Authors: Dontá Morrison
“Yeah.” Khalil said, without batting an eye.
“Well the guy that called was her brother and he informed me that she passed away.” Khalil softened his disposition and the air became a bit more relaxed. “I’m sorry to hear that. Wow. So are you going to fly back for her funeral?”
“Not quite. She died three years ago.”
”Three years ago, so why is he popping up now? Why didn’t he come around to tell you then?” Before Tyrin could answer, the server appeared with their dessert. As he picked up the fork to get a quick taste of the fattening delicacy, he glanced over and noticed that Khalil had his head propped up on one fist staring directly at him. He put the fork down, took a deep breath and blurted out, “I have a son.”
“What?” he responded with a slight giggle.
“Deja had a little boy and he’s mine.” He responded looking down at the table.
Khalil never took his eyes off of Tyrin because he knew that this had to be some kind of a joke. There was no way in hell that the man he had been with for the last five years had a child and didn’t tell him. He looked hard at him, waiting to hear “I’m kidding” or “Gotcha”, but after moments of silence he began to realize that this was no joke and he was now ready for an explanation. “What the fuck do you mean you have a little boy? How long have you known about this phantom child and why in the hell haven’t you ever mentioned this little fact to me?” Khalil asked from behind clinched teeth so his voice wouldn’t carry across the restaurant.
“Baby, I just found out on Thursday.” He replied throwing his hands up in the air as a sign of surrender.
“Oh, how fucking convenient. The day I go out of town you find the fuck out that you have a child.” So far his comments had been low key but he knew that if Tyrin kept on going he may have to raise the decibels on his voice.
“Will you calm down and listen to me please.” He asked, nervously looking around the restaurant to make sure that no one was noticing the uncomfortable situation between two black gay guys.
Tyrin explained the story from beginning to end, constantly re-enforced the fact that he had no idea she was pregnant. He studied Khalil’s body movements and noticed that he was breaking ground with him. He talked for what seemed like an eternity trying to get his story through to him and was relieved when he saw Khalil pick up his fork and begin to taste the dessert. When he began asking questions of concern in regards to the health of Caleb, Tyrin felt a tad bit relieved. He knew that Khalil was angry and filled with
lots of questions, but he was happy that the conversation was no longer one sided.
After dinner they drove around discussing the topic further until all was calm between them. Exhausted with the conversation they decided to go to the Laugh Factory on Sunset blvd to get their minds onto something else. Tyrin felt a sense of relief knowing that he still had Khalil on his side and for all intents and purposes, the worst was part was over.
“Pick up the phone! I know you’re in there!” Khalil shouted into the answering machine. Spencer was comfortably lying on his couch watching the
. He reached down onto the floor, picked up the cordless, and laughed out loud at the antics of Rose. “What do you want?” he asked.
“What are you doing?” Khalil questioned.
“Minding my own damn business.”
“I need to talk to you.” Khalil said.
“Ughhh, what now Tina? Tell Ike you sick of his mess and just leave.” he joked.
“This is serious. Have you eaten breakfast yet?” he asked.
“Meet me at DuPars’ on Santa Monica in about forty-five minutes, my treat.”
“You’re damn right it’s your treat, because I’m just fine right here on my couch watching these old white ladies act a mess. And I can’t stay long because I got a client at 12:30.”
“Just get up and go.”
“Alright, damn. Bye.”
Spencer walked into the restaurant and spotted his best friend sitting at a table in the corner. He approached, looked down at him, and asked in a rather nonchalant manner, “What’s wrong, Blanche?” He sat down and made mention of the fact that he was glad he called because he was down to his last pack of ramen noodles. They glanced over the menu and decided to split an order of pancakes and individually order a la carte items.
“Where’s Tyrin and what did he do?” Spencer asked in effort to get the ball rolling as to why he was beckoned here.
“He and Craig went down to Venice beach to play basketball.”
“Craig ain’t gay yet? He got that Ice Cube thing going on. You think I could reel him my way?” Spencer said in an attempt tolighten the mood.
“If Craig were gay he’d be a lesbian.” He somberly replied. “Anyway this meeting is about me and not your weak ass conversion tactics on the straight men of L.A.” he said as he slowly stirred the straw in his orange juice.
“Well then bitch you better start talking before I get my shit to go and head the fuck back home.” Spencer snapped.
Khalil looked up, smiled and effortlessly said “Tyrin has a son.” Spencer shot a surprised, yet confused look at Khalil, “What do you mean, Tyrin has a son. Bitch, when you give birth? I mean I know you gay, but damn, you took it up a notch.”
“I’m serious Spencer. He has a seven year old little boy.” He continued, trying not to laugh.
“Did this just happen overnight or something?”
