Chapter 2: The Perfect Happy Family

I just ran and ran as tears ran down my face.  The cold wind was like having somebody smack my face repeatedly. I couldn’t believe James was a gay. I mean I have nothing against homosexuals. I was mainly angry at him for not telling me this little secret of his. We told each other everything, like how he hated playing football. He only joined the team because that’s the only way he could get father’s attention. I was furious with mother. She was cheating on dad again and now with Mr. Quinn. If the neighbors ever got a whiff of my brother’s and mother’s secret it would be the end of us. What a tragedy?  When I got home, Clarisse, our nanny, was waiting for me in the living room. She was so angry that I had left without telling her where I was going.

“Where you’ve been?!” Clarisse screamed at me.

“Out for a run…I needed some air,” I said.

“I was so scared. You should have told me you were going out.” Clarisse responded

“I’m sorry,” I mumbled as I ran up the stairs to my bedroom. I was having a panic attack. My life would be over if the word got out that my brother was a gay and my mother was a home-wrecker. Our family would be shamed and we would lose our place and status. I couldn’t let that happen. I just couldn’t. I had to keep us safe; I had to keep my family’s secrets safe. No one could ever know. Suddenly, I heard a noise coming from outside my window. I went to see what all the ruckus was about. As I peered out my window I saw a tall muscular figure trying to get into the basement. I poked my head out to see better and I saw that it was a woman. Well, it looked like a woman. She had long reddish brown hair and was wearing a red sequin dress and black stiletto heels. She had some huge feet, I thought. Then, I put my hand over my mouth in shock when I saw her face. It was not a she but a he; and that he was my father! He climbed into the left backside window that leads into the basement. I don’t think he saw me, though.  I backed into my room again and threw myself on my queen sized bed.

“Oh my God!” I screamed.  My father is a drag queen! This day couldn’t get any weirder. I bet those were my mother’s shoes. Those must have been her new Manolo Blahniks. He was eying them when she brought them from the store last week. I thought it was weird but didn’t really pay any mind to it. We all have big feet. My mother and father have the same shoe size 12. I couldn’t believe what I had seen tonight. I felt like I was in a twilight zone episode or in a circus.

“Please let this be all a bad dream,” I said to no one in particular.

“Hey, honey,” I heard someone say and I turned to see my father standing by the door with a big smile on his face. He still had some red lipstick on his lips which he failed to completely wipe off. I wondered as I looked at him; how could a guy like him be a drag queen? He drives motorcycles for God’s sake! I still couldn’t believe I just saw my father dressed like a girl.

“Hi, dad,” I smiled.

“What have you been up to dear?” he said.

“Nothing much; just went out for a run.” I responded.

“Good girl,” he smiled.  “Well, I’m beat sweetie. Rough night at the clinic, you know. I’m off to bed. Have a good night, honey.”

“Night, dad,” I said. I heard him walk to his room and close the door. A few minutes’ later mom and James came home. Mom went straight to bed and yelled goodnight to James and I. James came into my room while I was eating my pain by way of a bowl of cookie dough vanilla ice cream drowned in whipped cream and chocolate syrup.

“What’s up?” James asked me. I didn’t even look at him. I just kept stuffing my face with ice cream.

“Hey Lisa, What’s going on?” he questioned.

“I saw you. I saw you with that man.” I responded in a harsh whisper. His eyes shot wide like he had just seen a ghost. Abruptly, he drew closer to me and lowered his face close to mine.

“You can’t tell anybody,” he whispered. He was so scared. I felt so bad for him because if kids at school found out he was a gay his life would be over. They will beat him up or worse.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked James.

“I was going to tell you but I needed to be sure….” His voice wandered off.  He then told me how he had been dating the man I saw him with for five years now and that he thought he was the one.

“Five years, James, Five?!” I screamed. “Where did you meet this guy?” I asked. James went on to tell me that they met at this gay club downtown when he was 14 years old.

“His name is Mark,” James said to me. “I love him, Lisa. Dad can never know about this. He will freak especially when he finds out that I’m dating his protégé.”

