Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gen 4: Chapter Nine

Even though I have woke up and made pancakes every day for the last sixteen years, today I felt different. I felt changed.
Charissa: Dameon? Honey, you're burning the waffles!
I look down but can't find the energy to care. Rissa walks over and shuts off the stove. I feel her arms slide around me and she leans her head on my back. But instead of being comforted, I feel chained. I shrug her off.
Dameon: I am going to get the kids up and ready for school.

Charissa: Good job, Aria! Didn't she do a great job, Daddy?
Yes, yes. The child peed in the stupid pot, let's have a party.
Dameon: Uh yea ... a great job.
Rissa shifted Selene to her other hip and watched as I pulled Aria's pull-up back into place.
Rissa: Are you working for tips today?
I can tell she wants to ask me to so something. I consider, for the first time in my life, lying to my wife.
Dameon: No. I have a gig tonight. Why?
Charissa: Do you think you could possibly start helping teach Aria a few words?
Rissa's face says she is expecting me to make up some excuse about why I can't. It annoys me!
Dameon: Yea, sure. Whatever.
Rissa storms off, Selene in tow. I plop myself on the floor and situate Aria in front of me. An hour later, Aria mumbles something resembling the word "cash". I begin to think I am in trouble.

Rissa is having some luck with Selene as well. What exactly she said, I am still left clueless about.
Dameon: I need to go. 
Charissa: Already? I thought your gig wasn't until 8pm.
I shuffle around a bit. I really just wanted some time to myself. How selfish that must seem to Rissa when she never gets a moment alone.
Dameon: I'll be back as soon as I can.
I lean in to kiss her but she turns her head so I only kiss her cheek. What is happening between us?
At the venue, I change into my show outfit then head to the private sitting room. My mind begins to explore scenarios of my accepting Chloe's invitation and maybe flirting it up with her. It leads me down a path of contemplating a divorce from Rissa.
Dameon: What am I doing?!
A stage hand pops his head up from a sound check at my sudden statement. I give him an awkward wave to let him know I wasn't talking to him.
Here I sit in this room, fantasizing about some woman I have only met once when the rest of the family is attending an awards ceremony for Juan's scouting achievements. I'm being stupid! Rissa is everything I could ever want in a woman and here I am shoving her away. I decide that after tonight's gig, I was going to make it up to her.

It was after eleven when I make it home. I quickly shower and shave, hoping to beat Rissa to the bed. But instead I find Juan passed out on my side. I lean down and kiss him on the forehead. I know he can't hear me but I whisper to him anyway.
Dameon: I'm real sorry for not being there tonight. But I am so super proud of you, Juan.
I let him stay there and turn to go find Rissa. I miss seeing the small smile that creeps onto his face.
I found her just finishing the girls bath. She averts her eyes when I walk in.
Dameon: Can I take one of those cute bundles off your hands?
Selene immediatley dives for my arms and I laugh as I swoop her up. Rissa silently passes through the bathroom door, ignoring me completely. We lay the girls down and take turns kissing them goodnight.
Rissa turns to leave but I step in her way. Placing my hands on either side of her face, I gently kiss her lips.
Dameon: I'm sorry.
I watch as tears start to form in her eyes. How could I have been such an ass?!
Dameon: I'm sorry for the way I have been acting towards you and the kids. This aging thing really did a number on me.
I went on to explain how I had been feeling and the terrible thoughts that had started to plague me.
Charissa: I appreciate you telling me. I was afraid there might have already been ... someone else.
Dameon: Never! Those thoughts were passing. I would never act on them. 
I accented each point with a firm kiss.

 Dameon: I love you so much. 
I pulled her close and deepened the kiss.

Dameon: I love my family and this life we have together. 
My hands are starting to travel under her shirt when she pulls back.
Charissa: Dameon! The girls. Let's head to our room.
I thought about Juan asleep in our bed.
Dameon: I have a better idea...


Julio: I don't understand why this frapping thing keeps breaking! I have fixed it twice already.
Charissa: I don't know, Julio. But I do appreciate you fixing it again.
I lean against the counter listening to Rissa and Granddad moan about things breaking down. I tilt my coffee cup and sip. Things have gotten better between Rissa and I since that night of my last gig. I am earning more so I find I don't have to be gone as much. I push away from the counter and head towards the sound of the girls playing in the nursery.

