One Person at a Time - Part IV Rock Opera I
I'm a freshman at Worthington High. My mom is a teacher and under her tutelage I was skipped. I'm the youngest person in this school. The worst part is I am like my Mom said a late bloomer. In plain language it means I haven't reached puberty.
I'm also small for my age. Girls think I'm cute. That embarrasses me cuz they treat me like I'm their baby brother. I told my mom and dad that I think I'm gay. I'm luckier than some gay kids whose parents disown them. Dad said he didn't care what my inclination was I was still his best bud. He jokes around with me sometimes. Like in the mall if we pass a girl's clothes store he'll say something like "That would look good on you and point to some girl outfit."
I would never dress like a girl. I like being a boy.
I don't have a lot of friends. Okay I only have one friend. He doesn't know that he's my only friend. His name is Luc Baxter. Luc is a junior. I have a major crush on him.
I was walking by Mr. Petri's class when I saw Luc. I couldn't help but stop and stare at him. Mr. Petri saw me. I was embarrassed but then Luc turned and invited me to join him and others. He also introduced another boy as Matthew and said Matthew was his boyfriend. That sort of hurt.
However, within a few minutes, Matthew was treating me so nicely I decide I now had two crushes. I felt the magic of Matthew's soft voice woo me and the others. I know that because of the attention he was giving me I was being accepted by the others.
"So, do you play any instrument?" Matt asked.
"Piano," I replied.
He changed the settings on the keyboard so now it sounded like a piano.
"Play, maestro," Matt said to me.
I sort of giggled cuz I'd been playing piano since I was six. Mostly classical but I loved ragtime. I started playing a Scott Joplin song, 'Swipesy'.
Eddie's mouth dropped open in shock I guess. Joey reached over and closed it.
"You never told me you were a pro! You just said you play a little piano!" laughed Luc.
Melissa leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I blushed slightly, "The piano player always gets a kiss."
"So, you're telling me I have to learn the piano to get a kiss," laughed Cory.
"Hmm, nah you're the exception," she said.
When I finished playing Matt said, "You know I love 'Swipesy' but I really like this one." I moved and he started playing "Maple Leaf Rag" It was my turn for my mouth to drop open. I knew then I was in love with Matthew Eastman. He was playing my kind of music."
"Close your mouth Anthony, you'll catch flies!" laughed Eddie.
When Matt finished Luc scooted him over, "Okay, my turn." Luc started playing 'Sycamore Rag'. My mouth fell open again. I knew it would be impossible to choose between these to.
Matt surprised the heck out of me when he said he wanted me in a rock opera to sing. I love singing, but I only sing when I'm at home like in the shower or listening to music in my room.
I was so overwhelmed by what Matt said to me I nearly cried and would have if Eddie hadn't made me laugh.
I felt so happy. I had friends.
Matt invited us over to his place to jam and eat pizza. I wasn't sure if I was included until again with a smile and in his soft voice he said "Especially you, we have work to do."
We all piled into Joey's car. Eddie and Joey in the front and I was sandwiched between Luc and Matt. I think I must have died because I was in heaven.
Being a car with teens we had the radio cranked up.
As soon as Greenday's 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams' started playing, Matt yelled,"Turn it down a bit!" Then as Billie Joe Armstrong started singing so did Matt. Matt's a better singer. Then Luc joined in singing harmonizing with Matt.
Matt nudged me during an instrumental part for me to sing with them. I was so happy. I started singing and then realized I was the only one singing. He had tricked me into singing. I didn't care I kept on singing and elbowed him and Luc who again began singing.
The song finished. I looked at Matt whose eyes were glistening. "I knew you'd be good but you're better than good. You are awesome!"
"I'm stunned! Anthony you are incredible," said Luc as he sort of bumped against me.
"You guys are totally awesome," said Joey.
"We should form a band and get some gigs!" said Eddie excitedly.
Everyone was excited about that except Matt. I mean he said it would be cool but I could see his heart wasn't in it. I wondered why.
Matt's house is huge! Everybody was going crazy about that and I think it was sort of getting to him. Then when he showed us his room. Oh man, he had every kind of instrument and a recording studio.
We played a bit until the pizza arrived and then watched a movie in their theater room.
