A Love Story
by Bob Grant
Those two weeks of travel seemed to fly by. A mist filled the air as we crossed the Columbia River at Portland into Oregon. It only took another two hours to drive to Eugene, the home of the University of Oregon. We checked into a hotel just before five in the afternoon. I called Dr. Eckly to let him know I was in town and set an appointment to see him the next afternoon.
We picked up a paper and started looking for an apartment ... Howard was also checking out the Help Wanted ads for a job. Dr. Eckly was most gracious and welcomed me to the University. He briefed me on my assignments for the coming year and suggested that we try the campus housing office for available apartments. He was already aware that Howard had made the trip with me and that we would be living together. As I was ready to leave, he asked if we could come to dinner that evening at his house. Of course, I was pleased with the display of hospitality and accepted.
We arrived at Dr. Eckly's house in a quiet neighborhood not far from campus; it was a Victorian, nicely cared for with an attractive garden in front. Dr. Eckly answered the door and greeted us; he was a short, heavyset man, with thinning hair, about forty. As I was introducing Howard, a tall, slender man in his late thirties came out of the kitchen wiping his hands on a kitchen towel. Dr. Eckly introduced him as Frank, his friend. It didn't take long to figure out that Dr. E was homosexual and he and Frank were in a relationship. That was totally unexpected, but a pleasant surprise. Socializing over a cup of coffee after dinner, Ed (Dr. Eckly), asked Howard where he was planning to work and asked if he would like to have a job at the University; suggesting that the appearance would be better if we both had come to Eugene to work at the U. Since personnel was one of his responsibilities, he thought he would be able to cut through a lot of the details and red tape, and suggested that we both stop by his office the following day.
Ed found a very good job for Howard in the Registrar's office and even helped to locate a wonderful apartment for us through the University Housing office. The apartment had two bedrooms, a nice kitchen, a living room / dining room combination and a large bath, it was fully furnished, four blocks from campus and it was available immediately. We drove to the hotel to get our bags and started moving in that afternoon. At least we started moving in as soon as we got there, but, after carrying one load of boxes into the bedroom, we took one look at the bed and decided we had to try it out before we did anything else ... we tore our clothes off revealing our hard cocks and both of us fell on the bed with the sincere intent of massaging the other mouth with our tongues and wanting to drain every last drop of cum from the others body ... preferably into those well massaged mouths. After we had successfully accomplished those goals and determined that the bed worked very nicely under our demands, we completed our original task of moving the rest of our things into the apartment. We were just getting ready to go to the store for groceries when Frank arrived with two bags of food. He said that they knew we would not be stocked up yet and asked if he and Ed could invite themselves for dinner that evening to help us settle into our new place. Our first guests in our new home. Frank set out to prepare the dinner while Howard and I finished putting things away. Howard commented that, since we were going to be having company that evening, he was glad we had already had a round of sex, otherwise he may have been somewhat preoccupied while Ed and Frank were here. He was really a horny one.
That was the beginning of many wonderful years at the University of Oregon. It was a fantastic country, nice climate and great people. We made many good friends in the Northwest and never regretted our move West. We were somewhat surprised at the number of gays we encountered and the acceptance of them. This was definitely different from Indiana. Our little apartment on Maynard Street proved to truly be our love nest. At that time we never considered it being married, but that was how it really was. Howard and I were very happy together. I cherished him and could not imagine life without him.
My Mom and Dad came to visit us in the summer of 1960. They stayed in our second bedroom and were not outwardly surprised by our living arraignment nor our closeness. Also, we didn't attempt to hide our relationship from them and, the third day they were there, my Mother asked if we were homosexual. I told her that we were lovers and were very happy together. She not only accepted that, but also accepted Howard. He was included in everything we did during their visit and when they left, she gave both of us a kiss as she said good-bye, and wished us well.
My life with Howard has been everything I dreamed it might be ... and more. I dearly love this man ... more than I can ever express to him. He is wonderful and kind and gentle ... and so very beautiful. The sixties brought a greater awareness of gays and more openness by gays ... especially in the University, it seemed. It was becoming easier to be happy with ones own sexuality. This was our legacy of those brave soldiers at Stonewall.
