A Ruined Life Ch. 01byMSTarot©
A single conversation, overheard one night when I should have been asleep, was the absolute ruin of my life.
I had drunk far too many glasses of tea with dinner and got up to go to the bathroom sometime after midnight. As I passed mom and dad's room I heard them arguing. That they were doing that this late at night caught my attention more than anything.
That and my name.
"He's never going to be like his brothers." I heard my mom say. "Denis is just more like my family than yours."
"Well, he'll get a growth spurt in a few years. Sure he'll never be a lineman, but hell he's got the speed to maybe be a running back." My dad's voice rumbled through the door. "Well ... maybe a kicker."
"Bill, I love you to death but get this through that thick skull of yours. You have two sons that already play football. Your third isn't going to." The exasperation was thick enough to cut. "You heard the coach."
"I don't care what that fool says! I was playing for Coach Stalling's when that asshole was learning which end of his whistle to blow!"
"Keep your voice down, Bill; you're going to wake the boys." I heard my mom say in a quiet, calm, soothing manner. Her voice of reason I had come to call it, over the years. She used it mostly with my dad and my brothers. "Now, I find it strange that when he told you that Bill Jr. and Mark were going to probably both go to college, with full scholarships, that you thought he was the best thing since beer came in a can. But when he's told you that Denis won't even make the high school B-Team you think he's an idiot."
"I didn't say he was an idiot, I said he was an asshole." Dad's grumble could have made a thunderstorm envious. "He's got two nephews that are Denis' age. He's going to put them on the team instead!"
"Those two boys are half a foot taller than our son and probably forty pounds heavier." I hear my mom say, sharply. "They also don't have a brain cell between them. All they are good for is football."
"What's that supposed to mean?" I heard dad's voice snap.
I can't believe my mom has the nerve to chuckle.
"Bill, I didn't marry you for your mind."
Dad kind of gives a snort then a chuckle after a second. "I know you didn't, you married me because you couldn't believe this much cock could come with one man."
"Oh yeah, that's why." I could practically see my Mom's eyes roll towards the ceiling.
Then I heard the bed squeak. It sounded like dad had sat down.
"Well, what are we going to do Suzy?" My dad's voice was bitter and tired. "It wouldn't be fair to him to have his brothers go off to college while he can't. Cause, God knows, I can't afford to send him on what I make. Hell, we're just making it as it ... you know that."
"Then Denis will have to be smart enough to make it on his own. I can't say this for all of my son's but Denis is smart. He learns quickly, always has. Hell, he was almost reading before Mark was." I hear mom take a deep breath and sigh.
Standing in the hall, my full bladder sending me horror signals, I couldn't make my feet take me from the door. I felt like my whole worlds just fallen out from under me.
"Suzy?" Dad's voice held puzzlement like he had seen something in my mom's face that he didn't understand.
"He's mine," my mom said sharply. "Jr. and Mark are yours to raise as you chose but Denis, from this point forwards, is mine."
"What do you mean?" he asked. I wanted to know the same thing.
"I mean, from now on, I call all the shots as far as he goes. I decide what he learns, what he does and what he gets as a proper reward for when he does good." Mom's voice held a calm authority I had almost never heard there before. That it was directed at Dad is mind numbing. She never stood up to him.
"What do you mean?" my dad sounded equally surprised. "Wait, what are you going to be teaching him?"
"Whatever ... I ... Chose." Mom moved till she was closer to the door and her voice came to me clearer. Heartbreakingly so. "To begin with, he's done with football as anything other than a fan. I don't even want Denis playing in the yard with you and his brothers."
"I will not see him getting hurt trying to do something his body wasn't meant for." I heard a light switch click then and the light under the doorway vanished. Then I heard blankets being moved, a cloth on cloth sound. The squeak of bedsprings. "Now, it's late and I need to get some sleep. I have a long day tomorrow."
As the room went quiet I was about to walk away only to stop when I heard Dad's. "Well, you just make sure of one thing. Don't make me regret calling him Denis and not Denise."
Feeling gut punched, I stumbled to the bathroom. My life was shattered. Minutes later, when I was sitting on the toilet, the tears started to fall to the fuzzy carpet under my feet.
What the hell did I ever do to deserve this?
