Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Something to Talk About
This morning (OK I know it’s “tomorrow” now, I mean yesterday morning, the morning of the Great Cross Pipe Adventure), Monsieur told me that he had something “important” to talk about later, when he got home from work. I was wondering what it might be, but I mostly kept it to myself, and only mused about it with my friend DB. Monsieur didn’t sound too ominous; I didn’t think I was in trouble or anything.
Dinner came and went, apple pie was devoured by all (Middlest Boy ate only the crust; Littlest Boy ate only the filling – they are a pair), supper things put away and boys hosed off and sent to bed with only minimal fussing and a story for each one. Monsieur had just received a case of wine from his brother back in Gascogne and opened a bottle doubtfully.
“[Jean-Marc] has strange inclinations,” Monsieur said as he inspected the cork. “He is known to be somewhat … creative in his blends.”
“Perhaps he is ahead of his time,” I suggested.
“Perhaps,” Monsieur allowed. “I, however, suspect he is insane. But there is no genius without the touch of madness, as Goethe observed. Goethe would know,” he added, under his breath.
Monsieur sat down next to me with two burgundy glasses and poured a drop into one. He held it up and peered through it, then carefully held it to his nose. He shrugged and poured himself a full glass and then gestured an offer to me.
“Just a little,” I said, and he poured a half glass in mine. “I don’t want to fall asleep. I may have forgotten how to drink, or maybe wine just hits me harder than I expect.”
“The other night, you did not know how much you had until you were out in the weeds,” he laughed. I sipped my wine and smiled as I gazed up at him, knowing that he would come to the point in his own time.
“You mentioned the other day, you will need to have your eyes examined again, for your prescription for contact lenses,” he said, finally, looking at his hands.
“Yes,” I said. “It’s about that time. I think every two years or so.”
“More often, if there is trouble,” he said. “And then there are dental visits, twice a year,” he continued, “plus regular checkups that women need.”
“Yes, Monsieur,” I said, “I can set all that up, I think. I need to find a good dentist and a gynecologist—”
“Plus a regular general practitioner, I should think,” he added.
“I’m in pretty good health,” I said.
“Of that I do not doubt! Yet I would feel better if you would have a set of regular medical people that you trusted.”
“I can take care of all that, I think,” I repeated. “I can get recommendations and so forth.”
“My point is, and I don’t know how to put this delicately, that I think you should …” Monsieur paused, “be added to my family medical coverage.”
“But I can pay for doctor’s visits myself, I’m sure,” I protested.
“And I am sure that you can’t, [Yearning Heart]. Have you an idea of the cost of one visit, in this country of the most backward health care coverage? How much is it to have your eyes examined?”
I admitted that I didn’t know.
“For a vision exam, contact lens prescriptions, two dental visits, and a gynecologist visit,” he said, “you would be liable for between $750 and $1000 depending on certain variables.”
I had no idea. I nodded. “I always had university health insurance for all that,” I said. “Missouri state dental plan and on-campus health care.”
“Of course,” he said. “You don’t have that now, but with my insurance, it would be covered for a $50 per visit co-payment – for the dental exam, nothing at all.”
“Don’t you have to pay for it?” I asked.
“Not additionally. A family plan covers everyone in my family.”
“But I’m not in your family,” I protested. “Can you just put me on your plan?”
“My plan covers domestic partners,” he said, and looked directly at me.
Domestic. Partners. “I thought that meant … like gay couples,” I said.
“Couples living together,” he said. “Under the same roof,” he added. “Long-term.”
“Long-term,” I repeated. “So…”
“So, you could be added as my domestic partner.”
I took a sip of wine, trying not to tremble, and looked at the table as I asked, “Do you want me as your ‘domestic partner’?”
“To tell you the truth,” he said, setting his wine glass down, “I despise that term. In honesty, I want you as … well, as someone to care for me, as well as my home, and my children; my… my lover. I simply had not, until now, presumed.”
My heart felt like it would burst, but I simply whispered, “Why not?”
“[Yearning Heart], I am middle-aged man, and you—”
I got up and threw my arms around him. I kissed his head and looked down at him. “You big French idiot,” I giggled.
“What?” he protested.
“Middle-aged. You be careful,” I whispered, “or I’ll fuck you to death.”
“Ah yes, that was something else,” he said. “I need to ask you about guardianship – should something happen to me, I would want the children’s custody arrangements handled without delay or complication.”
“Oh, you would, would you?” I wanted to laugh at him. “Can I ask you something?”
“Why do people think that the French are so romantic?”
“It is beyond me,” he replied. “In my opinion, the women are as romantic as scavenger fish, and the men obsessed with work.”
“Yet, in their proper, correct way,” I whispered, “they make the rest of the world want to fuck their brains out.”
“Not I,” he laughed, taking me in his arms. “I have always been partial to American women. They are so much more appreciative.”