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…And Dream My Dreams of You

by Jay B.

Chapter 2

I was drifting quickly, and below me vast fields and forests sunk into night and spun away. Higher I flew—and faster—wrapped in clouds that glowed with moonlight, that caught on my body and trailed along behind me like a cloak. And slowly these clouds resolved themselves into blankets, into long silk trains that were studded with stars, and sometimes fields of snow through which I ran, my feet barely touching the ground, and without sensing the cold. Suddenly the snow and silk and clouds swirled and smoothed themselves out into my bed. And Jake lay there, looking impossibly beautiful. We lay against each other and he stroked my hair.

“I love you, Paul,” he whispered. Over and over he said it as he sat up and leaned towards my lips with his. He smiled.

The alarm rang and I realized it had happened again. There was about a second, maybe two, when I was awake and it hadn’t occurred to me that Jake hated my fucking guts and it was just another dream. Those couple of seconds, I figured were going to be the high point of my day and they were already over. Plus that dream was just plain weird.

Jake kept his promise, at least. He didn’t tell anyone. The next day everything was the same as always: no one acted differently and life went on as it always had, at least until lunch. I always sat with Jake, but clearly that wasn’t going to work anymore. Most of the guys at his table were more his friends anyway, so I bought my lunch and then started looking around for somewhere else to sit. Our school has four different lunch periods, and at this one I didn’t really see anyone else I knew all that well, which was ok. I just wanted to be alone anyway.

I’d spent most of the weekend in my room feeling like I needed some quiet time. “Moping,” was what my dad called it. The worst part wasn’t that I still wanted Jake so badly—though that was bad enough—but that I had invested so much in someone and been so wrong about them. I think I secretly always believed that even if he found out, Jake would be okay with it. I was actually pretty surprised at how he’d reacted. Now it was like I hadn’t really known him all this time: he wasn’t the guy I’d trusted, the guy who thought so much like me it was almost scary, the guy who was my best friend, who’d gotten drunk with me for the first time, who I’d helped pass math for the last three years. I had just been a pathetic, lovesick little puppy all along, imagining something that—no matter how much I wanted it to be true—just wasn’t there.

I spent most of the lunch period by staring off into space rather than eating, when I heard a voice over my shoulder.

“Hey, Paul, why the hell are you over here?”It was Philip, one of the guys I usually sat with at lunch. He was carrying his empty tray to the trash and looked genuinely surprised.

“Oh, just needed to get some studying done.”

“Where are your books? There’s nothing here but your lunch,” he stated simply. Philip was one of Jake’s teammates on the football team, but kind of my friend too so I figured I would have to tell him something.

“Look, it’s just that uh...Jake and I are not really talking right now.”

“You serious? Holy shit, I can’t believe it.” He sat down across from me. “Damn, the end of the world’s coming. I mean with you guys it’s like you’re fucking boyfriends or something,” he laughed.

He must have seen me wince. “I didn’t mean it like that, Paul, sorry. I was just joking around. But it’s so weird for you guys to be fighting.”

“Yeah,” I admitted.

“Can I ask why?”

“I don’t want to talk about it. Just…just don’t worry about it.”

“You know you guys should just apologize or whatever and quit this. You’ve been friends forever.”

I didn’t want to discuss it with anyone, but I figured there wasn’t much point in pretending things would be OK either.

“Honestly, dude, I don’t think that’s gonna happen,” I said.

“Jesus, what’d he do this time?” Philip said to himself. I must have looked surprised.

“Aww, I know it was him,” he laughed. “You’re usually a pretty nice guy. Jake’s the one who’s always being an ass. Don’t worry; I’ll talk some sense into him. He always comes around.”

It took me less than a second to realize that that was a very bad idea. Maybe Jake hadn’t said anything about me so far, but if Philip started pushing him...who knew what he’d tell him?

“Look, Philip, I appreciate this and all, but I want you to leave it alone, OK?”


“Damn it, Phil! I said not to!” I began, before getting got control of myself. Okay, maybe that was a little huge.

“Please, just don’t try to help, all right?” I asked as calmly as I could.

“OK, OK,” he said, holding up his hands. “But if you two just throw away your friendship like this, I think that’s pretty stupid. I mean, what could you possibly be this mad about?”

I didn’t say anything.

“Oh yeah,” Phil continued, “I forgot, it’s top secret. Damn, you two need to get over yourselves and fucking apologize.”

