The following is fiction. It contains some scenes involving 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, even if I cannot acknowledge your participation by name. There are too many of you and I used bits and pieces of what was suggested to the extent even I am confused!
Some gay sex is included in this story as it is a visceral part of and helps illuminate the whole. 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
We’d both ridden our bikes to school. A lot of kids did. We collected them after meeting up near the front door after school, then started riding towards my house.
We chatted as we rode. It was 3:30 in the afternoon and there wasn’t much traffic. We pedaled along easily, riding abreast of each other, talking about what had gone on in school that day. I don’t know why I felt so comfortable with him. I never felt comfortable with other kids my age these days. There was something about him that put me at ease. I didn’t know what it was, but I trusted it. Maybe it was hero worship, maybe having such a guy next to me made me feel protected. It was certainly exciting, having him with me, this close. What I did know for sure was I was very much enjoying riding next to him.
When we got to my house, no one was there, of course. My dad worked until about six most days. I was always alone in the afternoons.
“You want anything to eat or drink,” I asked him as we walked into the back door after leaving our bikes behind the house. It was a small house and we entered directly into the kitchen.
“Sure, anything would be great.”
I set about fixing us a snack, the same snack I fixed for myself every day. He leaned against the counter, watching. We always had luncheon meats on hand and bread, so I made a couple sandwiches, threw some chips on the plates to go with them, then asked him what kind of pop he wanted. We took our snacks over to the kitchen table where Dad and I ate all our meals.
Terry glanced around curiously as we sat down, then asked, “Tell me about your family.”
An innocent question you ask people you’re trying to get to know, but one I wasn’t about to answer. At least not fully. I remembered my half-truth strategy and answered in a voice I hoped sounded entirely natural and stress free, “It’s just Dad and me. He’s a painter, but kind of a specialized one. He does rooms where they want more than just the walls painted off-white. He does fancy trim, blends color shades for special effects, highlights areas where that’s wanted, all sorts of stuff. Most painters don’t do special stuff, so he gets a lot of work, mostly working for contractors in very ritzy houses. He’s always busy.”
I’m proud of my dad. It probably showed in my voice. Anyway, Terry replied, “Hey, that’s neat. What about your mom? And do you have any brothers or sisters?”
“Nope, just Dad and me. How about you?”
“I’ve got an older brother. His name is Gary. He’s in college so I don’t see him as much as I’d like. I miss him. He’s great. We’re pretty close. He’s taking aeronautical engineering, which is a pretty tough major, so we don’t see him much at all. He calls some, though, and I call him, so it’s not like we’re completely out of contact. Still, it’s not like he was still here. Sometimes you like to have someone to talk to, you know, and talking on the phone just isn’t the same.”
“Yeah, I guess. So tell me about your mom and dad.” That ought to keep him going for a while.
He’d taken a large swig of his root beer after he’d
spoken about his brother. Now, a lot of it came
spurting out his mouth, more out of his nose.
He started laughing like a crazy man. I just looked at him. He kept laughing, enjoying some joke that was way over my head. I grabbed some paper towels to help him clean up, then looked at him with raised eyebrows, and with genuine puzzlement asked, “What’s funny?”
“I figured it out,” he said as he continued to laugh. “At school. Remember, at lunch? I told you I didn’t learn anything about you? Well, I thought about it during the afternoon. And I realized something. Every time I’d asked you something, you’d given me a short answer, then asked me something. The reason I didn’t learn anything from you is you didn’t let me! You’re pretty good at that, you know?” He smiled at me, taking any sting out of what he said. I couldn’t help it. I smiled back. It was almost like we were together in a conspiracy, a conspiracy to keep him from learning about me. Weird.
It was my turn to say something, and I desperately wanted to keep it friendly. “I’m sorry, Terry. It’s just that, well, there are a lot of things I don’t want to talk about. I don’t want to go into why, either, I just don’t. But I do want to work with you, help with your project. I feel good, talking with you and all. It’s just some personal stuff I don’t want to talk about. Is that OK?”
“Sure, I guess I can understand that. You’re a private person. I’m not, so it seems a little strange to me, but I’ll try to get used to it. But Tim, instead of short answers and more questions, can you just tell me you’re uncomfortable talking about something if I ask? I think we’ll get to know each other better that way, and maybe begin to trust each other more. Can you at least try that?”
I thought about it. I didn’t want to give him a quick answer because he sounded so sincere, and reasonable, and I didn’t want to lie about something, then be caught in the lie later. He was in the process of taking away one of my relief valves. Should I go along with it? I looked at him. He was watching me, his handsome, open face showing no deceit or hidden agendas or anything but friendship and concern for me. How could I not take a chance with him? As he said, why not try this? If it didn’t work, I could just tell him that, couldn’t I?
