OF LOVE AND CHANCE
Chapter Six: LOVE,
CHANCE, AND SORROW
a story by:
This is a
story about, well,
love and chance. It is for the most part, a work of pure fiction,
though some of the situations discussed are drawn from life experiences
(particularly the romantic ones). Though not in the beginning,
this story will eventually contain sexual acts between consenting
adults. Gay characters have gay sex, so if this bothers you, or
if it is illegal to read such materials due to your age or where you
live, then please do not read further. All copy rights are held
by the author, so please do not duplicate, print, alter, or resubmit (or
anything else I may have missed ) this
story without first obtaining written
permission from the author.
Further notes: This
story will address several social issues in a
perspective in which you may or may not agree. It is also a story
centered around life and love between friends, family, and partners,
along with romance, and it is not intended to be a jerk-off
story. There are spiritual and paranormal themes which affect the
lives of the characters. Finally, the story is told in the
various points of view of the characters involved. (To make this
process easier, each character's story is distinguished by a specific
color and font style dedicated to that character.)
This is my first attempt at
writing fiction of any kind. If you
have any comments, ideas, suggestions, etc., I would love to hear
them. I have greatly enjoyed the comments I have received thus far and
wish to thank you all for taking the time to send them.
Please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org
Shaft slept as I had
my head on his chest. His arm was wrapped snuggly around my
shoulders, holding me close to him. I listened to him softly
breathe in and out, reveling in the thoughts that he was my lover.
As I lay there, I contemplated the nature of my partner. He was
so gentle. Even in jest, he would do anything he could to spare
someone's feelings. So, he
named me Nibbler. I could live with that, and as anyone
else called me by my new nickname, I was reminded how and why I
received the name. That would forever tie me back to Shaft, and
that thought made me feel content.
As a lover, well I had no complaints at all. We adjusted our love
making to one another's mood, and we had been eager to try many
different things. Shaft was more concerned about my comfort and
pleasure than his own, which I found made the experience even more
That was another thing about him. He made me feel like I was the
most important person on the planet Earth. I suppose
I have suffered from a low self-esteem for some time, but Shaft
was making a drastic improvement in the way I looked at myself.
Somehow, it did not matter whether I was center-stage or not. He
made me the center of his universe, and I found that to be a much more
valuable place to be.
I was aware that we had moved rather quickly in our relationship, but
everything felt so right. I knew he was the one for me, the only
person I would ever love. I was not sure if it had anything to do
with his heart condition or not, but I wanted to make the most out of
every single moment we spent together. I knew he felt exactly the
same way. The more I mulled it over in my mind, the more I was
certain it was just my nature. I wanted to experience everything
in the moment. Perhaps that was one of the many things that made
us destined for each other.
Whether we were holding hands, looking at one another, or making love,
the experience was the same. I felt totally enveloped by Shaft,
as if our souls were merged into one. When he was not at my side,
I could still feel his presence lingering near. I could still
smell his uniqueness in the air. I could still see the smile on
his face and the deep pools of his soul.
I was completely in love with him, that was for certain. For some
reason, though, I wanted to do something extraordinary to show him just
how much I loved him. I knew it was silly, because he knew I
loved him in everything we did together. I guess I wanted to
create the most romantic moment he could ever imagine, so no matter
what life would bring our way, we could each look back and remember
that one special moment.
The problem was, I had no idea what to do. Everything I thought
of seemed to be too... I don't know... unworthy of him. He
deserved so much more than I could plan myself. He was so
romantic, even in the way he noticed every little detail. What
could I do for a guy who could make hanging a role of toilet tissue in
the bathroom a gesture of undying love?
I thought back to the times we had shared together. Shaft was
like a mental recorder or something. He could tell me every
single move, every gesture, every breath that I took on any given day
at any given time. I loved that about him, but it made planning a
surprise very difficult. You could not sneak something past a man
who notices everything.
It was hard for me to remember all the little details. What I
remembered were all the feelings he inspired... the way his fingers
would make each of the downy hairs on my neck tingle as they stood
erect with goose flesh... the way his breath in my ear sent shivers
down my spine as he stood behind me, watching me play Chance at the
arcade... the way every hair on his chest tickled my body when he
embraced me... the way his touch could send me into euphoria as we made
love. These were my memories, which were wonderful in
themselves. But, they did little good in planning out a romantic
surprise for my lover.
Then, I got an idea. As Jena knew me so well, I knew Cole
would know Shaft in the same way. Quietly and carefully, I got up
from our slumber and went outside and down to Cole's room.
Softly, I knocked on her door. Within a minute, she answered the
"I hope I did not wake you."
I said, hoping she would not slug me the way I knew Jena would have
"No, not at all. I was just
reading another one of my romance novels. Come on in, if you
want." Cole opened her door more and I walked into her
room She pat the bed, and I sat down beside her. "So, what's up? Is something
wrong?" she asked, with a sudden concerned look on her
"Well, not really. See, I love
your brother so much, Cole. He is the most romantic person, and
he has changed my life in such a fantastic way. The problem is
that I want to do something really romantic for him, but I have no clue
as to what to do. Everything I can think of seems campy or just
not worthy of his love. I just figured you would know him better
than anyone and could give me some ideas." I explained
"Well, Babe, I believe I might be able
to help you with this. I am an expert on Trashy Romance 305 --
that is an upper classmen course in case you didn't know!"
She quipped. "Let me think
about this. I might just even feel him out to get some
ideas. Anyway, don't let this bother you. Just make the
most of each moment, like you have been doing, and leave the worrying
to me. And, yes, sweetie, you both are like that... you both live
in the moment."
I smiled and kissed her on the cheek. Then I headed back to our
room and quietly climbed back into bed. Shaft was still asleep,
and as I placed my head back on his chest, his arm wrapped back around
me. I guess it was our natural sleeping position.
I was just getting to sleep, when I heard the knocking at the door.
Kanawha and I were wading in the stream which runs through the meadow
dreams. He grabbed me forcefully into a strong hug, then
passionately kissed me. Lost in the euphoria of his kiss, I was
shocked when the cool waters surrounded me and I sank to the
bottom. Kanawha pulled me back up out of the waters, laughing
hysterically at his dunking me. I retaliated, but ended up
dunking us both under. We laughed and played around in the
waters, just enjoying our time with one another.
Then, a golden eagle cried out as it circled from high above. My
lover and I watched as it soared higher and higher in the air. I
smiled as I saw the beauty of Chance's soul. Suddenly, he
swooped down, crying out what seemed to be a plea or a warning.
The eagle landed atop a bush growing on the banks of the stream.
Kanawha and I quickly approached him, wondering what could be
The bushes began to stir, and out jumped a tiny bunny. The bunny
began to bleed as many wounds appeared along its body. I picked
up and held it close to me. Tears began to stream down my cheeks
as I looked into its icy blue tear-filled eyes. I knew those
eyes, and the reality of it woke me suddenly.
As I sat up in the bed, Kanawha was waking. "Oh, my God, Love! Sorrow!
Sorrow is in trouble!" Then, it appeared. The
unknown symbol was again before me along with another symbol which
meant help. Three of
the ovals glowed dimly, one blue, one red, and one violet. Then,
the remaining oval to my left began to shine brightly in
teal. My love and I both sprang from the bed, grabbing some
clothes to throw on quickly.
Kanawha tensed up. "Chance!"
he started. Then we heard the screams. We bolted out the
door and sprinted into Chance's room. Chance was holding his
mouth with his hands, tears streaming down his face.
As we entered and turned, the first thing I saw was the blood.
The unknown symbol shifted, and the teal oval pointed towards
Sorrow. The symbol for help
began to pulsate as many more symbols
appeared before his body. I was far too nauseous and hysterical
even begin reading. My love and I rushed into the
bathroom. Sorrow was lying on the floor, and blood was all over
him. Kanawha reached him first. "Love! Is he..." I asked in
Kanawha felt for a pulse. "No
Love. Thank God, he is still alive!" I plopped down
on the floor and pulled Sorrow up onto my lap, bending down to hold and
rock him. Tears were flowing from my eyes as I brushed the hair
from his face. "And,
Love. He is NOT a bunny. He is a HARE. There is a
difference, you know. See, hare's are bigger and have longer
he said, moving his hands to illustrate longer ears. Though he
was crying himself, I knew he was just trying to lighten the mood...
it was not working. Kanawha joined me on the floor, gently
stroking Sorrow's cheek.
Hela and Jew quickly arrived, and Hela sent Chance to wake Mic and
Shaft. He returned shortly with the remainder of the
household. Shaft came into the bathroom, and examined Sorrow for
a moment. Turning, he asked "Cole,
can you get me my bag?" As Cole ran out of the room, Shaft
went to the sink and wet a towel. He began to clean off the
revealing so many cuts along Sorrow's chest and abdomen. There
were at least a hundred other scars, indicating that this has happened
quite a bit in this poor child's life. Kanawha reached behind him
and picked up a blood covered pocket knife. "Well, the wounds are superficial, and I do
not see any that needs to be stitched. I'll dress them up, but I
think Ethan and Mic need to have a talk with him. He is
unconscious, but it is not from the wounds. Chance, buddy, tell
what happened." Shaft asked as he continued cleaning the
"Well, I woked up, and Thumper wasn't
nowhere to be found. Then, I saw the light on in the bathroom
through the bottom of the door, so I gots up and knocked on it.
He told me 'Just
a minute.', but I just knowed
Sorrow was doin' somethin'
real bad. I can't tell ya how, but I just knowed he was a hurtin'
himself. So I pushed hard on that ol' door, and I guess it must'a
hit 'im or somethin' cause he fell... and when the door came open, he
was just a lyin'
there with all that blood and stuff all over 'im! So I screamed
out for you Dad and Daddy." Chance cried. Hela
grabbed him tightly to comfort him.
Cole returned with Shaft's bag, and he began dressing the cuts.
Slowly, Sorrow came to. "Hey,
sunshine. You gave us quite a scare. Are you hurting
"M-my head... what happened... wait, I
remember." He groggily stated. Then, he began to
cry, trying to cover up the cuts. "Oh, no! You guys weren't supposed to
see this." He waled.
Shaft pulled his arms back out of the way. "Easy there, Thumper. It's OK.
We're just here to help. Just relax and let me finish dressing
these up. We can talk about this later if you want."
Shaft said calmly. He examined his head. "Any dizziness? Is your vision
blurry? Do you feel sleepy?" Sorrow shook his head 'no' to all these questions.
"Well, I think you will be fine, then, though you may feel a bit
and sluggish for a little while."
"What are you, a doctor or something?"
Sorrow asked between sobs.
"Or something." Shaft
smiled. "In another year, I
will hopefully be a veterinarian. You are a bit different than
most of the patients I have treated, not quite as furry."
he joked, trying to put poor Sorrow at ease. "But, I know enough to get these cuts
cleaned up." he grinned.
Sorrow sobbed as Shaft finished dressing the wounds. He looked at
my love, myself, and then Shaft. "You
must all think I am a really disgusting sight." he softly
Shaft raised up his shirt, revealing his own scars. "I think I can look past the scars if you
can." He soothed. Shaft then reached out his
hands. "Come on, buddy.
Let's get you up off of this floor." Sorrow took his
hands, and the three of us gently helped him to his feet. When
Sorrow turned to look out the bathroom door, only Mic, Ethan, and
Chance remained. Everyone else was gone, for Mic and Ethan had
cleared the room.
"I thought you was dead."
Chance cried, embracing Sorrow carefully. They both held each
other and cried for some time. "Please,
don't be hurtin' on yourself like that no more, 'cause I need
We's family, you 'n me." Chance softly stated.
"I'm sorry, Humper. I-I
just..." Silence fell. "I am so numb inside, and sometimes, I want
to feel something... Anything... Just something to let me
know I am still alive." he continued. "So, I cut myself. For a little
while, it feels good again. Then, I realize what I have done, and
I know I am even more worthless than I was before." My
heart just ached for him, but this was Ethan and Mic's area of
expertise. So, as hard as it was, my love and I stood there
holding hands for the support we needed to remain neutral. With
my love at my side, and seeing Sorrow was at least physically alright,
I was now in the frame of mind to begin reading the many symbols which
illuminated around our young Thumper.
"Have you ever thought of doing more
to yourself than the cutting?" Ethan quietly asked.
Sorrow grimaced and confirmed the question with a slow nod. "Tell me, what all have you considered?"
Chance led Sorrow to the bed, and once seating him, held his friends
head in his arms, gently stroking his scalp.
"Lately, I have been thinking that it
would be so much better if I were not around. I would
not be in anyone's way, and I would not be so lonely anymore."
Mic wiped the tears from her eyes. "Eric, have you ever thought of how you
might not be around... How you might accomplish this?"
"No, not really. I've thought
about running away, but I am already alone. There wouldn't be
anyone to notice, anyway. I have thought about what it would be
like to be dead, though." he admitted, and my heart sank.
"Have you ever thought about killing
yourself?" Mic calmly asked.
"I've wished I were dead a
lot. Mostly, I have thought about just not waking up, you
know, dying in my sleep. But, sometimes, I have thought about
taking some pills or cutting my wrists." He began to wale
again, hiding his face in shame against Chance's chest. "You must think I am
such a terrible person!"
Mic walked over and lifted Sorrow's head to look him in the eyes.
"Actually, sweetie, I know exactly
what you are going through. See, I used to think about things
like that, too. I even tried to kill myself. I was going to
jump from a cliff. You can ask Kal about it if you'd like, 'cause
he was the one who came to my rescue." She paused as
it all in.
Mic then continued telling her story.
"He helped me to
realize that what I was doing was a permanent solution to a temporary
problem. At the time, though, it seemed like my problems were so
far beyond hope. Have you ever felt that way?"
Sorrow nodded his head 'yes
he convinced me to hang on for just one more day. He took me to
see someone I could talk to about what was going on in my life.
Each day, Kal would convince me to hang on just one more day, and soon,
with help, I no longer wanted to take that route. Things started
to look better to me, I guess. It became easier to find a reason
to live till the next day. Then, I just wanted to live."
She paused again, to give Sorrow time to reflect on what she was
saying. "Look, I don't know if
you were planning on killing yourself tonight, or if you were just
cutting, but I want to make you that same offer. Give me the
chance to show you that things can get better. Promise me not to
do anything to yourself for just one more day. You know, 24 hours
ago, you had not met Chance yet, but I think you have enjoyed getting
to know him, right?"
"Yes. Of course I have. He
is my only real friend." Sorrow sadly responded.
"Well, for his sake, will you give me
just 24 hours?" She asked.
"Yeah, sure. I promise. I
won't do anything to myself."
Mic kissed his forehead. "Your
promise is good enough for me. Do you want to talk about anything
with any of us? You know, we are always here for you any time you
"Maybe Chance, if that is OK."
Sorrow looked at us all pleadingly.
"Sure, Thumper." Ethan
smiled. "I figured it would be
Chance, anyway." He smirked. "But if you need any of us, our bedrooms
are just down the hallway. Don't hesitate. Just come and
"Thanks." Sorrow replied.
"Don't worry. I'll take good
care of 'im." Chance
"I know you will, buddy."
Shaft smiled. Ethan and he both
gave Sorrow and Chance a hug, then returned to bed. Mic kissed
them each on the
cheek and quickly followed.
Love and I tucked our guys back into bed, saying prayers and kissing
them both on the forehead. "We
are just down the hall if you need
us." Kanawha smiled.
My love and I then headed back to our room. Mic was there,
waiting for us. We went inside and talked for a bit. She
explained to us about cutting and about motivations behind
suicides. We told her everything our gifts let us
experience. After contemplating it all, Mic told us of her plan
and her obligations to
follow. The three of us prayed for strength and guidance to help
us lead Sorrow through the next 24 hours.
was so scared when I seen my friend in all that blood! It
just like in that ol' movie we watched at that
theater. I was just glad as could be he's
OK. I pulled his head on my chest and held 'im to me.
We's real quiet for a while. "I
love you Sorrow. I ain't mad or nothin' at ya, 'cause I know
you's been thinkin' that and all. But, if you's sad like that,
you need to talk to me. We's family, so we's 'posed to be there
for each other." I told my friend.
He started sobbin' again, and I just run my fingers through his hair,
pettin' his head. "I'm so sorry
I scared you. That was the last thing I ever wanted to do.
You have been so nice to me, and now I have screwed everything up."
"I done told ya I ain't mad at
ya. I don't want you hurtin' on yourself no more, but I still
love ya. And I ain't goin' nowhere. Family's
forever. I'll always be right here with you, no matter
He just laid there crying for a while, then he started tellin' me what
was wrong with 'im and all. "My
life is not so good, Chance. You have all these people who love
you, but it's not like that for me. Life for me is just so
lonely... there is no one to turn to... no one understands, and
they don't care enough to even try. Blade and the others, they
were just someone to be around. But, I realize that even
when I was with them, I was still all alone. Pop never comes to
me, and seldom does he even call. Mom is too busy getting in the
sheets with her men to even notice me. She's never home
much. Sometimes, it's weeks before I see her. Then, it is
just for a few minutes, and if I am lucky, for half of a day. I
have any friends... except for you, now." He got quiet for
a bit. "Chance, I don't want to
lie to you. Were friends, and we should be honest with each
other. I swear, I wasn't trying to kill myself tonight... but, I
have been thinking about it a lot lately. I hate to say this, but
I think maybe I am too far gone... I don't know if things
could ever get better for me. I'm trying to believe it can... I
really am... but it all honestly feels hopeless."