“Mark!” I screamed. “You’re dating Mark Beyer?!” Mark Beyer was our father’s main man at the clinic. Mark was father’s assistant. There would be blood if dad found at Mark was sticking it to his son. James and I didn’t speak for a while. We just sat there on my bed. Then out of nowhere James grabbed my arm and said, “We’re getting married, Lisa.”  I fainted.

 

 

Personal Ad

Personal Ad

 

            Everyone has a personal ad but some of us are not sure of what we actually want. I mean we have a complete list of criteria’s that our perfect match should adhere to. However, over time we grow and we change. My friend, Lisa, always knew what she wanted. She wanted to marry a rich guy with good hair, taller than her, intelligent, funny, sophisticated, and powerful. She’s one of the few girls in this world that actually get everything they ever wanted. Of course, she’s a complete princess but I still love her. We had met at an orphanage in New York in 1972. It was the worst thirteen years of our lives. We both had been abandoned by our parents and we had nobody but ourselves. We were both five years old when we were emitted into St. Claire Orphanage located in Queens.

            I met Lisa when I was eight years old. I had gone to clean my clothes at the local Laundromat and as I finished loading my clothes into the washer I realized that I had not eaten all day. I didn’t have much money to go and buy myself something good to eat. I hated the food that they served us at the orphanage. They always served us the same thing; smashed potatoes or oatmeal and milk. I couldn’t take it anymore! I wanted a nice big juicy burger so bad. So, there I was looking at my stomach as it loudly growled to be fed.  I turned to see if my clothes were ready and there she was with a big juicy burger in her hand. I guess she saw the ravenous expression on my face.

“Would you like a piece?” she asked. “Its way to big for me and I has hoping to share with someone.”

“I guess I could have a bite,” I responded. She tore the burger in half and handed me a half. It was hot and juicy. As I bit into it my mouth exploded with flavor. I never thought something could ever taste so good. I thought I was in heaven. I savored every bite because I knew this would be my only meal for the day and I licked every single drop of ketchup off my fingers.

“My name is Lisa, by the way” she said. “What’s your name?”

“Jessica” I responded. “Thank you for sharing your burger with me. You don’t know how much it means…..” my voice trailed off. I didn’t want to seem needy. I had prided myself on being self-sufficient.

            “I know exactly what you mean. I had to save for weeks so that I could buy it.” Lisa exclaimed. “I’ve seen you around at St. Claire but always too shy to say hi”

“You’re at St. Claire?” I asked. “I’ve never seen you. Wow.” Who would have thought that I would become friends with the future Lisa Bordet? At 21 she would have married a real estate tycoon and run a successful multi-billion dollar business. At just nine years of age she knew what she wanted but never imagined it would be so magnificent.  I didn’t have her ambition because I was just trying to get by another day. I didn’t know it then but Lisa would change my life entirely. We would embark on a journey that would take us from rags to riches just because there was more to life than just to live.

The Only Exception

I can hear all their thoughts. I can’t take it anymore. I want the voices to stop. I hear them all. “Mickey,” I heard someone scream my name. I know that voice. I turned around to see Jordan running from across the street. Her golden brown hair glistened in the California sun. She was wearing a blue jersey dress and brown cowboy boots.  I loved that dress on her. Sometimes I wonder how she ended up with a guy like me. Jordan was beautiful, smart, ad kind. She was also studying to be a lawyer at Stanford University and was on the top of her class.

I was a high school drop-out working as a mechanic at Jorge’s Auto body shop.  My father had left my mother when I was 13, so I had to find a job and help pay the bills. Then, mom got sick, so I became the only bread winner and had to quit school.  Jorge is my mother’s best friend and he took me under his wing after father left. He showed me how to fix cars and gave me a job. I owe him everything.  Right now I can’t afford to go to college but I’m hopeful that one day I will. I want to be a writer. I had won awards in school for my poems and short stories. I even got one of my stories published in the local newspaper.

