STANDARD WARNING: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to individuals, living or dead, is pure coincidence. Do not read this story if you are offended by man-to-man romance or sex. Do not read if you are underage according to the laws in the country, state/province, county, city/town/village or township where you live. There is sex between males. You have been warned!
© Copyright 2000 by archer.
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may be copied, reproduced, republished, or reposted on another
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|Chapter 18||Matt & Tim|
A letter arrived from Brian the last Friday before he was going to return. But Matt was so busy and having so much fun with Tim, he didn't have time to read it right away.
That Sunday, Matt took Tim to St. Irenaeus. He, too, knew all the cues that a Catholic, even a lapsed one, should know. He seemed to fumble with the missalette, however, and Matt had to cheerfully point out the page that they were on.
"Matt, darling! How are you, my dear?" Father Grimes greeted them.
"I'm very good, Father. Brian is at camp. He says hi." Brian hadn't exactly said hello to the priest in his letters, but it sounded good.
"And who is this handsome young man?"
Tim extended his hand to the priest. "Tim McGraw. Nice to meet you, Father."
Father Grimes flashed a quick, sly grin at Matt. Matt knew exactly what the cleric was thinking: So this is why you've missed Mass. He smiled.
The trio went to the gym for donuts and coffee.
"When is Brian coming back?" Father Grimes asked.
"This Thursday. He'll be here for the weekend. I took the whole weekend off. Managers do get some privileges. I'm taking a week off starting August 8. I'm taking him on vacation, but I don't know where. To be honest, I don't have much money, either."
Tim added, "I'd like to go with you, but I have to work. Summer is the busy season for construction. If he finds a place close enough, I could take a long weekend."
Grimes pondered a moment. "The week of August 8?"
"I won't be at my cabin."
"What cabin, Father?"
"Father O'Donnell from St. Luke's and I are co-owners of a cabin in New Buffalo." New Buffalo, Michigan was right over the Indiana border on Lake Michigan. It was the playground of Chicago's elite. Mayor Daley had a house there, as did Oprah Winfrey, architect Stanley Tigerman and many more. Matt wondered how two priests could afford to own property there. And what did that say about the priest's vow of poverty?
As if reading Matt's thoughts, Grimes added, "It was a steal. We had to do extensive renovation. And it's about four blocks from the lake. The further away you get from the lake, the less expensive real estate is. Everything's there; bedding, pots, pans, towels. We even have a stacked washer and dryer. Neither of us will be using it that week. I could let you use it for a small donation." Matt almost swore he saw dollar signs in his eyes.
"That's very kind, Father..."
"Tut, tut. Think nothing of it. And your friend can come up to visit, as well. It's an easy drive." He winked at Matt.
As they drove back to Matt's, Tim observed, "I swear that priest knew all about us."
"I'm sure of it, Tim. And the reason he knows is that he's one of us, too. How about I make some brunch? What do you feel like eating?"
"You know me. I'll eat almost anything."
As Matt tinkered in the kitchen, Tim sat at the breakfast bar. He picked up the letter from Brian.
Matt glanced up. "That letter came Friday. I haven't had a chance to read it, yet. Why don't you open it and read it to me?"
"There might be something personal in it."
"Silly man! Nothing that we can't talk about. Go ahead."
"I don't feel comfortable opening someone else's mail."
"Rest assured I won't report you to the postal authorities." Matt concentrated on the pancakes he was frying. He heard the tearing of the envelope. Several minutes passed. Matt glanced over at Tim. He was staring at the paper. Matt thought he saw Tim's eyes glisten with tears.
"What's wrong? What does he say? Is something wrong?"
"I.....I don't know."
"What do you mean you don't know?"
Tim said very quietly, "I can't read."
Matt creased his forehead. "You can't read?" he repeated.
"Well, I can, but not very well."
"I thought you got straight A's in school. That's what you dad told me."
"I did. It was social promotion. They just kept promoting me. I could fake it well. And I'm a good listener. As long as I was in class, and paid attention, I could get the main ideas. And when I couldn't fake it, I could charm my way out of most situations. I always did well in math, though. I did all my own work in math." His voice pleaded for understanding. Tim was so afraid to make this admission to Matt. He knew how much books and reading meant to Matt. Tim choked a sob.
Matt rounded the breakfast bar and engulfed him in a hug. "Did they ever diagnose it?"
"They said I have mild dyslexia. And I'm supposed to wear glasses."
"Where are they?"
"I look like a geek in them."
Matt bit his tongue.
"That's why I never went to college." he continued. "I had scholarship offers for track, but I could never keep up with the work."