All I've ever wanted to do was be like my father and brothers. So why aren't I? It was all going just right--until last year. My trophy shelf in my bedroom was every bit as full as my brothers had been at my age. Weewee league, Peewee league, I was doing great. Then it happened. One day everyone was my size then the next day ... I was the shortest on the team.
And my older brothers? Billy was already near Dad's height and he's only sixteen! Mark was jumping up just as fast. Damn it, we're all just one year apart yet I look like I'm five years younger than they are.
"Growth spurt, growth spurt. He'll get a growth spurt." Dad keeps talking like it's going to happen any day now. Well, any day doesn't seem to be happening any day soon.
What was Mom going to do? That thought was running circles through my mind as the tears fall unchecked.
I would find out soon enough.
** ** ** ** ** ** **
My jaw hanging open, I watched my brother Mark fall out his chair and roll around on the kitchen floor. Billy was hiding his nose and mouth behind his hand laughing till tears were falling out his eyes.
Dad hasn't said a word but that said a ton all by itself.
I wanted to hide in my oatmeal.
Coming down stairs--hoping that I had dreamed the conversation I'd overheard last night--I had been greeted warmly by my mom. Then the ballet bombshell landed as breakfast was beginning. I was going to be enrolled in ballet school. Starting today.
No, I want to hide under my oatmeal.
Mark had turned a strange shade of purple and Billy was holding his sides in pain when they left with Dad, to go to a weekend long football practice at Dad's alma mater. They would get to work and practice under the current head coach. They would be catching passes thrown by the current quarterback!
And I was going to the ... ballet.
Dad doesn't even tell me goodbye. And neither of my brothers could even breathe by that point.
An hour later, as I rode beside mom, I felt like I was on my way to my execution. Walking the mile, walking the mile ... walking the green mile. I looked up only when we pulled up into the parking lot and would have welcomed the electric chair.
Royal Academy of Dance
"Roll on two," I said in a too-soft-to-be-heard whisper.
Mom left me in the hands of Mr. Sandle, the spindle-legged dance instructor. He led me into a roomful of girls in pastel tights, with their hair done up in tight little knots at the back of their heads. They watched me walk in with giggly smiles. I saw only one other boy there. Then, after introducing me to his class, the instructor showed me where I could change into my tights.
That was when I accepted that I had, in fact, been executed and I was in hell.
Four hours later, when Mom picked me up, I was more exhausted than I have ever been in my life. Till the next day when we did it all again.
Weeks rolled by into months. Mom finally put an end to the teasing from my brothers. At least at the breakfast table, anyway. She also stopped saying what I was going to be learning next in front of my Dad and brothers. For that, I was thankful at least. If they knew, I would never have heard the end of it.
Piano, ballroom dancing, cooking! I was enrolled in cooking classes!
"Oh, dear heavenly father please just kill me now before she comes up with anything else," became my nightly prayer. Apparently God was having too big a laugh himself to be granting mercy right now. By August, I was almost welcoming the start of school ... until Mom went there and talked to the principle. My freshman year I was the only guy in Home Economics. I'm also taking Typing and Art. I guess I can be grateful the school didn't offer Flower Arrangement as a class.
"My god, Denis what happen to your eye?"
Walking down the hallway from my locker, headed to Economics, I turned and smiled when I saw Sandy. Sandy Sandle--the poor girl--the daughter of my ballet teacher and of course his best student. I almost don't recognize her with her hair not in a bun.
"Hey Denis, what happened to your eye?" She reached up to touch it but I flinched back.
"Me and my brother Mark got into it. It's nothing, just a little sore." I lightly patted at the black eyes with a fingertip, wincing when it stung. "Okay maybe more than a little."
"I should think so. It looks horrible. Do you have Home Economics? Oh, thank you."
I nodded and held open the door for her. Another of Mom's lessons, by the way, manners. My mom's been teaching that one to me herself. Looking around, I saw the class was all girls. Except me. Sigh. In the months to come, Sandy and I shared the same table while Mrs. Holstein taught us how to balance a checkbook, and manage a budget. Nutrition, interior design, and food preparation also filled the year.
But you know, before that first day, I had never noticed just how very nice Sandy looked. Maybe it was her hair down.
