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Chapter 13. An honest talk with John...

    After our shared cuddle, John and little Harry wanted to play outside.
Both of them offered me a big kiss and another hug, and told me they would be home before lunch.
They went upstairs, to put on their shoes and fetch their skateboards.
Then, they went outside through our backdoor, to have some fun.

    I went to my desk in the living room, and tried to set up my old but still trustworthy computer.
All the cable modem lights blinked, and I checked and double-checked all the wiring, but my Internet connection wouldn't work.
After a lot of desperate trying, I phoned the cable company, and a helpdesk operator guided me through a new setup.
Suddenly, my standard homepage appeared, and tons of emails started to stream in.

    I thanked the nice technician for his help, and started to sort out all the incoming mails.
Spam, spam, more spam, even more spam... and one email from my oldest daughter, who congratulated me with my new home.
In response to her mail, I thanked her for her interest, wrote her some details, and invited her for a future visit.
I decided not to tell her about my little tenant, until she would be here and meet him.

    Finally, I surfed to a well-known search engine, and typed in 'burn injuries'.
A moment later, I stared in horror at thousands of pictures of burnt people, skin graft operations, and all sorts of bandages and appliances.
The vast amount of burn treatment information overwhelmed me; and, at first, I even felt a bit nauseous at the terrible sights.

    I discovered there are three 'degrees of burns':
The first degree causes redness and swelling, the second degree causes blisters and a lot of pain, and the third degree causes dead flesh and open wounds.
I suspected that little Harry had suffered many second-degree burns, and maybe even a couple of third-degree ones.
Like the examples from the Internet, he too had gone through a lengthy and painful recovery.
Fortunately, he had healed quite well, unlike my own little brother...

    Now, I started to look for 'healing procedures' and 'plastic surgery'.
This time, only a hundred sites popped up, and none of them was of any real help.
Most sites told me that surgeons couldn't do very much to improve the look of severely burnt victims.
A few sites hinted at the possibilities of modern skin transplantation with 'cultivated tissue', but they didn't give any details.
At last, I found a few addresses of modern clinics; but all of them seemed to be very expensive, and they didn’t give much information either.
I wrote their addresses down; planning to call or write them and ask them for more information.

    Then, I decided to look for something different, and typed in 'adoption'.
Within seconds, hundreds of sites showed up, all of them containing at least some adoption information.
I started to work my way through them; discarding most of them and, now and then, reading an article that looked interesting or promising...

    After some time, two things were painfully clear:
It would be very difficult to adopt little Harry because I was a single parent; and it would be impossible to adopt such a young boy, because I was too old.
In a few exceptional cases, guardianship might be granted, but only when either parents or relatives give their consent.
However, none of the sites explained what happens when a child doesn't have any known relatives...

    The backdoor opened; and two happy boys with sweaty faces bolted into the living room, enthusiastically embracing me:

    "Hi, Dad; we are hungry! When are we going to eat?"

    "What? You are hungry again?"

    "We are still growing boys, you know..."

    I looked at the clock, and felt shocked.
To my surprise, I saw that I had been surfing through all these Internet sites for more than three hours.
    Trying to look remorseful, I ruffled their hair and told them:

    "Sorry, boys, but I have been too busy and totally forgot the time."

    Little Harry chuckled with little fun lights in his eyes, and asked John:

    "Has there ever been a time when our 'old grandpa' did NOT forget something?"

    I tried to grab him; but he was too fast for the 'old grandpa' and escaped.
Well, I will have my revenge later on...
Walking at a bit slower pace, I followed both boys to the kitchen, where they started to collect their ingredients for a healthy lunch.
Soon, all three of us worked together; of course again directed by our little cookie.
I buttered a pile of slices of toast, while John boiled a couple of eggs, and little Harry sliced the tomatoes, lettuce, and herbs.
We had simple sandwiches this time, but they were healthy and quite tasty.
We ended our meal with an orange and a cup of tea.
Suddenly, Thomas called his friends from the backdoor; and both boys quickly hugged me and disappeared outside with their skateboards...

