I reported the incident to the police, but I wasn't very helpful in answering their questions. I didn't want to bring Neal into it. I should have; but going to the police and rehashing the ugly history of our relationship was more than I could stomach.
All the way home I had to fight the sense of dread and hopelessness that had gripped me when I saw what had been done to my car. By the time I pulled into my drive I was practically catatonic. I forced myself out of the car and onto the walk toward our house.
Jonah and Chris were waiting for me as I walked through the door.
"Hi, Daddy!" Chris ran to me and jumped into my arms. I held on to him for dear life as he hugged me and covered my face with wet kisses.
Jonah was moving toward me to turn my hugfest with Chris into a group embrace. As he got nearer, his eyes read mine, his smile vanished, and he froze in his tracks.
"Sam, what's wrong?"
I shook my head, Chris still clinging to me, and mumbled, "Not now. Anyway, it's nothing. Later, maybe."
He backed off, stared at me, and then said quietly, "Okay." Walking up to Chris and snatching him from me, he told him, "Hey, big guy, your daddy's had a busy day at work, let's let him relax a little, okay?"
"But I wanted to tell him about I cooked," he whined, trying to pull away from Jonah's grasp.
I knelt down to talk to him at eye level. "Did you help make the dinner?" I asked him.
"Yeah," he pouted. "It was a surprise."
"I bet it'll be delicious," I said, grabbing him and patting his tummy. "Probably it'll hit the spot right there, huh?"
"No, right there," he giggled, poking me in the belly button.
I stood up and mouthed a "thanks" to Jonah for offering me a breather from Chris. "I didn't know you two would be making dinner."
"It'll be a half hour," Jonah said. "I bet your daddy will be hungrier if we let him take a thirty-minute nap, don't you think?"
"Yeah, go take a nap, little baby," Chris said. "Then you can wake up and eat your baby food."
"That sounds like a deal," I replied, "and if you made it I bet it'll be great."
He beamed; even in my distraught state, my son's smile melted a piece of my heart. I headed for the bedroom.
When I got there, I sat on the bed and put my face in my hands, imagining the hell that was almost certainly coming my way. I lay down on the bed and tried to push the terror out of my head, but I couldn't. I stared at the ceiling, envisioning all kinds of disastrous scenarios. But I had to hunker down and get a grip. For Christopher's sake.
I took a deep breath, steeled something inside me, and drifted off to sleep.
Chris came in and woke me up for dinner. I went through the motions of expressing enjoyment over the meal, acting as if I were mentally in the same room as Jonah. I made a big deal out of Christopher's role in getting dinner made. Seeing the proud grin on his face was something of a comfort, but I wasn't fooling Jonah. From time to time I caught him looking inquisitively into my face. When our eyes locked, he invariably darted his in another direction, and for my part, I deflected what I saw with some lighthearted talk. But I knew he saw through me, and I knew he was worried, and I knew he wouldn't ask.
And I knew I wouldn't tell him. Not about Neal. Not about my terror. Not about what a psychic shambles I was. I just had to trudge on, and protect the people I loved from my miseries. That was the main thing. That was the only thing.
After we'd put Chris to bed, Jonah tried to get me to talk, but I steered him toward the TV. Frustrated, he decided he needed to run to the store to grab some coffee for tomorrow's breakfast. My car was closer to the street than his, so I tossed him my keys and he headed out the front door. When he'd shut it behind him, I remembered what Neal had done.
Fifteen seconds later, he was back in the house, his face ghost-white. He walked up to me, shock radiating from his face, and said, "What happened?"
I looked at him with blank eyes, and said, "What do you mean?"
He stared at me in disbelief. "I mean, what happened to your car, that's what I mean!"
I shrugged. "It's no big deal."
"The fuck it isn't," he yelled. "Who did this?"
I looked down at the floor and shook my head, then looked back up, sighed, and said, "It's not like you and I are a big secret. There's homophobes everywhere. One of them doesn't like my lifestyle. So what?"
He glared at me silently. I couldn't hold his gaze, and lowered my eyes to the floor. Finally he said, "Neal did this, didn't he? He's back, isn't he?"
I shrugged. "How should I know?"
"Sam," he pleaded, "Be honest with me."
"I think so," I said quietly.
"Did you tell the police?"
"Yes, Jonah, I told the police. There's nothing they can do."
He sighed. "Were you planning on talking to me about this?"
My temper flared as I scowled at him and said, "No. I wasn't."
