It is December the 12th. Mikey has turned 35 as I write this. If you are away from your children a lot when they are young, you at least make sure you remember their birthdays.
I am very proud of Mikey. And he is gay.
These days the moment when a son tells his Dad he is gay is regarded as a defining moment in their relationship.
But with me, it was Elsa who simply wrote to say that Mikey had something to tell me on my return. That was just over two years after Julie died. Mikey was about to turn seventeen.
That let me know that whatever he had to tell me had already been processed. Maybe his Mom had already guessed and talked to Elsa about it before she died.
I had seen the horrors of Aids in Africa and lost one college friend to the disease. That was my first thought, that he might suffer such an awful death. But of course I didn’t mention that.
I just said: “Are you sure about this?” and he just smiled and said “Yes, Dad. The symptoms are quite clear”.
I guess the clues were there. He was in all the plays in High School and loved the musicals best of all. His triumph was when he sang the part of Seymour Krelborn in the Little Shop of Horrors. The “Suddenly Seymour” duet, which he sang with Sandra Buksbazen, got a standing ovation.
But he was not that convincing as a conspirator in Julius Caesar!
Anyway, he is now a professional actor. After some uncertain years, he is in quite a successful sitcom about three families. In the sitcom, he and his gay partner have adopted a little Vietnamese girl. They are dazzled by her beauty.
His Dad is also a character in the series and sometimes the Dad ribs him and says things like “you thought you could learn everything you needed to know about fighting from West Side Story, didn’t you?”
I never could have said anything like that.
So, he is quite well known now. I can watch the series on Sky and I read his Twitter feeds. (He has thousands of followers).
His best friend in the cast seems to be the beautiful Peruvian actress who is his fathers’ second wife in the story. He adores her, and she seems to have a great affection for Mikey.
But for a long time there did not seem to be a permanent partner in his real life.
Towards the end of his time in High School he “dated” Sandra. That was probably just because they both had the same ambitions. Sandra went into show business under the name Russet Roberts, but it does not seem to have worked out for her.
Elsa was always quite gruff about Sandra. “Perfectly symmetrical. All the bits in the right places”, she said, implying that was really about all you could say about Sandra.
I think Mikey was quite special for Elsa.
Today he is a big supporter of the Trevor Project, which provides helplines for young people confused about their sexuality.
That makes me wonder what Mikey went through in his teens.