“Yeah, well we’ll see. Maybe Jake will…” God, I was so pathetic! Get over him. He’s gone! The little voice in my head practically yelled. And it was right.

“No. You know what? Never mind, fuck it. Fuck him,” I said.

I don’t know what I expected from Philip. Surprise maybe? But instead he just looked at me with a glance that was coolly appraising. Not hostile, exactly…

“Whatever, man,” Philip said thoughtfully, then smiled, shrugged his shoulders and left.

If it was hard getting Philip and all the other people that noticed that something was up with me and Jake that day to get off my back, it was really going to be a problem with my mom. I had been worrying about it all day, in fact.

“You going over to Jake’s to study tonight?” she asked when I got home.

“Um, no. I’ll be here.”

“Oh, so Jake’s going to come over?”

“No, he’s busy tonight, I think.” She laughed and I felt defensive all of a sudden.

“What’s so funny?” I asked.

“Oh, nothing. I knew it had to happen sometime.”


“That you guys would fight. You’ve been moping around the house since Friday.”

“Yeah, well, we’ve argued before, mom.”

“Uh-huh, and within an hour either you or Jake comes slinking back, tail between your legs, to apologize. Usually Jake.”

“What do you mean usually Jake?’” I asked.

“Paul, you know and I know what a hard-headed person you are. Most of the time, it’s Jake that ends up saying he’s sorry, regardless of who’s at fault.”

“No way!”

“Yes, way,” she laughed. “Beside you and your Dad, the person I know best is him. He’s practically family.” She reached over to stroke my hair. “I admit, Jake’s always been a bit…volatile…but he always cools down and comes to his senses quickly, too. You, kiddo, are the one that always has to hold the grudge.” I was kind of surprised that she was saying all this to me. I mean it true, but still…

“If you guys are this mad at each other, I’m guessing this must be about a girl. Am I right?” she asked.

“Something like that, I guess,” I mumbled.

She smiled, but I felt sick inside for having to lie. “I know you kids and your raging hormones and all; but Paul, Jake’s the best friend you’ve ever had. It almost scares me how close you guys are sometimes.” She looked away and I could have sworn she was embarrassed.

“Mom, what if I told you…”

“Told me what?” she asked quickly.

“Nothing, forget about it.”

Her eyes narrowed.

“What if I… what If I said I don’t think Jake’s going to be coming over any more? Ever.” I asked.

She looked very serious all of a sudden. “What would I say?” she asked.

“Yeah, if I told you that?”

She thought for a moment. “I would say that’s a real shame. I would say that you two really ought to work it out because if you don’t then I will be really disappointed in you both.”

“What if I told you there was no ‘working it out?’”

“Then I would say that you’re not trying hard enough.” She patted me on the back. I nodded and smiled and I knew she wouldn’t understand anyway.

Life went on, with or without Jake. I went to school, did my homework, acted normal with my friends, and tried not to think about how dead I felt inside. Jake must have tried to stay away from me as much as I tried to ignore him: I saw no more than a glance of him till Wednesday. I was trying to get one of the vending machines to take my dollar when he came around the corner. He was talking to Philip, and they were laughing about something. He looked so happy I figured he’d probably already gotten over me—hell, like there was anything to get over—and I hoped to God he wouldn’t see me. But he did see me, and the smile went right off his face when he did. It wasn’t until then that I noticed he really looked like shit, like he hadn’t slept all week. I felt a guilty little stab of pleasure: at least I hurt him too, even if it wasn’t much compared to what he’d done to me. He stared at me for a moment like he was going to speak to me; I even opened my mouth to tell him—I don’t know what—something, anything. The he brushed past me without a word, the bastard.

“Hey Paul, how’s it going?” Philip asked. He’d seen everything but he hadn’t followed Jake’s example.

“Uh, hey Philip. Stuff’s fine I guess.”

“Cool, I’m all stoked for your party. Alan told me his older brother was going to get a keg and everything.”

“You’re still coming?” I asked.
“Well, I am still your friend.”

“Yeah, of course. I just thought that since…”

“Hey you told me to stay out of it, Jake told me to stay out of it…that’s what I’m doing. But I’m still invited, right?”

“Of course, I mean it’s not really even my party. Alan will take any excuse he can get to throw a kegger. Hell, I think main reason he was worrying when he found out…when he found out about Jake…was ‘cause he thought I was gonna cancel or something.”

