Aidan 13

By Asa Montreaux 

That night, I sat with my mother and maybe for the first time she watched some tv. She sat with her hands in her lap, or sometimes she left them lamely at her sides. She watched it quite intently, I think, and she hardly looked at me. For a while we watched an old episode of Friends, and then the news. After that we watched the Big Bang Theory. A few times I saw her tilt her head in bemusement, or perhaps mild concern for Sheldon, and his social incompetence. I found myself wondering as she did this, what that had to do with him being a gay man. Well—nothing, because that was only the actor, Jim Parsons. I suppose this was just my emotions, a sensitivity to how we are perceived, queer individuals. I couldn’t help but see a gay man acting in the series. The way he spoke, the way he gestured, I saw a gay man. Maybe that was because I knew the way I acted sometimes. Maybe it was something else. He was funny anyways. I swore that was the reason anyone watched the show. Jim Parsons is funny. And the character, Sheldon, is a hoot.

After a while, I could see she was getting less and less interested. I asked her if she wanted don’t go to bed. She didn’t make a response. But after a few seconds, she seemed to have taken her attention away from tv. Then she looked downwards, her eyes on the ground, And I think she wanted to go to bed.


I stood up, and then went over to help her get up. I gave her my hand, and she slowly put hers in mine, and then she stood with my support, and then she got up. We walked to up the stairs together, and once she got to her bedroom, I said good night to her, and I swore she wanted to say good night back, but she just pushed the door open and went inside. She’d only paused for a moment before she had, I suppose it may been thankfulness. Even in a time before this, this travesty, she might just have said, thank you. And so once she closed the door, I went back downstairs, and read for some time, until I couldn’t really without feeling to sleepy, and I went to my room, and went to bed, as well.


It wasn’t the call I was expecting, though it was probably a welcome one. A detective from the Police Department called with news about my father’s trial. I suppose he thought he’d get right to it. The news was positive from my viewpoint. It sounded he was very guilty, and he was facing serious jail time. The detective told me he could very well be sentenced to fifteen years. They were quite certain they could nail down a conviction. If he was convicted on the second charge, then he could go away thirty years. Assault with a deadly weapon was certain, and attempted murder was also, well, almost certain. 

Okay, thank you, I said as I hung up. That was something to look forward to. A trial on an epic stage. At least that’s the way it seemed to me, for me and my family it was a deciding though derisive turning point for all of us. 

If the man could go away for that long, then I’d be free to live my life. There’d be no threat to me, at least from him. There were still these gangs out there, but then I could stay in Vancouver. It was one less one thing to worry about, though really it was the difference between peace and the sense of protection, verses the constant undying possibility of immediate death. That really was the seriousness of the situation. It was not just a threat. I was sure Bill would kill us. He would kill us and that would be the end of our story. 

If made me feel peculiar thinking he had something to do with Jayden’s death, but I didn’t think he was someone who would attempt to take not only my life but my mother’s. He was someone who had scared me, and forced me to leave home. But he really was perverse and twisted inside. It was apparent he had loved his backwards beliefs more than us. How to hold myself up with confidence, knowing my father was like a serial killer? There was no easy answer. Though, my best hypothesis was that I could truly take control of my own identity, and my own personality. I could be what I made of myself. I truly believed anyone could, if they gave it the persistent effort necessary, and they worked equally as hard at maintain the integrity to adhere to their epistemology. Continue be integrous about all of their values, and to remain faithful about all of the things that composed the worldview not of their old self, but of the self that had hardly seen before, but only heard of, in a hazy, musical dream, far off, seeming out of reach, but plainly visible, with their hearts, and with all of the might they never dreamt previously they had.

The only thing to do though, was move on, and in doing so leave the past behind, where it belonged.  I was moving forward, and it was not. Whatever happened with my career, my life was mine. I had freedom, and I had family, and I am quite sure they all loved me. And my relationships with my Dad, and surely all of ours, were over. It was new age for our family and for everyone around me. This kind of justice meant that there was hope for the world beyond what we previously thought. 

The next few weeks slid by with my Mom. And you really had not spoken even a single word the whole time. It was queer, well, it was strange, living with someone who could no longer do the most basic thing, by which we communicate. I felt I should inquire, in writing… I mean if she wanted to write me something about what she wanted. Then one day, I did do just that. 

We were sitting at the kitchen table, just after dinner, and I wondered what she wanted to do with the evening. There was plenty of time before we went to bed. With the paper in front of her, I held the pencil out to here and she took feebly. Somewhat shakily, she held in her hand, above the page, perhaps thinking of something to say, but really whether she wanted to communicate anything at all.

Then, she pushed the tip of the pencil against page, and began to write something. 

‘I need…’ she wrote.

‘I see,’ I said. ‘Go on,’ I added. And I gestured gently with my hand for her to write the rest of the sentence. 

‘…to sleep.’ She wrote.

‘I see.’ I said. I thought about asking why and then thought, never mind. That was enough she had written already. Then, without my expecting it, she began writing something else.

‘Because I am tired.’ She wrote. Ah, I see, I thought. I wanted to ask if it was because she was not getting enough sleep in the night. Perhaps resting all the time left her unable to sleep. Maybe she was getting a little stir crazy.

But I let that slide. I understood well enough that she was in fact only tired, and she needed sleep or time to herself anyways, to recoup and recover, from the vast effect of her illness. So she went off to bed, and I actually just drifted nonchalantly into the living room, where I sat down on the sofa, listening as she got herself ready, got under the covers, and started to drift off to sleep. The last week, maybe the last week and a half, she had been getting herself ready for bed all by herself. She was improving in some ways, in other ways there was no improvement at all. All the same, it seemed there was progress. I suppose that was the first communication she has had with anyone in months. Maybe I should encourage her to write her thoughts in a journal. That would help her to process everything that happened, and document her recovery process. She could slowly open herself up, and in seeing it all in front of her, she could externalize it. By trusting herself, maybe she could learn to trust someone else again.