Dameon: Come on, that a girl. Across the room we go, Leenie. Yay! Big girl. 
Selene is learning to walk now. Aria doesn't seem interested but she will get there eventually. I realize how much I was missing by working so much. The sense of hopelessness I was feeling before is still inside me. But I work against doing anything drastic. Instead, I have thrown all my energy into my family.
Rachel: Should I turn here?
This is my third "lesson" with Rach. I think she is learning to handle a car very well.
Dameon: No, keep going straight. We are going to try driving over some hills today.
I am still trying to bridge this space I feel between us. She will become a woman in her own right soon and after that, move off. It hurts to think of life without her.
Rachel: I invited some of my friends to the boys' party tomorrow night. Is that OK with you?
Dameon: Sure, that is actually pretty awesome.
Now I get a chance to see who she has been hanging out with.


Rachel: Look at this, Maria! After only two sessions at the gym, I can already see a difference.
Maria: Well, you enjoy your pizza then. I know just smelling it will make be bloat. And I have worked too hard to get into my prom dress to ruin it now. By the way, do you think I could borrow those earrings of yours?
The party is in full swing and Maria is the only friend here with Rachel. I don't know why, but I am kind of relieved.

I wander around the family room, just absorbing these last moments of my boys as children.
Dameon: Gabe, don't you want to join the others?
Gabe: Nah. That racing game is pointless. I prefer something a little more challenging.
I shake my head. I wonder what kind of heir he will make when he is such a loner.
Juan: Booyah! I just spun you out, Shavonne!
Shavonne: Oh yea, well I am still going to kick your butt. I know a short cut.
Myles: Ugh! I can't keep this thing on the road. I think this game is stupid!
I laugh at the kids antics. I smile at Rissa as she rolls her eyes.
Charissa: I think Leenie needs a diaper change.
As Rissa heads upstairs, Leon waves at me from across the room.

Leon: Wanna play a game of eight ball?
Granddad's half sister (who is Leon's Mom) had moved to Lucky Palms with Leon in his High School years. He's back now visiting granddad after his mother paid to have herself staked. It was a sad bit of business but we try not to talk about it.

Dameon: You're on!
I reach under the pool table for some sticks. I hear someone enter and Rachel starts giggling.

I look over in time to see Seth Monroe hugging Rachel. My eyes zoom in on the familiar way he is rubbing her shoulder. I drop my pool stick and feel Leon pressing against my shoulder.
Leon: Calm down, Dameon.
I push his hand aside. Calm down? When that jack rabbit is taking advantage of my little sister? Hell No!

I give Seth a good shove and he looks at me with a surprised expression.
Dameon: Keep your damned hands OFF my little sister!
Rachel: Dameon! What are you doing?
Seth: Hey, Man, I was just telling her hello. I haven't seen her in a few days.
A few days?

Rachel: Seth is my BOYfriend. We have been seeing each other for weeks. Not that you would have noticed with all your moodiness.
Dameon: Rachel, he is too old for you and I will not allow you to continue seeing him. Consider your relationship over.
Rachel: You aren't my Father! I can do whatever the hell I want to. I'm almost 18, you know.
I slash my hand in the air to let her know to stop talking. I wasn't going to deal with her attitude right now. I turn back to Seth.

Dameon: And YOU! You are older than I am and have no business messing around with her.
Seth: She is a beautiful young woman. Why would I NOT be interested in her?
I lunge for Seth's throat as he puts his hands out to ward me off. Granddad appears out of no where and easily holds me back.
 Julio: Dameon, let this go. Your sons are about to enter teenage-hood.
I turn to see that during the ruckus, the boys felt that magnetic pull to their birthday cakes. All around me, I can see everyone cheering. The louder it gets the more sparkles that appear. I push my anger aside and try to focus on my sons.
Dameon: OK, Boys, let the magic flow!

Juan: You first, Gabe.
Gabe: Alright then. See you on the other side.
Juan laughs and starts to clap along to the Birthday song.

Gabe is the first to spin.

Gabe Montoya - Athletic, Loner, Workaholic, Brave
Then Juan spins.

Juan Montoya - Excitable, Light Sleeper, Clumsy, Slob

And so the magic ends and everyone begins to leave. I notice that Seth has slipped out during the celebrations and Rachel is in her room. This situation will have to be handled soon. But for now ... we eat cake!

Dameon: Can't we just call the cops and say she ran away? They could bring her back, legally, right?
I watch Granddad as he pours me a drink. He shakes his head.
Julio: I think you have done enough.
Dameon: ME?! What did I do?
Granddad sets my drink down in from of me and leans close.
Julio: You all but dared her to leave with him. You tried to tell her what to do and, just like her father, she did the opposite. Give it time, Dameon.

