The following is fiction. It contains some scenes involving gay sex. If reading such material is against the law, please do not read this. The author expressly requests all laws be obeyed and does not encourage illegal behavior.
I have been enormously gratified by my readers’ response to my first two stories, 8th Grade and Prom. Your comments to me have been exceedingly generous and deeply appreciated. Many of you were kind enough to send along story ideas, and some of these ideas have been incorporated in Tim. I cannot thank you enough for your interest and suggestions.
I have had several requests asking for the location of my two previous stories. They can be found as follows:
8th Grade: Nifty Archives, Gay Male, Young Friends, April 1, 2005
Prom: Nifty Archives, Gay Male, High School, May 15, 2005
What explicit sex is included in this story complements the whole; I do not write gratuitous sex scenes. The story is not principally about sex, and if your interest lies in reading about sexual activity, you will find this story disappointing and uninteresting in the extreme.
Those of you that have read my first two stories know that I like writing romantic tales of young boys learning who they are. This story has a somewhat darker and more troubling theme, and may have a message that is objectionable to some. I think the majority of you will enjoy it.
This story is copyrighted by the author. His permission must be secured before any copying or use of this story is permitted.
I love hearing from readers. It’s the reward I get for writing these stories. Any comments will reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
T I M
I couldn’t very well push John home in his chair and walk or ride my bike there as well, nor was he able to maneuver my bike from his chair as I pushed him. He called his mother and we arranged that someone eventually would drive me back to school when it was time for me to go home, and I’d either ride my bike home from there or they’d take me and my bike home in the car.
John lived in a pleasant neighborhood not far from the school. It was generally downhill from the school to his house and I spent most of my time holding the chair back rather than pushing it. I decided rather quickly it was harder doing this than it would be pushing the chair, probably even harder than pushing it uphill to the school.
John lived in a large house with a freshly mowed lawn. The lawn was large enough that it held several trees and there was enough space that they weren’t crowded. Manicured bushes stood in front of the house and it appeared likely that, in season, flowers would be brightening the entry scene, too, as there were places set aside around the bushes and trees that looked prepared for them.
John had me push him to the front stoop, then stop. He then rose from the chair and after stretching and shaking his legs, walked up the three flagstone steps onto the porch. “Can you bring the chair up here?” he asked.
I turned it around and pulled it up backwards. He had me leave it several feet down the porch so it wasn’t standing too near the door. Then he opened the door and we walked inside.
It was cool inside, which I appreciated after working up a sweat helping him home, and by listening carefully I could just make out the low hum of an air conditioning fan. We were in a tiled entryway. To one side a hallway ran to the back of the house. On the right was a large living room with a cut pile carpet in a light beige color. Comfortable chairs were scattered around and an overstuffed couch faced a large picture window looking out on the front lawn.
I was looking at the room and thinking how inviting it appeared when John said, “Let’s go back this way,” and led me down the hall. At the end of it there appeared to be the kitchen, but we stopped at a room about halfway along the hall.
“This is my room,” said John. “They didn’t want me having to climb stairs all the time and maybe falling, which wouldn’t be too good, so they converted the den to a bedroom. They even put in a separate bathroom for me. Look around all you want, I’m going to use the john. You want to go first?”
I shook my head, and he walked across the room and into a door on one side, which he closed after him. I looked at his room.
Instead of carpeting, he had smooth linoleum-like tile floor. I thought that might be so he could use his chair in here more easily if he needed it. I remembered John had dealt with more than one broken leg in his life, and realized this floor would be more convenient in that situation.
The room was set up with about everything he might want, as far as I could see. He had a computer, a large TV set, a video game system, a stereo system, a CD player and a DVD player. He had several book shelves filled with both paperbacks and hardcover books, another that seemed full of video games, cassettes and the like. One book case I noticed had several books in it that all had matching leather-appearing covers. I wondered if these could be the journals he had written.
The room was painted a bright but still easy-on-the-eyes shade of blue. I knew a little about color, it was a large part of my dad’s profession, and I realized this was a shade intended to lift the spirits and that seemed cheerful. Altogether, I thought, this was a happy and comfortable room.
He had a full-sized double bed along one wall, a desk and a couple of low work tables and chairs spread around harmoniously. It was a large room, so even with the furniture, it didn’t appear cluttered. For that matter, it didn’t look like a typical teen’s room either because there were no clothes on the floor, the bed was made and everything was neat and orderly. There was one large window on the side of the room that overlooked what appeared to be a side yard with a fence running along the back side of it. Some sort of ivy-like plant was growing on the fence, providing privacy for the yard.
I heard the toilet flush, and in a few minutes John came back into the room. I was so accustomed to seeing him in his chair, it seemed strange to me, seeing him enter the room walking.
“What would you like to do, Tim? I’ve got a lot of games and movies. Of course, before that, I usually get a snack. Are you hungry?”
Was I hungry? I was a teenager who hadn’t eaten since lunch, about four hours ago. Of course I was hungry.
We headed to the kitchen. I followed John and watched him walk. I was looking for something unusual or different about the way he walked, but couldn’t detect anything at all. The only thing strange about following him was, usually when I follow people I can’t see past them. John was actually short enough that I could see over his head. That almost never happened with me with kids my own age.
