Green Room II
When my best friend Kyle was killed in an auto accident I turned to drugs. Why not? I was already into substance abuse so it was easy to lean more heavily on my addiction to cope with my loss.
I was a year younger than Kyle who, at just 19, was poised for a career as a marine biologist. He had everything to live for; all cruelly snatched away in a few hours, leaving his family, friends and lovers devastated, particularly me.
"Come on, man, let's party!" he said when he phoned to ask me to join him that fateful night. But I was too busy, hoping to get my way with a new girlfriend, so I declined his invitation. If I'd accepted, things might have been different, and Kyle might still be alive today.
My name is Stuart Shaffer and this is the story of how Kyle's mentor and soul mate, G, helped me to escape the depths of suicidal depression, quit the drugs, and turn my life around...all via email. G was the only person in the world I could turn to; the only person I could trust with my darkest of secrets. Or was he?
Green Room II
Hey, John. You need to write G and tell him about Kyle. There's a shit load of mail come in and one of them from a few weeks back is from G who thinks that Kyle's stuffing their friendship over. I thought that you would have written already. I don't want to sound all fucked up aggro but G did a lot for Kyle and I don't think it's fair that he thinks Kyle's forgotten him. And no I can't write the mail because I'm using Kyle's and just imagine that mail coming from Kyle's email addy. I also don't know what to say. I hate laying this on you but I thought that you said you were going to write him. He's going to be wondering about Graham and Brett as well. You can tell him that they're okay. Graham has taken it the hardest but I think he's going to be okay. Kyle was like his big brother. Rick has gone back to Canada. I'm okay. Like everyone, I'm totally lost but I guess everyone will come around in time. Christmas is a bad time of the year though, as you can imagine. I know that it's hard for you too even though you didn't have contact but you're the only person I can think of to write this thing. Please don't leave it too long. Thanks. Stuart.
John duly wrote G, who was devastated at the news of Kyle's death, of course, but it provided an opportunity for us to meet via email. I knew of G through his friendship with Kyle, but never wrote to him while Kyle was alive. The more often I wrote G, and the more often he replied, the greater my need to confide in him became. I began to tell G about my darker side, my evil side, always expecting to unleash his rage. But, no, his criticism was always tempered by diplomacy and calm advice. Slowly, I realized what Kyle saw in his fossil mate.
I admitted things I'd done to deliberately hurt Kyle, like having sex with his girlfriend Melanie, and organizing a couple of my druggie mates to beat Brett at a club one night. I hated the relationship that developed between Kyle and Brett; their closeness. I was insanely jealous. I wanted Kyle all to myself. But when things turned out in Kyle's favor, which they inevitably did, I'd launch into another drug binge and send myself to another planet. Little did I realize then that Kyle had enough love to share with everyone. He had a limitless supply.
Kyle found me lying in my own puke in my room one day, and we fought. He beat the crap out of me. He was powerfully strong, and when he hit, you felt it big time. But he only lashed out when he was angry; a fire blazed in his hazel eyes as he lashed out. He hated my dependence on drugs. But, often, after a fight, we made up. One time he wrote a poem about me titled Golden God:
Covered by silky gold
Piercing blue eyes
Looking into my soul
Melanie was also into drugs before she met Kyle; ecstasy and coke. She attended a rehab program. She did that for Kyle, who was none the wiser. I thought about it too. But it was always tomorrow, and tomorrow never came. I tried cold turkey and failed a stack of times, so what was the use? I was in too deep, not only using but dealing. Kyle never knew about that. He thought the stuff in my room was my own stash. Rick and Brett knew about it, though, and scored off me a few times. Nothing hard, just grass. Brett and I got along okay, I suppose, but Rick hated me. He was the more clever and saw through me right away. He only reason he tolerated me was because Kyle liked me, and he loved Kyle big time.
Anyway, I did my best to convince G that I was an asshole...and he agreed! Hahaha! But he also insisted that that needn't be the end of the story, that I could change, that I could be up there on the pedestal Kyle saw me on, that I could be loved and respected by the same people who currently loathed me, including myself. Yeah, right. He was in dreamland.
Melanie and I spent quite a lot of time together, much to my current girlfriend's chagrin. I'd always loved Melanie. Following a few arguments with my girlfriend, we split. Graham became a constant companion. He saw me as Kyle's best friend, so I guess that was some comfort to the little bloke. Whoa! Not so little any more. His body was experiencing a growth spurt. He also spent a lot of time listening to music in Kyle's room, which was just as Kyle left it...a shrine to the main man.
On the morning of November 3, Graham, as usual, breezed into his big bro's room to bounce on the bed. He loved to do that after Kyle had a big night out. But, this time, there was no Kyle. When Kyle's folks broke the news, the grommet was devastated beyond belief. He spent ages on Kyle's bed sobbing uncontrollably and calling his bro's name.
Melanie and I took Graham to see Lord of the Rings at the movies just before Christmas. We'd become like a family, brothers and sister.
On Christmas day, Melanie and I visited the Taranto house. We were like family to them too. All Kyle's friends were treated like family. Melanie brought a gift, an African violet. Mrs. T had tears in her eyes when she received it. Even Mr. T was all choked up.
Then I noticed some gifts under the tree. One was a present from Kyle, which he made before the accident. I read the card, then unwrapped the gift...a bead surfer necklace that he made himself. Kyle was like that. He didn't have a lot of money, so he often gave things he'd made with his own hands. It took every ounce of control I could muster not to burst into tears as I fondled the beads, and imagined his fingers stringing them together.