"Why the hell not?"
"Because I knew you'd do just what you're doing," I exploded. "I told you. It's no big deal. I can't prove it was him, so what can they do? Anyway, even if it is, he's not stupid enough to defy a restraining order. Look, I'll get the car fixed tomorrow, and the police are keeping an eye out. That's all there is to do about it and I'd appreciate it if you'd let it go, because I don't want you bringing this stuff into our family life. For Christopher's sake."
He walked away mumbling, "I'm a member of this family too," but I didn't have the stomach for a big hairy scene, so I didn't reply. I had enough to worry about; I didn't need to be getting into fights with Jonah.
Eventually we climbed into bed, without ever having talked about any of it.
We were up early the next morning. I had an eight o'clock meeting with one of my students, so the plan was for Jonah to drive Chris to school on his way to work.
The world seemed better at breakfast. I'd shaken off the fear that had gripped me the day before, and by the light of a new day, I felt that I'd overreacted to Neal's childish act of hate and vandalism. Maybe what I'd said to Jonah was true. After all, how bad could things possibly get? With Jonah and Chris in my life, I could take whatever petty harassment Neal was going to dish out.
Jonah intercepted me on the way out of the shower. "Sam," he said, "I'm sorry about last night. I didn't mean to come on so strong."
I felt awful. It wasn't his fault; I was the one hiding things. The love in his voice was unmistakable. It said to me that he didn't care about the issue; he cared about me.
"Nothing to be sorry for," I said. "I know you were just worried. But you don't need to be. It's no big deal. I'll get the car to the shop today and take care of it. The police are on it, but it's prolly over and done. He was just trying to freak me out. If he wanted to give me trouble I'd have already seen him."
I reached out to give him a hug. He pulled my face to his and began kissing me. As he did, the towel I'd wrapped around my waist fell to the floor.
He grinned, moved his hand to my crotch, and massaged my dick to a full hard-on.
"Stop, Jonah," I moaned. "We gotta get moving." Still, I couldn't help but smile. And right then, I really did want him. I really did need him. And, as always, I really did love him. I smiled at him; it was a genuine smile, and I could see his face light up in response.
"You're just all work and no play, aren'tcha?" he pouted.
"There's a time and a place for everything," I replied, giving him a return grope through his boxers. He groaned in appreciation. "Let's make that time real soon, okay?" he said.
"I promise," I said, kissing him. I turned, walked into the bedroom, and began pulling out the clothes I'd be wearing that day.
I went into my son's room and woke him. After he'd dressed, the three of us ate and chatted about the coming day. Chris was telling us about a new kid at school who shared his fascination with dinosaurs, and Jonah and I talked to each other about our schedules. Things were pleasant, relaxed; like mornings should be with families. As Jonah and Chris made their way out the kitchen door toward Jonah's car, which was parked around back, I poured myself another cup of coffee, and headed toward the front door. I shook my head, thinking about how ridiculous I'd been to come so unglued. After all, what could Neal do? I had a restraining order against him. If he broke it, he'd be back in jail. And anyway, I didn't believe that he had so little of a life that he'd be remotely interested in spending more time bothering me. He had a wife to occupy him. I figured the car thing was just one last sadistic "fuck you." Well, same to him. I wasn't going to give him the pleasure of letting him know he'd gotten to me.
I actually laughed at that as I opened the front door to leave.
I took one step out the door and had to stop.
Right in front of me, lying on the doorstep, was a dead Siamese cat. It had been stabbed in the neck and I'd almost tripped over it.
* * * * * * * * *
The cat had no collar, no tags, no visible identifiers of any kind. But there wasn't any doubt that it had been someone's housecat. And there wasn't any doubt about how it ended up on my doorstep. I went back into the house and called the animal control center to report the incident. The center told me they'd send someone to dispose of the cat and to ask me a few questions. The guy who came over talked to me after he'd taken the cat's body. He was polite and sympathetic, and he tried to get me to think about who might have done such a thing and why. I didn't tell him much of anything I knew; I figured that would only make the oncoming nightmare even worse.
After he left, I got in my car and drove to work. I don't remember the drive at all. All I remember is feeling the terror return. Defacing a car was one thing. Killing an animal and leaving it on my doorstep was evidence of a sick and dangerous mind. Who knew how far he could go?
