Finding Love: A Journey
(Copyright 2007 by the author)
Disclaimer: This is a fictional story dealing with love and consensual sexual
activities between males. If you are not of legal age, reside in an area where
viewing such material is illegal, or are offended by homosexuality and/or
homosexual themes, leave this site now.
The characters in this story do not always practice safe sex. Remember this is fiction. You should always use a condom for the your protection and especially for the protection of the one you love. The author recommends only safe sex. Be wise and follow safe sex practices.
Several songs are quoted in this story. The copyrights to these are held by the artists or their publishers and not by the author. They are quoted as a tribute to the artist and the piece.
All persons in this story are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
All other disclaimers apply. The author retains all rights. No reproductions
are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...
I grabbed Brad and pulled him on top of me. One of his legs was caught
somehow in the steering wheel, but he didn't care and neither did I. We were
kissing madly and our hands were exploring, our crotches rubbing against each
other. We were both erect. I couldn't take it any longer.
"Get me home, Brad. Get me home! Now!" I insisted.
"Your wish is my command, my lover."
After untangling ourselves, Brad started the Mustang and we roared away toward our own version of paradise.
"Hon, are you okay? You're
shaking and near tears. Did I say something that would upset you
that much?" I asked.
"No, no, Jake. I'm learning so much from you. You had already forgiven me for being such a jerk. Baby, I'm gonna work on it. I need to forgive Shanks; I know I have to do it for all the reasons you gave. And by the way, you are a hot, sexy psychiatrist and I want to share your couch. Let's get back to the house so that we can get to bed. I owe you some loving, and I want to deliver on my promise to finish what I started earlier."
I grabbed Brad and pulled him on top of me. One of his legs was caught somehow in the steering wheel, but he didn't care and neither did I. We were kissing madly and our hands were exploring, our crotches rubbing against each other. We were both erect. I couldn't take it any longer.
"Get me home, Brad. Get me home! Now!" I said.
"Your wish is my command, my lover."
After untangling ourselves, Brad started the Mustang and we roared home.
When we arrived back at the
house, Sadie and Diane were chatting quietly in the kitchen while my
father was entertaining Gary and Father Jim in the living room. The
Lis had not yet returned from the hospital.
Sadie, always thinking of everyone, suggested to Brad that he should call home and let his parents know what he was up to. He could stay the night, but he needed to tell them, she advised him. Diane agreed.
I could tell from Brad's body language that he really didn't want to do what Sadie and Diane advised him to do. I smiled at him, took his hand and said,
"We're going up to my suite; Brad will take care of it there. Is that okay?"
"Certainly, but don't wait too long. Get it done," said Sadie.
"That sounded like an order, Sadie," Brad said.
"It was, my friend, it was."
"We're outa here. I'll make sure it gets done, okay?" I said.
We got nods of approval as we left the kitchen and hurried to my suite. Once inside our place, I locked the door. I turned to my lover, and asked him,
"Is there a reason you are so reluctant to call home?"
Brad walked away from me and toward the bedroom. I quietly followed him. He was tense and it showed. He sat on the bed, looked at me, but didn't smile in his usual way.
"I don't want to talk to my father. I know you don't understand, but it's a fact. If I call, he'll probably answer and I will have to deal with him. I don't want to do that. I don't think I will call."
"Bullshit! You will call and right now. I promised Sadie and Diane that you would call and, by God, you're going to call," I practically shouted.
"Really?" said a smirking Brad.
"Fuckin' right, dufus."
"And you, slight swimmer boy, are going to make me?"
"You want some loving later tonight when we're in bed?" I asked.
"Try me," I warned.
"Com'ere," he commanded.
I went to him, a little cautiously, wondering what I would get for my threat not to have sex with him later. I already knew how much he wanted that, and so did I, but I had to let him know how important it was for him to call home.
"You are a little shithead, Jacob Neilson. You would not let me make love to you just to punish me for not calling home."
"Not exactly. In a way I don't care if you call home or not, pigskin breath. But I do care because I made a promise. I keep my promises, to others just as I keep them to you. It's the way I am."
Now Brad smiled. He put his arm around me and pulled me close. Then he kissed me and all my resolve went flying out the window. He had me.
"You're right as usual, Baby. I'll call right now, but first, I want to kiss you again. Okay?"
"Okay," I said.
He pushed me back onto the bed, straddled me, and began kissing me hard and with his tongue almost in my throat. He humped against my hardened penis, and pinched my erect nipples. Now I was surely his. I wrapped my legs around him, and returned his passionate kiss, my hand on his muscular back, my mind and spirit soaring. I tried to roll over so that I might be on top, but that didn't happen. He pulled away from me, laughed, and after some gentle kisses, he got up from the bed and walked toward the study room. He turned and looked at me, his green eyes sparkling as I never remembered them.
"So I still have some charm, Jake. You will pay for this little bit of crap later tonight, you can count on it."
"I hope so," I told him, "now call home."
"Hey! I'm not ET, ya know.
I ran across the room and jumped into his arms, almost knocking him on his ass. But he's strong, and was able to maintain his balance. I began kissing him wildly.
"You, vixen, my god, I want you," he said.
"Later," I told him, as I stroked his back and kissed his ear, "Later."
"Fuckadoodle!" he said.
In the living room Doug had
continued his conversation with Gary and Jim. They had discussed the
happenings of the day and how well Jacob had managed Brad.
"It was difficult for Jacob to keep the control he did. Brad was a basket case at times," said Father Jim.
"That's true," said Doug, "I learned how mature my son is. I'm ashamed to say I didn't realize it until very recently."
Gary shifted his weight on the sofa, and in so doing got a little closer to Jim. Doug didn't notice. Jim did. Gary put his arm on the sofa back where it lay almost on Jim's back. He let his hand slide just a bit and he was able to gently move his fingers across Jim's shoulder. Jim didn't move. Doug didn't notice.
