This is the last chapter of Knots 5. Knots 6 will begin in about 8 weeks. In the meantime, I will publish a completed story called A Matter of Perspective. It is about a 17 year old boy who comes out in a small Idaho town when he's 15. It examines the consequences and the actions he takes to deal with the rejection of his family and friends. I'll start publishing a few chapters a week starting this coming week.
It was early November, and football was ending. Matt and I were turning eighteen in March. We'd be adults in the eyes of the law and could vote, get married, or go into the service. We could even become porn stars. I liked the idea of getting married, but Matt wasn't ready. College was our goal, but we had no idea if we'd even be at the same school. We needed to make plans. There was always our local community college. We could live at home or get our own apartment, but lawn jobs weren't going to earn us enough money to do that. So in many ways, our futures were unknown and undetermined.
Matt and I were still going to Dr. Walker, and we wanted to have our last session with him together. So much had happened since we went back to therapy, and I guess we wanted to celebrate it with him. He was sure to ask us about our futures, how we were getting along, and if there had been any bumps in our relationship. At the time, there were none. But that didn't mean there wouldn't be. Life was like that. Just when you thought everything was going great, something would happen to put a huge knot in it.
I couldn't believe it when Jason Settles came to the November GSA meeting. He was all smiles. His fidgeting was gone and while I couldn't explain it, he seemed more confident. I caught up with Jason at the back of Mr. Lynch's room as we were leaving.
"Jason, I never expected to see you here."
He smiled. "Neither did I."
I sat at one of the desks, and he joined me. Mr. Lynch worked at his desk and appeared to ignore us, but I kept wondering if he was listening.
"Thanks to you and Mr. Lynch, I got some courage. I'm doing my best not to be the Cowardly Lion. I'm still in the closet because of my parents, but I told them I was joining the GSA as one of the straight members. I think it's a good beginning."
I slid my desk closer. "How'd they react?"
"They weren't happy. They said Mr. Lynch, you, and others in the club were going to turn me gay. Shows how stupid they are."
"Do they know you're here?"
"No. They told me I couldn't join. But I figured what they didn't know couldn't hurt me. They'll never know unless I tell them or they come to a meeting. And that's not likely to happen."
"I'm proud of you, Jason."
He reached over and hesitantly patted me on the arm. "I have you to thank for all this. You got me to talk to Mr. Lynch the first time. I felt like I was trapped in a burning building, and all the exits were either blocked or the exit lights were out. I didn't want to die, but I didn't know what else to do. So I went to see Mr. Lynch, hoping he could get me out of the burning building, and he did. I'm not sure what I'd have done without him or if he hadn't been able to help. He saved me. You saved me. "
"Thanks, Jason. You make me feel good. Sometimes, I think I'm just a crazy guy who can't keep his head on straight. Knowing I helped you in a small way gives me confidence."
Jason smiled. "You don't need confidence. You're one of the most confident people I know."
"It's all a front, Jason. I'm as scared as the next guy. I make a lot of mistakes, do some stupid things at times, and tie some pretty big knots. Hopefully, I'm on the right track now. Just between you and me, Matt and I are boyfriends. Don't tell anyone. Only a few people know. And, by the way, if you want, you can join us at our table for lunch. That way you'll have a group of friends to hang with."
He pulled back some. "I don't want to hurt your feelings, but your table is known as the gay table. I'm not sure my parents or I are ready for that."
"My feelings aren't hurt. I just want you to know you're welcome to sit with us."
"Thanks. Maybe when I get more courage or my parents change their attitudes, but that is very unlikely to happen."
I patted his arm. "You can always make friends with some of the straight people in the club. From what I've seen, you're kind of a loner. It would be good to make some friends."
"No one really likes me. You're about the closest person to a friend that I've had in a long time. I had some in elementary school, but they either moved or lost interest in me."
I smiled. "Jason, friendship is a two-way street. You can't wait for people to come to you and ask you to be their friend.) To have a friend, you have to be a friend. Just keep it in mind, and if an opportunity to make a friend comes along, be a friend."
"Will you be my friend?"
"Of course. But what will your parents think if I came to your house for a sleepover?"
Jason laughed. "That would be a good one."
I stood. "Remember, if you ever need my help, I'm here for you, and if you can't find me, Mr. Lynch will help you."
"Thanks, Andy," he said as he stood. "I appreciate you forcing me to see Mr. Lynch. Sorry I didn't show at the dugout that day. Things would have gone a lot differently if I had. But like they say, hindsight is 20/20."
We walked to the door. I was going to pat him on the back, but I just said, "Have a good day."
"You too," he said as we both headed to class.
We had our last game of the season, and I hate to say, I was glad it was over. Greg got the Most Valuable Player award, and I knew how Andy must have felt the year I got it. Greg had more class than I did. This is what he said when he accepted the award: "I kind of owe this to Matt Spence. He pushed me all season by challenging me at every practice. He's a great teammate. He helped me when I needed it and never showed any jealousy or anger because I was the starting quarterback. If he hadn't been there to challenge me and make me better, I'm not sure I'd have deserved this." He held up the MVP trophy and saluted me with it. I wanted to cry.
