Warning, the story you are about to read deals with issues such as homosexuality and teenage sex. If your offended by such behaviors or your not of legal age to read such material, please exit now.
Well good! The following story deals with the fictional path my life would have taken if only I I could of told my parents that I was gay almost ten years ago. Some of the characters within my stories are based off real people but their names have been changed to protect their identities.
Any similarities to real events or situations are purely coincidental...or maybe not so coincidental...
I want to thank everyone who emailed me after I posted the first four chapters. I love the correspondence, so keep it coming! Any advice concerning subsequent chapters would be much appreciated.
ps I know that I have had some grammar mistakes in each of my chapters, I promise that I will have a proofreader for the rest of the story.
In all of my excitement, I did not see the disappointed face of my little sister. My mom, of course, was the first to see it.
"Melissa, what's the matter?"
"I want to see Uncle Mike and Colorado too. Why can't I come, I won't be any trouble, I promise!"
"Its not that you'll be any trouble sweetheart, it's just that Zack needs a vacation alone with me. I'll tell you what! If your a good girl and don't give you father any trouble while we're gone, I'll buy you something really special as a souvenir. Okay?!"
The thought of a gift finally brought my sister out of her little funk. She spent the rest of the night jumping up and down, telling us that we need to leave real soon for she can get her gift sooner. Kids!
The thought of Colorado and leaving life for a few weeks was the best news that I had heard in the past few weeks. My spirits were only dimmed slightly when I realized that all of the clothes I wanted to bring for the trip did not fit in two suitcases.
"*Attention all passengers, Flight number 1427 to Denver, CO is now boarding at gate number 16. Rows 1 through 14 can now board...*"
I can't believe that in just a few hours I will be with my Uncle Mike and his family in Colorado. It really will be a far cry from my life just a day ago. Yesterday I was being suspended from school for fighting; today I'm flying cross-country to begin a few week vacation. Soon I will be flying high, in more ways than one.
"Zack, did you remember to pack your toothbrush, underwear, and deodorant? Do you think your dad knows what number to call just in case there is an emergency? I hope I remembered to cancel my appointment at the hair salon."
Only my mom could take worrying to a multi-tasking level. I swear, I don't know what she would do if she didn't worry about some little detail or other. Once we had to drive home from the lake for four hours because she swore that she left the refrigerator door open.
"Gee thanks for reminding me mom! I knew I forgot something! I guess going commando will take a little getting used to..."
"Okay smart aleck! Help me find the boarding passes. I think I put them in your jacket pocket."
After finding the boarding passes, which incidentally were in my mom's back pants pocket, my mom and me boarded the plane towards fun and relaxation. My luck would have it that all of the flight attendants were female. Just as well, male flight attendants had too many stereotypes attached to them.
Finding our seats and putting up the luggage was a hassle because my mom wanted an aisle seat even though our tickets were for a window and a center seat. But, being my mom, she got the aisle while I got the middle. The poor guy that she talked into switching seats actually looked too exhauster or hung over to really care. I could tell already that he was going to be a snorer.
Flying really wasn't a big deal for my family. Ever since I was little, I can remember flying to meet my dad as he worked. My dad traveled a lot for business and my mom used to think that it was nice to spend some family time together, even though we were not always home. Hotel rooms and room service had lost their appeal by the time I was ten. Flying had really lost its luster also, but not today!
Today I was excited about the flight. We were going to Colorado, my home away from home. I was born in Denver and spent five years of my young life there. Before I entered kindergarten, my dad decided that he didn't like busy expressways and crowded housing. So, a long story short, we packed up and moved to rural Arkansas. Metro Denver to dairy farms. Talk about culture shock! My mom made it a point to visit Colorado at least once a year. To visit family and keep us kids acclimated to metro living.
The roar of the engines and the inevitably feeling of heavy weights proceeded by the feeling of momentary weightlessness brought me back to the present and told me that I was on my way. To quote Johnny Brown, husband of the unsinkable Molly Brown, "Colorado my home sweet home!"
The entire plane trip was pretty much uneventful for me. The guy next to the window was a snorer and proceeded to show the entire range of his nocturnal snoring skills. My mom on the other hand spent the majority of the trip drinking Diet Coke and then using the plane's facilities, drinking Diet Coke, using the plane's facilities, drinking...well you get the idea. When she wasn't quenching her thirst or sitting on a plane's cramped restroom, she was holding a somewhat conversation with an exchange student from China or maybe Thailand. Her English really wasn't that good to tell.