In 1968, I took a sabbatical and Howard was granted a leave from his job, and we went to Europe for a year. We never stayed in one place for more than two months, so we saw a lot of the continent. That was a wonderful time for the two of us, being together and sharing the experiences. It was like a second honeymoon. We never acknowledged our first as being a honeymoon ... this one we did ... and it was, in every respect.
On our return, we stopped in Indiana to visit Howard's Mother and my Mom and Dad. We were warmly welcomed by everyone. We spent several days at his house and several more with my folks. In both cases we were given our own room and allowed to sleep together without any questions. Of course, a hike up to Lone Pine Ridge was included in our visit. That, however, was depressing ... there were houses in the hollow, an apartment next to the pond and the ridge had been developed into a county park; a park bench was in the spot where we had pitched our tent twenty years before ... where we had experienced our first hot sex in bed. We stood at the crest of the ridge as the sun set over the hills and a whip-poor-will sang its mournful song, as if to welcome us back.
The '70's brought a greater liberation of homosexuals in our society. It no longer was widely considered that it was sick and disgraceful to be gay. Howard and I could be more open on the campus without fear. We had found a time when we no longer had to hide and pretend to be something we were not. We would go to San Francisco, stay in gay hotels, eat in gay restaurants, hold hands as we walked down the street and remember those stifling days of the '50's, when we couldn't show any signs of being attracted to each other.
At the end of the spring term in 1976, we celebrated our twentieth anniversary together with a party, inviting our many gay friends. Nothing too wild, just a happy gathering where we could proudly proclaim our love to the world and announce our desire to make sure the next twenty would be equally happy and gay.
Howard and I mellowed with the years, as did our relationship. We still kissed ... but perhaps not with as much passion. We still made love ... we still fucked, sucked and jacked off and enjoyed it as much as ever ... but perhaps only once a day rather than two or three. We grew more comfortable with each other and perhaps started taking each other too much for granted. Don't get me wrong, we were still very much in love.
One day in February, 1985, one of my junior students, Chris Ward, came into my office. He said he hoped I could help him with a problem. He told me he was gay. I asked if he was involved with the gay student organization on campus. He quickly said that was not his problem. He said he was very attracted to me and would very much like to have sex with me. I had never had a student approach me before and ordinarily would have dismissed it completely. This time, however, many circumstances combined to make me more receptive; not the least of these was that I also found him to be attractive. He was tall, blonde, handsome and had the softest, smoothest skin I had ever seen. He had blue eyes and was a very gentle, sensitive young man.
I took his hand in mine, told him that I thought he was very attractive as well, and found his desires to be most inviting. I stood up, pulled him up into my arms and we kissed ... for a very long time. He responded exactly the way I had hoped he would.
He slid his hand to my crotch and rubbed my hardening penis with his long, gentle fingers while whispering in my ear that he wanted to suck me. I locked my office door and quickly proceeded to pull his pants down exposing a beautiful, small, hard cock standing quite erect. It was only about four inches long and the diameter of a hot dog. Just a little thing. It felt so good taking it in my hand and cuddling it. He wasted no time getting my pants down as well and began fondling my very excited organ and caressing my balls with his long, soft fingers.
We laid down on the floor next to my desk in a 69 position and caressed and kissed and licked each other. It had been many years since I had seen and admired a cock so small and so hard. Quickly the precum was streaming from him. I let his beautiful cock slip into my mouth so I wouldn't waste any of those delicious juices. I had almost forgotten about so much precum. Howard and I had stopped having much precum run forth as we grew older. This abundance brought back some wonderful memories of the pond and Lone Pine Ridge.
We sucked until Chris began shooting his volleys of cum to fill my mouth. I was not as quick as this young stud, but he continued to entertain me until I returned the favor by shooting several shots into his wonderfully receptive mouth. Not nearly as much as he had given me, but I did my best. We pulled up our pants, he came over and kissed me and said that he would like to get together again if that was OK. Perhaps to spend the night with me if the opportunity ever arose. Pangs of guilt hovered over me as I remembered Howard, but I had enjoyed that experience too much to ignore the fact that I did want to see Chris again and would love to spend the night with him.
