How Sean Became Sebastian – Part IX

Sebastian Cummings Christmas

Sebastian Cummings wears a Santa hat

One semester with the theatre community was all it took to make more friends than I had previously had in my entire life. We were like a little family, a family that talked a lot of shit on each other, some of us hated each other, everyone had pretty much made out with everyone… in other words, we were just like any group of performers. I enjoyed every second of it. At this point, I only ever saw my mother as far as family goes. I had become her favorite child over night. She would go to the movies with me, go shopping, go out to eat… I think these were things that a normal parent and child did, I just wasn’t used to it, I enjoyed it, it was just new and I pretty much avoided my step-father, who had an overwhelming sense of artifice to him. It makes me nervous when someone who is polite at all times, or someone who does the “laugh at everything you say” thing, because I know it’s not real…. everyone can tell that, but it makes me wonder… what are you really thinking?
I began to notice that my mother had another side to her that I had never seen before. Her mood could drastically take a turn for the worse in the amount of time it would take you to walk to the kitchen and grab a bottle of water. The cause could be anything. Her face would drop, zero expression. She would become silent. And that’s how you knew it was coming. Whatever it was. I heard my sister speak of it before, but I didn’t see it for myself until one day, my older sister, mother and I were in the car driving to a convenience store… a trip that took at the most 5 minutes. When we entered the car, all was well, everyone was happy. By the time we got to the destination, my mother was telling my sister,
“Get the fuck out of the car and don’t bother coming back to the fucking house. I’m changing the god damn locks.”
Yes, I was present the entire time. No, I still have no idea how this happened. It was the middle of winter and my sister was crying out in the cold and told not to come back home and my mother sped away. I sat in silence for a second, because I had never seen my mother yell like that. Finally, we pulled into the driveway and I said,
“Mom, I know your upset, but I think you are overreacting. You just kicked your daughter out of the car in the middle of winter with no coat on because you had a disagreement, the night before Christmas. Does that seem right to you?”
She sat in silence for a moment and turned the car around, picked up my sister and everything continued as if that never happened. Except it had and it scared me. I always thought my mother was the safe one, the one who wouldn’t yell and scream. She still had never treated me this way, but something told me it would only be a matter of time before she did. The next year, the same thing happened again. Only this time, I wasn’t there for it. My mother claimed that my sister charged at her as if to hurt her and so she told her to leave, only I didn’t believe it. My sister is aggressive at times, but only verbally and only if she is provoked, it didn’t sound like something she would do. In any case, I woke up to find her gone. So, now I was the oldest child in the house, great. That year, as tradition would have it, Christmas Eve was filled with moments I would like to forget. My mother’s brother and his wife came over the house for dinner. I didn’t see this uncle very often, I never saw any of my uncles very often. But, he was always a stand out, because he was so funny. Too funny. He never turned off. My little sister was away that night, so it was just me stuck with these adults. So, I stayed upstairs most of the time. Mostly because I couldn’t stand the sight of my step-father trying to be social with people who are so straight forward. I always found it to be uncomfortable.
In the time it took me to go upstairs and use the rest room, hell broke loose. That’s right. The Earth opened, right in the middle of our kitchen and hell was able to make it’s way up before anyone could figure out how to close it. I came downstairs to find my step-father in a chokehold. My aunt had my step-father in a chokehold. As you can imagine, based on my past, I was not a fan of violence at all. I lose all sensibility and cry, much like a child. I just can’t deal with it. At All. So, when I saw this, I covered my mouth and began to cry. I didn’t even like my step-father that much. I didn’t hate him, I just wasn’t particularly fond of him, but I knew this was wrong. Very wrong. No matter the cause. Meanwhile my mother is screaming, “kill him, kill him.” Now I really have no idea what’s going on. This makes no sense. At this point, his face is a color I never thought human skin could turn. I was pretty sure if I didn’t do something, he was going to die. But, I couldn’t do anything physically. I mean his 6’2 and look what happened to him. So, I did what I was taught to do at school. I called the police. And as soon as I explained what was happening, my aunt dropped my step-father and she and my uncle ran out the door. My step-father, tried to gather himself on the floor and my mother ran upstairs. I was crying so hysterically that the police made me stay on the phone with them, I think they thought I was in danger from the way I sounded on the phone. I wasn’t. When they came, my step-father explained to them what happened. I didn’t hear all of it, so to this day, I still don’t know exactly what went on, but I do know that it had to do with my step-father criticizing my mother’s parents and me being gay. I have no idea in what context, but I know that the conversation became about my sexuality. I’m sure you can imagine how that made me feel at that point in my life. I felt like everything was my fault. They were arguing about me. My mother came down stairs crying, saying to take my step-father away and I really didn’t understand that. My step-father gets on my nerves sometimes, but in a situation where I am pretty sure he could have died, her behavior didn’t seem logical. Luckily, my step-father is white, so nothing crazy happened with the police, but they did tell him to leave the house for a few days (I didn’t even know police could tell you that). And for the first time in my life, I stood up and said what I thought was right.
“You can’t kick him out of his own house. He lives here. He’s the one who was just in a choke hold. I called you so you could save him, not so you could kick him out of the house. This makes no sense. She’s the one acting ridiculous right now. This is wrong.”
So, a few days turned into a few hours. He left for a few hours to let my mother cool off and in the mannerly fashion of the suburbs, they went to sleep and never spoke of it again. This is when I learned first hand, that my mother had a problem with drinking. And when she drank, things like this happened. Not only that, but she had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder…. a hereditary disorder.


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