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Aside from all manner of homosexual behavior, I have one additional warning. There is occasional mention of drug use characteristic of the time period. I promise that it is only incidental here and there and not constant. It was not included to proselytize but only for the sake of authenticity.
Addendum: The chronology pertaining to the first world war is fairly accurate in terms of days and dates.
Addendum 2: I know that the readers here are primarily interested in the sexual parts as I am, but this has evolved into a genuine story that will soon need resolution leaving all happy and satisfied at its conclusion so know that this is my intention and bear with me.
Addendum 3: Similarity to any person living or dead is purely coincidence.
“New York 1912” by Larkin all rights reserved
Continued upon request:
jet2larkin at Jeemale dot kom---- (reinterpret)
Dear Mr. Lowell,
It is with great sorrow that I write you this letter, for it brings you, I'm afraid, very bad news about your son, Corporal First Class, Peter McGuire Lowell
He played a very gallant part in the attack we made against the German positions last Monday October 28, 1918. He helped his commander when he was wounded to a place of safety, but shortly after was hit with a piece of an exploding shell and died shortly afterwards.
I cannot tell you how sorry I am and I wish I could soften the hardness of your sorrow. All that have fallen on the field of honor in this war, whether they know it or not, are following the path of self-sacrifice and of duty which Our Lord Himself once trod, they are following in his footsteps and helping Him to pay the price of the world's salvation.
Let pride then be mingled with your tears
We lay him to rest in a little military cemetery at Bertrancourt in the Northern corner of France by the side of several of his comrades who have died that freedom and liberty may prevail.
His soul we commended to the loving care of Our Heavenly Father, who will keep him until that day when you find him again never to be parted again.
May God comfort and console you in your sorrow is the prayer of all who knew you son and especially in the truest sympathy.
M.P.C. Leonard, Chaplin
On behalf of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe.
I spent the day trying to be stoic. I was grateful that Billy stayed with me. No one besides Billy could understand the loss that I felt. There was something else,.. another letter that somehow had gotten overlooked. I opened it.
Dear Mr. Lowell.
I am writing you this letter because Peter said that if we would ever meet that we would certainly become great friends.
We were at the end of our rope when the Americans arrived. They were so young, courageous and gallant. I met Peter early on and we became fast friends sharing cigarettes. He was so optimistic and full of bravado. I suppose I was that way once.
I am also writing to tell you truth about Peter's death because very often they send form letters typed out in a large rooms by the thousands and they tell noble tales full of lies.
It was a chlorine gas attack, green, choking and ugly. I saw him, He had been tossed on the cart with the others....his head was hanging down, his hair was matted...
I am so sorry and I will try to write again soon..
2nd Lt, Wilfred Edward Owen, 5th Bn. Manch. R., T.F., attd. 2nd Bn.
In the North of France
I was insane with grief and despair. Billy tried to stop me at the door, I hugged him and then wondered crazily out into the night. Silent and alone I took the train to Canal street to seek out Mr. Lee to purchase a half dozen opium balls and then back to my 10th street apartment.
The door swung open. The room smelled musty and ancient like some old museum. No one had been here for some time. I rummaged around for my pipe and putting a pinch into the bowel I lit and smoked the opium, praying for peace. The sweet oily fumes rose up to the ceiling. I lay on my bed and closed my eyes and continued to draw on the pipe until things became easier and peaceful. The opium was merciful and it let me sleep. When I awoke I could see through the windows that it was just before dawn. I refilled my Shanghai pipe and smoked. I imaged my room from a long time ago when everything was new and iridescent and Peter, wearing his Western Union uniform, walked in for the first time.
”How the fuck are you Edmund, maybe I could stay here with you tonight.”
The opium did not remove the weight in my heart but it took the stabbing sharpness away.
I was safe here. The light from the window was a round circle and I was wrapped in a feather tic and the circle got smaller and smaller and was I protected.
Monday, November 11, The war is over:
Much of this is a reconstruction of events given to me by Billy:
According to Billy, I was unaccounted for and missing for more than a month. He had no idea that I had kept the 10th street apartment. He discovered an up-dated lease in my desk and went searching for me. He came with housekeeper and Willy, our sometimes handyman. I remember seeing the door open. Of course Billy hugged me but he was all business and got me to my feet and brought me home.
“Billy, I'm going to be sick without my opium.”
He had taken charge of me and reassured me. “I know Edmund and I'm going to take care of you.”
I was feeling fine at that moment but I knew that it lay like a storm on the horizon.
“We are going to leave that poison behind? Edmund what would I do without you? Would you abandon me after all this? Without being unkind, did you only care about Peter and not me?”
Billy put off his first semester and spent every minute with me.
