Friday, August 7, 2015

The Sad, Sordid Tale of Bruce Halloran-14

: Bruce Halloran sits motionless in front of his TV watching WDSU's live coverage of the ruling from the Supreme Court. Gay marriage He's having problems believing it has finally happened, mainly because it goes against everything he ever knew. He was never really ashamed of the fact he was gay. He liked the fact that he was illegal and immoral in the eyes of the Church. It was what made being a faggot fun. But this? Marriage? Fruits gettin' hitched, for real? It just doesn't make sense to Halloran. It goes against everything he used to love about being gay. He continues to watch, his little dog Miss Sara Joy happy to snuggle up with his owner on the bed. He just can't...
Angrily, he jumps up and turns off the TV, deposing Miss Sara Joy to the floor. What difference does it make anyway, he thinks. I'm not getting married anytime soon. Just another way to collect taxes and make us pay out even more. I see what's goin' on here. It's all about money. Besides, he has more important things to worry about...
Erica L is playing in the backyard with Rex, The Wonder Dog and a brand-new Frisbee. She's learned how to bounce the Frisbee off the pavement and still fly, how to buzz low to the grass, and how to make it go all the way to the far end of the yard. All Rex knows is that His Girl is playing with him outside...where he can keep an eye on those evil squirrels. Suddenly, Mom sticks her head out the window and calls,
"Erica, you and Rex come inside right now! Your Dad and I want you to see something! C'mon!"
Erica obeys, and rushes back inside with Rex on her tail. The Frisbee remains behind. They gallop through the kitchen door and into the living room, where Mom and Dad are watching the President.
"Come sit down, honey," Dad says, shuffling over to make a place on the sofa.
"What's going on?" Erica asks, uncertain as to why she's inside.
"The Supreme Court just ruled that same-sex marriage is legal, sweetie. This is history being made. We wanted you to see it."
Erica and her family listen to the President speaking on the ruling. He calls the ruling "a victory for America," and that we are now a place where "you can write your own destiny." Erica thinks for a moment, and asks quietly,
"Does that mean that Uncle Tommy and Unka Tim can be married here instead of just in New York?"
Mom looks at Dad, both of them a little misty. In unison, they say "yes."
Erica jumps up, yelling, "Flower Girl Time!!!" and dances into the kitchen for a lemonade. Dad looks at Mom and asks,
"Family moment over?"
"Nope," says Mom, shifting over to him and throwing her arms around his chest.
"Not just yet."
In the shared courtyards between Tunie DuFour and Her Boys Jerry Laufrey and Patrick Cook, the three meet and fall into a hug filled with tears of joy and relief. Though Patrick and Jerry have been together for nearly 25 years and like so many others were married in New York, their union has never been recognized here. Years and years of living in fear of hospitalization and closed-minded staff refusing to allow them to see each other because they weren't related. Years of being treated as second-class citizens and having to pay more than their married friends for the privilege. They had endured it all together. And now, all that is over. They didn't even have to call each other. They knew they had to be together. The trio stand and hold each other for dear life, the tears flowing without shame. From Tunie's back door emerges Harold Amos, carrying a tray with four glasses of Tunie's beloved muscadine wine. Setting the tray down, he says jovially,
"All right now. Can't nobody have a drink to celebrate if y'all are gonna stand there like a tree trunk. Come on, this is a happy day."
They laugh, and wipe away the tears as they walk over to the table. Taking up their glasses, Harold takes Tunie under his arm and says,
"Fellas...I know we had our problems when I first started comin' 'round here to see my Tunie. And I know I said some things about your k--about...two fellas gettin' married. But I want to say today...I was wrong. After gettin' to know both of ya, I realized that you're more married than anybody I ever met! So congratulations, fellas. I mean it."
Deep inside the remote house in Old Metairie, Oskar Hammar, his mother and sister sit watching the television in shock. Guertrid rocks back and forth on the sofa, her stubby hands furiously working a rosary. With tears in her eyes, she mutters her prayers in German, begging God's forgiveness and mercy. Oskar looks blankly at his mother and her hysterics. He is numb. What will happen now? Will God strike down the nation with plagues, or fire? Will he simply flood the world again, as he did before? Or maybe something worse. He doesn't know, not like his mother knows. Her faith has never wavered. She has always lived by her Bible and the Church. It's what has gotten the family through so many bad times. He's always respected that in his mother, depended upon it. She was so certain it wouldn't happen.
Sister Katrinka rises from her chair and goes to Guertrid, kneeling at her feet.
"Mama, it's OK. Don't get so worked up, Mama."
"Gott ist wütend! Sie machten es legal!" Guertrid screams at Katrinka, forcing her back onto the carpeting. "Don't you see, girl? It's not OK! They have spit in the eye of The Almighty. They have made this horrible, horrible sin legal! Sie haben Scheiße auf die Bibel!" She throws her hands up to her mouth, ashamed she has said something so blasphemous. But it's true. She can see no other truth but this. And it galls her to the core. Unable to stay seated any longer, Guertrid runs to her bedroom, takes out her Bible, and begins reciting Scriptures to herself, looking for comfort against the end of the world.
In the living room, Katrinka watches the television from the floor, just as stunned as her brother. Oskar rises and walks to the door, taking down his house key and a pair of old sunglasses.
"Where are you going, Oskar?"
"I'm going to work, 'Trinka. It's Friday."
Katrinka looks to the floor and says earnestly,
"I forgot."

"I didn't," he replies, and walks out the door. On the sidewalk outside, he can hear his mother's wails through the bedroom window. No, thinks Oskar as he walks along, I won't forget this Friday...This Is My New Orleans.

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