Fixing a Broken Heart
Copyright 2007 by Rad Steven
All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: This story is not based on real persons or events though I did take a slice from reality when it came to the setting of the story. It's fiction, period. This story may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written consent of the owner. This story involves a homosexual protagonist. If that's not your type of story, you got a decision to make. This story may not involve sex at all, and if that's what you're looking for, I apologize. Comments are greatly appreciated.

Chapter Eleven

"Wake up, Z," said the voice which probably belonged to whoever it was whose hand was also shaking me awake. I recognized the voice, but at the moment, I couldn’t remember whose it was. It kept talking, and the hand kept shaking me. Sleep was like a rubber band that someone kept tugging relentlessly. The rubber band eventually broke, but I still found myself trying to go back to that place where serenity is abundant; in futility, I might add because the voice and the hand wouldn’t go away and leave me alone. I finally surrendered and opened my eyes. "Wake up, Z."

"Um?" I could barely make words out of my mouth after waking up, and it was usually pure luck that I could say something coherent like "um." After a few seconds of looking at the person sitting on my bed, my brain eventually recognized who had been trying to wake me up. I knew I was slow in the morning, and he did too. "Dad?"

He smiled at me. "Time for breakfast, Zack. Your mom and I got the day off so we’re taking you kids out." God, he called me a kid. But you know, it was always nice when he calls me a kid. I liked it. He bent down and kissed me on the forehead, and I squeezed my eyes shut. Why did you have to be a liar? I loved my dad—still do—but I couldn’t help that growing resentment that I was feeling towards him. I wonder how all of this would play out. "Are you okay?"

I opened my eyes and saw my dad’s concerned face. "Yeah."

"Well, hurry up because we have something important to talk about."

Something important. I felt my body froze when I heard that. Are they finally going to admit to me that... that... I wasn’t their real son? What else was so important to talk about? I wonder how they would tell me. And I wonder if I could bear it even though I already knew about it.

Oh fuck! I had planned to go to JR’s place today.

"I’m serious, Zack. Are you okay?"

"Yeah, Dad. Just waking up," I said. I hope I was convincing.

He patted my arm and smiled at me. "Get out of the bed now, okay, Zack?" He got up to leave, and I was once again alone in my room. It was a good thing I didn’t sleep with Brian. I knew there was nothing wrong with it, but I still would have been embarrassed. It was good that my mom told Dad that, since we’re already grown boys, it was his job to get us out of bed. At least I didn’t have to be so embarrassed about what she might see.

I wonder where we’re going today. We hadn’t gone out together as a family in a while. I really wasn’t in the mood to go somewhere far, but I did want to buy some clothes. I had grown bigger now, and some of my clothes didn’t fit anymore. Watch a movie, maybe, and yeah, eat, definitely. I was still bummed out because my plan for the day was ruined. I hope JR would still like me tomorrow.

After a decade in the shower, I dressed up with clothes that scream "I’m gonna have fun today." Nothing special really, just T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. It was only nine o’clock, but I could see that it was already as hot as noon outside so the clothes I wore were designed to make feel as cool as the weather would allow me. I checked my hair in the mirror. I didn’t want to go out without being sure that all my hair was firmly spiked up. Cellphone, wallet—check, check. I made my way to the dining room where everyone was. Only Brian wasn’t bathed and dressed up yet. That’s a change. He was usually the first one up of us two. He smiled at me before putting a spoonful of fried rice in his mouth. On the table was the usual breakfast whenever Mom and Dad got the day off of work and got the time to prepare breakfast for us in the morning—eggs, bacons, fried rice, and mangoes. Yum! Mom and Dad sipped their coffees with the morning paper while Brian, like me, had OJ.

The coffee reminded me of the first time I met JR. I remember when he went into that coffee shop and I thought he bought a cup of coffee. It turned out it was only hot chocolate. I wonder what grown-ups find in coffee, or any hot drink. I hadn’t had anything hot to drink in my life yet. I mostly drank juice, coke, and water. But JR drank hot chocolate. I could still remember the way cigarette smoke made him smell. What was it? Marlboro Lights. I wonder where and how he was able to buy a pack of those. The smoke combined with his cologne nearly seduced me that day. Do you know how much it smelled like "come to bed with me"? I had fantasized a lot about the presence of that smoke while JR and I... while we... had sex. While we made love. I must be really going nuts. Right now, I craved for that smoke from JR. It was like he had his own peculiar smoke odor, and I was absolutely hooked to it. I was addicted. He got me wrapped around his fingers, and he didn’t even know about it.