I cried with him for a bit more. Then, I got to thinkin' and told
'im what I thought. "I know I
ain't never been much of nothin' but trash on the street 'n
all. But, I's been thinkin' that maybe if I can be a
son to my dads and a friend to you, then just maybe I can be somethin'
more 'n what I was before. So, I ain't givin' up on ya', Sorrow,
'cause I know I's needin' you, just like I know you's needin' me.
You just hold on like you said you would to Mic 'n all. I'll try
'n hope enough for both of us."
He thought that out for a spell, then he said, "I really do love you Chance, as much as I
can love anyone. And, I promise, I'll try."
We didn't say much else. Sorrow fell asleep before I did, huggin'
me up like I's an ol' teddy bear or somethin'. I just thought it
was kinda cute lookin' at 'im sleepin'. He was all peaceful when
he was like that. As I was watchin' 'im, I said in my head, 'God, please help my friend. Help his
life to get better 'n all. Help 'im find somethin' to hold
on to, 'cause I don't want him hurtin' or killin' his self. '
Then, I just held his head in my arms, hopin' all I could hope.
Then, I guess I fell back to sleep.
Next thing I knowed, Hela was wakin' us boys up. "Hey, sleepy heads. I just finished
fixing breakfast and thought I would get my little guys up first.
That way you get first picks of everything." She smiled,
and as she was leavin', she started singin' another one of 'em
songs she sings that I ain't never heard before or nothin'.
Sorrow still had his head on my chest, but he was startin' to stretch
out some. I think he might've hurt one of 'em cuts, cause he made
a funny noise. He looked up at me, lookin' like one of 'em alley
cats just gettin' up from one of their naps on top a box. "I hope I didn't squish you too much,
I laughed as he yawned. "You
look like one of 'em ol' cats when you's a wakin' up. You sleep
"Hmm. Better than I have in a
while, actually." he said.
Then he smiled. "It was nice
waking up and finding someone there
for a change." I knowed he was smilin' on the outside, but
wondered if he was smilin' on the inside. For some reason, I was
"I slep' good too. It's 'cause
this big ol' comfy bed. That and 'cause somebody was a squeezin'
me up like an ol' teddy bear!" I laughed.
Sorrow turned all red. "Sorry."
he told me, startin' to get up.
I stopped 'im, though. "I kinda
liked it, to be honest. I ain't had much of nobody for a long
time neither, so I thought it was sorta nice wakin' up with
somebody. I kinda liked havin' someone a holdin' onto me, too, I
He was lookin' at me like he was tryin to figure out what to say.
After a minute or two, I just said, "Well,
I guess we best get up and run down 'em steps to get us some
breakfast. Hela makes some good food, but I gotta tell ya a
secret. Daddy likes 'em grits, but I don't think they is none too
good. Dad don't like 'em none neither. But Hela, she made
'em yesterday, and Daddy went on 'bout 'em. So, he might try to
get you to eat 'em if she made some of 'em. Just drink ya lots
and lots of juice." I warned 'im.
He laughed as we got out the bed. I went and peed, then I waited
till he finished and we went down to get us some of Hela's good
food. Hela made us both wash our hands at the sink so she
knowed we had clean hands 'fore we handled on the food. But, she
made everybody do that, so we didn't think much 'bout it. I didn't tell her, but I didn't
wash my hands upstairs like I know I's prob'ly 'posed to
Sorrow 'n me got our plates fixed first. Then, Daddy 'n Dad came
in with 'em boys. Dad and Daddy both kissed me n' Sorrow on the
forehead. It looked like all four of 'em had done been in the
shower, so I started laughin' bout that. Ethan shook his head at
me. "Humper, you have yourself
a real problem, don't you. Is that all you think about?"
"Nope. I just knowed that is all
you fella's do." I giggled.
Shaft leaned down and whispered kinda loud like so that everybody could
hear what he was a sayin'. "It
was all Nibbler's idea. I think he is the one with the problem."
Ethan turned REAL red, and we all laughed real hard at 'im.
They all got 'em somethin' to eat, and Daddy fixed me 'n Sorrow some of
'em ol' nasty grits. Dad was tryin' hard not to laugh at us, but
that just made me 'n Sorrow giggle. "What's so funny?" Daddy asked
"We's just thinkin' bout somethin' we
talked 'bout this mornin'." I told 'im, which wasn't no
lie or nothin'. Thumper tried 'em grits, and I could tell he didn't
think to awful much 'bout 'em neither. "Lots and lots of juice." I
all quiet like, remindin' 'im.
All of 'em was soon down to breakfast. Grams liked 'em ol' grits
too. So did Ethan and Jena. I wondered if they knowed how
to taste, but I sure wasn't askin' nobody 'bout that. I
didn't want to hurt Daddy's feelings 'bout somethin' like 'em ol' yucky
Durin' breakfast, though, Dad looked at us and said, "Chance, you and Sorrow seem to
really like juice." He was smilin' real big, thinkin' he
was all funny 'n stuff. "That
is good though, because it helps you grow up strong and healthy."
Then, he leaned down next to my ear. "It also helps wash down those horrible
grits. Why don't you just tell him you don't like them?"
"I guess I'll just eat 'em to make 'im
happy." I whispered back. Dad messed up my hair,
laughing at me.
We finished up eatin', and everybody cleaned up the mess. Sorrow
and I went to my room, and I told 'im he could take his bath or shower
first. While he was in there, I went down to Cole's room.
Somethin' just told me to go 'n see her.
I knocked on her door, and she let me in, askin' what was wrong. "Look, I just knowed you could help
me. See, Sorrow told me 'bout lots of stuff botherin'
'im. His dad don't come see 'im, and his mom ain't never
hardly there or nothin', so he's just all alone in that house.
Then, he told me he didn't know if he could get better. He said
he thought he was too far gone. I's askin' God to help 'im last
night in my head while he was sleepin', but I think you should ask God
too. I just knowed you is good at that, and he will let you
know somethin' to help out my friend." I told her.
She hugged me up and prayed right there with me in the
room. When she was done, she kissed me on the cheek. "Sweetie, thank you for believing in me
like this. But, you know, God listens to all of us. Still,
while I was praying, I was inspired. You just keep being the good
friend that you are to Sorrow. I will do everything I can to
help. OK, Humper?" She giggled. I smiled and
told her yea. She kissed me again on the cheek. "Thank you again for believing in me.
It means a lot that you felt you could turn to me, and if you ever need
me for anything, Chance, I will always be here for you. I love
you, little guy." I smiled and hugged her back.
Then, I went back to my room. I sat on my bed and Sorrow opened
the door to the bathroom. He had a towel wrapped 'round his
waist, and them cuts looked lots better. I walked up to 'im and
ran my fingers across a couple of 'em. "They look like they is healin' up
some. Do they hurt any?" I asked.
"Not really. It stung a little
when the water first hit them, but none of them bled anymore."
I looked up at Sorrow, then hugged 'im tight. "I don't know what I'd 've done if you
wasn't OK last night. I's just glad you are here with me and not
in some grave somewhere."
He kissed the top of my head. "You
are the only good thing I have going for me, Chance. I don't
think I would be here now without you."
I prayed to myself again, 'God,
please make me into what he's a needin', and let me be enough for him
to keep hangin on to till you can fix 'im.' I was feelin'
a bit better 'bout it all after that. "We's gonna be alright, Thumper. We's
gonna make it through this. You just wait 'n see. I's
hopin' enough for both of us."
Then, he just kissed me and throwed me on the bed and started humpin'
on me and stuff! Hahaha! No he didn't. I's just
pickin' is all.
Honest, he just tried to smile, sayin', "If you are right, I wonder how I will ever
be able to make this up to you. You... well, you have done
much for me that I really do not deserve."
"You can be there for me when I need
ya... like when we's in that ol' school. I know you'll help me
lots then, but that is what we's 'posed to do anyway." I
smiled. "Well, I guess I'm
gonna go take me a bath. I'll leave the door open if you wanna
talk or somethin'." Then I took me a bath, just
hopin' everything would work out for my friend. Somehow, I just
knowed it would. It just had to is all. We still had
somethin' special we needed to do, me 'n Sorrow.
I was in a complete panic when I felt Chance's distress. The
screams only further heightened my fears. When we found Sorrow, I
managed to calm myself as much as I possibly could... which I confess
was not by much. Killian was in hysterics, and Chance was
horrified. I knew I had to be strong for them, and for Sorrow if
I were to be of any help to him.
Knowing he was alive did not do much to calm my love, nor did my
efforts to make a joke with him. Normally, I would go into my 'defensive mode', as my love calls
it, and doze down whatever it was causing the distress. In this
situation, however, I was pretty much useless. As members of our
family took charge, I was reminded of Valerie's words... "Faith and trust are
far greater than brute strength and sheer will." I grabbed
my love's hand, leaning on him to help me find the courage to have
faith and trust that everything would turn out better for Sorrow.
I really loved that kid, and it broke my heart feeling the empty void
that was inside of him.
After tucking our young men back into bed, saying prayers, and kissing
them good night, Love and I returned to our room, fining Mic at our
door. I was so glad to see her there, because I had so many
questions for her. We went through the bathroom and into the
study. After sitting down, I began. "Mic, what the hell is going on?
Sorry love, but I don't understand what we just witnessed. Why
would he do something like that to himself? He is such a great
kid, and a nice looking boy. Why would he want to carve himself
"Well, Boo Boo... hehehe, sorry, but I
just couldn't help myself." Mic laughed. "I guess I was just trying to lighten the
mood some." I smiled, knowing the sentiment. "First, I have to tell you guys, I never
saw the cutting coming. The suicidal thoughts, yes... but, Chance
has stabilized that, I feel. Anyway, there are so many reasons
someone might choose to engage in cutting or other acts of
self-mutilation. See, this is but a small part of what we call
self-inflicting behaviors. Many times, there is severe physical
or sexual abuse involved. But, I honestly doubt that is the case
"Sorrow told me a few things yesterday
about his father. In Eric's eyes, he sees his father as
abandoning him. I don't know his father, but I believe Sorrow's
perception is quite accurate. Before I can really get a handle on
this, though, I need more information about Eric. Has he
mentioned anything at all to you about his family?" Mic asked.
"No. But, I read some things
about it while you were talking to him." my love
explained. "Mic, his mother is
seldom home at all, and he practically has nobody. Honestly,
he's been all alone, at least before he met us. There is no one
he connects to being a friend, save Chance. Our son is his only
thread connecting him to this world, his only reason for hanging
on. I know he was not intending to kill himself just now, but I
know he has been very close to doing so a few times before."
"What about you, Kanawha? Did
you pick up anything from him?" she inquired.
"Guys, it was horrible. There
wasn't any of the sadness I felt before. In fact, there was not
much of anything left at all. It was as if he were hollow
inside. What little emotions existed, the biggest majority was
feelings of self-doubt and self-hatred. There was a tiny spark of
love there, but that was held solely for Chance." I
replied. "There wasn't anything
else but emptiness." A quietness settled upon us, and I
reflected upon it all. "Mic,
why would he hate himself so much? Why would he want to do this
"Our poor guy has suffered years of
abuse. He has been practically abandoned by his parents.
The neglect is so cut and dry here. I believe Sorrow sees himself
as the cause for his parents' absence. He blames himself,
thinking he is an unworthy, terrible person who is repulsive in the
eyes of others. It is possible that he is wanting to reflect
these feelings by making himself repulsive, at least what he
thinks repulsive would be. But, more likely, it is a way to
escape from alienation, the terrible loneliness we all know he has been
feeling." Mic pondered a moment. "He said himself that he is numb
inside. There are similar cases with cutters claiming that the
bleeding allows them to feel again. Anyway, there are a few drugs
that can help with this. A lot of reports show that there are low
levels of serotonin in the brain of those who exhibit self-inflicting
behaviors. Ethan and I discussed this a few minutes ago. We
can get this prescribed for him, and I am sure it will help, but I
believe this is treating the symptom. What we need to do is get
to the root of it. There, we can remove the source, repair the
damage, and he can truly heal."
"Kanawha, you said you felt
emptiness. Well, that is part of the addiction cycle he is
following, and yes, cutting is a highly addictive behavior. The
emptiness is called disassociation." Mic continued to
explain. "See, it all starts
with negative emotions presenting themselves, which triggers a desire
to engage in the activity like his cutting. A tension is
experienced over the desire to feed the addiction. Disassociation
allows him to accept that it is OK for him to cut, and it helps to
block the emotions and physical pain involved in the process.
Then, he engages in the cutting. Afterwards, there is a release
he sees as a positive effect from the cutting -- he is able to control
what he is feeling. But, soon, the high of the experience is
over, and he realizes what he has done; the guilt and shame are the
negative effects of the cutting, and they send him right back through
the cycle again."
"Oh, Lord! How horrible it must
be for him. There is never an end to this self-violence."
My love commented sadly. I pulled him close to me, reassuring
him with a hug.
"That is just it, Kal. In order
to help him, we have to break the cycle. But in order to break
the cycle, we have to identify and then remove all the triggers for the
behavior. Then, we build on his self-esteem while presenting
alternatives to the cutting. However, when he is engaging in cutting, he
is not attempting suicide. The cutting is the only other option
he sees besides suicide." Mic sighed in frustration.
"That is the other difficulty with
Sorrow's case. We can't just treat one area. If we take
away the cutting, then all he has left is suicide. If we remove
the suicidal thoughts, then the cutting will increase, and probably be
even deeper avenues of self-mutilation. What we have to do is
find the common link to both behaviors, and that, guys, is the root
from which it all stems."
Mic explained to my love and I things that motivate suicide, as well as
things for which to listen and watch. She said if we witnessed
any of these to let either Ethan or her know as quickly as
possible. She answered all of our
questions and assured us that we could help our dear Sorrow through
this difficult period. Finally, she stressed that the best thing
we could do is listen to him without judging him, and to encourage him
to express himself as much as possible.
"Guys, we have one other problem."
Mic began. "I pray I am wrong, but I
believe things will get a bit more rocky for Sorrow today. As I said before, the
neglect is so cut and dry. You
both know I cannot let this go, and I am not sure I would ever want to
do so. I have to report this, and in my opinion, they both
rot in jail. Really, both of his parents are guilty of
abandonment and neglect, but the law will only affect the parent who
has custody. My only concern is how Sorrow will handle
this. I know he deeply desires a close relationship with his
dad. I just hope his dad is ready to develop one."
My love took both of our hands and led us in prayer. If ever we
needed a miracle, it was now. But, I was inclined to believe that
some divine intervention would present itself. After all, I had
one miracle who was now my life partner, along with a second miracle
whom I lovingly called my son. 'Faith
and trust.' I reminded myself. 'Faith and trust.'
I was mortified that they found me like that. What was worse was
that Chance had seen it. I had worried over his knowing of it
when he told me he knew about my being gay. Now, I knew he was
aware of my dark secrets, along with everyone else in the house.
I wanted to believe Chance when he said that he was not mad at me and
that he would never leave me. Yet, everyone else in my life had
left me, so I wondered why he would be any different. I just
could not see why or how he could love me like he said. I knew I
loved him, though, and that was reason enough for me to try at
least. I did not honestly see things getting better for me, but I
wished they would, if only for Chance.
He had told me many times that he needed me just as I needed him.
I could not fathom how that was possibly true, for I needed him in the
most dire of ways. He was the only ray of sunshine to ever
penetrate the blackness of my soul. He was the beautiful angel
that selflessly offered me the only genuine care or love I had ever
known in my life. Though I admit to seeing him as quite an
attractive guy, his beauty was from deep inside. He was
spectacular, in my opinion, radiating a positive energy of hope.
Being around him was addictive I realized, because all I wanted was to
be near him. I fought with myself over being worthy enough to be
anywhere in his proximity. I debated sneaking away, thinking he
would be better off without me in his life. He had been through
so much already, so what was the need in my adding more? Perhaps
it was the love I held for
him, perhaps it was pure selfishness on my behalf, but I decided to
I slowly made my way to the bathroom and sat down in the floor next to
the tub where my angel was bathing. "Hey, I was wonderin' if you'd ever come in
here or not. I know I wanted you to, and I reckon I just knowed
you needed to come in here." he smiled. I tried my
best to return the smile. After a minute, he broke the
silence. "Man, it is so nice
gettin' to take a bath 'n all any ol' time I want! I used to get
awful dirty sometimes out on 'em streets, and it was real hard to find
some place to wash up. But washin' up just ain't nothin' like
bein' able to take ya a bath. You know what I mean?"
"I guess I never really thought about
it before." Maybe I had taken too many things in my life
for granted, so I began to think. "You know, Humper, you are really
amazing. You find joy and happiness in the most simple of
things. I wish I had your spirit." I replied.
Chance's forehead rumpled with deep thought. "You know, I'd give it to ya' if I knowed
to. I'd give you anything I's got if it would make you all happy
and stuff like that... even if it would just make you a little bit
happy, truly happy."
I reached up and rubbed my hand across my angel's cheek. "I don't understand how you could think so
much of me, but I know why everyone loves you so much."
"Oh, you just needs you some glasses
all." I was lost with that line of thought, and Chance
picked up on it. "You just
don't see yourself right is all. So I think you just needs you a
pair of 'em glasses. 'Sides, you got you a good soul
anyways. You just ain't lettin' it out none is all."
"I'm afraid there is not much to see
Chance. Maybe you need the glasses." I replied.
"No, I see you just fine. You's
got somethin' special locked up in there that you ain't never even
noticed before. Plus, you's willin' to be my friend, so I know
you's a good guy. Not many people's all crazy 'bout street trash
ya know. But I's happy just havin' you, my one special
friend. You're gonna be the only friend I's ever gonna need
anyways. I just knowed that for some reason, right when I met you
at that mall."
"What makes me so special?"
