Skip - Part 1
Note to readers: I wrote the original story on the 10th anniversary of the events taking place, back in the late-90's. However, I know think I can do this story much more justice. Why? Because Skip, Billy, and I reconnected over the years, and we've been reliving our times together. This now gives me their point of view, too, so I can write a better story.
This is a true story, I am happy to say. I have had some great friends in my life. Skip and Billy are two of the better ones.
The clock radio went off at 6:00 in the morning. Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" was playing on the Boston radio station, 60 miles away. I automatically reached for the snooze bar. Damn. I had to get up. The alarm clock was across the room now, on my dresser. It had been too easy to keep hitting the snooze bar and catching nine more minutes of sleep for another thirty minutes. I had it set so that I would get ten minutes of music and then the secondary buzzer would go off. The sound it made was that of a construction vehicle backing up. I hated the second buzzer. My discipline needed to be re-enforced, so this little change was going to make me get up and actually get into my running gear to go outside. It took a little doing but I managed. My general rule was that once I was awake, I was up. At 33, I needed to keep in shape and stay disciplined if I was going to stay well.
A long bout with the flu earlier this year had convinced me that I am too young to be so sick from a lousy flu bug. Then there was the tumor. God I did not even want to think about that. I would, later, when my head was clearer than it was now. That's not something I was going to be able to handle alone. I needed someone to talk to, preferably someone who had been there.
I slipped on my jock, running shorts, t-shirt, socks, and Nikes. I pinned my key to the inside of my shorts and headed outside into the early April morning fog. It was so peaceful at this time of the morning. The sun was up enough that I knew it was going to be a nice day. I heard birds presenting their morning symphony and decided that they were singing just for me. I was the only one in sight. I loved the morning, and had since I was a little boy. I was also a night owl, which is why I had trouble getting up in the morning.
I soon settled in to my (roughly) six minutes per mile pace, feeling my heart beating strong and my lungs expanding easily in the fresh clear air. I loved my life, sometimes for no particular reason at all. My friends called me "upbeat," seeking out my company in times when they were not. I enjoyed the friends I had too, both male and female. I would not trade any one of them for anything. Life was good.
"But you got a tumor inside you," taunted my consciousness.
"I know," I answered back, aloud. "Go away."
As I ran, I thought about Skip. I had to stop thinking about him though because, surely, I would get hard. The world would know that I was as shamefully horny as I really am. Running around the country roads with my shorts tenting out in front of me would look hysterical. Also, very embarrassing. Not wanting to think about Skip made me think about Skip. I had to sit down for a few minutes and wait for my erection to fade away. Damn I was horny. I could not help it—Skip made me that way.
I got home a little while later, successfully finishing my run, but not in record time. I took off my running gear and lay down on my bed. I wrapped my fist around my dick, yet again hard from thinking about Skip. With my luck, the man was straight as an arrow. Nevertheless, fantasizing about him sure made me feel good. I stroked my shaft up and down and I pictured his handsome face and body in my mind's eye. He was tall, built just right, in terrific shape, and boyish in his face. He had eyes that made me melt. He sported an impressive package. I guessed that he hangs quite well. Mmmm, yummy.
Before I could slow down and take my time, my cream spurted out of my cock, splashing my stomach and chest, shooting as far as my chin. I licked my fingers, cleaning my thick white load off my body. The salty liquid slid down my throat. I'd been eating my own cum for as long as I could remember. My friend's moms went ape shit when they were either caught jacking off or left evidence. Therefore, I ate the evidence and spared myself the wrath.
I got into the shower and washed up thoroughly, letting the hot water run down over my muscles. I could not keep my hands off my dick though. In a few minutes, I was shooting another juicy load. Geez, horny much? Maybe it would help me keep my dick under control later in the day.
So why did I lust after this boy? Well, even though he was only 19 or 20, he was not really a boy. He was an incredibly hunky man. He was 6' tall, had dark brown neatly trimmed hair, and green eyes. A guy's eyes are the first things that I always notice, and Skip's drew me in. His smile was sincere and full of expression, and very kind. His heart had to be made of gold. He spoke kindly of everyone, no matter if he liked him or her or not. He shows no conceit about his looks. In my eye, he was perfect, and little would convince me otherwise.
Skip works in my downtown building, in a mid-sized city. He's a summer and holiday fill-in for the building's facilities department, which makes him a jack-of-all-trades. He builds small and large projects, repairs most anything, and improves, in many ways. I have seen him repeatedly dealing with everybody's problems. You could not rattle the man if you tried. He's a junior in college, down in Massachusetts, west of Boston. I keep forgetting to ask what he's majoring in. My guess is being a likeable stud, which means he has a 4.0 GPA.