    I spent the afternoon in front of my computer, looking for a solution that would allow me to legally become little Harry's father.
The only way to accomplish this seemed to be: to marry a woman who is a lot younger, and then adopt little Harry...
Why was it so difficult for a divorced man to adopt a little boy?
Couldn't there be any other ways?
I kept searching; and, now and then, I stumbled upon a success story, giving me some hope that there might be other options as well...

    The backdoor opened, and three happy boys with sweaty faces bolted into the living room, enthusiastically hugging me:

    "Hi, Dad. Can Thomas eat with us? His parents aren't home today..."

    "Of course, Thomas MAY eat with us! However, you will have to wash your sweaty faces and dirty hands first."

    "Can we... err... sorry, MAY we have a quick shower? I am feeling sweaty all over."

    "Yes, of course you may. Are you sure you know how to handle the difficult warm water tap on your own, or do I have to help you?"

    "DAAAD... You are no fun!"

    All three of them raced upstairs, happily giggling and pushing each other.

    I went back to my computer, and restarted my search for success stories.

    After half an hour of searching in vain, suddenly my stomach started to rumble.
Feeling hungry and wanting to have lunch, I shut the computer down, went to the hallway, and listened.
What were the boys doing, being in the shower for more than half an hour?
Tiptoeing, I went upstairs, being curious. I opened the bathroom door, peeked inside, and started to bellow with laughter at the funny sight...

    John had built a creatively constructed fort, using several plastic cups he had clamped together with paperclips.
He tried to defend the fort with his own life, jumping up and down to intercept all the forceful water streams.
Thomas and little Harry were working together, trying to blow a breach into the walls.
They used water guns; cleverly fabricated with balloons attached to drinking straws.

    Suddenly, they saw me, standing in the doorway, laughing at their joyful antics.
For a moment, they looked at each other...
Then, all three rascals grabbed a water gun, pointed it at me, and forcefully squeezed their filled balloons.
Within a second, I was drenched through to my skin.
Involuntarily, a sudden yelp escaped my mouth, while I tried to protect myself with my hands.
This was the last thing I expected, now shuddering from the sudden wetness...
All three rascals fell down onto the floor, hiccupping and roaring with laughter!

    I retreated hastily, already thinking of something very nasty for revenge.
Shivering from wetness, I went downstairs to the kitchen, looking for something I could use...
A minute later, I tiptoed back upstairs, carrying a bucket of cold water.
I opened the door, and aimed carefully...
Now, I had MY turn to roar with laughter at their sudden yelps. Sweet revenge!

    I left them and went straight to my bedroom, to change out of my wet clothes.
A moment later, three shivering boys followed me, showing goose bumps all over their naked bodies...
    John came up to me, looking desperate, and asked me:

    "Don't you have any more dry towels, Dad? They are all wet."

    Good heavens. Is THIS what a household with growing boys looks like?                 
The three rascals had to share the only dry towel I found in the hallway closet.
They went back to John's room, where all of them had shucked their clothes before entering the shower.
Fortunately, they hadn't undressed in the now very wet bathroom...
I had to get the kitchen towel from downstairs, to be able to dry myself properly.

    Finally, we all went to the kitchen, where the boys promised me to mend their ways, and not make such a mess with my towels, the next time they used the shower.
I made a mental note, to purchase a wagonload of extra towels the next time we went shopping.
What would be the next surprise?

    Three hungry boys crowded around me, showing me their best puppy dog eyes:

    "Dad? Can we... Err... MAY we have pizza tonight? We like all kinds, but not those with salty anchovy fishes..."

    I smiled and nodded; and John raced to the living room to call a pizzeria.
Within a minute, he returned, with the promise that our pizzas would be delivered within twenty minutes.
The boys started to wait impatiently, strolling through the kitchen and looking at the clock every twenty seconds...

    After nineteen minutes, they couldn't wait any more.
They went outside and huddled together, staring at the closed gate...
Suddenly, they started to cheer loudly when the deliveryman finally entered our driveway, after twenty-two minutes and ten seconds.
It was a wonder the poor man didn't lose his fingers in between their grabbing hands.
My growing bottomless pit club seemed to be starved again!