At seven Joey and Eddie left and also Cory and Melissa. So, it was just me, Matt and Luc. My mom was supposed to pick me up at seven and a 7:15 she called. She accidentally left the lights on, on the car and the battery was flat as a pancake.
"Matt, my mom's car has a flat battery. Could your mom give me a ride home when she gets home?"
"No, my mom won't be home until 1am. Here let me talk to your mom," he said.
I passed the phone to him.
"Hello, Mrs. Radesheski, this is Matthew Eastman. My mom is working late shift at the hospital and won't be home until 1am. No, ma'am she's a doctor. Her pager is 555-2345. What I was thinking is we have a guest room and Anthony could stay the night. Luc Baxter is also staying the night. Well, we have a washing machine he could wash his clothes and they would be clean for school tomorrow. I normally go to bed at 9:30."
Matt giggled, "Well, he's looking really cute but worried sort of anxious. Yeah, I agree. You know he's going to be in our school's Rock Opera. He has a beautiful voice - haha- he's blushing. Haha."
I was blushing.
"Yes, ma'am. Thank you." Matt looked at me, "Your mom says okay."
"YES! I LOVE YOU MOM!" I shouted. Luc and Matt laughed. Matt handed me back the phone. I talk to mom a little more then hung up.
"Let's go to my room," said Matt.
Luc and I followed him down to his room.
Matt said, "Okay, Anthony time to work." He walked over to a two-drawer wooden filing cabinet and started looking for something. "Ah! Here we go!" He gave me a sheet of paper and a CD. "These are the lyrics to a beautiful song written by Ian Stewart-Mack and Barry Mason and sung by Declan Gailbraith. There's a video clip too on the CD. It's such an awesome song. Watch the video, learn the lyrics, and begin singing it from your heart. Let it fill your soul. In a few days I will work with you on it. You are going to be so phenomenal!"
I nodded because again I could speak. I don't know why Matt has that effect on me.
"You want to know my one of my favorite songs," he said to Luc and me.
"Sure," we said.
Matt is so happy and excited when he gets into his music. He scrambled behind his drum set, picked up a remote and pointed it at his audio system. Music started playing I recognized it immediately it was one of my favorites too. I looked at Luc who started singing with Matt.
I've heard Luc sing before but not like this. He was so into it and so was Matt. Together they were awesome. Okay I know I am really gay cuz I was crying by the end of the song. I felt so stupid for crying because I didn't know why I was crying except that they were so awesome together and I wanted to be a part of their lives forever.
I was really sobbing hard and trying to apologize for crying. When I finally started to get some control we were all on Matt's king-size bed. Luc on one side of me and Matt on the other - I was sort of squashed between them. It felt good. Both of them were planting little kisses on my face and head. Occasionally, they would plant a kiss on each others lips.
"Music gives you happiness or sadness," said Luc.
"But it also heals your soul," said Matt softly, "It does that for me. Don't apologize for crying. Crying is good and when people can't cry there is something wrong in here." He pointed to his head.
I managed a small smile.
"That's better," said Luc, "now what made you tear-up?"
"Lots of things I guess," I said reluctantly.
"Okay tell us," said Matt so softly. I looked at him. He wasn't smiling but he had a pleasant look.
"Today was the best day of my life. You see I don't have many friends - that's not true I only had one friend, but he didn't know he was my only friend." I sighed and looked at Luc who winked at me.
"Well, I didn't know that I was your only friend, but I knew you didn't have any at school. I couldn't understand that because I really liked you."
"I guess it was my fault. I was ashamed of myself."
"What!" said Matt, "Why?"
"I'm so small for my age, I'm thirteen and I look like I'm ten. I'm gay and I-I," I blushed. I hid my face.
"What you have no pubes?" asked Luc in sort of a giggly voice.
I shook my head yes.
"Hey, dude I didn't get any pubes until I was 14," said Luc.
"Me too," said Matt, "So you're gay. So is Luc, and Eddie and Joey and me. Oh yeah and Mr. Petri and Evan."
"Who's Evan?" I asked.
"The most awesome dude in the world for an older guy. He's Mr. Petri's lover."
"You know Evan?" asked Luc.
"Yep! He calls me Mattie. He is the only person I will ever let call me Mattie."