I asked, trying hard to believe him, and knowing deep down that we
really were connected in a way I could yet explain.
"Everybody else has to love me 'cause
of Dad 'n Daddy." he explained. "You don't, but I knows that you do.
I knows that I love you too. We's special together. It's
like we's part of one 'nother or somethin' like that. I just
knowed it is all. I don't reckon how, but I's knowin' lots of
stuff lately. It's kinda like you knowin' all that school stuff
in your head 'n all. 'Cept I's just know other stuff."
Deeply, he thought a moment. Then a big grin spread across his
face. "I'm a thinkin' you's
knowin' a little bit of that other stuff too. I'm a thinkin'
you's gonna know more of it sometime soon. 'Less you just think
I's silly, then, I just shut up 'bout it till later."
"You mean that we are connected
somehow?" I inquired.
"Yep. Stuff like that I's
knowin' somehow." He smiled.
"Well, I knew we were connected as
soon as I looked into your eyes. I'm not sure how, but I just
knew." Then, I laughed, realizing I was sounding much like
Chance (which, in my opinion, was a great thing). "I believe I know what you mean."
I thought about it for some time. It is true that school work
came easily for me. Maybe people came easily for Chance or
something. It was apparent that he knew much about me, and that
made me need him all the more. I was beginning to believe that if
anyone could ever understand me and what was going on inside of me, it
would be Chance. With this revelation, I knew I had to hang on for as
long as I could, for Chance truly was my angel.
As I came out of my concentration, Chance was getting out of the
tub. He wrapped a towel around his waist. "Hey, you reckon you can help me fix this
hair of mine and help me pick out some of 'em clothes for today?
We's goin' to Dad's work, 'member? I don't have me no idea what
we's 'posed to wear." He requested.
Getting to my feet, I grinned. "Sure
thing. I guess you really do need me. How else would you
ever get ready for anything?" I joked.
"See, told ya I needed ya."
Chance laughed. Then, I helped my angel get ready.
all headed to the mission, I noticed Sorrow seemed a little
better. Kanawha and Killian smiled, indicating that they could
tell he was in a better state. My biggest worry now was in how
fulfilling my obligation was going to affect his spirits.
It was times like that when I really missed my Thomas. Then, I
thought that I might IM or email him when we arrived at the
mission. I knew I sure could use his support. God had
blessed me with such a wonderful husband, and even though he was on the
other side of the world, I could still feel his love for me.
Suddenly, I remembered something. "Sorrow, babe, can I please borrow your
cell phone a minute."
"Yeah, sure." he replied.
I called the center and asked Kathy if she could rearrange a few of my
appointments. I needed to clear up some time to do what I had to
do about poor Sorrow's situation. After finishing the call and
jotting a couple of important things down in my planner, I
handed it back to him, kissing him on the cheek. "Thank you sweetie. You know, these
are awfully handy. I may have to get one of these for myself."
"I have been thinking about getting
Chance one, just in case he should need one of us, or in case we need
to get a hold of him in an emergency." Kanawha added,
looking to Kal for his response.
"Love, I've told you before, if you
feel it is something you should do for our son, then I will not stand
in the way of your decisions. But, since you seem to want my
opinion, I think it is a great idea." Kal replied, and Kanawha
was elated with his response. I thought there was more to the
reasoning of getting Chance a cell phone, but I wasn't going
"You mean you's gonna get me one of
'em little phones to carry 'round in my pocket?" Chance
asked enthusiastically. Kanawha shook his head proudly yes.
"I noticed lots of 'em boys had 'em
one while we's at that mall. I was even thinkin' 'bout havin' one
of 'em just last night." he added.
'So, that is why.' I
thought, 'So Chance will fit
in. I just find more and more reasons to love Kanawha.'
I was rather proud of him for thinking about ways to normalize Chance,
not to mention his smooth way of getting Kal's approval. Kal has
been known to be a bit tight with the pennies from time to time.
"Well, that will be great.
Sorrow will be able to get in touch with you any time, anywhere."
I commented, gaging his response. It was as I expected it would
"Yeah, that will be great."
Sorrow replied with far less enthusiasm than one would think he would
have. 'I knew I was right!'
I mentally gloated.
"Of course, I expect you two young men
will be together most of the time anyway, so you probably won't really
have to call that often. But, it will be good in case you need
one another." Then, I saw the reaction that confirmed my
"Well, I guess it would be silly to
call Chance when he is right beside me." Sorrow
laughed. The smile on his face as I presented a situation with
him always being with Chance let me know he was worried about being
away from his trusted friend. That gave me assurance that my
ideas for his therapy were on the right track.
"If we gets into classes 'n all
together, then we'll be with each other all through school.
You'll just have to come over 'n help me with all that school stuff,
'specially that ol' English, else they might just kick me out of that
school. So I guess we'll be with one 'nother all the time just
about." Chance added. He nervously bit his
lip. "I just hope I can get all
that stuff down 'fore I gotta take that ol' test."
"You'll do fine, Humper."
Sorrow consoled. "I'll help you
study some this evening if you want. We'll have to see what Jena
has planned though."
'Bless you, Chance.' I smiled
to myself. 'Just keep giving
him a reason to hold on till things get better.'
The boys chatted away while we drove to the mission. When we
arrived, I hugged the boys and headed to my office. I stopped and
scheduled an emergency psychological and psychiatric assessment for
Sorrow. Friday was the earliest appointment I could make,
unfortunately. As soon as I entered my little cubby hole, I
logged onto my messenger only to find Thomas waiting for me. I
pressed the microphone button so we could hear each other's voice.
"Well, what a pleasant surprise to
find you on here. Oh. Lord, sweetheart, I could really use your
support right now." I told my husband.
"I just had this gut feeling that
something was up, so I figured you would either IM me or email me. That
being said, I logged on and have been waiting for you. Babe,
what's wrong?" My Thomas is such a wonderful and
insightful man. Despite the fact that we are so far away from
each other, he always knows when I need him.
"I told you about Chance. Well
he made a friend yesterday. He is a wonderful young man with whom
Chance has bonded so strongly. Well, it seems that there is a
serious case of abuse in his life. He has been all but abandoned
by both his mother and his father. He has a lot of other
problems, too, and I am afraid that when I report this, it may push him
Thomas thought about what I said for a moment. "Mic, darling, what does your instincts
tell you to do? The first impulse you had was to do what?"
"Report the abuse." I
"Well, honey, you are so intuitive, I
would be willing to bet the farm that it is the right decision to
make. Besides, you have to report it. It comes with the job
description." He counseled. "Honestly, though, baby, I know you well
enough to know you have weighed this all out. So what have you
"He needs to be in a stable
environment in order to overcome his problems. Being in isolation
as he is now will only make the problem worse in the long run."
I giggled. "You really think
you have me figured out, don't you Tommy boy."
He laughed. "I just know how
you are. That is one of the things I love about you. You
have this amazing blend of intuitiveness and methodical logic. It
is inspiring, the way your mind works. Then, there are the other
56 trillion reasons I love you."
"If only you were here right now."
I said, longing to touch him just once.
"I miss you so much, Mic. But it
won't be too much longer. Just about three months and I will be
home. That is the only thing keeping me going, you know.
Being with you once more, it is all I think about." There was a
sadness in his voice that touched me deep within my heart. But,
my Thomas always stirred me like that.
"Believe me, husband, I know the
feeling. I have made arrangements for a cabin for the first five
days you are back." I told him all about the cabin.
I just hoped it would be enough alone time for us. After all, it has been such a long
time since we had experienced the pleasures of our union, and I planned
to be united with him quite a bit once he was back.
"You know, the thoughts of this are
going to torment me for the next three months." he
quipped, though I imagined he was somewhat sincere in this. I
knew I had been longing for our reunion since I first got the idea.
"You and me both, honey. I just
cannot wait to have you all to myself." We talked for a
few more minutes, then Thomas had to go. I gave him all my love,
and told him I would tell him all about it later.
Talking with my husband gave me the courage to do what needed to be
done. I buzzed Janet Kingsley and told her all about
Sorrow. Next, I pulled out my planner and called the Child
Protective Services, or CPS as we call them. I explained the
entire situation and gave the case manager the telephone numbers for
Sorrow's mother and father I had lifted from his cell phone during the
trip here. Expediency was promised, and I knew it was always the
case with CPS. They were quick, fair, and efficient. At
least, they were when the mission was the one calling. (See, the mission took over the
failing community mental health center for our area, along with a huge
chunk of the health and human services department when drastic budget
cuts were necessary. Basically, our divisions of the mission
operate for the state, only not on the state's strained budget.
So, the state tries very hard to accommodate us.) I just
had to wait to find out what the determination was, and I suspected I
would know something before lunch.
I showed my love and the boys around the mission. Kanawha seemed
to be impressed with all the different projects we offered for the
community, particularly Urban Renewal. This project helped to
fix up existing housing, business offices and locations for our
incubation program, and to build new housing for the Fresh Start
program. I explained that Shaft and Roe worked with Urban
Renewal, and Kanawha asked if I thought he could volunteer to work with
them as he was able. The thoughts of my love wanting to help out
on such a worthy project had me elated. Chance and
Sorrow were fascinated by the idea of building things, but I was a bit
afraid of them being near power tools. Still, I was sure there
was something they could do, that is if they did not want to be big
brothers. We decided
to talk with Shaft after the visit with the lawyer.
To finish up the tour, I brought them to my project. "This is the Work Force Preparation
Center. Here, we train people for specific jobs with our partner
companies. Several businesses have granted us funding and even
supply most of the equipment. They hire their new employees
strictly through our program." I smiled, remembering so many of
the wonderful people who had trained at our center. "The businesses receive trained workers,
and we are able to help people in need find suitable employment.
It is a very rewarding experience." Kanawha seemed
interested, but the boys seemed a bit bored. They perked up some
once they saw all the different equipment we had for so many diverse
"This reminds me of the tech ed center
back home." my love said as he snaked his arm around my
"It is very much like that," I
elaborated, turning to Kanawha and wrapping my arms around his neck, "except we are on a much shorter time
frame. We train for specific jobs and tasks, were they train for
entry level into the industry as a whole. Take Automotive
Technologies, for instance. At the tech ed centers, students are
trained to do a wide variety of tasks and can get numerous different
jobs. Here, we train them for a specific job with a company ready
to hire them. They learn things such as changing oil, balancing
tires, front end alignments, and tune-ups. These are the tasks
they will be required to do for the specific job. At a later
time, if they want to advance to other levels in the industry, we
encourage them to take training at the tech ed center. Many of
companies will pay a certain percentage of the educational costs, too."
I paused and looked deep into his sapphire eyes. "You just don't know how thrilling it is
to see someone finally able to take control of their lives and better
themselves and their families. We give them the opportunities,
each one of them earn that job and the advancements they experience
along the way."
Our opportunity for another perfect kiss was postponed as Chance
inquired, "So, you work on cars 'n
stuff like that?"
"Would you like to see the garage
bays?" I smiled, noting his sudden enthusiasm.
"Oh, yeah!" Chance
cheered. "You know, Dad, I
thought your work was kinda borin' 'n all before, but you work on 'em
cars 'n stuff!"
Sorrow giggled at Chance's honesty. "I am with you on that one, Humper."
I led Love and the boys to the garage bays, where a few of our clients
were busy performing different tasks. Chance and Sorrow seemed
quite interested, and they were practically bouncing off the walls when
I asked them if they wanted to learn how to change oil.
"You can change oil?" Kanawha
asked, somewhat in disbelief.
"Of course. I can rebuild an
engine, for that matter." His eyes lit up, and this
mischievous grin spread wide across his face. "What? What are you up to in that
mind of yours?"
"Just picturing you with your shirt
off and all that grease and oil all over you." Love
nibbled on my ear. "It is quite
a provocative image, I must admit. Very provocative."
"And they call you Humper!"
Sorrow shot, talking to Chance, which caused an outburst of
laughter. "I thought you were
going to show us how to change oil, not how to make out with a
"Well, let's get suited up, then."
I replied, leading them to the locker room. We changed into work
clothes, and I explained the importance of safety equipment. Then
we went into the bay. I demonstrated the entire task, and when I
asked the boys if they wanted to try, I was met with nothing but
Mic came into the bay and asked if Kanawha could assist her for a few
minutes. Before leaving with her, though, he leaned over and
whispered into my ear, "Don't be
washing that oil off just yet, Keokuk." He kissed me, then
went on his way. I let the boys start changing oil... What a
blast that turned out to be!
convinced me to come with him to the mission. He had never
explained any of what he did there, so I was curious. Upon
observation, I was more in love with Jason Edward Wilson than I had
Jew worked with a large diversity of needy children. Some were
from destitute circumstances, while others were from broken
homes. Many had physical or mental challenges. But, the way
those kids responded to him, and the way he interacted with them, it
made my heart melt. He had so much love for them, and I realized
that was because he could identify with their circumstances. He
was once one of needy children himself.
It set my mind into deep concentration, and I was rewarded with a
revelation of sorts. I realized that we often are faced with
challenges that seem unfair. We question why we are forced to
experience such things. For example, why would Jew, being such a
wonderful and loving man, be afflicted with his stuttering? The
reality of it is that it makes us become the person we need to be in
order to complete our role in the grand design. If Jew had not a
stutterer, he would not have been able to identify with the children in
his charge. He would not have inspired them the way he so
obviously had done. It became clear to me that our trials
and tribulations were ways to prepare us for connecting with the people
God was calling us to help.
I watched as he played all kinds of games with them, teaching them to
use their minds and their bodies. He also modeled socially
appropriate behavior, and the kids responded with better interpersonal
skills. He taught them manners and many other important skills,
such as sharing, taking turns, and good sportsmanship. I was
enthralled at his program. He explained to me that he was working
towards recruiting big brothers and sisters for each of his
charges. He was hoping that Chance and Sorrow would agree to help
Seeing his selfless act had me reevaluating my own life. I was
designing curriculum at the preschool. However, this preschool
was set up for the privilege children of the university professors and
business professionals in the area. What Jew was doing had so
much more meaning and value to it. I wondered what I could do to
help him. Then, I was struck by another idea.
I pulled out my cell phone and contacted my adviser, who was the chair
of the educational department. In speaking with him, I told him
of Jew's program and his desires for the big brother and sister
program. I also explained the value I found in trying to help
under-privileged children, giving them an edge they would need to
compete with the more fortunate children who were in their
schools. Mr. Johnson was impressed by my passions for the program
and made the offer for which I was hoping.
He offered to create a new practicum for me, which was to design and
implement a tutoring program for Jew's charges. He said he would
reallocate funding to get the program up and running. He also
assured me that Jew and I would have numerous volunteers from the
educational department. He was going to make it a requirement
that each ed student volunteer here as part of a work-based learning
experience. Before hanging up, he thanked me for allowing him the
privilege to be part of something so notably worthwhile.
Needless to say, I was beyond excited. I leaped at Jew and kissed
him with all the love I had inside me.
"What was that for?" he
"For inspiring me to find my path in
life. I am so excited, Tiger, and I have wonderful news for you!"
Suddenly, though, I was reminded of something Ethan had once told
me. He said I was a bit too pushy and that I tended to take over
things. I wondered if that were true. I just hoped Jew
would not see it like this, because I really was not trying to take
over what he was doing. I only wanted to become a part of his
mission. I wanted our goals and lives to mesh with one
another. "What would you say if
I could get funding to start a tutoring program for your kids?
What would you say if I could guarantee you that you would have all the
volunteers you will ever need for both the tutoring and the big brother
and sister programs?"
"I would say, um, you know, that you
are the woman I, well, I want to marry." He said
nervously. "Will you?"
"Are you asking me what I think you
are asking me?" I was so blown away by this.
He breathed heavily a couple times to calm himself. "I-I haven't bought mmm, you know, a ring
or anything yet, b-but this is all I have been thinking about."
He calmed himself some more. "I-I
know we have only met a f-few days ago, but I know y-you are the one,
J-Jena. I planned to um, you know, wait a little while, but it
just seemed um, like the right time. S-So, will you m-marry me
"Oh, God! Yes! Of course I will."
I kissed him again. He calmed down, almost immediately with my
answer. Then, we heard the snickering children.
"We're getting married, so it's OK if
we kiss." he told the children. Some laughed, some
clapped, but they all gave Jew hugs.
"So, you don't think I am trying to
take over or anything like that do you?" I asked him, a
bit concerned that maybe I was too pushy.
"Only over my heart, but you did that
days ago." he smiled. "Besides,
it could use your touch. You've worked wonders for me." he
"Well then, future husband, let's get
to work." A thought occurred to me, and I asked, "So, how do you want to break the news to
He smiled happily, "I've already
thought about that."
Kanawha was a
bit anxious as I explained my reasonings for pulling him away from his
time with Kal and the boys. Derek Moirae was coming here to meet
with a CPS worker and myself. I decided that Kanawha's little
gift might just come in handy, not to mention his size and overall
attitude. As I observed him pacing in my office, I could see a
million and one reasons why Kal was so crazy about him. He was
quite handsome, but he was also passionate about his beliefs.
There were many other qualities, but the one that struck me the most
was his utter determination to protect the men he held near and dear...
Kal, Chance, and now Sorrow. That one desire would prove to be
Within twenty minutes, Ron Sorvaue from CPS arrived. Derek
arrived not long afterwards. Sorrow looked much like his father,
except Derek's eyes were a dark brown. He seemed nervous and
almost annoyed at being here.
"Mr. Moirae, the reason for our
calling you here is in regards to your son, Eric Aisa Moirae."
Ron said with an authoritative tone.
"What is wrong with him? Where
is his mother?" Derek seemed somewhat panicked, which
seemed to be a good sign in my book.