    A split second later, our kitchen table was covered with opened pizza boxes.
After another split second, all the pizza boxes were empty, and the boys were scraping them for the last crumbs.
Soon, even the table was licked clean.
Fortunately, I had rescued one of the filled boxes for myself, just in time.
The boys hastily thanked me, before rushing out of the door again, with their inseparable skateboards under their arms...

    I restarted my Internet search, and finally discovered a small country where they nearly always granted an adoption.
The only requirement was that my boy and I had to be their residents for at least three months.
Well, that didn’t seem to be an insurmountable problem.
Within a few days, I would look for a lawyer who specialized in adoptions, and ask for his advice.
Maybe, this could be a workable solution, and I wrote the Internet address down.
Little Harry and I could have a three-month's vacation in that country; and, at the end of it, I would be able to adopt my son...

    Just before nine o'clock, all three boys reentered our house, because Thomas had to go home.
He thanked me; and promised his friends to be back sometime tomorrow, because he had to do some chores first.
John and little Harry walked him to the door and waved goodbye.
Soon, they returned to the living room, looking tired but happy.
I made some coffee and tea, and all of us sat down on our couch and munched on a cookie.

    Little Harry started to tell me about a nice thirteen-year-old boy they met in the streets.
The boy lived only a few blocs away, but he had never seen little Harry before.
At first, he acted a bit timid, because he didn't know how to stop staring at little Harry's burnt face.
Every time, little Harry smiled back at him; and, after some time, the boy hesitantly started to smile in return.
Suddenly, he taught little Harry how to do a difficult double flip on his skateboard, and the ice was broken.
They sat down to have a rest, and the boy cautiously asked little Harry how he got such a strange looking face.
Little Harry trustfully told him everything about the fire, his operations, and the mask his new Dad ordered for him.
The new boy got tears in his eyes, and both John and little Harry were sure they had found a new friend.

    Little Harry leaned into me, and told me with teary eyes:

    "I never knew it would be so easy to make new friends, Dad, even with my burnt face!"

    "That is because now you are REALLY proud of yourself." John answered him,
"But, come on; let's see what's on TV."

    John started to surf the TV channels, and I went back to my computer.
Again, I tried to find some more valuable information about adoptions...

    After some time, two bored boys comfortably leaned over my shoulders, to have a look at what I did.
I clicked a new link, and a site showed up about a single man who had successfully adopted a small boy from another country.
The man had an email address, and I wrote it down in case I wanted to contact him...
    Little Harry gasped, and threw his arms around my neck:

    "Are you really going to ADOPT me, Dad?"

    "I am still looking at the possibilities, but it will not be easy..."

    "Please, Dad, I WANT you to adopt me. I want to be your son for real!"

    Suddenly, John leaned into me, looking at me with yearning eyes:

    "Will you try to adopt me too, Dad? I want to be your real son too."

    "Well, John, I am afraid that will be even more difficult; because you already have a Dad, and I think he will never allow you to be adopted by somebody else..."

    John jumped up, and spat out with venom in his voice:

    "I NEVER had a Dad. Eric never was my father! I never knew how a real Dad could be, until I met Jack, two years ago.
"HE showed me how a real father acts. He listened to me, he taught me things, he teased me, and he even punished me if necessary.
"HE was my real Dad; and not that man that lives in our house and attacks my Mom...
"Now, Jack is dead, and I don’t have a real Dad any more. Now, YOU can adopt me, because I am free! I want YOU to be my real father..."

    John put his arms around my waist, kissed my bearded cheek, and tried to melt into me.
I returned his kiss and held him close; to let him know I wanted to be his Dad too, in spite of the obvious impossibility to adopt him...
    Little Harry put his arms around John and me, and sighed:

    "I want John to be my real brother."