"*Attention passengers, the plane is making its final descent towards Denver, CO. At this time, all tray tables are to be put up and locked in their locked positions. Also, as indicated by the light, all seat belts need to be fastened and all seats need to be in their up right position. On behalf of the captain and Delta Airlines, I would like to thank you for flying with us and I hope that you have a happy stay in Denver.*"
We were finally there! After hours of mind numbing boredom and a nocturnal serenade, I had made it to Denver.
"Will Uncle Mike be there to pick us up or will we have to rent a car?"
"I called Mike before we left Arkansas and told him when I thought the plane should be arriving. He should be waiting for us at the gate."
Stepping off the plane, my first impression of Denver was coldness. While it was beginning to show signs of early spring in Arkansas, Colorado was still experiencing winter climes. The walkway from the plane to the gate was just a giant wind tunnel. Needless to say we were frozen when we finally entered the gate. I immediately warmed up when I saw not only Uncle Mike, but also Shelly, Alex, Scott, and David waiting for us.
"Welcome to Colorado! I hope that the flight wasn't too bad. My god Zack, if you grow any taller I would not be able to do this to you."
Uncle Mike suddenly grabbed me in a headlock and began administering a generous supply of noogies. I probably could have pulled away, but that would ruin the point of the whole display. Uncle Mike was basically an overgrown kid and I loved being around him. His good moods were infectious.
Aunt Shelly just rolled her eyes and greeted my mom.
"Boys, now how was the flight? I hope that you didn't get stuck to one of those bossy types who want your seat even though they paid for a not so good one."
I had to see how my mom responded to this statement.
"The flight was great, no problems at all. Scott, Alex, David! Come over here and give your Aunt Lisa a hug!"
After the initial adult greetings, I was able to socialize with my cousins while the grown-ups picked up the luggage. Alex was the first to say hello.
"Hello. My name is Alex; your name is Zack. I'm three, how old are you? Gosh your tall, I don't know if I want to be that tall. I have a rabbit. Do you want to see it? Her name is Thumper. That is from one of my favorite movies, Bambi. Have you ever seen it? I think I like The Land Before Time better, though. I want to find dinosaurs when I grow up. What do you want to be when you grow up? I sneezed earlier and a giant booger came out of my nose. I showed my mommy but she said that I should use a tissue..."
David thankfully ended Alex's verbal stream.
"Alex! Stop hogging your cousin Zack. He might want to say hello to you too, but he can't until you stop talking. Okay?"
"Okay, David, I just wanted to say hi."
"Hello, Alex. I'm Zack, your cousin. To answer your questions, I'm fourteen almost fifteen. I would love to see your rabbit and yes I've seen Bambi. I'm not sure what I want to be when I grow up and I think that it was a good thing for your mommy to tell you to use a tissue. That is just good manners. Did I do all right?"
"I guess so...I'm going to see what mommy is doing. Bye!"
Scott and David looked all too relieved when their youngest brother decided to leave our little group.
"A little talker isn't he?" I was not used to three-year-olds, but I was pretty sure that I would in a few days.
"Naw, he's just excited to see you. All morning has been Zack this and Zack that. He actually can't really remember you that much from last year, but he sure wants to spend a lot of time with you. Scott and I will be happy to share him!"
"Gee thanks, I'm touched that you guys are being so thoughtful."
"No problem. Anytime we can help!" Was David's reply.
"David and I are only too happy to share him. He only has one criteria for liking new people. If you listen to him ramble on and answer his questions, your good as gold!"
My Colorado experience was off to a good start. I had actually missed being around family that was not part of my immediate family. Looking at David and Scott, I began to realize that it had been awhile since I had seen them. We were all a year older since the last time we had got together.
David and I were almost exactly to the day a year apart. He was actually 364 days older than I was. Physically though, I looked like the older one. While I was starting to reach 5'10", David was only peaking at 5'6". Scott was a half a year younger than I was. He also was built along the same lines as his brother David. Both of my cousins seemed to take after their mother. Both were slight in build, dirty-blonde hair, and blue eyes. You couldn't tell that we were related.
