This story details explicit gay sex between men, teens and boys. If you find this kind of thing distasteful, or if you are underage wherever you live, then stop reading this now, and delete this file. The story is completely fictional; the author does not condone or encourage any of the acts contained herein.



Chapter 67

By: Tim Keppler

 Edited by: Bob Leahy

Spring break is a month away, and every one of us is antsy. We've planned a getaway in Paris for the week, our first real vacation in nearly a year, and the first out of the country in nearly three years. I am nearly beside myself! I want to go back to the Pompidou art center and the gardens just outside it. I want to go to the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay. I want to go...everywhere! I love Paris. It's my favorite city on earth -- which, I realize, suggests that it's in contention with Jablal on Mars, and Fgrpg on Venus. Sorry, I get exuberant when I think about Paris, and therefore hyperbolic. It is, after all, the most beautiful city in the world, a city for lovers, and I have a lot of them -- lovers. But as we close in on the date, Kenny comes to me to tell me that he and Dinh can't go. "I have to be at the Tokyo University of Technology," he tells me. "I'm a replacement speaker. It's a really good opportunity to push Sand Warriors (his latest game) and to establish some alliances between San Jose State and TUoT. I'm so sorry, Tim. I know how much you've been looking forward to getting us all together on a vacation."

I'm crushed, frankly. I just can't stand the thought of going to Paris without Kenny and Dinh. We don't do that many big vacations, and going to some place as special (and expensive) as Paris with only a subset of my guys just doesn't resonate. The question is, if we don't go to Paris, where else might we go? I'm looking for someplace beautiful but cheap, someplace I can take Jason, Evan and the boys without breaking the bank. It's Evan who brings me the winning idea.

I've subscribed to the New York Times for years, but haven't really perused it thoroughly for a long time. When Evan found out that I had an online subscription, he became an addict. I got him a laptop for his birthday, and you can, more often than not, find him at Peet's Coffee at around 6:30 every morning before school. He's there sorting through the pages of the news -- including the travel section. In one of the travel exposés not long ago, he discovered the town of San Miguel de Allende. This is a place in central Mexico not far from where Alejandro's aunt lived. It is, apparently, an art colony, has drawn tons of American expats, and has relatively mild weather. It also has amazing Easter-week festivities, including a parade. I'm a little put off by the parade, by the idea of actually celebrating Easter, but Evan makes the point that we don't have to celebrate in order to observe the spectacle. He shows me pictures of the town -- and lobbies Jason relentlessly. He wins the nomination and the popular vote -- both because he's found someplace truly picturesque, and because he's getting A's in all his classes. We decide to go to San Miguel for the week of spring break.

Getting there is a mortal pain in the ass. You can either fly into Mexico City and take a bus from there to San Miguel, a trip of four hours. Or, you can fly into Léon and take a one hour bus ride. The latter sounds preferable, but we're doing this trip on the cheap, which means using frequent flyer miles. While American Airlines does go to Léon, its blackout dates preclude it as a destination for this trip. So, Mexico City is our destination. Travel time, including flights and bus travel, will be roughly twelve hours. It'll be a long trip, especially with two little boys in tow. Still, Kai and Kevin are pretty laid back. Kev gets excited about nearly anything new so tantrums are rare, and Kai, when he gets bored, just falls asleep. Rarely do we have drama from either of them.

I reserve the flights, which is a trick with frequent-flyer mileage for five of us on the same plane, but we finally accomplish the seemingly impossible. Evan goes off to research accommodations. He finds a two-bedroom luxury condo right in the city center for $1170 pesos per night (the equivalent of $90 US). It has a king-size bed in one bedroom and a queen-size bed in the other. And, there a living room, dining room and kitchen, two and a half bathrooms, a Jacuzzi bath tub, and a garden patio on the roof. It's perfect for us, and, when we see the place, I realize just how perfect.

When we arrive, a property-management associate is waiting for us. Good thing, because I have Kai, by now comatose, slung over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Kevin isn't in much better shape, clinging to Jason's hand as he sleep-walks along the cobblestoned street. They both need naps, as does Evan, who is following at some distance. I knock on the door, we sign the papers, I put Evan and the boys to bed, and Jason and I tour the place we've rented. It's stunning! There're windows everywhere, and skylights, and those clear glass bricks. Why so much light? Because there's Mexican art everywhere -- paintings and tapestries on the walls, brightly-colored rugs on the floor, and pottery on shelves in the dining room and in the kitchen. The rooftop terrace is magnificent, affording a view of the town from all four sides. It's truly spectacular. As Jason and I stand on the terrace, we have no words to express what we're feeling, or seeing. So, we express our feelings in the only way that makes sense. We kiss. We kiss like young lovers, passionately, sensuously. We kiss for probably five minutes, and when we break that kiss, Jason's eyes are moist. "What's wrong, baby?" I ask.

