That isn’t just Cuban.Its humans everywhere.Until human understanding changes, it will be.”I pulled him to come over me.“We are out.You asked me to marry you.”I held up my left hand showing the ring I never took off since he gave it to me in Vegas.“Cesar and Maria Vega were witnesses.We…” I kissed him, “are getting…” I kissed him again, “married.”
“Yes, we are.”Mike lowered himself over me.“You’re right.There is a peace now.”
In the morning, I watched Chet race toward the door to get on the Dilworth van that came to pick them up and drop them off.Why didn’t they wear the backpacks instead of carrying it?“Bye, Dad!”He called and then added.“Bye, PopE!”I waved at Chet.
“Bye, Sport!”Mike said as he came down dressed for his day in class.Fall and winter in Fort Worth wasn’t bad weather wise.It could be practically boiling in summer, but it was drier than Charleston.I grinned as he came in dressed in jeans and loose shirt.He was a student, not a professor…yet.
“I’m sorry.”I crossly as Mike came over to kiss me and froze surprised.“You need to go back upstairs and change.”
Mike looked down at what he had on to see the problem.“I don’t understand.What’s wrong with what I have on?”
“You’re too sexy.Go change.”I grinned pulling him closer.
Mike smiled and came the rest of the way and kissed me.“Oh, yea?”He said.“You are an actor.You had me believing there was something wrong with what I had on.”
I cocked my head at him.“You’re right.It’s not the clothes at all.”I smiled kissing him again.“It’s just you.”
Mike hugged me tightly.“Then I can’t let you out in the world at all.You’re always sexy.We’re going to have a good life together, Eric.”
“We have that already.”I said pulling him in the dining area.“There’s cereal…I can make toast or something.We have muffins…” I saw he was about to protest as he often did when we lived together before.“Mike, don’t do that.You need to eat something.They call it breakfast, to break the fast you did while asleep.You need it to have the fuel to get through the day!”I shoved him lightly in the direction of the table.“So, what will you have?No arguments.You’re eating.”
Mike nodded with a chuckle.“Fine.”He went to the cabinet and got some of the muffins we had and a plastic container of granola.“I’m eating, I’m eating.”He assured me.
We sat and enjoyed our morning meal and just talked about nothing and everything…as it should be between partners in life.
“Should I worry about those boys at Dilworth?”Mike asked munching on the noisy granola and I grinned as he had to wipe the milk spilling a little from his mouth.
“Do you think you should be?”I asked.
“That’s why I asked you.”Mike reasoned.“Because I don’t know.Chet’s been so sheltered all his life. “
“You’re his father.”I didn’t want to overstep any boundaries.
Mike sat back a little and looked bothered by that.“And what are you to Chet?”He took my hand.“Baby, I can do it alone raising him, but I thought you loved Chet.”
“I do!”I said quickly.“But I’m your boyfriend…soon to be husband, but…”
Mike pushed back a little more from the table.“You are right.”He shook his head.“We need to speak with Amy Diaz.”He leaned in toward me.“I value your opinion with Chet.Will you be a parent to Chet?I mean legally.”
“You want me to adopt Chet?”I asked to make sure I understood what he wanted; my input or more.
“Yes.”Mike hesitated.“If you want to.”
The fact that Mike wanted me to be a parent to Chet was not surprising.The feeling I had was…he trusted me…with his child!“Of course, I want to.”
Mike smiled.“We need to find out from Amy Diaz what we need to do.We need to get…what?A power of attorney or something for you to have some say about Chet’s care?”He smiled.“Do you think we need to talk to Dilworth about those boys?”
I smiled and shook my head.“No.They didn’t threaten Chet.They used language they shouldn’t have, but Chet needs to understand the world. He will hear those words again. School is doing that.He has Chase Martinez as a friend.If they bully Chet, we will have to, but…I don’t think anyone would dare.Not at Dilworth.Until Chet comes home and says otherwise, no.He needs to learn to deal with it himself.”
“Okay.”Mike nodded and looked at his watch.“I better go.”He stood up and pulled me to my feet.“I love you.”He said embracing me tightly.“What you said last night is right.I feel so…at peace with you.This is the way it is meant to be.”He pulled away just to kiss me deeply.“You said before, you’re a soccer mom.”He shook his head.“No.You’re Chet’s other father.You aren’t my wife or even husband.You’re my partner in this life from now on.I need you.Chet needs you.I will never leave you.Don’t leave me.”
I kissed him again as deeply as he had kissed me and hugged him.“I’m sorry, that idea is just inconceivable to me.I love you.”
He smiled at me rubbing his thumb over my cheek.“I’ll be home soon.”He kissed me lightly and walked out the back door to go to the university.
It was still too early to call Amy, so I read over the script for the movie.It didn’t really have a name yet.Breathless was on the cover with a question mark.I didn’t know this Marty Cummings Mark had written on the script for the author's name.Mark was a smart man, but seeing the I on the printed script sent typed from someone's computer...the name sort of told me it was probably female.Mark had a tendency to see and hear what he wanted when tunneled.The screenwriter was one that had done several movies.It was a script and written in dialog form with directions on how the scene should be portrayed.It was a pretty good…though a tried plot.It had been done before.A successful business man named Cory, engaged to a beautiful woman meets my character named Daniel, was raised in a strict religious family and sang.He came to grips with what he was and was carving a life for himself.Both men were in their early thirties and fall in love.Well, Cory does, but resists and the angst is Cory’s coming to grips with the fact that he’s gay.The lines weren’t bad.I could think of better ways to put somethings, but…I wanted to follow what the writer put down.She saw the story like I did a song.No one would dare change my song.Therefore no one should change this woman’s story.Just because I wouldn’t use the words there.Could I do that?
I did call Amy Diaz when it was later that morning and left my name and number with her secretary.It was maybe an hour later when she called and I explained what Mike wanted to have done.
“The power of attorney is fine.I can have that drawn up and come over when Mike gets home today.He will have to sign it and witnessed.”She explained.“Adoption is very possible.There are several avenues to choose.The best way is marrying Mike.After a year of that marriage, it will go through unobstructed.There will be the inspection, of course.”
“Della is here and I’m sure she’d witness…or even Mark.”I said expecting that.“His grandparents shouldn’t give us problems.”I said ending the sentence in a questioning way.
She laughed quickly.“Not with their background.Chet’s grandfather shot his father!”
“I was there.”I said laughing.“I didn’t see the shooting, but I saw the aftermath immediately.I was going to kill Manny Atkins!”
Amy laughed.“I would have, too, but don’t be surprised.They might try to stop when they find out.There are other possibilities…avenues they can try.I’m sure they will.Just be patient, marry Mike and we’ll take it from there.The power of attorney can be done today.”