"It's not unusual for a parent to be the last to understand or to see something about their own child that others, often teachers or coaches or friends notice. I'll bet Sadie was aware of Jacob's maturity," offered Gary .
As Doug was speaking, Gary pressed his leg tightly against Jim's. Jim didn't move. Doug didn't notice; he just kept talking.
"You're right, of course," he said, "Sadie was aware of many things about Jacob that I didn't notice, or didn't want to admit, or couldn't perceive as being the truth about him. I'm ashamed that I was so blind, so stupid."
Jim stood and went to Doug. He smiled at the man who was becoming aware of the complexity of fathering a son in the 21st Century. Jim looked into Doug's eyes and told him,
"Doug, you're not blind and you're not stupid. Raising kids today is difficult. Parents need all the help they can get. It's obvious to me that you have a godsend in Sadie. She's a friend to Jacob, a listener, a giver of advice, and mostly she loves him like he was her son. If you learn from her and from Diane who also has a wonderful sense about young people, you'll be okay. Now, if you don't mind, I have to call a taxi and get home. I can have the taxi drop off Gary , too. His car is not drivable, as you know.'
"No taxi, Father. Take the SUV, we'll use the other car and Sadie will drive us to your place and pick up the SUV tomorrow. We'll call you first. No arguments," Doug said, standing and taking the good priest into a big hug.
Gary was now standing, too. He smiled as he saw Doug give Jim a hug. He was sure that a few days ago, Doug would never have hugged the priest, or for that matter, any other man. How things change! He walked over to Doug.
"Thanks for everything, Doug. You have been helpful and certainly a remarkable host. The interest you took in the two injured young men was exceptional. It wasn't just because one of them was Jacob's boyfriend's brother; it was because you are a kind and caring man," said Gary .
"Amen!" said Father Jim.
"Tush, you two, you're embarrassing me. " said Doug as he hugged Gary.
"I'd like to say good night to the boys and Diane and Sadie before we leave," said Jim.
"No problem," said Doug, "Sadie and Diane are in the kitchen and I'll scoot up and get the boys."
"That would be great," added Gary .
The three men, left together but went in different directions, Father Jim and Gary toward the kitchen and Doug toward Jacob's suite.
Beth and Travis Mason had a
silent sandwich supper. Beth had asked Travis a number of times to
talk about Chris and Brad. He refused.
Their meal ended with no resolution to the differences between the two about their sons. Beth was ready to accept them, even if she didn't necessarily approve of their sexual preferences. On the other hand, Travis was implacable. For him there was no acceptance of his sons if they were to continue to be gay. He had lost Chris, but he was determined not to lose Brad.
Travis Mason had put his trust in Revered Colchester and The Regency Readjustment Colony. He would be turning his son over to the Reverend and his methods. In time, a year or so, Brad would be returned to him as a normal male heterosexual. Of that he was sure. After the silent meal, Travis had gone to his office, actually one of the unused bedrooms.
While he was there, his cell phone rang. He hurried to answer it.
"Hello, Travis Mason here."
"Mr. Mason, this is Reverend Colchester."
"Yes, is there a problem, Reverend?"
"Well, yes there is. We won't have an opening until the beginning of next week, Wednesday probably. We had a relapse, so we need to keep one patient for a bit longer. I know this will probably upset you, but these things happen. Sometimes patients relapse and we have to reinforce some lessons."
"Crap! I'm not happy, but there isn't much I can do. Call me at my office during the day. I don't like taking your calls at home. You can understand that, can't you."
"Of course, Mr. Mason. I'll be in touch. Goodnight."
Travis snapped his phone shut and cursed. Nothing seemed to be going right. Why did this kind of shit always happen to him? He was a good man, God fearing, moral, a reasonably good husband. Why?
The phone rang, but before he could pick up, the phone stopped ringing indicating that Beth had answered. It was probably those damned interfering Neilsons. They should mind their own business. Later he would see what he could do to screw Douglas Neilson in one of his real estate deals.
In her bedroom, Beth answered the phone. She heard a voice she loved.
"Mom, it's Brad. Where's dad?"
Beth signed deeply, "He's in his office working. Why do you ask?"
"I don't want to talk to him tonight. And, Mom, I'm sorry about the scene dad caused in the hospital cafeteria. I wish you had come to the Neilson's for dinner. You would have enjoyed all the talk and everything.'
"I know that, sweetie, but it wasn't a good idea, not with the mood you father is in right now."
"Mom, I want to stay here tonight and maybe tomorrow night, but I don't have any clean school clothes. I don't think it would be a good idea for me to come to the house. It would just cause a scene, and after today, I couldn't take that. I'm sorry."
Beth Mason, sat up on the edge of the bed. She was thinking of how best to handle the situation. She knew it wouldn't take much to set Travis off again. How to do it?
"Mom, are you still there?"
"Yes, Brad, I'm still here. Look, I'm going to pack a suitcase of your school clothes. I'll gather your books and put whatever I find that looks like school work in your backpack. Is there anything you need other than that."
"Mom, I could use a little cash."
Beth could hear Jacob's voice in the background but she couldn't make out what he was saying. Finally Brad told her,
"I won't need money, Mom. Jacob said he would take care of things for a couple of days. So don't worry about that."
"Now listen carefully, Brad. I'm going to have your father pick up. Just tell him that you're staying at Jacob's for the night, and check what time he wants to pick you up at school tomorrow to help him. Be polite. After you hang up give me a few minutes to pack. I'll tell your father I have to run to the drugstore for some medications that I take. I'll leave everything with Sam at the gate. You come and get it from Sam. Do you understand?"
Brad could hear his mother calling his father. He heard his father pick up the phone. He shuddered, thinking of what might become an explosive chat.
"Hi Dad. What time are you going to pick me up at school tomorrow so that I can help you? I'm going to crash here for the night."