"Tim, do you want to beat this?"
"I want to make you happy, Matt."
"It's not about me, Tim. If I force you to do it, or even if I tell you I want you to do it, you would resent it. It has to be your choice. But I think you have more options than you realize. Contact lenses, for example."
"I could never put anything in my eyes."
"I've never worn them, so I don't know. But you get used to it, like anything else. And I could help you. I do have a degree in education."
"Would you, Matt?" Tim hugged him tight. "I want to, Matt. Please help me."
Matt pulled Tim close and held him closely. "This won't change my love for you. I need you, Tim."
For a response, Tim kissed Matt.
Can't believe that I'll be home in a week. I'm going to miss camp! I had so much fun! Thanks for the batteries and the disposable camera you sent. I'll take some pictures of the camp and we can compare them to yours.
How is Tim? I can't wait to meet him. Have you decided where we're going on vacation? Is Tim going with us?
Talk to you later.
Brian woke up late Tuesday night, and realized he had to pee. The next thing he was aware of was the muffled voices of counselors outside the cabin. They were laughing and giggling and shushing each other. All his fellow campers were asleep.
He slipped on a pair of shorts and stood at the threshold of the door. A quick glance in the counselor's room told Brian that Tip was not there. The glowing numerals on his alarm clock said 12:35.
Five counselors were gathered around Sioux. They all wore hats and sunglasses in a failed attempt to disguise their identities. Rick and Pate carried the large elk trophy that they had taken down from the wall in the lodge. What were they going to do with it?
"Get out of here," Cory hissed.
"He's OK, Cory," Dane said to the other counselor. To Brian, he said, "What are you doing out of your cabin?"
"I had to take a piss."
"Ok, but you didn't see anything, right?"
Brian relieved himself. As he walked the dusty path back to Illini, Dane stopped him.
"Have you a flashlight that works?"
"Go get it."
Brian smiled and complied, still not sure what the group of young men were doing. Perhaps they were going to put it in Demetrius' bed, like the head of the racehorse in The Godfather.
"I hope Demetrius sees this first.," one counselor said between giggles.
"He's a very light sleeper. Hey, Cory, did you turn off the circuit breaker for this cabin?"
"Yeah," he laughed. "This whole cabin is full of pricks. I've been waiting for this."
Two men held up the elk head at a window while Cory backlit the stuffed trophy with Brian's flashlight. The resulting shadow fell into the cabin. They made some bellowing sounds that they thought would mimic the sound of an elk.
There was no response.
"My arms are getting tired," complained one of the counselors holding up the elk trophy.
"I have an idea." Rick picked up a rock and scraped it against the side of the building.
Within seconds, there was an ear-piercing scream from within the cabin.
"Moose! A moose!" They all heard The Beast scream in a adolescent voice that covered several octaves. Several of his cabinmates were awakened by the screams, then added their own to the tumult. The young men outside the cabin heard the sound of bare feet slapping the wooden floor.
"Hey! The fuckin' lights don't work!"
By this time the counselors who were holding up the elk head were laughing so hard, it was jiggling. Dane was holding his sides and rolling on the ground with laughter.
Suddenly, the lights in the cabin came on.
The counselors all scattered. Brian beat a hasty retreat into Illini, jumped into his bed, and pulled the sheet up to his chin.
"Demetrius peed his bed," Brian heard a shout from the cabin next door. "The Beast peed his bed."
Brian turned over and laughed convulsively into his pillow.
The elk trophy spent the rest of the summer in Bill's cabin
where he could keep an eye on it.
Counseling Services of South Cook County, Inc.
Session Summary Form
Date of Session: 7/19 Start Time: 7:00 PM End Time: 9:20 PM
Associates: Leah T. Levin, Marcy Whitfield, Intern from Governor's State University
Clients: Patrick McGraw, father 55; Jeannie McGraw (Callahan) mother, 54; Kevin McGraw, brother, 30; Cathleen (Cathy) Hanna (McGraw) sister, 28; Elizabeth (Beth) McGraw, sister, 26; Tim McGraw, 24.
Note: This session was held in a classroom at GSU due to the size of the group.
Precipitating Incident: Tim reported to his family that
he is a homosexual.
Format: Each participant started with 5 minute monologue, which could not be interrupted even for questions. Questions and answers followed with a summary and Counselor recommendations at the end.
Patrick McGraw: Very upset by the split in the family. By his own admission, Tim is his favorite child. Seems frustrated by marriage which is increasingly strained. Claims to be the "only one who understands where Tim is coming from." Also upset at his wife's attitude toward Tim.