Of course, the seemingly sumptuous breakfast was of no match to Brian and me. After downing my juice, I helped him gather all the plates to the sink and stayed with him in the kitchen as he washed them while both Mom and Dad went to the living room to wait for us. I was silent the whole time because I had a lot in my mind. Actually, there were only two things that were plaguing my mind, but they seemed so big to me that I thought of them as a lot. I couldn’t shake that something important my dad told me they’re going to tell us. At the same time, JR kept popping in my mind from out of nowhere. Both made me nervous. I felt anxious thinking about them, but I couldn’t help it. Those thoughts stayed in my head and refused to move. Despite the large breakfast that I had, I felt like I was going to have stomach ulcers.

When my brother was done with the dishes, he motioned for me to follow him. We made our way up to his room with me feeling a little nervous. I was sure he was going to tell me something serious. I sat on his bed while he stood in front of me with a thoughtful look. He sighed and began to pace. Then, he started to rummage in his closet. His display of nervousness was not helping me any. It only made my palms sweat more profusely. He eventually found the clothes he wanted to wear and set them on the bed. Standing in front of me again, he scratched his head and sighed again. He sat down beside me and put an arm around my shoulders. "Zack, we need to talk."

"I figured that," I said, "But aren’t Mom and Dad waiting for us?"

"This won’t take long. I just... I don’t know how to put this in a way that wouldn’t make you nervous..."

"I already am, Kuya. So tell me about it already."

"Well, okay, well, Mom and Dad’s been asking about you." He paused, letting those words sink in first. What could they have been him asking about me? "I know you think I haven’t noticed. You’ve been... cold to them for weeks now, and they’ve noticed too. There was only one thing in mind that I could think of as the reason for the way you’ve been these days, but I didn’t tell them, of course. This is about you being gay, isn’t it?" I nodded at him, very much sick to my stomach for lying, but hell, what was I supposed to do? "I think it’s alright for you to tell them. I think they’ll be alright with it."

"You think?" I asked, full of sarcasm. "Ow!" He had smacked me on the forehead. "You think I should just tell them—today—because you think they’ll be alright with it?"

"Z, I know they’ll be alright with it." Brian said. "They’ve been bugging me for days now, okay? If you won’t tell them, I will."

"That’s not fair!" I said, shrugging his arm off my shoulder.

He sighed. "Sorry, Zack. Look. I know. I know, okay? I know there is another issue here," he said, looking me in the eyes. He knew I had lied to him. My jaw clenched. I didn’t want to talk about this now. "But just tell them about you being gay to placate them. You don’t even have to talk about the other thing. They’ll be alright with it, I promise."

"Whatever." He kept looking at me. You know, that look where he just stares at me without having any expression on his face. That look he had always used to make me do things. I sighed "Fine." He smiled at me. And I knew—I just knew—that he was going to ruffle me hair. "Fucking don’t!" I snarled, slapping his hand away.

"Psh! Come on, Z. Don’t be mad at me now."

"They’re waiting, you know."

He leaned in and kissed me—wet—on the cheek.

"Yuck!" I said, wiping my cheek and kicking his leg with my sneaker-wearing foot.

"Hey! That hurts, okay. Do you want to have a black eye again?"

"I hate you."

"I’m sure you do."

"Take a bath already," I whined.

"I’m sorry, Zack," he said, sighing. "But I’m running out of excuses for you."

"Why don’t they just ask me?"

"Like you’ve been around much these days. I think you’ve seen that priest more than you’ve seen me these past two weeks."

"Somebody’s jealous. I’m not your girlfriend, you know."

"Yeah, but you’re my little brother, and I’m your kuya."

That priest was my kuya too. "Did they say where we’re going?"

"Right. I’m taking a bath now, Z."

Would he really tell Mom and Dad about me if I wouldn’t do it myself?

"You got to be there, you prick."

"Of course," he said just before disappearing into his bathroom.

He said he was running out of excuses for me. Why? Were Mom and Dad asking him about me a hundred times a day? But if he said that they would be alright with me being gay, then I would trust him. I knew that, if things wouldn’t turn out the way he expected, he’d be there for me.

I snickered at the thought of Brian being grilled everyday by our parents. They’re worse outside the courtroom. He came back out five minutes later, dressing up quickly.

* * * * *

"So, where do you guys wanna go?" Dad asked, looking at Brian and me through the rear view mirror.

"Anywhere is okay," I said, "How about some shopping? Clothes? Hehe... I’ve outgrown almost everything I have." I didn’t know why I was blushing.

Brian leaned in and whispered into my ears, snickering. "You are so gay, Zack. Shopping?" I elbowed him on the ribs for that one.

In spite of everything that had happened to me over the past few weeks, I had loads of fun the whole day. That something important Dad said we would talk about and the way I felt for JR were still there, but they were momentarily forgotten.