In the kitchen, we met John’s mom. She was a large woman wearing an apron and a bright, friendly smile on her face. She had soft looking curly brown hair cut fairly short, a large reddish face and a comfortable air about her. She was one of those people you took an immediate liking too. She was genuine, there seemed to be no mystery about her, and she had a warm manner that drew you to her.
“Welcome, Tim. I’m so happy to meet you. John has mentioned you, and I just want to say, please come over any time you want. I’m hoping we see a lot more of you. Now, what can I make for you?”
We ended up with some cold fried chicken and apple pie. It was delicious. My dad and I cook for ourselves and while we do OK, neither of us is a fabulous cook. The chicken had some flavoring I couldn’t identify but was really good and it was cooked perfectly, still juicy but tender and flavorful and just right. The pie was just the right sweetness, something I often have a problem with with apple pie, and the crust was very flaky and light and had just a slight bite of salt that was wonderful. When I was done, I decided I wouldn’t mind eating here a lot more often.
I told his mom how much I’d enjoyed everything and how really good it was, and she actually blushed and smiled and thanked me for being so polite, but I wasn’t just being polite, I meant it.
John and I decided to play a video game. We chose one we could play together as partners, one we were both very familiar with so we could talk and play almost automatically. It turned out we had similar tastes in popular music, too, and he put on a CD as background, tuned low enough so we could hear it but it didn’t intrude on our conversation.
We talked, just chatting, nothing serious, till I made an idle remark that I wouldn’t have made if I weren’t feeling so comfortable. I liked spending time with John, he was easy to be with, I liked sitting playing a game with a friend, something I hadn’t done for a long time, I liked eating really good food I didn’t have to prepare myself, and I guess I was just feeling too good. So, I let my guard down.
“John, I’m really enjoying this. Thanks for having me over. You probably do this all the time, but I don’t and this is really neat. Thanks.”
“No, you’re wrong, Tim.”
“Huh? How am I wrong?”
“I don’t do this all the time. In fact, I rarely do this. Other than Terry, I almost never have anyone over here, and Terry’s really busy. He picks me up in the morning and pushes me to school sometimes, but usually Mom drives me.”
“But don’t you have friends over? Surely you have friends?”
“Not really. I’ve told you, most kids aren’t interested in someone who’s different, especially if he has problems. They avoid me. I can’t run around like they can and I have to be careful all the time. Also, my personality doesn’t attract a lot of kids. I can be sharp or sarcastic. A lot of kids can be like that, but coming from a kid in a wheelchair, they don’t know how to respond to me. If you, for instance, get sarcastic with someone and they take it wrong, they can take a swing at you. They don’t feel they can do that with me, and they even get uncomfortable saying anything back to me, so most of them just leave me alone.”
He said this looking straight at me, almost challenging me. There was no sense of him feeling sorry for himself at all. I looked back at him, not feeling sympathy, maybe because I had my own problems, maybe because I just didn’t think he needed sympathy. The way he carried himself––he was an independent, strong-willed kid who just didn’t seem an appropriate target for sympathy––that just wasn’t an emotion that affected me when I was dealing with John.
“Well, I don’t know about any of those guys, but you seem OK to me. I think they’re the ones missing out not knowing you, more that you’re missing out not being with them.”
I said this with some heat, some conviction in my voice. I really meant it.
John looked a little surprised, staring at me, and I met his eyes. We held the look, and then both looked down at the same time, maybe to keep from blushing, maybe from something else. My thoughts were sort of jumbled. I realized what I said was rather complimentary and personal and not something you usually said to another boy. The silence that ensued was a little uncomfortable.
Watching John feel uncomfortable with my praise, if that’s what was discomfiting him, it occurred to me that I liked both John and Terry a lot, but differently. They seemed to fill different roles in my life. Terry was a solid friend who always seemed to be trying to get inside of me, but in a supportive, helpful way. He was a figure of strength for me, someone to rely on and be there. His presence and support were reassuring and after even the short time I’d known him were becoming almost essential to me.
John, on the other hand, was something else entirely. There was a mystery about him, an unknown quality. He didn’t talk about himself at all, other than to talk reluctantly about his ailment when pressed. He didn’t offer his views of things. Yet he certainly had them. He wrote journals, maybe wrote as much or more than I did by the looks of his bookcase. To do that, you had to write observations and thoughts, you had to be critical in the sense of describing something and discussing how it appeared to you, whether you approved or disapproved, whether you liked it or didn’t, how you’d change it, whether it was good or bad, how it affected you and others. All that took judgment and decision and a strong sense of self. But he kept that part of himself private. It suddenly occurred to me, so did I. I wondered why he did that. I knew why I did. I didn’t with him.
But I liked him for it. I liked everything about him. Thinking about that, I wondered why, because I really didn’t know him. I knew I was attracted to his looks, who could help but be, but there was more than that. There was a sense of his character I had that I really liked. He had a depth that I wanted to understand. We seemed to fit on some unacknowledged and unexplainable level. I didn’t feel threatened by him, maybe because he didn’t ask questions of me that required my usual guarded behavior. I was very comfortable talking to him, being with him.