“Look, Paul, I know you told me to stay out and I promise this is the last time I’ll bring it up. I just thought you ought to know about Jake…he’s really torn up about this. I don’t know what the hell happened—and I’m not asking, so don’t get mad, OK?—but the kid is all messed up.” For a moment, my heart was in my throat and a hundred stupid hopes came into my head.

“Why should the both of you be so miserable?” Phil went on. “No one can figure out why the hell the two guys who everyone knows are like brothers and so incredibly tight suddenly start acting like they hate each other’s guts.”

As quickly as I’d felt hope, rationality came back. I wasn’t going to let myself be a lovesick little homo anymore. “Hey Phil, I’ll try to say this as nice as I can: It’s done, Jake and me are no longer friends. I don’t want to talk about it and the sooner I get over him…not ‘get over him,’ I mean, you know like, just not worry about him anymore…the happier I’ll be. If people keep bringing it up, how’s that going to happen?”

He laughed. “Jesus, you and him—the drama—it’s like you’re boyfriends.”

“Hey, take that back!”

“Whoa, dude, chill out. I’m not saying you two are a couple of gays,” he said and then added, mischievously, “and even if you were, I wouldn’t care. I’m just sorry to see you both so miserable.”

“I’m not gay, Jake’s not gay. Just…just drop it, man,” I insisted.

Philip was watching me like I was some puzzle again.

“Look, sorry dude. I…I gotta go. I’ll talk to you later,” I said. For a horrifying moment as I hurried away, I thought he had guessed my secret. But maybe it was more a premonition for that evening.

That afternoon my mom asked me about Jake again, but I insisted I didn’t want to talk about it and she finally gave up. Later that evening I heard mom and dad talking in my dad’s study. Oh shit, here it comes I thought and went up to my room to await the inevitable. About fifteen minutes later there was a knock on my door. It was Dad.

He came in and looked at me for a while. I watched attentively but kept quiet. Then he went over to my dresser and started messing with my stuff. This was a new approach.

“Can I, uh, help you?” I asked. He shook his head and put down a soccer trophy he’d picked up.

“Nah, just looking’ around.” He went over and started examining the books and CDs on my shelf.

“If you’re looking for drugs, the meth lab is in my closet and I hid the crack pipe and the bong in my sock drawer.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” he laughed.

“Mom gave up and sent you, huh?” I said. “She thought we should have a man-to-man talk?”

“No, your mother didn’t send me anywhere. You listen to this much?” he asked, holding up a CD. Arcade Fire: Funeral. One of my favorites.

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“You like it?”

“Yeah. It’s all right,” I said.

Dad had a patient, indirect way of discussing things. I usually like that about him but it was unnerving just now. “Look, mom’s just jumping overboard about this. It’s no big deal.”

“Jake got you this for your birthday two years ago, right?” he asked.

I didn’t answer. He opened the CD and read, nonchalantly, what was written on the liner notes in black marker: To Paul. Best friends forever. Jake.

“Well, kids say stupid things,” I shot back.

“Yup, and adults say stupid things too. In fact saying stupid things is pretty much a lifelong occupation.”

“Cool, well I’m glad we had this talk,” I said.

“Me too, son.” He nodded and put the CD on the shelf but made no move to leave.

“Look dad, I get the message. Jake and me are just being stupid, getting angry at each over nothing, over some girl. We should get over it and become friends again. Is that what Mom told you, that this was over some girl?”

“She mentioned it as a possibility, yes.”

“Well, it’s not, OK?”

“I know it isn’t,” he said and looked at me with a sudden seriousness on his face.

“Well, I’m sure you’ve got a theory. Everyone’s got a theory, but you know what?”

“No, what?” he asked patiently.

“It’s not anyone’s business. I’m a few days a way from being an official adult. I can deal with things completely on my own.”

“Paul, no one—not if you’re eighteen, not if you’re eighty—can deal with things completely alone. Hell, why would anyone want to?”

I sighed.”What I’m saying is, I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but just don’t, OK? You think I like Jake hating me? I don’t, Dad, but this…this…situation is not going to be fixed by some ‘good parenting’ on your or mom’s part. It’s just fucked up beyond repair, and I don’t think you would understand, so please let it go.”

He didn't say anything. Just watched me.

I sighed. “I wish it were as simple as us fighting over some girl, because that’s something that only an idiot would stay mad about. But this has nothing to do with love, OK?”

