Chapter Three — An Actual Date
“Are you having dinner with your Mother and me this evening, Aaron?” my Dad asks.
“Uh, no, Dad, Not tonight. My friend, Adam is picking me up to go and have pizza with him to say thanks for helping him out with his car last Sunday.”
“That’s Adam Blanchard, right Aaron?”
“Yes, Dad, that’s right.”
“Your Mother and I were talking about that this morning. He’s a good bit older than you, isn’t he, Aaron?”
“Yes, Dad. I got to talking with him in Fullerton’s and he was asking me about Algonquin College and the Design Program. He’s a pretty nice guy, Dad.”
“Your Mom mentioned that to me, yes, He offered to take you out for driving lessons so you’d hopefully be able to get your license before starting school in September. Have I got that right?”
“Yes, Dad. Is that OK with you?”
“Does he have insurance and how old is his car, Aaron?”
“I don’t know, Dad.”
“Well, when he comes to pick you up, I want to meet him to look at his car and have a little talk with him.”
“OK, Dad. He said he’d be here around 7:00 to pick me up and then we’re going to El Paso’s on Buell Street after that.”
It’s 7:05 and I hear Adam’s car idling outside. He honks the horn and rolls down the window on the passenger side and stares at our front door, waiting for me to come out to meet him.
“Go out there and tell Adam that I have beer in the fridge and that I want to speak with him out back before you two head off for a pizza, Aaron,” my Dad says to me, as he stares out the living room window at Adam’s old car.
“I don’t know if he made a reservation for dinner and it’s already past 7:00 now, Dad.”
“I don’t believe that was a question, Aaron. Now go out there and do what I tell you, young man.” I look at him and start to get nervous about what he might say to Adam. “Yes, Dad.”
“And don’t look all concerned there! I’m not going to bite his head off. I just want to find out what kind of insurance he has on that old car of his and just how safe it is. Frankly, I’m fine if he wants to ‘take you on’ and teach you how to drive. I don’t think I want to go through that again that after you backed my car up into Mrs. Elliot’s garbage cans on Cedar Street, when you attempted to back it out onto King Street without checking the rear-view mirror first. I had a lot of explaining to do to her and had to promise her four new garbage cans after that little episode. If he has the patience to deal with you behind the wheel, then it will save me having a heart attack and going bankrupt when you are on the road!”
“Gee, Dad. Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
He laughs at me.
Just then, Adam blows his horn two more times and my Dad says, “Go out there and tell him to stop blowing his damned horn! This is a quiet street and the neighbors are nosy, old ‘so and so’s.’ Besides, he’ll wake up your Mother and she has another midnight shift at the Hospital tonight to get through. I want to see him. He can turn his car off and come in for a few minutes. I promise I won’t give him the Spanish Inquisition interrogation, Your Mother will soon be up, and I want to have a few words with him before she comes downstairs, Now go out there and tell him to come around to the back patio and I’ll have a cold beer waiting for him. Go now, Aaron.”
“Yes, Dad.” I stop to have a quick look at myself, before I open the front door, “You’ll have to do,” I say to myself.
I get up to his car and Adam says to me, ” ‘Jeezus’ cookie, do ya’ always hafta’ take so long to get ready, babe?” Then he leans over to open up the passenger door, until I say to him, “Uh, not so fast, Adam. My Dad said to tell you he wants to see you and talk to you about driving your car. He told me to tell you to stop blowing your horn and come around to the back patio to have a beer with him. He’s waiting now for you and me, so turn off your car and let’s go see him, OK?”
If there was ever a ‘deer in the headlights look’ that could be truly be conveyed in a photograph, the one that Adam was giving to me at that moment would have been the classic one to capture. ‘Capture’ being the perfect word in this instance.
“Uh, OK, cookie.” He turns his old Bonneville off and grabs his keys out of the ignition and slowly gets out the driver’s side and stands there, unsure of what’s about to happen next.
“And for God’s sakes, don’t call me cookie in front of him!”
“Gimme’ some credit here, Aaron, baby. That’s just for when you and I get naked and are alone together and when I get ta’ stick my big, hairy dude piston up inside ya’!”
“Oh God!” I exclaim.
Then I take a few seconds to take a good look at him. Freshly showered and shaved, with a nice-fitting pair of dark blue jeans and what looks to be a brand new starched and ironed white cotton, button-down shirt on, he looks like he stepped out of a Sear’s catalogue!
“Told ya’ I’d clean up pretty nice, didn’t I, Aaron? You look pretty cute yourself there, baby.”