I didn't want to give it time. Seth was bad news, I remember him from when he was with Holly. I didn't want my little sister to get hurt. I sip my drink and immediately start to choke and sputter.
Julio: Ah, I think I went a little strong with it. Next time, I should try to back off the hard stuff, eh?
I was still trying to catch my breath when I see that Granddad is staring into my eyes. I realize this drink experiment wasn't for him to practice but for me to learn.

I guess I would wait and see what happens with Rachel. I make a plan to go visit her in a week or so. I need her to know that I support her and ... well that she's not alone.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Gen 4: Chapter Eight

Charissa: I haven't taken a single picture in weeks. I just don't feel creative anymore.
Rissa and I have been talking about our upcoming birthdays. I feel like it's just another day but she thinks the world is coming to an end. I grab my plate and sit next to her.
Dameon: You need a break, Honey, that's all. The boys' after school activities and the girls' constant need for attention is getting you down. It will get better, you'll see.
I hope. 
I kiss her cheek and head off to get dressed. I decide to hit the touristy hot-spot and it is jumping today. I gather quite a crowd with my appearing gnome trick. The ladies seem to favor that one as well as turning my wand into flowers. If Rissa knew how many of these women ask for a private show, I'd be a dead man. 

But only one woman has my heart. I was just closing with a bow when my phone rings. It's Rachel.
Dameon: Tonight? But it's a school night. Uh huh. OK, but you will have to ride your bike since the bus won't drive out there to pick you up. Alright then, be safe. Bye.
I hang up the phone and head home to let Rissa know that Rachel is spending the night at Maria's house.
I pull in the drive to see Gabe practicing his flips on the trampoline. I wave to him and he grins back at me before doing a quick back flip. I hold out both my hands and act like I am not sure what to rate him. I flip both my thumbs in the air.
Dameon: Awesome, Gabe! Keep it up.
His laughter follows me into the house.
Juan: Dad! Dad, Dad, Dad! Daaaad!
Dameon: I am right here, Juan. Stop yelling.
He stands in front of me and gestures to the long row of patches across his chest.
Juan: I have earned a new patch for my exceptional understanding of gardening. Aren't you impressed?
I stare at the newest patch for a moment then put my hand on his shoulder.
Dameon: Yes, I am. But I would be even more impressed if you brought home a "C" paper once and a while. 

Juan: Awww, Dad. That junk they do in school won't help me when I'm in the real world. Besides, that's Gabe's department. He's the heir apparent and all.
I watch Juan cross his arms. It kills me that I can only choose one of my sons to carry on the great Montoya name. I chuck him under the chin.
Dameon: Cheer up, Grumpy Pants. No matter who my heir is, I expect you to do your best. Hey, what's this?

I pull an oversized coin magically from out of Juan's ear. Although I have done this same trick a dozen times, I watch Juan crack a smile.
Dameon: I am so telling your mother that you certainly did not wash behind your ears if this was hiding back there.
Juan breaks into giggles.

Dameon: But I can't have you getting in trouble with Mom so... Voila!
As I hide the coin in my sleeve once again, Juan stares up trying to figure out how I make the coin vanish.
Juan: How do you do that?!
I laugh as I put an arm around him and start walking to the kitchen. Crisis has been averted.
Dameon: Hey, Honey. What's for dinner?
Charissa: You get plain old mac and cheese. And YES, I am still in my pajamas. I have not had one minute to myself to even change my clothes. Do you want to know what those girls decided to do today? I won't even get into it since we are about to eat.....
As Rissa continues her rant, I slowly back into the front room.

Dameon: So maybe help Mom out a bit more, OK? Just pick up your own clothes and make your beds before going to school. That's all I'm asking.
Gabe: I do all that anyway.
Juan: Suck up.
I roll my eyes as as the boys jab each other with their elbows. I hope this rivalry calms down by the time they are teenagers.
During the night, I woke up to a chorus of barking coming from outside. Weber was going spastic! He was barking and jumping, spinning around. I had just called for the kids when the sparkles appeared.

Dameon: Welcome to adult-hood, little Weber!


I am so close to reaching the next step in my career. I realize my gigs keep me away from home most nights, so I spend the mornings with my family. Our girls have aged up and turned into such beauties. Ari favors the pink while Selene is always in blue.

Charissa: That's Mommy's big girl. Good job! Dameon, this is like the third time in a row she has peed on the potty.
Dameon: So Ari is going to have to catch up.
I laugh at the thought of my girls racing to learn toddler skills! I wonder if competitiveness is something all twins deal with? After producing a rose from my sleeve, I hand it to Rissa and kiss her cheek as I get ready to leave.
Dameon: Don't forget. Tonight. 10:30pm. You and me.