Jeannie McGraw: Cold and emotionally distant. More upset about the possible estrangement of her grandchildren than Tim's situation. Wondered out loud if she should have stopped at three children. Stated she didn't care if Tim moved back in or not.
Kevin McGraw: Extremely upset by Tim's revelation. Negative attitude toward homosexuality in general. Angry and resentful toward Tim. Felt that Tim had always gotten the lion's share of attention from his father and that nothing he ever did pleased his father.
Cathy McGraw: Spoke for the shortest time of all family members. Said that she suspected about Tim's homosexuality long ago. Upset by rift between Tim and his mom.
Beth McGraw: Is close friends with Tim's former fiancee, Mary Rose Beretti (Rosie). Upset with the way Tim handled the situation with her. Also upset by discord in family and blames problems on Tim.
Tim McGraw: A young man who is rapidly developing a sense of self. Trying to deal with family tensions, but also trying to distance himself from them by staying with a boyfriend in Part Forest. Is dealing with some identity issues.
General Discussion: Kevin blamed Tim for the family's current problems. Stated at first that he wanted to keep his kids away from Tim because of his gayness. Through questioning, we demonstrated that homosexuality is not contagious. He revealed that keeping his children away from his mother was a way of retaliation. Discussion became heated when the topic of the Fourth of July came up. Both brothers stood up and a physical confrontation looked immanent. Kevin almost left the session, but was assured that his input was needed to help solve the current crisis.
Cathy and Beth were supportive, and Cathy offered to let Tim stay at her house. Beth expressed concern over Rosie. Beth thinks that she and Tim have unfinished business. Jeannie is overshadowed by her husband, and resentful toward Tim because of Patrick's favoritism toward him.
Results: Tim can return to his home for the time being. He stated me may spend more time in Park Forest. The entire family needs some serious counseling to resolve issues underlying their problems; Tim's announcement only seems to be tip of the iceberg.
Action Plan: Tim is to write his feelings in a journal. Should he continue counseling, which is recommended, he will bring the journal with him; however, it is his choice to share it with the therapist or counselor. All parties agreed that there should be a third party should Kevin come to visit his parent's home and Tim is present. Tim needs to talk to Mary Rose Beretti, again with a third party present, preferably a mental health specialist.
Recommendations: 1) Tim should continue counseling to deal with his sexuality. 2) Patrick and Jeannie should seek marital counseling. It is our belief that divorce is imminent without it. 3) The entire family should seek the help of South Suburban PFLAG to gain a better understanding of what Tim is experiencing. 4) Kevin could benefit from some anger management training.
Brian had had precious little time to himself that summer. His duties at the Nature Lodge kept him busy. And the demands for attention from his three diverse friends, Jason, Mike and Tommy, kept him distracted.
Each Sunday, the camp had a nondemoninational service in the Lodge. Attendance was mandatory. Bill coordinated them, and because he had once been a Catholic seminarian, they had a strong Catholic flavor. Since Bill also played guitar, he also chose the hymns. Each Sunday, they sang Lift Up Your Hearts, one of the few contemporary Catholic hymns that had survived from the 'Folk Mass' craze of the late sixties and early seventies.
It was after dinner on Tuesday night. On Thursday morning, he would board the bus for the eight-hour return trip to St. Luke's. Matt had written Brian that he would pick him up Thursday evening, and Brian was to spend the extended weekend in Park Forest.
This evening, he was in an odd mood, and wanted to be alone for a while. He had managed to give Jason and Mike the slip and told Tommy gently that he wanted to be alone. Tommy accepted Brian's request with quiet resignation. Lift Up Your Hearts kept echoing through Brian's mind despite his attempts to think of other music. He sat alone on the stone wall facing the lakefront. It faced due west. The sunset was brilliant this evening, and just a few clouds skittered across the sky, propelled by a strong wind.
The main topic on the boy's mind tonight was love. His feelings toward his brothers and sister were fading fast. They withdrew into their own lives and concerns and any security they might have offered vanished. He had written them all postcards during his time at camp, but predictably, they went unanswered.
He thought about Matt, and how much he loved him. It was not a sexual love, although Matt was an attractive man. It was more the type of love a son would feel for his father. Brian now could barely remember his own natural parents, and the memories that lingered were those of two rather cold, distant and undemonstrative people.
Brian also felt love for Tommy. Again, it was more of a brotherly love, than a sexual feeling. He enjoyed touching Tommy and holding him, although sometimes Tommy's constant need for affection could overwhelm him. The night Tommy slept in his bed would remain as one of the sweetest memories Brian would take from camp. Brian wondered how they had never connected back at the main campus, and what the future held for them. Matt might take him into full-time foster care as early as August when school started. That might mean he wouldn't see Tommy again for a long time! He thrust this thought out of his mind.