We've known each other for a year now, at a little more of a distance than I wanted to keep. I wanted to get closer to him, for him to call me a friend. We are not best friends or anything, but we talked every day at work and slowly grew to see we had a lot in common. I have talked to him enough to know that he's a good man, works very hard, and is a great listener. He also drives the shuttle van from a company parking lot to the headquarters building. Parking there helps keep the busy streets a little less traffic-snarled. I could park in a city pay garage right next to my building, but taking the van is better. I did it just so that I could see the dude at least twice a day, once at 8:00 in the morning and once at 4:30 in the afternoon.
One afternoon I sat by myself at lunchtime to work on homework for a class I was taking. It was raining that day and I begged off going out to eat. I took a late lunch on purpose. Skip walked in, went over to the coffee bar, looked over at me, and frowned a bit. I must have looked out of place, being a little down instead of my usual upbeat self. I was having problems with backaches recently. I thought I was either working out too hard or not taking care of my back properly. There is also been a possibility of something being wrong, but I did not want to think about that. After a month of putting up with a near-constant ache, modifying my workout at the gym, and changing my running routine, I had had enough. I scheduled an appointment to see my D.O. for a checkup. I had to wait a day until I could get in.
Skip came up and said hi. He was dressed in blue jeans that fit his shape very well. Good thing I was sitting down. Even with a backache from hell, there was nothing wrong with my libido. If he knew what he did to me every time I saw him, I think he would beat me to a pulp. But then again, maybe he would accept it and feel flattered. One could always hope.
"Jeez Aaron, you look like you've lost your best friend. You okay?"
"Yeah, mostly. A little achy today again. Maybe it's the rain."
"Ah. I hear that. I broke my collarbone when I was a kid. A heavy rainy day makes it ache. How goes the homework?"
"Decent enough. Information Technology is a cool major. Not always a piece of cake, but challenging is better than boredom."
"I forgot you were IT, like me. I'm just now getting into networking. What area are you studying?"
"Everything but networking. I don't have that knack, nor am I thinking about repair. I'm more into software and the Internet than anything. I think I'm setting myself up for a support and training role in the future. I'd like to own my own company. Hey, bright idea just flashed through my head. What I'd lack in networking knowledge, you'd be able to provide if you like it enough. Hmmm, future business partnership, perhaps."
I raised my eyebrow and then smiled a shy smile. Skip smiled and chuckled.
"You should stay out of my head. It's really scary in there. But, you read my thoughts pretty well. I have no intention of working in Corporate America. I'm taking business management as a minor, so we'll have to connect in a year or so after we graduate."
He reached into his wallet for a card and wrote a phone number on it. He handed over the business card with his email address on it.
"Here, this is how we can stay in touch. Part of my senior year will require creating a business model for my senior thesis. We can talk over the summer about it and maybe lighten the load at school."
I did what he did.
"The phone number is my cell. I turn it off when I'm in class, probably as you do, but it has voicemail. My senior thesis is at home. I got an A on it, so if nothing else, you can see something really quite magnificent." I grinned at him. He accepted my humor.
"Okay, bud, back to work I go. Later."
He walked away and I ogled his ass. As time went on, I would eventually tell him I did that at every opportunity.
When I got home, I put a russet potato in the oven to bake for an hour. In my bedroom, I took off my shoes and socks, shirt, and slacks. I ran my hand inside my boxer briefs and helped my cock finish getting hard. I stroked it, played with my balls, and fingered my ass while I took Skip from point A to point B in my fantasy. I made it last but after 25 minutes I could not back it off. I shot a ribbon of cum all the way to my hair. The second shot hit me in the face. Two more shots landed on my chest. I cleaned up with my fingers, licked them clean, and then cleaned up in the shower.
Dinner, as usual, was in front of TV. I had reading to do and notes to take. My cell rang an hour after dinner. The number looked familiar.
"Hey Aaron, it's Skip. I just wanted to make sure I had your phone number right so I could plug you into my contacts. Hope you don't mind me calling."
"No sweat. Now I can just plug you into my contacts as well. I'm dyslexic so you saved me the number trauma."
"How is your back holding up?"
"A bit better, since I took Motrin when I came home from work. I'm going to settle into bed to do the reading portion of my homework a bit later. No complaints, really. I'll be seeing my family doc tomorrow afternoon."
"Keep me posted?"
"Sure. Thanks for that."
We chatted a few more minutes. He too did his reading assignments stretched out in bed, so we called it a night.
