“So, what was this thing about your Mother and Jim?”
“Oh! Mom called me today,” said Corb, as we were driving home from work. “She wanted my advice on something.”
“Something, what?” I asked. "Renaissance art? Pork futures?”
Jim,” replied Corb. “Jim’s asked her to move in with him. He wants to sell the house he burned down and has asked if shed move into a condo with him.”
"Well, thats great news!” I said. For those who aren't familiar with the long, drawn-out story, Corby's mother has been in a fight for the past year with her oldest son, who is trying to get her to move out of the house they built together. For her, where shes going to live out her retirement has been a huge issue, and, despite the fact thats shes like Emily Gilmore in so many ways, I truly have been concerned about how this story is going to play out.
"Here’s the thing,” said Corb. “Mom says shes an old-fashioned girl, and doesn't believe that it’s proper for a woman to live in sin, without getting married.”
I shook my head. “Ummm…Corb, your mom spends most of her nights living in that trailer Jim’s been renting while his house gets repaired. They’re practically living together, as it is!”
“I know, I know!” he said. “Actually, what she said was, ‘Now Corb, I have to admit, that even though I believe that a woman shouldn’t give herself to a man until the night she gets married—’”
I shuddered. “Please don’t tell me…”
“‘I have to tell you that I have allowed my morals to slip once or twice…’”
“Just the thing every son wants to hear,” I groaned. “Did you trade sexual positions?”
Corb hit me on the leg. “No, of course not. I begged her not to say another word.”
“Corb, the woman has been married two times before. She's almost sixty.Maybe shacking up might not be a bad idea.”
“And that’s exactly the advice I gave,” he replied. “I told her I thought Jim was right. I said she might want to try living with him for a bit, because after you live with someone for a while, you learn things about them you might not like much.”
I braced myself. I knew where this conversation was going. “Oh, did you?”
And then he hit me with his best shot.
Corb grinned. “Yes! And I even mentioned you.”
Oh Lord, here we go. “Oh, did you?”
“I told her that you and I have been living together for almost three years, and there are still things about you that I’m learning…you know, little things that push your buttons…things I never even knew about!”
Well, it’s true. There are little things that Corb and I are learning about each other, even after twenty-six months of living together. Oh, we’ve gotten beyond the big things. I no longer scoop out the kitty litter box, out of desperation, with a kitchen ladle, when I'm missing the scooper. And for Corb’s part, he’s been much better about not throwing his dirty socks just anywhere in the apartment, when he gets home.
But there are still…things. Take, for example, this past Sunday morning. Saturday night, I had a phone rehearsal with Psychic Sue for the production of Love Letters I’ll be performing in two weeks. Before rehearsal, I spent an hour locating the sound tapes for our last production of the show I held with Sue, so we could use them again, this time around.
I had always liked the way the pre-show selection for the show turned out. It consisted of music from the forties and fifties, alternating between female jazz vocalists and Frank Sinatra. It's nice, romantic music, that can put you in the mood for major lovemaking.
And my final song for the show, of course, is the song “Love Letters.” In this case, it’s sung as a duet between Elton John and Bonnie Raitt. It may not sound that powerful, but this particular production blows me away, each and every time. It’s bluesy and soulful, and, most importantly, it’s exactly in my vocal range.
So, Sunday morning, I took the tape into the shower with me. And, for the first time in almost a year, I decided to sing in the shower.
I've always loved singing in the shower. I think it’s the best thing about owning your own home, frankly. You can sing as loud as you want, and no one can complain, because there are no apartment dwellers to rap on the pipes and tell you to shut the hell up. But, I'm not in a house any more. I'm in an apartment, and I’ve been very good about not singing too loudly.
Sunday morning, I decided to go for it. I turned my CD player on, and waited for the song to start. I hadn’t heard it in a few years.
Love Letters straight, from the heart
Keep us so near, while apart
I’m not alone, every night
When I can read all the love you write…”
By the bridge, I was totally into it, swaying and singing at the top of my lungs, and letting the hot water splash all over me.
And that’s when it started. The tapping on the door. Right before the pay-off verse. And so, I tried to ignore it…
I memorize every line
And I kiss the name that you sign…
Rap rap rap. Rap rap rap. “Oh, Ted?”
Ignore it, dammit! You’ve only got a few more lines to go!
And darling then, I read again,
Right from the start…”
Rap rap rap. RAP RAP RAP> “TED!”
Love Letters straight
“WHAT IS IT?” I screamed out, throwing the door open, stark raving naked. “CAN’T YOU JUST WAIT TWENTY SECONDS FOR THE GOD-DAMN SONG TO END?”
I mean, you don’t interrupt Placido Domingo at the climactic final notes of an aria, do you? Do you interrupt Eddie Van Halen before the end of his guitar solo? Huh? Do you? Sheesh.
“I’m trying to listen to the news,” he said, just as angry. “It’s very sad. Suzanne Somers house burned to the ground!”
And for this. I’m interrupted for this! I swear, I think I almost entered into another dimension.
SUZANNE SOMMERS? I LOSE THE FINAL TEN SECONDS OF HEAVEN BECAUSE THE THIGHMASTER QUEEN LOST HER BEAUTIFUL HOME IN BEVERLY HILLS? WHY WEREN'T JANET AND JACK ON HAND TO HELP PUT IT OUT? WHERE WAS MR. FURLEY? I CAN ONLY HOPE THAT THE BLAZE TORCHED ALL THE REMAINING COPIES OF THAT GODAWFUL BOOK OF POETRY SHE WROTE, "TOUCH ME"…DAMMIT, AND I WAS ON SUCH A ROLL, TOO!
I tell you, I don’t think I spoke to Corb for at least fifteen minutes after that one.
So, yes, I agree with Corb…his mother SHOULD be careful before she decides to settle down and marry someone. Test the wheels, just a bit. Check out the engine. Get used to the feel behind the wheel. Because the truth is…
Well, the truth is, it would be hard for her to end up with someone as great as the guy that I have. Seriously. I think they only come along once or twice every hundred years. My man more than makes up for a hundred petty little nuisances, even the things that I have yet to discover.
“How did your mother take your advice, sweetie?” I asked Corb, as I reached over and grabbed his hand, something we often do as we’re driving home from work together. Just holding hands after a long day on the job. It helps us get ready to face the nighttime challenges ahead of us…making supper, going over the kids’ homework…just those few minutes of alone time makes the whole day worth it.
“She was actually pretty good about things,” he said, lifting my fingers up to his mouth. “She didn’t get mad at all. Now, can I bite your fingers?”
And, I let him.