Friday night, around seven at night. Corb and I are hunting around for food, as Theo's at a young lady's house engaging in the act of pizza. Oh no, they're not dating, No, not at all. Only he sees her every Friday night and her mother goes on and on to my sister Kerrie about what a nice boy my son Theo is. Oh, and he's taking her to her school dance. But no, they're not dating.
Corb and I have finally settled on Chinese, when Ashes calls me. "Dad, I need you to take me home, right now."
Here's my mind going haywire: "Ummm...ah, what do you mean, Ashes, I can't just drop everything I'm doing and--"
"Michaela has this huge crush on this gay guy but's he's obviously gay and now she's going to Boston to visit him but she won't let me go with her so I'm going to be all alone even though I met him too but she says she's met him twice so I was talking to Jo Ellen and she said why don't I just come home and spend some time with her and--"
"Ashes, hold on. Hold on!" I took a deep breath. "I can't drive you home tonight, kiddo. Sorry."
"Then I'm just going to walk out of my dorm room and walk home to Eldredge!" she said, all full of vinegar and piss.
I found this amusing. "Oh really? Eldredge is an hour away by car. I wouldn't suggest it, Ashes."
"Fine!" And with that, she hung up on me. I turned to Corb and shook my head. "She has got to stop doing stuff like that. She's too old for it now."
"Just let it roll," advised Corb. "She won't be doing any walking, believe me."
Of course not. Even so, I spent the rest of the night worrying. Will that ever stop?
Saturday night was our big night at the Crossroads Rhode Island fundraiser, which had a circus theme. Thanks to my friend Daniel, I had a fabulous gown for my debut as the bearded lady, and Corb had a wonderful ringmaster outfit. Thanks to my friend Dan, I had a terrific wig, right out of Little Britain. Directing musical theater does have some advantages!
I asked Josie to do my make-up. As she was working away on it, Corb chuckled and said, "Are you thinking, 'Now I remember why I divorced him?'"
"No," replied Josie, playing with a pink flower petal she was weaving into my hair. "I didn't need any reminding about that."
On our way out, Annie drove in with Chad and Kaeden. I think that Kaeden was a little bewildered by what he was seeing. He certainly didn't recognize me. Chad was terribly amused. "Kaeden has the world's most interesting family," he kept saying. I mean, as if Corb dressed up as a Ringmaster is really that much of a big deal. Really!
A half an hour later, we were at the airport field that had been made up to resemble a circus. I took a bit of a delight in the curious double takes that our appearance received as we stepped out of my Mustang.
Okay, I admit it, I think we made a big splash, from the minute that we entered the room. Everyone wanted to have their photo taken with us, it seemed, especially when we joined our friends. David was dressed as a strong man, complete with 100 pound barbells, and Leslie was dressed up as a circus performer who gets shot out of cannons.
It was just so much fun, and kind of freeing, if you want to know the truth. We even had groupies...there was one lady and her husband who kept following me. The lady insisted that I save a dance for her later on, which I promised I would.
At one point, we were actually approached by the person in charge of run of show, who instructed us that they were opening the main hall and taking down one of the pieces, so we had better grab all of our props. We had to inform her that we were actually guests, not paid performers.
After supper, I have to admit, I went a little crazy. Okay, by that point, I also had about five cosmos inside my belly, too, and when I took off my lady shoes (which were KILLING me!) and put on my boogie shoes on my way onto the dance floor, there was just no stopping me!
I was awful, I am sure. But for some reason, people kept moving to me and dancing with me. The lady who promised me I would save her a dance received her dance, a few times around, as did her husband, as did her best friend, as did Sarah. The lady danced with Corb too, and complimented him on having the best ringmaster outfit there. "And that bearded lady of yours," she said. "You've just have to keep your hands on him!"
I must admit, I didn't want to leave! By the end of the night I had discarded my wig and was dancing around bald and bedazzled. And dizzy! At one point I ended up on the wrong side of the room, hunting around for our table.
This was about the time that David and Leslie and Corb all started to get tired and wanted to leave, and finally I turned to my groupie friend and sighed, "I must depart, my love."
"Why must you go?" she asked, clearly pained.
It was time. One must leave one's fans wanting more, after all. But at least she had our evening together, and at least she could look back, sigh wistfully, and ask herself, "Who was that bearded lady?"
Ashes called me on Sunday night, with Michaela in her room. They were filling out job applications. Apparently she hadn't tried to walk home after all.