“How did you know what demetevler escort I was thinking just now, Adam? Is mind-reading one of your hidden talents?”
“Told ya’ babe. Your eyes give you away every time. Now let’s go and meet your Dad and get this over with.” I lead the way up the driveway beside the house and Blackjack is there, waiting for me to open the gate. Dad is sitting on one of the chairs around the table and I see three open bottles of Molson Canadian sitting out ready for whatever my Dad is about to say to Adam and me.
“Adam Blanchard…Last time I think I saw you, you were about fifteen years old and with your Mother at the Hospital. Welcome! Nice to see you again. Give Delphine my best regards when you see her and come on in and have a beer with us.”
“Hello, Mr. Christie, sir. Good to meet you, sir. My Mom says nice things about you and Mrs. Christie. You all work down at the Psychiatric together,” Adam says and bends down to pet Blackjack, who is sniffing around his feet.
“That’s right, Adam. Ah, I see Blackjack has warmed up to you already. Dogs are good judges of people and character. I trust Blackjack better than I do most folks I know, Adam. She was given to Aaron as a Christmas present by his older sister Ariana and her husband, Nick. How old were you, Aaron when we got Blackjack?”
“Uh, I think I was either seven or eight back then, Dad,” I say.
“She’s slowing up these days and not as active as she used to be. Guess the same can be said for all of us!” my Dad says and then laughs. I have a beer here with your name on it, Adam. Come and sit down for a few minutes, Do you have a reservation for dinner?”
“No sir. El Paso’s is pretty quiet on a week night. I figured we’d just take our chances and drop in for a pizza. Shouldn’t be a problem. I think they close at 9:00 though…”
“Well, son, I won’t be keeping you here until then. So have a seat and let’s talk about these driving lessons. And Aaron, you just sit there and pretend to be a statue the way the Nuns made you do in that third grade play. You have a way of making things all about you, and this one time you’re going to be quiet and let me get to know Adam a little better here. You got that young man?”
Adam laughs out loud at my Dad’s remark and my reaction. I think Dad is trying to put him at ease. “He’s really good at making people relax and feel good about themselves,” I think to myself.
My Dad laughs at me and says, “You didn’t notice, but there’s a third beer on the table here and it isn’t for Blackjack either. Since you turned legal drinking age last year, I figured it was high time to start offering you liquor legally instead of having you steal it from the locked box down in the basement. I know you’ve watered down the scotch and your Mom’s tequila to make it look like the bottles weren’t touched before. So, no more of that! Now you just sit there and don’t you say one word until I finish with Adam here. Understand?”
“Yes, Dad.” I try not to roll my eyes, and then I call Blackjack over to pet her in a valiant and ultimately futile attempt to distract my Dad.
“So, Adam…this car of yours. Mrs. Christie tells me that Aaron here had to help you on Sunday, because it broke down on you, on Perth Street of all places?”
“Uh, well, yes sir. It’s been giving me some trouble lately. But, I took it over to Gerry at Purvis Esso and he fixed it up for me. It should be OK now, sir.”
“You took it over or had it towed over, Adam?”
Adam is scarlet red in the face at this point and I can see him shifting uncomfortably in his chair. He takes a swig of beer and then says to my Dad, “Well, sir, I had to have it towed.”
“I see,” my Dad says. “You say you think it’s OK now to drive though. Have I got that right, Adam?
“I saw it outside when you pulled up and started to honk the horn for Aaron. I had one of those old Pontiacs back in the ‘sixties myself. By the way, Adam, don’t do that again with the horn honking. It’s a quiet street here. From now on, you park it in the driveway and come up to the front door and feel free to come inside anytime here. I’m sure your Mom raised you better than that. You’re not some hippie that has a Volkswagen van roaming the countryside now, are you?”
I just can’t believe my Dad used the word, hippie!
“No, sir. I suppose I’m not, sir.”
“I didn’t think so. And it’s going to be either ‘Mister Christie’ or ‘Richard’ and not ‘sir’ from now on, Adam, you’re making me feel like I’m interviewing you for a job here. Now relax and tell me just how good a condition this car of yours is really in and how many miles it has on it and whether you have full insurance coverage to let Aaron drive it.”
“Well, sir, errr, that is, Mr. Christie, it’s a 1963 Pontiac Bonneville my Mom gave to me to drive when she got her new car. It used to belong to my Dad before, well, before he went out west.”
“Yes, Adam. Mrs. Christie and otele gelen escort I remember those times with Delphine. But, let’s focus on your car for now though, shall we? Continue please.”
