Green Room II
Chapter 35

Hey, G, I just wanted to say thanks for everything you've done. I understand now why Kyle thought so much of you, and how you helped him through all the crap he handled. I think often of the rape, and how he managed to pull himself together afterwards. Not a lot of people realized just how bad that was. His mates could tell that he wasn't himself for a long time, but never knew the reason.

All I remember about that period--now that I'm trying to piece all the bits together--is that his swim times were shit, and he risked losing his place on the team. His relationship with everyone was one of suspicion on his part, and it was difficult to get close to him. Then it was like someone pulled a switch and made everything turn around. I guess the person who pulled the switch was you because you gave Kyle an outlet to offload and tell his story.

I wish his mail from that time still existed so I could read what he wrote back then. Besides you and your friends who read the story, I think I'm the only one who knows. One day I may tell Melanie because we're at a stage now where we have pretty hectic conversations that run that deep.

Melanie joined me at the beach the other day while I surfed. She sat on the sand and watched. What went through her brain at that time? Hell knows. Graham arrived a bit later and rapped with Melanie for a while before he paddled out to join me. Hey, I know he stole a kiss from her. Hahaha! The two enjoy an awesome relationship, a younger bro and older sis arrangement. And they have Kyle in common.

The surf was decent, three feet and glassy, and the sun was warm. Hell, the temp was mid 20s C all weekend.

As the morning progressed, the surf became busier, and a few of Graham's mates rocked up. Joe's become a cool dude, and took the time to say g'day to me. He's cocky but pleasant enough, not like his asshole older bro Craig. I can see why Joe and Graham are such good mates--they share the same attitude.

I left the grommets to surf and returned to the beach to join Melanie. I flopped onto the towel next to her, with my wettie pulled down to my waist. I asked if she enjoyed the warmth of sun but her eyes filled with tears and she began to sob. "Hey, babes, what's wrong?"

"This is the first time I've sat on the beach since Kyle..."

"I'm sorry. You want to maybe leave or something? I'll walk with you because I'm all surfed out anyway."

"Has it gotten better for you, Stuart? Remembering Kyle, I mean. Not a day goes by without me crying."

I draped an arm around her while we watched the guys in the water. "It doesn't ever get better--I think. But we learn to handle it in our own ways. I tried different ways, some of them not cool. I don't need to tell you that."

"Sometimes when I'm asleep, I smell his scent, and  throw my arm out to pull him closer. Then I wake and realize what I did. I feel like a total idiot."

"Does it help to talk about him?"

"When I'm with people who knew him, yeah. It makes sense to them because they appreciate what he was like, and that he's not just some fantasy."

After chatting for a while, our convo became more relaxed, even about us. Melanie's problem, and mine in a way, was her unwillingness to compare me to Kyle. For one thing, comparing me to Kyle would not have done me any good, and I reckoned it wouldn't help Melanie if every time she hugged me she thought of Kyle.

No, G, we're nowhere near having sex yet. I asked if she'd like to stop off at the Ts on our way home. But she made a lame excuse. I think she doesn't want the Ts to see us together in case it's perceived as a betrayal of their son.

I don't push Melanie for anything now. It's the strangest setup. With Julie, I was hungry for sex. But with Melanie, I'm hungry just to be together. I can place an arm around her now in the knowledge that she enjoys it. She hugs me in return, and I know she's sincere.
Friday we took in a movie, but the best part was sitting together in a coffee shop. I can talk to her about anything now; surfing, drugs, everything.

I phoned Graham Saturday but he was already surfing, so I joined him at the beach. Hey, I think he needs a larger wettie crotch. Hahahahaha! That kid has balls!

Bloody hell he made me laugh. He went out with his mates and the girls Friday night. Yes, G, seems like he's permanently into his new girlfriend. Her name is Jacky. She's all over him like a rash. Anyway, they went to a restaurant for dessert after the movies. One of his mates accidentally banged his nuts on the queue rail. The poor kid was in total agony, so Graham piped up: "You need to soak your nads in warm milk, but you gotta use full cream milk `cause the low fat stuff doesn't get that nice thick layer of skin when it's boiled. Then you need to bite on a stick while Joe scoops the skin off the boiled milk and applies it to your aching hangers."

He told me Joe gave him a lame punch on the arm, but that he and Joe were crawling on the floor from hysterical laughter, despite Joe's agony. Even as Graham told me the story, he hosed himself. They kept asking Joe if he wanted nuts on his dessert, which sparked more hysterics. Hahahaha! My stomach ached at the way Graham told the story in between bursts of guffaws.

"Hey, Graham, you wanna sleep over tonight?"

"Gotta check with my folks, but it sounds cool. Got any vids or something?"

"I got a game on my comp called MDK you might like."

"I know it! Hey, that's cool!"

"Yeah, the hero's got a cute butt like yours. So, no date with your girlfriend tonight?"

"Her folks won't let me see her because she got trashed at a party last night, and they reckon it's my fault."

"That's uncool, mate. Are you banned for life?"

"It's up to her. She wants me and I think she's pretty cool."

