What a feeling! Snug and warm in bed on a chilly and stormy morning, knowing the alarm isn't due to sound for another two blissful hours.
"Son, wake up."
"Dad?" I asked, rubbing sleep from my eyes. "Is something wrong?"
"On the contrary," he grinned, "the surf is kicking serious butt."
An eerie silver-gray luminescence highlighted the rolling whitecaps as we ran down the sand toward the foaming, swirling shore-break, protected from the chill by our neoprene wet suits. Thick fog was too dense for the rising sun to penetrate. Even Byron Bay headland was a faint mist-shrouded smudge.
I never saw my dad ride big surf. He amazed me by styling big time, and catching several wicked waves. If only my surfing buddies could see him now, I thought. My dad rules.
After 45 minutes, we headed home. "I'm feeling totally stoked," he repeated several times. Then it was time to dress for work and school respectively. Dad was gonna be late for the office, but he was so pumped he didn't care. As a surfer, I knew that feeling well.
"Must be cool to have a dad like that," Brett remarked at recess. "More like a friend than a dad."
"Yeah, he's wicked. I wanna be just like him one day."
"That's a pretty awesome thing to say about your dad."
"Hey, you gotta join me on a Dawn Patrol one time. It would need to be warmer, though, `cause you don't have a wettie. And maybe we could borrow a body board or something. I want you to see the sun rise over the horizon when everything is so damn perfect."
"That good, huh?"
"Can I ask you something personal?"
"Since when have you bothered to ask?"
"Well, now that Melanie gave me a BJ, I wonder if she wants me to return the favor; like, well, you know."
"Just use your finger if you're not into it. I do that to Susan and she climaxes over and over. Then when I'm inside she goes totally wild."
"She always on the bottom?"
"Not always. We like to experiment. Now, can I ask you something?"
"How many girls have you been with, Kyle?"
"Melanie said--not to me, to Susan--that you're helluva nervous with her. Anyway, Susan told her to be gentle with you and to give you time."
"Susan tells you everything?"
"Do you tell her everything?"
"Most stuff. She'd freak if I told her everything."
"Like nothing." Brett clammed up at that point. I figured I'd hit a raw nerve.
That night he decided to visit my house. My folks and I were halfway through dinner, which made him feel a little awkward, but my mom insisted he join us at the table and share our food despite having already eaten at home.
My dad immediately introduced the subject of boxing, which put Brett at ease right away. After the meal, Brett helped my mom do the dishes while I was outside brushing the pool. Later, we chilled in my room, listening to music and just chatting about this and that. It meant something very special to have Brett in my room; sharing my personal space.
Brett visited again the following night, this time after supper. That morning in the gym, I had a tendonitis problem with my left shoulder and Brett massaged the soreness with Reparil gel. He suggested a second session before I went to bed so I invited him over.
"Hey, you're late!" I joked when I answered the door. "The dishes are done already."
I heard my mom's voice from inside, "Kyle! You've got to put a stop to this business of getting your friends to do your chores for you. Like a certain young person who collects the dog droppings, for example!"
"Jeez, mom, you can't blame a guy for trying."
Once in my room, Brett asked about my shoulder. "Feels a lot better than it did this morning," I answered. "That gel really helped."
"Not to mention my expert massage. Want me to rub it again?"
What kinda question was that? "Yeah," I said, maybe a little too enthusiastically.
When he finished, I offered to rub his back. He removed his shirt and sat on the side of my bed while I squeezed a little gel onto my fingers. "Are you worried what my folks might think if they walked in here right now?"
"Just hurry up, will you!"
"I can't believe your muscles, Brett. It's like everytime you twitch, something ripples."
It wasn't until the following morning in the gym that I decided to quiz Brett about the massage. "You got a hangup about the backrub last night?"
"I did have. Have you?"
"No way! What's wrong with it? If I were the coach and gave you a backrub it wouldn't matter. So why should it matter if it's you or me?"
"Yeah, I know," he admitted, "it's just that... hell, I don't know."
"Don't know what?"
"I don't know," he snapped.
"Hey, if it makes you horny I'm the same. I didn't say anything last night but I noticed a bulge in your shorts."
"Your giving me a rub is the last thing that's gonna give me a boner, Kyle, so just drop it. Okay? I don't know what it is."
"Then smile, will you? You're pissed off with the world again. I wrote something once: Friends shouldn't be afraid to be close. Think about it."
Brett lightened up a little, albeit with an insult. "You're not normal. You know that?"
"Fucking hell, Kyle, nobody likes me at school, but you hang with me and still manage to keep your other friends."
"Why do you say that?"
"'Cause it's true, dammit!"
