Chris – Erick’s boyfriend
April – Erick’s friend
Grayson – April’s boyfriend
TJ – the violinist
Erick and April are sitting in front of a large fountain on the round steps outside the Sherman Oaks Galleria. Erick is leaning back with his body stretched out across several steps. April’s knees are pulled in close to her body with her torso leaning against her thighs and her head resting in the small space between her knees. It’s a warm, bright, sunny Sunday afternoon under clear blue skies and the two of them are meeting up with Chris and Grayson for a movie.
It is usually quite an undertaking to get Erick to a) agree to go to a movie and b) to select a movie he actually wanted to see or would at least sit through without grumbling. For the past year and a half, Erick has been on a moviegoing boycott. It began with the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood, which charged him what he considered to be a usurious holiday rate for a matinee on what he considered to be a non-holiday – President’s Day.
Since then he has expanded his boycott to include just about every movie theatre that charges more than eleven dollars. In Los Angeles this precludes just about every theatre except his now-beloved Vista in Silver Lake, one of the last remaining vestiges of a true moviegoing experience that doesn’t require Dolby surround sound, stadium seating or 3D.
Though the cinemas at the Galleria were also ArcLight, Grayson was paying so Erick was willing to suspend his boycott for the day with the rationale that it isn’t his own dollars feeding their corporate machine.
“Grayson and I had another fight last night,” April blurts out.
Erick’s head drops. “By fight, do you mean you fussed at Grayson and he just listened?”
“Basically,” April admits.
“We had the marriage talk again last night.”
“By ‘we had the marriage talk’, do you mean you brought it up and when you didn’t get the response you wanted, you fussed at Grayson while he just listened?”
“Basically. I feel bad.”
“Don’t you muck this up.”
“Who’s side are you on?”
“This isn’t about sides. This is about Grayson being a really good guy who shouldn’t be penalized because he hasn’t put a ring on your finger yet.”
“We’ve been together for three years.”
“So? Do you love him?”
“Does he love you?”
“Well there you go.”
“But I want to be married.”
“I’m sure he does too…just not necessarily yet.”
“Why do you want to be married?”
“Because it’s the next logical step for us.”
“What if his next logical step is just living together or having a baby or getting a dog?”
April whips her head around with a raised eyebrow and an “are you kidding me?” look. “Are you kidding me?” she says.
“Well, what if it is?” Erick follows up undaunted.
“Then maybe he’s not the guy for me.”
“Based on that?”
“If his steps are in a different order than my steps then we may never be in sync.”
“Does the order matter?”
“In his case, yes.”
“If marriage is first on my list but last on his list, then I could be well past forty before we even get married and then I’ll be too old for anything else on his list.”
“But at least you’ll be married.”
“I want other things too.”
“Maybe Grayson wants other things as well.”
“Like not being married to me.”
“Exactly – like not being married to you. But not not married to you per se, just not married. To you. In the ‘not with you’ sense that he may not want to be married to you, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to be with you.”
April thinks about his for a moment. “Why would I want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be married to me?”
“I could also ask you why wouldn’t you want to be with someone who wants to have a baby with you, buy a house with you and adopt a dog with you?”
“Because marriage binds all that together.”
“So does love.”
“Maybe so, but I just want to be married. I just don’t see how any of those other things are possible without being married.”
“Gay couples have been making all that possible for decades.”
“Please don’t go there with me right now.”
“I’m just as much for gay marriage as I am for my own marriage.”
“I know you are, but I know gay couples who have been together for twenty, thirty, forty years and even longer without that social construct in their lives.”
“Are you suggesting I do the same?”
“No. I’m just saying that not being married doesn’t take anything away from what you and Grayson already have together any more than it would legitimize what I already have with Chris and what will continue to develop in the future.”
“So when it’s legal, and it will someday be legal, you won’t want to marry Chris?”
“It’s not anything we particularly feel the need to do, but that doesn’t mean we won’t. The point is that everyone is entitled to decide that for themselves.”
“And I’ve decided that I want that for Grayson and me.”
Erick chuckles. “And he probably wants the same, but if he doesn’t do it within YOUR timeline, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you.”
“But if he loved me as much as I think he does, then he should WANT to marry me.”
“And I’m sure he does, but maybe just not yet.”
“I just don’t want to be wasting my time with someone who doesn’t want to commit to me for the rest of his life. It’s about the commitment and the desire to make it.”
“Then maybe he doesn’t want to.”
“Maybe he doesn’t.”
“Maybe you should break up with him.”
“Maybe I should.”
“Maybe this violinist is available.”
“Where did he come from?”
“I didn’t even notice him walk up. But he’s really good.”
“Too young. He’s like, five.”
“Can you play something a little less depressing?” a voice from behind Erick and April asks. Erick and April turn around to see Chris and Grayson standing above them. April turns back around and focuses her attention on the violinist.
The violinist smiles and nods his head. “How’s this?” he responds as he launches into another piece that doesn’t sound much peppier than the previous one.
“Perfect,” Grayson replies with a smirk as he walks down the steps, places a couple dollars into the violinist’s hat, takes his place a few away from the violinist and face Erick, Chris and April. “I know we had planned to go to a movie, but I’ve come up with a better idea.”
“See? He can’t even commit to a movie,” April cracks.
“This is better than a movie,” another voice says from behind Erick, Chris and April. She turns around to see her mother, father, brother and six sisters.
“What are you guys doing here?” April asks.
The violinist, catching on to what might be going on, begins playing “Ave Maria”.
Grayson looks over at the violinist and chuckles. “April, I love you. I always have, I always will. To show you how much, I want to sentence myself – in a good way -- to having you as my wife for the next 100 years or so.”
Grayson pulls a small box out of his pocket, steps forward and kneels down. April covers her face with a mixture of embarrassment and joy.
“April Tegiste, will you marry me?”
The violinist briefly stops playing. Traffic quiets down as the light is in the process of changing. The only sounds that remain are the water flowing from the fountain and the distant murmur of outside customers at the nearby Cheesecake Factory.
“A thousand times, yes!” April says as she and Grayson stand up and embrace.
Erick and Chris hi-five each other, hug and kiss while April’s family applauds. Traffic flows once again. And the violinist resumes playing. It’s a similarly depressing dirge but he plays it with more pep than he had before.
Original Fiction from a Sitcom Mind > The Halls of Shambala > I Am Erick Davidson - An Original Short Story Series >