Before I get into the Legal stuff, I want to say thanks first to my Editor,
Pete. He always does a wonderful job. Second, I want to thank my Readers.
You guys are the best.
Okay, these characters are not meant to resemble any living or dead persons.
I make no apology to anyone who is offended by anything in this story.
If you don't agree with the idea of guys being in love, then find something
else to read.
Let me know what you think of the story by emailing me at
Copyright 2008-2012 by Chuck B.
The Journey Begins
My Grandma Keiser is an awesome woman. Between her and my Grandpa Keiser, there has been a great love for their grandchildren. Luckily, I am not the exception. Luckily, they've refused to hear anything my dad has said to about me. On numerous occasions, one of them has called me to say that they love me and that they always will. Over the last year, Grandma Keiser had a stroke and never fully recovered from it. No one in my family knew that I was gay at the time, so I was able to go up to the hospital to visit. With all the fuss after I came out, I was not sure what would happen if she was put into the hospital again. I will not have to worry about her being sick again. My life was about to change in a major way.
I had just come home from school and Sarah was outside in the front yard doing some yard work.
"Hey Sarah, did I get any mail."
"I haven't had a chance to really sort through it, but it's on the dining room table."
I walked into the house and went up to my bedroom to drop off my backpack. Turning around I headed back downstairs to check the mail. I figured that since I was looking through the mail any way, I should just go ahead and sort it. Unfortunately, I did not get any mail today, but at least the mail ended up being sorted. I guess my sister had finished whatever she was doing outside, because she came inside the house.
"So did I get any mail?"
I picked up a stack of mail and handed it to her. She thumbed through and divided the stack into junk mail, bills, and other. As the last piece of mail hit the table, the phone rang and Sarah answered it. I was going to go upstairs when Sarah motioned for me to stay.
It must have been Mom and Dad because the look on her face just did not look good.
"So when is the wake and the funeral?"
Someone important had died. I could tell by looking at my sister's face that whoever had died is or was very close to Sarah. She walked to the calendar and then started talking:
"Dad, the wake is Tuesday from noon to 7:00 pm? The funeral will be Wednesday from 4:00 to 6:00?"
A tear glided down her face.
"Thanks for calling, Dad."
She looked at me and gave me a hug. I wrapped my arms around her too because she seemed to need it. I still don't know who died. In my mind, I am thinking that maybe it might be Grandma Keiser, but I don't want to put my Grandma into the ground without knowing for sure.
"Sarah, did Grandma die?"
She broke off the hug in order to talk to me.
"I'm sorry Eric. I am really, sorry. Grandma died from a stroke at the hospital last night. The wake will be on Tuesday and the funeral will be on Wednesday. I'm not sending you to school on Tuesday or Wednesday."
I could not hold it in anymore and I started to cry. Sarah and I went to the couch and just sat there comforting each other. It seemed like an eternity went by before Mark came home. Sarah walked to him after he came in the door.
"Mark, Grandma Keiser... died today."
"I'm sorry, baby! How are you doing Eric?"
"I'm not much better than Sarah."
"So when is the wake and the funeral?"
"The wake is Tuesday from noon to 7:00 pm and the funeral is Wednesday from 4:00 to 6:00 pm."
"Okay so are we going?"
Sarah did not like her husband's question. I could see the anger boiling beneath her skin.
"I mean... I wouldn't want to upset your parents. I mean... well never mind."
"Yes, we are going, and I don't care if we upset my parents. Grandma Keiser would want Eric and us to be there. I think Eric needs to invite Steve to the wake and the funeral."
I'm not sure about inviting Steve to something like a wake and a funeral, but I could use some moral support. Guess, I need to call him.
I made my way up the stair to call Steve. As I entered my room, I saw my book bag and for a second I thought that I might start on my homework. As I picked up the phone to call Steve, I wondered if Grandma would want me to bring Steve. I wondered if Grandpa would be okay with it. Leaving my room, I wanted to know from Sarah what she thought Grandpa would say about my boyfriend being at the funeral. I tracked my sister down in the kitchen.
"Hey sis, do you think Grandpa would be okay with my boyfriend being at the funeral?"
"I think Grandpa would be okay with you taking Steve. He knows that you are seeing someone. I would not worry about Grandpa, and as far as Mom and Dad are concerned, I could care less what they think right now. Go call Steve."
I want my guy by my side. I hope that he will agree to be there.
