Meeting Mr. MogulBy: Mel Ryle
“Why do you sound surprised?” Terry asked as he eyed me with his eyebrow raised.
“But you dress like a guy… you ride a motorcycle—you wear leather for goodness sake! And you act and eat like a dude,” I said in disbelief, trying to think of some signs that told me he was gay. However, nothing comes to mind except for one thing. “So that’s why you never hit on me!” I was surprised that the realization only dawned on me at that moment.
“Of all the things you could have noticed, you just had to point that one out.” Terry shook his head in disappointment, though his eyes gleamed in amusement.
“So, who is he?” I asked after gaining full recovery from that shock.
“Wow. You got over that really fast, didn’t you?” Terry mumbled before he took a deep breath, his awful mood had returned. “We had a fight before you moved here. I told him about you and well…” he trailed off as he choked on his words.
“So, you’ve been moping around for a month because of me. And you just thought to tell me this after all this time.”
“Well, you were the one who wanted to know,” he countered. He looked at me like I was the one at fault.
“So, you guys just ignored the issue and haven’t talked about it at all?” I asked, ignoring his attempt to sidetrack me.
“He’s very stubborn sometimes,” Terry confided, covering his face with his hands and rubbed it in annoyance. “So, that’s what’s up with me. How about you?” he asked after recovering from his mood.
“Me?” I asked, alarmed by his sudden change of topic. “Well, in truth, I’m an open book. You already know why I’m here and about my financial problems. What else do you want to know?”
“True,” Terry agreed with a nod of his head. “Which brings an end to our conversation. And, from the looks of it, you have to go,” he added as he glanced at the clock above the television.
I followed his gaze and stood up immediately. It was almost noon by the time I realized I should have left earlier. “Shoot!” I grabbed my bag and jacket in a hurry.
“Do you want me to take you there?” Terry offered, but he stayed on the couch looking unaffected by my frantic rush.
“No. You just rest and keep yourself sober until work tonight,” I replied, and paused from rushing around to give him a warning look.
“Yes, mother. I will do as you ordered,” he said monotonously like an errant child.
“Well, I’ve got to go darling.” I said in a fake British accent as I walked towards the door. “Don’t whore around without me!” I added.
I heard him burst in laughter before I closed the door behind me. As I walked towards the bus stop, I thought about the conversation I had with Terry. I never expected him to be gay, but to each his own. It was refreshing to understand someone more and more each day. I shoved the thought aside when the bus finally arrived.
The ride to the hospital took longer than usual. It was almost noon. That time of day that could be rush hour for people who were having an early lunch or a late breakfast. By the time I reached my stop, my stomach growled in hunger. So, I stopped by the nearest fast food chain and grabbed some lunch and dessert — a gift for later. After I finished my meal, the walk to the hospital was quick and short.
When I reached the fourth floor of the hospital building, I gave the attending nurse a brief nod of acknowledgment. It has been a month since my father was admitted here. A few of the staff on his floor had gotten familiar with me, especially the nurse assigned to take care of my father.
“Hey, Andy. How are things?” The nurse, Patty, asked when she saw me.
“Everything is well. How is he?” I asked, giving her a small smile.
“He is doing well, but still the same,” she replied softly, looking slightly sympathetic for a second before she recovered with a smile. “He’s been waiting for you.”
“Yeah, I kind of promised him I’d be early today, but the traffic was bad,” I explained.
She smiled at my words and nodded without replying. I said my goodbye after that and walked on. Upon reaching his room, I softly knocked on his door before entering.
“Hey, Dad,” I greeted as I entered. I overheard voices when I came in, which became softer by the time I was inside. I knew then that he was tuning in to a show. “What are you watching?” I asked as I strolled towards the empty table and chair across the door.
“What took you so long? Did something happen?” he asked, his voice thick with worry.
“Sorry I was late. The traffic was bad. I also woke up late since we had a busy night,” I lied smoothly as I took out the food from the paper bags. “Do you want a burger, spaghetti, or just a sandwich?” I asked.