"Oh, you're not coming home?"
"No, I want Jacob to help me with some English `cause he's really smart. It's gonna take a while, and I'm tired and really don't want to drive. So, Dad, what time tomorrow?"
"Oh, about that, Brad. Got a call from a client who needs my help tomorrow and who can only see me after three in the afternoon. We'll have to schedule another day and time. Don't worry about it. I'll let you know in plenty of time for you to make the necessary arrangements with your coach. I'll have to say goodnight, Brad, because I've got lots of work to get done before tomorrow."
"Goodnight, Dad. And, Mom, good night to you, too."
Brad heard the click of the phone as his father hung up the receiver.
"Goodnight, Brad. Remember what I told you," said his mother.
"I will, and, Mom, I love you."
"I know you do, Brad. I know you do." and the phone went dead.
Jim wondered what lay in store
for him after he and Gary left the Neilsons. He was angry with
himself for failing to take charge earlier and he was upset that he
probably sent the wrong message to Gary . But having someone touch
him again nearly drove him insane.
There was no doubt in his mind that he was attracted to Gary . He felt a connection, a meaningful partnership with the man. There was certainly an enormous amount of sexual attraction, more than he would have admitted he was capable of since he lost Darren, but it was there. His entire body and mind were captured by the intensity of the feelings. Had they been alone, he would have probably initiated more, but that was not to be. He was a priest, for God's sake, and a good one. How could he give in to the desires of the flesh? He knew better.
Gary 's hand on his shoulder stimulated those feelings again and even his penis was responding. Gary was speaking, but he really didn't hear what he was saying, because, in a moment of clarity, he knew that he wanted to be with Gary , to make love. It frightened him. But that was what he wanted. He heard the end of what Gary was saying.
". . . come on Jim, we have to say goodnight to Diane and Sadie. Doug's gone to get the boys so that we can say goodnight to them, too. Jim?"
"I'm sorry, Gary , my mind was somewhere else,' said Jim.
Gary looked at Jim carefully, wondering what he might have been thinking about that was so important that he wasn't listening. That was not the Jim he had begun to understand in the short time that he had known him. Jim was a listener, a careful, deliberate man who heard every word, who sensed more than one level of meaning. His life, in part, was built on the architecture of words. Not to listen. Strange. This behavior was an anomaly.
"It doesn't really matter, Jim, it was mostly about saying goodbye to people before we leave to go home. Jim, are you exhausted? You've been acting a little , what's the word . . ."
"Strangely?" interrupted Jim.
"Maybe that's the word. But why, Jim?"
Jim took Gary 's hand into his and looked directly into his eyes. He smiled slightly, and told Gary ,
"Yes, Gary, you. I fought my feelings for you all day and I tried not to send you any mixed messages. However, I might feel about you, I am trying not to forget who I am and what I stand for in our friendship. I mean, what I am trying to say, is well, I like you, Gary."
"That's it? Jim, you like me and because you like me it has made you act strangely. Do I understand that correctly? That's all there is to this?"
"No, no! That's the problem, can't you see what I am trying to tell you?"
"No, I can't. Tell me in plain English. Say it Jim, tell me what you want."
Jim's face reddened and his hand began to shake slightly even though he was squeezing Gary 's hand so tightly that it hurt. His eyes were moist with the beginning of tears. Gary said nothing, nor did he move a muscle. He knew that Jim needed to say aloud what he was feeling. In Jim's view it was making him act the way he had been acting.
"I want you, Gary. I want you in every way that one gay man can want another. There! Are you happy?" Jim said, his voice edged with anger.
Gary glanced around the living room, saw it was empty and answered Jim in the most profound way he knew. He kissed him hard and long on the lips. Jim's body relaxed as he returned the kiss and his tongue licked across Gary 's lips. Gary pulled away and looked into Jim's gorgeous blue eyes and told him,
"Jim, you are so hot! And I want you, too. Let's try to figure this out, please. I want you to come to my place when we leave here. Can you do that?"
Without hesitation Jim said,
"I'll figure a way. I have no duties in the morning, so I won't be missed until mid afternoon. That doesn't mean that I will spend the night with you, Gary. I'm not sure that I am ready for that, not yet."
Gary kissed Jim again on the lips, this time softly and with a gentleness that melted Jim's heart.
"We'll work it all out, Jim. We'll work it all out. Now let's go into the kitchen and say goodnight to the gals."
Brad carried me to the sofa and
laid me down. I smiled up at him. I was so horny I thought I might
explode. Brad laughed and stroked my hard cock through my shorts. I
began to squirm and moan; Brad loved it. I was really ready for
anything he wanted to do except what he did.
He laughed again, playfully slapped my erection, took out his cell phone and dialed home.
Before anyone answered, he said to me,
"There you terrible tease, all hot and bothered, but you will get no satisfaction from me. At least not now."
Then his attention turned to the phone call.
"Mom, it's Brad. Where's dad?"
I was only a bystander to the conversation, but I heard enough to know that Brad didn't want to talk with his father, but that his mother was urging him to do so.
I understood he was to go to the gate to pick some clothes and stuff from Sam. I told him not to worry about money when he asked his mom for some. I told him I would take care of everything, especially since my dad had given me money for that purpose.
Finally he did talk with his dad. The conversation was brief and guarded. I learned from comments Brad made that he dad wouldn't need him to help move things tomorrow. I was happy to hear that.
"Mom, I love you," said Brad as the conversation ended. Brad snapped his cell closed and looked at me.
"Are you satisfied?"
"I am. Tonight, my horny lover, I am totally yours. Come here for a sample."
Brad came to me and before he could do anything, I pulled down his shorts and briefs and was about to take his erect cock into my mouth when there was a knock at the door.
"Jacob, it's dad. Can you and Brad come to the kitchen to say good night and thank Gary and Father Jim for all they did for you guys today?"