However, I did some stupid things that I will regret for the rest of my life. When father left, I was so angry. I couldn’t believe he did that to us; leaving us broke and all alone. I got in trouble in school for getting into fights, disrespecting teachers, and stealing food. Initially, they had suspended me three times during my freshmen year in high school and gotten detention so many times that I’ve lost count.  I met Jordan while putting in the hours for community service at the school garden.  She was wearing that same blue jersey dress and her hair was blonde then. I’m not into blondes so I didn’t pay much attention to her. Nevertheless, I just wanted to do what I had to do and go home. To my surprise, however, she came up to me while I was trying to avoid stepping on this huge slug while trying to dump the fertilizer into the rolling cart.

“What’s a guy like you gardening?” she asked. I was so startled that I slip and fell back onto the slug.

“Ah, gross!” I yelled.

“I’m so sorry. Let me help you.” She said.

“I think you’ve done enough,” I scolded at her. When I saw her face I regretted how I acted towards her. Of course, she didn’t mean for me to get all covered in dirt.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be cross with you.” I told her.

“Its okay” she smiled. “Let’s start over, okay. My name is Jordan.” she said. “Nice to meet you, Jordan.  I’m Mickey,” I responded.  We spent the day talking about ourselves, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. I hadn’t laughed in a long time and that was the highlight of my day. I had to work after school and wouldn’t be home till 12pm.  That night everything changed.

There was a gas leak in the stock room. I had smelled the pungent smell while on my way to lunch.  I went inside to check it out. Then the door got stuck and I couldn’t get out. No one could hear me because Tommy had the radio blasting. I banged on the door while screaming my lungs out. The smell over-powered me and I passed out. The next thing I knew I was in the emergency room.  I could hear voices. When I opened my eyes I saw my mom sitting on a chair next to my hospital bed. She was crying. “Oh my poor baby” I heard her say but her lips didn’t move. “Mom” I said.  “Oh, honey!” she yelled out.  “Thank you, Jesus!” I heard her say but I noticed this was not said out-loud. I can hear her thoughts.  No, that’s not possible I thought to myself.  Suddenly, a doctor walked in checking his blackberry.  “Tonight, I’m cheating on my wife with a 21 year old” I heard him think. No way, I thought. I can hear their thoughts.  I thought I was going crazy.  Mother saw the crazed expression on my face and I knew what she was going to say before she said it. “Is he going to be okay? He doesn’t look so good.” She asked the doctor. The doctor came closer to me and smiled. I got a look at his name tag which read, Dr. Skye.  Am I okay? I wondered. “We are going to run more tests on him but everything looks well, though” Dr. Skye told my mother.  “Thank you so much” she cried.  “They just cut off the lights-he forgot to pay the electric bill. My poor baby.” I heard my mother think. Shoot! I did forget to go pay the electric bill. I had been hanging with Jordan that I totally forgot my responsibilities.

I looked at my mother to tell her that I was sorry but her eyes glazed over and she dropped to the floor. All the color had drained from her face.  It was so scary how her eyes just rolled back like that.  “Mom,” I yelled. She didn’t get up. Dr. Skye had yelled for a nurse and they took my mother away. As Dr. Skye walked out I heard him say in his mind; “looks like leukemia.” I just heard his thoughts again. I must be crazy.  My mother has leukemia?! Then I heard them all. All those voices and thoughts integrating in my mind and I couldn’t handle it. “Make them stop!” I screamed. I think I had a breakdown of some sort because nurses came in and forced me down to inject a tranquilizer. Everything faded to black and the voices stopped.

Chapter 1: The Perfect Happy Family

The Perfect Happy Family:

Chapter 1

phfct

My father, the celebrity plastic surgeon and doctor, Harrison Monroe, is a doctor by day and a drag queen by night. We rarely see him because he works about a hundred hours per week; traveling to his high profile clients’ parties and check-ups. He’s also authorized to perform Botox injections, so you know that living here in California, the land of beautiful people- business is always booming. He’s always been an ambitious man; having a doctor’s degree, being a star athlete in high school and college, and marrying a former supermodel, and my mother, Bonnie Cousteau.

