Chapter 41
(c) 2006

Hiya G,

I know what you're saying about me hassling Brett but it's frustrating when he doesn't phone. Even though I have his number I hate to call because then I'm doing what you say I shouldn't. I think the big diff is that he doesn't feel about me the same as I do about him. And why should he? I know there's really no future for the two of us. Fact is, I know what I need to do; eventually marry and have a million kids.

The funny thing is, when Melanie and I are together, it's like we're in our own private world because we make each other feel special. And I told you before it's not just the sex, which is fantastic, we're able to talk to each other about anything. Well, not quite anything but you know what I mean. We really are good friends and lovers, and that seems to be different to what I observe about other guys and their girlfriends. Melanie and I do stuff together that would embarrass other guys, like when I parade in front of her wearing the sarong she gave me. She arranges it in all kinds of styles for me to model. We both get turned on by the whole game--just doing silly stuff together.

When I go surfing and she can't join me, she's quite happy for me to hang out with the guys. Actually, she never bitches when it's a boys' night out. So I guess it's logical for me to start appreciating what I have in Melanie, and come to grips with the reality of Brett in my life. However, that's easier said than done. Whenever I tell Brett that I love him, I don't think he realizes that I'm in love with him. Or, if he does, he dismisses it, hoping it will go away because it makes him uncomfortable.

No calls from Brett this week, so I'll just wait and see. What was it you said? Set it free and, if it comes back, it's yours?

Six weeks elapsed before I emailed G again. And with the passing of each week, it became more difficult to write. What was I supposed to say? That I was sorry? How lamo would that be. When I finally did write, I admitted I had no excuse except that I was busy with all kinds of crap, mainly related to trying to sort out my head. Melanie and I were now the real thing, madly in love. I guessed I had Brett to thank for that. He made it plain to me that what we had was a very special friendship, but that was its limitation. He also worried about me, and the way I was. It was a genuine concern, given the extent of society's homophobia.

To make matters worse, I hadn't checked my email for over a month and was shit scared of all the mail waiting for me. I was sure there would be a couple from G as well, worried as per usual when I'd been absent. But it wasn't just a matter of being sorry and having the guilts, it was also because I honestly felt that I'd dried up with the whole Internet thing; lost interest was probably a more accurate assessment.

Surfing occupied much of my time, usually accompanied by Melanie. She was one helluva surfer which gave us that much more in common. Graham and his mate Jason had become best friends, which was one for the books. It happened on a school swim tour. I wrote a huge email about it on floppy disk, ready to send to G, when a power failure stuffed the whole thing. I stared in disbelief at the PC monitor and thought, `Fuck it!' That's when I realized how fanatical I'd become about cyber space.

I hadn't changed all that much, though, not as a person. That night I hardly slept, suffering a guilt trip in relation to being such a prick about not writing G. Adding fuel to the downer situation was my gran. She was ill, which depressed my dad. He was at the hospital every night.

The next few weeks brought sensational weather, as well as surf. The local beach featured solid, six-foot waves, with glassy conditions. Graham, Stuart and I raved every day until dark. What a gas!
Meanwhile, Brett phoned three times a week on a regular basis. About mid May, he told me he got a job crewing a yacht, which would sail around the Great Australian Bight and up the east coast to the Gold Coast. He wanted to know if my folks would be okay about letting him stay for a few days before flying back to Perth. This was Brett talking?

"Are you sure you can trust me?"

"Maybe I should bring Candy along."

"Cool. I'm sure she'll enjoy watching." Then the chicken shit quickly changed the subject to the weather and the latest neighborhood news.

It was late May when he phoned on a Monday night. He'd been water skiing over the weekend with Candy and a few friends. He was definitely relaxed and seemed to be enjoying life in Perth. And me? I remained controlled and didn't mention sex once. Well...