I headed back up to my room so I can call Steve. I would not blame him for not wanting to go with me to the funeral. I'm not sure why, but this event scares me more than the time that Steve accompanied me to church. Mom and Dad have it in their power to keep me away from the wake and the funeral. Luckily, Grandpa Keiser is still alive and well. I dialed Steve's number and in seconds, he answered me.
"What's up good lucking?"
I do not want to cry on the phone with him.
"Steve, my Grandma Keiser, she... she died last night."
"Eric, I'm sorry!"
His voice sounded like he was hugging me over the phone. Now all I have to do is ask him.
"Steve, I was wondering if you'd come with me to the wake and the funeral."
Silence reigned on his end of the line. I'm sure he was looking over his calendar trying to decide if going with me was something he really wanted to do. It was then that I heard Scottie, his younger brother, talking to him. I don't know why I ever doubt him.
"Sorry, Scottie caught an ant and wanted to show me. So when is the wake and the funeral?"
"The wake is Tuesday from noon to 7:00 pm and the funeral is Wednesday from 4:00 to 6:00 pm."
"I'll be there. Eric, I'm really sorry."
"It's okay. I miss her... I miss her so much. Steve, did I tell you that my grandparents told my parents that they would always love me. They accepted me. They let me be me."
"I'll be there and Eric, don't worry, you had me at yes. Eric, I need to run. Scottie wants me to play catch with him."
"No problem. I completely understand. Talk to you later, my love."
Why am I so blessed to have a guy who loves me for me? I just wish that my parents could see me. I hope someday that they will see that I love them, that I have never changed. Steve has been with me through so much and has never once faltered. As I sit there contemplating working on my homework, Mark came upstairs and into my room.
Mark came into room and sat down on my bed. At first, he didn't say anything, he looked at me and then he stared out into the hallway.
"I don't think that I need to tell you this, but we're going to the wake and the funeral."
"Yeah, I know."
Hope that I wasn't short with Mark. He doesn't deserve to be treated like that, Mark is the most awesome guy in the world; the only guy who is more awesome than my brother-in-law is my boyfriend.
"You worried about your parents?"
"Nah... but I wouldn't count out a scene or two from them."
He looked at me and sort of smirked. I wonder what was going through his mind. I wonder if he knows that am worried about what my parents will say at the funeral.
"Mark... I kind of lied to you."
"Oh?" He seemed shocked.
"Yeah, I'm terrified of what Mom and Dad are going to say."
"Just remember that we are there for you, no matter what."
Mark's right arm engulfed me in a hug. It's funny to me that this big totally straight, muscular guy has never had a problem hugging his gay brother-in-law. It boils down to my mind spending way too much time worrying about my parents' reactions to my boyfriend and me.
Mom and Dad have already proven that they have no problems creating a stink. Why can't they just accept that I'm gay? I wish that they could accept my love. Nope... not going to happen; they aren't ever going to see me and Steve as anything else than trash. People can say that they'll come around, but the truth is maybe I shouldn't care so much. Maybe if I'm lucky, time will help Mom and Dad wake up to the fact that I am me and that I haven't changed. They may not get the grandchildren that they wanted from me, but nothing else is different.
The day of the wake is finally here. Mark and Sarah told Steve that they would drive to the wake and all he had to do was show up at our house. When he pulled up and got out of the car, I was stunned at how handsome he looked in his suit. The suit is black and the pants are black, his shirt is the usual white shirt, and the tie is black. Somehow, he just looks extra handsome to me. I ran up to him and put my arms around him.
"Do you know how much I appreciate you being here?"
He smiled at me as if to say that "I'm doing this because you're my boyfriend." He didn't say anything in response; instead he gave me a hug and a kiss. As we were hugging, Mark and Sarah came out of the house and headed to the car.
"Break it up!" Mark said with a laugh thrown in for extra effect. I must have felt tense during our hug because Steve looked me in the eyes and said:
"Relax, things will be okay. Just remember, we love you and that isn't going to change."
Sarah turned around and just smiled in agreement.
"Guys, I don't care what is said today by your parents. Today is about showing your Grandpa that we are here for him. I expect your parents to be jerks, so enough said; let's go," Mark said.
Mark wasn't kidding either. He was in the car ready to go before any of us could get inside. Steve was the last one to get into the car. We sat together in the backseat of Mark's car.