    After searching the net some more, we decided to go to bed early.
I felt tired from searching the Internet, and dull from staring at my computer screen for too long.
The boys had already showered, so they only had to brush their teeth and wash their faces and hands.
We went to John's new room for a quick inspection.
I was pleasantly surprised to see they had already set up the folding bed, and even provided it with clean sheets and blankets.
They had done a good job, and I complimented them and ruffled their hair.

    I took a quick shower, while the boys undressed in their own rooms.
Then, we wished each other goodnight and sweet dreams, and dived into our beds.
I clicked the lights off, hugged my pillow, and tried to fall asleep.

    A few minutes later, my door slowly opened.
John appeared in the doorway, clad in only his briefs and looking a bit hesitant...
    He took a step inside, and asked:

    "Sir? Err... Sorry; I mean, Dad?"

    "Yes, son?"

    "I like that, you calling me 'son'. I wish you could make me your real son..."

    "I wish the same thing, but I'm afraid it will be impossible... What can I do for you?"

    "Dad, can I... I mean, may I ask you a question?"

    "Of course, you may. You may always ask me anything!"

    I lifted my blankets, and invitingly patted the empty space next to me.
Immediately, John threw himself at the wobbling bed, smiling from ear to ear.
He nestled against my side, throwing an arm and a leg across my body.

    With a deep sigh of content, he mumbled into my side:

    "Thank you, Dad. I love you very, very much!"

    "You are very welcome, and I love you too. Now, what do you want to ask me? Whatever it is, I will try to give you my honest answer."

    John pushed himself up, until he was able to rest his head onto my chest.
I kissed his curly hair and inhaled his scent, which clearly differed from my little soul mate's.
He smelled a bit more... pubertal?
    He sighed again, and tried to melt into me even more:

    "I don't know how to start, because my question is a very private one... Please, Dad, don't be angry with me; and, of course, you don't have to answer me.
"I only wanted to know, if you... err... I mean, when you were a boy yourself, did you... you know, did you get... sort of a stiffy, sometimes?
"And, perhaps, when you were still a small boy, did you, now and then, err... sort of play with it, to make yourself feel good?"

    I could feel him tremble and hold his breath.
Obviously, he didn't know how I would react to this very daring question.
Maybe, he was afraid I would reject him and tell him to leave me alone; as Eric would have done, without any doubt...
    I decided to trust my little friend and answer his questions as honestly as possible:

    "Yes, John, I did. Especially when I was at the start of puberty, as you are now, I used to play with myself quite a lot.
"Every normal and healthy boy plays with himself from time to time."

    John breathed out with a hissing sound, and relaxed a bit.
I could feel him brood on the next daring question, again hesitating...
    Suddenly, he blurted:

    "Thomas' father told him it's a sin to play with your thing; and God will punish you with aids for touching it!"

    "Good Lord! That man doesn't know what he is talking about. No, John; the 'God' these people are talking about, has created you the way you are, and the Bible tells us He saw it was GOOD.
"He created sex to have fun, to enjoy the feelings, and aids has nothing to do with it.
"Aids is only one of the many illnesses which can be transferred by blood or sperm, and it is nothing more than that.
"You are allowed to play with yourself every time it makes you feel good; and never listen to people who are trying to make you a sinner because you are enjoying yourself."

    Again, John heaved a deep sigh of relief, while he relaxed some more.
Obviously, this crazy belief had bothered and frightened him for quite some time...

    A moment later, I felt him gather all his courage to ask me his next question:

    "But... if you... I mean... err...  when you are playing with somebody else? I mean, when you have a friend, and both of you are playing with each other?"

    "Well, I think there is no difference. Enjoy your feelings, have fun with each other, but be always aware of one very important restriction: it always has to be mutual!
"Never abuse anybody else, or push another person to do things he or she doesn't want to do, and you will be fine. Always respect each other and each other's feelings."

    "Thank you, Dad. You have lifted a heavy burden off my shoulders."

    "You are welcome, son; and you may always ask me anything."

