Julian Corsair,

An Uncommonly Good Man


Copyright© 2014 – Nicholas Hall



Julian Corsair – Chapter One – An Uncommonly Good Man


"When good men die their goodness does not perish, but lives though they are gone. As far as the bad, all that was theirs dies and is buried with them." (Euripides)


Resigned to what I must do, yet not relishing the prospects of the chore that awaited me for I'd postponed the task for about a month, I stood in the bedroom door for a moment prior to taking that first, tentative, reluctant step forward into the now vacant bedroom occupied previously by my mentor; my protector; my guide through my social and academic life and, the only father figure I'd ever known, to begin the task of sorting out those things of his which should be preserved and those which should be relinquished to others in need as Julian (Dr. J. to me) requested prior to his demise.

Time hadn't diminished my sense of loss but merely blunted the pain of no longer having him to guide me, challenge me, inspire me, or lend his shoulder for comfort when issues troubled me. His love for me had been the only constant in my life for the past ten years when, before that, my days were menaced by a kaleidoscope of distrust, abuse, and survival by any means; specifically providing my body to those who took sexual pleasure in what I offered.

Dr. J. took no liberties with me physically, but instead forgave, disregarded, or failed to acknowledge my failings, my checkered past, or my tattered life, preferring to focus on what he saw in me, as good and caring as he was, intending to cultivate and nurture those qualities as well as my insatiable appetite for learning. His house, now my house as his sole heir, was my home through my bachelor's degree, master's degree, and PhD; although he did persuade me to go out of state for that particular advanced degree, claiming "it will give you a different perspective and broaden your educational background." He was entirely correct and, after obtaining my PhD, assisted me in obtaining a position at the same university he'd worked at for many years and I attended for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. It wasn't the largest branch of the state university system, but not the smallest, and was, in my opinion, a great place to work and continue to learn.

Dr. J. was retired and in his early seventies when he brought me into his home. Although he seemed healthy enough, age began taking its toll and his heart, as loving and as valiant as it was in life, began failing him. We both knew our life together wouldn't last forever, but I really didn't want to face the reality of him leaving me.

One afternoon, returning from delivering my lecture to a freshman history class, I noticed he wasn't sitting in his chair, as he usually was to greet me. Seeking him out, I found him lying in his bed upstairs, his breathing shallow, but he still quite alert. He motioned me over, bade me to lean over, kissed me gently on the forehead and said, "You know what's happening, don't you?"

I nodded, tears welling up in my eyes, my throat choking on the sudden sadness and realization what really was happening and trying to will it not to. I lay my head next to his, struggling to hear what he was saying.

"Matthew, you are my legacy and to you I bequeath my all. Mourn me not, but celebrate my life and hold me always close to your heart. We, who have been given much, have a duty to give more in return, understand? Find a young man, someone not much younger than you, to love. Seek not an old man such as myself, for you are soon to grieve if you do so."

I sobbed my understanding and assurances that I would. He breathed in deeply as I said, "Dr. J., I'm going to miss you so much!"

"I hope so," he softly responded and his life left him, leaving me holding the body of the man to whom I owed everything. I sat with him for a moment, then rose and opened a window, as some believe, to allow his soul to escape into another great adventure. A call to our family doctor brought him to the house where he confirmed what was known. He made the call to the county coroner and for the first call vehicle at the funeral home where Dr. Julian Corsair previously made arrangements.

His funeral service, the previous month, overwhelmed me with emotion as I was greeted by not only his colleagues and friends, but by so, so many individuals that received not only his emotional support and encouragement over the years, but financial assistance as well. It was apparent, he and his long-time partner and lover, Dr. John Andrews deceased some five years before I entered Dr. J.'s life, believed in giving back to others and had done so in great abundance. Their hearts and home were open to many. Charity organizations, church groups, campus groups, LGBT organizations, and other non-profits all benefited from their generosity.

Many, many folks spoke to me, during the meal I had catered afterwards, of the many good times they'd shared with Julian and Dr. Andrews up north at the lake over the years. The three bedroom main house and the three guest cottages were part of an old resort in the Northern part of the State, Dr. Andrews owned, as an inheritance from his parents estate when they passed away, long before he and Julian became lovers. Dr. Andrews maintained and kept modern the main home and the cottages, using them to entertain guests for weekends and during the summers.

When he and Julian became soul mates (before the days of legalized gay marriages), they expanded their guest lists to include university students and with the blessing of the university, began offering short courses and seminars during the summer break there. For those, who's financial resources were short (as many were who attended there), Dr. Andrews and Julian provided free room and board and, in some cases, tuition as well. I'm almost positive more than one young man lost his virginity while at the lake, perhaps not to Dr. Andrews or Julian, but to other willing and receptive partners. The lake, the cabins, and the accepting atmosphere present made them feel welcome and comfortable with their own sexuality. It was an opportunity to study in a relaxed atmosphere, hike trails, read, or swim or boat in the lake. I laughed to myself as I overheard more than one person joke about swimming (sans bathing suit) and the flopping cocks on display. I enjoyed the lake just as much as Julian and the other students did over the years and knew I'd continue to do, although with Dr. Andrew's death and Dr. Corsair's retirement, the short courses and seminars came to a halt. As I watched the interaction and listened to the many happy alumni of those summers, I hoped I could revitalize some sort of short courses or seminars at the lake someday.