I had no trouble getting out of bed the next morning, since I had been awake since 4:30, though I dozed off until "When You Love a Woman" by Journey brought me to life when the clock radio fired off. I got up to switch the second beeper off as well. I showered, letting very hot water take the ache out of my back.
I worked through the morning on a project that needed some good concentration. My watch beeped at 1:00 to tell me it was time to leave for my appointment. All the things I did not think about all morning rushed in on me as I walked to the parking garage.
"Okay," I said aloud, "cool the worry. It's nothing or it's something. If it's something, we'll deal with it. Go. No worries."
Friends and family would tell me that. I loved them and believed them.
Another late lunch on yet another rainy day.
Today was the first day of Skip's return to work for the summer. I had seen him on the shuttle this morning. He already knew the news because I had called him as he asked.
We did not talk on the van because others were riding, too. It was not for public discussion, at least until someone heard it from a friend of a friend of a friend along the way. Skip asked if he could have lunch with me. We settled on 1:30, in a far corner of the cafeteria.
"So the news wasn't good, huh bud? I was sad to hear that."
I shook my head. We were not best buds yet, but we had come a long way in a couple of months while he was away at school. I also did not want to keep my thoughts to myself. This is why I had decided to call him when I got the diagnosis. I had doubted myself in calling him, so I had put it off for two days. However, I `tried it out' on him first, before I told my family. He really did care about people in general, so it was easy to open up to him.
"No. I'm feeling shitty, physically and mentally. Finding out a kidney infection is a tumor instead just rocked me. I don't sleep enough at night to make it worthwhile going to bed."
"A tumor. Cancer."
He said the words aloud, looking at me, not wavering in his gaze. It said "I'm here."
I nodded. He put his hand on my shoulder and gave it a squeeze. We continued to look each other solidly in the eye. He did not flinch, obviously not turned off by my mood. His gaze never faltered as we talked.
"Talk to me, man. I got a good ear. I have personal experience with a tumor, too. I hope I'm not being too forward, but I had to have a testicle removed because of a lump three years ago."
"Skip, I'm sorry man. If I had known, I wouldn't have told you."
"Don't be that way. You're not going to bring me down."
"Well . . ."
"I was thinking to myself the day I was diagnosed that it'd be easier to talk to someone who had already been there. Did some magical power send you to me?"
He smiled wide at me and I smiled at him. No one would have guessed that this young man had been through some shit himself. His attitude was remarkable, based on what he had just said.
"Maybe, man. Maybe. I can say I know how you feel, to a point anyway. It scared me, but it worked out okay. I wouldn't blow sunshine at you and say that you will be okay too, but I can hope you will be. What can I do for you?"
I liked that. "What can I do for you?" Not, "Can I do something for you?" The former asked me to let him in. Someone who was not sure they would help would say the latter.
"My oncologist is making a plan now to see what needs to be done. Chemotherapy and radiation are the two likely starting points; surgery may follow if necessary. I hope it doesn't go that far though. Is that how it went for you?"
"Not in that order. We had to do surgery first. Radiation followed, and eight chemo sessions later."
I shivered involuntarily. I closed my eyes, not out of fear for myself, but for him.
"I really am sorry, buddy. It doesn't seem very fair to me, especially considering you've had other crap to deal with in the past."
"The car accident. Gee, word gets around, huh?"
"Yeah, well . . ." he said, a little embarrassed.
I had not told him about the accident, so I knew he heard it from someone else at work. I did not talk about it much. I was trying to get beyond it, even though that in itself was proving to be very hard.
"Don't worry about it, man. It's no secret. I just do not share it with many people."
"Okay. I wasn't being nosey, in case you were wondering. It came up in conversation one day with Jason."
I smiled. Jason was my best friend at work -- another good guy. We'd known each other since we were in college fifteen years ago. He and I had worked together since then, including having summer jobs as waiters for our four years of college.
The week went by at a good clip. I had a follow-up appointment with my oncologist on Wednesday. Radiation was going to be the first wave. I saw Skip again for lunch on Friday.
"Listen bud, would you like to come out to my place after work? I usually order pizza on Friday and hang out because I am too beat to do much else. I know, first hand, that being with a friend sometimes is better than too much alone time. That being said, there isn't anything bad about some alone time."
"You're right, of course. The Asian culture has it down pat. Balance. Right?"
"I like the Asian culture's values. I took a Foreign Cultures course as one of my Liberal Arts electives. Yeah, they have it down pat. Seriously, come and stay. Pack a duffle if you want."
"Thanks. I got no plans. I am done by 4:30. I'll run home and pack for overnight."
