The Good Doctor 2
I pushed open the door from the garage to the house and was
greeted by Jason holding up his arms wanting to be picked up.
I swung him up and then held him close to me while I blew raspberries
against his neck. He screamed and twisted to get away.
My mom was standing ten feet away at
the door to the kitchen watching us. Three days a week she
picked Jason up at daycare
and brought him home and then stayed with him until I got home.
I suppose that I could have hired someone to stay with him
but it just didn’t seem right. For one thing my mom is
of Italian extraction and family is a very big deal to her.
The other two days I leave work early and I pick him up at
daycare and then work from home for a few hours. I could work
from home every day but I really feel that daycare helps him.
He has friends there and it helps him to develop social skills.
If my mom had her way she would have built a fifty-foot wall
around her family and never let anyone in or out. Well, that’s
maybe not entirely true.
“Eric, don’t hurt him! Careful he doesn’t
fall!” My dad’s English and Irish and he thought
Eric sounded strong. Like Erik the Red I guess. I don’t
think that he ever figured on pink.
“Mom, he’s not gonna fall! You’re not gonna
fall are you, kiddo?” My eyes are dark brown and Janet’s
were blue but Jason’s are a kinda dark green that can
sometimes appear brown and sometimes very, very bright green
depending on what’s happening inside of his beautiful
I carry Jason into the family room and sit him down in front
of the television where he had obviously been just before I
Just as I was letting him go he looked
up at me and I kissed his forehead. “Love you kiddo.” He hangs onto my
neck and kinda buries his face in it for a second and then
giggles like we’re sharing some big secret and then lets
me go. He flashes his eyes and makes a goofy face.
Back in the kitchen my mom is finishing
a few dishes. “So,” she
smiles a little too smugly, “who you got coming for dinner?”
“Just a neighbor.” Interrogation
time. I still have my raincoat on but I hit play on the little
and almost instantly the kitchen is filled with Ella Fitzgerald
singing to a wicked samba beat. I flip the music up loud.
I grab my mother and start to samba her around the kitchen.
“Eric!!! Oh my goodness!! Now stop!! Stop!” Even
while she’s fighting it she automatically responds to
“I thought that you liked to dance.” I’m
still holding her in my arms.
“You just don’t want to talk
to me is all.”
“Just dance, Mom.” I move her to the music again
until we’ve danced into the family room where Jason is
standing watching us like we’re nuts. “Mom, teach
Jason how to dance.” He’s hopping around like a
puppy dog. She distracted by Jason and I slip away and take
off my raincoat and hang it up in the closet off of the foyer.
No sooner than I get my tie off and she’s got me again. “I
heard that young doctor from down the street is coming over.”
“Mom, don’t you have to fix dinner for Dad?” I
look at my watch. “He’s gonna be worried.”
“All he’s gotta do is warm it up.” She’s
“So, Mom, you had coffee with Eleanor?” She
opens her mouth like she wants to say something and then
again but only for a moment.
“She’s a wonderful person!
You know her husband was a General.”
“I know, Mom and I like her too. So was Jason a good
boy?” I know that it’s futile to try and change
the subject but against all logic I keep trying.
She points her index finger at me. “This
doctor would be a good catch.”
“He’s not a fish, Mom.” I give in and sag
against the kitchen counter. She’s won she always wins.
Her hands are on her hips, ready to take
on the world. “So,
what are you gonna fix him for dinner?”
“Pot roast, potato’s, a vegetable, a salad, maybe
some wine.” No fucking maybe about the wine.
She thinks about it, turning over the
culinary possibilities. “That’s
not bad. I’ll do it, you go get cleaned up.”
“Mom, I was gonna do it. I was gonna cook it in the
pressure cooker.” She dismisses this pathetic notion
with a wave of her hand.
“Go! Get cleaned up!”
I take a very hot shower and lean against
the cool white tile wall thinking about Pete. Thinking about
those blue eyes and
the quiet confident sound of his voice. I decided that one
of the differences between Pete and me is that he’s an
adult and I’m still a little boy.
I dry myself off and put on some clean boxers and then stick
my head out of the bedroom door.
I call to my son. ‘Jase! Jason!
Jason comes running, well skipping actually
down the hallway. Maybe, well hopefully, there won’t be any way to spend
time with him later on and I like talking to him. It’s
important to me that I know what’s going on in his life.