    John heaved a deep sigh again, pushed himself up, and crawled onto my chest.
Then, I felt a much bigger 'thingy' than the small pecker little Harry had, trying to push a huge dent into my belly...
Inwardly, I chuckled at the memory of what little Harry told me, about your body preparing itself for the possibility of sex, without worrying about gender or age...
I draped my arms around John's firm frame, and softly stroked his back.

    After a moment, John hesitantly resumed his questioning:

    "Dad? Did you ever play with somebody else, when you were a boy?"

    "Yes, John, I did. When I was about your age, I played with a friend in a barn behind our school, and he played with me. It felt good, and both of us enjoyed it."

    "Dad? If I tell you a secret, will you promise never to tell it to anybody else?"

    "Why? Don’t you trust me, John?"

    "Sorry, Dad; of course I know I can trust you. But, I feel a bit ashamed to tell you, and I don't want anybody else to know about it...
"Thomas and I, when we had a sleep-over in my room... well... both of us had a stiffy, and we were curious and started to compare our 'things'. I touched his, and he touched mine.
"That is when Thomas told me about his father's warnings, and that he was afraid to get aids...
"But I told him not to worry about it; and we started to play with each other's 'things', rubbing them up and down.
"Suddenly, both of us had a marvelous feeling, like exploding inside and shaking all over. Now, we finally understood why everybody seems to crave 'sex'!
"After that first time, we played with each other many more times, and I started to play with myself almost every day.
"It always feels really good, and I can't imagine why God would punish anybody for something that feels so wonderful..."

    "I agree with you; and I assure you that every healthy boy in the world plays with himself around puberty.
"Some boys start at a very young age, and other boys discover it a bit later; but, during puberty, every boy does it, almost without exception.
"It IS a wonderful feeling, and it is absolutely harmless to do it. Nature has created these feelings to urge us to have sex and to ensure the survival of the human race.
"NEVER be ashamed of what you do, because you are acting by your nature. Every normal boy plays with himself from time to time, to release his tension and feel good."

    John heaved a deep sigh again; and his hesitation was almost palpable:

    "Dad? Do YOU still play with yourself? I mean, now you're no longer a boy? I hope you will not be angry with me, for asking these private questions..."

    "I will NEVER be angry with you about any questions you ask. And, yes, John, I still play with myself from time to time. Only, my sex-drive has diminished quite a lot, due to my age.
"All through and after puberty, most boys do it at least once a day or more. However, at the age of sixty-five, I am now restricted to about once a week. It is still a wonderful feeling, and I still love it."

    I felt John slowly humping up and down onto my stomach; almost imperceptibly trying to push his rigid member into my belly button...
He started to groan, but tried to muffle his sounds by biting his tongue.
He spread out as far as he could; melting into me even more, but desperately trying to suppress his upcoming urges...
    Panting, and with a trembling voice, he suddenly begged:

    "Dad? Please, will you help me feel good? Please, Dad, do it, because I am nearly exploding! It is almost painful now, and I NEED to relieve my tension. Please..."

    I didn't want to reject my desperate friend, because he trusted me absolutely and had been totally honest with me.
At the same time, I also didn't want to be arrested as a filthy child molester, accused of violating this innocent child...
I knew, from the TV journals and from all the newspaper stories, how our modern society thought about men who 'helped' underage boys; even if they wanted it themselves...
I decided to be honest with my budding adolescent.
I would try to explain why I couldn't 'help him feel good', and what the possible consequences would be if I did.

    I hugged his trembling body tenderly, while I told him:

    "You know, son; it is perfectly normal for you and a friend of the same age, to help each other find some relief from your sexual urges...
"At the same time, we are living in a condemning and mistrusting world that absolutely doesn't approve of men doing anything sexual to underage boys.
"If I did what you are asking me for, they could send me to prison for a very long time, because they will say I am abusing you, even if you want it yourself and ask me for the favor.
"That is how our mistrusting big brother world will react, and all of us have to reckon with its rigid laws..."

    "I know, Dad. School told us about these laws during sex-education, and I've read a lot about men loving boys on the Internet. You could get into a lot of trouble, if they ever suspected anything...
"But, nobody will ever know. I promise! I will never ever tell our private things to anybody else. You can absolutely trust me. Cross my heart and hope to die!"