Over the next several weeks Chris and I saw each other about a dozen times ... usually in my office, except for two or three times when we drove out into the country and parked next to the river. He was really hot; almost as horny as Howard was when we first jacked off at the pond. I liked having my face next to his soft cheek almost as much as having his small but very hard cock in my mouth.
About a month after my first encounter with Chris, Howard went to a conference in Portland, for three days; he would be gone Thursday and Friday nights and be back home that Saturday afternoon about four. I invited Chris to spend those two nights with me in my bed. I left the office a little early on that Thursday, arriving home just before five. Chris was waiting for me on the front porch. As soon as we were inside, Chris threw his arms around me and gave me a big kiss ... deep and wet. That was enough to get my juices flowing. He was wild and horny and I didn't object. This was starting out to be sex like I had not known for many years. We undressed just inside the front door and fell back on the couch and pressed our warm excited bodies close together. I found his soft, smooth, warm body quite inviting to snuggle up to and cuddle. Chris didn't have cuddling in mind, he was on top of me moving his hard cock back and forth over mine and kissing me wherever his lips would find themselves. They were soon making a path down across my chest and stomach ... through some sticky precum he had spread on me ... until they found themselves working their way around my hard penis and anxious testicles. It was here that he stopped kissing and let his tongue wander around and up my sticky, erect cock.
Chris had told me that he didn't have a lot of experience with other guys. The size of his cock indicated that he hadn't given it much exercise, but these hot, passionate sex sessions seemed to indicate quite a bit of experience. That didn't matter to me. I was enjoying what was happening. He got me so very excited that it wasn't long after he let my cock slip into his warm mouth and started massaging my head with his tongue, that my cum was shooting shot after shot into and down his throat. He welcomed it and swallowed every drop.
I asked him if he would like to fuck me. He said that he would like that, so we went into the bedroom to get lubricated for the event. His small cock being thrust in and out of me actually felt good. He was obviously enjoying it and just before he started to cum he pushed his rock hard penis as far in as it would go and held it there until he had finished pumping his creamy cum into me. Not only could I feel the pulsations as he ejaculated, but he shot with such great force that I could also feel each shot being thrust into me. He slowly pulled himself out and we laid there cuddling for some time before we thought about dinner.
We didn't bother getting dressed to fix dinner. As we were sitting at the table in the nude, Chris told me how very much he had enjoyed that fuck. He said he had fucked with a friend over in Bend, but it never felt as good as it had that day. After we finished dinner and washed the dishes, we went back to bed and just laid there cuddling and talking for an hour or so before he was starting to get aroused again. I wasn't sure I would be able to perform again, but I would give it a good try. We jacked each other off. I introduced him to the way Howard and I always did it by bringing ourselves right to the brink of ejaculation and then stopping before we came to let it settle down and then began the arousal all over again. He stopped me about ten times ... each time a little drop of cum would ooze out of his cock and run down his shaft. I only had to stop him twice to avoid cumming before we were ready to let it go. His little penis really excited me ... and he was enjoying my big, fat cock just as much. His seemed so much harder than mine. I remember when Howard and I would get together at the pond, his penis seemed to be much harder than it gets now.
As Chris approached climax, the precum was flowing freely out of his penis and over my hand, I aimed it toward me so his cum shot onto my stomach. He continued massaging my excited cock bringing me closer to my own climax with his slender, smooth fingers moving slowly up and down my shaft. As I started cumming he pulled my cock over so the rest of my load would be shot onto him. I did still have it in me after all. As I finished, I rolled over on top of him, squeezing the cum between us ... letting our bodies slide in it ... our cocks pressed tightly together as they lost their hardness and became limp. We got up and took a shower before cuddling with each other as we drifted off to sleep.