As soon as that occurred to me, John asked a question that made a liar out of my thoughts.
“What about you? Who are your friends?”
He was probably just following up on our conversation, politely playing the question I’d asked him back to me, but my defenses went up immediately.
“Oh, I just moved here and haven’t got to know that many people yet. I will, though. I’m already getting to know you and Terry. Hey, you haven’t given me anything to read of yours yet. Why don’t you pick something out?”
OK, that might not have been the smoothest segue in
the world, and he did give me an odd glance, but he stood up and walked to his desk, his question apparently forgotten. On the way he casually remarked, “Oh, by the way Tim, I read your story last night.”
Oops. That certainly caught me off guard. I’d become a little nervous anyway, after looking into his eyes and having him look back into mine, not really knowing what I was seeing, and now we were going to talk about my story, about my writing, a subject I cared deeply about, especially coming from John. This abrupt change didn’t help my nervousness any. I don’t know why, but I just wasn’t ready at the moment to hear a critique of my writing. It was as if I needed a moment to prepare for it. I think it was because I had a feeling John would be not only be a much more keen reader than Terry had been, but also that while Terry seemed to go overboard being protective and supportive, John didn’t seem the type to take that into account at all, and I was sure being honest with his remarks would be second nature to him. Still, I wanted to hear John’s reaction. I really cared what he thought about my writing. I was nervous anyway, and now that he was going to discuss the story, even more so. I didn’t feel prepared for this.
But I didn’t want to show that too much. “Oh?” I said after a moment, with nonchalant indifference. I thought I brought it off pretty well.
Then I looked up at John, and he was grinning at me.
“Well, if you’re not interested in what I think about it, I guess I just won’t say anything.”
Son of a bitch! I guess I was still transparent. And especially to John. Or he was more than ordinarily perceptive.
“Not to worry,” he said, enjoying my discomfort. “It was great! You’re really good, Tim. I’m very impressed. You’ve done a lot of writing to be able to pull that off the way you did it, and I’ll bet you worked hard on that. That wasn’t a first draft I read. That was polished and accomplished writing.”
I was really pleased. In fact, I think I was glowing a little, hearing that. John wasn’t one to pull punches, and I didn’t think he’d make up something like that just to make me feel good. It seemed to me he meant what he said, he genuinely thought the story was well written, and I was elated.
He continued. “I don’t agree with Terry, though. He thought the story was sort of a statement you were making about death. He thought you were thinking about it, maybe even considering it. I didn’t read it that way at all. To me, your main character was using death as a metaphor for emptiness and nothingness in his life, not literal death.”
That hit me like a sledgehammer. How did he see that? How could he? I thought my intentions with that story were so well hidden, no one would see that. I was shocked he read that into the story. Just how smart was this kid?
And, how perceptive? That was the thought that stunned me.
I wondered what his ability to see what he’d seen in the story meant about what he could see in me? He’d already found me transparent when I tried to hide things from him when speaking to him. Now this. I suddenly felt I couldn’t hide anything from him. And that didn’t just scare me, it terrified me. More than I could handle.
I didn’t know what to say. I’m sure my face registered my shock. I’d spent so long being private and keeping myself to myself. The sudden possibility that I might be an open book to someone was like a slap in the face, and like any hard slap, it shook my foundations.
I actually felt a little wobbly; it was a good thing I was sitting. It might seem strange that just a comment like that could upset me so much, but upset me it did, and in reality, I was now pretty close to panicking.
Everything I’d been doing for months seemed about to fall in on me. I’d worked hard at setting up protective camouflage and well-fortified boundaries. Could they evaporate this easily? All I was doing was taking a chance to make some new acquaintances, and I’d been very careful. That was my new nature, to be very careful. I’d thought I was doing it, even though I’d recognized from the first time Terry spoke to me I was taking a chance. I’d been fighting an internal, private struggle between the loneliness that was beginning to consume me and the risk I’d be taking doing something about it. I’d thought I was handling it well. But now, this. This was a suddenly precarious situation, and I only knew one way to handle it. The way that had become second nature to me.
“So Tim, which was it? Were you really talking about him being dead, or were you describing his reality?”
I tried, but I don’t know if I pulled off a calm-sounding answer. I doubt my voice was calm when I said, “You’re supposed to answer that for yourself. I’m not supposed to tell you. That’s what the story’s about.”
I was feeling almost numb. I looked at my watch, back at John and said in a voice that sounded strangled even to me, “Hey John, I’m running late. I really have to get going.”
I jumped up and turned to the door. John, in a very surprised voice, said, “Hey, Tim, what’s the matter. You can’t just go. Your bike! My mother can drive you. Where are you going? What’s the matter?”
By the time he said that, I’d reached the front door and was outside. My breath was coming fast. Panic was close behind. I needed to get home. I needed to be by myself. I needed to think. I felt like the world was collapsing in on me.
I ran. I ran to the school, which thankfully wasn’t far away. I grabbed by bike from the rack, jumped on and pedaled with everything I had. I was going home. Back to my room. A room I wished I’d never left this morning.