Anastasia Tsioulcas did some pretty astute coverage of Court Watson’s brave, honest corroboration of our #MeToo story, involving William Ivey Long.
Broken Bird, Part Three
Him: It’s good to see you.
Me: You too. I haven’t seen much of you since Thin Skin Jonny went on hiatus.
Him: I’ve been around. I’m in school, too.
Me: How’s Bobby?
Him: Back with James Blackheart. He moved out.
Me: Again? That’s a shame. How was living with him?
Him: I loved living with Bobby Finn. I used to say we ran a bed and breakfast. Bobby provided the bed and I provided breakfast. I got to meet so many new people.
Me: I know the feeling. It was a circus here, for the two months he stayed…
Him: Yes, well… That’s Bobby for you.
Me: Why did he turn his back on me, do you think?
Him: (sighs) I don’t know. I couldn’t or wouldn’t say, even if I did know.
Me: Well, I find it extremely unfair. He freeloaded off me for months and now won’t answer my txts, phone calls, or emails. He’s blocked me on Facebook.
Him: Did you say anything nasty to him?
Me: NO! He’s been out of town for about 4 months doing that theater gig in Kansas. I asked him to have lunch with me and go shopping. I wanted to say goodbye before I left for the West Coast.
Him: Maybe he doesn’t want to see you?
Me: That’s clear, but don’t you think it’s a little rude? I give the guy a place to stay, because he’s being “abused,” and then he gets to turn his back on me?
Him: Bobby just doesn’t understand your decisions lately.
Me: So what? Neither does my Mother, or most of my so-called friends, colleagues, acquaintances or whatnot. Doesn’t matter. When someone announces a wedding you pretend you’re excited, at least. You don’t head for the hills, because you are gay and reserve the right to hate all women, categorically, except your mother.
Him: Quite a few gay men operate like that.
Me: I know that, but don’t I get to expect more of Bobby? I took him in. I put him on the most well-respected comedy stage in NYC. I held him when he cried, and bought him lunch sometimes, if it was clear he was hungry. Why does he have any sort of moral high ground, here?
Him: You’d have to ask him.
Me: That’s the problem. Rather than take me for a walk in the park and ask how I’m doing, inquire about my assault and the PTSD that triggered – rather than congratulate me on my marriage, or say goodbye to an old friend who’s moving 3000 miles away – rather than any of that, he just ignores me. No explanation.
Him: Perhaps he feels that sort of goodbye is preferable to an argument?
Me: There’s nothing to argue about. I don’t have to ask his permission to get married, man or woman. I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to have a nervous break-down. When women do it, it’s called a ‘rough’ period. When I do it, I need an analyst. I like my analyst, by the way.
Him: That’s good.
Me: Here’s what isn’t good.
Me: I ran into Clive, a few months after Bobby left and moved in with you.
Him: I always thought he was cute.
Me: Me too. Not my usual type, but super cute. Anyway, Clive told me that Bobby wasn’t abused at all – at least not physically like he claimed. Clive told me Bobby smashed the wine glass on his own face. He knew the cops were coming and he wanted to look like a victim. He wanted to force James to let him stay in the fancy apartment.
Him: What’s the difference? Does that make him an awful person?
Me: Are you kidding me? He lied to me about being abused, paid nothing to live here, and started undermining me in the band as soon as he moved in with you. He took my kindness and showed me contempt.
Him: You’re just describing human nature.
Me: All of those things I could forgive. He’s younger than me (but getting older – red heads should stay out of the sun) and I could have forgiven those annoying things, but this… How dare he turn his back on me. How dare he join the ranks of former friends who won’t return my calls, simply because I married a woman.
Him: Quite a few people don’t understand that, Michael. You were so vocal about gay rights for so long…
Me: So what? One doesn’t have to be gay to believe in human rights. One also doesn’t have to be straight to marry a woman. It’s reason to ruin a friendship? He should have hung around and made up with me. Stupid, trusting Michael would have probably made him dinner and opened some wine.
Him: Maybe it’s just not the right timing for you two right now.
Me: Exactly. It’s not the right timing because I finally have nothing left to give that selfish little…
Him: Say it. You’ll feel better if you say it.
Me: Human being. Bobby Finn is a real prime example of a human being.
(Marco Bright laughs. I start crying. Marco puts on a pot of hot water.)
(Soon enough we are laughing and writing songs again.)
Tuesdate: Flashback to 2011 – Broken Bird, Part One
Him: Thanks for answering the phone.
Me: My god, of course, Bobby. Of course. What the hell happened? Do you want some tea, or… I have some braised pork in the fridge? I’m going to make some food.