"Well, sir, it appears that your son's
mother was the problem. We had a report that was followed up this
morning. Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have had
such discussions with her. During our questioning today, Alicia
admitted to each of the concerns prompting the call, and she is being
charged with neglect and willful abandonment. As soon as the
hearing is conducted, we are certain that all rights she has as Eric's
mother will be revoked, making you solely responsible for his
care. His custody is being placed with the mission, but it will
be transferred to you after the hearing." Ron stated
Saying Derek was shocked would be a drastic understatement. He
looked as if a time bomb had been strapped to his chest. "What am I supposed to do with him? I
have no idea what to do..." he softly said, trailing off
into his thoughts.
Kanawha reacted strongly to this. "Look. Your son has some problems
that were created when your ex-wife and you decided to drop out of his
life. Now, I personally do not give a rat's ass about you.
But, I do care about your son, and I will do everything within my
abilities to make sure he is safe from ever being hurt like that
again. Do you understand that?" He growled. His grandfather was right about the
bear part, that was for sure. Derek just shook his head. a
bit frightened by Kanawha's close proximity. "Good. Now, Sorrow has been cutting
himself, apparently as a way to escape the pain and isolation his
parents have caused him. He is also experiencing suicidal
thoughts, so it is important that you watch what you say and do to
though, your son has longed to have you in his life for such a long
time, he should respond favorably to your being
here." Kanawha then pushed the envelope a bit
further. He grabbed Derrik up by the collar and lifted him from
the ground. "And if that is not
enough motivation for you, then I will tell you this: You will go
in there and do whatever it takes to see that your son is in better
spirits than he is now, or so help me God, I am going to kick your ass
from here to Georgia and back. Do I make myself clear?"
Derek was about ready to urinate on himself, and Ron fought hard to
suppress his smile.
Derek nervously answered. "Do
you mind if I use the restroom first?" he asked Ron.
"It is down the hall and to the right."
I answered. After he left the office, Ron and I burst out
laughing. "Kanawha, you do not
know how many times I have wanted to do that!"
"You know, there would be a lot less
abuse if we were allowed to handle people like Derek and Alicia in that
manner." Ron added.
"Guys, you may think it is funny, but
I am dead serious." Kanawha said, somewhat offended.
"We are not laughing at you or what
you did, guy. We are celebrating the fact that you got through to
Derek in a way we can only dream about doing." I soothed. "Personally, you are my hero for what you
"I swear, though, Mic. If he
hurts him in any way whatsoever, I will hurt him in kind. That
poor kid has been through way to much because of that ass and his
ex-wife." he brewed. "Just have bail money ready."
Derek returned and we headed out to the garage bays. Chance, Kal,
and Sorrow were pretty well encrusted with oil, as they were having
what appeared to be an oil fight. Kanawha seemed to like Kal's
new look, "Love! Now that is
what I was thinking about... only minus the shirt!" He
looked around and remembered we were there. His face blushed
strongly. "And minus the
company." he finished.
"Pop!" Sorrow said
enthusiastically. Then, his mood went flat. I suspect he
was preparing himself for more abandonment. "What are you doing here?"
"Eric, look at you..." Derek
started. Before he could finish his accusing statement, Kanawha
laced his fingers and tuned his palms outward, cracking his knuckles
loudly. As Derek looked in his direction, he saw the stern look
in Kanawha's eyes. "My how you
have grown." he recovered.
"Yes. I have grown. You
would know that if you ever came to visit me, though. So, like I
asked before, why are you here?" Sorrow coldly stabbed.
"Well, son. It..."
He stopped. Derek looked to us, wondering what to say.
"Eric, my name is Ron Sorvaue, and I work for Child Protective
Services. We had a discussion with your mother this morning, and
she has admitted to some things we are quite concerned about."
Sorrow looked really worried. "Son,
I am going to be honest with you. It does not look like your
mother will be retaining custody or any parental rights to you.
Therefore, your custody will fall to your father. That is why he
is here, Eric." Ron stated as gently as possible.
"Oh, so you are only here because they
made you come." Sorrow jibed.
Derek was ashamed, and I knew Sorrow was correct in his
assessment. "Look, son, I have
made a lot of mistakes, but right now, I am all you have."
Sorrow fumed over this for a few moments, but then retreated to his
numb state. "You seemed to be
having a great time earlier, so how about this: How about I let
you stay here to finish up whatever it was you were doing? Then,
I will pick you up after work." Sorrow slightly shook his
head yes, never looking at his father. Derek looked to Kanawha
and Ron. "Is that OK with you
"Sure. You can pick him up after
work." Ron stated flatly. I could tell he did not
like Derek much, which made six of us from what I gathered.
"Alright, Son. I will be back
after work." With that, he left.
Kanawha was intently observing Sorrow. Just moments ago, he was
laughing and having a good time. Now, he was emotionally empty
once more. "Can I go hurt that
ass of a father now?" He quietly asked Ron and myself.
"If it would do any good, I would join
you." Ron said, patting his shoulder. "Some people are beyond hope, though."
"So, you are going to put him in his
care? And, how will that be any better for Sorrow?"
Kanawha quietly stormed. I could see why Jena called him Stormy.
"I know your frustration, believe
me. But, we have to operate within the scope of the law."
Ron admitted. "In cases like
this, I just look to heaven and pray for the best."
"Look, I know it is not your fault,
but this sucks! There has to be something we can do."
"Not until there is substantiated
charges." Ron said sadly. "God, please help that boy."
We stayed for a little while, but Sorrow stayed in his emotionless
state. Not even Chance could bring him from it.
Unfortunately, I had to go to my office to see a client, so I told Kal
and Kanawha to buzz me if they needed me. I escorted Ron out as I
were to meet Kal and Kanawha at the mission. Shaft was somewhat
lost in thoughts over Ethan, I assumed. This brought nothing but
honest bliss to my heart, because my wonderful brother was happy and in
love with a truly great guy. He had been quite for much of the
"Shaft, babe, what are you so quiet
about?" I decided to pry, just because I could I guess.
"Ethan, of course." he
laughed. "Cole, I love him so
much, and he has made such a drastic change in my life. I just
want to do something romantic for him, but I am not quite sure what to
do." He laughed again. "With
spending all these years dreaming about having a lover, you would think
I would have a million ideas. But, honestly, none of them seem to
be worthy of Ethan."
"Brother dear, you have came to the
right woman!" I
laughed, noting just how similar my conversation with Ethan had
gone. "Let's face it, I work, I
pray, and I read romance novels. I'm sure I can help you think of
something. Hmm. Let me ponder on this a bit." I
decided then that I was going to surprise the both of them with
"Thanks Sister." He took
my hand and kissed it. "I can
always count on you." Then, he thought a moment. "Cole, I have something to ask you, and I
want you to be honest with me, OK?"
replied, hoping he would not ask me anything about Ethan. My
brother and I never kept secrets from one
another, talking about everything with each other.
"Do you feel like I have slighted you
any the last few days? I
know we have not spent that much time together like we usually do, but
do you feel slighted?" He asked seriously. I was
that he was so concerned over my feelings.
"Honestly Shaft, I have been so busy
thanking God for you finding Ethan, Jew finding Jena, and Kal finding
Kanawha and Chance, I have not given it any thought. Then, there
is Sorrow who has been on my prayer list." I looked at my
brother. "No, babe. I do
not feel slighted in the least
bit. But, if it worries you, maybe you, Ethan, and I can do
something together. Perhaps we can invite Jew and Jena along,
too, so Ethan can spend some time with his sister."
"But, what about you? Who will
you invite? See, Cole, I want you to be happy, too. I want
you to have someone special in your life." He soberly
"Shaft, hon, it will happen when it
happens. I am in no rush for it. Look at you and
Ethan. It happened as it was meant to happen. My time will
come someday, and until then, I am content to wait." Then,
I saw more to his line of reasoning. "And, no, Brother, I do not feel slighted
because you have found Ethan, either. Does that put your mind at
He smirked. "We know each other
so well, don't we."
"Yes, babe, we do. Hey, do you
want me to fill Ethan out and see if there is anything in particular he
fancies?" I asked, somewhat mischievously. The idea
that they were both contemplating the same thing seemed to be the most
romantic thing I have ever encountered. I definitely needed to do
something special for them both.
His smile was priceless. "Who
would ever suspect you, of all people, being the secret agent after the
prized secrets?" 'Definitely
not you, dear Brother.' I mused.
"Then, it is settled. I will use
every technique of subvention I can for you, Brother." 'And on you, too, for that matter.'
I smiled to myself.
Soon, we arrived at the mission. Kal and Kanawha were with Chance
and Sorrow in the garage bays. They had just cleaned up, judging
from the wet hair they each had. "So,
boys, did you have a good time so far today?" I asked.
Chance was elated, telling me all about the oil fight he and Sorrow had
with Kal. Sorrow was withdrawn I noticed. Chance leaned in
and whispered to me, "Sorrow's dad is
'posed to pick him up after work today. He has to go 'n live with
'im now. I thought he'd be happy 'bout it, but he ain't nothin'
but sad since he found out."
I winked at him and said in a whisper, "We
will have to pray about that, too, sweetie. Let's just hold our
faith it will all work out for the better." He smiled and
nodded his head.
I looked at Kal and Kanawha, "Well,
are you guys ready to meet Jessica?"
"We need to take Chance and Sorrow by
to see Jew and Jena. He is wanting to see if the boys would be
interested in helping out in his program" Kal answered.
"Oh, you guys will make excellent big
brothers." Shaft enthused.
"I ain't never had me no brother nor
no sister. You Sorrow?" Chance asked.
"Yeah, once. Once, I had a
brother." he replied quietly.
"Really? Wait, you said
once. What happened to 'im if you don't mind me askin' none."
Chance responded delicately, taking the hand of his friend and rubbing
it gently in his own.
"He... he died. He killed
himself, actually... back when I was five. That was right before
my dad left us." My heart just broke for him, and I knew I
needed to talk to Mic.
"Oh, honey!" I hugged him
tightly. "My, you have had it
so rough in your short life. I wish I could take all that pain
away, Sorrow. Honestly, I do."
"I wish you could too, and I believe
you, Cole." he said, almost emotionless. "That was years ago, but it still seems
like yesterday." He became almost transfixed as he spoke. "He shot himself, but he did not die just
then. It was weeks later in the hospital. They realized he
would not get any better, so they turned everything off. I was
just five, but I can still remember the sounds of the heart machine as
line went flat." he trailed off into his sadness.
I looked to everyone, not sure what to do now. "Well, I need to go by Mic's office before
we leave guys. Sorrow, you want to walk with me?" I
"Yeah, sure. Can Chance come
with us?" He asked, seeming desperate for his friend to be
"Sure thing." I said,
placing an arm around each of the boys. Then, we went by Mic's
office. She was working on her case notes as we knocked on the
door. "Mic, the boys are going
over to Jew's program. I understood that you wanted to be there
to help explain it all to them." God forgive me, but that
was honestly a
bold-faced lie. Mic read through my intentions quickly. She
is so intuitive, and I was thankful for God blessing her with her
ability to see into people.
"Oh, my. I did not realize it
was getting so late in the day already. Let me put these files
away, and I will be right with you guys." she replied,
quickly locking up her case notes.
We then walked to Jew's program, meeting up with Kal, Kanawha, and
Shaft. Jew and Jena nodded that they now knew, seeming relieved
to see Mic had came along. "Jew,
you will have to refresh me on the details so I can help the boys learn
what it is they are to do today with the children." Mic
"Yeah, I have everything over here."
He methodically said. He was doing so much better with his
speech, even more than before I noted. This change was obviously
due to Jena. She was building up his confidence in himself, and
she was also making him one happy man.
"Well, guys, have fun, and listen
closely to Jena, Jew, and Mic. These kids are very special, and
many have certain ways in which you have to work with them. But,
I know you will both do fine, and I think you will truly enjoy
it." Shaft grinned warmly.
Jena took the boys over to meet some of the children, but Kal and
Kanawha seemed reluctant to leave. So, I pushed easily. "Let me tell you something my mother always
told me. It takes a community to raise a child. No one
parent or set of parents can be everything to their children.
And, yes, I feel the same way about him, too. But, you have to
have faith and trust in your family. We are talking about Mic,
Jew, and Jena here. If anyone knows children, they do. So,
lets go do what needs to be done and trust that they will do the same."
They looked at one another and then back to the boys.
Reluctantly, Kanawha admitted. "I
know you are right Cole, but I really want to be with him in case he
"Right now, Chance needs you to take
the steps that will secure his future. That is something only you
two can do. Watching over Sorrow in this state is something Mic
is more than capable of doing. So is Jena and Jew. Like
Cole said, just have faith and trust in your family."
Finally, they agreed with our logic, and we went to see Jessica.
Jessica greeted us warmly. She knew Shaft already, so I turned to
make the remaining introductions. "Jessica, this is Kanawha Darkstorm and
Killian Lord. They are the couple I spoke to you about."
She shook both of their hands and smiled. "It is a pleasure to meet you both.
You are amazing people in my opinion. From what I understand,
Chance is a special young man. Your opening your hearts and home
to him speaks volumes of your character. So, it will be my
privilege in helping you."
Jessica spent a great deal of time going over the laws of
adoption for our state. First, there was an initial screening to
determine suitable parents. Of those passing the screening, in
almost all cases, a single gay parent was approved
for adoption. There were numerous cases in which one gay parent
would adopt; petitioning the courts a year or so later, the second
parent was given guardianship, resulting in both partners having
custody of the child. There were a few cases where the second
partner was denied guardianship, however. Finally, there were a
few cases where both partners were granted adoption, but these were few
and far between as Jessica explained it. "So, it is fairly close to a sure thing for
one of you to adopt. It is reasonably sure that the other of you
will be granted guardianship. But, it is a big risk if you both
pursue adoption together. Those are your options,
gentlemen. Which will it be?" Jessica asked
Kal began to answer her almost immediately, but he never said a
word. He instead looked intently at his hand as it joined with
his lover's. Kal stroked Kanawha's hand for a moment, looking
deeply into his eyes. Finally, he spoke. "Well, Love, I know we agreed about this
already, but I was sitting here thinking. I was looking at our
hands, and how natural it is for us to hold hands just about all the
time. I was reminded of what Valerie said. 'I know
that you two have a long
road ahead of you. Walk it
hand-in-hand. It is not always
the easiest way to go, but it is the way that God wants you to walk
your path.' So,
Love, I believe our answer is that we petition the courts together as a
couple and fight for Chance."
Kanawha kissed Kal warmly. "I agree with you 100% on that Love.
We will fight for our son, hand-in-hand."
Jessica was elated with this. "Guys,
I am so happy you have chosen this route. I honestly believe this
is the course we should take."
"Just one other question."
Kanawha added. "So we know what
to do to prepare financially, how much will this cost?"
Jessica smiled again. "Honestly,
adoption is rather expensive. But, seeing that this is an issue
close to my heart, I will make you a deal. If we are denied, you
owe me nothing."
"And when we win?" Kal
"Hopeful, are we? So am I. Well, in memory of my brother and his
partner, I will charge you the huge fee of one whole dollar. And, of
course that fee is non-negotiable." She took great
pleasure in the shock on their faces. "My brother was several years older than
but he and his partner were denied adoption, along with many other
issues. They are who inspired me to take up law in the first
place. So, in their loving memory, and for all the injustice they
suffered during their lifetimes, I will charge you the fee of $1.00."
Kal was moved to tears as he tried to respond. "I just don't know what to say."
"Say that you agree to let me
represent you." Jessica smiled happily.
explained to Mic about Sorrow's brother and his death. "Jew, that is one step closer to the root
of it all. It may actually be the root, but my intuition tells me
there is something more here." Mic smiled as if she had
won the lottery. "We just have
to keep listening. Sooner or later, it will surface and we will
know. I just hope we can keep him hanging in there until then."
"I have faith that we will."
I grinned. I knew in my heart that Sorrow would overcome
this. He just had to pull through. He and Chance were so
close, and I really loved those guys. Chance had this infectious
way about him, just like Kal had. With Sorrow, your heart just
went out to him. Mine did because I knew about living with
pain. But, I had never suffered anything as traumatic as he had
in his short life.
I smiled over at Jena, as she was introducing the children to Chance
and Sorrow. Mic suddenly asked,
"OK lover boy, what is up between the two of you, anyway?"
"Jena made a way for our program to
grow. She can tell you about it, because it is her thunder."
I replied. I knew Mic could tell there was more to it, but I
wanted everyone to know together, just as Jena and I had discussed.
I smiled widely knowing that she accepted my proposal. Man was I
ever nervous. I wanted to wait till a little later in our
relationship to ask, but it was what was on my mind at the moment, and
it just came out. I am so glad it did, though, because Jena was
going to be my wife!
She told me that as she slept in my arms the first night, she dreamed
of the two of us getting our children ready for school. My kitten
dreamed about a family with me! I was so overjoyed with this, I
wanted to shout it from the rooftops. But, we had our own plans
as to how and when we were going to let everyone know, and I was
sticking to those plans if it killed me.
"Yeah, OK." Mic
responded. "Don't worry,
Jew. I won't pry. I just hope it turns out beautifully for
you sweetie. You two make such a cute couple. It reminds me
so much of when Thomas and I first met."
"She really did work out some funding,
though." I laughed. I looked over at Jena, and I was
awestruck. "She is so amazing."
"Come on, now. Let's focus upon
work. You are making me miss Thomas again." Mic
quipped. She is such a doll, and I love her dearly. But she
brought an interesting point to my attention. How would I ever
get anything done while I was doting over my kitten? Somehow, I
knew I could gladly live with that problem.