"Fingers watched me through the frosted-glass shower door and the bloody water went cold! No way I was gonna leave the shower while he was there! I eventually did, but with a towel wrapped around my waist. He was still there, and quizzed me about why I was so shy around him. But I told him it wasn't like that." Brett also mentioned work on the yacht. "We're hardly anywhere with the damn thing. It's slow because of the high-quality work we're doing. We haven't even started on the interior yet. We're still doing fairing and shit like that."


"Exterior finishes."

In early June, I responded to an email from G.

I still think about your humor and smile stupidly. People are curious about what goes on in my head. The sad thing is that I can't speak to anyone about you and me. Rick can't handle the way I'm so into the Internet and your stories. He says I need to come back to earth. I spoke about it to Stuart. He said he could understand where I was coming from, but not why I spent so much time at the computer and getting so involved in it.

That's something I can't speak to Brett about. For starters, it would create a massive fallout. Despite everything, I believe Brett has convinced himself that I am totally straight, and that what we did together has nothing to do with sexual orientation apart from the feelings we share.

I could never speak to Graham about it either. Besides, the opportunity has never arisen. And I don't want him to think that what we share is a gay sexual thing. He would hate me for that because he sees our relationship as a natural progression of friendship. Ironically, I'm convinced that he and his best mate Jason have a sexual thing going, albiet pretty innocent. He doesn't talk about it, and I don't ask him about it. It reminds me of the relationship Rick and I shared as youngsters, not untypical of the grommet stage.

The manager of the internet café dug around the mysterious innards of a computer, endeavoring to fix something. I was the only other person there, out of sight at the back of the café. Hey, G, I'm gonna put a smile on your grumpy old dial. I just whipped out the ol' thingamejingy thingy and stroked it into a boner. And now I'm battling to get the damn thing back into my pants! Hehehe. Bloody hell! I gotta jet before I get busted. How the hell do you stroke these things DOWN? See what I do for you? Dammit! DOWN BOY!!!!

So what's my plan for the weekend? I'm waiting for a tall, well-built, handsome Aussie with black spiky hair to knock on my door and say, "G'day, Kyle". He hasn't contacted me for a week so I hope he's on his way up the coast, crewing the yacht that brings him to Byron Bay. I'll wait and see.

By mid-June, Brett still hadn't showed. Meanwhile, I'd been away on a surfing safari with a group of German tourists. I wrote G about it: The safari was pretty cool. I had to teach one of the guys to surf. The other three were okay. How do Germans learn to surf like that? Anyway, they were pretty damn impressed with me. NO! NOT MY JEWELS! Get your fossil mind above your navel. Actually, I wondered about them; one was a bit chubby--make that a lot chubby, but he surfed pretty well.
They asked me to find some pot because they were all into it. At first, I didn't know where to search, but it turned out to be dead easy. I approached a young bloke at the local markets and simply handed him the bucks. He knew exactly what I wanted. He passed me an arm, so the Germans were shitfaced every night at the campsite.

I connected with a chick I met during a previous visit and spent the night with her. Her boyfriend was away on business somewhere. He's a data comms project leader or whatever. Anyway, I gave the chick something to remember. :-)

I often wondered about G's reaction to my sexual exploits with girls. The first time I mentioned it, a few years ago when Rick treated me to a `going away' present, he blew a gasket. He said we were headed in opposite directions, growing apart, and that our friendship was ultimately doomed. I wrote back and gave him both barrels; sorted him out good and proper. He was okay after that.

When Brett did finally call, he explained that the boat still needed work before it was ready to sail. SHIT!!!

G'day, G,

This is cool. I actually have some time to relax and catch up with email. My mate here at the net café lets me use the comp free. How cool is that? He's a total guru with the comps here--always got one open and digging around inside.

Sunday night I visited Graham's house. He wrote his final exam today, working his butt off. Fact is, I've hardly seen the little runt apart from surfing. He's been hitting the books and done a real academic turnaround. I suspect his mate Jason is the inspiration for that.