The next morning I woke Chris with a kiss on the lips. He responded with one of the fastest erections I had ever witnessed. His cock was limp ... I woke him with a kiss ... and his cock was fully erect almost immediately. He was ready for action right now. He took my still limp penis into his mouth and sucked me hard in a short time. He continued sucking me until I was approaching a wonderful climax in his beautiful mouth. It was feeling so good that I just let it fly.
Chris asked if he could fuck me again and I happily agreed ... I liked it so much the afternoon before. He climbed on top of me and we let his wonderful, little cock slip into me. He slowly and gently let it slip in and out of my butt. Again, just as he was ready to start cumming he thrust his cock in as far as he could and started pumping his cum into me. I can still remember that wonderful feeling of his cock pulsating as he came ... shot after shot. Chris said that he didn't know cumming could feel so good ... it was as if I had sucked it out of him. He really liked pumping it into me ... and I liked having him inside of me.
We got up, had breakfast and went off to our classes, each of us anxiously anticipating that evening when we would be together again. All day long I found myself thinking about Chris ... remembering his fucking me that morning ... I could almost feel him pushing his nice penis in and out of me as I sat at my desk. That evening we picked up where we had left off that morning. We had hot, wild sex from start to finish. As soon as we were in the house, off came our clothes and we were nude until noon the next day. I was really enjoying this. I also realized that I had a problem ... I was falling in love with Chris ... but I was also in love with Howard ... a true, time-tested love.
By Saturday morning I was beginning to realize that I had to make a decision. I knew what that decision would have to be. As much as I was trying to avoid it, I knew that I was going to have to tell Chris that we could not see each other again. That wasn't what I wanted to do, but it was what I had to do. I tried to explain it to him, but he couldn't understand. He wanted to continue to see me and it became apparent that he really desired to see Howard and me break up so he could move in full time. By lunch time I saw that this was something I had to break off fast before it gained any more momentum.
Chris was very upset with me when he left. He did kiss me and said that he hoped I would reconsider. He was very attractive, extremely horney and very good in bed, so it was difficult to let him walk away. I will never forget that nice little cock of his.
Now I was becoming concerned that he might file a complaint against me with the University, out of spite. That could cause some problems. They were becoming quite tolerant about gay faculty members living together, but for a faculty member and a student to have a gay relationship ... I am sure that would attract negative attention and possibly cost me my job.
Howard was home by three that afternoon. He gave me a deep, wet kiss and said that he was so glad to be home; he was tired but horny. He was anxious for a good dinner and some good sex ... he had missed both. I told him that I thought I could take care of his needs quite nicely. After dinner we watched television for a while until Howard said that he would rather be in bed with me ... totally naked. He said that he had a big hard on just waiting to get up close and personal with me ... it had been waiting for me for the last three days.
As we crawled into bed he commented that the sheets were stiff from dried cum. I told him I had missed him so, that I jacked myself off the night before and must have spilled over on the sheets. He was so passionate that evening ... he made me feel good all over ... and bad at the same time. I felt good that he loved me so much and desired me ... and felt very bad that I had allowed myself to be unfaithful to this wonderful person. We sucked on each other, bringing ourselves to the point of almost cumming about five times and then brought out the Vaseline and jacked each other off ... letting the cum fly all over each other and add a little more to the sheets.
We fell asleep with our cum soaked bodies cuddled together in loving embrace. In the morning as Howard was getting up he found Chris' underwear on the floor next to the bed. The size 29 was much too small for either of us, so it didn't take him long to deduct that someone else, a very slender male someone, had been in our bedroom while he was gone. And, since he had left his underwear behind, it was an easy assumption that he had been in our bed ... naked ... and probably not alone. I have often wondered over the years if Chris had left his shorts there on purpose ... we will never know. I knew immediately that additional lies would only make things worse than they already were. No matter what I said at this point, Howard was going to be hurt. I never wanted him to be hurt. The full truth was going to be disastrous to our relationship, but there was no other way out of this. I made my own bed.
We sat in the living room and I attempted to explain, to this man I loved so much, how and why I could let someone come between us. We had been faithful to each other for twenty nine years, and now this. Howard couldn't understand, and there was no way I could ever explain it to him. In retrospect, I couldn't understand either. After several hours of talk, he got up and said he was leaving. He couldn't live with me anymore. I couldn't think of any convincing reason which would change his mind.
