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Beta'd by Erin.
Points of View - part 1/4 - "Visit"
Harrison Beecher was standing at a table in the visitation room, his whole figure grim, unpleasant looking...*displeased* might be a better word.
Toby peered through the window for a second at his father before entering the room, sensing already just how difficult the whole conversation would be.
Whenever he saw his father waiting for him, Tobias couldn't help but sense that the other man seemed to feel more trapped than Toby, like he himself was imprisoned.
But, I guess, all those people coming here to visit their loved ones feel the same thing, Beecher thought.
'Cause a part of *them* truly was locked behind these walls. The part that mattered the most.
Toby's voice sounded just as tired as the older man looked, as he hugged him briefly. Not too hard, never too long, Toby never could tell why, that's just the way it always had been between them. No matter how much he would have wanted it to be different.
Always an odd distance between them, something that had grown in time to feel even more familiar than anything else about his dad.
Distance in everything, never too close. 'Til you're forced, that is. 'Til you just can't help yourself anymore.
Toby already knew his dad was never going to bring up the *Keller subject*, and in a way, he was grateful for that, but this time...he just couldn't help himself.
He just had to talk about it, to get things straight with his dad, and with himself too. He felt that if he could actually talk about it to someone who knew him, someone who he trusted and loved, the whole thing would get to make sense. Some kind of sense.
Cause that's what was really bothering Toby, the fact that he couldn't even explain it to himself, let alone to the people he loved.
And he knew that that particular revelation about their son being in a relationship with another man,
(Better said, *fucking* another man.)
and actually caring for him,
(Especially after all the shit he'd been through before, after all the shit the both of them had put each other through-- not that Mommy and Daddy knew the *whole* story...just the part Toby couldn't hide or lie about. The part that made Chris look really, *really* bad, and Tobe...well, a heck of a lot less...less dirty. Less guilty.)
had come to be catalogued as just another of those patented *Tobias screw-ups*...
They had seen him fuck up before, throw himself and everything else overboard, go all feral and pissed -- destroy his toys, like a small child begging for a spanking. For punishment.
Something that would never come from those mild-mannered, calm, shrink-like parents of his: 'let's talk about it, Tobias, why did you feel like doing that, you know it's wrong and it doesn't help getting like that.'
(--'Yeah, yeah, I know, I fucking know...But still don't give a shit, just fucking felt like doing it! Don't you ever just fucking feel like that?!'--)
But, this time it had been way, way too much for both of them to just accept and move on. This, and Toby had to admit it, had been just too much.
Toby knows it would be better to just leave the whole thing out of any conversation with his folks, but...how can he talk about himself, in here, without bringing up Keller?
It was simply impossible.
It would be a lie.
Like ignoring the big white (or is that pink?) motherfucking elephant standing in the middle of the room, or something.
"Things are actually pretty much okay, now. It's funny, sometimes it feels like I'm somehow a part of it, of this place..."-- sensing his father recoil, his face turning white, with Toby trying to finish his line of thought, like a 16-year old standing up to his old man: "... that this place is a part of me, and I'm starting to just...I don't know, feel better. Not that much strain anymore, and Chris even says that..."
And, at that point, he just had to stop.
His father, pulling his hands away from him, that look of discontent again on his face (not that unfamiliar, truth be told), that cold stare, like looking through him, not wanting to really see his son. Not right now.
*This* Tobias definitely looked so enormously different from *his* Toby, it sometimes felt like visiting, talking to, hugging a complete stranger.
Scruffy looking, tired as hell, his glasses gone, his hair grown,
(thank God, no more beard!)
looking bigger, more powerful, always carrying that wary, guarded myopic gaze of his, cynicism underlined by that glimmer of madness, always there, lurking underneath every pore of his body.
And, sometimes...(like for instance, when he threw that fit of rage with the FBI in the same room, and the guards had to carry him away kicking and screaming) ...SCARY.
Scary as hell.
He still had that spoiled brat tone of his, that mild, deceptive, annoying condescension, alongside that ever-present taste for self-pity, for wallowing in his own pain, and right away snapping at whoever he thought might be responsible for the shit he felt at that particular moment.
Probably Christopher Keller, nowadays.
But it all had somehow changed, turned all...nasty. Bitchy.
And that particular element rising from underneath everything Toby had once been (father, husband, lawyer, drunk, drug-addict...) made Harrison very insecure, not quite sure how to deal with this *new* Toby, this man who did not feel afraid or ashamed or guilty to mention that man's name in front of his own parents...
The man with whom he was...
Harrison couldn't even begin to imagine, let along understand what that, all *that*, was for Toby, what it meant for him.
What he felt.
And the entire thing seemed the more out of place since both himself and his wife had never seen their son as a sexual being.
Not even after Toby had gotten married, not even after the kids had started to pop up...
The whole thing was just the natural way of the world, like some kind of upper middle-class habitual *magic* worked in the background, with everybody walking around half-asleep all the time, just waiting for the things that were supposed to happen to just...happen.
(--'Probably getting your ass thrown in jail after running over a little girl ain't part of that particular pre-destined magical road to the Upper-East Side...Probably that's when you wake up. *Cupcake.*'--)
Toby's mind, squirming: *Shut up, shut up! Please, shut the fuck up, Vern! Please...*
Knowing he's sooo right. Always. Well, most of the times.
