Green Room II
Chapter 18

My invitation to Graham to rock over to my house was declined. "I need time to think about a lotta things, like what you told me about the drugs and stuff, and the shit you went through. I need to think about what a total toss I was, misjudging you the way I did. And I need to think about you and me."

"I won't lie to you, Graham. Someone--make that Melanie--already said you're too young to be my friend. But I love you so much. You're all I think about apart from Kyle. Yes, I do want you, but I'm happy just to be near you, and to be your friend. I dunno what you'll think about this, mate, but right now, I need to know how you feel."

"I need to think about that too. I'm kinda scared."

"I'm sorry for what happened that night you were trashed."

"It's not that. I'm scared of becoming gay and people finding out. That's why I always wanted to be like Kyle. He had this scene where there was no gay or straight. We were just us. Hey, I'm not making sense, huh?"

"I know exactly what you're saying. I feel the same. It's cool if you just want to hang out with me, like surfing and whatever."

"I guess it's like eating an elephant, yeah? Just one bite at a time."

"Can I bite you already?"

Hahahaha! He fisted me right in the soft spot of my shoulder muscle and I almost dropped my board. I hoped to hear from him later that day but didn't. At least he knows how I feel now. I was on a total high, and spent time in the home gym as well as the pool. How cool is that?

Monday I received mail from your readers. I never really thought of my dad having a problem. I thought he was just an incommunicative prick. Both my folks stay clear of my room, and don't ever come in to see what I'm doing or ask how my day was. When my mom is around the house, in the kitchen or somewhere, and I speak to her, she's cool. But my dad avoids me all the time.

About your dad, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I think that your dad is convinced you hate his guts, and that there's no point in endeavoring to salvage the relationship. It's probably time for a heart to heart. When you feel the moment is appropriate, try something like: "Hey, dad, I want to love you and I want you to love me. I want you to be my dad and I want to be your son." The word `want' is important because it's patently clear that there's an absence of love, at least on the surface. If he, for whatever reason, doesn't have the nerve to approach you with a white flag then it's up to you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Give it a shot.

Another mail from some guy said, `Kyle, please reply, please be there!' I broke down and cried. I learn more about Kyle all the time; how he willingly helped young people his own age, and older, just by his words to them. He should still be here, G. So many people out there need help, and he should still be helping them.

He is helping them, mate, through you and me, and through friends who email you and me. Make no mistake; Kyle is alive and well.

Late Monday, Graham visited my house. He phoned after school to ask if I wanted help with the boxing thing. He wore a loose-fitting white singlet (vest) and brown cargos. He smiled when I opened the door and that totally relaxed me because I worried about the vibe.

He didn't beat around the bush, so we got straight into boxing. I'd already hung the bag in the gym instead of the garage. Besides, the gym is fitted with mirrors hahahaha!

Graham was stoked to be first to hit the bag--well, second after me. It's still shiny and new. The grommet put on a pair of thin leather gloves and gave the bag a smack. Whoa! I'd hate to be on the wrong end of that fist! The entire supporting beam shook. And his arms! Aaaggghhh!

He asked me to don gloves and hit the bag while he held it. Typically, I endeavored to hit the bag with all my might to impress the grommet but he simply absorbed the power as he stood behind it. It was a hot day. Soon, we perspired profusely.

"I can understand why big bro gets the better of you," he said. "You hit like a girl."


"You do!" he insisted, then burst into laughter, which was so cool to hear; that lilting sound boys make when their voice is not fully broken. He showed me how to position my hands and feet, and how to use the power of my shoulder and body to add weight to the punch. I felt the difference right away, as sweat poured off my face.

When it was Graham's turn to knock the shine off the bag, I held it for him. He was in an up mood, and promised to return next day. "Hey, I'll do some sparring with you if you want."

My arms felt like lead as I watched him experiment with some of the gym equipment. But it was all over way too soon. He spent about 2 hours with me, which was great. And it seemed to me that he enjoyed his stay as well.

Next afternoon I got beaten up again! But who's complaining? Graham rocked up to my house right after school, still wearing his school tracksuit after swim training. He changed into shorts and a sleeveless vest in my room, then we hit the gym. "I'll take this slowly so I don't hurt you," he said matter-of-factly.

I was pretty sure he did want to hurt me, but he stuck by his promise and took it easy, showing me how to place my hands and feet properly. Then he asked me to hit him. Hit him? Yeah, right. My fist traveled only half the distance when he smacked me on the cheek. It rocked my head. In a flash, he stepped backwards so that he was out of my reach. Thank God he wore gloves! I tried to hit him again but his fist landed on my gut and sent me to my knees. "I thought this was supposed to be a training session to learn stuff, you little bastard."

"Yeah, well," he smiled as he danced teasingly around the room, "you're learning to get on your knees when I'm around."

For the next half hour, his fist kept connecting with my cheek or my stomach. One time I got so mad I asked, "How would you like it if I did the same to you?" He lifted his top and let it fall to the floor. SWOOOOOOON! What a bod! Jeez, G, you'd be beside yourself if you saw him in real life.