He had a completely different set of emotions for Jason and Mike. Jason was a sex object. Brian liked him, but mainly wanted sex play with Jason. He enjoyed Jason's body. The sight of his stomach as it tensed into a six-pack when he ejaculated thrilled him. His adult-sized cock stimulated him. But Brian felt little for him emotionally. He knew Jason was basically interested in girls, and this summer Jason had substituted sex with those available for sex with those he really desired. Brian wondered why he felt so little for him emotionally. Brian would remember Jason fondly, but wouldn't miss him much.
Mike was an entirely different story. He felt close to Mike, and even liked to hold him in secret when they could get away from the disapproving eyes of others. But, he felt little for him sexually. Brian had to admit to himself that he thought Mike was unattractive. Brian loved him for his mind, his wit and his energy. But Mike's ardent feelings were unreturned. Brian simply refused to acknowledge them. As with Tommy, the possibility of leaving Mike stung, especially since they had unfinished business between them. Brian knew he still could keep in touch through mail, but it wouldn't be the same.
Brian sat on the wall for nearly an hour, pondering his feelings for the people closest to him. He could come up with no solutions, and this troubled him. In the hour he sat on the wall, no one had disturbed him or even come near. The sun had almost dipped below the horizon, leaving a magenta glow and silhouetting the pine and birch trees on the other side of the lake. When the bell rang to signal the end of evening Free Time, he started slowly up the path toward the main camp.
Wednesday was the first part of Changeover Day. The next morning about fifteen campers would return to campus.
Changeover Day was carefully orchestrated. It was a ballet of activities designed to help ease the transition. The Program Director and Bill had planned a day full of strenuous activities designed to wear the remaining campers down for bedtime. The success of the day depended on good planning and good weather. As the day dawned, it appeared that the weather would cooperate, even though it would be hot.
After breakfast, the campers were divided into age groups. The Indians played soccer, the Juniors played baseball and the Seniors swam. Then they rotated. Brian stood sweating in right field and thinking about how much he hated baseball and how much he wanted to see and talk to Tommy. Brian wanted to tell him his version of the raid on Sioux. Brian knew Tommy would have probably heard all about it by now. The news had spread all over camp.
After lunch, the only remaining activity from the regular schedule took place: the state-mandated rest period. Very little actual sleeping took place but Camp Homewood followed the law nonetheless. The campers who were leaving were instructed to pace their bags, except for a change of clothes for the banquest that would take place that night. All the other campers in Illini watch Jason pack his duffel bag wistfully.
"Wish I was going home, too."
All the counselors, except for three, were in a meeting this rest hour. The purpose of the meeting was to select the winners of the various awards to be presented at the banquet that night. One counselor was assigned to each quad, similar to nightly quad duty, to watch the campers, make sure they stayed in their cabins, and keep the mayhem to a minimum.
The bell starting the next activity was late and the camper grew restless. Then, fifteen minutes later than the bell should have rung, the counselors were spotted walking to their individual cabins. They all looked pensive and preoccupied.
The instant Tip stepped into the cabin, the campers except Brian, surrounded him like hungry puppies.
"Who's gonna win Best Camper?" "Who's going to win Best Athlete?" But Tip, ever the professional, simply grinned. All the counselors had been sworn to secrecy. His explanation was interrupted by the ringing of the bell.
Brian remained behind, packing the last pair of jeans. He sat on the edge of the bed and marveled at the sudden change in volume in the cabin. Brain was feeling a bit melancholy about leaving. Tip rummaged around in his room, and changed into his bathing suit. He poked his head around the corner.
"You still here? Aren't you going to the waterfront?"
"Yeah, I guess."
Tip extended his hand. "Come on." He pulled Brian gently up from the bed. Their eyes met.
"I'm going to miss you," Tip said to him.
"I'll miss you, too." He still held Tip's hand.
"You will write to me, won't you?"
"If you write me back."
"And say 'hi' to Matt for me." Then, Tip, who was rather reserved in his affection toward the campers, and hadn't touched Brian beyond a friendly pat on the back, pulled the boy toward him. The counselor held Brian for a long moment, then let his arms drop.
"The rest of the day, and tomorrow are going to be pretty hectic. I just wanted to say goodbye, in case I didn't get a chance later." He tousled the boy's hair.
"Let's go swim."
Thanks for reading! Your comments are appreciated.
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Be sure to check out my new story Pocketful of Stars in the XX section of Nifty and on my website.