I made it through the day, somehow; I realized I probably needed to tell Jonah. I couldn't, though. Neal was my own personal demon from hell, but I wasn't going to spread that misery around to the people I loved the most. When I got home, I plastered on a happy face and walked through my front door with it. I was determined not to let Jonah and Chris know that life was anything but great.
The next day during one of my conference periods, my phone rang.
I answered it, and the voice on the other end of the line said, "My wife left me. It's your fuckin' fault, faggot."
I knew the voice so intimately well, it made my skin crawl. Mental explosions went off in my head as I flashed back, replaying, all in a jumble, that voice saying tender, loving words; that voice insisting on its own way; that voice demeaning me, threatening me, hurting me.
So that was it. That's why he was back. He'd messed up his marriage, and somehow, for Neal, everything bad that had happened to him in life was my fault.
Hearing those two sentences from him, I felt the fear rise up in me, black and ugly. But just as quickly, I felt the anger rise too. He wasn't going to beat me up again, mentally or physically. Not this time.
I did my best to harden my voice as I said to him, "Do yourself a favor, Neal: keep away from me; stay out of jail."
He didn't respond for a while; he just held the line open. I could hear him breathing.
Finally he said, "If you think the police can keep me from paying you back for what you did to me, you're dreaming."
He hung up and I felt my heart sink.
* * * * * * * * *
True to his threat, Neal managed to put me back into hell.
He was good at it. He broke the restraining order by showing up at my classes and yelling obscenities at me, always careful not to cause too much public commotion; just enough to panic me. Then, when he'd succeeded in rattling me, he'd make a hasty exit before anyone could confront him. Sometimes he'd show up right behind me when I was walking from one building to another, scaring the hell out of me but not actually assaulting me. He'd call me at work and at home with veiled threats and constant insults, berating me for "turning him in to a queer" and ruining his marriage. He continued to leave dead animals at my doorstep. I spoke with the police but he was pretty elusive. He didn't seem to live anywhere, and nobody "official" seemed to be able to find him.
I managed to keep it together at work and with Chris, but I just couldn't function around Jonah. It was impossible to keep Neal a total secret with either Jonah or the university community, the way he kept harassing me on campus; but I held back from Jonah how badly his presence was messing with my head. For a while I was afraid Jonah and Chris were in danger. After a while, though, it became clear that this time around Neal didn't care about the other people in my life. When I realized that, my resolve grew even firmer just to wall my family off from Neal and the psychic beating I was taking on account of him. I told myself that I didn't want to drag Jonah into shameful things that had nothing to do with him, things over which he had no control.
But when you love someone, there's no way you can wall off major sections of yourself. If you're messed up, you can't hide that. Jonah saw the change in me: I was becoming more and more remote. He kept asking, but I kept avoiding and denying. Whenever he said anything about Neal, I put on an Oscar-worthy performance and responded that Neal was little more than a minor distraction. I tried to keep Jonah from finding out just how often Neal was disrupting my life, and just how much he was dominating my thoughts.
After about a week of ongoing torment from Neal, I came home one evening, frayed and frazzled as usual. Christopher was in his room, and Jonah saw me from the kitchen.
He walked over to greet me, and tried to pull me into his arms, but I flinched. I'd been doing that a lot over the past few days. I wanted him close, but more and more, whenever Jonah came into my space, I flashed back to memories of Neal raping me, hurting me.
I saw a look of utter pain and rejection flash across his face as I jerked away from him; but he hid it quickly and said, "Please, Sam...we have to talk. Please talk to me. What's wrong?"
That had become his refrain over the last week. But how could I possibly dump an avalanche of fear and pain on him? How could I let him know just how bad off I was?
"Nothing," I said, refusing to meet his eyes with mine. "I'm sorry for being so jumpy. Work's been stressing me out, I guess."
I looked into his eyes for a reaction, hoping that this would be enough to get him to drop it. What I saw was a glare of anger, a face that said he didn't believe me.
I shrugged; he sighed, and went back to the kitchen to finish preparing dinner.
As the weeks went by, Jonah kept trying to get me to let him in, kept trying to get me to talk. I kept resisting, and I began resenting him for pushing me to open up.
Worst of all, I couldn't be intimate with him at all anymore. I started flashing back almost the moment he touched me, even in non-sexual contexts.
It horrified me. I wasn't afraid of him, but I was utterly incapable of being there physically for him. So I made sure that opportunities for intimacy never arrived. I'd go to bed before or after he did, or I'd play the "headache" card.