"Aww! That's so sweet, Mattie. I like that," teased Luc, "Can I call you Mattie too. Pweeze!"
I giggled, "Pweeze, me too?"
"I hate that name," said Matt, "But don't ever call me that where other people can hear or I won't talk to you for a week."
"So, when did you and Evan become so close?" asked Luc.
"Last Friday and Saturday, it's a long story."
"I'm here all night," said Luc.
Matt sighed. He had a really sad face. He looked at Luc then away, "I haven't always had a good life," he mumbled.
"You want a soda guys?" asked Matt.
I nodded "Yes." Luc looked at Matt without saying anything. They stared at each other for a long time.
"I'll get you a coke," said Matt in his usual soft voice. Matt left.
"Stay here," Said Luc and he followed after.
Of course I wasn't about to stay so I followed Luc after a few moments.
As I approached the kitchen I heard Luc, "Mattie, talk to me!"
"I don't want to risk losing you, Luc. I didn't have a picture perfect life like you. The only things that kept me going was the last image I had of you in the park and the hope that I would someday meet you again and music. With music I could shut out the world," Matt cried.
Maybe if I wasn't here Matt would open up to Luc. Mom and dad told me a good relationship depends on good communication and having no secrets.
I stepped into the kitchen. Luc shot me an angry look.
"I'm going home. Mattie, I know Luc enough to know there is nothing about yourself - the good, the bad - that would make him leave you. I know because that's the way I feel about you and Luc. You guys need to talk. I'm just in the way."
I turned to leave.
"Anthony," cried Mattie, "Don't leave, please."
I turned back to face him. I could see such pain and sadness in his face. I ran over to him and hugged him. Luc came over and we both hugged Mattie as he cried.
Luc spoke softly, "I see you look at me, when you think I'm not aware. You're searching for clues, of just how deep my feelings are. How do you prove the sky is blue, the oceans wide? All I know is how I feel when I look into your eyes. There are no guarantees. That's what they always say to me. But what I'm trying to say to you, I never said to anyone. I Promise. I promise you, from the bottom of my heart I will love you till death do us part. I promise you as a lover and a friend I will love you like I never love again with everything I am."
I knew that song - I sang it in the shower a thousand times. Oh, the words were rearranged. Luc was so cool. I started humming the song.
"I love your voice, Anthony," said Mattie. He and Luc kissed - French kissed. I started to leave - Luc grabbed the back of my shirt collar and they kept kissing.
"Dudes, I'm just going downstairs. I don't want to stay here watching you swap spit," I laughed.
Luc released me. They were still sucking face as I left. I was happy. I went back to Mattie's room. He had a Korg Oasys similar to the one at school. I got out the manual and started reading about Karma and messing around with the keyboard. It's so cool!
I was going wild with the Korg creating something techno. It was so much fun and I was really into it I didn't even notice Mattie and Luc watching me until Luc said, "That boy has the cutest damn ass in Worthington High!"
I kept on playing for a bit longer, and then realized Mattie probably wanted to talk.
"Awesome, I love this keyboard!"
"You're good," said Mattie, "I know you're having fun, but I guess we need to talk."
"You sure you want me to stay? I could go watch a movie."
He walked over to me and draped his arms around my shoulders.
"Anthony, I don't want to hide things from you. You seem to be a part of my life that I don't want to let go of. I am attracted to you - not sexually but I can't imagine now you not being a part of my life. I love your cute face, your dazzling eyes, the sound of your voice, maybe it's your funny little comments or jokes or that I think you love music almost as much as me or maybe it's your innocence, but whatever it is I can't let go. You have a right to know about me. If what I say makes you not want to be around me then so be it."
Damn him! My eyes were leaking again. I nodded and wiped my eyes. We all lay on his bed with Matt in the middle.
Matt started telling us about the day in the park.
"You know I think we were born to be together," said Luc.
"Yeah," said Matt.
"You know I am sure of it," I said, "The odds of two seven year olds meeting in a park, falling in love and then not seeing each other for eight years! That's beyond astronomical! You two have probably lived thousands of lives together, maybe you are soulmates."
"Maybe," both guys said.
Then Matt started talking about what happened after the park.
