4 min

Killing the child within

Vulnerable, a bit lost and more of a mutt than ever

Right after Christmas I will go find a child and kill it.

Yes, it will be an emotional safari fumbling towards this ecstasy. To do my deed I will pack the things of living on the Drive, including the winter dread, the edge, the attitude, the tolerance, a bit of grime, a bit of sparkle, a bit of punk and that good old stereotypical love for the mother and the family that Italians, Chinese, lesbians, and Greeks have graveled on the sidewalks of the Eastside. All my bags are packed, I am ready to go, I’m standing here outside the door…

Well, let me explain.

Two years ago I went to Santiago, Chile where I was born and I lived for 22 years and got the diagnosis that my mother, my only biological family in the world, was losing her memory. It was, as it has been for the two decades I have lived on the Drive a whirlwind tour —sticky and sweet, fabulous in its complicated choreography of intentions, avoidance, laughter and rejection.

In Chile, I am never a tourist, never a whole Chilean, more of a social mutt than before (it is “in” to be a mutt now that Obama declared himself one). It all looks and smells familiar and foreign at the same time. Makes me feel vulnerable and a bit lost, at a loss of words to explain what I do, a bit taken for a ride, for granted, not taken at all. It is not at all like holidays when one feels adolescent and invincible.

In Santiago’s effervescent and packed gay environments, I am a matinée dinosaur wanting earplugs and to go to bed early. HIV makes me even odder, unseen.

In Chile I am often 50, and five, years old; it is the five-year-old child that I will go and kill because it needs not to live anymore.

“Well, Merry Christmas to you!”

You might be thinking my dear reader, what happy thoughts have you got here miss little Sarah Palin wrapped in your bitter Mylar wrap. But, don’t we all need to “free Wynona” once in a while?

Those of you of certain interesting age might be relating, and those of you young should be following my erect thick pointing finger pirouetting in the air to tell you the wisdom of whores.

We all have to go through the aging of others and the parenting of those who saw us naked, touched us intimately, and did more scat and piss scenes than any pigplay will ever fit in his life.

Some of us have it easier, our loved ones are heart-struck or burst into spontaneous combustion, they disappear into oblivion, or are visited by the Dutch euthenics or rapturists elevating them into thin sacrosanct air like Sarah Brightman in concert. (No, I’m not on methamphetamines, although I wish I was when I wrote this.)

Others, less fortunate, like my mom Isabel die the longest death in town (and my beloved late lover Philip in Seattle in 1993 consumed by cryptosporidium).

What is one to do?

Well for now, count the days before my emotional safari to go and kill the five-year-old child and put Ms Grace Jones fabu new tracks in Hurricane on instant replay in my pod, dream that Daniel Craig does have coffee in that odd café at Commercial and 5th Ave and will psychotically attack me one morning, rape me senselessly in the filthy backroom and drag me sullied and bruised by the leftover hair to make me marry him thus ending my lifetime of anonymity on the Drive.

I also pack my bags, call a cab, and convert my few dollars at a losing exchange rate.

I prepare myself to be dumped from a plane on a seething hot, 36 Celsius neurotic city. Picture Broadway and the Drive, same din, same smell of transfat, same mix of cool, aging punk, First Nation kids, queer folk but faster, faster and all the time! Santiago is the LA of Latin America.

My mission, whether I accept it or not, is to yank my mother from the modest house that was the dream of her life, kill her two pet dogs (’cause Santiago has no SPCA as we know it and PETA cannot get me there), and stash her in a home… and then go find that child.

Things from the Drive I will carry with me, in suitcases in other halls, they are things I would have discounted 20 years ago when I was a newcomer on the Drive: the Anglo stiff upper lip to be pragmatic through the histrionics of Latino sorrow, the simple fact that for the most part we appreciate tattered and fabulous aspects of love: gay marriage and euthanasia (and even minor forms of life such as Stephen Harper).  The soggy warmth of Christmas, the drizzle of winter and darn early sunsets will be a balm in the relentless dry heat of Santiago.

I pack the tenacious heart of so many immigrants I know in the Eastside, a bit unrecognizable to their own people, foreigners in their own land, a bit bastardized forever, but never fully uprooted.

I will pack the flawless yet rather high-strung poise of my contemporary gays, accustomed to living in times of struggle and uncertainty in ways hetero man couldn’t; friends whose chat moves flawlessly from memories of inseminating cows as farmer boys in the Prairies to fisting big guys, you got to love that equanimity!

Now that my mother Isabel hardly remembers who I am and we are almost unrecognizable to each other we have no other hold on each other than the kindness of strangers.

Mostly, I will hang on to Skype and the face of John when seeking that quantum of solace so necessary in the burning Third World evening; a five-year-old child will be dying in me.