Slowly, we became alienated not just in the bedroom, but also in everyday life. He'd touch my arm and I'd jump halfway across the room. He'd stand behind me and I'd begin to shudder. I was a wreck whenever he was near me, and I was such a wreck that when it happened, I'd want to explain, but I'd completely freeze up.
Although I was too caught up in my own problems to realize it at the time, he interpreted my reactions as revulsion at him, not as a reaction to the traumas Neal had forced to the surface. What other choice had I given him? After all, I'd denied to him that Neal was anything more than a minor inconvenience.
* * * * * * * * *
I tried to ignore Neal and my fears and anxieties, and in between the dead animals and the ugly phone calls and the tirades Neal would occasionally subject me to at the end of class periods, I threw myself into my work. And soon I had more work than I'd bargained for.
Walt called me into his office one afternoon as I walked out of the lab.
I sat down next to his desk and said, "What's up??"
"I have a favor to ask of you, Samuel," he said. "I need to be gone for an extended period of time and I need you to fill in for me in my classes the remainder of the year and the beginning of the next." He paused. "You'd be paid, but obviously it would mean extending your time here."
I was elated; taking such a position would allow me to stay on while Jonah finished his studies. "Don't worry about that; it actually works out for me." I started thinking about Walt's class load, though, and wondered if I'd be up to the task. I was also curious about what he was up to. I asked him, "Where are you going?"
He looked at me intently, and said, "I have lymphoma. I'm going to need surgery immediately, and at that point they'll know more about how bad it is. But in any case I'll be in for some pretty severe treatment if I want to fight this thing. I don't know how much good I'll be as a teacher in that condition if I have to carry a full teaching load. I'll still be taking care of my administrative responsibilities. I just want to be relieved of some of my teaching and advising roles. I've been working too hard for too long anyway, and while I get better I think I just want to back away from the classroom, take the time to relax and heal, and catch up with some reading, and other things I've been putting off for too long." He smiled a little bit and said, weakly, "In a way, the cancer is doing me a favor, forcing me to take it a little easier."
I felt guilty; I'd just been celebrating in my head that I was going to get to stay longer. But because of this? I shut my eyes tightly to try to get focused; when I opened them again, I asked, "Walt, how...how bad is it?"
"Weren't you listening to me, Samuel?" he said, frowning. "They don't know yet."
"Yes, sir," I replied. "But generally speaking..."
"Generally speaking," he said, interrupting me, "There's a strong likelihood that this will kill me."
The look on my face must have caused him to rush in with his reply: "But that's not a foregone conclusion, and if you don't think I'm going to fight this outcome, you don't know me very well." He looked at me, his face a mask of seriousness. As I struggled for a coherent reply, he winked, and smiled. "I'm going to beat it, Samuel," he said, almost convincingly; "I just need you to step in while I'm waging the battle. Now will you or won't you?"
"Of course I will," I said. "How could you even question that? I'll be happy to. I'm honored that you'd ask me. I mean, if you're sure I can do it. Because I haven't taught some of those courses before. And will I be working with your grad students?"
"Yes, you will," he said, "and don't worry about the new courses. I'll help you prep for the classes. But just in case it's crossing your mind, let me assure you that I won't check on how your classes are going. I know I won't need to. I've seen you teach. You're the only one around here I would ask, because you're the only teacher here who's as good as I am." He grinned, then reached over and put his hand on my shoulder. He held it there for a moment or two, staring into my eyes, then pulled me into him. As we hugged, I felt my eyes fill with tears.
"I won't let you down," I said, struggling to gain back my equilibrium.
"Of that I am supremely confident," he said, releasing me from his embrace. "Now get the hell outta here and get back to work."
* * * * * * * * *
So that semester I had plenty to occupy me. My own work, plus Walt's classes and graduate advisees. I told myself it would keep my mind off Neal.
It didn't. It only gave me an excuse not to talk to my family about him.
He continued to plague me. He broke into my daytime thoughts; he stood at the center of my nightmares. To escape, I exerted all my concentration on work, and on my son. As the semester went on, Neal's subtle and skillful assaults--skillful because they never seemed to trip him up or get him caught--intensified, and on top of my new responsibilities at work, it wasn't long before I was holding myself together by the barest of margins. I began to feel myself unspooling; the internal pressure was beginning to break me down. Christopher was my only bright spot; everything else was difficult or dangerous.