    What should I do now?
I knew what a wonderful feeling it could be to be 'helped' by somebody else, from my own experiences with a friend in my own youth.
This had nothing to do with being 'homosexual', but it had only been two human beings helping each other out...
The experiences also hadn't 'damaged' me, or my friend, in any way!
Both of us had been happily married afterwards, and both of us had children...
    I turned around, and slowly pushed my young friend off my stomach:

    "Yes, son, I know I can absolutely trust you. And, I am also sure that you will never blabber to anybody about any 'private things'..."


    Early in the morning, I woke up with two happily smiling boys crawling onto my stomach.
Both of them were grinning at each other, while competing for the best place.
When they saw I was awake, both of them offered me a big morning kiss.
    Little Harry teased me, with little fun lights in his beautiful bright blue orbs:

    "Hi, sleepyhead! I thought you would never wake up."

    John told me, with a lot of love in his deep brown doe-eyes:

    "Hi, Dad, sorry for waking you this early... and I love you very, very much."

    I put my arms around my boys, pulled them close, and felt on cloud nine.

    After a moment, we left our bed, showered, and donned our best clothes to visit Peter's shop and look for a nice computer desk.  
All three of us raced downstairs, giggling and pushing each other like little children...

    John seemed to have a strong need to touch me whenever he could.
At the table, while slicing the tomatoes, he sat as close to me as possible; and, every so often, he bumped into me or leaned against me.
After the tomatoes were ready, he put his arms around me and melted into me, until I asked him to get the plates and the cutlery.
Reluctantly, he let go and headed for the cupboards.
In no time at all, he was back; and again he leaned into me, with his head resting on my shoulder...

    What was his problem?
Did he have something on his mind?
Or, was he just happy to see me and show me his love?
I ruffled his hair, and he looked up at me with... did I see relief in his eyes?
Was it something to do with the talk we had last night?

    We savored our tasty scrambled eggs and tomatoes in silence.
Little Harry sat at the other side of the table, humming happily, and now and then looking at John with curiosity.
Again, John pulled his chair towards mine, leaning against me with his head on my shoulder.
I put an arm around him, and he heaved what sounded like a sigh of relief.
Or, was he just very cuddly?

    After our meal, I asked John and little Harry to squeeze a couple of oranges.
They did, and all three of us drank a healthy glass of freshly squeezed juice.
Next, the boys cleared the table, while I brewed my first cup of coffee and took it to the living room.

    We had a few minutes left before leaving, so I settled down onto our couch.
Little Harry took his usual place next to me, again humming happily.
John tried to melt into me at my other side; almost pushing me towards little Harry.

    Suddenly, John asked me, with a worried look in his eyes:

    "Dad? Are you very mad at me?"

    "What?" I responded with amazement, turning around to face him,
"Why would you think such a thing? What is bothering you?"

    "Well... Last night, you told me that playing with each other always should be mutual. But I didn't listen, and I tried to push you to do things to me..."

    He looked up at me, desperately, slowly getting tears in his brown eyes...
I was flabbergasted, and didn't know what to do.
This was the very last thing I had expected him to be bothered about.
Again, I felt the enormous responsibility I had for my growing boys!
This time, it felt like a heavy burden, almost crushing my shoulders.
I, the grown-up AND the therapist, had to be even more careful with all the vulnerabilities of his budding adolescence...

    I took John into my arms, and slowly cradled him:

    "No, John, I think you did exactly the right thing. You ASKED me for it, didn't you? You didn't force me, and you didn't push me, but you only told me about your needs.
"The word 'mutual' only means that two people have reached an agreement. And, after talking about our own points of view, we DID reach an agreement!
"So, everything we did or did not do WAS mutual. Okay?"

