Today’s Gallery is just ‘Miscellaneous’
An unusual conversation at breakfast time the other morning. Dave and I at coffee in the kitchen, slopping around in just our gym shorts as usual after lifting some weights in the cabin. Rest of the household out – kids at school, Karen trucking, Claire shopping, Ivo and Pete on ‘earlies’ at the gymnastics centre (and Dave and I not due on until afternoon).
Strange car pulls into the drive, and man in ‘business’ suit comes to knock on the door. It is about time for the morning commuters into the nearby national lab, rather early for other office workers: I guess correctly, as it turns out.
Dave and I glance at each other to make sure we’re fit to be seen (it could be underwear, it could be less…) and I answer the door.
‘Yes. How can I help you?’
‘I’m Ellis Xxxxxxxx: I want to apologise for the amount of time my son Jude spends here.’
‘Any friend of my son’s is welcome at our home, Mr Xxxxxxxx! Please come in.’
I look at Dave, hoping he might have grabbed a tee-shirt for me. No such luck.
‘I’m sorry, we not dressed for visitors: just been training. The boys worked hard this morning, too.’
‘Yes, Jude’s fanatical about his fitness. But that doesn’t excuse him imposing on you like he does.’
‘Mr… may I call you Ellis?… we have the equipment, we have the space in our cabin and Leo has more stuff in the basement. They’re huge friends. They have access to another gym together as well. Dave here and I were just the same at his age and we’ve been training ever since. So there really isn’t any need to apologise!’
An uncomfortable pause.
‘Coffee?’ asks Dave.
‘I’m due at the lab, but a few minutes won’t hurt. Thanks.’
‘Has he told you he thinks he’s… um…? The guy can’t bring himself to say it.
‘Is that OK with you then, with him coming here?’
‘Why ever not?’
‘I just wish he wouldn’t going around saying it. He’s too young to know what that means. It’s not too popular around here, is it? Up in Canada, where we came from, people didn’t seem to be so bothered.’
‘Ellis: he isn’t too young to know. Dave and I sort of knew, but it took a couple more years before we admitted it to ourselves.’
‘You’re gay too? But then how come – Leo?’
Obviously some explanations were necessary. But you, dear reader, should by now understand the set-up perfectly: it is all set out in the first two of these books.
‘So Leo and his other friends aren’t gay, then?’
‘No. Absolutely not. They’re always going on about the girls…’
‘But they don’t mind being friends with Jude then?’
‘Why should they? They all get along like a house fire…’
‘Jude says they sometimes train together naked. I just thought…’
‘They just like the freedom. It’s private, they’re going to get sweaty, they don’t need clothes – all boys together… Dave and I were doing the same, before we showered and came back up to the house.’
Ellis ended up very late for work. It was obvious that he was seriously psyched up over his son’s attitude to his gayness, and was perhaps hoping that he would, given time, ‘convert back’.
‘His young sister seems OK… normal.’
‘Ellis – it’s normal for him. And it is just how he is; how he feels. And it isn’t catching, and there’s absolutely no issue about him hanging out with Leo, Chris and Ryan. They’re all fitness crazy and like to be in the best condition possible, that’s all.’
‘Jude says he wants to be a bodybuilder. Is that a gay thing?’
‘Not really, but of course there gay bodybuilders just like there are gay anything. It really isn’t an issue for us, and for most folks we know. Leo’s mentioned a couple of issues at the High School, but there’s a LGBT group there which can give support, as well as Jude’s friends.’
And so (before your patience expires) we tried to reassure him that Jude would find his own self, his own friends, and was perfectly capable of making his own way in semi-rural Tennessee as long as his father continued to be assigned to the lab here.
Claire later suggested inviting Ellis and his wife around to eat dinner, packing the kids off to the cabin after feeding them first. Saturday night date, then, accepted! Ivo and Pete will be diplomatically ‘out’ at Chad’s gym, leaving us two gay British dads, two lesbian American mums and Jude’s straight Canadian parents to talk philosophy (I suppose). I’m trying to decide if we’re looking forward to it. I wonder if we need to reassure them that their son is safe from other ‘predatory’ gays – us??!!
Just one final thought before the rest of today’s pics. Isn’t it a pity that we have to have such a conversation in the first place, in the 21st century?
I leave you for today watching those muscles grow!