"Mark, you're right about today being about this wake being here for my Grandpa. You know, I hope Mom and Dad control themselves. I'm sure they'll get upset that I'm there."
My words must have hit something in Mark.
"You know that they want to make a scene today. I may have to make my own scene."
Instantly, my sister gave her husband a look from her eyes that could have stopped a charging bull cold.
"Don't you dare, Mr. Perez!"
"Sarah, I think it's time Mom and Dad got a taste of their own medicine."
"Don't you think that Grandma's wake is the wrong place for it?"
Okay, I have nothing to say to here. Sarah is right. Grandma's wake isn't the right place for a scene, but it's going to happen eventually. I don't think there is going to be a right place or a right time.
"Eric, do me a favor and just relax," Steve whispered into my ears and I swear that I became butter. It was as if he touched me somehow and drained the stress and tension out of my soul; that is why I love this man. I put my hands into his and we held each other until we got to the funeral house.
We arrived at the funeral home and got out of the car. I kept my hands in Steve's hands. Today is one more test to me. I shouldn't have to prove anything to my parents and yet I feel the constant need to show them that I'm proud of who I am. When we got to the door, I gathered my strength and together we entered the funeral parlor. Instantly, my eyes scanned the entryway. We searched the names on the wall for the chapel that held my Grandma's coffin and body. Sarah and Mark walked behind us until Mom and Dad stepped out of one of the chapels, and then my sister and brother-in-law stepped up front. It's as if they were taking the grenade for me. My parents gave hugs to Mark and Sarah but completely ignored me. I instantly felt betrayed by their actions. We stopped while they got their hugs. I'm not sure why, but I was hoping for a hug myself. Sadly, they didn't give me one. Once Mom and Dad broke off the hugs, we started slowly moving forward.
As we were walking, I saw Mom look at Sarah and heard her say, "Why are they here?"
Mark stopped dead in his tracks and pointing to me, he told her, "Eric was Grandma Keiser's grandson and he has every right to be here."
She didn't stop there though.
"He had no right bringing him."
"Look, he's not hurting anyone. Eric's boyfriend, Steve, is here to support him. You don't have to like it, but don't you dare create a scene."
Mom turned away from Mark and Sarah and, even though Mom faced Steve and me, she never once acknowledged us and neither did my dad. Sarah gave Mark a quick peck on the lips for what he said to our parents. Mark came back by me.
"You're not allowed to get upset today. Remember, this is your Grandpa's day. He needs our support."
"I know. Thanks Mark."
I caught sight of my Grandpa watching my parents' attitude towards me. His face showed a hint of disgust and I wasn't sure if he was upset with me or with his son and daughter-in-law. As we neared my Grandma's coffin, the crowd around it seemed to grow. We waited patiently to see her. While we waited, my grandpa came up to me.
"Eric... Thank you for coming! It means so much to me... and your... Grandma. I'm glad that you didn't let your parents keep you away from the wake. I didn't like it when I heard that they were kicking you out of the house, but I was very glad when I heard that Sarah was taking you into her house. Your Grandma and I don't' understand this whole gay thing, but we still love you. Are you going to introduce me to your friend?"
I turned to Steve.
"Grandpa, this is my boyfriend, Steve. Steve, this is my Grandpa Keiser."
Steve put out his hand, my Grandpa took it into his, and they shook hands.
"It's nice to meet you, young man!"
"It's nice finally getting to meet you as well, sir. I'm sorry it's under these circumstances."
Grandpa never lied to anyone, so I knew that my Grandpa really did like meeting my boyfriend. Grandpa's eyes were wet from crying. It was very easy to tell that at the moment he was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Who could blame him? He just lost his wife. My dad seemed interested in what my Grandpa was telling us. He slowly made his way towards us. He was close enough to overhear what Grandpa said.
"Eric, Grandma knew that you had a boyfriend and she wanted the two of you to be pall bearers at her funeral. Would the two of you do that for her?"
Dad overheard what Grandpa said to me and he took off towards Sarah, while Steve and I got ready to answer Grandpa Keiser.
"Grandpa, if Grandma wanted me to serve as her pall bearer, then yes, I will do it."
Grandpa eyes teared up again.
"Sir, I feel out of place here to be honest, but, sure, I'll do it."
"Thank you boys; I know Grandma is happy that you accepted to serve as her pall bearers."
We, Steve and I, took turns hugging my Grandpa. As we broke off our hugs, Sarah came up to us.