I fell sick almost immediately. It was a nagging and fluish pain that would not let you sleep or rest and gave me vivid nightmares. I spun like a top soaking the bed with sweat. In spite of all this, Billy crawled in bed with me and held me through the night.
The pain was relentless but a strange thing happen and it was associated with physical sensations returning to my body. Sexual lust returned just briefly and the pain suddenly subsided, indicating the opium was leaving my system. Billy reached down under the covers and stroked me until the jizum came and then in a matter of minutes, I quickly returned to my sicken state. It was however, signs of being cured.
It was a good two weeks before I was able to get up and around but my world was gray and colorless.
We sat together for breakfast. It was the first time that I learned that the war had ended.
“How do I look?”
Billy smiled, “You looked haggard but your color is coming back.”
I expect that he was right. At almost 20, he had become tall and handsome and secure in his beliefs.
I remained in a fragile state into the spring and it wasn't until then that I began to feel human again.
The Long Recovery 1919:
When he thought I was through the worst of it, He brought me a news clipping.
He said,“I've been saving this for you.”
It was about a British poet that was killed only a week before the war ended. maybe only a few days after Peter was killed.
“Edmund, you should recognize the name, Wilfred Owen, he was the one that wrote you the personal letter about Peter's death”
The whole thing had left me a changed man. I had become melancholy and introspective and subject to fits of depression. I imagined that Billy wanted the old me back, but he never said as much. He arranged for the sale of the Marmon. I had decided that we didn't need an automobile. It was also upon his insistence that I give up the flat on West 10th street.
I cloistered myself and would only go outside at Billy's prodding. "You're a half dead dandy and you look like shit, now let's go out and get some sun!"
Fall 1919 The first cold winds blow:
Even after all this time it comes back and dogs me like a dark shadow and I just can't get out of bed.
"Edmund, will you please come here and help me."
It was Billy calling me from the down the hall. I didn't want to move. let him come here instead.
"Edmund, Come help me."
With great effort I rose up to see what the matter was. He was in the bath and I heard water running.
The door slowly opened and I saw Billy running a hot tub. Next to him was a forlorn boy of no more than 11. He was black with soot and grime and he looked up at me. Out of his eyes poured the same old story of a father drunk or in jail and a mother pregnant, desperate or dead.
"Edmund, help me get this boy cleaned up. He has been living under the stoop a few blocks away from here and every time they call the police he hides. Getting him here was like trying to trap a feral cat. From what I heard, he keeps running away from city orphanage and from my own experience, I don't blame him."
He was in bare feet and they were black. His clothes were black rags. His hair had been shorn back by someone to prevent lice and parasites.
"Edmund, snap out of it! You think you have problems and hardship? Look at this boy. This boy could have been me and you saved me and I will always owe you for it. So help me get this him cleaned up! and stop all this feeling sorry for yourself."
The boy's clothes just fell off of him. He got into the tub without much fuss and then let two perfect strangers scrub him. We had to run a second tub and when we dried him with big towels and left the bath, the tub was black.
He was very skinny but not emaciated. I brought up a plate with some food. During this whole time the boy never uttered a sound.
"Well, he looks very Mediterranean to me but he could be a Jew from Russia."
My Italian was very sparse. "Come ti chiami?"
He didn't acknowledge it. Neither of one us knew a word of Yiddish or Russian.
Billy turned his attention from the boy to me. "Who cares? Edmund you have charted out new territory that doesn't conform to what everyone else thinks the world is supposed to be so why should religion or race or highfalutin class make any difference? You have had the greatest influence on me and I share your attitude that sex is sex and devotion is something different but just as wonderful."
We put him in the studio bed and stayed with him until he fell asleep.
The next morning Dr. Hudson arrived on a house call. He looked the boy over and snorted, "I'm a Doctor, not a veterinarian." Billy was so angry.
After which, I made sure our bill was paid and terminated our association and sought a different doctor.
The naked boy followed us to the back room where my trunks of old clothes were stored. We sorted through it to find things that would fit him. I was resisting it but there was a feeling of great warmth building inside of me. The boy understood. I began to suspect that Billy had done this on purpose but it is also easy to believe that he had been influenced by his own childhood.
"Edmund, did you really wear clothes like these? They are dreadfully out of style. If he won't tell us his name we'll have to invent one."
He hugged the boy and he received a hug and smile in return.
He paused for a moment, looked at this boy in our midst and said, "I don't care,.. I don't care what we have to do, but he's staying with us. Whoever let him get into this state does not deserve him!"
He looked at me and said, "Edmund, this is the first time I've seen you smile in the longest time.
Finished for now.
Edmund, enters middle age.
William (Billy) becomes an adult.
And the boy is an unknown quantity.
“New York 1912” by Larkin all rights reserved
I'm interested in your thoughts
jet2larkin at Jeemale dot kom---- (reinterpret)