I have special permission to perform outside Los SueƱos Private Club. I am scheduled to perform there tonight at 7:30pm!
Chloe: Well, as long as you deliver on the performance of a lifetime, then I don't mind you and your wife celebrating your birthdays here.
Dameon: Thank you so much, Chloe. I really appreciate it.
Chloe looks me up and down. I can feel my face turning red from embarrassment.
Chloe: Do you happen to do ... private shows?
Her smile made me think of a cat about to pounce.
Dameon: Uh, no actually. Excuse me while I go set up.

A little after seven, I walk out on stage. Rissa is just sitting down at a table to the side. A grin spreads across my face.
Dameon: Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen! I am The Mystical Dee, your guide into the fantastical and sometimes unbelievable world of magic. Before we begin our journey ...
I use a capsule to create a flash and some smoke as I quickly pull a cake out and into my hands.

Dameon: I want to invite you all to join me in singing Happy Birthday to the most beautiful, supportive, woman I know. My wife, Charissa Montoya.
I look over to see her laughing and trying to cover her face.
Dameon: Come on, stand up. Here we go everyone! A one, and a two, and a ... Happy Birthday to you!
As the crowd joins in, she sends me "I'm going to kill" you signals.
As the song finishes up, the crowd starts cheering and clapping. Rissa makes the funniest faces as the sparkles start to form.
Dameon: I love you, Babe!
My statement causes the cheering to get even louder. Finally, she spins and the crowd goes quiet. She looks up and stares at her hands then touches her face. Then she grins and starts to wave at the others seated near her. A few people lean over to offer congratulations. After she sits back down, she shoots me a smile that lights up the whole room.

The rest of my routine goes off without a hitch. This is the first time I have performed my "buried alive" trick. Rissa hates that one but it seems to get the biggest response. I finish with a flair then step to the edge of the stage.
Dameon: I thank you all for coming and ...
Someone throws some flowers onto the stage!
Dameon: Why, thank YOU! It is my hope that everyone enjoyed the show. For those of you willing to stay, I will be celebrating my own birthday as well. I invite each of you to join in the miracle of aging. Goodnight!
The house-lights come up and I can see Rissa standing up next to the table. As the stage guys start to pull down my props, I offer a hand shake to each of them. It wasn't long ago when I had to do all this myself so I want to make sure they know they are appreciated. I jump from the stage and stride over to where Rissa is waiting.
Charissa: I can't believe you did that! I am going ...

The rush from performing, watching Rissa age up, and the awesome response from the crowd culminate into a huge rush of emotion. I crush my lips to hers without even letting her finish her rant. I sink into the kiss and lose myself in the familiar. As we pull apart, the is another chorus of cheers going up. Rissa just stares at me and I grin at her.
Dameon: Thank y'all for coming to the show. Now ... let's get this birthday under way, shall we?
I hand out some noise makers and party horns.
Charissa: Now it's my turn to start things off. Let's sing Happy Birthday!
Holly sends me a little wave before she starts clapping. I am hoping Rissa doesn't get offended that only women have stayed to celebrate with me.

The sparkles start to appear at my feet. I feel all tingly inside. I get startled as my body begins to shake on its own. The urge to jump comes over me. I feel as if I blackout but it only lasts a second. The noise comes rushing back into my ears and I stare around realizing the change has happened. It is this exact moment when I realize I am half way through with my adult life. I feel insecurities creeping into me.
Dameon: Thank you all for joining in this special moment. But now, I would like some time alone with my lovely wife.
I grab Rissa's hand and stroll out the back entrance.
Charissa: So what was that all about?
Dameon: What do you mean?
Charissa: At first you were all excited about your birthday then after you aged, you suddenly wanted to be alone. Are you feeling OK?
I didn't know what to say. After telling her aging was no big deal, I find myself feeling anxious. I actually believe I am experiencing a midlife crisis!
Dameon: I FEEL fine. But ... I don't know how to describe it.

Rissa looks over at me and caresses the side of my face.
Charissa: Try.
Dameon: Looking back, I wonder if I made the right choices. Our boys are almost teenagers, and I haven't spent much time with them because I have been so consumed with my career. And Rachel is about to graduate High School. Am I ready for that?
Charissa: Don't let these thoughts consume you. I think you have made the best of your situation. I am proud of your accomplishments and to call you my husband. And ...
the sound of a camera clicking distracts us. I look over to see an older woman snapping pictures of us.
Dameon: Dang Paparazzi! I think it's time for us to head home.