"Bullshit, mate. You're carrying baggage, and you're taking it out on everyone. You don't let the guys near you. You're like paranoid to make friends. So how come you hang with me?"
"Hey, you invited yourself."
"You never chased me?"
"Shut up already. You gonna train or what?"
At lunch, Brett remained sullen for quite a while, so I let him be. Then, out of the blue, he began to giggle. I asked him why.
"Jane Austen the author. She wrote, `I do not want people to be very agreeable as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal'."
"Melanie phoned last night. She asked if I wanted to go clubbing with you guys tomorrow night."
"She asked you?" he said, turning to face me. "Jeez, man, you've got damn pull. How do you do it?"
"I dunno," I shrugged, feigning modesty. "Magnetic personality, I guess."
Next morning, Brett asked if I remembered the first time he invited me to punch the bag with him.
"Yeah," I answered, "I was stressed big time."
"I'm glad you said `yes'."
"I just am."
Normally, I was a beer drinker, but Brett decided to `educate' me that night at the Purple Alien, and treated me to several vodkas. I was legless by the time we managed to hitch a ride home. The driver was cool and took us all the way to Melanie's house, from where we walked to Susan's. Walked? Brett threw me over his shoulder. Not a good move. I puked down the back of his shirt.
Waking in the morning was a slow and painful process to the beat of a thousand jungle drums. I was naked and in strange surroundings. Brett's face gradually came into focus as he stood beside me.
"Susan undressed you."
"She could've left my boxers on."
"She wanted to check out your cock."
"Bet she was impressed, huh?"
"Made her horny as hell, so while you were sleeping we made awesome love."
"Damn! Why didn't you wake me? I could've gawked at you humping Susan!"
"You're fucking twisted," he laughed.
I surfed all of Sunday with Stuart and Graham so it wasn't until Monday at school that I spoke with Brett again. We sat together as usual during lunch break. "Thanks for looking after me on Friday night," I said. "If it hadn't been for you... well, who knows? Anyway, I just want you to know something--I'm here for you if ever you need to chat about stuff that bugs you. Okay? And by the way, I figure I owe you an explanation about why I baited Mitch that time." I went on to explain how Mitch molested Graham during a sleepover with Ryan and smacked the grommet across the face when he complained.
"If I'd known that, I wouldn't have given you the chance to get to that asshole."
"That's why I didn't tell you."
"Is he the little bloke you bought the surfboard for?"
"Why did you do that?"
"He's like a little bro, and I think he's a cool little dude."
"Fuck! For a surfboard I'd almost let you blow me. Hey... I said `almost'." Brett's own joked cracked him up, for which I was pleased. It was the first time he laughed loudly that day.
But my reply was almost instant. "Hmmm, now that's an offer I'll have to consider. When do you wanna start surfing?"
"Cool it, Kyle. You're almost being serious."
"Okay, for some surf wax can I jack you?"
Brett's guffaws could be heard a mile away. Then, he became pensive again. "You ever jack someone else before?"
"You really wanna know?"
"If what? You tell me and I'll tell you."
"Yeah, I have--so now you know one of my best-kept secrets."
"Someone I know?"
"Now who's being quizzy? Anyway, you said you'd tell me something."
He studied the ground for a moment. "I have too." His revelation caused me to go dead quiet. "Kyle? You there? Earth calling Kyle. I bet you're disappointed."
"Why should I be if I have too? Do you still?"
"No. Don't be crazy. It's like cool when you're little but now guys would think I was gay." He paused a moment then asked: "Do you?"
"Think you're gay? No."
"I mean do you still jack off other guys?"
"Aren't you concerned about what other guys might think?"
"Who's to know? Anyway, you already called me a faggot."
"That had nothing to do with anything. You already know why I did that."
"So, are you gonna tell Susan or Melanie?"
"I'm not fucking stupid--then lose you as a friend? Anyway, you could tell the whole world that I jacked a guy, and was jacked by a guy, if you wanted to screw my life."
"By the way," I observed, "you got a boner. Do you feel guilty about it?"
"About jacking another guy? Yeah. And in case you're wondering, there's only one."
"Yeah," I admitted, "I had the guilts forever about it. Thought I was a freak."
Just then the bell rang for class. Brett said: "Hey, am I the only other person you've told about this?"
"Yep. I haven't even told the person I jacked yet."
"That's a pretty huge secret to be telling me, Kyle. Are you worried?"
"Should I be?"
"Then I'm not worried. You're my mate and, one day, when you wanna tell me something, I'll be there for you. Just remember that."
I was totally pissed that the bell intruded on our conversation. We were just beginning to chill and it was so damn cool.