"I had an older brother; he was always protecting me from my father. My father always thought I shouldn't have been born. I had gotten beaten many times before but this time he saw me kiss Luc. He started with his fists. My brother Erwin picked up a bat and hit my father. My father grabbed the bat and slammed it into Erwin's face. I saw Erwin collapse and fall. His body convulsed for a minute then he died. My mother freaked, screaming and yelling at him. He started beating her. I passed out."
"When I came to my father had a gun. He shot them to ma. I wanted him to kill me. I begged him to kill me but he refused. He said, "Nobody is gonna want to a cocksucking faggot orphan." Then he took his own life."
"I was in the hospital for a long time. I stopped talking. They did all sorts of things to get me to talk but I didn't. If I told them what happen then nobody would want me. I would create this imaginary world - it was the park and Luc would always be there."
"I was place in foster care. I never spoke. The people that were my foster parents first were really nice, Mrs. Grandville got sick so I was taken from them and placed in another home. I hated it. There was another foster kid. He was seventeen. One night. One night he forced me to have sex. I tried to resist but he started beating on me. When he entered me I screamed and he practically suffocated me with a pillow."
Both Luc and I cuddled close to Matt. The tears were rolling down his cheeks. Tears were falling from Luc's eyes too.
Matt continued, "The next day at school my pants felt wet. I thought I'd had and accident. When I went to the restroom my underwear were soaked in blood. I passed out and woke up in the hospital."
"My mom, Lydia, was my pediatric surgeon. When she told me I would be going back to the same home - I started crying and got sort of crazy. Mom got me to talk. I eventually confessed the other foster kid. He went to jail."
"I was really messed up. Mom wouldn't release me. They put me in the psych ward but I was totally uncooperative with those nuts that call themselves doctors. I pretended to take their stupid drugs."
"They classified me as suicidal. I wasn't. I had to meet the boy in the park." Luc kissed Matt on the cheek.
"I snuck out of the ward one day. I was walking around the hospital in my hospital gown. I got down to the lobby and there was a man playing a piano. I went over and stood by him watching him play for ages. I asked him if he could teach me."
"He started showing me and I caught on really fast. He had to leave but he let me continue to practice. I was there until dinner and would have been there all night except that people were looking for me. I was taken back to the ward."
"I snuck out again the next morning and returned to the piano. It was early there was no one in the lobby. I started practicing. I was getting pretty good but I was getting bored playing the same song over and over so I started improvising very slowly. I started learning which keys sounded good together I could hit them at the same time and they sounded right to me. I found I could tune out everything while I was playing. I was so into it I didn't notice this nurse. She grabbed me. It scared me."
"I thought I was being attacked again. I screamed, kicked, bit and then broke free, but she had my gown. I was totally naked but free from her. I took of running through the hospital. A naked boy is not hard to miss but I managed to get away and found mom's office. She wasn't there so I hid in there under her desk."
"People came and left and no one spotted me. I fell asleep until someone kicked me and I said "Ow!"
It was mom. She looked under her desk, "Matthew? Matthew what are you doing naked under my desk?" She wasn't angry.
"They wouldn't let me play the piano so I ran away," I told her. She got me a gown. We talked. I showed her I could play the piano. I told her I didn't want to go back to the crazy ward. She asked me why I wouldn't talk to any of the doctors there. I said because I don't like them all they do is try to give me pills. I confessed to her I would spit them out go vomit them out."
"She checked me out of the hospital that night and I went home with her. Mamaw wasn't pleased at first. She didn't like me at first but then I play the piano for her and she said she loved me. She showed me 'Swipesy Ragtime' I learnt it in a day. Mamaw taught me how to read and write music. I would play sometimes all day especially when I learnt to read music."
"I knew that Mamaw would like me if I got to be really good - really good to me meant flawlessly." Matt paused. His eyes got moist. Luc and I caressed him. He forced a smile.
"She heard me tell myself off one day for making a mistake. I didn't know she was behind me. I had said Matthew, Mamaw is going to kick you out if you're not goof, she won't like you and she'll tell Lydia to send you away. She was so angry with me."
"Matthew, don't you ever let me hear you say that again! Don't you ever use me as an excuse to play. Do you hear me?" she yelled.