"Nothing. Nothing's wrong. It's just that sometimes it takes something...something like this," he said, gesturing to the view all around us. "Sometimes it takes something like this to remind me how much in love I am. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I take my life for granted. Sometimes I forget about you. Sometimes you just become...a guy I know. And then we land in a place like this, and the spark gets rekindled. I remember the first day I met you. I remember the interview. I remember our wedding. I remember why I love you so much." He's crying now, and so am I. It's been several months since we've had a moment like this, and I realize that I've missed him. One of the challenges of having three partners is maintaining intimate spiritual contact with each of them. I've been more successful recently with Dinh, but that's because he requires more day-to-day maintenance, which is a subject for another place and time. Jason is so quiet, so withdrawn, that he gets overlooked sometimes. But, not today. Today, we pull two of the garden chairs together on the terrace and kiss, and as we do, we enjoy the sunset, and the crimson sky as the sun sinks below the horizon.

After maybe half an hour of kissing and nuzzling, we each feel a hand on our shoulders. It's Evan. "I'm hungry," he says, smiling at us.

"Me, too," Jason adds.

"Are the boys up?" I ask Evan.

"Yeah. They're on the romp. They're playing in the living room."

"Let's go and get some food," I suggest, and both Evan and Jason nod.

This is a food paradise for Jason and me, because the Mexicans, like the Thais and the Chinese, can actually cook. They like their food fiercely spicy, just as Jason and I do. We've been looking forward to this for days. My only regret is that Kenny, who is our Mexican master chef, won't be able to join us for any of this, and won't be able to learn from actual Mexican cooks. That won't hinder my enjoyment of Mexican food, though.

Tonight we decide to go to El Correo, a restaurant recommended by the property management guy and right in the center of the town. The great thing about San Miguel is that you can walk pretty much everywhere, although that walk may not be particularly comfortable. When you read the guide books, they rave about the streets that are paved in cobblestones. When I think of cobblestones, I think of Berlin, where the streets are paved in cubes of granite that have been pushed together. The tops of the cubes are flat, meaning that the surface of the street is relatively flat. In San Miguel, the streets are actually paved in river rocks, all of different sizes and shapes. The surface of the streets is anything but flat, and is therefore hard to walk on. Kevin and Kai love the streets, jumping from rock to rock in an exuberant procession that looks more like hop-scotch than a leisurely stroll to dinner. Jason, Evan and I merely take it in stride, while trying to keep up with the boys as they lead us into the center of town.

The restaurant, El Correo, turns out to be...lousy, but not for want of trying. The ambiance is very nice, and the waiters are very attentive. I don't think they get many Asians here, because Kevin, Kai and even Jason get a lot of stares. Our waiter seems particularly fascinated by the languages we speak. Discussing the menu, Jason and Kevin speak Mandarin, while Kevin and I speak English. But when I order for us, I do that in Spanish. Kevin has a chicken enchilada, and Kai has a beef enchilada. It's taken us a while to convince Kai to get something other than what his brother gets. Kevin is his hero and his idol. We have to make the case over and over that they can share, thereby getting to taste more different foods. So, the fact that he gets beef while Kevin gets chicken is quite an accomplishment. Evan opts for pork tamales, and Jason wants tortilla soup and a starter plate of veggies. I order the special chili rellenos, special because they're made with shrimp rather than meat. This is, after all, Good Friday, a day on which catholics are not supposed to eat meat. (I thought that Vatican II back in 1962 was supposed to have changed that tradition. Catholicism being what it is, though, it'll take another 200 or so years before anyone actually follows the tenets of Vatican II. That assumes, of course, that Ratzinger [sorry, I meant to say Pope Benedict, the holy fucking father] doesn't roll all those tenets back.) El Correo has chosen to use Good Friday as an excuse to create something better than what you would otherwise find in a chili relleno, and more power to them.

Trouble is, what they create is...bland. Chili rellenos are often awash in cheese, but there's so much cheese on these that I have to peel it off to find out whether there's an actual pepper in there somewhere. Evan's tamales suffer from a similar fate -- all masa harina, and little pork. Jason likes his tortilla soup, although I note that he's poured almost half the jar of hot sauce into it, and the boys? They seem to like their enchiladas, but end up using the other half of the jar of hot sauce to make them palatable. Tonight's meal, while not a disaster, is not anything we couldn't have gotten at Las Palmas around the corner from us in San Jose. It's Americanized Mexican food. It's not what I was hoping for.