"I'm done by 4:00 today. Here's my address and new cell phone. It's only a couple miles from here. Come by when you're ready."
"Okay. I know the area. See you around 5:00. Can I bring anything?"
"Nope ... just an appetite."
We parted company for the afternoon, each of us going back to work. I was reaonably productive, figuring that Friday afternoons are better when you keep busy and let them pass quickly.
I pulled into the driveway beside Skip's pickup truck at 5:15. I had stopped at my place long enough to trade my suit for jeans and a T-shirt, plus an overnight duffle. I knocked on his front door and heard a muffled "...in" from inside, so I let myself in.
His townhouse apartment looked a fair amount like mine—no showplace, but lived-in and comfortable. "Come in and have a sit down. Put your feet up and stay awhile" is what it said. Mine said that, too, so I could relax here. I smelled pizza in the kitchen. I walked through the living room, into the dining room, and on into the kitchen.
"Hey bud. Need a hand?"
"Nope, your timing is spot on. We got two pizzas, with a potential for cold pizza for breakfast if you can control yourself tonight. Or, if I can. Frankly I worry more about me."
"Nope. Cold pizza before bed, as a midnight snake, and a pre-breakfast. Looks like you had better worry more about me. I do pizza very rarely, as a special treat, so I can nosh a LOT."
"Well then, let the noshing begin. Head for the living room."
"No dining room? Hmmm. Lemme guess. A place to do homework."
"Right on. Very rarely a place to eat, but you never know."
"You'd love my apartment. Now I have to wonder if ours was built by the same builder."
"My dad built this and seven other semi-detached houses across this area. I pay only utilities. My folks won't take rent, at least while I'm in school. What street are you on?"
"East Windsor, 1100 block."
"Only a couple miles east of here. Two townhouses there are in the family. If you invite me sometime, I'd confirm or not."
"Consider yourself invited."
I handed him the six-pack I'd bought in exchange for a cold one of his. He put my contribution in the fridge. We sat on the sofa and dug in.
"You're going to be all right, you know. I've watched you at work, even when you didn't know I was around. I've watched you when you're studying. You just do it right."
"Not everything. It takes discipline. That much I got."
"You got a lot more. Jason and I talked, too. He really loves you. Admires you even more. Who knows you better than him? Kate died and you grieved, healed, and then lived on. That would be harder than being treated for a tumor."
"Harder or different. I'm working on that. But, you're right, it's not to be done alone."
"I did go to church after you broke the news to me, and I said just the right prayer. Friendship, faith, taking care of you, counting on me—I can't see you struggling, and so, you won't."
"Thanks. I mean it. Mostly I want to live every day as I always do. I have an old expression that I put into words when I was only 16. `The future isn't where my life is; it's in the moments I'm in.'"
"So you can help me live by that?"
"Yeah. We all should live by that. I will keep that close. It's very profound."
"Even though I know a lot about cancer, because of a friend in college, it really scares me."
"Do you think it's been caught early?"
"I don't know. We've been treating it for weeks as a kidney infection because that's what the initial test showed. It really was infected, as my doctor saw, but follow-up tests showed that we'd better look further. He did a tissue biopsy. I was diagnosed a couple days later. My doc doesn't feel too bad about treating an infection since, as you may know, infections are an ongoing battle anyway."
Skip winced when I said 'tissue biopsy'. He would know about that.
"I know enough about it to know that it had to hurt you. I, too, had to fight infections, including a kidney infection. Cipro was the best med for that."
"Oh yeah, talk about peeing like a race horse. Wow."
We laughed at that.
"I hope you'll talk to me at work or continue to call me when you need someone to talk to. If you need someone to go along when you have treatments, call me, or let me know at work. If I can't go for any reason, I think I could get my brother, Billy, to go with you. Okay?"
"Okay, man. I appreciate it. You really are a good man, like I have been thinking all along."
"Thanks. Billy helped me a lot when I was getting used to the idea of having cancer. Keeping the emotion at bay and seeing forward progress is what I needed. Even my mom was good not to overload me with her feelings, even though I know it's always a harder on a mom. Billy was a bigger help when we found out that surgery was my only viable option. He moved in with me here so I'd be safe. Once I got better, he moved in next door. His bedroom is still intact. I haven't reclaimed it yet."
"I've seen Billy around, but I haven't really been introduced yet. Can you do that next week at work?"
"Better yet, sometime this weekend. He'd like to meet you, too, but doesn't want to until you say so."
"Anytime he wants. I've never seen a guy with one testicle. Is there pain still?"