“Last time I looked at the odometer, it had around 88,700 miles on it. And, I have a $500.00 deductible with comprehensive coverage, personal liability and property damage for me and any occasional driver I let drive it. Just so long as I am with them in the car when they do.”
“You’re how old again, Adam?”
“I’m twenty-seven, Mr. Christie.”
“Your insurance must be costing you around $350.00 a year, given your age and the fact you are a relatively young man. That’s more than I estimate what the value of what your car is. Are you absolutely sure you want to take on the risk and let my boy here drive it?”
“Well Mr. Christie, I think he’s pretty responsible and I’ll make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid or reckless when I take him out. That is, if you’d be willing to let me teach him how to drive.”
“That’s exactly what I wanted to hear, Adam. Last time I took him out in my car, he managed to run over four metal garbage cans and we had to clean up the mess in front of Mrs. Elliott’s place over on Cedar. Cost me $35.00 and a trip to Smart’s Pro Hardware to get her some new ones!”
Adam lets loose with a huge laugh and my Dad looks over at me and smiles.
“OK, Adam. Better you than me. Take him out anytime you like. Just bring him back in one piece though. That’s all I ask,” my Dad says.
I couldn’t be more embarrassed and then Adam looks over and says to me, “Next time, Aaron, aim for the plastic garbage cans. They don’t make as loud a noise when you hit them and won’t dent the car so badly either!” My Dad was taking a swig from his beer bottle and when he heard what Adam said to me, his face turned red and he started to choke and almost fell off his chair laughing.
“Well, well, what’s going on out here? Sounds like a party and someone forgot to invite me,” my Mom says, as she stands in the kitchen door, surveying the scene playing out in front of her.
“Iva, I hope we didn’t wake you up just now,” my Dad says.
“You remember little, well, not so little anymore Adam Blanchard, don’t you, honey?”
“I do, indeed. So nice to see you outside of Fullerton’s and away from that prescription counter, Adam. How are you and how is your Mother?” my Mom says.
“She’s doing just fine, Mrs. Christie and things are good with me too. Thanks for asking.”
“I’m glad I caught you just now, Adam. Aaron sometimes has a selective memory and tends to forget things I want him to pass on. Did he tell you we were hoping to have you over for dinner here sometime soon, when you have a day off from Fullerton’s?”
“Yes, ma’am, he did.” says Adam.
“Good then. You check your schedule at the store for the next couple of weeks and get back to us with a couple of times, please. I trust you like roast beef,” my Mom says, while raising one eyebrow and giving Adam an appraising, unblinking, long stare.
“I’d like that. Thanks very much, Mrs. Christie.”
“It’s Iva, dear. Do feel free to call me Iva, when you come over here.”
“Uh, yes…err, Iva. I’ll try to remember that.”
Adam hops into his car and immediately heaves a sigh of relief. I’m beside him and see a couple of sweat beads on his forehead. “Well, Adam! You can’t blame me this time for those beads of sweat on your face. Can I lick them off you before we go into the restaurant?”
“Settle down there, cookie! I don’t need to be gettin’ a full hard-on, boned-up, hairy erection sittin’ right out here in front of your parent’s house! So, do ya’ think I passed inspection OK back there, babe?”
“I’m pretty sure my Dad made his mind up to like you before you even came to pick me up tonight. He isn’t really so intimidating now to you, is he?”
“Nope, cookie. He’s a pretty decent guy. Your Mom, though, she’s gonna’ take a bit of time to warm up to. And by the way, trust me. She already knows I’m banging her little boy. Like I told ya’ babe, Moms always know these things. It’s like they have ‘Mom Radar’ or something.”
“Not sure how you could possibly know that, Adam. But, if she does…well, she’s just going to have to get used to being less protective and allowing me to have a life of my own. And on my terms too. She’s always hovered over me, and I know she thinks she’s going to lose me when I start school. Maybe if you spend some time over here and offer to maybe help out with her and her back garden, she might come to see that while things are going to change soon, maybe some of those changes could be good for all of us.”
“OK, sure thing, babe. I can do that. No problem, cookie.”
“Now, let’s just hope this cocksuckin’ shitbox excuse for a car of mine doesn’t embarrass me and starts up without too much protest so we can still grab that pizza over at El Paso’s. I’m fuckin’ starving here! It felt like old Mrs. Fullerton balgat escort was grillin’ me for a job interview just now. Fuck, baby, pressure like that makes me hungry and horny. First the food and then we’ll see what pops up after that! OK, cookie?”