Brian wanted to go to Mall of Asia; I was noncommittal. It was a long drive, almost an hour, and it was already past eleven when we got there. We did shop at first. Ever since I became aware that there was a way with clothes to look good, I had always liked shoes, and that was the first thing I bought—well, sneakers, actually. I also bought some jeans, shirts, T-shirts, and anything else Mom and Dad thought I should get. Oh yeah, I bought caps too. I stuck my tongue out at Brian when he couldn’t convince Dad to buy him a new phone. He bought new shoes too, jeans, and T-shirts. Time passed quickly with all the shopping. We had lunch at Kenny Rogers’ around one o’clock. I absolutely loved their mashed potato, and I’ll never get enough of roasted chicken! I’d like to think we were all having fun.

After lunch, I agreed with Brian when he said he wanted to go ice skating. If there was one thing I truly enjoyed, it was ice skating even though I wasn’t really hockey-player good at it. But hey, what do you expect from someone from a tropical country? Mom and Dad told us they’d go shop and buy groceries some more. They’ll call us when they’re done, and Brian and I could go skating until then. It felt so cool to sweat even though it was cold and I was moving on ice. I loved the way the cold made my face felt. It was good to be having fun with my brother—no—it was the best. I definitely enjoyed the time we had on ice even though I was tired after nearly three hours of skating. I just really didn’t notice the time whenever we did that. It was the exhaustion that usually tells me I’ve been at it for a long time already. We met Mom and Dad at the food court which was nearby. We had to sit a while to collect our breath.

Brian and I squeezed some arcade time. Then, we did more shopping. I bought some CD’s, more caps, another pair of jeans, and another pair of sneakers. I never realized that we were spending a lot of money. We had pizza for dinner since we couldn’t agree with anything. Mom wanted this, Dad wanted that, Brian wanted another, and I wanted to eat at Kenny Rogers’ again. So pizza it was, a common ground for a couple of hungry stomachs. Pretty soon, we were loading up the car and getting ready to drive home. The trunk was pretty loaded. The day turned out good and totally fun. I compared CD’s with Brian on the way home.

Somewhere on the road back home, I was jerked from my seat by one single thought: Mike. I didn’t think shame would best describe how I felt at that moment. I was a spoiled brat. The thought shamed me now though I never would have given it much thought before I met Mike. I felt ashamed that I had parents who don’t think much about spending money on me while my twin’s parents had to scratch their way through life. I wanted to share this life that I have with him, but I didn’t know how. Maybe, in doing so, I wouldn’t feel so ashamed of having more things than he has. I had only talked to him once, but I had sat with him for days. Was it possible to develop love in so short a time for a sibling who’s basically still a stranger to you even though he was your twin? It was. Somehow, it had opened my eyes. All I knew now was that I was living a not so impoverished lifestyle while it took an anonymous parishioner to put Mike in a private room in the hospital and pay for the bills. Kuya Jim had been disappointed for he had not wanted anyone to give charity to him—some mentality for a priest.

* * * * *

We got home around nine o’clock. Brian was shaking his head at the amount of stuffs I had to haul into my room. I just stuck my tongue out at him. Believe it or not, I was hungry again, so I made my way to the kitchen to get myself some graham cake. Yum! Mom, Dad, and Brian were in the living room watching TV. They had already changed clothes like me. I took my plate to where they are.

"Sit down, Zack. We need to talk to you guys," Dad said the moment he saw me.

I sat on the couch opposite Brian. Mom and Dad were on the sofa. Dad didn’t mute the TV, only turning the volume down. I took a bite of graham cake and placed the plate on the coffee table. I shot Brian a helpless look as the pounding started in my chest.

I had forgotten about that something important that Dad said we were going to talk about, but it came back to me now. Full force.

"Relax, Zack. You did nothing wrong," Mom said, almost laughing. "In fact we’re the ones who should apologize to you." She paused, and I nearly jumped out of my chair. Oh my god, no! Not now, please. I smiled weakly at her, hoping she’d take it as me being confused. "We wouldn’t be here on your birthday next week. Sorry."

All of a sudden, the tension inside me was broken, and I laughed out loud. So Dad wasn’t talking about an adoption that happened more than fifteen years ago when he woke me up this morning. I had forgotten my birthday would be next week, and I told them so. I asked them why they wouldn’t be here.

"We’ll be leaving for Cebu tomorrow. It’s a little urgent. That’s why we asked to have this day off, so we could spend some time with you," Dad said as if reciting a list in his head, "We’ll be there for a week. I’ll leave you guys some money. You know how to cook some. Still, your choice of food. But try to at least eat healthy sometimes. Please. Keep the house in order. You’re big guys now so I wouldn’t hire anyone to look after you or clean the house for you. Brian, do you understand?"

"Yes, Dad."