The months that followed were filled with misery and despair. Every once in a while I would think about inviting Chris over for a night ... and then thought better of that. It was still in my mind that one day Howard would come back. I would see him on campus frequently and we would even stop and talk occasionally. I loved this man with all my heart and I made sure to let him know that at every opportunity. Chris never made an issue out of our torrid affair. I think he really did love me, after all, and didn't want to cause me pain or hardship.
I often called Howard in the evening after dinner just to stay in touch and let him know how much I loved him ... and how sorry I was for having hurt him. He was dating a young doctor at a large clinic in town, by the name of Jack, who had just moved to Oregon from San Francisco. I was hoping that wasn't getting too serious. In early August of 1985, shortly after Howard returned from his vacation, I called him and was bold enough to ask him if he would like to join me for dinner. He accepted ... I was overjoyed. I prepared his favorite dishes and set out his favorite wine. I wanted this to be the perfect dinner ... the perfect evening ... the perfect date.
After dinner as we sat by the fire sipping our wine, I tried to tell him how much I had missed him, how very sorry I was for my indiscretions, and asked him if he could ever forgive me. He said that he had forgiven me and realized that this was like my affair with David in Indiana ... sex was just sex and had nothing to do with the love we shared. I promised to never do anything like that again if he would only come back to me. He shared with me that he had been miserable also, and had been hoping I would have him back.
Needless to say, that evening quickly turned into a hot, steamy sex session. He didn't go back to his apartment that evening. By the time we were getting dressed the next morning, we had reached climax three times ... and the first time was really a dandy. We were both so hot and horny that our balls were filled with cum anxious to shoot to freedom at the first opportunity. We went to his place and gathered his things to take them home.
Neither of us wandered after that. We were dedicated to each other. The following year, 1986, we celebrated our thirty years together. This time we had a big picnic in a county park near the University and invited all of our friends. There were a number of straight friends as well as the gays. Chris Ward called and asked if it would be all right if he came too. I talked with Howard and he agreed that would be OK. Our troubles had passed and we seemed to be on a level keel again as we began our journey toward the next thirty years.
We were so happy. The years began to fly by. At least until spring of 1992. Howard had come down with the flu the previous November, and never seemed to be able to completely pull himself out of it. He had one cold after another. Finally in April he went to the clinic for a physical to find out what was wrong. His cold had become a serious case of pneumonia. Dr. Harding had him admitted to the hospital and called me at the office to tell me where he was and what the problem was. He was one sick guy.
As soon as I could break free from the office I went to the hospital. Howard was sleeping with tubes plugged into his arms and nose. Even while asleep he looked miserable. He was flushed and his hair was askew, but he was as beautiful as ever ... ever since we were boys, I have always enjoyed watching him as he lay sleeping. This time, however, my enjoyment of watching my beautiful friend was drastically tempered by concern for his well being. In the thirty six years we had been together, neither of us had been seriously ill.
I sat by his bed, holding his hand and wiping his forehead with a damp washcloth to comfort him. A nurse came in to check his IV, and said she would let Dr. Harding know that I was there. Within the hour Dr. Harding entered the room. He was in uniform, wearing a white lab coat with a stethoscope around his neck. He was very businesslike, not his usual, jovial self; it was apparent that he was quite concerned. He said that Howard's pneumonia was very advanced and they had him heavily medicated in an attempt to break it. I asked him if I could stay there with Howard ... he thought that was a good idea and approved unrestricted visitation.
Howard slept right through dinner and didn't wake up until almost 9 that night. He wasn't hungry, but they brought a cup of soup just in case he would eat it. He was still quite groggy, so I fed him the soup as we sat quietly in the subdued light of the room. The fever had still not broken ... his sheets were wet from his perspiration and his face was flushed. He asked me to hold him. As I put my arms around him he gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me he loved me. He was so very sick ... the most dreaded thought of all was one we couldn't bear to entertain. I wanted for this medicine to do its work so I could take him home.