Even though they looked pretty much alike, their personalities were almost polar opposites. David was an extrovert by nature. He loved music and wanted to be a professional DJ. Scott on the other hand was pretty quiet. He always seemed that he was listening to a song that he could only hear. Over the past year or so, Scott had become a pretty proficient amateur snowboarder. Two broken collarbones later, he was beginning to make a name for himself in the amateur circuit.
Sitting in the middle seat of my Uncle's Suburban, I got to catch up with both of my older cousins.
"Hey Zack, how do you feel about going snowboarding this Saturday? David and me still have school, but we can pick you up Friday afternoon and you can spend the night at our mom's house. What do you say?"
"Snowboarding? I can honestly say that I've never been, but it actually sounds pretty cool! I mean, how hard can it be?"
"Oh, just you wait! After just one hour of falling on your ass, and you'll be wishing that you were on the kiddies' slope."
"Can I go too! Please!" Alex pleaded from the confines of his car seat.
"Sorry champ, but only the big kids can go this time. I'll tell you what, David and I will come to see you Saturday night and you can learn a few "tricks" in the driveway. Okay?"
"But I am a big kid! Look at how big my feet are growing! I can count to a hundred and almost tie my own shoes with mommy's help. I want to go!"
The rest of the trip to my Uncle's house was spent trying to humor Alex. He just wouldn't understand that the whole Saturday trip was just for the older kids. I was actually excited and apprehensive about Friday and Saturday. First, I was going to spend the night at my ex-Aunt's house, which I haven't seen in almost three years. She left my uncle for another man and ended their marriage badly. Second, I really didn't know how to snowboard. I could barely even ski! Arkansas was not really known for its snow. The best I ever saw was a few inches that later turned to ice.
Before we could go to my Uncle's house, we had to stop by my ex-Aunt's house to drop off my two cousins. We exchanged goodbyes, phone numbers, and confirmed our plans for the weekend. Since it was a school night they really couldn't spend that much time with us. It was just going to be Uncle Mike, Aunt Shelly, Alex, Mom, and me for the rest of the week.
We finally made it to Evergreen; a growing community just south of Denver. The area was a mixture of old and new homes. The older homes were mostly rural cabins, which were previously used as weekend getaways from the city. The newer homes were built by young families that wanted to get out of the city and raise their children in a more "small-town" environment. Due to the rapid growth of the area, a lot of the new homes were very large and nice. My uncle's home was one of the newer ones.
I need to tell a little bit about my Uncle Mike. Uncle Mike was one of those guys who in the late seventies and early eighties started investing in real-estate and other business adventures. Most of them were pretty high risk, but the pay-offs were very good when they were successful. By the early nineties, my Uncle Mike at only 43 semi-retired a very well off individual.
I loved my Uncle's new house. It was the perfect blend between a rural cabin and a modern loft. The outside was a mixture of cedar shingles and tumbled stone. The outside led you to believe that the house had been there for decades, but it was only built two years ago. The inside told you that it was a new house. Pine wood floors, hand plastered walls, and a very modern kitchen was just a few of the features of the house. The best thing about the house was that it was multi-leveled. Instead of having distinct floors, different rooms throughout the house were build along the hillside, all you had to do was walk up a few steps to get into the next part of the house.
"So what do you think?" Aunt Shelly had said when she entered what will be my room for the next couple of weeks.
"I love it! No offense to my own house, but this house beats it by far."
"I'm glad that you like it. I'm sure that you'll love what I have planned for all of us too. It is mostly a surprise, but I can tell you that tonight we are going to one of my favorite restaurants. How do you feel about Japanese?"
"Actually, I really don't know. I've never had it before. The closest thing to Asian cuisine back home is a Chinese/Mexican buffet that had just opened up."
"Good! We have ourselves a virgin on our hands. And don't give me that shocked look, I meant a food virgin...Someone who has not had Japanese before. Okay, I'll leave you before I embarrass you anymore. Get ready, cause we're leaving in 20 minutes."
I decided to change into a sweater that Shelly had sent me for Christmas. I loved how I looked in it and wished that I would have had more opportunities to wear it, but since Arkansas's winters are pretty short and mild, it was always too warm. It was one of the nicest sweaters that I owned. Chocolate brown that offset my hair, eyes, and complexion perfectly. The fact that it was cashmere made it even more luxurious. My aunt really knew how to shop and buy well.