Him: I know it’s way before five, but do you have anything stronger than tea?
Me: Yes. Yes I do. I guess bourbon is okay?
Him: That’s fine. Have one with me?
Me: No. I have to teach later, but you can have my shot. I’ll pour a double.
(long pause, sets cutlery, boils water, makes food and drink)
Him: I guess you’re wondering what happened?
Me: James Blackheart happened?
Me: Who hit you? You look like you got into a fight with an elephant.
Me: Do you need a hug?
(they embrace for a long tme, Bobby shakes, trembling)
Me: Okay, let’s sit back down. I don’t like this side of you. You’re too good looking to walk around with cuts and bruises on your face.
Him: He stopped taking his meds.
Me: And then what?
Him: He came home late at night and started throwing my things into the hallway. He was with another boy, and started screaming about how I didn’t live there anymore.
Me: Wait, what? He came home with another guy? Did you two break up?
Him: We were talking about it, but he’s constantly talking about that sort of thing. He’s not stable when he doesn’t take his meds.
Me: Or even when he does…
Him: He works very hard and makes a lot of money.
Me: So did Kim Jong Il.
Him: He’s a good provider, Michael. You don’t see that side of him, or when he’s sweet for days or weeks on end. He’s a good man.
Me: Good men don’t beat their boyfriends.
Him: It was complicated. We were shouting at each other, he was destroying things – throwing my things out of the apartment. He screamed about how he’d always paid the rent and he was evicting me. He asked the boy to stay and he did for a while, but then it got so ugly – the boy left. The neighbors came over, threatening to call the police. We argued with them. They called the cops.
Me: How did you get those cuts and bruises?
Him: James hit me. That had happened before.
Me: Wait, how often does he hit you?
Him: It had happened before. Not often, but often enough to make me afraid of setting him off. He’s got chemical imbalances.
Me: Bullshit. He’s a dick. He’s an evil man. That’s not a chemical imbalance – that’s a character flaw.
Him: People go through phases, Michael. People aren’t always kind.
Me: But kindness is always an option. There are folk who won’t treat you like that. There are nice, rich guys that would pamper you and spoil you, and not keep you on high terror lockdown.
Him: But I love James.
Me: Did your father hit you?
Him: We were terrified of him, growing up. He wasn’t a nice man.
Me: Okay, so you’re now in a cycle of the same pattern with your boyfriend. Your ex-boyfriend.
Him: Can I stay here for a while?
Me: Obviously. You’re moving in today.
Him: Thank you. I knew you’d help me.
Me: We don’t know each other that well, but I can’t have you walking around like an abused housewife. You’re talented. Have you been singing?
Him: Not really.
Me: You’re joining the band, for a while. You need to get back to what brings you joy.
Him: I can sleep in your bed with you, and we can –
Me: I think that phase of our relationship is over. You can take the couch, or if you have a date that goes particularly well, I’ll take the couch. We’ll split the chores, and for the first few weeks I’ll buy all the food. If you need to stay more than a month, we can talk about rent, etc. – is that okay?
Him: That’s more than… Thank you!
Me: How did you get that gash?
Him: He smashed a wine glass on my head, right before the police showed up.
Me: This relationship is over.
Him: We both stayed the night in jail. Different holding cells.
Me: Good lord.
Him: He’d wanted me to get a job, and the funny thing is I’d gotten a retail job, but it wasn’t good enough, or the money wasn’t coming fast enough. I’d only been working there for 10 days. It’s not enough time to develop a clientele, or anything. Plus he was jealous I was ‘flirting with old men in Chelsea’ for a living.
Me: Flirting with old men is your favorite pass time!
Him: Preach. Anyway, I think it’s over. I hope he hasn’t destroyed my things.
Me: We’ll get you new things, or if need be, we can go over there with a bunch of people so he can’t hurt you. Here’s an extra set of keys.
Him: Thanks mister. Do you have an enema? I need to get ready to go out tonight.
Me: Oh Jesus, this is gonna be trouble.
Him: I can behave, too.
Me: No. Just no hard drugs in the apartment, please, and don’t bring over anyone who looks like a junkie or a thief? And no singing after 1am. I have a coke-head neighbor who’s pushy and demanding about his quiet time. Every time I go over there he’s watching porn on multiple screens and cracked out of his skull.
Him: Is he cute?
Me: He’s like… if you smashed Chris Farley together with Golem. Is that your thing?
Him: No, but I like porn.
Me: Look. Here’s the enema. Please don’t leave it out.
Him: Don’t worry, I will!
Me: I know, baby.
I know you will…
You’re safe now.