Howard drifted in and out of sleep all night long ... never sleeping for more than thirty minutes at a time. I sat there by his side, holding his hand and telling him that I loved him. By 7 AM, he was awake and alert. The nurse brought the bath water and washcloth and I helped him get cleaned up from his night of feverish perspiration. Dr. Harding came by at ten and said Howard could go home the next day if he kept improving at that rate. Those were very welcome words for both of us to hear.
The next morning, he was released to go home. He still had a bad cough, but Dr. Harding felt the worst was passed and, if he continued his medication, he should be able to recover at home ... probably better than in the hospital. I took care of him and he continued to get better every day, but that terrible cough persisted. This illness had brought us closer together again ... neither of us took the other for granted anymore and we cherished our moments together.
About a month later Howard was reading the evening paper and came upon an article about a clinic doctor having passed away ... it was Jack, the young man Howard was dating while we were separated seven years before ... he had died of AIDS. A chill ran up my spine as Howard read the article to me. He laid the paper down and there were tears in his eyes. That cough ... that persistent cough he had not been able to shake ... was it ...? We both stood up and hugged each other tightly ... and kissed ... and reaffirmed our love for one another. We were both crying uncontrollably as we assumed the worst.
We decided we couldn't reach conclusions until we had all the facts and tried to stifle our negative thoughts as we dedicated the evening to a celebration of our love ... much of the gaiety in our bedroom. The next morning, after sucking each other off, I called Dr. Harding, told him of Jack's death, of his relationship with Howard and asked if he could order anonymous HIV tests for us. He agreed. The results were due the following Monday ... we found it difficult to suppress our preoccupation as we waited, but we did our best ... keeping involved with each other ... supporting each other as only we could.
The results were not good. Howard's CD4 count was very low ... we had never heard of a CD4 count before that week and it suddenly became a common topic of discussion and dominated our lives. Howard had tested HIV positive ... I tested negative. How could this be? Since we were monogamous (except for a brief period of time), we never practiced safe sex ... we had always assumed we were both clean. My brief encounter with Chris and Howard's with Jack, were never considered a possible problem.. When Dr. Harding gave us the news, Howard fell into my arms and held me so tight I thought he would break my glasses in my pocket. Our worst fears were becoming a reality. I could feel his tears running down my face. Dr. Harding excused himself and left us alone for awhile until we could regain our composure.
Our life took on a whole new meaning that day. At Dr. Harding's suggestion, we discussed practicing safe sex. That seemed like the proper thing to do under the circumstances. After giving this a lot of thought ... and a weeks worth of practice ... I decided that I didn't want to have the rest of our lives dominated by this disease. I didn't like the idea of Howard only being able to have some kinds of sex with me because of the virus. I wanted him to be able to enjoy life and enjoy me as much as he ever did before ... in any way that pleased him. After all, I have been living with this virus in bed with me for seven years, why should I change my ways now? I also knew how empty my life would be if I lost Howard, ... and perhaps I didn't want to protect myself.
We committed to each other that we were going to live our lives to the fullest ... one day at a time ... and not let that virus dominate us. Our plans for the future shifted dramatically, and we found ourselves enjoying today rather than planning to enjoy next year. We had always planned to go to Hawaii, but the time was never quite right ... now was the time to make those dreams come true.
Howard became the most important thing in my life ... he always should have been, but the priorities of the moment always seemed to preclude that from happening. I had been with the University for thirty six years. This felt like the best time to request retirement, so I could devote my life to being with and loving my beautiful husband. The Regents considered my "request under special circumstances" and quickly gave it their approval. I left the University on June 19, 1992. Howard also retired at that time From that day forward, my life revolved around him ... he was my life ... my soul ... my purpose for being. I have never regretted that decision ... I have been thankful that I had the opportunity to be there with him.
Our lives became filled with excitement, sex and adventure. We traveled to Hawaii, The Virgin Islands, Key West, Mexico, Bermuda and any place we chose to roam. We spent Christmas, 1993, on Maui. We had fun together and enjoyed each other so much. We decorated a palm tree in our condo and had one of the best Christmases ever.
The day after Christmas, Howard woke up with a deep, persistent cough. It wouldn't let up. We went down to the beach after breakfast, but Howard's cough spoiled those plans. By Monday morning he was developing a fever and beginning to feel quite rotten. I suggested that we should head home ... Howard said that he was sorry to spoil our holiday but had to agree that was the best thing to do. I phoned Dr. Harding and told him what was going on with Howard. He said he was going to admit him to the hospital, and that we should go directly there when we got in. Because of being a medical emergency, we were able to get on an early afternoon flight and arrived in Portland by evening. Howard had taken a turn for the worse and was very sick by the time we arrived at the hospital. He spent the next three days heavily medicated, but it was a relief to me to be able to see him not suffering as he had been.
Ten days in the hospital put him back into fairly good shape, but Dr. Harding told me that he was expecting that this was only the first of many setbacks Howard would suffer, and that they would become more frequent and progressively worse. He referred us to a doctor at the University Medical Center in Portland, and, since he was aware of our lack of ties, suggested we might consider moving closer to the hospital so our visits would be more convenient.
We heeded his advice, put our house on the market and, on February 7th, moved to an apartment in Southwest Portland, about fifteen minutes from the Medical Center. Portland also provided HIV support groups which were very helpful for both of us as we were learning to cope with this impossible disease. Dr. Harding was quite correct; Howard's bouts with the infections became more frequent and much more uncomfortable. I felt so bad for him. We continued having sex together without inhibition, although it became less frequent, mostly because of the effects of his medication.
In early June I took him to the Medical Center late one evening. This time I had to almost carry him out to the car, he was so weak. Somehow I knew that would be the last time. He was so thin and pale. I was at his side every day from early morning until lights out at 10, holding his hand, bathing him, feeding him, reading to him and giving him the support he needed. Two or three times a week he would ask me to pull the curtain around his bed and jack him off ... several times I sucked him off instead. Usually he couldn't cum, leaving him a little frustrated, but I made light of it and he enjoyed having me do it.
By mid August, he was too weak to enjoy any sexual activity. He was spending most of his days sleeping, and when he was awake he was in so much pain, that I prayed for him to be able to go back to sleep. He would hurt so much ... and would ask me to hold him close. I cuddled him in my arms ... he was so frail and thin ... I kissed him and told him how much I loved him. It was quite apparent that we needed to take advantage of the time we had.
Yesterday was the first day of autumn and the rain was falling on the leaves. It wouldn't be long before the leaves would be falling in the rain. Howard was blessed with sleep most of the day. He would drift in and out of consciousness. Last night, at lights out, the floor nurse suggested that I go home and get some sleep ... that they would call me if there was any change. I didn't feel good about leaving him this time and compromised by going to the family lounge for a while. So here I am ... I can't sleep. I'm sitting here alone ... lost in my dreams ... my memories ... my treasures.
"Mr. Grant!" a strong, hardy voice interrupted my dream world. "Mr. Grant, Howard is awake and asking for you. You wanted me to call you when he woke up." I am jarred back to the reality of this sterile, cold environment. It was not quite 3 AM and very quiet.
When I walked into Howard's room, he flashed me a big, beautiful smile and a slight wink of his eye. We embraced and kissed. He pulled me close with a strength which surprised me and whispered in my ear, "I love you, Bob. Please remember that. I will always be with you." I told him that he was always in my heart.
I sat next to his bed holding his hand ... his pain was obvious. Every once in a while his body would stiffen, he would squeeze my hand more tightly and his face would grimace. I asked if I should call the nurse to get something to relieve his pain, but he didn't want that.
Suddenly, with some urgency, he asked me to hold him. I took him into my arms and held him close.
... he said, "Listen, Bob!
... Listen ... to the whip-poor-will."
Only moments later I felt his body relax in my arms. That unwelcome, but inevitable, moment had arrived. I laid him back on his pillow, kissed his cheek and called the nurse.
His pain had stopped ... mine was only beginning.
But, I would endure ... my emptiness forever filled with my precious memories.
I'm listening, Howard. I'm listening ....
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