“Something like that. When we were in Frisco, the brother of the dead mother came and told Ty that the boy was dying and needed a kidney. He wants Ty to give the little boy one of his. Ty claims that he never knew the mother was pregnant, well scratch that, he said he knew but she said she would get an abortion when in actuality she didn’t. Anyway, long story short, she died of complications caused by her diabetes and now the little boys’ life is in jeopardy unless he gets a donor, but my thing is…”
“So the uncle came looking for the father.” Spencer interjected.
“Exactly. So now what am I supposed to do?”
“About what?” he asked dumbfounded.
“Caleb. His son.”
“Nothing. That little boy is not your problem. I mean I understand that he is a part of Tyrin’s life, but in all actuality he has nothing to do with you. Do they want child support or something?”
“No.” Khalil softly said.
“Then why the fuck is you belly aching over this shit. Pick your damn head up. Tyrin needs to un-ass one of those kidneys so that baby can live. Then he needs to do what he needs to do in order to be a father.” Spencer expressed as he waved for the waitress to come over.
“That’s the problem. What if he feels as though he doesn’t want his son to be around this lifestyle? What if he decides he wants to get custody of this boy and move him into our home?” Khalil waited until after Spencer asked for another glass of water before he continued. He needed to have his full attention of the table so that the reality of his dilemma could be felt. “Listen. Caleb is his blood, he has nothing to do with me, and so I would be forced to take a back seat. That little boy represents something I could never give Tyrin.” He stared at Spencer trying to see if his presentation had swayed him into understanding how he was feeling. He needed him to understand that his concerns were valid and worth their time in conversation.
“Uhmm, Whoopi, are you trying to win another Oscar, because you are really being dramatic?” Khalil let out a sigh and sat back in defeat. “Caleb is not going to replace you. Tyrin ain’t letting you go for nothing in this world. I truly believe that. I think what is going to happen is that the two of you will end up being in this child’s life in some way or another. You are two of the strongest men I know and any child would be lucky to have you as parents. You guys aren’t fickle queens like most of the couples we know, ya’ll shit is tight through and through. You better be glad he’s yours because if I were trifling I would try to steal him from you. I think that your selfish ass has gotten spoiled and now that you may have to share the limelight with somebody cuter, you are a bit intimidated. It happens to a lot of relationships that decide to bring a child into the picture. The dad becomes jealous because he is no longer the center of his wife’s world and vice versa. It’s just another level the two of you have to climb too before you reach the top.” Spencer looked at his friend and moved his head from side to side trying to make eye contact. He needed to get confirmation that Khalil understood what he was saying.
“You’re right. I feel you.” Khalil forced a smile.
“Are you mad because you didn’t get a baby shower?”
“Fuck you man.”
The two of them sat and enjoyed their brunch while discussing life events. After eating they opted to go and browse some of the shops on Melrose before going their separate ways. Khalil went to visit his mother who was home from church and Spencer went back to his resting place on the couch, turned to the
channel and waited to see what movie Meredith Baxter Birney or Valerie Bertinelli would be starring in next.
Khalil pulled into the driveway of Vanessa’s Windsor Hills home. As he got out of his car he made sure to wave at the neighbors next door that not only watched him grow up, but also talked about him behind his back because of his sexuality. Upon entry into the house he yelled out to his mom so she wouldn’t be startled. She responded back letting him know she was in the kitchen, and he made his way into the area where the Cornish hens were resting in a roasting pan on the counter; broccoli & cauliflower were steaming; and a salad was tossed and in the fridge. All that was left for her masterpiece was the macaroni and cheese, which was almost ready to be placed in the oven. The open sliding glass doors allowed the gentle summer breeze to circulate throughout and the sound from the T.V in the family room was a welcome invite to come and watch.
Khalil sat on the barstool at the counter and just watched with enjoyment. “You put money in Lauren’s account?” Somewhat caught off guard by the question, pondered whether he should confess to his banking transaction. He knew that his mother had a way of finding things out, but this was ridiculous. After a few moments of silence he finally confessed that he had given her a little change to hold her over. Vanessa rolled her eyes and continued to put the finishing touch on her infamous dish. “I don’t know why y’all baby her. She is up there spending money on everything except school.”
“How do you know?” he asked.
“Because her silly behind just got off the phone with me, talking about some new boots she just bought.”
“You spoiled her. You bought her a brand new Acura for her high school graduation. You were the one always calling her the princess, so don’t get mad when the princess wants finer things.”
“I want her to get an education. That’s what I want for her, but ya’ll don’t want to listen to me.”
“Ya’ll? How did I get in this? All I did was give her money and truth be told she didn’t even ask for it, I volunteered.”