Greg proved to be a good friend. He wasn't gay, not that being gay was all that important, but he didn't care if I was. I guess I would have called him a true gentleman.
Life seemed golden after football ended. The stress was gone. Andy and I could spend more time together and not be exhausted from football. Our lunch table hadn't changed much. Megan and Zoe stopped by once in a while. It appeared that they didn't care if we were known as the gay table. Jason never came by, but I understood why. To be honest though, we were fortunate because most of the student body didn't care that some of us were gay. It was only guys like Jackass Barnes and a few others whose homophobic attitudes never seemed to change.
Colt and Thomas were back together, but for some reason their relationship seemed strained. We finally told everyone at the table that Andy and I were boyfriends, but I asked them to keep it to themselves. Andy didn't much like that I asked them not to tell anyone, but I didn't see any need to flaunt it. He didn't see it that way because he felt we should be able to act just like guys with girlfriends. I preferred to keep things simple and avoid controversy.
Ollie and Sonia, as well as Alan and Emily, were going strong. They held hands and gave each other parting kisses or hello kisses when they joined us at our table. Andy would always ask, "Why can't we do that?"
I just gave him the look and said, "You know why."
I thought Gina and Billy might break up, but they were still together also. He ran for student body president and won. I didn't bother to run against him since I hadn't beaten him for junior class president. Maybe it sounded like I'd just given up and maybe I had, but sometimes a person can only take so much stress in their life and I had enough at that time. Billy, who'd always seemed like the class clown, had matured a lot and was doing a great job. I was jealous but had no one to blame but myself.
Basketball was about to start, so we didn't have much time between sports, but we enjoyed the time we had. Andy and I had regular after-school sex in either his bedroom or mine. There was real love. Yes, sometimes we just had sex—wild, passionate sex. Other times we had quiet, loving sex. We made love. I never thought I would have said this, but it was wonderful. The bond and love we had was so much different from what we'd had before we were boyfriends.
Our last appointment with Dr. Walker was the Saturday before our first basketball practice. Andy and I would have loved to go to Dr. Walker forever, but we had to get off the training wheels sometime and learn to live life on our own. We had no way of knowing if we could do that. We always had the option of seeing him again, but at that time, we were ready to move on.
Dr. Walker greeted us with a handshake and motioned for us to enter his mental health den. I sat to his left and Andy to his right.
"So how's everything?" he began.
Andy and I looked at each other and shrugged. "Great" we said in unison.
"What do you mean great?"
"You know, just great," Andy said.
"Yeah, great," I echoed.
He shook his head. "You guys have been coming here long enough to know you're not going to get away with that kind of answer." He glanced at Andy. "Why is it great?"
"We're in love, Doc. That's why."
He looked at me. "And you, Matt?"
"Like Andy said, we're in love."
He wrote something on his pad and turned it toward us. It was a heart with an arrow through it and the word love written inside. "Does this describe your love?"
We both nodded.
"Hmm. Interesting. What about the arrow?"
"What about it?" Andy asked.
He ran his finger along the arrow's shaft. "It pierces the heart."
"It's Cupid's arrow," I said.
"Are you sure?"
Andy squirmed in his chair and said, "Yes."
"Why would Cupid shoot an arrow into someone's heart?" Dr. Walker asked.
He sure had a way of making something simple complicated. "The tip of the arrow is filled with love potion," I said in a feeble attempt to answer his question.
"For the Greeks, the arrow represented uncontrollable desire. Is your desire uncontrollable?" Dr. Walker asked.
"I sure as hell hope not," I said.
"Why do you say that, Matt?"
"I want control over my love for Andy. If it's uncontrollable for either of us, who knows what might happen."
"So you're saying you disagree with the picture I drew?"
"How about you, Andy?"
"My desire for Matt is uncontrollable. I love him beyond reason. My heart feels like it's going to burst with that uncontrollable love."
"What do you think of that, Matt?"
"I sometimes think Andy has more passion than I do. But when we have sex, we're both passionate. You can feel the love between us."
Dr. Walker took a sip of water. "You're almost eighteen, and if you're in love, are you considering marriage after you graduate?"
"Hell no," I said.
Andy looked hurt. "What do you mean hell no?" he asked. "If we're in love, we should get married."
"I love you, Andy. But I'm not ready for marriage."
"Does Matt's comment pierce your heart, Andy?"
"Kinda. I don't think it should be off the table. It's something we need to discuss."
"What do you think, Matt?"
I looked at Dr. Walker. "I agree. We need to discuss it."
"Let's move on to a different area," he said. "Trust is very important in a relationship. Do you both trust each other to love and respect the other?"
Andy was quick to answer. "I trust Matt."
"How about you, Matt?"
"I trust, Andy, but I don't think as much as he trusts me."