Everything is pretty quiet here. I saw Melanie Friday--she's busy studying too for exams starting Monday. Stuart's also writing exams but not at the expense of surfing. He's permanently wet. He bitched about his latest girlfriend the other day but is still with her. I guess he might finally be settling down--or under the perennial nagger's thumb.

Still haven't heard a word from Brett. I phoned Perth and some bloke said that Brett was already on the high seas. Hopefully, he'll arrive in a few days. Do I sound desperate? Hehehe.

Friday, June 29, 1pm. I was at the surf shop, arranging some of the merchandise. Same old, same old, just another day. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder from behind. "Hey, fuckhead. You wanna show me some of that stuff?"

I spun around, totally pissed off at some stranger who didn't even know me calling me a `fuckhead', and was ready to plant the asshole. Then, to my absolute elation, I recognized my best mate's grinning face. I went totally ballistic.

Brett looked nothing less than fantastic! Tanned to perfection; hair a bit longer; wicked smile, just as I remembered. He wore a light blue top, like all the yachties wear and, underneath, a white T-shirt. A pair of blue Levis seductively hugged his hips, and on his feet were blue/gray sneakers. He was buff! Woohoo! So totally buff! That was plain to see by the way his t-shirt glued itself to the awesome contours of his chest. Yeah, well, I kinda notice those things. Oh, my God, he looked so cool, not to mention relaxed and so wonderfully happy!

"Hey!" I said in a mild panic as I remembered something important, "I gotta run a quick errand."

"Kyle?" he yelled as I sprinted to the shop door. "Where the hell are you going? You've been given the afternoon off! Let's get the bloody hell outta here!"

I paused at the door. "Seriously," I laughed, "just give me five minutes. Please? There's something I gotta do real quick."

After rushing like a madman into the net café to let G know via email that my birthday pressie had arrived, I quickly returned to the shop, and a bewildered Brett. "Where the hell did you disappear to?" he demanded.

"Stop bitching. It was something I needed to do. So how come I got the afternoon off?"

"I arranged it with your boss over the phone. You got the whole weekend off, but you gotta be back at work Monday."

Rather than hitch, we caught a bus back to Byron. "So take that goofy grin off your face," Brett said as the bus pulled away.

"Can't help it. I thought I'd never see you again. You're looking good. Matter of fact, I detect a new, more confident air about you. It's in your appearance and even in the way you move."

"You too, Kyle. Somehow different." Then he laughed as he checked the top of my head. "Can't get rid of that spiky hair, though, huh?"

"It's the way I cut it. Shut up."

As the bus made its unhurried journey to Byron, Brett chatted about various things, including his time at sea. "We hit a storm off Eden so we decided to anchor there for a few days. It's incredibly hard work, Kyle--sailing. When the weather's crap, there's a million things to do, and it all happens at once. Makes you feel alive and excited, though. Awesome, actually. One time I was at the helm, trying desperately to hold the yacht on course. But the force of the wind was so fierce, the waves kept looming toward the bow like huge, green skyscrapers, and the helm threatened to fly out of my grip. I hung on to that thing for dear life, man. It felt like my arms were about to be torn from their sockets."

As he related the story with all the theatrical melodrama he could muster, I couldn't resist visualizing a tall, shirtless hunk, muscles pumped and straining as he gripped the wheel with all his might, struggling determinedly to win the raging battle of the angry sea.

"I'm totally amped about the whole yachting thing, Kyle. At the moment, I need supervision because I'm not licensed. So I'm gonna do a Mariner's training program. My dad will pay half the fee, and Fingers will chip in, plus my old boss and some of guys I worked with. Cool, huh?"

"Why them?"

"They say I'll be useful to crew some of their yachts for delivery around the world. Kyle? You hear what I'm saying? Can you believe things have turned out this way for me? Do you realize what this all means? Now I understand your obsession with the ocean. It's magic out there, wild and free."
I had to smile at his exuberance. Like him, I could never have anticipated a situation like the one Brett so easily and conveniently fell into, and was so delighted with.