`Absolutely, dad, we'll be right there," I said.
"Fine, but don't dawdle, because they want to leave."
"Right, dad," I replied.
Brad frowned, his penis quickly softening. Then he smiled. I laughed.
"What's so funny?" he asked.
"I think we need to schedule our time for sex. Everybody interrupts us," I said.
"Well, tonight, my cute water nymph, no one will interrupt us, and you will be mine, totally mine."
"I hope so, but pull up your clothes and let's get our asses downstairs before Sadie comes and embarrasses us."
As Brad pulled up his shorts and underwear and straightened himself out hoping to look presentable, he said,
"I don't want to contend with Sadie. I love her, Jake, but frankly she scares me a little."
With a laugh, I added,
"She scares me a lot."
We hurried out of my suite and to the kitchen.
When Jim and Gary arrived in
the kitchen they found Diane and Sadie sitting at the island having
a cup of tea. From their smiles it was obvious that they were glad
to see the two men who had become important to them during the
course of this difficult day.
"Sadie, Diane, we'll be leaving shortly. Doug went to get the boys so that we could say good bye to them, too. I want to thank you for your kindnesses and for the great meal tonight. It means a great deal to both Gary and me," said Jim.
"I want to echo that sentiment. You two have made the day bearable," said Gary .
"Hush, you two. We're just doing our thing trying to be helpful and supportive. You two did much more than we to make the day bearable. Thanks for that," said Sadie.
Diane stood and walked to the two young men. She smiled and said,
"I am sure that if you two hadn't been here, things would have been different and much worse. Your cool attitude and gentleness helped all of us."
Doug came into the kitchen, looked at the little group of his wife and the two young men, and with a laugh, asked,
"Do I have to worry about you two handsome young guys stealing my wife away from me?"
Diane went to Doug and hugged him and kissed him lightly on the lips. Then she said,
"Don't worry, Doug, you are the man who is my partner for life. No one can take your place."
"Hear, hear!" said the two guys
Brad and I came into the kitchen just as Jim and Gary were shouting their agreement of something.
"What's the cheer all about?" I asked.
"Just that your father doesn't have to worry about anyone stealing me away from him," said Diane.
"Jacob and I have to run over to my place to get some school clothes. I called my parents and they were fine with my staying here tonight. I'll work on tomorrow night later."
"We're getting ready to leave, too," said Gary .
"Would you like Brad to drop you off?" I asked.
"That won't be necessary," my dad said, "they're taking the SUV. We'll pick it up tomorrow."
"Okay. Father Jim, Gary , I want to thank you for all you did to help us today. You made it possible for us to deal with a situation that was horrific. Thanks so much," I said.
Brad went to Jim and hugged him. Then he hugged Gary . I followed him, hugging both of these men who had been so much help in keeping us under control emotionally through this difficult day.
"Thanks you two. I know I wouldn't have been able to get through the day without your kindness. And Diane, Mr. Neilson, how can I ever thank you for your understanding and willingness to help me. And you, dear Sadie, as always you have shown me just love and understanding. I often wonder how you can be so accepting of Jacob and me when my parents, especially my dad, hate us," said Brad his voice filled with emotion.
I hugged him and whispered quietly to him that I was here, that I loved him, and that the day was almost over and the night would belong to us.
Sadie had moved to the center of the room. She looked around at all of us. She was as serious as I could ever remember her
"I want you to all find a place to sit. I have something to tell you. It will help explain some things," Sadie said.
"Are you sure, Sadie?" Diane asked.
The kitchen was very quiet. The
adults were all sitting on the stools while Brad and I sat on the
floor. Sadie smiled at us when we did that. Diane seemed agitated,
while all the rest of us simply wondered what this was all about.
Sadie began speaking.
"Diane asked me earlier tonight why I was so supportive of Jacob and Brad and the other gay guys who have been here. I told her that I only wanted to tell this story once. I feel that now is the time, when the people who deserve to know this are here with us. I wish, perhaps that Tim, Todd, Peter, and Chris could be here, too, but that's not possible.
"Do I have a special place in my heart for gay men? Yes! Do I think the world is unfair to them? Yes, I do. Do I think that our society is two faced about sex? You bet I do. Do I think some parents are monstrous in their treatment of their own children?. Yes, I do. Would I do everything in my power to help young gays? Yes, I would. Have I let Jacob and Brad be together? Yes, I did. Have I seen things and recognized things that I have kept to myself. Yes, I have. Why?
"Sadie, you don't have to do this, you know," said Father Jim.
"But I do, Father. I need to acknowledge this part of my life so that I will be able to go on, a secret released and my soul free to fly."
"Go on, then, Sadie," Jim said.
I had taken Brad's hand in mine and I was getting pretty emotional. I could see the tears in Sadie's eyes, and I recognized the agony that she was enduring bringing to the forefront of her mind a remembrance that still plunged like a knife into her heart. There were tears in Brad's eyes, too, because he had recognized himself in much of what Sadie had already said. He looked at me and mouthed, `I love you'"
"I came from a very strict family. My father, Maurice Glasten, had been raised in a traditional Catholic home. He had learned his catechism well. My father didn't wish to acknowledge his French Canadian heritage, but it was there even though the family name had been changed. I was never able to discover what our family name really was.
"My mother, Anna Wilson Glasten, by contrast, had been raised in a deeply religious but diametrically opposed Baptist family. Poles apart on some things, they made a remarkable couple. We went to catholic church, studied our catechism, and followed my father's example. My mother became more non religious, not really caring about church services, but still strongly committed to her traditional and fundamentalist religious upbringing.
"There were three children with Glasten for a last name. My oldest brother Colin, then me, and my younger brother Erik. Colin grew into a man who resembled my father, broad of shoulders, swarthy, and singularly interested in the fairer sex. He was twelve when I was born. I wondered as I matured if I had been one of those unintended children we all have heard about, but if I was, no one in the family ever mentioned it.