The Ts were coping as well as could be expected, and were delighted to see us all. Graham arrived shortly afterwards, dressed in a new tank top and boardies, gifts from his folks. He was surprisingly chirpy, and gave a hand-made card to the Ts. It featured a drawing of Mr. T and Kyle on a Dawn Patrol; just a silhouette of two surfers against the rising sun. The grommet was no great artist, but the gift was received with sincere gratitude, and would undoubtedly become a family treasure. In return, the Ts gave Graham Kyle's prized Endless Summer poster. He went ballistic, but asked if the poster could remain in Kyle's room, because that was where it rightfully belonged. "Besides, it gives me another excuse to come and visit more often." The Ts were charmed by that remark.
We all went outside to sit by the pool, where Mrs. T served juice and snacks. However, it was impossible not to notice the absence of Kyle. Brett and his girlfriend Candy, a total stunner, top class and beautiful, arrived later. Candy was an instant hit with everyone, including Graham, who told her about how Brett used to beat him up at school. Graham soon found himself being wrestled in the pool by a merciless Brett, whom the grommet loved to tease, and always called him `Conan'.
Mr. T threw steaks and sausages on the barbecue for lunch. It was a wonderful day, sunny and warm, with the conversation, naturally enough, centering much of the time around Kyle; stories of his school days, as well as hiking and swim tours. Members of the swim team showed up mid afternoon. None of us were Kyle, but at least there was a little part of Kyle in each of us.
The next time I wrote G, I apologized for letting him down. Or had I let myself down? I'd suffered a major downer, drug induced, of course, thinking about Kyle and how deeply I missed him.
My folks went on another of their endless trips, which left me in the care of the household staff...yeah, right. But I took advantage of the opportunity to invite Graham for a sleepover.
When he arrived at my front gate he appeared nervous at the prospect of being alone with me, so I invited him to chill out in the pool. My board shorts slipped off as I dove in. No biggie, I thought, so I tossed them on the lawn. I asked Graham if he wanted to ditch his Speedos, but he declined. Then I sat on the side of the pool, naked.
Graham exited the water, wrapped a towel around his waist and asked if I was a fag. "A what?" I answered, totally taken aback by his question.
"Remember that time I walked into Kyle's room and you guys were doing stuff? How am I supposed to forget that?"
"You think I'm twisted or something?"
I lit a joint and smoked it right there in front of him, still sporting a boner. It then became apparent why he'd wrapped a towel around his waist. It barely hid the tell-tale bulge.
"Are you saying that Kyle was a fag?"
"I didn't say that. I know you were friends and did stuff together. Kyle never told anyone, he didn't need to. The look on your face is enough. So what did you guys do?" The grommet's eyes focused on the reefer. "Can I have some of that?"
"Lose the towel." He did as I asked, and stood before me. His Speedos could barely contain what I estimated to be at least a seven. "So what's the problem? You think Kyle is gonna be mad if you get naked?" Graham was built beyond his years, more like a well-defined 18-year-old. He didn't answer my questions, rather he took a drag and exhaled a cloud of blue smoke without saying a word.
I felt the need to chill the tension, so I got a couple of beers from the kitchen and offered one to him. We sat by the pool for ages, discussing Kyle, surfing and various other topics. Eventually, the housekeeper emerged from the house to say goodnight. Graham must have figured she and I had a thing going because of the way she fondled me. But he was too plastered to take much notice.
It occurred to me what G might say if I told him about this. On the other hand, Kyle was always totally honest with G so maybe it would work for me as well.
After downing a few more beers, Graham dove into the pool, removed his Speedos and tossed them onto the wall. "Wanna come for a swim?"
I didn't need a second invite. As soon as I was in the water, I swam up behind him and placed my hands on his chest. "You got beautiful pecs, Graham."
"Beautiful is for tits, Stuart. Anyway, Kyle thought they were awesome."
"And your stomach is flat, flat, flat...not to mention defined." The kid had huge hands and feet for his age, and was incredibly strong. His index finger was about a half inch longer than mine. When he lifted his arms, his biceps bulged with no effort at all. No wonder Kyle thought so much of the grommet...all that muscle and a wonderful nature made him a very special package.
However, the grommet was obviously affected by too much beer. I turned him around to face me, then kissed him. He responded in kind, then wrapped his arms around me. Suddenly, without warning, he withdrew. "Hey, I don't feel so good." He swam to the wall, heaved himself onto the lawn, and hurled his guts all over the grass. A few seconds later, he passed out, lying on his stomach.
I lit another reefer, sat beside him, and studied his body. Apart from a small bush of pubes and a black mop on his head, he was hairless.
I turned him over onto his back, but he quickly returned to all fours to puke again, then spent several minutes dry heaving. When he heard me laugh, he cried, "Fuck off! I'm dying!" Then he passed out again.
Even at just 55 kilograms, the grommet was a dead weight, and it took all my strength to toss him into the pool. He surfaced, coughed, spluttered, swore profusely, then returned to the lawn where he laid on his back. "I'm hungry." I waved my balls in his face. "For food, not those ugly things."
Five minutes later, I was back on the lawn and offered him re-heated pizza. But he'd passed out again. "Hey," I yelled, "wake up! I got some food."
After we ate, I asked if him if he'd like to go to bed. "No, it's cool. I think I should move on home."
"Are you chickening out on me? Why chicken out?" I reasoned. "We'll just sleep in my bed. Nothing will happen. Besides, it's 2am and I can't have you rocking up to your front door trashed like you are." He passed out again, so I carried him into the house and placed him in the shower. A blast of cold water shocked the crap out of him, but he was still not fully awake. I cleaned him up, then put him to bed. For a while, I studied his sleeping face...innocent, but not completely innocent. Nonetheless, he was an angel.
By then I was so wide awake, I grabbed my stash and `tools' and shot myself up with coke. Then I phoned Melanie. "Hey, babe, you wanna come around here?" Whoa! She let me have it with both barrels. She knew I was trashed, so I called her a whore and hung up.