"C'mon," he mocked. "Hit me." His arms remained loose at his sides while I rounded up a punch. I couldn't believe how his tightly compacted abs absorbed the punch as if it were a minor irritation. "Okay, now it's my turn. But you'll need to tighten that paunch. Take off your top."

I obeyed, and looked at my stomach. "What paunch?"

"That one," he said as his blurred fist connected.

His patience deserved credit, though. He spent ages teaching me to do things correctly. When we were done, I approached him from behind, wrapped my arms around him, and placed my hands on his solid pecs and fleshy nipples as he casually untied his gloves. But my hands shook and I lost control of them. Meanwhile, he said nothing, just carried on untying his glove laces. My hands descended to his smooth abs and I thanked him for the lesson.

"It's cool, but you're useless. It'll take some time before I can arrange a challenge between you and big bro."

"Don't you dare!"

I'm at the stage where I'm actually scared of big bro, G. He doesn't fuck around. Meanwhile, my hands found their way to the top of Graham's shorts.

"I gotta get home before my mom freaks," he explained as he turned to face me. "She doesn't know I'm here, and I got homework to do."

"Sorry. I shouldn't have gone that far."

"Why not? You're still Stuart, aren't you? But you're right, it scares me. And I don't know what to do about it."

"Thanks for coming here, I'm really chuffed."

"Hey, it's cool to beat you up for a change, rather than the other way around."

"Then you owe me a big hug, I reckon."

His arms tightened around me, and his hands patted my back as though he was encouraging me to stay fit and clean. Then he dressed and headed for the door.


Graham's still the little kid, but he's matured a great deal lately. He fools around a lot, but when he coaches me it's down to serious business, and I'm the one who feels like the kid, hahahaha!

He weighed himself on the gym scales and came in at 55kg (121 pounds) but he can lift me and carry me on his shoulders, and I weigh 74kg. He is soooo strong! He has huge hands and feet as well.

He's got elephant balls that make mine look like Peter Pan's. I know you say I should play it cool but it's a Catch 22. I want him now before I lose him again, and I'm paranoid about losing him anyway before I get the chance to cement our friendship.

As to big bro, I'm shit scared of him and not too afraid to admit it. He hurt me twice already. Hey, G, thanks for the pic of you. That is just so damn neat.

I'm not reading the Stuart story yet. I did read the Fremantle bit and the first chapter after that, but I don't want to live through that shit again right now. I'm still borderline at the moment, so...

That's the best news since you and Brett became friends in Fremantle. Woohoo! We're making real progress here, and I couldn't be happier for you. But we gotta tackle this paranoia thing before it gets outta hand.

We all suffer from paranoia just like we all suffer from jealousy. They sneak up on us and take over. The only way to deal with it is to understand it. Like me, you're a Virgo. According to the stars we're naturally analytical. My advice is to talk with Graham about your paranoia, about your fear of losing him because it happened before. Talk to him about it like you have to me. Let him reassure you but on no account pressure him. That's the worst thing you can do. He needs to feel relaxed. Like Brett said, you need to build trust again. Each time you're tempted to go too far think of the word TRUST. Have it in huge flashing neon letters in your mind. Actually, it's a good idea to talk to Graham about trust, and that your goal is to build a strong bond between the two of you. He'll understand, and it'll empower him with a weapon if he feels you're getting a little too pushy. In other words, he won't be scared.

Talk, talk and talk some more. Allow him access to your heart and mind. Share your feelings and let him know how important he is to you. But don't sound possessive. Remember always that paranoia, jealousy and possessiveness are your enemies and should be treated as such.

Anyway, the fact that Graham volunteered to visit your house twice so far proves that he likes you and wants to be your mate. Actions speak louder than words. He probably lacks the words to express his feelings, so let the actions speak until he's comfortable to verbalize his feelings for you. Things at the mo are looking positive so DON'T FUCK IT UP!

You searched for love for a long time, from your folks, from all the girls you porked over the years. You probably thought love had eluded you until you befriended Kyle. Now you know that love finds you if you're tuned into the signal. You have mine, you have Brett's and now you have Graham's. The more love you receive from people the more `finely tuned' you become. Brett is living proof of that.

One of your major problems was keeping your feelings bottled up. No wonder you turned to substance abuse for relief. I hope you become as addicted to your new friends as you did to that stuff. I need to be useful, and you make me feel very much useful. Right now, you're the most important person in the world to me.

I don't blame you for being scared of big bro. Guys like him are scary. But if you peel away that macho crap, and his need to constantly prove himself, you'll find a serious case of insecurity. There's your weapon. Actually, you have two weapons. He won't improve, but you are and will continue to improve. You're building your arsenal with Graham's help. Right now, big bro thinks he can hurt you and not risk damage in return. Ask him if he knows a good dentist.

I can't wait! This is like the old cowboy movies (but with hotter lookers) where the goodie gets beaten to a pulp by the baddie, much to the amusement of the sycophantic moron gawkers--until the movie is almost over. Then WHAMMO! The baddie gets his come-uppance and the goodie wins the heart of the swooning damsel. But I like this movie better because the swooning damsel is Graham.

You're a wonderful young man, Stuart. Use your gifts to make other people happy. By doing that, you'll be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.