"I was a slight person, small framed, slender, fair, and in general, shy. My mother dressed me in the clothes of an earlier age which made my school days less than fun. She never understood how much hurt those clothes brought to me from classmates who relished (in) teasing me. My father approved of my clothes which he characterized as wholesome. Those terrible, ill-fitting and ugly clothes were the cause of many nights of tears.
"I was seven, nearly eight, when Erik was born. Early on it was evident that he was a mistake. Maurice and Anna never intended to have three children. Again, I wondered if their intention had been to have only Colin. I would never learn the truth, whatever it was, from either of them.
"Erik was the opposite of his brother Colin. Colin had nothing to do with Erik as he was twenty when Erik was born, and after some months as home, decided to leave our little town in New Hampshire to "explore the world" as he put it. He had hated high school except for football, and had no desire to attend college. When he left home, Erik was just a baby.
"I soon became the person who cared for Erik. My mother took care of him in the early years, but by the time I was twelve, Erik was then six. He was a slight almost fragile boy socially inept and always afraid. My father struck terror in him with the slightest increase of volume in his voice. For a while Erik would run to his mother, but soon he became aware that if he wanted solace and affection, he should come to me. So that's how we grew to maturity.
"When I was in high school and thinking about college, Erik was horrified of being left alone. At eighteen I had hoped to escape from the strangulation of the family. However, when I saw the terror that Erik felt whenever I spoke of college to him, I decided that I had to stay and care for him, protect him, I thought, and love him. Now twelve Erik was approaching puberty, and I wasn't sure what I should tell him. Luckily sex education was taught in the junior and senior high school in our town.
"By the time Erik was eighteen and ready to graduate from high school, I was twenty four and had never had a date, kissed a man, nor been intimate with anyone. Erik had grown into a handsome, caring and gentle young man. He came to me a few weeks before he left for college in Massachusetts . I remember the moment clearly, not because it upset me, but because I realized the courage it took for Erik to tell me.
"We were alone, outside on the porch, when he sat down beside me. Without fanfare he blurted it out. He was gay. Would I love him less he wanted to know. Of course not, I assured him. He wondered about the rest of the family, and frankly I was frightened by what my father's reaction would be. My mother, I thought, wouldn't care, as she really didn't care about Erik anyway. I knew if Colin were still at home that he would be violent about it. Luckily he was now in California and let us all know that he had no intention of returning home.
"Erik left for college without informing our parents of his sexual preferences. Before he left, I asked him it he had been sexually active. He told me he hadn't. He did have one gay friend, Kenneth Watson, with whom he had masturbated, but that was all. I cautioned him about indiscriminate sex with strangers. He assured me that he was well aware of the dangers of that behavior. He would use condoms and would avoid anal sex. I wasn't truly convinced, but there was little I could do except caution him.
"Erik chose not to come home from college, not for the holidays, not for summer break, not at all. My heart was broken, but I understood why he would not be happy in our house. That is when I decided to find a small apartment and live on my own. With only a high school education, there were not many jobs for me. I began taking care of the sick in their homes, baby sitting, things like that and made enough to call it a living. Luckily I was never seriously sick because I didn't have health insurance.
"I wrote Erik that I was living in my own apartment and if he wanted to come home, even for a day or two, he could stay with me. It was a long time before he answered me. Actually he called me and asked if he could spend part of Christmas break with me. I said yes, of course. Then there was a long pause. Could he bring his boyfriend with him? He knew that I would like Barry. I was in a quandary, but I decided quickly to say yes.
"I didn't like Barry, by the way. I thought he was mean and condescending to Erik. He acted like the king of the hill and expected Erik to wait on him. I mentioned Barry's behavior to Erik, but got only silence. Barry was civil to me and had he not been, I would probably have asked him to leave.
"One night, a couple of days before Erik and Barry were to return to college, someone knocked on my bedroom door
It was Erik. I could tell he had been crying and I suspected it was related to Barry. He came and sat on my bed. He wouldn't look at me at first. I asked him what was the matter. Barry, he told me, was leaving him in the morning. He wanted to break up, go his own way. What brought his on I asked him. He acknowledged that it had been coming for some time. Barry would go out and stay out all night. He was becoming aggressive, mean, demanding. He told Erik that he was there to serve and make him happy. When Erik asked him if he had been having sex with other guys, Barry told him that he wasn't enough to take care of his needs. I was furious. I wanted to get up and order the jerk out of my house, but Erik didn't want that. He crawled up onto my bed and lay next to me, sobbing softly. I covered him with a throw and soon he was asleep.
"In the morning, Barry was gone, taking his car with him, of course. Now I had to figure how to get Erik back to school. I decided that I had to call my father to ask if I could borrow his car. He agreed until I told him it was to get Erik back to school, upon which he quickly reneged. Ray Taylor was a good friend so I called him. He agreed to drive Erik back to college. Everything was set.
"I would get an occasional phone call from Erik, but he said little about his life. I noticed that Ray wasn't around on most weekends. Could it be, I wondered, that the two of them had hit it off? I got the answer sooner than I expected when Ray showed up at my doorway with Erik in tow. I just smiled and when I did the two somber faces broke into wonderful smiles. They announced that they were a couple and that Ray was moving to be with Erik. They had found an apartment, and Ray quickly found a position as an accountant in a local business. Ray really didn't have to work because he had inherited a comfortable living from his grandmother. I think it was the happiest I had ever seen Erik. He was in love and it showed. Ray, the opposite of Barry, cared for his lover.
"The years passed quickly, and before I knew it, Erik was celebrating his thirty-fifth birthday. Ray and he were now living in Boston and I was invited to be their guest for the weekend and the party. Of course, I went. An older sister in your home, I was now forty-one, would be unnerving.