“Can I be truthful with you, Terry?”
“I want you to be, Tim. And I’ll promise you something. I’m someone you can trust. I won’t do anything you’ll regret. Anything you tell me, if you don’t want it repeated, it won’t be. I’ve seen what happens when people don’t treat other people that way, I’ve seen people get hurt, and I hate that. I try to be someone who keeps people from getting hurt. You don’t know that, you don’t know me. But as you get to know me, you will get to know it. I’m just telling you now so you’ll know.”
Looking at him, it was hard to doubt him. He looked so genuine. He was the sort that, if he could look at you like he did and then lie to you, you’d want to shoot yourself. Not even him, yourself. Because it would be too painful to know someone could look like he did and then betray your trust.
“OK, then, Terry. I’ll try it. I’ll try to just tell you when there’s something I can’t talk to you about, instead of trying to hide it. We’ll see how it goes.”
“Great. Now, can we go see what your room looks like?”
“Sure,” I said, and led the way upstairs to my room.
We lived in a small house in a very middle class neighborhood. We only had three bedrooms. Dad’s was larger than mine, but not by a whole lot. There was one upstairs bathroom meant to be shared by everyone in the house. My room wasn’t very big. It also wasn’t very special. We did have a computer but we kept it in the third, unoccupied bedroom. In my room there was just a bed, a bookcase, and of course a dresser and closet. I had a little radio on my bedside table. There was a desk on one wall where I did homework. That was about it.
Terry looked around. I sat on the bed. It only took a moment for Terry to see there wasn’t much there. If he had been planning to dissect my soul by seeing how I lived in my room, he was being disappointed big time. I just wasn’t going to be that easy to figure out.
Terry sat down on the bed, too. It was that or the chair at my desk. I guess he preferred the bed.
“OK, I’m going to ask you some questions. If any of them are too nosy, or threatening, or uncomfortable, tell me.” He looked at me; I looked back and nodded. And for some reason, I didn’t feel uncomfortable. I think I did already trust him. And we had made that agreement.
“How long have you been living here?”
“We moved here just before the school year started.”
“Where did you live before?”
“We lived in Lakeland, Ohio. It’s a small town a little over a hundred fifty miles or so southeast of Columbus.”
“And you lived there with just your dad?”
“No, but I don’t want to talk any more about that.” I looked into his eyes. He smiled at me.
“OK, no problem. So you and your dad have lived here only a couple months. Do you like it.”
Did I like it? Strange, I hadn’t given that a thought. But did I? The truth of the matter was, I liked it a lot better now that Terry was taking an interest in me. Could I say that? No! I hoped I could sometime, but, no.
“It’s OK I guess.”
“I haven’t seen you at the mall or the theater or any place else, and I should have. I’ve barely seen you at school. What do you do all day?”
“I spend a lot of time at the park. Reading. Wandering on the trails in the woods there. I ride my bike around some.”
He stopped, looked at me, and I got the idea he was thinking of his next question. Probably working on one that would get an answer. When he asked it, it made me pause. “Tim, what’s your passion? What excites you?”
Wow. I wasn’t expecting that. Could I tell him? This wasn’t too scary. It didn’t reveal anything it was essential I keep private. Still, I’d never talked to anyone about it. Should I surrender this little part of me?
He could see me fidgeting, so took some of the pressure off, gave me some thinking room, by saying, “I’m into running. I love to run. I get up early every morning and run about 5 miles. Some days, especially on the weekends , I’ll run even farther, 10 miles, 15, something like that, just depending on how I feel. It’s really relaxing, believe it or not, and lets me sort out my head. I’m a pretty social guy and am around people most of the time. Running is what I do by myself and it gives me some alone time.” He stopped, and just looked at me. Probably figured I’d either answer his question at this point or tell him to skip it.
But I didn’t want to skip it. I decided to tell him.
“I do have something that I do. I’ve never told anyone, only my dad knows, but I feel I can tell you. I like to write. Everyday, I’ll write in a journal. I write my feelings, my thoughts, how I react to something, what I see other people doing, how they respond to things, that sort of thing. Anything that strikes me funny or odd or interesting. Both things that happen and mental observations. When something happens, some event that’s out of the ordinary or thought-provoking in some way, I’ll write about it, but not just the event, what I think and feel about it, what other people say they think about it. I guess I spend a lot of time writing. As you say your running does, it clears my head, lets me organize my thinking.”
He was looking keenly at me. He said, “Thanks, Tim. You told me that and didn’t pull away. I appreciate that. You told me something about yourself and explained it for the first time.” He started to reach out his hand, sort of like he was going to touch me, then pulled it back. “So do you write anything except in your journal? Stories, poems, songs, anything?”
