One Person at a Time
Part II - The Boy in the Park I
A week before school started I was busy working on some lesson plans. I knew I would be interviewing a new student, Matthew Eastman. I was looking forward to my last weekend before school started. The name Eastman took me back to my high school days. My one of my best friends was a black girl called Lydia Eastman.
I heard a single note from the piano and looked up to see a beautiful young boy standing by the piano. There was something about him that hit a cord inside me. It made my heart jump.
"Can I help you?" I asked.
"Your piano is out of tune and..." he leaned over and watched the hammers hitting the strings, "and you need to replace some of the hammers they look quite worn. If you want me to play that thing you'll have to get it tuned."
"And who might you be?" I asked knowing that it was most likely Matthew Eastman. I was a bit disappointed at first because he was white and Lydia was black so he couldn't be related to her.
"Matthew Eastman. Do you mind if I bring my own instruments to play? Now, I don't want other students playing them – because they are mine and they are expensive. So, can you keep them safe?"
"My mom says that she knows you and the guy on the radio. He's got a nice voice. Since mom told me that she knew you I've listened to his morning show everyday. I was hoping he'd bring you on as a guest or something."
"Lydia Eastman," he smiled, "Mom's a doctor now."
I must have had a look of surprise.
"I'm adopted. Doesn't take an genius to figure that out, does it? See you Monday. Bye."
He was gone.
A few seconds later he popped his head in the doorway and said, "About the piano – I can tune it Monday. Would that give me extra points?"
"It's a deal! Bye." He vanished
Despite the shortness of our first meeting I had the feeling that Matthew Eastman was going to be different. His knowledge of pianos is pretty good. He was nervous but hid it well. The piano was indeed out of tune and the hammers were worn.
That afternoon I received a phone call. "Hello, Jonathan Petri?" ask a woman.
"One second, sir, I have a call for you. Dr. Eastman I have your party on the line. Go ahead."
"Yes, Lydia ?"
"Yes. I hear my son stopped by to see you today?"
"Yes, he did stop by for about thirty seconds. He seemed a bit nervous."
"Oh, I was afraid of that. Jon he is home worrying that he created a terrible impression. I was wondering if perhaps you and Evan would have dinner with us this evening?"
"Lydia , this is a public school. It's not like he needs my approval. It's not necessary. "
"But it is Jon. He needs you and Evan in his life. I need you in his life. He's been hurt too many times. I love him Jon. He's a very special boy. You'll see that when you get to know him. Jon he's very gifted – he wants to go to Julliard. I got him to consider going to school because I found out that you were the teacher. Jon, he's taking all your classes and he's busted a gut studying so that he only has to do your classes. No student has ever done that."
I was overwhelmed. Luc had been the only student to take three classes. I wondered why no one had mentioned it to me that Matthew would be taking all classes.
"Well, I didn't know that he was taking five classes. Why? I mean that would mean he was in all of my classes. Not that I mind, but his other studies."
"Jon, he's like Alex."
Alex, the only Alex she could mean was Alex Smith, my best male friend through high school. Alex was my very first crush – lucky for me it was a temporary thing. Alex was the most intense person I have ever met and probably the most talented musician/songwriter I have ever met. He was one of those people that excelled at anything he did. Whereas most people worked hard to be good Alex worked hard at being the best and was the best.
"You never married, huh?" I asked.
"No. How could I? Alex was the best. I loved him and he loved me. Everyone else is second best – I only wanted the best. Alex in his own way helped me get over his death. I told him I wanted to become a doctor and find a cure. He said, `Promise me you will never do anything for me or use me as your excuse. Whatever you do, do it for you because it makes you happy; because it fills your soul with happiness.'"
"I became and am a very successful pediatrician. I love my work. I adopted Matthew because he fills my soul with happiness."
Thinking about Alex brought tears to my eyes. He wouldn't let me drop out of the band. I could almost hear him saying to me, "What the fuck man! What the fuck are you doing?"
"I'm packing up my stuff. I'm gay. I love Evan and he loves me. So people are going to know we're queer. If I stay people will..."
"No! No! No! Don't even go there man! First of all, you are my friend and I love you – I'm just not interested in the fucking part. You are – good looking but I'm not into dick sucking and that stuff. Secondly you are the best damn drummer there is and finally, I don't give a rat's ass what people think cuz if they can't see and hear that you are the best drummer – fuck'em!"
We were good and we were the best damn band. Our popularity was growing by leaps and bounds before it came to a crashing halt the summer after graduation from high school. Alex was diagnosed with leukemia. He died a year later.
I couldn't say no. "What time is dinner?"
"Seven O'clock. And Jon, thank you."
"I have a question, is your son gay?"
"Yes, but that's not the total reason he wants to be a part of your life. It's because you and Evan knew Alex. Jon. I'll see you at seven; I have a patient I need to see. Again, thank you." She hung up.
I called Evan and told him about the phone call. He was pleased – it was his night to cook.
We arrive slightly before seven and Lydia greeted us and ushered us into the dinning room where she offered us a drink of Chianti, which we gladly accepted. I think Lydia is as beautiful this evening as she was when we were younger.
"My son, the chef, is finishing his famous Zabiaone," she smiled.
From the kitchen I could here music beginning to play which I immediately recognized as `Saylon Dola'. What held me spellbound was the live voice that was singing with the recorded chorus. I had not heard such a beautiful sounding voice in a long time - not live – the quality, tone inflection, the pitch, the control even the Italian pronunciation was outstanding.
As the song finished the door from the kitchen open as if on queue opened as a serving cart was pushed into the room by a smiling Matthew Eastman in full chef's attire.
"Buona sera. Dottore Eastman , il professor Pétri ed il sig. Maxwel questo pranzo di sere sarà il picata del vitello, fagioli verdi e salta le patate," he giggled, "I had to look that up on Babel fish.I hope what I said was Good Evening Dr. Eastman, Professor Petri, and Mr. Maxwell. Dinner this evening is Veal Piccata, green beans and roasted potatoes."
"You didn't tell me the chef was going to be a hottie," laughed Evan. Matthew blushed, "Ah! And he blushes."
"Evan!" I whispered strongly.
"Sorry, Matthew," Evan apologized, "Did you cook all this?"
"No sir, Mom ordered out," he smiled, "I made the Zabiaone though."
He started serving me, then Evan, his mom and finally himself. Before sitting down to the table he took of his chef clothing. Underneath he was dressed in a black well-fitting t-shirt, a white dress shirt, black tight jeans that showed off his body. God! He was incredibly hot. I glanced at Evan who was checking him out. No he was blatantly staring.
I will have to admit Matthew is beautiful but there is a feature that is so attractive - his voice. Soft and rich sounding and easy to listen to and extremely sexy. When he laughs or giggles it makes you want to laugh and giggle with him. It is hard not to stare at him.
Dinner was pleasant and Matthew appeared much more relaxed. The Zabiaone was incredible.
After dinner Lydia suggested that Matthew show Evan his `studio'.
"Mr. Petri, would you like to see my studio too?" asked Matthew.
"Yes, I would," I noticed the slightest head shake of `no' from Lydia , "but would you mind if your mom and I got caught up on things first. She used to be my best friend."
"Sure, come on Evan. I think you'll love my studio. I do."