“You look really nice this evening, Adam. I can’t believe someone as good-looking as you likes me,” I say.
“Awww, cookie. You have no idea, babe. If you could only see what I see. I wantcha’ to take a good, long look at yourself in a mirror sometime. You make me laugh and surprise me all the time, baby. And, I get hard every time I’m close to you. It’s all I can do not to grab you and rip your clothes off. We have what’s called ‘chemistry’, cookie! And you can’t buy that in any drug store I know of. And after all, I should know!”
Luckily, his Bonneville starts right up for him on the first try. I’m sure Dad is listening to hear him drive off. “Don’t rev the engine or squeal the tires, Adam. Dad will be listening and I don’t want him re-thinking you taking me out for driving lessons, OK?”
“Ya’ mean revving like this, cookie?” he says teasingly, while giving his car two quick boots to the pedal.
“Jeez…sorry I even mentioned it now.”
Adam laughs and squeezes my left thigh. Finally, we head out for dinner.
“Iva, can I make you a coffee, now that you’re up?”
“No, Richard. I’ve just put some Grenadine into my glass for a Tequila Sunrise.”
“That stuff doesn’t mix well with the Valium and Elavil you’ve been taking.”
“Oh, Richard. Don’t lecture me again on the evils of alcohol and drugs. Ariana called me today and gave me another story about how Nick is behind on the rent at the store and owes his suppliers $35,000.00 in outstanding accounts. I just don’t know what to say to her about the situation. I know I’ve said this a hundred times before, but what did she expect when she married him? We both knew it was a mistake at the time. She had a good future with the bank and she gave it all up for a man with barely a grade nine education and limited prospects on the job front. Now look at where they’re at. What are they going to do?”
“Iva, there’s something I didn’t tell you. We’ve been discussing putting this place up on the market and moving into that new apartment building on Church Street that’s going up where the old convent is standing now. With Aaron heading off to college and Blackjack now getting older, you and I agreed to sell the house and use some of that money to finance Aaron’s education and have some fun in our remaining years with the balance.”
“Yes, yes, yes, Richard. Tell me something I don’t already know.”
“I’m getting to it, Iva. It seems that Nick has a friend who is on the St. Francis Xavier Church Committee. Someone who has access to the list of potential tenants expressing interest in putting a reserve in on those seniors apartments once the building is completed and ready for occupancy in 1980. As well, he somehow found out that we talked to Paul Saunderson from Royal Lepage Real Estate and he called me last week and asked to come and speak with me at my office.”
“Go on, Richard.”
“Well, Iva, he had the nerve to ask me if I’d consider selling the house to him because they were going to have the Bailiff lock him out of the store in the Mall for outstanding rent and the percentage profit-sharing he is obligated to pay them on an annual basis, And get this! He asked ‘me’ to hold the mortgage for ‘him’ on the sale of this place so he could set up shop here and carry on with his painting contracting business and sell paint and wallpaper out of the house!”
“It’s worse than I thought, Richard.”
“I almost kicked him out of my office, I was so angry. Imagine the gall of him expecting me at my age and with less than a year to retirement to hold ‘his’ mortgage and bail ‘him’ out!”
“Why didn’t you mention this to me before now, Richard?”
“Iva, honey, I know you’ve been depressed with having to accept that Aaron is leaving home soon and is almost an adult with his education plans locked down and a life stretching out ahead of him. We both love him…maybe at times too much…you’re trying to deal with this and Iva, I just didn’t want you to have to be hit with this at the same time.”
“We share everything, Richard. We always have. The good and the bad.”
“Then, Iva, it’s high time I say a few more blunt things that should have been said a long time ago between us, since we’re getting into this now.”
“Iva, we’ve known about Aaron for a long time. I think you’ve known since he was three years old. I’m a Roman Catholic and try to follow the Church teachings. But, both you and I know about his sexuality, even though we’ve never spoke about it to each other. And I’ll say this to you right now, Iva. I love our boy and God made him the way he is. Not you or I. Whatever the Pope and Monsignor O’Grady at St. Francis Xavier have to say from the pulpit about the damnations of Hell awaiting so-called perverts and sexual deviants, I don’t accept that for one damned, single minute!”
“I well remember that ‘old fart’ O’Grady pontificating to me when Ariana wanted to marry Nick in the Catholic Church years ago. Telling me that if she was on birth control pills or pregnant, and if Nick refused to convert and agree to raise their children as Catholic, he would refuse to marry them at St. Francis Xavier!”