"It scared the heck out of me I just knew she was going to kick me out. Then she said, "You play music because you love it because you feel it in your body, heart and your soul."
"I told her I did but I had to be good because I knew she didn't like me. She asked me where I got that idea. I told her she told Lydia that she brought home a stray and a white boy at that. I yelled at her saying I knew she didn't like me no one would ever like me. My father was right nobody wants a cocksucking faggot orphan."
"You have to understand Mamaw was a retired lawyer and a lady so she was shocked by what I said and reprimanded me for such language. I was very emotional by that time and I turned away from her and played the piano as hard and as loud as I could. I guess I went a lot crazy because I ended up collapsing."
"Mamaw, said I was crying and telling off Erwin for trying to save me saying it would have been better for Erwin to have live and me to have died. The next thing I remember was Mom was cuddling near me. I was in bed. Mamaw was sitting in a chair near my bed. I ended up telling them what had happened with Erwin and my father. I told her I knew I was homosexual that I had tried to change but was never was successful. I thought they'd say I had to go live with someone else but Mamaw leaned over and gave me a kiss and said I had a permanent place in her heart. Mom said when she saw me playing piano she fell in love with me. I reminded her of Alex."
"A month later I got the scare of my life when someone from children's services came to visit. I thought they were going to take me away. I refused to come out of my room. Mamaw eventually convinced me that I was not going anywhere and that the lady wanted to make sure I was happy."
"When I opened the door I had the stupidest smile plastered across my face. Mamaw started laughing and so did the lady. Mamaw asked me why I had a silly looking smile on my face. As best I could without loosing my smile I said cuz I'm so 'appy. They laughed again."
"The lady asked me if I liked living with Mom and Mamaw. I said heaven couldn't be any better. That was it. A month later I was adopted and I changed my name to Matthew Eastman. Actually, Mom and Mamaw talked me out of changing my name to Matthew Mamaw Lydia Eastman."
"Music became something I did for me. Mamaw taught me passion for music. Music let me dream. It let me dream of you. I played because it was part of me and who I really am - I'm not gay. I'm not straight. I am music and I write the songs."
"Mamaw died when I was twelve. She had been home schooling me. I had to go back to school. I don't interact with people very well. I seem to say the wrong things. I was not liked because I was weird. I would start humming a tune that was in my head in class."
"Some kid called me gay and I said So. Two days later the whole school knew. I was shunned because I hummed and now I was really shunned. One day this big kid shoved me. I shoved back and he and his friends beat the shit out of me. I ended up in the hospital."
"I refused to go back to school. I started classes at home over the Internet but I spent most of my time learning new instruments. I got to know Alex's parents. I had convinced myself that Alex was my dad. His parents like me and adopted me as their grandchild. Ninety percent of this room was paid for by Grandpa Smith."
"You probably think I'm nuts but I always refer to Alex as my dad. Did you know that Mr. Petri and my dad were best friends in high school?"
"No," said Luc.
"He loves you," I said, "I saw the way he was looking at you when you were showing us the Korg."
"Yeah, I noticed that too. I think he's the best teacher in the whole school," said Luc, "This last summer we spent most of our time over at his house with him and Evan. A week ago we had this huge block party and gave a concert in the park. Man we would have had the whole school there if you'd been there."
"Dude, we have to start a band," said Luc.
"No. I can't," said Matt.
"Why?" Luc asked.
"You'd be so great," I added.
"I get too emotional. I cry. If I'm really into a song the tears start flowing. If people see that they'll think I'm weird."
"Dude, the same thing happens to me. Especially, if I'm singing in the shower," I said.
"And me too and Eddie," said Luc, "Eddie cries watching movies. He bawled his eyes out in Titanic. Luckily we were at home watching it on DVD."
Matt and Luc talked about their lives. Luc is so funny. But to be honest I was getting bored. I guess cuz my life is so blasé compared to their lives. I gave Mattie a kiss on the cheek and told him I loved him and went back to the Korg.
Occasionally, I'd look over at them and they were either swapping spit or talking and giggling like girls.
About nine forty-five my mom called me on my cell. She got the car started and wondered if I wanted to come home. I said yes because I thought it was time for Matt and Luc to have some time together.