We divided the group up into sections. Mic and Jena took one
group and began reading stories to them. Chance and I had the
other group, and we began playing Duck Duck Goose with them.
Sorrow just passively watched in withdrawal, sitting cross-legged on
We were about 15 minutes into the game, when I noticed Sarah making her
way to Sorrow. She was an eight year old who was paralyzed from
the waist down due to a car accident. She pulled herself along
the floor from the reading group until she was sitting beside
Sorrow. Sarah looked at him intently for a moment, then she
wrapped her arm around his back and rested her head on his side.
They sat quietly for a few moments. Then, she looked at him and
in her loud voice (her mother is hard of hearing, so Sarah tended to be
a bit strong with the vocals), "You
don't have to say anything if you don't want to." Silence
fell for a few moments. "I just
want to watch them. I know I can't play the game with them. I
sure wish I could though."
Sorrow snapped out of his stupor and took Sarah in. His arm
wrapped around her for a minute. Then, he stood up and hoisted
her up in his arms, carrying her to her wheelchair. He smiled at
her, "Well, let's go play then."
Getting a feel for the chair, he picked up his pace as he brought her
to the group. There, he pushed her around the circle as she
determined who the goose was going to be. Once selected, Sorrow
raced her around the circle and into the vacant spot. I had
never seen Sarah so happy before, and her joy seemed to lift Sorrows
Chance was working with Berry, who was a blind six year old. He
was so adorable, too, and he had Chance totally wrapped around his
finger. Hmm. Berry had me wrapped rather tightly as well, I guess.
The boys helped us feed the children lunch, and for some of the kids,
that was literally. After clearing away the lunch trays, we
played different games including Simon Says and Red Rover.
The boys seemed to enjoy themselves almost as much as the kids enjoyed
having them. When we switched areas, Sorrow read a few stories to
the kids, and Chance impersonated the characters. He was so
comical, especially his big bad wolf. They were definitely a hit
as far as the children were concerned.
Kal and the others arrived back, which prompted Chance and Sorrow to
introduce the children to each of them. Kanawha and Kal ended up
giving piggy back rides to several of the children, and I could tell
they enjoyed every moment of it. Cole and Shaft taught the kids a
few new songs, and everyone seemed to have a great time.
Then, Sorrow's father showed up. He watched his son from outside
the room for a while, taking notice of how he interacted with Chance,
the children, and Kal and Kanawha. Then, he came inside.
Sorrow's mood changed almost immediately back to his emotionless state.
Mic introduced Derek to the rest of us. He called Sorrow over to
"Well, I guess I's be seein' you
later, Thumper." Chance said, trying to put on a brave
front for his friend.
"I hope so. Man, I am really
gonna miss you, though." Sorrow said, and tears filled his
eyes as he clung to Chance in a tight embrace.
Sadly, Chance replied. "You
just call me on that phone if you's needin' me. And, please don't
be doin' nothin' to yourself. I love you, Sorrow."
"I love you, too, Chance."
Sorrow replied, hugging Chance one last time. Slowly, he made his
way to his father.
They started out the door, but Derek stopped and looked back at
everyone. After a few moments, he turned to his son. "Look, Eric, I really do love you. I
want to do what is best for you, too." He became a bit
misty eyed like the rest of us were already. "Son, please don't hate me any more than
you already do, but I don't think you should come with me... Not
just yet, anyway. You seemed to be happy here with your friend
and his family. I think that is what is best for you son, to stay with
them for a while. They know how to help you, but I honestly
don't. Eric, I have been a lousy excuse for a father, and in time
I hope you will forgive me. I do not want to add this to my list
of sins... tearing you away from a place you feel happy and safe."
Sorrow hugged his father tightly, tears streaming down his face. "I promise, son, I will visit you as much as
you want me to be around. When you feel better about things, you
can move in with me if you want." He lifted Sorrow's head
so he could look him in the eyes. "Or, if you choose, you can remain with
your friend... if that is OK with them. But, I think it will
be. If that is what you choose, then I will give Chance's dads
custody of you. I hope you will still have room in your life for
me, but I will understand if you decide you don't want to spend time
with me. Like I said, I have been a lousy father, but for once, I
want to do what is right for you instead of what is convenient for me."
"Pop, thanks." Sorrow
cried. "I hope we can spend
some time together and get to know each other. But, I belong with
Chance. I know it in my heart. He is the only thing holding
Derek held his son for some time. Then, he looked to
Kanawha. "I want to thank you
for what you did earlier. I thought about all you said throughout
the day. You were honest, straight forward, and, as ashamed as it
makes me to admit it, you were totally correct. I really do love Eric,
but I am not what is best for him. I think you are. The way
you acted showed me what a real father should be like. And, I
believe Eric will be safe in your care."
He then looked at Mic. "I'm not sure
what we will need to do to arrange this, but I trust you can help me
Mic dried her eyes. "Sure.
Just come with me and we can take care of everything."
"Son, just call me if you need or want
to talk to me. I promise to be there if you need me this time."
He hugged Sorrow again. "I
really do love you, Eric." Then, he turned and followed
Chance ran up to Sorrow, hugging him tightly. "I's real glad you ain't leavin' me.
I's gonna' miss you somethin' awful, but I's tryin' to be brave and all
for ya. I's just glad you's stayin' with me."
"So am I Chance. You have no
idea how much." Sorrow replied, returning the hug.
"Well, boys, what say we go by and
pick up some of Sorrow's clothes. Then we will go to dinner
to celebrate the newest member of our family!" Kanawha was
excited beyond descriptive words. All of us were. That was
one thing less to worry about, and we were getting closer and closer to
helping Sorrow overcome his problems.
and Kanawha entered with huge smiles on their faces as Chance escorted
his new friend. He was a handsome fella', and though his troubles
deeply ran, he seemed to be on the path to recovery. "Hey, Valerie, this here is my friend
Sorrow. He's gonna be livin' with us I guess till he don't want
to do that no more. I just hope that ain't no time soon."
The smile on Chance's face showed such love, and I knew he was exactly
what his Sorrow needed. Of course, I knew that before.
I led the guys to their usual table, which I already had set for
four. Kal smiled at me. "I
take it you were expecting us."
I laughed. "Well, this ol' dog
only knows a few tricks, and she is far too set in her ways to go
changing anytime soon."
Kanawha gave me one of his strong hugs. "It is great to see you. We have been
thinking quite a bit about your words to us over the last couple of
days. They helped us reach a few decisions, so thanks once again."
"So you decided to fight the good
fight, did you?" I asked.
"Yep. We met with Jessica today
and started the process. Love also let Janet, the social worker,
know that we wanted to petition together to be his foster
parents." Kanawha replied with great enthusiasm.
"It will be a battle, boys, but all
things worthwhile are worthy of a good fight." I
Kal smiled, looking at their new family. "I couldn't agree with you more."
"Say, where's the boss at? I
reckon he needs to meet Sorrow too." Chance was in seventh
heaven. I knew Ed had been anxious for them to arrive since the
minute I told him this morning to be expecting them.
"He's in the kitchen. You can
take Sorrow back with you and surprise Ed if you want." A
sneaky grin crossed Chances adorable face, and a matching one was
reflected upon Sorrow. 'Those
boys are something else.' I mused to myself, knowing full well
just how special they would prove to be. With delight, the two
crept into the kitchen, where Ed acted with such surprise, we all had
"I swear, Valerie, you have such a
wonderful husband." Kal said, stroking the hand of his
love. "Chance thinks the world
"Oh, boys. I think it is very
mutual. Chance is all Ed has talked about. You should have
seen his face when I told him about your other boy." I
laughed. "He has been climbing
the walls all day waiting for you to arrive."
"Well, Kanawha informed me that he is
a hare, not a bunny." Kal said with a joking sarcasm.
"They are easily confused, except for
the size and the longer ears." I quipped.
Kanawha chuckled. "See,
Love. I told you there was a difference." Then, a
realization struck him. "Hey,
if you knew, why did you not tell us?"
"I told you that I could not answer
that, not that I did not know the answer." I replied with
a smirk. "So, have there been
any other developments with your gifts?"
"Well, we have been sharing our dreams
every evening. They are not always like the one's we had before,
though." Kal said, his face suddenly flushing with
I pondered this a moment. "Well,
perhaps there are more to the dreams than you realize. You are a
couple destined to be united. Unity is more than just physical
proximity. Unity is the ability to act as one, and you are
starting to grasp the meaning of this already."
"Oh, Love was able to read Chance at
the mall. He focused and made it work." Kanawha
bragged of his love's accomplishment.
"That is wonderful Kal. Have you
been able to do it again?" I asked.
"Well, no. I am not really sure
how I did it the first time, to be honest. But at least I know it
can be done." he smiled, still petting his lover's
hand. "It came back on its own
when Sorrow needed us, though."
"How about your gifts?" I
"Well, I saw Chance transform at the
mall. And, I have been in better control of myself, not being all
oozy. Some of the things I feel are hard to put into words,
though." He reflected a moment. "I wonder if Chance's transformation had
something to do with Sorrow."
pondered this a few moments. "That
is a very keen observation, Kanawha, one that has much merit. They are connected in a very special
way. Of that you can be certain. Perhaps the timing of the
change had something to do with Sorrow, but the change itself had
everything to do with the two of you." I looked them both
over for a few moments. "I want
to meet with you two this evening. We have some work to do in
order for you to be prepared for the road ahead. Perhaps while
the boys are studying, you can come back here."
"Of course. Whatever you think
is best." Kanawha said, noting the importance of my tone.
"Then, we will meet later this
evening. The boys should be back with Ed any moment now."
I smiled. Within a couple of seconds, they were carting the food
in, laughing as Ed finished up one of his stories.
"We's havin' fried chicken today, and
lots of other stuff. Me 'n Sorrow got to help boss get stuff
together, but he was already fixin' the chicken when we went in
there." Chance beamed with excitement. He really
seemed to enjoy helping Ed in the kitchen. I think it was the
whole idea of a job that was so important to him though.
That, and he really seemed to be fond of Ed.
"Ed wants Chance and me to come and
work with him tomorrow, if that is alright. He says we will be
really busy frying fish for Saint Katherine's. They are having a
special luncheon there." Sorrow said, grinning at the idea
of being employed with Chance.
"We's also gonna be needin' to work on
Saturday, 'cause we's fixin' breakfast for 'em people at the shelters
and any of the rest of 'em on the streets. Ed's got different
places doin' that each day, and our day's gonna be ever Saturday!
I guess none of 'em's gonna go hungry no more with us a cookin'!"
I was so happy when Ed told me about that yesterday evening. He
said that knowing how we had been feeding Chance most of the only meals
he had inspired him to do more. As
I have said before, I have
never regretted marrying my Ed. He always found ways to amaze even
"Ed, that is wonderful! This
will be such a great experience for you boys, too. I am thrilled
you are a part of something like this!" Kal enthused.
"It sounds like quite a task. I
think you picked two great helpers for it though, cause I know my boys
can do just about anything they put their minds to doing."
Sorrow gave him a strong hug. "Thanks...
for the confidence and for whatever it is you did today to make my
father agree to let me stay with you all."
Kanawha pulled him onto his lap, returning the hug. "I would do anything for you, son. So
would Killian and Chance. We love you with all of our hearts."
"I know you do. I just have a
hard time accepting it, sometimes. Hopefully, I will get better
at that, though." Sorrow kissed Kanawha's cheek. "It means a great deal to me, even if I
don't seem to show it sometimes."
"Well, I's gettin' just a bit
hungry. Let's get to eatin' and we can hug 'n stuff later."
"I'm with you there on the hungry
part." Sorrow smiled, taking his seat beside Chance.
Killian blessed the meal. Then, they ate as a family, a family I
knew had a very blessed purpose. I felt humbled, for I was
standing in the midsts of a great destiny.
was just not having any luck whatsoever with Chance. He just has
his own way of saying things, and it seemed utterly useless to try and
"Look, Roe, this is just like when I
was working with Jena on that ol' English stuff. I don't say none
of that stuff, so I don't know none of what to pick from that
list. Those lists just ain't made for me. I guess I's just
stupid after all." Chance hung his head in defeat.
Sorrow stepped in, hugging him tightly. "Now, don't you go giving up. You
keep telling me to hang in there and that you will hope enough for both
of us. Well, if you don't pass this test, then we won't be in
classes together. I really need you there with me Chance, I just
know that I do."
Chance shot him a look. "This
is lots different than that, though Sorrow. This is that ol'
English!" I had to laugh at him, so I just turned around
so he wouldn't see me.
"Well, you did fine in front of those
kids today, didn't you?" Sorrow asked.
"But that was just actin' out some of
'em stories. They's gonna be askin' me all kinds of questions and
stuff. I ain't gonna know nothin' to say to 'em."
"You were not exactly following the
stories either, but you got what was going on across to the kids
anyway." Sorrow chuckled. "Actually, you were rather funny.
Especially when you were the big bad wolf."
"Hmm. Little pig. Say your
prayers, because I think you are going to be today's lunch special."
Chance said in a growly deep voice.
"Wait a minute. Chance, my boy,
that is it!" I was so elated to finally see the light at
the end of this very long and dark tunnel. "What all voices can you do?"
Ethan and Shaft began to laugh hysterically. "A whole bunch of different
characters. You should have seen him at the mall. He had us
laughing so hard, I thought we were going to burst." Shaft
said between fits of giggles. "Do
the old lady on the park bench."
Chance performed his rendition of an encounter he had with a lady who
was rather mean to him over a park bench. He was hysterically
funny. He then did several more impersonations of people he
encountered. He finally acted as if he were Ethan, playing video
games at the mall, and everyone was in stitches.
Jena perked up with his performances, noting the same characteristics I
did. Each character had a different voice, obviously. But,
each character had a different set of vocabulary, grammatic structure,
accent, and so forth. Our boy was truly a genius, and we realized
he knew so much more about 'that ol'
English' than he ever realized. All along, he was giving
us the answer, but we were too blind to see it.
"Chance, buddy, let's try something a
little different than we have been doing. I am going to have Jena
ask you the same questions she has been asking you. However,
instead of answering them the way you would answer them, I want you to
answer them the way Ethan would." I suggested.
Chance seemed to think this would be funny, so he eagerly agreed.
Jena went through the interview, and Chance did fabulously.
However, he answered what he thought Ethan would answer.
I devised a change in the activity. "Now, Chance, let's try this. Think
about the questions and how you would answer them, but answer them with
Ethan's voice." Again, Jena fired away the questions.
Chance was a little slower with his responses, but his own ideas came
I was so proud of our little man, and I let him know. "Alright, Chance. That was
fantastic." I then introduced a new change in the activity. "Now, one last thing. Answer
the questions just like you did before. But, this time, answer
with your own voice and the words you think Ethan would use."
Chance was frustrated a bit at first, but after a few tries at the
first question, he was on the mark.
Jena hugged him up excitedly. "Chance,
baby, welcome to high school!" He was ecstatic, but
nothing like the rest of us were feeling. Jena kissed him several
times on the cheek. "Chance, I
don't think you even realize it, but that was YOU using YOUR knowledge
of English. Do you think you could maybe answer the
questions on the test like that? Pick the answers from the words
you think Ethan would use?"
"Well, I guess I can try it. I
ain't never really thought of it like that. Those lists seems
like they's more made for Ethan than they's made for me, though."
He said in serious contemplation.
Jena gave him another writing and language skills exam. This one
was a full-scale exam, however. It took him most of the allotted
time to complete. Everyone chatted nervously as Jena graded the
test. She had a huge smile on her face as tabulated his
score. "Chance, sweetie, you
scored a 92% on the test. That is fantastic!" She
cheered. Everyone congratulated Chance. Then, Jena
announced a few more findings she had made. "Of the ones you missed, I would be willing
to bet everything I have that Ethan would have missed the same one's,
even marking the same answers. I know my brother well, after
all. Let me ask you Chance. Look over these questions I
have circled and tell me what you think the answer should really
be... what Ethan should really say, I guess."
Chance took the test back and looked over it carefully. He marked
the questions Jena indicated and gave the test back to her. She
recalculated and smiled again. "Well,
buddy, that brings you up to a 97%! I think we are going to have
ourselves two high school boys living with us!" We
were all extremely happy about our little man doing so well. "But, Chance, that does not mean we are not
going to continue studying. That just means we do not have to
push so hard or be so stressed out about it. Now, we can have fun
and learn at the same time." Jena enthused. Chance
looked a little down by this. "Of
course, Sorrow will be studying, too. You can never learn too
much, you know."
That seemed to bring a smile to Chance's face. "Well, that'll be good then, 'cause if I's
gotta be stuck doin' this ol' stuff, then I'd like Sorrow bein' stuck
"Gee, Thanks so much."
Sorrow jested. "I will remember
that next time you need help picking out clothes or something."
"Hey, You said you knowed you belonged
with me. Now you's got your wish, ol'boy" Chance
shot. They both laughed and carried on a bit.
I was just relieved we had a break through with Chance. I was
really worried there for a while, but I guess Cole was right. We
had to just keep up our faith that it would all work out. I
watched as our two young men interacted, thinking how much fun it was
going to be to have them around. I guess deep down, I knew
Sorrow's problems would work themselves out. Maybe I was
experiencing some of Cole's faith. Whatever it was, I don't think
I can ever remember being more happy or satisfied as I was in that one
Love and I met with Valerie after the boys were settled in with Jena
and Roe. Having Sorrow safe with us made me feel more complete
than I could have ever imagined. He was part of us, somehow,
though I was certain we would discover the connections in time.