“OK. Whatever, just be warned that when she starts asking for more you better have it or else she will throw a fit,”
“I will always have it for my little sister, trust that.” He firmly stated. “So how are you doing? “
He went to fridge and poured himself a tall glass of fruit punch and Vanessa kept on talking as she got her dinner ready. She was known for always cooking on Sundays and having their longtime church buddies over; but with him moving out and Lauren going off to college; the house was somewhat empty of mouths to feed, so she eased up due to food going bad.
“I’m fine. So what brings you by? Tyrin must have had plans today that didn’t include you, so you thought you would give me a pity visit.” She said.
“That’s cold. True, but cold.” He smiled.
“So where is Tyrin?”
“Playing basketball. How was church?”
“It was good as usual. When do you plan on going with me?”
“Next Sunday. The Christening, remember, the one you constantly remind me about every chance you get.” He said as he threw a Famous Amos cookie into his mouth.
“I’m talking about a visit without a ceremony. It seems like you only go for funerals and weddings.”
“I don’t know momma. I’ll surprise you one day and just pop up.” He tried not to sound irritated but it was beginning to seep through.“I don’t understand how you were raised in church, directed the choir, and on occasion even ministered at some of the youth conferences, but now you refuse to give God the time of day. Aren’t you nervous?” she asked.
“About what?” he questioned.
Silence filled the room as her last words echoed through his mind. He squirmed in his seat and began to recall all of the church services he went to; the move of the Holy Spirit and the music, how he loved the music. He thought of his friends that were still there and how many of them were now Ministers or Elders. He reminisced on the solos he rendered that always seemed to bring the house down.
At one time in his life he knew he was going to carry the gospel, but somewhere along his path he had gotten sidetracked. It must have been the men that tried to pick him up after service, or maybe the Pastors adjutant that had private sessions with him. It possibly could have been the choir members that he used to go clubbing with or some of the male ushers that would pass him notes trying to get a date.
He looked at his mom set the macaroni and cheese into the oven and realized that the place she wanted him to visit was the exact place that introduced him to the lifestyle. If only she knew half of his stories, half of what he had seen, and half of what he had done, her maternal instincts would more than likely try to shield him from that place. Shaking those memories out of his mind he broke the silence and uttered the words, “Jesus loves me.”
Vanessa looked at her child and with smiling eyes simply responded “Yes he does and always will.” She knew more than he thought she knew, but at the same time she had to be wise in her words so it would not run him farther away from the God she served and loved. “Are you hungry?” she asked.
“No not really, but I will take a plate to go. I just came by because I hadn’t seen you in awhile and I knew you would go crazy if you knew I were in L.A and didn’t stop by.”
“I’m fine. I know you are grown and you do your own thing. By the way, your sister said that she wanted to come home and visit for the fourth of July.”
“Is she driving?”
“That’s why she called me. She wants to fly so she will have more time to stay. I guess she supposes she will use my car to get around. She’s probably already started calling her little friends and told them she was having a pool party or something,”
“You know you are going to buy her the ticket so stop trying to act all tuff. And if she has planned a pool party you also know you’re going to be at Smart & Final buying everything they need to make it a success.” Khalil knew how much his mother loved to entertain and always looked for reasons to pull out her party trinkets. “You probably already started putting oil in the Tiki torches.”
“I’m going to get the ticket. She isn’t driving my Benz. And you know I am not in the mood to be entertaining all those kids. They don’t know when to go home.”
“That’s because you never say go home,” he added with a chuckle.
“Shut up.” She said with a smile of defeat.
“Are you making a dessert?”
“Nope. Marie Callendars has pies on sale, you need some money to stop and get you one?” She said sarcastically.
“I’m going to watch television because I don’t like your attitude.” He jokingly said as he headed for the couch.
“Bye…” she said with a wave of her hand.
He posted up in front of the TV with “I Love Lucy” on the screen and began to flip through the latest issue of Ebony magazine. It was days like this that he missed. When they were younger he and Lauren would sit in this room, watch movies and talk until there was nothing else to talk about, while their mother cooked up food from heaven in the kitchen. He was glad that Lauren was coming home for a visit. He missed his sister but knew that she had to do what she had to do. When he told her he was gay she
laughed and said she didn’t care as long as she never saw him kiss a man. He respected her wish and in the five years he has been with Tyrin she has never seen any type of affection between the two of them. She loved Tyrin like her own brother but she said she could only take so much, and they have both honored her request.
“What are you in here doing?” Vanessa asked breaking his thoughts.
“Nothing. Chilling, getting some much needed rest.”
She sat down on the couch and looked at her son. She was happy he came to visit because he was one of her best friends. Her main desire is for her offspring to be happy, even if they choose to live their lives in a fashion that she doesn’t agree with. It isn’t easy for a mother to deal with the fact that her child is living a life against what she believes to be right, and it has been a true test of her faith. People have asked her how she deals with it and she has informed them that it isn’t anything for her to deal with. She raised her children as best she could and their success is a result of that.