"When I arrived I was welcomed with open arms. Ray was so attentive, both to me and to Erik. That's when I realized that there was real love between those two guys. How could anyone deny that or deny their right to live their lives the way they had chosen. I was alarmed at Erik's slender form and I thought his color was off, but he was so full of fun and love, that I forgot about it.
"It was a magical weekend. We were all happy and love flowed between the three of us . . ."
Sadie had stopped and was wiping her eyes. My gut was turning because I sensed a tragedy coming. Father Jim had gone and stood with Sadie his arm around her shoulder.
"Do you want to go on, Sadie or would you like to stop?" he asked.
Sadie drew her self up. Standing tall I guess it's called. She patted Jim's other hand, and replied,
"I have to finish, but I would appreciate it if you would stay here with me, Father. I know I'm probably going to get emotional."
"Of course, Sadie," said Jim. Sadie continued.
"In the next year or so, we talked frequently on the phone, but neither Erik nor Ray ever seemed anything but upbeat. But somewhere in the depths of my soul, I knew something wasn't right. That was confirmed by a late night phone call from Ray in mid September. Please come as quickly as you can, he told me, sobbing as he did. Erik needs you."
No one in the room said a word. Sadie was trying hard to pull herself together, to maintain control. Father Jim just kept rubbing her shoulder. Gary got up and went to the two of them but he didn't hug Sadie, he hugged Jim.
"Are you okay, Sadie," I asked.
She looked at Brad and me and smiled even though there were tears in her eyes.
"The question is, Jacob, are you and Brad okay?" she said.
I looked at Brad and could now see that much of the color had drained from his face and his eyes glistened with tears. I suspected that I looked much like he did.
"Are you okay, Sweetheart?" I asked him.
He hugged me and kissed the top of my head. I looked up at him and he kissed me quickly and gently on my lips. I was satisfied that we were the best we could be under the circumstances. I noticed that Diane was in my father's arms and it was obvious that she had been crying.
"We're okay, Sadie," Brad told her, "please go on."
Gary had brought a stool out and Sadie sat on it, with Jim and Gary standing on either side of her. Behind her back they were holding hands. She sighed deeply and went on.
"I had a car by that time in my life, so after throwing a few things into my suitcase, I called my mother and father and told them where I was headed and that Erik was ill. They only said that it was too bad and to let them know more. I don't remember the drive to Boston , nor do I know how I found Erik and Ray's apartment, but I did.
"It was very early morning when I arrived there and I wondered if anyone would be awake. I rang the bell and Ray answered. He buzzed me in. I took the elevator to the third floor and practically ran to their condo. Ray was waiting in the doorway. As soon as I got close enough, he fell into my arms and wept. I knew then that this was very serious and in the back of my mind I think I knew what I would find.
"I just stood there holding Ray while he let out many months of agony and heartbreak. Finally he began to get control and we walked into the living room and closed the door. I asked him,
`What's going on, Ray?' He hesitated, took a deep breath and told me,
`Sadie, Erik is dying. The doctors think he has only a few hours left.' and Ray fell into a chair and wept again.
"I stood there in shock, but perhaps more overwhelmed by the realization of what I had always feared might be the outcome of Erik's life. Finally Ray stood and faced me. He was very angry. He spit out what he had to say as a snake might spit out its venom.
`Barry, that bastard, lied to Erik. He told him he was clean, that he had not had anonymous sex with anyone. He lied; but because Erik loved him, he believed him. Erik had tried to convince Barry to use condoms, but he was persuaded to forget the condoms because Barry said it presented a barrier that prevented them from total enjoyment of the sex act.
`Anyway, as their relationship started to fall apart the arguments got wilder, including, Sadie, the last most powerful one when they were at your place during Christmas break. It was then that Barry taunted him about his escapades with other guys, pickups from the street, guys in the bathhouse, creeps he met in the park. He took joy in telling Erik that they all had what he called "bareback" love making, not stupid condoms. Erik asked him if he was HIV+. He got hysterical laughter for an answer.
`Then he and I found each other and fell in love. All we wanted was a quiet life together. It was all Erik had ever been looking for as a substitute for the lack of love he had received growing up. You, Sadie, he told me, were his saving grace. He told me he had thought of suicide a number of times, but it was your simple acceptance of him as your brother who you loved that made him go on.
`When he was tested for HIV the first time, he was negative, but the doctor warned him that could change. Our early love making was always gentle and we always used protection. Erik was so gentle and caring, Sadie. I asked him about that aspect of his personality once and he told me that he had learned love, gentleness and caring from you.
`Anyway, about ten months after the first test, Erik and I both had a second test. I was HIV-, but Erik was HIV+. He was devastated and told me I should leave him. But I loved him and I couldn't leave. So it has been doctors, medications, hospital stays, awful sickness. We struggled together and I discovered that I loved him even more. He loved and trusted me completely. His only request for me was that I not notify you or the family of his AIDS. I honored that request until tonight when he asked me to call you. Something is gnawing at him, Sadie. He needs to tell you before he goes.
`One more thing, Sadie. When you see him, you probably won't believe that it's Erik. The disease has ravaged him(,) physically, but not spiritually, Erik is so much stronger than I am, and he keeps me going.'"
There wasn't a dry eye in the room and Diane was having real difficulty controlling her sobs. I had fallen into Brad's arms and we wept together, wondering how Sadie had found the strength to tell us this. More importantly, where had she found the courage to deal with it when it was happening? Looking up we saw Father Jim consoling her, and we knew. Faith! Love! Those were the wellsprings of her strength and courage!
"Can you finish, Sadie? This has been emotional for you. We'll all understand," said Father Jim, his own voice colored with sadness.
"No, I want to finish so that I can try to put it behind me. I want to remember Erik, but not the way I found him that early morning. I want to remember him smiling and running and having fun when we were younger and less wise to the rigors of life. I have to let him go.
