I hadn’t seen the boys since September 2001, and they were all a foot taller now. It was intermission, and I snuck the three of them backstage. Galen was five and wide eyed, standing dwarfed in front of the timpani. Emile was nonchalant and eight. “I know that,” was his cool response to each of my explanations of rigging and scrims and backlights.
And then there was Frances. Seven and topped with a crown of brown curls, he was most impressed with my dressing room and the remnants of the smoke machines fog backstage from the rock star’s set just before the intermission. Frances has recently taken up the ukulele, his mother tells me.
I notice Frances is wearing just jeans and a t-shirt, even though the show is more than enough reason to dress up, and he usually never passes up a chance to break out one of his velvet skirts or long flowing ladies blouses. My stomach drops for him. Chris, his mom and one of my fondest loves, told me a few months ago that it has started. They have started calling him a faggot at school. He is allowing it to fold up the little flower inside of him and he now mostly keeps his dresses in the closet and wears them only in the safety and freedom of his own home.
Chris tells me later when the kids are in bed that Frances had initially had on his long copper velour lace up blouse and bell bottoms and pumps on when he heard tonight was going to be Uncle Ivan’s big show and they were going to the Arts Centre. When he swooped down the stairs and to look for his mittens Emile reminded him that Sebastian (from school) was going to be there, too. Frances went back to their room and changed into jeans without a word.
I took him alone (after quite a bit of bickering with his brothers about us needing special time together) to see the second Lord of the Rings movie. I for one am scared shitless of the Dark Riders or Ring Wraiths or whatever, and thought maybe it was too scary for a seven year old, but he reminded me politely that I had said he could pick and so him, my big old Cheshire Cat grinning dyke buddy Brenda, and I set off for a little queer quality time together, as per the requests of his mother.