All too soon we arrived home. My folks were over the moon at seeing him again. My friend was their friend, and I was chuffed about that. My mom hugged him a little longer than necessary, which pleased me.

"You should do modeling," she smiled as she stood back at arm's length and admired him. "All the girls would have your picture pinned to their bedroom walls."

"And my mom would too," I joked.

Brett blushed big time, which launched my dad into a fit of laughter.

Once in my room, Brett unpacked his stuff. Then my dad arrived to place the spare mattress against the wall. We were all overjoyed to have Brett with us, just like part of the family. Our house was a place he could always call home, and where he would always be more than welcome.

After supper, Brett explained that he needed to see his mom. I understood, despite my reluctance to see him go. Meanwhile, I helped my mom clean the kitchen and dishes. Yeah, right. For three hours? I couldn't find enough to do. Time dragged. Every minute was like an hour.

Finally, Brett returned, wearing the dimpled smile to which I was hopelessly addicted. His mom was naturally excited to see him again, and the visit went well. Even SFB was cordial, asking all the right questions, and complimenting Brett on how good he looked; how fit and buff he was. On the down side, for me, was that Brett promised he would spend Sunday with them. Damn! That was my birthday for fuck sake!

Later, he phoned Susan. I stood near the phone and heard her scream with delight at the sound of Brett's voice. She told him that she and the new boyfriend Shane bought tickets to a rock concert, the same concert I'd also purchased tickets for Brett, Melanie and me. It was the hottest gig on the coast and a must see.

"So what's with Susan," I asked when the call finished.

"She'll meet me at the gig."

"What about Shane? He hates me."

"Ignore him."

Upon arrival at Melanie's house, Brett was overwhelmed by a huge and eager hug from my girl. Go figure. Who wouldn't? The gig was raging by the time we arrived at 10pm--with a wall-to-wall and shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. Many angry people were turned away despite having tickets.

Eventually, we made it inside and organized drinks. Then Brett began to search for Susan. Yeah, right. The crowd was impossibly dense. With determination and patience, Melanie finally found Susan and Shane and returned them to where Brett and I stood. A second later, Brett and Susan disappeared onto the dance floor. That left me with Melanie and Shane, who constantly craned his neck, hoping to spot his girl and Brett somewhere in the crush of humanity. Fat chance. Melanie tried to calm Shane but he was far too agitated and distracted to take heed, no doubt suspicious of what might be happening between Brett and Susan.

Shane's problems weren't mine so I took Melanie to the dance floor for a jive. The night was a total rave.

Brett had little to say on the way back to Melanie's house. For one thing he was plastered. At Melanie's front gate, I explained to her that I needed to walk Brett home. She was cool about it.
Once Brett and I had gone a few yards down the road, he grinned at me and said, "Now, that was a rave!"

"I hardly saw you guys all night," I pouted.

"I made love to Susan in Shane's car," he giggled. "How's that, mate."

His continuing and infectious giggle caused me to join in. "You're a dog," I laughed. Nonetheless, there was sadistic pleasure in learning that Brett and Susan got off in Shane's car. I loathed that smartass.

"Too bloody right, mate! Serves the fucker right for being down on her."

"Who had the stash?"

"What stash?"

"Hey, this is Kyle, remember. I know you've smoked it up."

"Susan had it. Good stuff too." Then he giggled again, sending his shoulders into a flurry of involuntary activity. "Oh, my, my, my. What a night!" He reached into his top pocket and produced another joint, then lit it.

"Susan had it?"

"Yeah, and I rolled this one in Shane's car, for right now, walking home with you. It's been ages since I had a chance to really chill out. Just me and my best mate." He threw his arm around my shoulder, took a drag, and exhaled a cloud of blue/gray smoke into the cool night air, which quickly devoured it.

Despite feeling over the moon at his spontaneous show of affection, I was worried. "I think you might have gotten Susan into some serious shit with Shane."

"Bugger him. Anyway, we both wanted it. It's not like I forced her. That horny wench is as good as ever."