There were people I could have turned to, Walt among them. But I was too ashamed to explain all of it to anyone. So I let myself get so wrapped up in my own head that I didn't notice Jonah drowning next to me.
He continued working on his Master's degree, though at a snail's pace. I was too self-absorbed to see his slowdown as an indication that something was wrong with him. My silence was paralyzing him: He was getting his research done, but he couldn't concentrate enough to get through his coursework. He'd taken me seriously when I'd demanded a permanent commitment to me and to Chris; and I was showing my thanks by shutting him away from me. As a result, his insecurities were incapacitating him. He was distracted constantly by his growing fears concerning our relationship. But he was too insecure to even talk about it, especially given my resentment whenever he tried to ask me what was wrong. So he'd had to draw his own conclusions. On the basis of the evidence, he'd decided I didn't want him anymore. It made sense; my behavior could only have felt to him like rejection.
Gradually, Jonah fell into a deep depression, one that I was only vaguely aware of while I was battling my own demons. In the same way I'd been hiding my trauma over Neal, he hid his depression from me. Later I realized he'd been terrified that if I found out he was depressed, that would only make me more likely to leave him.
Before too long, it began to register with me that he wasn't around
the house at much in the evenings. He was still there for Chris; he got
him to school often, and spent reasonable amounts of time with him
around mealtime, and helping him with homework if I couldn't;
occasionally he'd take him out to the park to toss around a ball or
ride on the swings. But in the evenings he was away a lot.
It didn't bother me. I was glad he seemed to be getting back into his studies, and quite frankly, just being in his presence was causing me anxiety. When he wasn't around so much, I didn't have to be confronted with the growing difficulties between us.
* * * * * * * * *
Neal's harassment was constant. He made regular threatening phone calls. He disrupted my classes at the end of periods. I kept waiting for--I kept dreading--the day he'd do something that caused me real harm. But I was powerless to do anything about it.
In a way, I think, it was that sense of powerlessness that had caused the flashbacks to become so intense. Those experiences caused me to connect with times in my life where I'd felt most helpless and most victimized. And they were happening every time Jonah touched me.
Eventually Jonah quit asking what was wrong with me; eventually he even quit being around. When he wasn't spending time with Chris, he seemed to have to be up at campus, teaching late or doing research. Sometimes he wouldn't even make it home for the night. We'd run into each other on campus the next day. I never even stopped to wonder about where he'd been. The university was located in a small town, though, so there aren't many secrets in the community or on the campus. I began hearing things about Jonah. Hurtful things, I suppose; at least they'd have been hurtful if I hadn't been hurting so badly already.
What I heard was that those hours Jonah spent away in the evenings weren't hours spent teaching or researching. What I heard was that Jonah had begun having affairs with practically every man and woman who was available.
He'd been at it long before I even heard people whispering. I was so caught up in my own problems, I didn't even notice. When I finally did--when the buzz from the crowd finally broke through my zoned-out approach to life--I responded to those murmurings by generating a large and hazy cloud of denial. People love to gossip, I told myself. He's not having affairs, he's just talking to other people about our difficulties, I told myself. And I have nobody to blame but myself; he definitely wasn't able to talk to me, emotional zombie that I was.
Part of me knew I was lying to myself. I'd ask him from time to time why he was out so late, why he occasionally spent nights away. He'd stare at the floor and mutter about being involved in his research, or about meeting with a student. Then he'd look at me, his eyes begging me to have it out with him, begging me to dig until I got to the truth, begging me to save us from going over the edge.
But I couldn't.
Every time I questioned him, I pretended to buy his explanation. I didn't really want to know. After a while I stopped asking; you don't ask questions that you don't want answered. You don't want additional hurt piled on if you're already at your limit of pain.
Between Neal and Jonah, it was all I could do to keep it together during the day. There was no one I could talk to about the war Neal was waging on me, no one I could confide in about Jonah cheating on me. But I had to hang in. I had to hang in for my job, and for Christopher.
I kept myself sane all day long until Chris went to bed at night, and then, while Jonah escaped the mess first by throwing himself into his teaching and then by boinking one random person after another, I escaped by giving my evenings over to reading.
Stories, primarily. Novels. At first, any story would do. Stories took me away from the awful narrative of my own life and into someone else's world. Quite frankly, the escape was blissful. And quite frankly, I appreciated not having Jonah around. That way I could run from my difficulties into fictional worlds far removed from my own troubles without worrying about having to interact with him. In any case, the evenings became a time that I could create a silent, separate place to push away the critical problems that faced me daily.