What I’d want for her is to get better. And communicating her issues was the only way to fully seize them. Then they could be soothed. Her consciousness could defuse of them in a cathartic process. And eventually someone else could offer advice and explanation and meaning as to why that happened. Where to go from here, was I suppose the question. But I suppose what really mattered, was how to find right now, how to exist day to day and live the life we already had. Perhaps slightly differently, and with a heightened appreciation, certainly. But the same life, on the whole. 

I wondered if I would be the first person she would speak to. I sat back on the sofa, and sort of imagined the day when she would first speak. To me, let’s say. We were in the kitchen. I guess I had to imagine a different room than the one I was right now. She was even cooking something for herself. No, she was just turning the eggs. I had made them, or put them on. Whatever. Then she turned around, looked at me full in the face, and smiled, her mouth closed though joy clearly showing in her face. ‘I love you,’ she said. No, she didn’t say that. She said, ‘I enjoy this.’ And that was all. Well, what a statement for her first set of words since… well, you know. Although, this was just my imagination. Maybe her first real words will be actually poetic. Perhaps these words only seemed poetic to me. It was maybe even more the way she said it in my head, all dream-like.  Her first words since losing the ability to speak might be not so wonderful when they do come, all things considered.

But this was just an imagining. I went to my room and found a book I was reading. It had been on my nightstand. Sometimes I leave them in bed and then turn off my lamp before I go to sleep. So I sat there reading Wuthering’s Heights. You know I wasn’t a very strong person. I definitely wasn’t a strong man. I was no Heathcliff. Maybe woman were attracted to a man who was even brutish. So strong, he was well, dangerous. The power of the man, inspired the passion of the relationship, I don’t understand someone attracted by the situational power they have, and perhaps their actual physical. And not just their appearance. But I do.

Though I’m sure that was my type. Well I’m quite sure it wasn’t. Maybe I would sleep with Heathcliff. But I think he might rape me. So all in all, I wail to hear he loves Catherine, or Isabella, I sometimes go to myself, no Heathcliff, love me. But all in all I’d rather not choose him as a lover. In fantasy, well that’s what I was saying. Like sure.

I must have been 300 pages in. It wasn’t the first time I read it. Though that was years ago. Several years ago. It was a favorite of mine, and the words only seemed to get better with time. It mattered to me how my interpretation changed with ever re-reading of a book. The words never changed, so I suppose had. Every time I thought of something different, as I read it, or as I re-read any novel. Sometimes I fallen deeply in love with a novel I hadn’t liked the first time I read it on the second reading. Sometimes I hadn’t even fallen in love with it until the third reading.

So, I suppose that could have been a book that was composed of ideas that were slightly foreign to me. No, no idea was foreign to me. But every writer had a slightly different way of viewing reality, a slightly different way of writing, and sharing viewpoints. So maybe the distance between us, in terms of our differences in opinion, lessened, and lessened, every re-reading.

Eventually, I nearly drifted off to sleep. Sitting up on the sofa, the book in my lap. Eventually I realized how tired I was, and I book the book down, and went to bed. I just left there. Though, on second thought, I took it with me, and left I ton my nightstand again, before I went and brushed my teeth before bed.


When I woke up the next morning, and I started moving about, I began thinking about what to achieve the pay I needed. I wanted to have a life. I wanted to be a man, queer, or not. For every artist out there, I needed pay. And for my safety, I needed a place, away from my Dad, and away from his gang friends. Janelle hadn’t responded to my email. And she had avoided my calls. I guess I had to try calling her one more time, and if that didn’t work, I had another plan.

So after was sort of ready, I walked out to the living room, and reached for my phone, and when I sat down in the chair, I called Janelle’s number. It started ringing. Though once again, no answer. I reached only her answering machine and then I hung up. There was no use leaving her a new voicemail.

So now I had to follow through with the new plan. Or I suppose the plan itself, as calling Janelle was only the most straightforward first step. I had to call Calum. And he would be the one to help me. Maybe, maybe he could be the one to help me. So I dialed his number and waited and waited to see if he’d pick up. I suppose I wouldn’t call again.

One ring. Two rings. Three rings. I thought I might even hang then. And all of the sudden… he answered.


‘Hi, Calum?

‘Yea, this is Calum. How can I help you?’

‘It’s Aidan. I need your help.’

‘Aidan. Ah, this is embarrassing. I’m not supposed to be talking to you.’

‘Why’s that?’

‘I can’t talk about that, I think you know why.’

‘You can’t talk to me and you can’t talk about it. Great. ‘

‘Sorry, I cannot. You know I was rooting for you.’

‘Please. They can’t do this to me. Help me talk to them.’

‘There’s not really any talking to them. At this point.’

‘Come on. There’s gotta be something I can do.

‘You could do something. But you’d need my help.’

‘Well maybe that’s what I’m asking for.’

‘I’m not sure I can do it.’

‘Come on, Calum. Please.’

‘Okay. Well we can’t talk about this over the phone. Can you meet me?’

‘No I’m not there right now.’

‘Well can you come here, to New York?’

‘No, I can’t right now. My mom…’

‘Your mom? Your mom what? What’s the reason?’

‘She’s ill. She’s been in the hospital.’

‘Ah. I see. That’s too bad. Aidan. Ah, alright. If I come there…’

‘Yes. Please. I need your help.’

‘Well I can offer you advice. But beyond that, no guarantees.’

‘Thank you. It means a lot to me.’

‘Yea, of course it does. I’ll see you in a couple days. I’ll call you.’

‘Alright. Thank you.’

‘See ya, Aidan.’



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