Chance was like an extension of our love, if that makes any
Valerie took us upstairs to their apartment. It was quite a
lovely home, tastefully decorated in a way that made you feel at
ease. We were seated at the kitchen table, where Valerie had easy
access to the both of us. We had been at this for about an hour
"Now, Kal, I want you to focus on
Chance. Clear your mind and think solely about Chance."
Valerie calmly instructed. "Try
to trigger your gift to see how he is at this moment." I
tried many times, but nothing happened.
"I'm sorry. I guess I just don't
know how to trigger it. I can't remember what I did before to get
it to work." I said, becoming agitated a bit from the
"Kanawha, think back to the experience
at the mall. What were each of you doing when he triggered his
gift?" Val asked my love.
"Well, we were walking in the mall and
we saw Chance, Ethan, and Shaft playing video games. They looked
like they were having a blast, so we stopped to watch them. It
was wonderful seeing our son so happy. Then, I felt something,
and I noticed the group of kids approaching them. I was ready to
act, but something inside told me not to do so. I then asked Love
to read Chance and make sure he was alright. Killian protested
that he could not just make it happen, but I told him I knew he could
do it. I told him to just stay focused. He tried it several
times, but could not get it to work. Then, I wrapped my arms
around him again and whispered that I knew he could do it. Then,
it worked. I don't know what he did, but it worked."
"Let's give this a shot then.
Killian stand up and focus on Chance. Kanawha, you encourage him
just like you did before." she stated. Kanawha
wrapped his arms around me and whispered in my ear just as he did
before. Nothing happened though.
"I cannot remember really doing
anything to trigger it Valerie." I said, somewhat defeated.
"Kanawha, were you connected with
Chance during this time?" she suddenly asked.
"Yep. I was making sure he was
not stressed out or anything." He explained.
"Well, let's try this again, but as
you encourage him, Kanawha, connect yourself with Chance."
We tried it again. I focused upon our son. Kanawha again
wrapped his wonderful arms around me, holding me snuggly to his
body. Then he gently whispered in my ear as he connected himself
to Chance. Then, it happened. I was thrilled that it
finally started working again. "Guys,
it worked. Whatever just happened, it worked. I still
cannot tell you how I triggered it though."
Valerie went into deep thought for a moment. "Well, I'll be." She
mumbled. "Sugar, I don't think
you did anything to trigger your gift. I believe Kanawha did."
She thought another moment. "Kanawha,
you said you believed you could sense Kal from the moment you first
met. When exactly was it that this happened?"
My love, still holding me, kissed my cheek. "It was when he first introduced
himself. He held out his hand, and the moment I touched him, I
was overwhelmed. I feel certain that is when I first started
sensing him. But at the time, I had no idea what was going on."
he said, then kissed my cheek again.
Valerie laughed. "It all makes
sense now. Kal, you are the trigger to Kanawha's gift, just as he
is the trigger to yours. Somehow, Kal, when you triggered his
gift, Kanawha's stayed active. Now we just have to figure out why
yours does not stay active." Then, she contemplated it all
for a few minutes. "Kal,
describe everything you see right now at this moment."
I went through all of the symbols, explaining the meaning of each
one. I also described all of the colors each symbol had and what
they seemed to mean.
"Kal, I want to try something.
Push all of the symbols aside. Shut your eyes and clear them from
your mind a minute." I did as she instructed. "Now, open your eyes and tell me what you
It was amazing, unlike anything I have ever experienced before. "Well, the symbols are still there, but
there is so much more now. I can see an image of Chance.
There are various colors around him, but the main one is an
orange-red. It just shifted though to a green-blue color."
I stated, as best as I could describe what I was seeing. "The symbols have changed some, too.
There are other things around him too, not really symbols, but
something else. Kind of like tags is the best I can explain them."
"Try to touch one of them with your
mind." Valerie instructed.
I did, and was overran with visual images, sounds, and so forth. "Whew! That was a bit
overpowering. I can see Chance being chased by a group of boys...
Wait. It is the group of boys he was telling us about that hurt
him unless he paid them money." I conveyed. I
watched as they pounded on poor Chance, and it made me shutter. "What is this, anyway?" I
"I believe it is a memory, Kal."
Valerie softly spoke. "Do you
see anything else?"
"Well yeah. Most of the symbols
I know. But there are some that look like the one I told you
about before. The one I don't know the meaning of. Hey that
reminds me, I saw that symbol when I awoke from the dream about
Sorrow. The last oval was glowing a teal color, and it pointed
itself to Sorrow when we found him in the bathroom." I
Valerie took this into her thoughts, then she said, "Kal, try to touch one of those unknown
symbols with your mind."
I did as she asked. "I see
Chance at school. He is in the gym getting into a locker and
getting out a baseball uniform." I relayed in a somewhat
"Chance playing baseball, aye?"
My love enthused.
"Try a couple more of them."
As I reached out with my mind, another symbol opened. "It is Chance and Sorrow out with Ethan and
Shaft at the Mall. They are going to the arcade." I
tried another, but nothing happened. Repeatedly I tried, but it
refused to open. "Something is
wrong. This one won't open up." I explained.
"You have done fine Kal. You can
rest a bit now." Valerie said, smiling proudly. "There we have it guys. Now we know
what to do and how your gift works. The known symbols tell you
things that are in the present about the person. The tags tell
you things about the person's past, and the unknown symbols let you
glimpse into their future." Valerie pat my hand and
smiled. "Don't worry if some of
them do not open. Even I cannot foresee everything. It is
just the way things are meant to be I suppose. Some parts of the
future are meant to remain a mystery."
"Well, I am pleased we have figured out how it works, but it isn't
off." I explained. They both seemed to think this
was great. "Guys, you don't
understand. There are symbols and colors everywhere... all around
me. How am I supposed to do anything with them there? How
am I supposed to drive or anything else with all this stuff in the way?"
Then, my circumstance was made clear to them. Val offered her
counsel. "Well, I suppose it will
take time to filter it all out. For me, images flash in front of
my eyes, so you can imagine what that is like while still trying to
concentrate on what you are doing."
"I'm still hit with people's emotions
every time they walk into proximity of me, but I am learning how to
push it all out of the way." My love tried to sooth.
"But, Love, you don't
understand. These are not going away. They are not
appearing and disappearing. They are just right there, moving
about all around me. And, what is worse, they are starting to
give me a headache. I'm not so sure this was supposed to stay on
like this." I was really worried about it, and my head
felt like it was splitting open.
"This is all just a bit much. I really think I need to rest a
"I can sympathize with you Kal.
It will get better though, believe me. Just give it some time,
and you will adjust." Val offered, as Love helped me to my
feet. She hugged us both tightly and reminded us to drop the boys
off here in the morning.
Kanawha helped me to the car and drove us home. All the swirling
and moving was making me nauseated, and I prayed it would either adjust
itself or just go away.
Love pat my hand, as he seemed to feel guilty about my current
state. "I wish I could make it
better, Love. I hope you are not mad at either of us."
I smiled and leaned over and kissed him on the cheek, though it took
some concentration to find my way around all the symbols. "It will be alright, Love. I am not
mad at you, nor do I have any reason to be. My head just hurts is
all. Maybe a little nap and things will be better."
When we arrived home, Kanawha carried me up to our room. He
undressed me gently and then tucked me in. He sat on the edge of
the bed, holding my hand, watching me intently.
Chance and Sorrow came in a few minutes later, excited about Chance's
performance on the test. I was excited for him, but my head was
splitting open and I felt rather weak. Kanawha explained that I
had a headache and was not feeling well. Both boys expressed
their concern for me, but I assured them I would be fine. They
both snuggled up beside me for a while, as Kanawha rested at my other
side. I was surrounded by my loving men, and had it not been for
the horrible headache, I believe this would have been one of my
happiest moments... Well, I guess it made it on the list despite the
headache. When I awoke the next morning, I was still surrounded
by my loving men.
Killian and I shared another lovely dream, where we were playing in the
stream with the boys. Chance and Sorrow were trying to dunk us
under, but love and I held our own against them. After tiring
from the water activities, we had a picnic lunch and then rested on
blankets in the peaceful meadow.
I awoke just about the time Killian was stirring. Oddly, Chance
and Sorrow slept on through as Love and I quietly crept out of the
bed. They looked so peaceful there, we decided not to wake
them. Sorrow was sleeping with his head resting on Chance's
chest. Chance had his arms wrapped around Sorrow's neck and head,
holding him close.
"They certainly have bonded,
Love. Almost inseparable I would wager." Killian
"They won't have to worry about being
separated, at least not for a little while anyway." I
whispered in response.
"Are you sure we made the right
decision, Love? We could have taken the safe route, like we had
decided, you know." My love asked, seeking
'That is a switch.' I mused to
myself, for it was normally I who was not certain about such
matters. "Love, with all my
heart, I believe this is the right decision. I really do not
doubt it will all work out fine, and Chance will be ours forever.
I guess I still have that habit of preparing myself for the worst."
I admitted. "Say, how is your
head this morning?" I asked with deep concern.
"I feel fine. It is still on,
though, in case you are wondering." He smiled, kissing me
gently. "I told you I would be
fine, you know. I guess I slept a bit longer than a nap, though."
"Well, we all fell asleep in our
clothes, and I am not sure which of us was the first to fall under."
"It was Sorrow." Love
replied. "He makes this funny
little sound when he sleeps. See? He just did it
We watched our sons for a bit longer, then we decided to take a
shower. Killian grabbed us some clothes to dress in while I
prepared the shower. After relieving ourselves, we stepped in and
enjoyed cleaning one another. OK, we made out a bit in the
shower, too. Afterwards, we dried one another off and got
The boys were still asleep, but we needed to wake them so that they
would not be late for work with Ed and Valerie. I really hated to
wake them, though, because they looked so peaceful. Gently, I
shook them. Chance stretched his arms in a big yawn, returning
his hands to hold Sorrow close to him. His hazel eyes slowly
opened as a smile spread across his face. Sorrow began to stir,
stretching as he raised his head to look at Chance. "What are you smirking about?"
"You lookin' like an ol' cat
again. Your hair is stickin' up all over the place too."
"You should look in the mirror before
you laugh about anyone's hair." Sorrow jabbed back.
Love and I had to laugh at them, for they sounded as what I expect
brothers would. I knew Ethan and I shared similar banter.
Sorrow turned his head, smiling at us both. "You're feeling better?" he
inquired of my love.
"Much better, son. Thanks for
asking." Killian replied, wrapping his arms around my
waist. "I think it was being
surrounded by the men I love so much that did the trick."
Sorrow stretched again and slowly stood to his feet. Then, he
pulled Chance up out of bed. "Don't
forget, Humper, we have work to do today." He trotted his
way over to us, giving us both a hug and kiss on the cheek. "Morning." he smiled.
Chance followed close behind, doing the same. "I reckon we should get cleaned up 'fore we
eat us breakfast. Wonder if Hela is a cookin' again?"
Sorrow opened the door to step into the hall. The smells from the
kitchen answered Chance's question. "Let's hurry and get a shower,
Humper. I am starving!" Sorrow said, then turning to
sprint down the hall. Chance was hot on his heals.
"He seems to be in much better
spirits." Love commented.
"And they were genuine feelings this
morning love. I don't believe it is completely over, but I do
feel he is better than he was." I replied.
"The symbols are still there, but the
colors have changed. That indicates some improvement"
Killian had his evil little grin across his face, his teeth shining
brightly. "What say we have a
picnic today at the park while the boys are with Ed and Valerie.
I only have some skill tests to score, but that will only take about an
hour. Then, the rest of the day belongs to you, Love."
"Can you drive this morning?"
I asked, still concerned about Killian being overwhelmed.
"Everything has balanced out, just as
you and Valerie said it would." He smiled, kissing
I wrapped him in my arms. "Well, then,
I will drop the boys off. You go on to work, and I will meet you
back here. Then, we will go for our picnic."
He kissed me again. "Sounds like
a plan, Love. Let's go make sure everyone is up. Hela gets
upset if everyone is not down at breakfast."
We went down and had breakfast. Nana and Grams ribbed us about
turning in early, but Chance and Sorrow defended us. 'One was great, but two is ten times better.'
I determined as I thought about our sons.
Ethan was going to work with Roe and Shaft today, which I thought was
humerus. Jena, Grams, and I fought hard to crack a smile or laugh
when he proudly announced this. It wasn't long though till Grams
burst out laughing, sending Jena and I into fits. Ethan was a bit
miffed, but as we reminded him of his past experiences with trying to
build things, he had to laugh himself. Shaft hugged him tightly,
telling him it would be fine today. Then, he turned to Roe and
said that Ethan could only hand them or hold things, but he was not
allowed to touch any tools. They made a wonderful couple, really,
and I could not have been any more pleased with a partner for Ethan
than I was with Shaft.
As breakfast was over, Mic reminded us about Sorrow's appointment at
2:30pm. I kissed my love before taking the boys to the car.
I dropped them off for work and then ran a few errands. I stopped
by the townhouse, then headed back to meet Love.
The picnic was wonderful. There was not a single soul at the
park, and we had time to just relax and unwind a bit. We
discussed the events at Jessica's office, with my love saying that the
Lord always makes a way for his tasks to be completed. We also had time
to talk about our plans for the future.
I would need to speak with Ethan and Jena, but at the end of the month,
I planned to be moved completely. Killian assured me that there
was plenty of room to store everything we did not put into use.
It was going to be a small adjustment, but I was ready for this.
We also talked about Sorrow. After he picked his own room, we would
make arrangements to pick up his other belongings. Then, we would
take him shopping to get anything else he would need. We also
decided not to pressure him one way or the other concerning his
father. Both Love and I felt it would be good for him to attempt
the relationship, but that would be strictly up to him.
Finally, we discussed the idea of a pet, if you can believe that.
I had always had pets, and felt they were good learning experiences as
far as responsibility. Killian, although he liked animals, was
not so sure a pet was the thing to have at this time. He believed
it would be better if we waited until we had our own home. Our
final decision was to let the boys bring it up first, then deal with it
later. We laughed at our parenting skills over that one.
We were getting ready to leave when a young man, maybe between 18-20
came walking in the park. Killian and I were holding hands as we
were heading back to the car. The young man stopped us and asked,
"I don't mean to pry, but are you guys
I was a bit surprised by his asking. To me, it was rather obvious
that two grown men holding hands would be gay. Killian, however,
got me choked up with his response. "I'm not." Then he leaned
closer to the guy. "But, I
think my boyfriend is."
The young man laughed. "Why I
was asking is that we have a group that meets on Thursday nights.
We socialize, support each other during a crisis, and try to organize
activities to educate the public. I thought maybe you two would
be interested in coming out to one of our meetings."
"That sounds interesting. Maybe
we should, Love." Killian said.
I was not so sure, but I agreed that it couldn't hurt. I guess I
just did not like the idea of being in a group like that. I kept
imagining one of them touching Killian and my having to hurt
someone. Silly, perhaps, but, that is what ran through my mind.
The young man fished through his backpack and gave us a flier. He
introduced himself as TJ, and Love and I introduced ourselves in
return. He said he looked forward to seeing us there, then turned
Love and I walked to the car and loaded our things. Killian
folded the flier and put it in the glove box. We then went to pick up
The boys smelled a bit, having worked with fish all day.
Evidently, being around the fish had left them unaware of their pungent
odor. With subtle motions, we rolled down the windows rather than
using the air conditioner. Chance and Sorrow both seemed to have
enjoyed themselves, talking quite a bit about their adventures with the
fish. I was bemused, wondering what the psychologist and
psychiatrist would think smelling our sons. I became so tickled,
I had to pull the car to the curb for a moment.
"What is so funny?" Love
asked me quietly, as the boys continued talking about their day.
I just wiggled my nose a little and looked towards the boys. "And?" He asked.
I could not think of a way to let him know the rest of it, so I just
softly said. "Well, nothing I
guess. What time is the appointment?"
"It is at 2:30." Love
replied. I began driving again, when I heard him chuckle.
One glance, and I knew he understood what I found so funny.
We arrived at the mission and had to wait only a few minutes. I
heard the receptionist sniff as we walked past her, and I began to
giggle. Sorrow was to see the psychologist first.
When we entered his office, Joshua seated us all, with Sorrow nearest
his desk. He began the interview, referring to the notes Mic had
left for him. About five minutes into the interview, Joshua began
sniffing, and I again giggled. Love poked me in the ribs, trying
to quiet me down. When he asked Sorrow about any kind of work
experiences he may have had, Sorrow began telling him about working
with Ed and frying the fish. Joshua looked at us with this
knowing look, and slightly smiled. Casually, he made a reference
to using fish emulsions on flowers as a plant food. Then, he drew
back the curtains, opened a window, and picked a flower to show
Sorrow. Joshua winked at Love and myself, and continued the
After the interview, he gave Sorrow a test with a few different sets of
questions to answer. It took a while, but Sorrow stayed at it
rigorously until he was finished. Then Joshua led us to the
psychiatrists office. She wanted to see Sorrow alone, but she
consented to his request for Chance to be with him. I asked
Joshua if he was going to let her know about the fish, but he just
laughed and said she would figure it out soon enough.
About 20 minutes later, the psychiatrist asked to speak with Killian
and myself. She told us that she wanted to wait before starting
any kind of medication therapy with Sorrow since she could see he was
climbing out of his depressed state. She did advise us, however,
that it was not over yet, and we should still keep a close watch for
any signs of his further contemplation of suicide. Monitoring for
cutting would also be important. She ordered some blood work to
be completed and gave love the forms. As we were leaving, I
noticed she too had her windows open.