"Ray took me down the corridor to the bedroom. There was little light in the room which now looked more like a hospital room than a bedroom. There was a hospital bed, oxygen for the mask he was wearing, and other medical paraphernalia.
"My first reaction was how small he seemed, tiny, colorless, unmoving, his head shaven. There was no color in his nails and his breathing, even with the oxygen, was labored. He did not stir when we entered the room. I know that I gasped and I felt Ray grab me and support me as my legs seemed at once to turn to useless appendages of rubber. But stood, I did.
`Let me get him awake, if it's possible, so that he can tell you what he needs to tell you. I'll leave the room.'
"No", I told Ray, "you stay here. Whatever he wants to say, you above all others have a right to hear. By the way, where's the nurse?"
Ray laughed lightly, smiled and told me that he was the nurse, just as he had been for many months while Erik's condition declined. I saw the recliner near the bed and I suddenly knew that was where Ray had slept... for how many months, I couldn't guess. I just leaned in and kissed him. Ray was teaching me much about love, devotion, and caring.
"Just you, Ray, caring for him?" I asked.
"`No', he told me, `there was a visiting nurse and volunteers from hospice. Erik didn't want to die in the hospital or at hospice. He wanted to die at home in our bed...so I made sure that I was here almost all the time. I never left him alone at night. Luckily, I didn't have to work because of my inheritance, so I could be here. Most of the day, I was here, too. Hospice workers cleaned the condo, did the grocery shopping, helped me with the cooking, laundry -- that stuff. I took care of Erik, bathing him, changing him, moving him, reading to him, holding him. He has never wanted for care, Sadie. I took care of him.'
"I hugged Ray and kissed him on the cheek.
"Ray went to the bed and sat on the edge. First he removed the oxygen mask, took Erik's hand into his and quietly spoke to him. He told him that I was there. He told him to wake up, sleepy head, a touch of humor in his tired voice. Erik's eye lids flickered, opened briefly and then closed.
`He's been highly medicated, Sadie. You should come closer so that he can see you.'
"I did as Ray suggested. He spoke to Erik again. As he struggled to open his eyes, I leaned in and kissed him. A sob caught in my throat. This emaciated man couldn't be my brother, could he? However, I knew it was Erik and my heart cracked. He barely squeezed my hand which I had rested in his. He tried to speak, but nothing came out. Ray moistened his lips with some ice, and then stroked his forehead.
"I finally was composed enough to speak. `Erik, I'm here, honey. I'm here.'
"He squeezed my hand a little harder, but it was still weak.
"`Sadie?' he whispered.
"Yes, I'm here, Erik.
"`I let you down, didn't I," he said so softly that I almost didn't hear him.
"No!" I told him. "You didn't let anyone down. I love you, Erik, you're my brother."
``Listen, please,' he said so faintly that again I barely was able to hear him.
"What?" I asked.
"`Do this for me. <Cough.> Tell Mom and Dad that I forgive them <Gasp for breath.> . . . and I love them. I never knew Colin, but let him know about me. <Another weaker cough.> Tell him . . . <Long pause.> I wish I had known him because he . . . is my brother. And, Sadie . . . <Drool running from his mouth.> . . . thank you for loving me. You never wanted more from me than what I was and am. I love you.' Then silence.
"Ray had taken Erik's frail body into his arms and was slowly rocking him, much as a mother would do to get her child to sleep. Through the eastern window, we could see the sun beginning to rise lighting the sky in brilliant pinks and golds. As it did, Erik closed his eyes. With tears running down his face, Ray kissed Erik and said to him,
`It's okay to go, Erik. It's okay. Someday I'll meet you on the other side. I love you so much, Baby. I will never love another human being as much as I love you.'
"Erik took one last rattling breath and became quiet for eternity.
"Ray made all the final arrangements with me. We brought Erik home. On a lovely September day, full of sun and the magnificent colors of a New Hampshire autumn, we laid my brother and Ray's lover to rest.
"Erik's and my mother and father did not attend. Our brother Colin was not there. Friends from his college years came, some from distant places. Some of his high school teachers attended. The priest from our childhood church came and read the burial prayers. It was a quiet, dignified affair. When the priest finished, everyone left, few stopping to speak to one another.
"Ray and I left together. Ray is still my dear friend. He lives alone in the condo in Boston . He became active in the AIDS fight, giving time and money to help out. He designed and made a square for Erik as part of the AIDS Quilt.
"I went with him when Erik's square was added to the quilt. The song they sang rung out the last tears I had for my brother. I promised that day, in Erik's memory that I would support young gay people in every way I could. Never in my lifetime would anyone be able to accuse me of bigotry and hate. No action of mine would lead a young gay man or woman to despair. That is why I have been a supporter of Jacob and Brad and their friends. That is why I try to help other gay young people who find themselves in difficulty with their parents, schools, and the public."
Sadie's shoulders drooped and she lowered her head, but there were no tears. She looked around the room and when she saw Brad and me sitting on the floor, both of us emotional and weeping, she held out her arms. In a moment, we were in her embrace. She kissed each of us, but said nothing. Father Jim and Gary joined the group and the silence continued. Diane and my father soon joined us, and although we had not noticed the Li's had returned from the hospital and had heard Sadie's story. They, too, were soon in the group hug.
Slowly everyone moved away except Brad and me. We stayed in Sadie's embrace. I'm not sure if it was for us to take comfort from her, or if it was she taking comfort from us. But whichever way it was, the love that had existed between the three of us was richer, stronger, and more focused than it had even been.
Diane, standing a little away from us, asked,
"Sadie, what was the song that struck such a chord with you?"
We moved away from Sadie, giving her some space. She looked directly at Diane and said,
"Patchwork Quilt. That's the name of the song."
"Do you know any of the words, Sadie. I'd like to hear them. We all would."