"Grandpa, I'm sorry, but I can't take any more of my parents' attitudes today. I love you and I'll see you tomorrow."
Grandpa didn't want us to leave and you could see it in his face, but I think he understands. Sarah gave Grandpa a kiss on the cheek, Mark gave him another hug, and then Mark and I gave him yet another hug. As we were leaving, Mark gave Sarah a dirty look. I wanted to tell him to knock it off, but I thought that I had better not say a word.
"Sarah, I'm sorry, but I don't think we should have left. I think it only shows that we're letting your parents win. Didn't we say that we were not going to let your parents ruin this day?"
"Mark, don't even go there. I didn't want to leave either."
"So then why did we leave?"
"It was either leave or start cussing. Sorry but I'm not about to make a huge scene in front of my parents."
"Hope you guys aren't disappointed," Sarah said, as she looked back at us. I wasn't upset at Sarah, but I thought it was kind of bullshit that Mom and Dad got upset. When Sarah stopped at a red light, Mark moved towards her and gave her peck on the right cheek. I guess that was a sign to me that he was now calmed down. Sarah kept looking back at me, and I knew that she wanted to say something to me. Why is she keeping it quiet? I don't know what could be so bad for her not to say something to me in front of Steve. Worrying about what she might say was sort of wearing on me. Steve leaned in and kissed me again making all my problems melt away. We pulled up to the house and everyone got out.
Sarah and Mark walked up to the house and went inside, and Steve and I stayed outside by the car.
"Thanks for inviting me. I'd like to say that it was fun, but I can't. Funeral homes aren't exactly date spots."
I laughed, but he is right. I was just glad that Steve went with me. It did make me a little stronger to have him there.
"I feel really honored to be asked by your grandfather to serve as a pall-bearer. Are you going to tomorrow?"
I leaned in a kissed him right in front of my entire neighborhood.
"Yeah we're going, are you?"
He frowned a little a bit at me.
"What, and disappoint your grandfather and your grandmother?"
"Thanks Steve, I'm sure that she would have loved to have met you."
A huge smile came over his face. He looked up into the sky and started talking.
"Grandma Keiser, I love your grandson. He is without a doubt perfect in every way. He makes me feel so special. Thank you for letting me be with him."
He almost brought me to tears. I embraced him and then he leaned in to kiss me on the lips.
We broke off our hug, I headed up towards the house, and Steve headed to his car.
As I entered the house, Sarah was sitting on the couch waiting for me. I had a feeling that she might be sitting there; actually, I kind of thought that she might be waiting for me in my room. Sarah made sure her eyes made direct contact with my own. I knew that I had better sit down before she said anything or I would be in trouble.
"Okay spill it, what got did Grandpa tell you that Dad so upset?"
Is this all she wanted to know?
"Grandpa asked me and Steve to be pall-bearers at the funeral. After Grandpa asked us, Dad turned around and headed for you. Did he make a stink?"
She still didn't look happy.
"Yeah he made a stink. He told me that I had no right to bring you or your boyfriend, and that is not the term he used, to the wake. I can only imagine what he's going to say when you two show up tomorrow. The two of you are still planning on going, right?"
"Yeah, Grandma wanted me to serve as a pall-bearer. I can't just not be there."
A smile broke out on her face. She got up and headed to the kitchen.
"Sarah is that all you wanted. Can I go up to my room?"
I raised my voice just a little to be sure that she could hear me. She peeked her head out the entry way.
"Yeah, that's all I wanted. Thanks little brother!"
I wasn't really tired, but I still wanted to do some work up in my room. If nothing else, I could play a game. I just needed a chance to relax. I decided to just turn off the lights and relax on the bed. I sat Indian style on the bed until Mark called for dinner. After dinner, I brushed my teeth and went to bed.
The day of the funeral, I took my shower and got dressed twice. Around six o'clock am Steve came over and as usual he made his clothes look good.
"Are you ready for today?"
I could tell that Steve was physically ready but he looked worried.
"Yeah, I'm ready. You?"
"Kind of nervous!"
"Well, if you're just kind of nervous, then I am a whole lot nervous."
I gave him a hug and a quick kiss on the face. He kissed me back. Mark and Sarah came out of the house and came up to us. Sarah tapped Steve on the shoulder and he turned about with a surprised look on his face.