I’m moving slowly around the bedroom,
brushing my hair, picking out clothes and talking to Jason.
“You have a good day, Buddy?”
I get a fifteen-minute monologue on how
a five year old spends his day. I’m enthralled. He
always enthralls me. My marriage was far from perfect and
though I loved Janet, at least I think
I loved her, we fought a lot and I suspect that at some point
she even began to realize that I was gay but somehow we created
this perfect little person. Guilt! Guilt! Guilt!
As far a Jase is concerned I can do no
wrong. Geez, how fucking heavy is that? To Jase I’m like…………..fucking
“Dad, you need to shave.” I’m holding him
in one arm while I’m kinda brushing my hair with the
other hand. I always need to shave.
Still holding Jason I go and get the
electric shaver and do a one-handed shave. Then I smile and
hand it to him. “Do
the other side, will ya?” He’s giggling and I’m
laughing while he takes the razor in both hands and does a
five year olds version of it. He laughs and I laugh. He looks
so much better than he did a few days ago. Little kids bounce
back so quickly. He feels warm and dry and smells like he’s
just had a bath, which he probably did. My mom believes in
nothing if not in being clean. The vibration and buzzing sound
are strange to him and finally I have to set him down on the
bed while I quickly finish the job.
Ella is still buzzing in my head. “The Jazz Samba, The
Jazz Samba, how it gets to you, The Jazz Samba, The Jazz Samba
ooouuuuuuuu.” I dance to the music in my head and Jase
goes hysterical with laughter finally collapsing on the bed.
I’ll do anything to entertain the kid.
I gotta get her outta here. “Mom! Dad’s probably
eating cold meatloaf out of the refrigerator with his fingers.” She
looks for a moment like this could somehow be a possibility,
which it couldn’t if you knew my Dad.
It’s twenty after six and the last thing that I want
Pete to see is my mother cooking our dinner. “Mother.” She
can’t ignore that. “Go take care of your husband.
Please, Mom!” I have her jacket in my hand.
“Okay, okay, I’ll go. Now remember to take this
out about a quarter to seven and Jason has eaten but if he
wants a little bite it looks like it’s gonna be really
“No, Mom! We got our rules! The kid gets to eat once
a week and that’s it!” She looks at me for a moment
like I might be telling the truth. Deep down she knows that
I’m not capable of raising a child, that I’m just
a child myself.
She waves off the remark with her hand.
Erased! Gone forever! Her idiot son couldn’t possibly
have said that.
She’s almost out the door. “Call your father about
the business.” I start to speak but she holds up her
hand. “I know the business is fine but he just likes
to talk about it.” I gotta spend more time with my Dad.
He misses me; even with all the crap he misses me.
She puts a hand on my chin and looks
up at me, into my eyes and speaks softly. “You’re so handsome. Like your
grandfather was when he was young.” She’s gotta
say stuff like that, she’s my Mom.
I set the table for two, if Jase wants
some he can nibble off of my plate, this is suppose to be
an adult meal. I run
into his room and grab Jason’s pajamas and change him
while he’s watching television. His eyes never leave
I go into the bathroom to take a piss
and of course that’s
when the doorbell rings. I glance at my watch, it’s 7:05.
Figures that I’d be standing with my dick in my hand
when he gets here. Jason screams that he’ll get the door.
He loves doing that. How hard would it be for some nutcase
to grab him when he answers the door? Good! Another fucking
thing to worry about!
When I walk into the family room he’s got Pete sitting
with him on the floor in front of the TV. He’s holding
Pete’s left hand with his right and pointing at a guy
on the tv with his left hand.
“See this guy, Dr. O’Connor. See him? He’s
Superman! Well he’s really not Superman yet cause he’s
just young but someday he’ll be Superman.” He looks
at Pete like he’s just tried explaining quantum physics
to a five year old. Pete shoots me a quick smile and a barely
noticeable wink. “And that’s his girl friend except
that they fight a lot and right now she’s not his girl
I kneel down behind Jason with my knees
on either side of him. I pull him back against me and kiss
the top of his head.
I’m proud of him; he’s smart and nice. I look at
Pete and he’s looking back at me and I see the warmth
in his eyes, the patient goodness. Somehow it’s all there
like it was written in bold print. Please God, don’t
let me fuck this up.
I slide my hand down the side of Jason’s face. I marvel
at the softness of his skin and then gently tilt his head up. “You
wanna try you Grandmothers pot roast?”