Sadie got up from the stool, and in a lovely alto voice began to recite,
"They unfolded your lives one by one
They laid out your patchwork under the sun
And people gathered from miles around
To witness your quilt spread on the ground.
"And then they called out your name
Oh, yes, they called out your name
Oh, and you will live forever
You know that I'll be loving you
Just like a patchwork quilt.
"Well, there were men and women, mothers and fathers
Sisters and brothers, daughters and sons
And children and babies, and lovers and friends
They all lay before me sewn into one.
"Your lives had meaning and your lives had joy
You touched so many people, many more than you will know
And you wrapped yourselves around me
As I walked along these rows
You're letting me feel your beautiful souls.
"I feel the warmth of your lives
Oh, and you will live forever
You know that I'll be loving you
Just like a patchwork quilt.
"My heart spills over, flowing with tears
I cry for your suffering and
for your shortened years
And I'll take you with me as I walk away
Remembering you who have died with AIDS
"Yes, I remember your names
Oh, I remember your names
Oh, and you will live forever
You know that I'll be loving you
Just like a patchwork quilt."
Each of us learned a lesson
this night; no one had dry eyes. Only one thing needed to be done,
so as Sadie stood quietly in the middle of her sanctuary, each of us
said good night. Brad and I were the last; we really couldn't speak
much, but we did manage to kiss Sadie and to tell her we loved her.
She just nodded, and kissed us on our cheeks. We quietly left.
Sadie stood alone in the kitchen. She said a silent prayer, and wept one last time for her lost brother. She knew that she would never forget Erik, but that she could now at last find peace.
Father Jim and Gary left before
us. Brad and I left to drive to the security hut at the gated
community where his family lived. There we were to pick up Brad's
clothes, laptop, and school supplies.
Father Jim and Gary drove off to their apartments, still not sure what would happen in their relationship. Desire and constraint were warring for both of them. How would that be resolved?
Doug and Diane left the kitchen with Lorraine and John Li. The four parents, shaken by what Sadie had told them, went into the living room. Diane was finally getting herself under control as was Lorraine . Doug and John remained as stoic as the situation would allow.
"Sadie makes me ashamed of how little I know about AIDS and the destruction if makes of a family. I will try from this moment on to be more involved with this problem, this tragedy," said Diane.
"I will make sure that Jacob and Brad have all the information they need to make intelligent decisions about their sexual activities," said Douglas .
"And we, my wife and I, will insure that Peter and Chris know everything, and that they use wisdom and good sense in their relationship. I know they are monogamous, but nonetheless, they need to be keenly aware of the pitfalls of reckless behavior," John Li told the group.
"I want our son and his partner to enjoy a long life filled with the joy of love. I will do whatever I can to make sure that Peter and Chris not only acknowledge an understanding of the pitfalls, but that they practice caution and safe sex," added Lorraine .
Doug got up from the sofa where he was sitting with his wife. He walked to the wall of windows and looked out across the intracoastal. His soul was suddenly filled with a sorrow he could not explain and tears began to run down his cheeks. Diane noticed and went to him.
"What," she asked, "is the matter, Doug?"
For a long moment, he was silent. When he had control of his emotions, he kissed Diane softly, and then pulled her into a strong embrace. She stroked her husband's back and kissed him on his face, ending with his lips and hers locked together in some communion of understanding.
"If we ever lost Jacob that way, I don't know if I would be able to go on. Do you think he has any idea of the dangers of unprotected sex? I mean, he's a teenagers, his body's ripe with hormones making him horny twenty-four hours a day. It must be a monumental struggle, one that I don't remember, but which I must have had," Doug said.
Diane, her head resting on Doug's chest, took his hand and kissed it gently. He smiled at her, accepting as it were, that touch of comfort from one he loved dearly. She told him,
"Jacob is a very intelligent and well-informed young man. In addition to that he has a mature, careful boyfriend who has kept your horny son in check. Brad refuses to have anal sex with Jacob because he feels they are not ready for it. How's that for maturity and good common sense?"
Lorraine looked at her husband, John. Their eyes met and a thought passed between them. Both took comfort in knowing how intelligent, well informed, and filled with common sense, Peter and Chris were. `Those two would do the right thing. There was no doubt of that.' their shared thought exclaimed
Diane and Doug came back from the windows and sat again on the sofa. They exchanged smiles with the Li's. They were just about to exchange conversation when Sadie came into the living room.
"I thought," she said, "that perhaps you might like something for a snack before bedtime. Any requests?"
Diane spoke quickly,
"Sadie, we don't need anything to eat or drink. You need to get to bed, if you wish. It's been a very difficult day for you. I want to thank you again for sharing that most intimate story with us. I know it must have hurt you a great deal to share it, but it really helped us in more ways than you can possibly imagine. We are wiser and more caring now because of you."
Lorraine Li had gotten to her feet and she went directly to Sadie. First she hugged Sadie, then kissed her on the cheek, and then spoke softly.
"Sadie, my dear, dear friend, none of us can imagine the horror and the tragedy of losing your brother to AIDS. It is not something that is easy to deal with or to understand. We may understand the cause, but it is difficult to understand the why. John and I know about the pain of losing a child. Our daughter Linda was struck by a car and killed. We understood what happened, but we have never understood why is had to be her. We never will, so in that sense, Sadie, we are kindred spirits."
Diane spoke quietly from her place on the sofa,
"I am reminded of a quote I read a long time ago. It seems to fit each of us in one way or another since we have all lost someone dear to us, someone who was a major force in our life. It's a rather simple little quote, but it is filled with extraordinary wisdom. It's just this."
After a moment of silence,
"Memory," she said, "is how we keep those we love."
Special thanks to Peter for his intelligent and sensitive editing. His work contributes much to the success of this story.
To be continued...
"The measure of love is to love
Feedback always welcome: email@example.com
Author's Note: This and all my stories are also posted on http://tickiestories.us along with several other great authors and stories, please stop by and check them out.