As soon as we got home, I suggested the boys get cleaned up and
changed. I told them we had a surprise waiting on them after
dinner was finished. They happily headed up the stairs. I
turned to Love and asked, "OK, so
what can we do with the boys to be a surprise? I had to think of
something to get rid of that horrible smell." I
laughed. "Truth is, though, I
really want to do something special for our sons. They have
blessed our lives so much."
Love thought a minute. Then, he had a splendid idea. We all
had dinner as a family. Afterwards, we invited everyone to come
with us for our surprise for the boys. It took the van and two
cars to get us all there, but it was well worth the excitement the boys
displayed over our little surprise. We took them to a go-cart
Nana and Grams had a blast and were so comical to watch racing
around. The boys, of course, thought it was awesome to be
driving. I had to admit they did rather well on the track.
Jena and Jew decided to spend their time on the various carnival rides
there, particularly the ferris wheel. Hela, Mic, and Row played
the games, while Ethan and Shaft hit the arcade. Cole stayed with
love and I as she took everyones pictures. The three of us had a
wonderful talk, and I grew even closer to the one who named me Boo Boo.
At the end of the day, we were all tired, so we headed home. Love
and I tucked the guys in, said prayers, and kissed them both good
night. We asked Sorrow to be thinking about what room he
wanted. We were surprised when he requested to share a room with
Chance rather than have his own. Chance readily agreed to
this. I guess, looking back, we should have expected that to be
the answer. We left the option open, should either change his
mind. Then, Love and I retired to bed.
It was at midnight when I was startled awake. Killian was waking
also. Our bedroom door creaked open, and in came Sorrow and
Chance. Seeing us awake, they both pounced on the bed.
Sorrow hugged Killian while Chance hugged me. They each gave us a
kiss on the cheek and said, "Happy
I had not realized it was our birthdays already. Because of the
painful experiences associated with this day, I seldom found any joy in
celebrating. With recent developments, though, I believed things
would be very different from now on. I gave Chance a hug back and
thanked him. Love did the same with Sorrow. Then, Killian
kissed me and we wished each other a Happy Birthday.
The boys ran from the room a minute, then came traipsing back with two
small packages. One was presented to each of us.
"You have to open them together."
"Yeah. Me 'n Sorrow got you
these today while we was workin'. We had us a break, so we's
walked down and got 'em with our money Ed paid us for helpin' 'im."
Killian and I opened our gifts. They were ID bracelets.
Mine said 'Daddy' on it, and
Love's said 'Dad'.
Sorrow and Chance helped us put them on, smiling proudly at the
gifts. Love and I grabbed them both into a group hug.
"Thank you boys for this. I have
never had a better gift in my life than the two of you." I
said from my heart as tears filled my eyes. "This means a lot to me."
"You two are the greatest sons any
father could hope to have. Thank you both so much."
Killian praised, he himself crying.
Sorrow snuggled up to Love as Chance snuggled up to me. We talked
for a while, but soon both sons were fast asleep. I took my
beloved's hand. "We are so very
lucky, Love... blessed beyond anything I could have ever
imagined." I looked him in the eyes. "I love you Killian Anderson Lord, always
"And I, you, my love, forever and a
Slowly, we drifted off to sleep.
'n me woked up in Dad and Daddy's bed again. We'd done that for
two morinin's now. They's still sleepin' though this
mornin'. They both had on 'em bracelets we picked out for 'em for
their birthdays. Me 'n Sorrow had went down on our break while we
was fryin' up that fish with Ed to this little store that had all kinds
of stuff like rings, necklaces, and bracelets. I was a wantin' to
get 'em somethin' special, but I didn't have no idea what to get
'em. Sorrow said we ought to get 'em bracelets. So's that's
what we did.
I gave Sorrow the money Ed had give me, and he said it was just enough
to pay for 'em. I think maybe he put more of his own money in on
'em, cause they looked like they cost a bit more 'n what we made.
We got their names on 'em, well the names I give 'em anyway. Dad
'n Daddy. Sorrow told me they's more parents than he'd ever had
really, and I reckoned he was prob'ly tellin' the truth on
Once we went to bed, me 'n Sorrow waited till it was their birthday and
then walked real quiet like to their room. We listened a minute,
cause we didn't wanna walk in on 'em if they was doin' that stuff they
do in that bathroom. It was quiet, so we's opened the door and
walked in on our tip toes. They's both awake though, so Sorrow 'n
me jumped up on 'em and told em "Happy Birthday."
Then, we run back to our room and got the bracelets, only they was
wrapped up and in these real nice boxes that lady at the store put 'em
in. Sorrow was the one who wrapped 'em up, though. I tried
to help 'im, but me 'n that paper almost had us a fight. So,
Sorrow ended up wrappin' the other one too.
Both of 'em seemed to like 'em bracelets, and they was awful nice bout
us wakin' 'em up and all. I snuggled up on Daddy 'n Sorrow
snuggled up on Dad. They's talkin' to us, but I reckon we just
fell asleep is all.
I looked over 'n seen Sorrow stretchin' out so I knowed he was
awake. He was holdin' my hand while he was a sleepin', but that
didn't bother me none. We decided to go down 'em steps 'n see if
there was any breakfast yet, cause we's hungry. Hela was just
finishin' it up. We told her 'bout the bracelets, and she told us
she though that was real special. She fixed up this tray with
breakfast for both our dads on it, even some of 'em ol' grits for
Daddy. She told us we could take it up to 'em and surprise 'em
with breakfast in bed. So, thats what we did.
Sorrow held that tray whiles I pounced on both of 'em and waked 'em
up. Daddy picked me up over his head 'n held me up in the
air. It was real fun. Sorrow gave 'em their food, and Dad
laughed at 'em nasty ol' grits. We kissed 'em both
then went down and ate us some breakfast.
When we was done, we tried to help Hela clean up 'em dishes, but she
told us boys to go up 'n get ready for work. So we run up and
took us a shower. I didn't have no time for no bath, cause we was
wantin' to get to work early.
We gots dressed, then went back to Dad 'n Daddy's room. They was
ready for us, 'n we run out to the car to get to work.
"Boys, we just want to thank you again
for the gifts. They mean a lot to both of us."
"Well, you just wear 'em 'n
remember we's both love you." I told 'em both.
"Yeah, you've both done a lot for each
of us, so that was our way of saying thanks." Sorrow said.
"Plus, you took us to drive 'em little
cars last night! That was so much fun a racin' 'round that track
real fast like. 'Course, I thought Nana's gonna wreck or
somethin' cause she was goin' a bit too fast." I told
'em. They laughed 'memberin' how Nana was a drivin'.
"Well, we wanted to do something
special for you boys because you have brought so much joy to our lives."
Daddy said to us. We just smiled at 'em both. We both
knowed it was 'em who was makin' us happy.
They took us on to work. Dad and Daddy came in to see what time
we'd be finished up. Ed told 'em to pick us up 'bout noon.
They both showed Ed and Valerie 'em bracelets, and me 'n Sorrow was
glad we got 'em those. We hugged 'em both bye, then went in the
kitchen with Ed.
I learned how to cut out 'em biscuits. I couldn't keep at
ol'dough from stickin' on that ol' pin, so Sorrow rolled out that
stuff. I cut 'em with that round thing. We did that
for a long time. Ed cooked up some bacon, sausage, 'n eggs.
Then, he fixed up some gravy. It was smellin' awful good by the
time we's done.
Valerie showed us how to put all at stuff in these boxes, so that's
what me 'n Sorrow did till 'em people came in to eat. They was
all real nice, smilin' 'n tellin' us what good food it was. I's
just glad they was a eatin' instead of bein' all hungry 'n stuff.
I knowed what that was like, and it wasn't no kind of fun for sure.
Sorrow 'n me even seen some kids 'bout our age come in to eat 'em some
breakfast. We gave 'em extra juice, cause we figured they was
needin' it. Dad told us it made ya grow up all healthy
like. I told Sorrow I wished 'em kids found 'em a couple dads
like we did. He got real sad like and said he wished they did
too. Honest, I just wish all of 'em found 'em somewheres to live
'sides the streets.
Once all of 'em had eat, we helped Ed get the dishes all washed up and
helped Valerie clean off all 'em tables. Valerie asked us boys to
take out the trash, and while we's out there, we heard somethin back
behind 'em trash cans. We was real 'cited when we saw what it
It was two little pups. One of 'em was white with black spots on
it. The other 'n was black with white spots on it. They
both looked like ol'wolves with em pointy ears and bushy like
tails. We pet 'em for a minute. Then, we went in 'n asked
Valerie 'bout 'em. She got some food to feed 'em and came out
with us. Valerie said she ain't never seen 'em 'round here 'fore
now. They was awful hungry, cause they was eatin' real
fast. We got 'em some water then sit on the ground and they layed
on mine 'n Sorrow's laps. We pet 'em some, then Valerie brought
out this big ol' box to put 'em pups in. She smiled and told us
we could have 'em if we wanted 'em. We's both real happy 'bout
that, but we was wonderin' if our dads would let us have 'em
We finished cleanin' up 'n stuff. Dad 'n Daddy came back to get
us, so me 'n Sorrow showed 'em those pups. They both run to Dad,
and when he bent down, they was a likin' on him like he was
honey. Dad was a gigglin' and looked up at Daddy. Daddy had
this big ol' smile on his face.
"Well, can we take these pups home
with us. We's take good care of 'em 'n stuff. We can even
buy 'em food with our pay money we get from workin'." I asked.
"What about you Sorrow? Do you
want to keep them too?" Daddy asked.
"I think they would be wonderful to
have around. They are a lot of company and only want to be
loved. Besides, I think they need a home somewhere. We
can't just leave them running out in the streets." Sorrow
Dad started gigglin' again, and when Daddy looked at 'im all pleadin'
like, he just shook his head. "Yes,
Love. They can keep the pups." He told Daddy.
So, we both gave Valerie and Ed big hugs 'n got us a pup each to take
home with us. They was both boy pups too, so we didn't have to
worry 'bout havin no more of 'em later. That made Dad
happy. So we took 'em pups with us, and they was lickin' all over
me 'n Sorrow on the way home. I think they knowed that we was
givin' some place to live is why they's so happy 'n all.
I was feeling a bit better when I knew I would not have to leave
Chance. I knew I was meant to be right there by his side.
We really were connected in some way, and that connection just kept
I was also glad that I would have Killian and Kanawha. They were
great, really, and treated me like I was their son from the minute I
first met them. I knew we were connected too, but not in the same
way as I was with Chance.
When Pop told me I could stay with them, I was so relieved. It is
strange, but after all these years of wanting to be with my father, I
realized that was not what I wanted when I was finally able to have
him. Truth is, I really did not know him much at all.
Dinner was great, especially when Kanawha held me on his lap. I
am not much smaller than he is, but I felt like I finally had a real
father in that moment. Both he and Killian kept calling me son,
and I really liked that.
Killian was fun to be around, too. I had a great time learning
about changing oil. Yet, he can be silly sometimes, and he
started this oil fight with us. I could never say which of them I
liked better, because they were like a part of each other. You
had to have both of them in order to have one of them. It was a
good bit like how Chance and I fit together.
I was so proud of my angel acing his exam. I knew for sure that
we were going to be in classes together. That had me more at
ease. I guess I was growing dependent upon him, but he was a
missing piece to my life. I know he was all that kept me together.
When Killian was not feeling well, I was very worried. I had just
found them, and I was worried something bad might happen to him.
When Chance and I woke up that first morning in their bed, I knew that
they were meant to be my dads. I cannot explain how or why, but
that was what I felt in my heart.
Frying fish was kind of gross. I know it smelled awful at
first. But, then, we got used to it, I guess. I really
enjoyed the work, and though I really liked Ed and Valerie, I knew it
was only because I was with Chance.
He was telling me about Killian and Kanawha's birthdays being on
Saturday, so on our break, we went down to the jewelery store.
Chance was wanting to get them something special, so I figured maybe
bracelets with Dad and Daddy on them would be nice. They were a
bit more than I expected, but I had the extra money. I did not
mind because it made Chance happy. I also did not mind because I
was beginning to feel like they were my dads, too.
My angel had me laughing when he struggled with wrapping one of
the boxes. He was getting so upset, I just had to laugh.
Here he is the most hopeful person I know, and a piece of tape sticking
to his finger was frustrating him. We were so different, yet
somehow we fit together to make a complete person.
At midnight, we presented them their gifts. I wanted to call them
Dad and Daddy, but I was not sure how they would feel about that so
soon. So, I held back. I was glad they liked the bracelets,
and Chance smiled his appreciation for picking out the gifts.
When I awoke snuggled up to Killian, I felt better somehow. I
noticed, though that I was holding onto Chance's hand. I realized
that I had not wanted to cut myself since Pop first told me I could
come and live with them. I guess it gave me the first bit of hope
I had felt on my own in many years. I wondered if I was wrong and
things were getting better for me.
After breakfast, Chance and I wanted to get a jump start on our day, so
we both hopped in the shower. He normally likes a bath, but
showers are a lot faster. Plus, we took a shower together to save
some time. Afterwards, we got dressed and headed down the
hall. Killian and Kanawha was ready for us, so we headed out to
the car. They thanked us for the gifts again, but Chance and I
thanked them for being so nice to us. We talked all the way till
we arrived at work.
After hugging them goodbye, Chance and I went into the kitchen to get
started. We had a bunch of hungry people to feed that morning,
and we were ready to go. Chance had trouble rolling out the
dough, so I did that while he cut the biscuits and put them on the
pans. Ed fixed everything else while Chance and I worked on the
biscuits. We boxed everything so that it would be easier to give
There were so many people who came in, I was just amazed. There
were a few kids our age, and that really bothered me. I was
beginning to think that maybe my life was not so bad. Sure I had
been practically abandoned, but now I had a home with people who loved
me. I was determined at that point to make every effort to get
The puppies were an added bonus. It was so funny how they were
like negative images of each other, and they were both boys, too.
I thought that they reminded me of how Chance and I were for some
reason. I really wanted to keep them, and Chance obviously had
the same thing in mind.
The hardest sell, though was going to be with our dads. I think
all the licking they gave Killian helped a bunch, because he kept
laughing and looking at Kanawha. Within minutes, it seemed they
both melted, and we both had a pet each.
On the way home, we stopped at the pet store to get food and other
supplies. I had money to get them, but Kanawha insisted on
paying. We got two matching gray harnesses and leashes for the
pups that we put on them as soon as we got back to the car. They
were really cute, and we were debating names for them.
When we arrived back home, the four of us took the dogs to the back
yard and played with them. Mine was the black one with the white
spots. He seemed to like Killian a great deal and would jump all
over him any time he sat down. "I
think he likes you better than me, Dad" I said.
Then, I realized what I had let slip, but he did not seem mad by
it. He just kept on like it was natural. So, I felt certain
that it was OK if I called them what I really wanted to for quite some
"I think my ol' pup likes Daddy more
'n me too." Chance giggled. I just loved to hear him
laugh. It made me feel better in some strange way.
Kanawha had Chance's pup at bay while he was sitting on the ground
because it was trying to bite his nose. "So you thought of any names for them yet,
"Nothing that suits them, yet, Daddy."
I replied, and he did not react in any harsh way either. I
did notice that he smiled at Dad, though. "Do you and Dad have any suggestions."
Dad was laughing because my pup was pulling at his hair while he was
lying in the grass. "He looks like a
domino piece with fangs to me, so I have no idea what you would call
"Hey! Domino is a great name,
Dad." I was excited because it really did suit the little
monster. My pup was a bit hyperactive and just a tad
aggressive. But, that is why I liked him so much. I think
that Dad liked him for the same reason.
Chance's pup was a bit more tame than mine, but he was still awfully
playful. Chance was trying to hold him still, but he was quickly
out maneuvering my poor angel. Finally, he grasped the pup and
picked it up off the ground. Chance looked it over
carefully. "I think I's gonna
call you Chips." he grinned.
Daddy smirked as Chips wiggled loose again. "I swear Love, is this not so much
Domino snatched Dad's glasses and took off quickly. "Well, if I could see them, then maybe it
would be." He laughed.
Daddy caught Domino and retrieved Dad's glasses. He put them back
on his face and kissed him. "There
you go Love. Thanks again for agreeing about the pups. I
love them, myself."
"I think they are a lot of fun,
too. I just can't wait till they calm down some, though."
Dad laughed, as Domino was pulling on his pant leg.
Ethan and Shaft walked outside, and the pups were all over them. They
both laughed and joined in the play. Shaft offered to examine Domino
and Chips for us. He said he could give them all their puppy
shots too. I figured that would save us some money and thanked
him for his offer.
We took them inside to meet everyone and see their new home.
Domino and Chips, now
they were really something. They were two of the feistiest and
most spirited animals I had ever seen. They reminded me a bit of
the boys, or at least what I figured Sorrow would be like if he were
not depressed. The two pups practically knocked Ethan and I down,
but we really enjoyed them.
Hela was going to be the hard sell with the newest additions to the
family. When the boys lugged the furry brothers into the house,
her eyes lit up. I just knew she was going to throw a fit about
them, but I was completely wrong. She was on the floor playing
with them before I knew what was happening. She told Kal and
Kanawha that she was proud of them for getting the boys pets. She
felt they would teach them responsibility as well as give them hours of
love and companionship.
I have to say that Hela was surprising me quite a bit lately, though I
was happy to see the changes. It was as if she were mellowing out
some. I know the boys were very fond of her, but then, the
feelings ran quite mutual.
The pups were in very good heath, save they were a little
undernourished. Chance was a bit nervous when I took Chips'
temperature. "Why's you puttin'
that up in his butt for?", he asked.
"Well, Chance, that is how you take a
dog's temperature. Their mouths are made different than
ours. They also want to chew on anything you put in their mouths,
so you can't take their temperature orally." I
explained. He shook his head as he took in what I was saying.