My mother, Bonnie Cousteau, is a former supermodel, who is the epitome of a rag to riches story. She was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother was an alcoholic and she never knew her father. Her mother would bring an abundance of strange men into their rat infested apartment and sleep with them for money. On one very cold night in December of 1979, my mother was raped by a guy her mother had been sleeping with for a while. Her mother was passed out from a reckless binge drinking night while she was getting raped. She told her mother what had happened but she didn’t believe her. She accused her of stealing her man and kicked her out the house. Distraught and confused, my mother went to live with her grandmother, Natalia Cousteau, in Queens, New York.

Natalia Cousteau was a seamstress and owned her own bakery. She did everything she could for my mother. She even enrolled her into a modeling school in Manhattan. People always told her she should become a model and one day at the mall she was discovered by an agent when she was 15. In a few years, she became the IT Girl. She graced the covers of numerous fashion magazines and walked the catwalks of France, New York, London, and Italy by the time she was 21. She owned the catwalk. Everyone knew her name and designers loved her. However, the pressures of staying thin, young, and beautiful got to her. She started doing drugs; mostly heroin and marijuana. When she was 23 she accidentally overdosed on cocaine at a high profile party thrown by a top designer. That’s where she met my father, Harrison. He was the one that saved her life.

He took care of her during her time at the hospital. Natalia had died a few years back of cancer and she didn’t even know where her mother was. At first, my father had-had a bet with his other doctor friends that he would get in her pants. Nevertheless, after dating her for a while and getting to know her; he fell in love with her. To the contrary, my mother wasn’t a big fan of relationships and love. She liked having sex with different men every night and smoking weed with her model friends. She loved her glamorous life; the clothes, the money, the parties, the jewelry, and the champagne. Despite her reluctance to settle down with a man, Harrison was not one to give up. He sent her thousands of sunflowers, which were her favorite, and did everything he could to make her fall in love with him. Eventually his charm wore her down and they dated for a while. They broke up a few times because my mother cheated on him twice but he always took her back. Finally, they got married and had their first child, my brother, James, in 1990. I then came 2 years later and was named after my father’s great-grandmother, Lisabella, because she was the one who had inspired him to become a doctor. In 1995, we moved to Malibu, California because father had accepted an offer for a head surgeon position at UCLA. A few years later, he successfully established his own plastic surgery facility.

James and I had a very entertaining and strict lifestyle growing up. We had everything we wanted and more. We crossed the world in our own personal jet to France just because we wanted to. We rarely saw our father though because he was always at work. I guess that’s why my mother did the things she did. She made sure we looked our best even when going to bed. Our hair had to be perfect, our teeth had to be blinding white, and we always wore designer clothes. We had to be perfect in everything. We had to wake up everyday at 4 in the morning to exercise because she didn’t want us to get fat. Subsequently, after our exercise routine we would have to clean the house even though we had people that did that for us. Mother was anal about having the house clean. You would never think anyone lived in our house because it was spotless. In regards to school, only A’s and B’s were acceptable and we had to play sports or be in an extra-curricular activity. James followed in our father’s footsteps and joined the football team. He became captain his sophomore year; talk about star athlete! I joined the soccer team but mother wasn’t too happy about that. She wanted me to be a cheerleader and gave me so much grief about it.

Soccer is a man’s game darling she told me. She wanted me to be primp little princess in a cheerleading outfit just looking cute. She didn’t understand that I didn’t want to be like her. I didn’t want to be a Barbie nor a trophy to any man. I wanted to study law and become a lawyer someday. I wanted to play soccer and I did and I was good at it. After winning the championship game my freshmen year and becoming captain, she gave in only because I was a star athlete now. It was all about status with her. You had to be somebody or she would not talk to you.