He shakes his head no. “I wanna
watch my show, Dad.”
I touch Pete’s arm and nod towards the kitchen. We get
up quietly and walk into the kitchen. As soon as we’re
where Jason can’t see us Pete grabs my arm and gently
pulls me to him. We meet in a kiss. I didn’t expect it
but I like it and I kiss back. He smells of soap and fresh
clothing. Guess that this solves the gay question.
I smile at him. “And you haven’t even tried the
pot roast yet.” Those eyes are soooo blue.
He touches my face with the back of his
a good dad.” His hair color seems to change with the
light. In the family room it seemed almost brown but under
the brighter lights of the kitchen it seems very blonde.
I kiss him again. No sense in passing
up this opportunity. “He
makes it easy. For some reason the kid likes me.” Not
some huge tongue battle just a simple kiss.
He looks a little concerned. “I didn’t mean to
push you. I mean with the kiss. I kinda blindsided you. It’s
just that seeing you with your son………….it
made me feel good.”
I smile at him. “I could get him
He smiles. “I don’t think it’ll be necessary.” He
puts his hand behind my neck and pulls me to a kiss again. “We
seem to be getting on okay.”
“We gotta make gravy.”
He smiles. “If that’s a euphemism
for sex, I really think we should get to know each other
a little better.”
“No, I really do mean…………..” Idiot!
He takes my hand and pulls me over to
the stove. “Let’s
see what we got here.” I love a take-charge kinda guy. “We’re
gonna need a platter for the meat and then some flour and butter
or corn starch.”
He takes the cover off of the cast iron
cooker that my mother uses and then starts looking around
for tools. I hand him a
couple of spatulas to lift out the pot roast and I hold the
platter while he does it. I give him some flour and a stick
of butter and he puts some of the flour in a small bowl and
mashes the butter into the flour and then takes part of that
mess and stirs it into the juices still in the cooker. It’s
like a fucking miracle, gravy before our very eyes.
While he’s doing that I open the wine. This I know how
to do. “Pete you want wine?”
“Sure do!” He flashes a bright
Within ten minutes we’re sitting down to a real dinner.
It’s not that we don’t normally eat regular food
but with my mother, well, she’s like a food machine.
She could feed the whole freakin neighborhood and not even
notice. Her refrigerator and freezers, yes freezers plural,
are loaded. The woman cooks constantly. My dad is one of those
people who can eat as much as they want and never gains weight
and I think that it’s freaked mom out. Like we’re
genetically programmed for something to happen when something
else happens, well mom is genetically programmed to stop cooking
when dad gets heavy and since he never does she just keeps
cooking. Anyway Jase and I are the beneficiaries of all this
food production. I wanted to cook dinner tonight for Pete just
because I wanted to do something just for him but I could just
as easily have pulled a gourmet Italian dinner outta my freezer
cause it just keeps coming. And to make things worse, well
at least for mom, neither Jase or I ever seem to gain weight.
She keeps talking about how Jase looks like he never gets a
good meal but he really looks just like I did at his age and
for Christ sake the only place the kid might eat better is
the Italian embassy in Washington.
Pete’s eyes widen as he eats. “This
“Mom likes to cook.” Like
fucking Monet liked to paint!
“What’d she do to this broccoli, it’s
“I think that she steams it and then sauté's
it in butter and garlic. Something like that.” We’re
both chewing and grinning at each other. “It makes me
nervous to watch her. I always get the feeling that I’m
in the kitchen of a restaurant and that I took a wrong turn
and should really be sitting out front.”
I nod at him. “S’okay we’re both eating
it.” He was thinking about kissing wasn’t he? He
looks like he got really strong jaw muscles. That’s probably
a good thing considering mom.
A half an hour later we’re sitting
in the living room drinking decaffeinated coffee and eating
cake that mom must
have smuggled in. I feed Jason a bite of cake and he buries
his face in my stomach.
“Do I have to go to bed, Dad?”
Why do I think he wants me to say yes? “I think maybe
you better. You’re yawning.”
“Ooookay.” He scampers up on the sofa and kisses
Pete on the cheek. “Good night Dr. O’Connor.” He
jumps down and then grabs my hand. “Will you tuck me
in, Daddy?” I’m only Daddy when he’s going
to bed or when he’s done something wrong.
He’s pulling me towards his bedroom. I look back at
Pete. “Be right back, Pete.”