The one man he'll never be able get out of his system. Not *completely*.
No matter how hard he might try. No matter how hard *Chris* tries...to throw him out of both of them.
(--'Nope. The MAN's...here to stay.'--)
Toby, quickly shifting his position at the table, breathing in deep, like trying to brace himself for...something - trying to continue his chain of thought, no matter what:
"Chris told me I look more relaxed, more OK... He said I'm...happier, since you guys have started bringing Holly here. He likes to listen to me talk about her..."
"You talk to that man about us, about your family? About Holly?"
In one split second, eyes narrowing, that TRICK of his, the anger taking over:
"Yeah, what did you think, I don't talk to anybody in this place? I might just as well go and have myself committed if I didn't have anyone to talk to about my kids, about myself!..."
(--'Cause I certainly do like talking about myself, that's for sure...Just ask Chris.'--)
His voice, almost a snarl, his mood switched to *pissed-off*, making his father give him that fucking glance of his, the one Toby hates so much.
(--'Politeness, my boy, this is not a shouting contest!'--)
Cooling his voice down, keeping his eyes on the table, shivering a little:
"I don't think you understand just how much it means to have someone in here who actually cares enough about you so that you know, that you can trust that you're not feeding him with the kind of shit he might use later to screw you over."
(--'I should know, right?'--)
"It's better with him than all alone, in here."
Sighing, fully aware of just how weirdly accurate that particular statement actually was.
Looking up at the man sitting next to him, hoping, wanting, begging for him to understand, or at least to just accept it as it was.
And his father asking just the worst kind of question Toby could have ever thought of:
"Do...do you enjoy having...sex with this man?"
Blushing all over, like a kid.
(--'Fucking Christ, do I *enjoy*?!...Have you been listening to a word...'--)
But, maybe he was right, asking the exact question Toby had been avoiding more than any other. Even more than answering whether he loved Keller or not.
And that was a hard one to admit to.
(--'Cause two men can't love each other...
Having no clue what to say to that, not the fucking truth, that's for sure.
But, if he were to say no...then how would his father know that what he had with Keller was so much different to the shit he'd gone through when he first came to Oz?
His dad was definitely not dumb, a lose-lose situation either way, he was going to have to admit to something that he himself didn't like to think about too much.
'Cause you're not exactly *comfortable* with the answers... Right, Toby?!
"Dad, what...Come on, that's just, you know, you shouldn't."
"Toby, you said this man is your lover. Now, you're a father..."
(Meaning: 'you were married, you loved Gen, you like girls. WOMEN! That's who you are. Right? Right?!...'--)
"...give me some kind of a clue as to why you'd...get yourself into a relationship with another man, THIS man."
(--'Oh yeah, the guy who put me in a hospital for three fucking months. Thanks for reminding me.'--)
"Make me understand, because I have to tell you, this is..."-- waving his arm a little, like he doesn't even wanna mention the word, like he's disgusted.
(--'...Sick. Abnormal. *Perverse*. Yeah, I know Dad, so just fucking say it already, or shut the fuck up. Get it all out in the open: *Toby fucked up AGAIN!* And this time's worse than ever before because I don't even seem to feel ashamed about it. But...I do. Feel ashamed. Sometimes...Most of the times.'--)
"How can you..."
But his question remains unasked.
And Toby, after a couple of seconds of staring at the floor, rubs his face hard with both his palms, settling his elbows on the table, hands clutched into fists. Breathing deep, again. Charging:
But that's beside the point, it doesn't really matter."
(--'Cause it's not about fucking, not quite...It's about trust.'-- And: 'do you really trust him, Toby? *Really*?...'--)
And to that, after a very brief moment of confusion, Harrison Beecher recoils. Again.
Looking at his son, at his lowered eyes, searching for that sense of shame he secretly hopes for, that *this-ain't-nothin'-but-a-jail-thing*, Dad...
And finding nothing of the kind.
Toby's eyes are indeed lowered, he's not exactly *proud* of himself, but he's not ashamed either, just kind of...sort of...OK.
OK with the whole thing. Like he's finally accepted it. Pretty much...
It's a given fact.
And Harrison gets the impression that there's not much he can do about it.
"I love him."--a beat, his voice a bit unsure: "And he loves me."
Looking up at his father, shrugging:
"Can't really explain it, Dad. It just is."
(--'And, as I've already told you, it's a fuck of a lot better to have *someone* near you in the middle of the fucking night, to hold you, calm you down and drag you out of your own very *specific* nightmares with the patience of a fucking night nurse...Better than being all alone. Even someone like Chris.'--)
Harrison doesn't understand; he never will.
But he knows that, whatever this thing between his son and Keller is, in actual fact...Toby really does seem OK.
Happier. Calm. Mature.
It may be a direct result of it, probably not.
What truly matters is the fact that his son's doing well. Well enough not to go back on booze, or heroin or God knows what else.
Well enough to keep himself stable.
And besides, he thinks to himself, this is just a jail thing, it can't *really* be any other way... Tobias' lawyer instincts at work, carefully playing safe.
Shielding himself the best way he can.
To make it out of here.
This isn't *Toby*.
The Toby that matters outside these walls.
To his family. To his world.
---end of part 1/4---
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