Life was good until it wasn’t. My parents started to fight a lot; mostly about dad working so much. They started sleeping in different rooms when I was nine. I dreaded that meeting where they would tell me and James that they would be separating; particularly because mother did not cook nor clean. No one ever wants to hear that their parents are divorcing. I mean I had friends that their parents weren’t together and I saw how difficult it was for them. Shuffling back and forth from parent to parent would be a jarring transition for me. I didn’t want to be one of those kids. I just couldn’t handle it because I liked how things were and never wanted things to change. Somehow by some miracle that meeting never occurred. Things did get weird though. Each of us fell into our own darkness but yet we were still a family, I suppose. We had family dinner parties, we laughed together, we traveled together, and we cried together. Nonetheless, we kept up with our disguise to our community. Mother would always lie about her upbringing. She would say that she grew up with her grandmother in the upper east side of Manhattan, when talking to the other high maintenance housewives, at their weekly manicure and pedicure bash. She started cheating on my father when I was 12 years old. I caught her having sex with Mr. Dooley when I came from piano lessons one day. Mr. Dooley was a young man of about 27 years of age who married a filthy rich cougar named Veronica Constance. Mrs. Constance had inherited her millions from her five ex-husbands whom are rumored to have mysteriously died.

I had run up the stairs, to mother’s bedroom to tell her that I had been granted the headline act for the talent show. When I got to her bedroom door, I heard strange noises and sounds. As I opened the door, I saw them there in her bed naked. I’m still traumatized. She screamed when she saw me and yelled at me to go to my room. After she got Mr. Dooley out the house, she came into my room and made up some lie about what they were doing.

Honey, me and Mr. Dooley were just playing a game she said to me. She actually thought I was stupid enough to believe that calumny. I knew what sex was and what I saw them doing was definitely sex. I couldn’t believe she cheated on my father. She bribed me with money and extending my curfew to keep me quiet. Truth is, shamefully so, I did blackmail her for many years. I didn’t feel bad about it because in my head she was the only that was being erroneous. That isolated incident really messed me up. Like I said before each of us fell into our own darkness when we moved here. Malibu changed us for the worse and we were oblivious to the fact that we were falling apart.

Mother promised me she wouldn’t have another indiscretion but I didn’t believe her. She cheated on my father many other times. She thought I didn’t know that I knew what she really was doing when she said she was just going out for a bit. Darling, I’m going out for a walk she told me one October night. I didn’t want her to go because I would be home alone. James was at football practice and dad was at work like always. Our nanny, maid, and cook were available for my bidding but I knew my mother was up to no good. Can’t you stay? I need help with my math homework. I pleaded. I really didn’t need help; I had the highest grade in class. I just didn’t want her to cheat on my dad again even if it was just only for this night. You know I’m not good in math, darling my mother responded with a petulant expression on her face.

Then she walked out the door in her gold Manolo Blahnik strappy sandals and red Dolce and Gabanna halter dress. I decided to follow her that night to confirm my suspicions. She didn’t stray too far from our house; just a couple of blocks down to Mr. Mathew Quinn’s house. Mathew Quinn was a successful movie producer and was also married to an oil heiress, from India named, Sane Sahib. Sahib’s car wasn’t there so I knew this wasn’t good. As I watched my mother go up the marble steps I fought the urge to tackle her down and stop her from ringing that bell. She had a gorgeous silhouette and I envied her for that. Even though she was in her late forties; she looked like she was in her late twenties. I mean guys thought I was hot in school but when they saw my mom I was just her shadow. Mr. Quinn opened the door on the first ring and they immediately started making out. When they got inside, they really went at it like teenagers. I felt sick. I couldn’t believe she would do this to my father; to our family. That’s when I saw James. He had gotten out of a car and there was this man with him.

I had a good time tonight the man told James. Yeah, it was great James smiled at the man. At first I wasn’t sure what I was witnessing, then to my shock James started to make out with the man. I couldn’t believe my eyes! My brother was a gay. I mean I didn’t see this coming. How could I have not known? Nobody could have seen this coming. He had brought girls over and I knew he wasn’t a virgin. This was too much for one night and I had gotten weirdly ravenous during this escapade. I slid away from my hiding place behind the bushes from across the street and ran all the way home.