The black eye and some other less obvious bruises got me signed up for one more class. I made mom promise not to talk about that one, ever. She agreed with a smile. It was our secret, where I went after ballet class.
Then, almost as if to punish me for her having to keep that secret, Mom started dragging me to the beauty parlor with her every Friday, after I got home from school. My brothers were going out on dates with cheerleaders and there I was, sitting in a room full of women getting their hair and nails done! Happy, happy ... joy, joy.
By my junior year, I had come to hate Friday night. Billy had gone off to college by then, but Mark was--according to him anyway--cutting pathways through the female "pussy supply" of his senior class. Whenever Mom and Dad weren't around I would get to hear all about it. How this girl had done this and that one would do that. Plus, somehow he knew I was still a virgin at seventeen. He considered it a sure sign that I was gay. Hell, the bastard even began to go out of his way at school to tell people that. That I was gay.
All things considered, maybe I should thank him for that. It kept me away from the wrong crowd.
** ** ** ** ** ** **
"Let me go you...cretin!"
Between classes, I stepped out the boy's restroom to see Sandy's older sister Maria trying to pull away from Jimmy Brent, the school's varsity quarterback. He had her by the arm and was pulling her towards the door I had just stepped out of.
"Come on Maria, I'll show you while they call me 'the Stallion' of Peterson High." He yanked harder at her arm with his back turned to me.
As my anger rose, I saw his two friends--forward guards both--laughing evilly and trying to block what was happening from general view. From behind him, I tapped his shoulder.
"I don't think Maria seems interested there, Jimmy. Turn her loose." I let my black nylon book bag silently drop to by my foot.
Turning, Jimmy looked at me and burst out laughing.
"Get out my way, gay boy," he sneered. "Before I forget who your brother is and whoop your faggot ass." His two guards joined him in laughing.
"You've spent the last three years of high school with your hands under my brother's nuts, Jimmy, and you want to say I'm gay." I looked over his shoulder at the other two seniors. "I wouldn't shower with him if I was you two."
Looking back at Jimmy's face, I swear it was like watching two brain cells in the dark calling to each other. "Hello, hello!" I could see it when they finally got together and let him know that I just insulted him.
"I don't take that kind of shit from no tutu-wearing fairy!" He pushed Maria away from him and into the wall as he stepped closer towards me. I saw the blow coming, of course. A big haymaker swing with his right. I could even see the early shift in his weight that will send the left in after it.
As the passage of his right fist beside my head stirred my hair by my ear, I caught his wrist and turned him slightly. Directing his strength to somewhere else. And, when his hand hits the cinderblock wall by the door with a solid thud, I hoped the coach has a second string quarterback.
His yell was echoing down the hall even as my leg hooked him behind the back of his knee and a non-too-gentle push of my hand sent him crashing to the tile floor.
As he fell, I saw the inrush of his friends and did a drop-split that both Mr. Sandle--and Mr. Ho, my Taekwondo teacher--would both have been proud of. My head was down, my eyes were on their feet so I can't see their faces, but the howls as I landed a Jireugi punch to both men's crotches at the same time was deafening and both were in a very high key. It should be, I can easily break boards with that punch.
I spun up out of the split, saw Jimmy getting up, and my foot snapped out. It connected with the side of the quarterback's head sending him back to the floor beside his friends. His head hit the floor with a loud thump. QB takes a nap now.
"What's going on here?" shouted the coach from about twenty feet away.
Calmly, I reached down and picked up my book bag from the floor and step over the moaning guys to where Maria was standing with her eyes as big as silver dollars.
"Are you alright?" I ask looking down at the arm she was massaging.
"I'm--" she started to say.
"I said, what's going on here?" The coach came to a stop by his players. He looked down at them then back up at me. My eyes were steady on his.
"Your player's coach Thompson was running amuck in the hall and slipped," said Maria. "They almost ran me over till Denis here saved me." She looked down at the three groaning young men. "Ruffians"
I grinned. Maria always sounded like she was from another century. Sandy told me it was from her sister reading too many romance novels.
The coach looked at her then back to his guys, and then back to me. I saw a strange look form on his eyes. I could see he didn't believe her, not really, but at the same time, he didn't believe in the other possibility.
"Well, I'm sorry about that, Miss. Sandle. I'll give them a talking to, I promise." He glanced from me back down to the three guys with a small shake of his head.