"No, not any more. There was for several months after the surgery, but the surgeon in Boston did a good job. He was right that there would not be any lasting effects. I can't be a daddy, but at this point, I'd rather be alive. Adoption would be fine by me, later. Much later. It might sound weird, but I can still jack off like I used to."
Even when he qualified it, he ended up a bit red.
"Hey, as someone who jacks off too, I know what you mean. I think I'd be a basket case if I could not relieve that ache."
"So how long from onset to surgery?" I asked.
"Four months. We tried radiation right away but it did not shrink the tumor much. I was afraid of getting it twice, so I told the doc not to fool around long. I know testicular cancer can metastasize rapidly. We even found some cancerous tissue on the lower end of one lung. I was the one who pushed the idea of surgery. He wanted to do chemo first, but I didn't want to wait and see. I could live without one, but . . ."
"I hear you. I got at good idea what it would do to your sex life, but what it would do to you psychologically would have had to be worse. Still, I think you're a brave guy for letting them take it. I wish I'd known you back then. I would have helped Billy make sure you were okay."
"Thanks, man. I know you would have, too. That's why I want to do the same for you."
He reached over and rubbed my shoulder. He looked in my eyes. True friendship began when you could hold your buddy's eyes, not needing to look away in shame or embarrassment. I loved his beautiful green eyes. I loved the smile that accompanied them. We were closer friends from this moment on. Sharing one's fears and sharing strength at the same time made it important.
We finished off the pizza and another beer apiece and watched "Big," with Tom Hanks, on HBO. We had both seen it before, only once, when it first came out, so we hammed it up and mimicked some of the antics. We danced as if we knew how to dance across the musical keyboard on the floor at FAO Schwartz in New York. We were reasonably good, really. I am musically inclined in movement, but not in voice. Later in the year, Skip would show that he could sing wonderfully.
We talked more about everything we could think of during the evening. He had many interests, and most of them were in line with mine. He was curious about my car accident (which he knew a little about). We talked about music, movies, family (his brother Billy also worked summers and holidays in our building), and life in general. Before we knew it, it was approaching 1:00 in the morning. I was especially tired since I had not slept last night.
"I'm glad I asked you to come prepared to stay over. I'm afraid I'm a talker, so a late night Friday is usual for me when I have friends over. I am not even sure, based on how tired you look, that you could make it home. Billy's room is not bad for sleeping, or you can bunk with me if you'd like. Again, I'm forward, but I want you to know I do care a lot about you. I know what's inside your head. Been there, done that."
Now was not that an idea of the week. Yum! Nevertheless, seriously, I could easily accept what he offered. Yes, he's a hunk and a half. He truly is much more. Since I did not have a screw loose, that was your basic no-brainer. The idea of having someone close to me again while I slept was inviting. Sleeping alone was not easy to do when you had gotten used to not sleeping alone, which was probably one reason behind Skip's offer to bunk with him. I thought there might be other reasons. However, who cares? I thought about sex, naturally. I also thought about being close to someone again -- needing to be close. I was a creature of comfort and someone to hold was the epitome of comfort. I need love, too, but a half step forward is okay.
"I don't snore. Much," I joked.
"Me neither. Ha! We'll see who ends up in Billy's room by morning."
We picked up the pizza carton and empty bottles, turned out the lights in the apartment, and went upstairs to Skip's bedroom.
We discovered that neither one of us wore briefs under our jeans. We are both nicely hung. We weren't overly shy either. Locker rooms and showers have been a part of both our lives. I lingered for a second longer though seeing that he did indeed have one testicle, not two.
"I'm sorry. I'm staring. And, I can't stop."
He laughed aloud.
"I would stare, too. I'm used to it."
This made me think of him more as a buddy now than as a sex partner. However, I also thought about him as a sex partner, because he would be good to and for me. Tonight, all I wanted, worse than anything, was to sleep and to be comforted. The rest would happen or not.
When we got in to bed, Skip put his arm around my shoulder, hugged me close, and said that he was glad that I came over instead of sitting at home brooding. He knew brooding and it did no good. I returned his hug, thankful for the consolation. He was sincere, comforting, and a good friend. We fell asleep in each other's arms.
Comments: aaronj.2007 [at] yahoo [dot] com
Are you a young male? Do you know how to examine your testicles for anything out of the ordinary? If not, find out! Seriously.
If Skip had not checked himself out, he would be dead. Billy would be without a brother. His parents would be without a son. I would be minus yet one more truly amazing friend.
Tell you what—start here:
If you feel anything besides two healthy well-shaped balls, call your family doctor. Skip was right that it metastasizes. That's bad news.
Check out Lance Armstrong's site too: