Circus Madness: A Novella: (Part Six - Conclusion)
Collaborators: wingedcentaur and Doc LS A.K.A "Moppet"
"Surely I do not make you nervous, mon cherie?"
"No, Ernesto. You are my joy and happiness. I need to bolster my courage to go on with my public life, my charade, my image. I need to go on placating my mother. And I need to keep my nerve up to -- sleep with my wife."
Ten years older, Ernesto Tresvantes had been there. He knew what it was like. His time in the closet, during which time he had tried mightily to convince himself of his heterosexuality, had been a thrilling and dangerous rollercoaster ride, befitting one of his colorful and outsized personality.
This rollercoaster ride included a torrid affair with a Russian female powerlifter called Svetlana Kowalski. She stood an astonishing seven and a half feet tall and weighed a solid quarter ton of solid muscle. She was shattering weightlifting records in the men's division amidst carrying on a love affair with the diminutive, flamboyant, world-renowned zoologist; and amidst repeated and constant calls for her very femininity to be genetically verified; as well as calls for her person to be regularly checked for the presence of performance enhancing drugs -- in an era when drug testing in sports, in general, was rare, and in the world of weightlifting, almost non-existent.
"She was all woman," Ernesto told an incredulous George Sanders, in wistful remembrance. "Born a woman, lived as a woman, and loved as a woman. Everything was quite in order emotionally and anatomically. I was with her for five years and I never saw her take so much as an aspirin."
"What were you doing with a behemoth like that?" George asked.
"Why not?" Ernesto said. "We all need to be somewhere, with someone. She, no less than anyone else, needed to be with someone; myself as well, for that matter. Why shouldn't we have been together?"
"You mean you had things in common?" George asked.
"Not really," Ernesto said. "But I revered her."
"Why? How so?" George said.
"Svetlana's form was perfect. In fact, her presence, the very fact of her existence as it was constituted physically -- I am not talking about "inner beauty" -- almost made me believe in God."
Ernesto said, "Usually a person like that, a woman especially, of that size is plainly and visibly marked with acromegaly or giantism. You can see it in the shape of their face, their forehead, thickened skin, certain features out of proportion still in relation to the great size of the person.
"Such individuals tend to develop over time back problems, knee problems, heart problems, and the like. Clearly the person's bulk is too much for her skeleton, for her internal organs even. Its like a massive high-rise building built upon a foundation of third-rate steel and low grade concrete. The structure cannot hold if put under a little bit of pressure. Such unfortunate people often end up in wheelchairs or walking with a cane at least.
"But Svetlana was not like that. If you saw a photo of her from the neck up, you would have no idea that she was unusual in any way. She was perfectly proportioned, and she was beautiful of face and body despite the many slabs of muscle she had packed on to it. She was shapely and she was was beautiful. Runway model beautiful, George.
"If she had been two feet shorter and three hundred fifty pounds lighter her attractiveness would have been evident to all. But most people were too put off by her size to recognize her classic allure. And she never, ever had any of the health problems associated with acromegaly. Her... creation was quite deliberate. Nature, if you will, had made no mistake in fashioning her.
"It was as if she had come from a world where most women and men were around her size, and there was nothing at all unusual about it. It was as if she had been made, quite deliberately, they way she was. This was the confidence with which she held herself. This is how comfortable she was in her own skin. Remarkable.
"Sounds like she was a fascinating specimen for you," George said, "having aroused the scientist in you."
Ernesto shrugged. "If you like."
George Sanders soared to the surface, leaving behind his watery grave, to breathe deep the fresh air and sunshine of consciousness -- which is another way of saying he awoke from his coma. Eveuntually he recovered fully and went home with his wife.
They picked up Tommy (who hugged and kissed him and whom he hugged and kissed) from his iron-willed and stoical mother -- who assured him in the most sincere fashion, but with a curious lack of visible emotion that he, George, her only child, had been in her prayers. Then the trio returned to the Sanders family homestead.
A few weeks later, one evening with Tommy ostensibly off asleep in his room, George and Sandra had a conversation in the living room. One day while George had been in his coma, flowers had come for him, with a card with a lovely note of obviously intensely felt but controlled sentiment. The card had only been signed 'a friend.'
Sandra had thrown away the flowers but kept the card. She took it out of her pocket and showed it to her husband. "Do you have any idea who the friend might be?" she said. "Do you recognize the handwriting?"
Indeed George did. His experience, clearly rooted in drug-addicted and comatose delusion -- but which he believed had been, somehow, more than a dream -- had taught him that he would not live another moment of his life in a state of falsehood.
His memory was fully recovered now. There had been some gaps for a while just after he had gotten out of the hospital. He and his longtime lover had had an argument just before his motorcycle adventure and accident.
George Sanders did not deal with anger or confrontation well. He tended to ignore or try to avoid it. When he and Ernesto had tense moments together, emotionally, George tended to retreat to the bathroom and brush his teeth, as loudly and vigorously as possible to try to block out the unpleasantness.
Sometimes George managed to lock the bathroom door before Ernesto could get in. Sometimes Ernesto managed to slip in to continue the fight. He would stand on the toilet and shout, "Damn it, George Sanders, stop brushing your teeth and talk to me."
This is what had transpired just before George had set off on his Motorcycle Ride From Hell. Not only that, but it must have been so, that at the same time George had offered "Ringmaster Zanzibar" the bucket to spit out his accumulated toothpaste foam -- and had suddenly come down with a splitting headache -- that he had slammed head first into the side of that party supply truck.
George and Ernesto had spent a week in a villa in Athens -- when he had told his wife he would be in London . Ernesto had withheld sex from him until they could have a serious discussion about their future. After so many years together, clandestinely of course, both men had finally confessed the true extent of their feelings for one another.
Ernesto had wanted very badly to know how much longer he was expected to go on sharing him with Sandra, and so on and so forth. George had pleaded vaguely that he needed more time, and so on and so forth. George confessed everything to Sandra. It was as if two strangers were meeting for the first time.
The divorce went on uncontested with very favorable terms for Sandra. She got full custody of Tommy (with liberal visitation rights for George) and a whole bunch of money, and the family home. Mama Sanders stepped in to provide an additional supplemental to ensure that Sandra would not go out of her way to publicize the precise reasons for the divorce.
Mrs. Lilian Alexandra Cordell Sanders experienced a rare moment of mercy toward her son. This was inevitable. George would not be able to deny his true nature forever. She had always known that.
She admitted to herself that he had been a good son all his life. He had lived for his poor mother and had done everything she demanded of him. Perhaps it was time that he did something he wanted to do. After all, there were worse things than having a homosexual son, especially these days. Maybe if she had, just once in her life done something she had really wanted to do, she would have been a different, better person. She thought of that young, strapping Greek fisherman she had been madly in love with, fifty-odd years ago, but whom her father had disapproved, and sighed heavily.
Tommy Sanders was another matter. It would be another twelve years, after he turned sixteen, when his mother felt he was old enough to know the true reason why their family had broken up. But he had already known for those twelve years. He had picked all this up from his secret surveillance spot in the attic.
His anger had combined with the unexpressed rage and sense of betrayal felt by his mother until he could just... he could just...
Three years later Tommy was in college. He had won a place to study abroad for a year: economics. While his mother thought he was in Madrid, Tommy was actually in North Africa, tracing the movements of one Ernesto Tresvantes -- and his father. He wanted to get Tresvantes alone.
His chance came when he spotted the world renowned zoologist outside a coffee shop in Damascus. Tommy ran the man down with his rented car. The thought that had flashed through his mind at the moment of impact was: "Now mommy and daddy can get back together again. Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da......."
It is nine years later and Thomas Arthur Sanders (Tommy) is in a facility for the criminally insane. He has not spoken a single coherent word in the last seven years. He does the Michael Meyers thing, sitting on a chair in a room by himself, looking off into space with an utterly blank look on his face.
Mrs. Lilian Sanders died with a broken heart. Tommy's multiply devastated father and desolate mother came to see him. With the help of psychiatrists, they tried to get through to him.
But when they left the last time the doctor said, "Wherever his mind is, he isn't here anymore."
When the door closed Tommy could be heard -- if anyone was around to listen -- to say something like: "Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da......"