Once I was ready, I went down to the den to see if anyone else was ready. On the couch were my mom and cousin Alex in their pajamas.
"What gives? Aren't you coming with us?"
"No honey, I'm actually going to watch over Alex while you get to know your aunt and uncle a little bit better. I'm exhausted from the trip, plus, Alex really isn't a Japanese fan. We're going to have fish sticks with macaroni and cheese. Aren't we Alex?"
My little cousin, totally engrossed with the cartoon video he was watching only nodded a couple of time before becoming lost in the television again.
After a couple of minutes waiting, my aunt and uncle joined us. It was time for us to go out, and I was a little excited and apprehensive about the evening's plans. This was the first time that I was able to spend time with my aunt and uncle without the interference of other family members. Even though I got to visit them once a year, there was always some other adult in the room monopolizing their attention. I was curious about what we were going to talk about. I mean, other than being related to them, I never really knew a whole lot about them. Things were going to be interesting.
When Shelly had mentioned that we were going to a Japanese restaurant, I had pictured a restaurant like the ones that we have back home, just different food. I was happily wrong. The place looked like it was a Japanese palace residing in Denver. The only thing that was out of place was the snow covering the rock gardens. Inside, the space was divided into individual dining rooms. Everything seemed authentic from the grass mats on the floors to the paper lantern shades.
Upon entering, my uncle gave the hostess our name and a twenty. The hostess without batting an eye called over a waiter, who escorted us to one of the private rooms in the back. Instead of a regular dining table and chairs, the room had only one low-lying table surrounded by oversized seating-cushions. The room smelled like a blend of some exotic spice and brewing tea.
"Well, don't just stand there with your mouth wide-open. You might get stuck like that." My uncle was always the practical joker.
After my initial shock, I was able to relax enough to take a seat opposite my aunt and uncle. Everything was perfect, down to the smallest little details. Well, everything was perfect except for one thing. We were missing something.
"Where are the menus?"
"Well, Zack, there are no menus. This is a family style Japanese restaurant. For aesthetic purposes, we are the guests and the restaurant staff are our hosts. Each room comes with a host and hostess who basically treat us like friends and family. Instead of a menu, we receive what the hosts had planned for their guests. Do you get the idea?"
I could tell why my aunt loved this place. Being a native of San Francisco, she had adequate experience with being a host to many a dinner party. She loved the idea that she was the guest for once and not the other way around. She got to enjoy the food while still being treated like a dinner guest instead of a restaurant patron. It was all aesthetics.
"Well, to be perfectly honest, the idea seems a little confusing, but it seems sort of fun. I'm game! Remember that I'm new to all of this. So, when they start bringing in the food, can you explain to me what I'm about to eat before I put it in my mouth? Okay?"
The first course was a simple soup of prawns and a simple broth. It was delicate and light, but very delicious. In between sips of the soup, my aunt and uncle were able to ask me all of the basic questions about myself.
"So Zack, what sort of things are you up to these days? Sports, music, school?"
"I don't know...I like to play basketball, but I'm not on the team because I don't like the forced competition. Music? Well, you'll probably think of me as an old man, but I really like swing bands from the 30's and 40's. I actually like any type of music really. School was great, but now it's not."
"Your mom called us because of your school situation, I suggested that you needed a break and come out and visit Mike and me. It might seem awkward, since you don't know us that personally, but we are always here for you. You can use your uncle and me as a sounding board for your problems."
"Shelly's right, you can talk to us about anything. But, since you just got here and we don't want to start your vacation off on a bad note, why don't we stop talking about the past couple of weeks and keep the conversation light. How do you feel about that?"
The rest of the night went perfectly. I got to taste some interesting foods that night and had gained an added respect for my aunt and uncle. They were very nice people. We just talked about nothing really. Books, movies, anything really. I was able to enjoy an evening without being the "kid" or the "outsider." I was an equal, finally.
Coming to Colorado was the best idea! Based on my first night, everything was going to be absolutely perfect!
That's the end of chapter 7. It took awhile to write because I kept changing my mind on how much I wanted to do with it. I finally decided to use it as an introduction to Zack's Colorado experience.
Gosh, I miss Colorado. It really is my home away from home. If you ever get the chance, go there! It is absolutely breath taking.
Well anyways...Later days!