"Well see that you do. Come on Denis, I need to find a way to reward my hero."
And that was how I found myself not only on the receiving end of my first kiss but also taking the most beautiful and 'eloquent' senior to her senior prom.
We owned the dance floor the whole night.
** ** ** ** ** ** **
The summer vacation between my junior and senior years I again found myself enrolled in a hell of my Moms making. But at least, this time, I was getting paid. Not only was I being dragged to a beauty parlor I was now working there. All I can say is I'm glad Mark had followed Billy off to college by then. The looks dad was giving me in the mornings were bad enough.
I started out working the register. My years in Home Ec. had me well able to do so simple a task. That left me free to do what anyone my age and male would do.
Look at tits.
There were every shape and size before me, at any given time of the day. Big ones like Mrs. Harris. That woman wore shirts that make her look like she was smuggling honeydew melons out the farmers market. She always came in midweek and got her hair washed and styled. Seeing her bent over backward into the sink getting her hair washed she looked like she was going to pop a button on her blouse at any second. I watched for it to happen the whole time.
Once though she caught me looking and then, after the second time, she gave me a flirty wink. She also wore tighter shirts after that. I swear to god she did!
I had been working there for three weeks and had been moved from the register to shampoo boy. I still hate that name. That was the day that Sandy and her mom came in. I had seen her mom around the dance studio several times. She was a retired ballerina who, due to injury, couldn't dance anymore. She still took a lot of effort to maintain her figure from when she was younger. That she was Maria's mother was easy to see.
She stopped, looking at me in shock. "Denis? I didn't know you worked here?"
"My mom got me a job here for the summer Mrs. Sandle." I look to her daughter, my dance partner for the last two years. "Hello, Sandy."
"Hi, Denis." She gave me that shy smile I had seen more and more of over the last year.
Her mom and the shop owner, Mrs. Gutterman, fell into a conversation before she could ask me anything else.
Sandy smiles that shy smile at me again when I looked back at her.
"Ready for the summer show?" I asked Sandy, softly so as not to attract her mom's attention to the question. "Only two more practices right?"
"Yes ... I'm ready. Nervous, but ready."
I smiled. "You have no reason to be nervous. You're the most beautiful dancer in the whole company." My smile deepened as, I swear, she blushed to the tips of those delicate toes she dances on.
"Denis shampoo Miss. Sandle's hair, please." Mrs. Gutterman told me, sharply. Prompting me to get back to work. I turned towards Sandy's mother then realize what had been said. I paused for a second and then, with a smile and a gesture, direct Sandy toward one of the shampoo sinks.
What follows was the most sensual experience of my young life. From the moment, she undid her hair and I lowered those silky locks into the sink, to the very last seconds of the rinse, I was in heaven. A heaven I didn't know existed.
At one point she gave a low moan while I'm shampooing her hair, which told me she was in the same place.
Till her, and her mom, left I don't think my eyes were ever far from her face for more than a few seconds. I saw a smile exchanged between several of the ladies in the shop that I only came to understand later in my life.
** ** ** ** ** ** **
My performance at the summer show was the best of my life. When the curtain dropped in front of the sweat soaked and panting, smiling people around me it was Sandy's hand I was holding. I found it truly amazing that my second kiss came from a girl with the same last name as my first. This one was much longer... and had a lot more meaning for me.
Senior year was mostly a blur of tests and my Mom's lessons. Mastering the earlier things, I had moved into the realm of the truly obscure now. I was now learning things like women's perfumes and clothing brands. Dad keeps making snide comments about when I'm going to be putting in the track lighting.
I was also taking Drama, public speaking, and Creative Writing 101. Joy. Happy joy.
The drama teacher was running a few minutes late. At least that's what the yellow note on the door said when I got to the auditorium. Opening the door, I noted I was the first to arrive. I gave a shrug and walked down to the front row of seats and dropped my book bag into one. Looking around the empty room, I realized this was the first time I had ever been in it when it was empty.
"La la la la la...la!" I ran my voice up the scales. Did I mention the Opera? Good, I've tried to forget that part myself. The acoustics were not bad, but then for an auditorium, they shouldn't be. I looked around then checked my watch. Okay, looks like everyone was running late.