"If you need more money, call us. But try to do so in the evening. We would be working there."

"What about the credit card, Dad?" Brian asked with a mischievous grin.

Dad looked at Mom who nodded at him. He handed his credit card to Brian. "Wipe that grin off your face. I might starve you for a week. Use that only if the money runs out, or you could also use your own money. I’ll pay you." Dad turned to me. "Always tell your kuya wherever you’re going, Zack. Never leave your phone again." He paused, looking sternly at me. "I’ll take it if you do. Try to keep your curfew, guys. We wouldn’t be here to know what you guys are up to, but I certainly know what I was up to when I was seventeen and my parents were gone." Dad turned to Mom as if asking if he had forgotten anything.

Mom smiled at him. "Well, that’s basically it. Be good, and wash your laundry too, by the way. And Brian, don’t let him watch too much news," Mom said, pointing her thumb at me. Brian laughed. Geez! Can I help it if those guys on TV were such a bunch of morons?

"Is that all?" Brian asked. "Because Zack here has something to tell you."

"What?" I asked, confused. What was he talking about? I looked at Brian who has looking back at me sternly. The memory of this morning eventually floated to the surface of my mind. Oh god, I had promised to him that I would come out to our parents today! They were both looking at me expectantly as if I’ve been holding something out from them for years. Despite knowing I had given my word to him, I still glared at Brian for putting me in this position. I couldn’t deny the way I felt my heart joining my balls in my scrotum. It had sunk so low. I felt myself panicking. My mouth was dry, and I didn’t know what to say nor what to do.

"What is it, Zack?" It was Dad, I think, who asked. I just wasn’t sure anymore who spoke. I was so scared.

I wanted to bail out of this. Why did Brian do this to me? Why couldn’t he wait for next week when my parents would arrive from Cebu? Why now? I felt like someone was wringing my intestines.

My parents had always given us our space. They’ll wait for us to talk to them when something’s bothering us. They had always encouraged us to talk to them about anything, and we always did. So it was rare when we hold back something from our parents. And in my case, it was just too much for me that I couldn’t help but be obvious to them. They didn’t want to change their ways now though, so they waited for me to talk to them instead of asking me. Brian knew that. That’s why he took it upon himself to make me talk to our parents. He knew I would hate him for a long time, but he still did it anyway.

"Just tell them," Brian mouthed to me.

I closed my eyes for a second and tried to swallow my fright. I looked at my parents. This was it. If I had been given a choice, I would probably never come out to them. Fortunately or unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I had promised I would to Brian, and he did more than just remind me about it. He actually shoved me into it, leaving me without any way out. My parents scared me. I didn’t know what they would do once I told them I was gay. What if they kick me out? Beat me up? I tried to pull myself together. Brian did say that they would be alright with it. I believed him.

"There’s no easy way to say this, Mom, Dad. I know I haven’t been much of a company around here these days, and I’m sorry for that." I was lying. I waited for the ground beneath me to open up and swallow me, but nothing happened. It wasn’t my fault I couldn’t talk to them properly. It was theirs, for lying to me about who I really am. But somehow, the sorrow I felt for that showed in my words. I could see them believe what I had said—that I was sorry—hook, line, and sinker. I really was sorry—for a whole different reason.

I squeezed my eyes shut again, delaying the inevitable. I looked at Brian, my rock. I can do this. My parents will love me no matter what. That’s what Brian said. They’ll be alright with their gay son. That’s what Brian said. Taking a deep breath, I gathered all my courage to say two words that would change my life forever. The courage I got never seemed enough though. I looked at my parents and swallowed down the lump that had formed in my throat. "I’m gay," I managed to blurt out.

The silence that followed was like the silence after a bomb had gone off. Nobody spoke. Nobody moved. They processed the two words like they were still trying to figure out whether the bomb had killed them or not. The wait for their reaction was torture. After a few seconds, the first visible reaction was Dad’s shifting on his spot on the sofa. I looked at Mom, and my heart broke. There were tears on her face, and her lower lip was quivering. God, I had hurt her. I couldn’t stop the sudden tears that welled up and journeyed down my face. I couldn’t look at her anymore. I stared at my hands on my lap while tears fell from my eyes. I didn’t want to cry anymore, please.

I heard my mom sob, but I didn’t dare look at her again. She stood up, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I looked at her, but I never caught her eyes. She ran up to their room, crying.

She left me. My mother had left me.

Author's Note:
Whew! Not much of a cliffhanger because the next chapter's available anyway. Its the last one, by the way. So, yeah, you're almost done with this story. I really hope you've enjoyed your time reading this. Here's the link to the discussion of this story. Please do drop by.
Fixing a Broken Heart Discussion Thread
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Take care all of you!

Yours truly,
Rad Steven