Written By: Justin Case
Edited By: Ed
September 28, 2001
Disclaimer: This material contains sexually suggestive language about two young males. It may be offensive to some, and should be read by mature persons only. It was created by the author, and is fiction. If you want to learn more about diversified love, keep reading; if not, scram! ©JCPCo2001
SoapBox®: Hello, all my faithful. How's it going? Here we are again, another chapter of Luke. I want to thank you all for following along with me on this one. I really appreciate your kind letters and messages too. I love hearing from you all!
I hope you don't mind, but I have to get up on the soapbox today. I have held off on writing my feelings about something I read in my local newspaper for over a week now, but I have to get these thoughts out. As usual, if you don't want to read my ramblings, fast forward to the story. Kind of like those trailers on the videos/DVD's we rent, or own.
It all started a few months back. A young fifteen-year-old boy stole a car and took a couple of his friends for a joy ride. The young man crashed the car, and left one of his friends paralyzed. Apparently, marijuana was found to be either in the car, or on the victim. I don't remember which, I just remember reading marijuana was involved somehow in the accident. Well, the young boy that stole the car ran away from the scene. He was found, arrested, and jailed. Here's where it gets fuzzy, the Prosecuting Attorney for the State of Connecticut decided to try this boy as an adult for this crime. The poor boy was unable to raise bond, and depression set in. He became depressed because of what he had done to his friend, and worse, the stiff penalties he had been threatened with by the State. He committed suicide, while in custody, unable to make bond.
Where are we going in this country? How can the government have it both ways? If this same young man had received alcohol from an adult, the adult would be arrested for delivering alcohol to a minor. After all, he was a minor. This trying children as adults either has to go, or we have to quit hiding behind the shield of innocence by age. It can't be both. Hell, this poor kid couldn't even have sex legally for another two years, according to the state law in Connecticut. Shame on the legislature, shame on the justice system, and shame on us for not speaking out.
I pray for the boy's soul, his family, and the friends that were in the car. I also pray for the Prosecutor, and hope he can live with himself. While this was an unfortunate tragedy, it was an accident. What we used to call a teen-prank. Don't get me wrong, I'm not excusing what happened. I'm just angered by the direction we as a society seem to be headed. A place where we have first graders suspended from school for kissing one another, or worse yet, arrested. I wish the police would go back to policing, and get out of the schools. I wish the parents would go back to parenting. Most of all, I wish we could all just get along.
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.
If you'd like to contact me, Justin69SK@aol.com is still my address. You can find my website at http://Justinscorner.homestead.com I hope to hear from you soon. As always, but not forever, Just, Justin<>
The next few weeks were rough for me. The only high point was Travis's art show. It was a warm spring night the day of the show's opening. Travis and I went together. He borrowed some of my clothes to wear. He seems to like mine, more than his own. I keep telling him, `no matter what, just because you wear my clothes you don't get my good looks too,' which is why I think he wears them all the time. I can dream, can't I?
It was the first week of May, and we had just turned the clocks ahead recently, so the sun was still peeking out from behind a few low hanging clouds as we walked from Travis' car to the gallery. The trees that were planted along the concrete sidewalk had just started to show the green buds of leaves that would soon be bursting with life. Even the robins were back, although in Boston there is little grass for them to find worms under, they do have the Commons, or the community gardens that are strategically placed around the city, that's where they go too. My mother has always told me, `Whenever you see your first robin of the year, you know spring is here.'
There is something about the warm weather, the birds chirping outside my bedroom window, and the freshness in the air, that seems to make me come alive. I guess that after the doldrums of winter, it is to be expected. I was unusually high on life this particular spring evening, because I had Travis at my side. He seemed to be as energized as I was.
Earlier in that afternoon, the two of us had been frantically working on some paintings together, in the park. I was amazed at how we could see things differently, but the same. He really liked to use bright vibrant colors, almost like Edouard Manet. I was little more reserved, like Edvard Munch, although Munch was twenty at the time of Manet's death; he didn't use the colors quite the same way as Manet. The two impressionists were definitely ahead of their time. It has been said that Manet's works were illegal for their vulgarity. I could hardly imagine living in times like that.
I guess coming from Boston helps me to realize and appreciate our history. The greatness of our forefathers for making sure we lived with freedom. I couldn't begin to understand how Manet's artwork was vulgar, let alone illegal. Thank God, for progress.
Travis was carrying his finished landscape with him, careful not to rub it against himself, or anything else for that matter, as the oils were still wet. I couldn't believe he was going to show it, gosh, he had just finished it only hours before. He was determined to show his `latest' piece though. He had reasoned that his very first piece and his latest would be shown together. He explained to me, it would demonstrate his progression in life.
The first picture he had on display was centered in the entrance to the gallery. As you walked through the double glass doors, an 8X10 inch drawing on paper of his house and family greeted your eyes. He had drawn it in kindergarten, even then the colors he chose were bright: reds, yellows, greens, and blues. The picture was almost abstract, and certainly not like other children's; his talent was obvious even then. The piece had been done in crayon.
He quickly hung the painting he had carried with him on the rear wall of the gallery. It would be the last piece seen, if you followed the show in the manner the cordons led you. He stood back and admired the picture. I was so proud of him.
"What do you think, Luke?"
"Breathtaking." And I didn't just mean the painting.
"Really, you mean it? Is it really as good as yours?"
"Man, cut it out, you are way better than me," I assured him.
He turned to face me; his face seemed to beam as he embraced me with a hug. I hugged him back, but did feel a little pang of embarrassment by our show of affection. I could feel the warmth of his body as he firmly pressed against me.
"I love you, Luke."
"I love you, Travis."