"Had sex yet?"

"No, and you know it, Stuart. So cool it with the sex quiz. I already get enough crap from Joe about how he's screwing his girl and what it's like and, and, and... I'll beat that big mouth senseless one day."

"Joe's probably just boasting."

"No! Everyone knows, including my girl. She wants me to screw her, but I don't want to."


"Yeah, right. No! Because it's not right. She can blow me or something but I'm not gonna screw her. Not yet."

I got the impression as we sat on our boards waiting for the next set, that Graham was determined not to screw Jacky "yet", but he was happy to be given a BJ. After all, Melanie introduced him to that little stunt some time ago. "So has she?"

"Has she what?"

"Blown you?"

"Nah, she digs to jack me off."

"What about your ex?"

"She dumped me because of Jacky. She said Jacky is a slut out to use me, then dump me. Anyway, she doesn't dig me anymore."

"I reckon she does, meantime you're infatuated with Jacky."

"So? Bugger everyone else. It's my life."

I dropped the subject. Graham became increasingly aggro at the mention of the two girls. We surfed a while longer then went our separate ways.

I figured it was unlikely Graham would sleep over that night because of his mood, so he surprised me by phoning to say he had permission from his folks. That meant I'd be able to give him his birthday gift. I made a bead surfer wristband. Actually, I made two, one for the grommet and second for another mate's birthday.

Graham rocked over with his jeans desperate to succumb to gravity. His colorful boxers showed about two inches above his jeans waistband. He wore his favorite thick blue fleecy hoody, with a white singlet underneath. Perched on his back was his old worn-out mini backpack, that followed him practically everywhere. I invited him to follow me through to the den to say g'day to my folks.

Yes, G, the vibe with my folks is very different now, and it's like a new experience for me. Anyway, the main reason the grommet slept over was because we planned a Dawn Patrol next morning. That was the story, and thankfully he had his stick under his arm.

Graham was the kind of bloke everyone liked. Even my folks! He exhibits really cool manners in the company of adults, and they enjoy him.

In my room, he headed straight for my CD collection. He listened to a few tracks through headphones while I booted the PC to launch the game, then left him to play the game while I took a shower. Hey, I didn't want any problems with "cheese dick", hahahaha!

On my return, I stood behind him and thumb massaged his shoulders, which he seemed to appreciate. Later, I loaded an old surf movie into the VCR, and we climbed under the bed covers, dressed in our boxers, to watch the show. I had a box of chocolate cookies and told him if he made a mess I'd force him to lick the sheets clean.

Later, we watched an old Friday the 13th movie. He hadn't seen it before so that was cool. Then I rolled off the side of the bed to retrieve the bead wristband. "Happy birthday, mate."

"This is awesome!" he beamed enthusiastically. He placed the band on his wrist and hugged me. And that's how we fell asleep.

Sunday was a blur. We rocked down to the beach for an early morning surf--not quite the Dawn Patrol we planned. After that, Graham left for home and more study.

This email has gone on and on, G. It's hard to explain how I feel right now. Graham, Melanie--this is everything I wanted since last year, like the three of us being such good friends. Ditto my relationship with my folks. Thanks to you, I'm off the shit I was on, and I think I'm just about there.

End of year study will take up a huge amount of my time but it's coming together. I haven't spoken to Graham since he left Sunday morning. I'm careful not to push him or make a big deal out of our sleeping together or the intimacy we shared. I want him to think of it as the most natural thing between two best mates. That's the way Kyle handled it, and it worked for him.

Two days later I wrote G again. I'd attended my second counselor meeting with Melanie. Some of those people were psycho. Tea and bloody cookies. I didn't understand how Melanie handled it for so long because I wasn't. I knew I was required to speak and listen at those meetings but I really couldn't handle it. And I resented being treated like I should be wrapped in cotton wool.

Last night one guy asked me to stand and make a speech about my story. "There's no story to tell," I said. "I dig drugs and I dig the highs. I cope with the downers."

When I made that monumental statement, everyone stared at me. Melanie dug me in the ribs and told me it was obvious I was in denial, and that I needed to speak about it. `Fuck it,' I thought, and stood. "I don't want to speak about it." I was spitting mad at that point. On top of everything else, I was embarrassed. I felt like grabbing that chair and beating the crap out of that guy.

During the break, I accompanied Melanie to the kitchen to make tea. "I'll have coffee--preferably a beer."

"Drink tea. It'll make you feel better."

"No, Melanie. A beer will make me feel better, and a joint would make me feel best. Are you telling me there's no coffee here?"

"Keep your damn voice down, please!"

"I'm sorry. These people string me out badly."

Melanie spoke to one of the women, who produced a coffee. I had the shakes, and spilled the damn stuff all over the place. I wasn't sure if it was the result of anger or withdrawals. I'd suffered the shakes for the past few days at school as well.

Later, I was sooooooo happy to get out of that claustrophobic place! What a relief! One of Melanie's friends collected us and drove us home. I hadn't met him before, but the prick was a hot looker. Meanwhile, I retreated into my own little shit world with no one to pin the blame on.