"Didn't mean to scare you! I just wanted to let you know that we are ready to run"
Steve opened the passenger door behind the driver's seat and allowed me to get inside first and then he slid in beside me. As Mark started the car to head to the funeral home, I wondered what would happen if Dad or Mom started up like they did last night. Would everyone really have my back or would we end up leaving the funeral. It didn't seem to take as long to get up to the funeral parlor as it did last night. We all got out of the car and made the walk up the stairs to the doors.
Walking into the funeral home made me want to cry. I didn't want to face my parents here and I didn't want to say goodbye to my Grandma. Reaching the chapel where my Grandma was laying, we walked through the doorway and Mom and Dad were up waiting for Sarah. They approached Sarah and Mark.
"Sarah, we would like you and Mark to sit up with us."
"No offense, Mom, but We are going to sit in the back with Eric and Steve."
As we all sat down, I watched Grandpa walk up to us.
"I don't care where you sit up front, but you're family now. Move up front."
Grandpa has spoken and now it's up to us to obey.
The funeral service itself was pretty moving and I found myself crying a bit. You would think that my parents would have been paying attention to the speaker, but no, they were watching Steve and me. I wanted so bad to pull Steve into a kiss and shock the hell out of my folks. It's funny, but I truly believe that they are pushing me away. The more, I experience their rejection, the further that I move from them. I hate that they are treating me this way. I can't get over the fact that my boyfriend will never know their kindness. It was time to walk past the coffin and say goodbye.
"Grandma, I love you. Thanks for not hating me and for accepting my boyfriend and for letting him become a part of this family. I love you!"
Immediately tears starting streaming down my face. Steve walked me back to our seat. I didn't get a hug from my mom. Dad didn't try to comfort me. Anyway, it will soon be time to step up and fulfill Grandma Keiser's last wishes.
I stood up and the funeral director positioned me at the coffin. My dad stood up as if he were going to come up to the coffin, but then turned and walked towards the exit. I heard Dad talking to my mom.
"Those boys are not a part of this family and they have no business being pall bearers at my mom's funeral. It's a disgrace."
Grandpa looked hurt. Steve had it and hugged my Grandpa and then he approached the funeral director and asked, "Where do you want me?"
I think Grandpa was touched that someone who didn't know my Grandma would agree to carry his wife's coffin. With all the other pall bearers in place, my Dad was the only other person that needed to come forward and take his place. I guess he had cooled down enough to do his duty. We escorted Grandma and the coffin to the hearse. Steve and I walked hand in hand to the Sarah and Mark's car. The minute I got inside the tears started up again. I pressed my face against Steve's chest and just let the tears flow. I soon felt his arm across my back.
"Guys, we aren't attending the dinner. I've already told Grandpa and he's okay with that, but he wants to have us over at the house for dinner when we get a chance."
We drove out to the cemetery and watched the coffin being lowered into the ground. Sarah and I both broke into tears. I could see the disgust in my dad's eyes as Steve embraced me. Dad came over by us and told Mark to have us stop showing affection towards each other. Mark looked at Steve and I felt his hands unwrap from my body. He walked up to my dad and what happened next blew me out of the water.
"You maybe my boyfriend's biological father, but you have no right in hell to make demands on us. It's perfectly okay for your wife to kiss you and hug you in front of us. You think it's okay for you to treat your son as if he doesn't exist, but no, it's not okay. I'm not going anywhere, and I love your son. Now grow up!"
I thought my dad was going to hit Steve, but he was actually quiet. Steve got the keys from Mark and we walked back to the car. We just sat there in the peace of the car.
I wonder if Steve knows how proud I am of him. He has no clue and I can't let the day go by without letting him know how much I appreciate him. The ride home was quiet. Nobody was really in the mood to talk. I think each one of us was reflecting on the Grandma. I'm not sure what was running through Steve's mind, but he was kind of quiet too. Wonder he is upset from his encounter with my dad. In any event, I owe him for this afternoon. I looked at him and kissed his lips. When we got to my sister's home, Mark ordered pizza and Steve and I walked out back and sat on the stairs of the deck.
"Steve, thanks for everything today."
He took my hands and looked into my eyes.
"Babe, I would do that for you any time."
If love was ever tangible it was right then and there. I wish that I could propose to my boyfriend. He certainly deserves something special today.
"Steve, I am so proud of you."
I wrapped my arms around him and kissed his lips.
= = =
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