“When I was younger I did a lot. I used to write some fantasy stories. In the past couple years, mostly I’ve only written in the journal. I’ve done very little of anything else, at least a lot less than before. I don’t know why. My imagination seems to have dried up a little.”
“Could I read something you’ve written?”
Now there was question that needed some thinking about! To write a journal and do it so it means anything at all, you have to be entirely free, entirely honest. That means you’re laying bare your soul, putting it on paper for the world to see. You couldn’t do that with the idea of anyone else ever seeing what you’d written. It was way too private. Of course I couldn’t let him read my journals. But I’d written other things as well. I had written a couple short stories recently. I didn’t really want anyone to read them, I was afraid what they might think either about the story or me, but at the same time I was terribly curious what someone would think of the writing. Could I let him read one of those?
Was I really into that much risk taking? Terry made it so much easier with his uncomplicated approach. He was straightforward and up front, and it was hard not to respond in kind. I really was beginning to like him. And that made me want to please him. Even if it did involve risk.
“I have a story I just finished last week. I’ll let you read it if you want to.” I paused for a moment, then continued. “I said I’d tell you if I was uncomfortable, and letting you read this scares me a little, but I want you to read it anyway. I’ll get it for you.”
I got off the bed, went to my desk and pulled the story out of the drawer it was in. I always wrote in longhand. It slowed my thinking, which I found helped. I’d typed it on the computer when it was finished and then printed it out. It was about 15 pages long, double-spaced. I walked back and held it in my hand, not offering it to him yet.
“I’d rather you read it at home, then brought it back. And that you didn’t let anyone else read it. OK?”
“Sure thing, Tim. Look, I’ve been here a while and need to be getting home. I want to say something to you first. Not to threaten you or anything, I just want to tell you what I’m seeing, what I’m thinking. Then we can talk about it tomorrow, or not if you don’t want to.” He stopped and looked at me questioningly, and I simply looked back at him.
“OK, this is what I’m thinking. You used to live with a family, but moved here with only your dad and you aren’t comfortable talking about any of that. Since you’ve been here you’ve pretty much stayed by yourself. You like to go to the park by yourself, you ride your bike by yourself, what you really like to do, writing, is also something that is done all by yourself. At school you spend the day in a crowd of other kids all by yourself, even at lunch when you’re with someone. Now this all sounds pretty lonely to me. But something’s strange here, too. With all this staying by yourself, when I asked for your phone number, you didn’t blow me off, you gave it to me. When I asked you to meet me at the park, you were there 20 minutes later. When I asked to eat lunch with you, you did it. When I asked to come over to your house, to talk with you, even though you knew I was going to ask you personal questions, which you hate, you did it.
“Tim, I haven’t spent much time with you, but you don’t need to spend that much time to know how you feel about someone. I’m really comfortable with you. I like being with you. Somehow the chemistry between us feels right to me. But you’re a closed book. You’re keeping a whole lot of stuff inside you. So I want to tell you something, and I want you to think about it. I want to keep spending time with you, and I’m going to keep asking you questions to learn more about you, because I like you, and when I like someone, I want them to be happy. I don’t think you’re happy now. It isn’t natural for a smart, normal 16 year-old kid to spend all his time by himself. I want to do something about that. And I can’t do that if I don’t learn what the problem is. I don’t know, maybe you won’t let me do that. But, if I can’t do anything else, if you won’t let me do anything else, please at least let me be your friend. Will you do that?”
I didn’t have to think about that. Even so, I found his large personality, his confidence, almost intimidating. “I’d like that,” I said quietly, barely able to meet his eyes.
“Then you’ve got that. But to me, being your friend means I’m also going to try to help you not be so alone. I’ll be very careful how I go about it. But I’m going to try. What you have to do is tell me if I’m doing something you don’t want me to do. Then I’ll pull back a little. But that’s what I’m going to be doing, and you need to know that.”
He stood up. I didn’t know what to do. I had a lot to think about, everything he’d just said. I just sat there.
He smiled down at me. “Just sit there and think, Tim. I’ll just go get my bike and take off. I’ll see you tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it. We’ll eat lunch again. Tomorrow. See ya.”
And with that, carrying my story in his hand, he left.
I did have a lot to think about. Him saying he was going to find out why I spent all my time alone, why I wanted to, scared the hell out of me. Yet at the same time, I trusted him. I’d never met a kid who seemed so concerned about someone else. And it didn’t seem like at act, or just plain nosiness. He seemed genuine. And he was hitting a chord that sounded pitch perfect to me. I was tired of being alone. I hadn’t realized how much till I’d spent some time with Terry, but now it was obvious.
So I decided I wasn’t going to run from this. I wasn’t going to shut him out. I was going to go with it, at least at first, and see where it led. After all, how much of me I opened up to the world still, in the final analysis, was entirely up to me.