Dr. Andrews, twenty-five years senior to Julian, became his lover and partner shortly after Dr. Corsair began teaching at this branch of the university system. His picture, predominately displayed throughout the house on my arrival, was gradually replaced by photos of me; clearly, I was Dr. J.'s pride and joy! Dr. Andrews' pictures were given special places in Dr. J.'s bedroom where he could spend those special times in quiet conversation with his now departed lover. It was this room; this quiet place of refuge and of life beginning anew in another dimension, I now must enter in order to bring some closure to my grief and loss.

Most items, sans pictures, would be easy to box up – clothes, bedding, and other such items. There were others, personal jewelry (he had very little), diplomas, certificates, and awards, perhaps a handkerchief or two wafting faint aromas of his aftershave, I'd keep for memories. The rest would be given to others through Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul for distribution to those in need. I knew, even after all was done, I'd still feel his presence in the house, for it was here he provided me with a home and joy! At least, that's what I thought it'd be like until a week ago.

The Dean called me into his office and handed me a notice of indefinite layoff! As a non-tenured member of the instructional staff and one of the lowest on the seniority list (as if it made any difference any more), I was one of the first to go! The likelihood I'd be called back was extremely remote, according to the Dean.

"Act 10," a "so-called budget repair bill" proposed by an ultra-conservative governor and passed into law by an equally conservative legislature, wreaked havoc with public employee unions, abrogating their collective bargaining rights (such as ours at the university level), made massive slashes to educational programs and funding at both the public school levels and the university levels (hence programs and people were cut due to lack of funding), pension plans, health insurance, and God knows what else! In my opinion, the governor and the legislature set back education fifty years.

So, not only did I lose Dr. J., but my job as well. My unemployment compensation would help keep the wolf from the door for a while, but the prospects of long-term employment at the college or university level wasn't that great. Hell, even the local fast-food places weren't hiring. I'd have to make some decisions concerning whether to remain here, living in my own home, or selling it and moving somewhere else once I found gainful employment. All in all, I thought the last month really sucked!

Sighing with resignation and determination, I tackled the bedding first and began packing it in one of boxes I'd gathered for such purposes. From there, I moved to the closet, removed his suits, shirts, pants, sweaters, and other clothing and packed them. I set a small box aside for those items I intended to keep and moved to the dresser to unload it. All of the furniture would be removed, not to remove him from my thoughts, but to pave the way for new life in the future, not regaling in the past, but carrying it in memory only. I'd have to decide, if I moved, what furniture in the house I wanted to cart away with me and what would either be sold or donated to charity.

The dresser was slowly emptied and I was somewhat struck by the few items I set aside. In the very bottom drawer, tucked away in the back under his socks, was a rather thick, brown manila envelope. On the outside, written in his neat, precise handwriting was, "To my beloved Matthew; all my love, Dr. Julian Corsair."

I peeked cautiously inside, noticing a rather thick journal. Knowing not what to expect, but fully cognizant that he understood my innate curiosity, I gathered the envelope up, and set aside my immediate tasks, turned off the bedroom lights, and ventured down the stairs to the living room. Making myself comfortable in his favorite chair (I refused to dispose of it; not only was it his, but it was so, so comfortable), kicking off my shoes and tucking a leg under me, and turning on the reading lamp stationed over my shoulder, I opened the envelope and extracted the journal. As I did so, a yellowed newspaper clipping slipped out and drifted to the floor. Retrieving it, I chuckled to myself and read it aloud;

"Help Wanted.

Male companion for crotchety,

old, retired university professor.

Successful candidate must enjoy chess,

discussing politics, great literature, and

economic chaos as well as being a

patient listener to lies, tall tales, and other

exaggerated nonsense. I am an excellent cook

and enjoy fine wines (the only perks with this job).

This is an unpaid position.

Please apply in person at

2001 West College Avenue."


I slipped it back into the envelope and opened the journal. In his neat hand, the first page read,

"Dear Matthew, I offer you my life; an anecdotal record of my being who I am or was (since if you're reading this, I'm now floating about somewhere in time). I thought it would be nice for you to know what made me tick and why I am what I am. You, of all people, have every right to know my life's story and the secrets I kept to myself and from my dear John, now departed from me. Therefore, my beloved boy, I bequeath to you this written legacy and my worldly wealth and possessions; these things and you are all that I am or ever will be. Love, Dr. J."

I raised my hand to my neck to touch the silver necklace he'd given me so many years before at Christmas and began to read.

To be continued


Thank you for reading Julian Corsair – Chapter One – An Uncommonly Good Man.

"When good men die their goodness does not perish, but lives though they are gone. As far as the bad, all that was theirs dies and is buried with them." (Euripides)


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Nick Hall


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