    John took a deep breath; and, slowly, the lights returned into his eyes:

    "Yes, Dad, I think I understand now. Thank you, for explaining all these difficult things about my confused feelings. Now and then, they are overwhelming me...
"This morning, I recalled what happened last night, and then I started to be afraid you would be disappointed in me.
"I wouldn't be able to bear your scorn, after Jack suddenly died and Eric called me a 'bastard child'..."

    John started to sob, clamping onto me and trying to disappear into my chest.
A moment later, his sobs intensified, and he started to cry his heart out.
    Immediately, little Harry was at his side, telling him:

    "Let it go, brother, and don't bottle it up. In a few minutes, you will feel a lot better."

    John seemed to listen to his little brother, and he let himself go completely.
Sobbing loudly, he cried because of Eric, for Jack, for his burnt little brother, and also for himself.
He cried for always being blamed for everything that ever went wrong.
He cried for all his sorrows, and for his disappointments about a father who wasn't his real father and called him a 'bastard child'.
He also cried for missing Jack, and for anything else he had bottled up in his heart and in his mind...

    Finally, his sobs slowly diminished, and he started to recover from his grief.
Little Harry got him a glass of water, took a wad of tissues, and tenderly helped him dry his eyes and blow his nose.

    John grinned at us; while his inside sun started to shine again:

    "I am such a crybaby..."

    "We will buy you a packet of diapers."

    "You better buy me some more packets of tissues!"

    I tickled his ribs, and his sun broke through completely.
He grinned; and tried to tickle me back, immediately helped by little Harry.
Both boys, working together, soon became too much for my old body...
    I almost fell off our couch, panting:

    "Stop, boys, because I am almost wetting my pants."

    "We will buy YOU a packet of diapers!"

    They let me go, but with the promise to get me back later.
John took the used tissues to the kitchen, while I tried to rearrange my disordered clothes.
I wanted to look at least a bit decent when visiting Peter's shop...

    Little Harry looked at the clock, and jumped up in sudden shock:

    "What time do we have to go to Peter's shop, to pick up my mask?"

    Suddenly, we were in a tremendous hurry.
Little Harry snatched my keys from the table, John took my wallet from my desk, and all of us raced to our car.
With screeching tires, I left our driveway, on the way almost hitting a lamppost...

    Little Harry bent forward, tapped my shoulder, and begged:

    "Please, Dad, don't try to outdo John's Dad... err... Eric."

    That calmed me down, and I started to drive a bit more safely.
Of course, my little soul mate was right again.
Five extra minutes wouldn't make much of a difference.  
I told the boys to buckle up, and searched the car stereo for some nice background music.

    After some time, little Harry started to hum again.
Slowly, he got a naughty smile on his face, and I wondered about what he could have on his mind...
    Suddenly, he turned towards John, and asked:

    "Did you and Dad do the same things you and Thomas did?"

    "WHAT? How the hell do YOU know what Thomas and I did?"

    "You always tell me I am good at spying..."

    "Yes, but you were sound asleep; and we tried not to make any noise."

    "You TRIED. But, Thomas wheezed like crazy, and you sounded like a wounded elephant!"

    "Huh? I sounded like a... Oh... well... I am sorry we woke you up."

    "No need for sorry. I enjoyed the show. But, did you and Dad..."

    "That is very private, and certainly none of your business! Dad explained a couple of things about my confused feelings, because I am reaching puberty...
"But, did I really make a noise like a wounded elephant with Thomas?"

    "Of course not, silly. I'm only teasing you."

    "Oh... You are such a dork!"

    "Next time, I want to join the fun."

    I listened to their conversation; red-faced, and desperately trying to keep my eyes on the road...
Again, I was amazed by how easily young boys talked about the things that often are so difficult to discuss between grown-ups...

    'Be like a child', the Bible tells us in its ancient wisdom, and the Bible may be right.

    Life seems to be so much easier, when you are not restricted by rigid conventions and all sorts of crazy beliefs...



Thank you again, for all your wonderful and stimulating emails!
I will still try to answer them all; unless I am getting too many of them.


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I wish you lots of Love in your life, and Profound Peace in your heart.

Harry AnderS, Dutch psychotherapist and writer of 'books with a message'