* * * * * * * * *
I had a backlog of novels on my shelf, waiting for me to carve out some time to read them. I think I'd read three of them when I began Jamie O'Neill's At Swim,Two Boys, the story of two teenaged best friends from different social classes in early-twentieth-century Ireland. As I made my way through the dense and lush prose, I fell into the world of Jim and Doyler. The book was long and more than a little challenging, but I couldn't put it down. I became absorbed in the story of the two boys and of the friendship between them that grew into an impossible love, a love that was in that day and age universally condemned.
And as I read, I was thrown hard against the memory of what such a friendship felt like.
Page after page re-presented me with themes from my own life: The intense love Jim felt for his best friend; the fear of what would happen if that friend knew he wasn't wired in the standard configuration; the contrast between the two families, one loving and caring, the other brutish and non-familial; the decision to walk away from the friendship; the loss...
It all hit too close to home.
I made it to the final page and closed the book, tears streaming down my face. I was crying for poor Jim, and for poor Doyler.
But not only for them.
I shut my eyes and lay back on my bed. "Brian," I whispered.
I spoke his name over and over, and finally fell into an agonized sleep.
* * * * * * * * *
After I'd finished At Swim, Two Boys, I couldn't pick up anything else on my bookshelf. The power of that book was too strong, and I didn't seem to be able to get into any of the other novels I started after that; it had done a number on my head.
As the years had gone by, I hadn't exactly shut Brian out of my life; but I'd shoved those old feelings to the back of my mind. Even when things had been good between us all those years ago, our friendship tortured me. I knew I could never have what I really longed for with him; and I didn't see how we could possibly be close friends when the closeness only made me yearn all the more for what I couldn't have. So over time, I'd pulled away from Brian and moved him to a place in my heart that was manageable.
It had taken some effort. It had hurt like hell to push him away; and it required me to live in an almost continual state of denial--a kind of forced forgetfulness--but I'd managed. It helped that the years had placed distance between us. Emotional distance, life-situation difference, and lately, geographical distance. These days I could bring him to mind without experiencing incapacitating pain. The price was that I couldn't linger there for very long in any given moment, either mentally or emotionally.
And now, after my years of suppressing the memory of Brian, of turning my back on my feelings for him, reading At Swim,Two Boys had yanked all those feelings, all those memories, all those thoughts, out of the corner where I'd stuffed them, and they'd all come crashing back to the forefront.
I needed something else to read, something to distract me from all that, something to help me put those feelings back into the dark where they belonged. I wanted another story on a gay theme, though. That's why the other novels on the shelf weren't working for me. I needed to loosen the grip Jamie O'Neill's book had on my psyche: Maybe if I sunk my heart into another gay story, one that didn't bring me face-to-face with my own personal history, these unwelcome thoughts of Brian would dissipate. The problem was, I didn't have anything immediately available.
Jonah had been into online porn and other gay sites. It wasn't an obsession with him, but I'd watched him surf enough for me to become aware of that terrain on the Internet.
I remember him mentioning a site that archived gay stories. "Nifty.org" or something like that. I decided to check it out. Maybe I could find a decent online story that would take me someplace a little different while still letting me escape into the world of gay relationships. Maybe I could find a story where things worked for the people involved. That would be about as great an escape from my own personal life as it could possibly be: What I had certainly wasn't working.
I surfed over to the site. I was stunned to see that it was divided up into a large number of distinct categories. There were stories on gay themes, bisexual themes, stories for and about lesbians and transgendered people; even stuff for people who were into animals! And within each of those categories there were more than a dozen subcategories, each of which archived hundreds of stories.
It was actually kind of embarrassing to be surfing a site like this; I could feel myself blushing. I realized how ridiculous that was, and gradually I relaxed a little.
I clicked on the "Bisexual" link; that was probably the most accurate word describing my sexual wiring. As I looked at the subcategories, the "Relationships" section called out to me.
I scanned the titles and found one that caught my attention. It was called Rip Current. I clicked on the link and discovered that it had been written by a college kid from Texas named Drew. I settled in to read it, completely oblivious to what that innocent click of the mouse was about to do to my life.
There are seven more chapters of Dan's story to go. Dan wrote the very last one himself before he died, and I have already written the next three from his notes. I'll be posting the next chapter soon. If you'd like to email me about Dan's story, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.