Both he and Sorrow enjoyed listening to their heartbeats, and they
practiced listening to each other's as I gave the pups their
shots. Chance said that maybe he would want to be a Doc like me
someday, and it made me smile thinking that I inspired him in some way.
With a clean bill of health, the pups were free to roam and terrorize
the household. Everything went well until Jena found Domino with
one of her shoes. She decided it was not a big deal and gave
Chips the other shoe, seeing as Domino had ruined its mate. The
boys promised to buy her a new pair, but she told them they were a
cheep, old pair anyway.
We had a nice family lunch, and then we all went to the movie room for
entertainment. We watched movies and sang songs till well into
the afternoon. Chance was not a bad singer, but Sorrow had a
lovely voice. It was rather angelic, yet it expressed the
deepness of the emotions he had been experiencing. There was
still a lot of pain and sorrow in his soul, but he did seem to be
On a more interesting note, Domino and Chips seemed rather fond of
Roe's singing voice. They would raise up their heads and howl as
he sang. As he would stop, they would look anxiously at him, with
their tails wagging in appreciation until he would sing again.
Then, they would once again start howling. "Everyone is a critic." Roe joked.
Mic and Grams decided they would fix dinner for the lot of us, and Hela
took that time to spend with the boys. I could tell she truly
loved them. Her laugh and every expression was different where
the boys were concerned. Watching them, I realized that she was
kind of like their mother, and I could not imagine a mother who could
be more loving or more protective of her children than Hela.
Cole quietly spoke with Ethan, Jena and I about meeting her here later
to work on something special she had in mind. She also asked Mic,
Jew, and Hela if they could join us as well. We all agreed, for
it was not often my sister ever asked anything of anyone else.
She was the selfless soul who was there for everyone else. I
thought this would give us a little more time together, too.
Dinner was soon ready, and we had a wonderful meal. I enjoyed
watching contently as my family interacted with fondness for one
another. I also spent a great deal of time watching my Ethan.
He was not much in the construction field, as his work yesterday
indicated. But, he was a wonderful mate, and a fantastic
lover. He was so emotionally driven, intuitive, and
romantic. I just hoped Cole would think of something worthy of my
Ethan, because I was no where near the romantic he deserved.
The birthday cake was spectacular. Hela had done a wonderful job
with it. There was a bear and a fox in the center, and it read
"Happy Birthday Yana and Keokuk. There were twenty-six candles
along the borders. As it was lit, Chance joked that it looked
like a house burning down his dads were so old. He received
several laughs for his efforts.
The group of us had went in together for one special birthday gift for
the both of them, and they were quite excited when they opened
it. It was a digital camera, printer, and a family photo
album. We figured they should start saving memories of the boys
right away, because each day was a treasure.
After cleaning up, we retired to the living room. Cole brought
down a box from her room. There were seven candles in it.
Kal lit two, and Kanawha lit five. Then, they, Grams, and Nana
silently remembered those who had been lost twenty years before.
Cole lead us in a special prayer honoring their memories and bestowing
blessings on Kal, Kanawha, and their sons.
As the prayer was finished, Kanawha began to speak. "You know, there was a time when I prayed
so much for God to end my pain. But, it seemed as though he did
not listen to me, because each day came with only more pain. I
thought for years that God hated me somehow... that he was punishing me
in some way by taking my family and leaving me with such a sorrowful
life. I believe I actually thought he turned his back on me, so I
guess that is why I strayed away from him." He was lost in
his memories a moment. "How
could I have known that all along, he was there with me? I
realize now that he had every intention of answering my prayers, only
it was in his own time and not mine." He took Kal's hand
to his lips and kissed it gently. "He brought me to you Love, and through you,
my every prayer has been answered. It's strange how time changes
you. Now, I would never go back and change one day of my life,
because I know that everything I endured only lead me to you.
But, back then, I just wondered how one could live a life without your
parents being alive."
Sorrow was in tears thinking of what Kanawha had said. "You know, sometimes life is just as hard
to live when your parents are alive." He said sadly.
"But, I know what you mean about
feeling as though God has turned his back on you. Funny
thing is, you one day realize it was you who turned your back on
Kanawha and Killian both embraced their son as he sobbed so
deeply. Mic nodded to Cole, and I later understood what that was
all about. After a long cry, Sorrow wanted to go to bed.
Kal, Kanawha, and Chance went up with him. The boys spent the
night with their fathers, as their own little family supported the one
who was in need.
The rest of us went up with Cole to work on her special project.
Upon finding out what it was, I was again amazed at what a remarkable
woman my sister truly is.
Love, Chance, and I brought Sorrow to our room. There, we sat on
the bed in a group hug as Sorrow unleashed much of the pain he had been
feeling for such a long, long time. His sobs seemed endless as
they carried him off to sleep. Once again, our family huddled
together through the night.
The next morning, as we awoke, our son seemed a little better, but
still he was hurting. We had our usual family breakfast, and
everyone was supportive without trying to push too much as where Sorrow
was concerned. We played with the pups for a little while, then
all took our showers and got dressed.
We all went to Sunday morning church services. Kanawha and I
holding hands, which he was at first worried about doing in the house
of God. As we were
received with nothing but warm welcomes by many of the members, he
relaxed quite a bit. I introduced my love to many of those I
including a few lesbian and gay couples. Everyone told me how
handsome Kanawha was and what a nice couple we made.
They also made over Chance and Sorrow quite a bit. As you
probably have guessed, I could not help but show one of my big toothy
smiles over the comments.
Some of the widowers I noticed were trying to make their plays for
Grams and Nana, which had me tickled. Kanawha was beside himself,
thinking of his Grams dating one of them. Of course, Grams
assured him she was anything but interested. She said that there
was but one love in her life, and if she could not have him, then she
would be content honoring his memory. Nana, on the other hand,
soaking it all up, flirting back rather strongly, I might add.
Valerie and Ed arrived, and we waved them over to us. I had
called and asked if they could join us today, just in support of
Sorrow. I wanted the entire family near him in his hour of
need. They were
greeted warmly, as everyone was very excited to meet the infamous
couple. I smiled knowing they would
be counted as part of the family by everyone. Kanawha, Chance,
Sorrow, and I already felt this way about them, but it was great having
them welcomed into the fold by everyone else.
The new assistant pastor, Allen Carpenter, looked to be around our age,
I thought, and I
noticed he spoke with Cole for quite a bit before beginning the
services. He made the announcements and welcomed all the
newcomers. Then, he lead the congregation in prayer. I must
add that he said a wonderful prayer, asking that everyone receive the
courage and strength needed for fulfilling their roles in God's plan.
After the prayer, He began his sermon. He spoke of Judas, and how
Judas had betrayed his greatest friend. But, rather than seeking
forgiveness, he took matters into his own hands. He talked of
Judas' suicide and how he knew that Jesus would have forgiven him, if
only he had asked. He said that Judas could not see past the
betrayal to see the wonderful friend he had in Christ.
The sermon, though somehow fitting, was rather short I thought, but
Allen said that there was a
special program to be presented. I was surprised when the four
twins, Jew, Mic, and Hela went up front. There, they performed a
skit, one of the most appropriate and meaningful plays God has ever
They acted out a scene that began with two strangers passing on the
street. One of the strangers, played by Hela, took the time to
say hello to the other, played by Cole. Hela's character then
took time to support Cole's and offered encouragement and advice. From
there, the day just kept getting
better for each one of them.
Then, they reenacted the skit, but
this time, Hela did not speak to Cole. As Cole would meet another
person, her day just kept getting worse. As the play progressed
it became apparent that Cole's character was one troubled by self-doubt
and deep depression. She made many comments that were actually
peas for help, yet, everyone ignored her cries. In the end, Cole
slit her wrists. Then, at the brink of death, she reconsidered
her situation. She cried out to God, and Cole then sang the most
haunting song I have ever
I tried to
kill the pain,
I lay dying,
regret, and betrayal.
Am I too
lost to be saved?
Am I too
My God! My
Return to me
My God! My
Return to me
Lost for so
Will you be
on the other side,
Or will you
Am I too
lost to be saved?
Am I too
My God! My
Return to me
My God! My
Return to me
want to DIE!)
My God! My
Return to me
My God! My
Return to me
cry for the grave.
cries for deliverance.
Will I be
Tourniquet my suicide.
At the end of Cole's powerful performance, she had the undivided
attention of the entire congregation. Sorrow, seemed rather moved
by the performance, and a few tears trickled down his cheeks.
Chance held his hand tightly, as streams flowed freely down his own
cheeks. The rest of us were all moved to tears as we contemplated
Cole then spoke for a few minutes. "A message has been placed upon my heart,
and during the last few days, God has made it clear to me what this
message is to be. One of the greatest questions ever asked was by
Cain when he asked God 'Am I my brother's
keeper?' Well, I want to
impress upon you just how important it is that you accept that you are
indeed your brother's and sister's keeper."
"Each of us holds a destiny, a part in
the great design of God's plan. Some of us may move on to be
remembered in history, a person of fame. Most of us, however,
will be the quiet unknown ones who work behind the scenes.
fame, each person's destiny is of equal importance. See, God's
plan is designed in such a way that we are completely dependent upon
another. In this fashion, what we do affects others around
us. There are times when doing something as simple as
acknowledging someone on the street can make a major impact upon the
lives of so many others. This someone acknowledged could be the
person who is
inspired to cure cancer, feed the hungry, or spend time helping a child
learn to read. He or she could turn out to be the person God will
to help you out in your own time of need." The passion and
conviction with which Cole spoke was mesmerizing, and I knew her words
were truly inspired by her close connection to God.
"The beauty of it all is that we often
do not know how something so seemingly insignificant as a phone call to
a loved one, or helping a person load up their groceries will affect
others. But, I assure you that it does. We have all heard
stories about people being in the presence of unknown angels.
Well I want to impart to you that sometimes we are unknowingly the
angels in the presence of another's life. What we do matters, and
one person can make such a drastic difference. Rivers can carve
their way through mountains and cut deeply through the earth. Yet
beginning of every river is but just one single drop of water. "
"I want to charge you with three
special duties today. First, take time to offer love to anyone
need or you may even think is in need -- and, in my opinion, everyone
is in need of love. Notice them and let them know that as they
are important to
God, they are important to you, too. Second, inspire hope in
those who need to be encouraged. Instead of being the gloater who
I told you so. You should have done it my way.',
be the person who says 'I know you are trying
so hard, and I am proud of you. Please, don't give up. I
know you are going to accomplish wonderful things, because you are a
wonderful person.' And finally, fertilize and foster
faith in others. Be there when you are needed, console and
support those who are having a difficult time, and let everyone know
that God loves us all... each and every one of us from the wealthy and
famous to the poor and homeless are of equal value in God's eyes, so
try to see things with his perspective."
"Our play today was about a very real
subject. There are many in our midsts that are on the brink of
utter despair. We need to take notice and put ourselves in their
shoes. We need to be instruments of healing and peace, not
weapons of war and destruction. We need to bring them the message
that God loves and God forgives. Mic is going to share with us
some information about despair leading to suicide." Mic
then took her place in front of the congregation.
"The first thing I want to point out
is that anyone of us have at some point faced traumatic times that are
overwhelming. A person who contemplates suicide often sees this
act as the only way to rid themselves of their situation. So it
is not that she or he wants to die, it is that she or he wants out of
the traumatic, overpowering situation in which they feel trapped.
My advice is
that if someone is going through a difficult time, intervene before it
ever becomes an issue of suicide. "
"But, you may
be wondering how you know if someone is contemplating
suicide. Well, honestly, the best way to know is to ask
them. Talk openly and directly about suicide. Ask them if
they have a plan or time table for committing suicide. Learn to
watch for certain behaviors and listen for any comments that indicate
such behaviors exist. Cole exhibited many of these behaviors and
made many of these comments during our play, so as I review them, think
of the impact they had upon her character. Some statements might
include: I can't stop
the pain... I can't think clearly... I just can't decide... I'm
depressed, and I just can't shake it... I am worthless... It's
There is no way out... This sadness I feel just does not seem to go
away... My future is dismal, for I will never escape the pain... No one
will listen to me... No one really cares, anyway... It would be better
for everyone if I were not around... I think I am loosing control... I
believe I am too far gone to recover. Look for behaviors such as
a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, withdrawal from friends
or socializing, preoccupation with death and dying, a loss in personal
care and apathy in personal appearance, sudden and erratic changes in
behavior, giving away prized possessions, a fixated desire to make out
a will or make final arrangements, or openly admitting to thinking
"What can we do to help? Be
aware of what is going on in other's lives. Take the time to be
available, offer support, and get involved with helping out.
Honestly listen and acknowledge what the person is experiencing.
Put yourself in their shoes and think about what it must be like
for them. Remember that listening means that you allow them to
express themselves without your judgment or interruption.
Remember that this is not a debate about good or bad, right or wrong...
this is about
letting the person express her or his own pain. Encourage them to
open up by asking them to explain how they feel or to tell you more
about their situation. And most importantly, take action and seek
out advice and help."
"Things that are not helpful?
Being indifferent. Acting shocked, because this creates a rift
between you. Asking why, as this makes them defensive.
Being judgmental or debating whether suicide is right or wrong.
Don't try to decide things for the other person; if they are to truly
respond to help, it has to be their desire to have the help.
Finally, don't promise to keep things a secret, because this is serious
and help is needed."
As Mic finished speaking, Cole, Shaft, Ethan, and Jena sang one last
THE CANDLE BURNING
they were singing, Allen asked if anyone who was going though any
crisis or pain and wanted someone to pray with them, to please come
forward. Almost half of the congregation made their way to
him. Sorrow, however, was the first to reach the alter.
You think you’re alone there in
your silent storm
But I’ve seen the tears you’ve
Falling down and trying to drown
The flame of hope inside
Let me tell you now, tell you now
When you’re walking in the dead of
And your soul is churning
When your hope seems out of sight
Keep the candle burning
All it takes is one steady heart
In a world that’s turning
Shine a light and pierce the dark
Keep the candle burning
Keep the candle burning
When you’re down and you’re
When the darkness clouds your view
You’ve got to gather up your courage
You know the Lord is gonna see you
Let me tell you now, tell you now
When you’re walking in the dead of
And your soul is churning
When your hope seems out of sight
Keep the candle burning
All it takes is one steady heart
In a world that’s turning
Shine a light and pierce the dark
Keep the candle burning
Keep the candle burning
One ray of light always breaks
Follow wherever he takes you
Wherever he takes you
When you’re walking in the dead of
And your soul is churning
When your hope seems out of sight
Keep the candle burning
All it takes is one steady heart
In a world that’s turning
Shine a light and pierce the dark
Keep the candle burning (You've got
to keep that candle burning)
When you’re walking in the dead of
And your soul is churning
When your hope seems out of sight
Keep the candle burning
Just one steady heart
In a world that’s turning
Shine a light and pierce the dark
Keep the candle burning
Keep the candle burning
candle burning, keep it burning bright)
(It takes one steady heart, one steady heart in a world thats turning)
(So keep the candle, Keep the candle lit)
He held tightly to my love as he prayed. Chance and I embraced
them both. The rest of the family embraced us all, and as the
song finished, the twins joined us, allowing the entire family to pray
with him. The release was amazing, as it could be felt by
all. When the prayer was finished, I knew our newest son was
now safe. Though his road to recovery was not completely
knew that the threat of suicide was no longer an issue. By the end of the service, it
turned out that 18 elderly members and 11 other teens were at the point
in their depression that they were contemplating suicide. Mic and
Allen held a support group meeting after Church for them.
made his way to Sorrow, hugging and comforting him. "Son, God loves you and forgives you.
Now, you need to let it go and forgive yourself."
Chance hugged Cole tightly. "See,
I just knowed he would tell you how to help out Sorrow! Thank
Cole. Thank you so much." he cried.
In tears, Cole replied, "Chance,
babe, you give me far too much credit. This was God's work, not
"Mrs. Romero," Allen said, "You and your friends are truly instruments
of God. Look at all the healing you have catalyzed on this
day. Though you are right that God did the healing, you were the
one willing to be his vessel. Thank you."
Cole smiled. "Well, thank
you. But, unfortunately, it is just Miss Romero... or just plain
ol' Cole. Shaft, well I guess you
know of him as Carmine, he is my twin brother, not my husband.
is Ethan's partner, and Ethan is Jena's twin brother, not her
husband. One of these days, I think that honor will be Jason's." she
said, pointing each one out as she explained their relationships.
Allen just smiled as he looked at her.
As I glanced between the two of them, I took the liberties of reading
the signs about them. Then, I was delighted. I leaned to my
love and whispered, "He is the one
Cole. What a ministry the two of them will have."
"Well, you better do something, then
Love. Allen is smitten by her, but he is overcome by shyness
right now. And you know Cole will not make the first move."
"Allen, would you care to join our
family for dinner today? We would love to have you, and with as
many of us as there are, we always fix enough to feed an army."
"That would be lovely."
Hela added, smirking at what I was attempting to do. "I hope you
like pot roast."
"Actually, it is one of my favorite
dishes." Allen smiled
shyly. "I would love to join
you." He said, looking over
Hela's shoulder towards Cole.
"Good, Kal and Kanawha can bring you
along after the support group meeting. I'll make sure everything
is ready." Hela smiled, and I knew she would work a way
for the lines of love and communication to be opened between Cole and
that concludes chapter six. Thanks for reading, and please
know what you think. Chapter seven will be coming soon.
Lyrics by Evanescence © 2003
Words and music by Jeff Border, Gayla Boarders & Lowell
Alexander © 1996