"Boys? We need to get you over here. Come on, Travis, we're about to open the doors," the voice called from behind us. I recognized it as Travis' teacher.
Startled, we both turned to see the older man smiling affectionately at us. He motioned his hand towards the front of the gallery.
The gallery was a one-story brick building that was adjacent to Fenway Park. It was dwarfed by the neighboring buildings, but was over two hundred years old. It was an historic landmark, so it couldn't be torn down. It had two large windows on either side of the double door. The windows were several small panes of glass encased in wooden frames mounted side by side and on top of each other. Some of the glass was still original according to a plaque on the front of the red bricked building. The plaque said the gallery was built in 1782, and that originally it was a general store.
Inside the gallery, the plaster walls were painted antique white. In the center of the ceiling was a molded plaster design. It was a huge round mold with several shapes that resembled bunches of grapes and leaves. The grapes had been painted in shades of violet, red, and green, while the leaves were painted in darker greens. The same pattern had been stenciled onto the walls where they met the ceiling. The floor was wide planked boards of chestnut, which curled at the joints. Gas lamps (replicas), hung from the ceiling and attached to the walls at various places throughout the one room, were the only lights in the building. Therefore, for the show some temporary electric lighting had been added, small spotlights lit up every painting or drawing on display. Set up directly under the ceiling decoration, and centered directly below, a table had been set up with fresh fruits, cheeses, and punch.
"Travis, you should be proud of yourself. I think you will do well, I hope that you sell several of your pieces tonight," the kind teacher said softly to my lover.
"Oh, I hope so. I really do. I already know what I'm going to spend the money on."
I felt him reach over and squeeze my hand in his. I turned my gaze towards the front door and continued to hold his hand. The doors opened and about six or seven people came in. I quickly took my place by the small table that had been placed to the side with the brochures on them.
"A Night, With Travis" in red letters emblazoned the front of the handout. Inside were several pictures of Travis' work, along with the names he had given them and the year he did them. Alongside each picture was a letter, the letters were codes for the prices. The back page of the brochure had a picture of Travis and his art resume. It was quite tasteful.
The night had been a total success. Travis sold three of his pieces, and several people expressed interest in many other paintings on display. One gentleman even asked Travis if he could do something on commission. I was happy for him, and I have to admit, a little jealous too.
After the show, we decided to go to our favorite restaurant, Friendly's. I was famished, and looking forward to a Jim-Dandy. Travis always wondered aloud how such a small person could remain so small and eat such a big ice cream serving. I always told him, that five scoops of ice cream really wasn't that much. After all, it melts once it gets to your mouth, so it's just like taking a drink. I never thought about all the fat. I figure if you can't see it, it doesn't count. He'd just roll his eyes.
As we parked the car, I was staring at him.
"What, is something hanging off my face?" He laughed as he said it.
"Oh, you are something. Yes, me," I said and kissed him gently. That had gotten to be my response to his silliness. Every time he asked me that question, I'd kiss him.
I didn't know if it was his way to get a kiss out of me, or if he still really wondered if something was hanging off his face. I just know that I liked kissing him and we weren't sure how much longer it would be until I moved. Shit, we still didn't even know where I was going to be moving to.
"Aren't you afraid of being seen kissing me?" Travis asked as we got out of his car.
"Not really, not anymore. People ought to mind their own business, and if they don't like it, they shouldn't look," I stated matter of factly.
"I guess you're right, the Hell with them." He grabbed me and pulled me towards him, and planted a big wet juicy kiss on my mouth, right in the middle of the parking lot.
I saw an older couple coming out of Friendly's as we broke the kiss. I heard the man say something, but couldn't quite hear what it was. He didn't sound impressed though.
"Where are the parents?" I heard the woman say, very loud and clear.
I missed my father. I felt my heart as it sank in my chest. I guess Travis sensed my sadness, because he grabbed for my hand.
"Where is the compassion and understanding?" Travis shouted over his shoulder at the couple. "Can't you accept love? Just because it's different, doesn't make it wrong." He continued his verbal assault on them as we trudged towards the door.
Then, as we started into the door, he screamed back at them, "Why don't you mind your own business?"
"Wow, a bit testy? What's up with all that anger,, Buddy?" I asked, my voice showing the concern I felt.
"Damn, Luke, you're moving soon, and all that's happened to you. I love you more than anything else. Why can't I kiss you, or hold your hand? They do it in North Hampton, hell, that's the lesbian capital of the world. What are we, some kind of freaks?"
"Just remember this, my friend. No matter where I move to, you promised we'd still be together. Then think of this too, there are many places where gay people live in communities, just like years ago the Irish, Italians, Germans, etcetera, etcetera. Eventually, the different ethnic groups disseminated into the suburbs, and now they are mostly considered Americans. Gay people are just a couple of steps behind the black people, Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans. Someday we will all be accepted," I reasoned, the way a fifteen-year-old could.
"I hope it's in our lifetime," he glumly said, as he took his seat in the booth the hostess had led us to.
"If not, we can move to San Francisco, I think I'd like to live near the Golden Gate Bridge, and besides, the West Coast is so much more laid back than the East," I continued my thoughts on the subject.
"That would be cool. I hope that we do stay together forever, Luke. I would love to share that dream with you." He finally smiled, his eyes twinkled as they moistened with tears.
"Absolutely," came my response.
"Absolutely," Travis said and smiled at me.
There you go, boys, until the next time. Only one more chapter left, that's right. Chapter 15 is the last chapter of this story. I hope you've enjoyed it so far and continue to watch out for the final episode. It should only be a week or so, God willing.
Thanks, Ed, for the edit.
But Not Forever,