Andy looked hurt again. Of course, Dr. Walker didn't let it go. "What do you mean, Matt?"
"I take it back," Andy said before I could answer. "I'm not sure I trust Matt. He's the one that decided he had to go out with other people when I wanted him to be my boyfriend."
I nodded. "That's true, Andy, but I talked to you about it. I didn't do it behind your back."
"Are you saying you think I'll do something behind your back?"
Dr. Walker rapped his hand on the table. "Stop it. It wasn't my intention to have you get into a fight. I just thought it was something you should think about. There's an old saying that says prior proper planning prevents poor performance. The six p's, so to speak. You two need to discuss these things ahead of time. You have to be prepared for the bumps in the road. As you already know, life isn't perfect. It can be a pain sometimes."
We both nodded.
"So spend some time talking about these things tonight when you're together. The word love is easy to throw around, but love is really more about your actions than what you say. It's easy to say I love you and quite another to show through your actions that you love someone. Why else would so many marriages end in divorce? Ninety-eight percent of couples think they're madly in love, and then reality sets in when they realize that love requires work. I want you to keep that in mind. Love requires work. Do you understand?"
We both nodded again.
"I guess our work begins today," Andy said.
"Yes. Your love will be tested. It always is. It's a part of life. You'll know if you're really in love once it's been tested and you succeed or fail."
"That happened with our friends, Thomas and Colt," I said. "Colt wanted out of their relationship for a while, and Thomas said fine. He didn't even argue with him. I thought it really showed that he loved him. They're back together now, but it doesn't seem as strong as it was before."
"Why do you think that is, Matt?"
"Trust. I think Thomas is afraid Colt will want to do the same thing again. He'll want to wander.
"You make a good point, Matt. On the one hand, you said Thomas let him go because he loves him, but on the other hand, Thomas doesn't trust him like he used to. Is there a solution to that?"
"You know what, Dr. Walker, I think most of us are just afraid to be hurt. So we find it easier not to trust someone. But my feeling is that if someone breaks your heart and they ask for forgiveness, you should give it to them along with your trust. So I'm going to change my earlier comment. I do trust Andy. It's always possible that either of us could break the other's heart, but if we love someone, we need to be open to being hurt. If we're not, I'm not sure there's much love. What do you think, Andy?"
He gave me a slow nod. "I never thought about it that way before, Matt, but I think you're right. What do you think, Dr. Walker?"
Dr. Walker smiled. "You know I don't give answers."
"Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. Ha ha."
"Let me ask you another question." He took a sip of water. "Besides trust, what else do you need to do to make things work?"
Andy and I looked at each other and then shrugged. Andy said, "Love each other."
"No, Andy, too easy an answer. What have we been doing today?"
There were a few beats of silence before I said, "Talking."
"Right, talking. You need to talk and communicate your feelings. You can't let them fester. I'm sure you don't watch soap operas. I've only watched them a couple of times out of curiosity, but the reason these relationships don't work is because they keep secrets from each other. They don't communicate their feelings. This may be great for keeping the audience on the edge of their seat, but it isn't any good for relationships. So what are the two things you must do to make your relationship work?"
"Talk and trust each other," I said.
Dr. Walker looked at Andy. "Do you agree, Andy?"
"I think we should leave it at that. Talk later when you're alone. Do some prior proper planning for your relationship. I know it doesn't sound romantic, but if you can do what we talked about today, your relationship will be filled with romance. If not, then it may be filled with heartache. I'm not saying that you'll never have your heart broken, but if you've talked about it, you can decide how you're going to react if and when it happens. Does that make sense?"
We both nodded. "Good. I'm going to miss seeing you two, but I hope we won't have to meet again unless it's socially. But if you need me, I'm here for you."
We all stood. Andy and I shook Dr. Walker's hand and then Andy hugged him. I was a little reluctant, but I hugged him too. "Thanks Dr. Walker. You're the best."
I glanced at Andy and his eyes were wet with unshed tears. I put my arm around his shoulders, and we walked out of Dr. Walker's office.
Matt and I went out and shot baskets after we left Dr. Walker's office. It was fun just doing something we enjoyed without the pressure of talking or thinking. Matt came to my house for dinner and then we went to my room. We got naked and laid together. I was ready for sex, but Matt rolled on his back, looked at the ceiling and said, "Let's talk."
I rolled on top of him and kissed him deep and hard. "If you insist."
He rolled me off of him, and we faced each other. We talked for over an hour while gently kissing and rubbing our hands through each other's hair. I laid my head on Matt's chest for a while as we talked. He put his arm around me and rubbed his hand over my chest and abs. Then we made love, real love. It was awesome.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. - George Bernard Shaw
Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble. - Yehuda Berg
Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships (together). - Stephen Covey
If you like this story, please write a review, click like, and follow me. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I answer all emails.
I'd like to thank Lisa for taking the time to edit Knots 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. As the author, I take final responsibility for all parts of the story, including any errors.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales, is purely coincidental and no slanderous intent is implied.