Dad pulled my desk chair over next to where I sat on the bed and sat down on it. He looked out the window for a while, but he wasn’t really looking at what was outside it, I think. It was like he was making his mind up about something. He looked at me, through me almost, and I felt I couldn’t meet his eyes.

“About the first part, yes, I believe you. The second part is a lie,” he said simply.

“W-what do you mean?”

“The girl, yes, I know it has nothing to do with a girl. But it has everything to do with love.”

“Dad just…just shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Just go.” I got up, but he put his hand on my shoulder. God. Was I really this transparent?

“I’m not going to do what Jake did, Paul,” was all he said.

“What? What do you mean? Let me go…”

“I mean that first of all, I’m not a kid. I’ve been around and I know the world is a lot bigger and more complicated than high school, thank God. And I also know that I’m not your friend, or not just your friend. I’m your father and I love you unconditionally.”

“Dad, please stop this. It’s dumb.”

“Whatever you tell me…and I mean that, Paul, whatever you tell me will not make me hate you, it will not make you love you the slightest bit less and it will not make you any less in my eyes than what I already know you are: a fine, strong, intelligent young man.”

He took his hand off my shoulder and stood up in front of me. It was funny because I almost glanced up expecting to see his face above me when he stood, before I realized that I was about the same height as him now and had been for the last year or so. His face was strangely blurred, and he smiled at me. I grabbed him tight as I could.

“I love you Dad, and I’m sorry,” I whispered. He laughed.

“Don’t you be the sorry one. You have nothing to be sorry about.” He patted me on the back and drew back, his arms still on my shoulders. “You aren’t the only one who's been afraid. I guess…I guess I’ve known for a while now. But I’ve had to come to terms with it, and I’ve been so busy worrying about other things, I haven’t been there for the one who really needed me.”

I nodded. We were both silent for a time.

“I’m…uh, I’m gay, dad.” I said, finally. He nodded.

“I’m gay,” I repeated.

“I know,” he said. “And you know what?”


“That’s OK. And don’t let anyone, Paul, anyone ever tell you it’s not OK, or make you feel like less of a person.” I knew who he was talking about and Dad must have seen what I was thinking.

“What did he say, when he found out?” he asked.

“That he couldn’t believe I was a liar and a fag. That he didn’t want to speak to me again.”

He nodded. “That it?”


“You…well, did you have feelings for him?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I nodded. “God, yes. He found that out too. He saw something I’d written, something he was never supposed to see. I wouldn’t have told him.”

“And you really care about him don’t you?”

“I loved him, Dad. I still do. That’s why this sucks so fucking bad.” Hell, here the kid was still, all over my room. His jacket was hanging in my closet, his bathing suit was in my top drawer from the last time we’d swum in the backyard pool, a picture of us on a camping trip from last year sat in a frame on the bookshelf next to it. The football lying next to my bed was his and four years of his birthday presents were scattered all over my room. Hell, even the dime bag of weed drying out in my desk drawer was actually his.

“I don’t understand how he could do it,” I said. “I thought we would always be friends, at least. I don’t see how I could have misjudged him so badly.”

My dad sighed. “I’m surprised too, Paul. This just isn’t like him and I hope he’ll come around. There might be more at work here then you think.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Jake’s hotheaded, but he’s also a lot of good things too. Lord knows he’s been a good influence on you.”

“On me?”

“You know how shy you were. You mom and me were worried about you when we moved here, but that kid got under your shell through sheer persistence, when we couldn’t. And I think he’s helped you leave that shell behind. He helped you in a lot of ways…”

Dad shook his head. “But I’m angry at him too. What he did was cruel, and what he said was untrue. Even if he has been a good friend, if that’s the way he feels, then you need to let it go; you need to let him go. Your own self-worth is more important.”

“Yeah, I know,” I said.

We sat next to each other on the bed for a while, neither one saying a word. I felt stupid the when I thought so, but it was kind of nice.

“So, you feeling a little better?” Dad asked.

“Yeah, I am, thanks.”

“Good.” He made a move to leave.

“Uh, Dad?”


“You gonna tell mom? About me?”

“That’s really your job, Paul. But I know your mom pretty well,” he smiled. “I think she’ll be all right.”

“OK Dad.”

“Goodnight Paul.”

“Goodnight Dad.”

Copyright 2006. Email Jay B.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs2.5 License.

Thanks for reading. Chapter 3 coming soon…