After we clean the restaurant out of hot sauce and finish our meal, we stroll to the town square and grab a bench to people watch. The boys go quietly insane, playing tag on the lawn with maybe ten other children their age. They can't talk to the other kids because they don't speak Spanish, but they can hang with them nevertheless, and tickle them, and be tickled by them. They can hide and they can seek. And they can laugh. Honestly, there is laughter everywhere on this square. The kids are frantic with giggles, and their parents, clustered together talking, are also prone to fits of laughter. Even the teenagers, who come here to meet and make out, giggle furiously between moments of intimacy. It is a mirthful populace.

Sitting across from us on the square is one of the most beautiful boys I've ever seen. Everyone has his or her own particular fetish, I'm convinced, and mine is skin. There's a quality of skin that you'll never find in Europe -- of, if you do, only in Italy or Greece. It's prevalent in Asia and South America. There is a bronze smoothness that just turns me on, and this boy has it. He's actually quite dark and, as he makes out with his girlfriend, you notice by contrast just how dark he is, dark and really beautiful. Both Jason and I are mesmerized. He's not tall -- maybe 5'8" -- and he's not slender, but instead has a build like Kenny's. He's beefy. As I look at his face, I wonder what the rest of him looks like. I try to strip him with my imagination, something I'm usually pretty good at, but not today, because this boy is just too pretty for that to work. I just can't visualize how beautiful he might be. Sigh...

After an hour or so of watching the people go by, we gather up the boys and make our way home, arriving at around 9:30. I run the boys a bath in the master bathroom, switch on the Jacuzzi. I let them splash around in the foam for a bit before switching it off and getting them to wash. They get the king-size bed, along with one of us, because they will wake up in the middle of the night, totally disoriented and scared. We'll rotate who sleeps with them each night. This first night will be Evan's turn, which is convenient because I really want to make love to Jason.

Of my three guys, Jason, I'm afraid, gets the least attention. That's not by design. It's just that he's the quietest. He demands the least. The big challenge in polyamorous relationships is making sure that everyone gets what he needs from an intimacy perspective. That's not always easy. As with chickens, a pecking order is inevitably established, and it's my job to make sure that that pecking order doesn't diminish any of our many relationships. In our household, Dinh is the most demanding. He's the youngest of my three guys, and requires the most "specialized" attention because what he needs to feel loved is different from Jason and Kenny. Dinh is a true submissive. For him, it wasn't learned behavior. (Well, it probably was, but I didn't teach him. It was an integral part of his character by the time he joined us.) He likes to express his submissiveness through pain. That is, he derives his sexual gratification from the pain I cause him, and gets off only when some form of pain is present. In our sexual encounters, he needs to feel that I am in charge, and that he is powerless about what happens to his body. He is an ideal sexual playground for any good sadist, I suppose, but I'm not really a sadist. Consequently, it takes me a lot of time and ingenuity to try figure out what will gratify him without turning me into a sadist.

Kenny is second in the pecking order, only because he's so open about his needs. When I think back a few short years, I realize how far Kenny has grown. When he first joined Jason and me, he was so out of touch with himself. He was utterly unable to connect with his feelings, much less express them to others. Now, he's the most emotionally mature of all of us. He understands himself, accepts himself, and is able to ask for what he needs in an elegant, non-confrontational way that makes you long to respond to him.

And then there's Jason. Jason is the quietest of the guys. He's the least demanding. He therefore tends to get overlooked. What saves Jason is Kenny, who is absolutely devoted to him. Kenny is several years older than Jason, yet treats him like a big brother. He defers to his wisdom, and makes sure that he's satisfied, pinging me on those occasions when he senses that I'm neglecting Jason. The other thing that saves Jason is that he's just so sweet. Jason is a craving, an addiction. If I haven't had him in a while, I find myself getting a little grumpy. Jason grounds me. He manages my moods. So, despite his shyness, despite the fact that he's the least likely to ask for what he needs, he usually gets what he needs anyway because Kenny and I monitor him pretty closely.

Tonight I'm responding to a longing. Jason and I haven't made love in a couple of days, and I really need him. We have to be a little careful here, because there is no door separating the two bedrooms. The boys can't see us from their bed, but if we make much noise, we could wake them. Unlikely, given how soundly Kevin and Kai sleep, but possible. It's far more probable that we'll wake Evan, but I've warned him about what I have planned. He smiled. "I'll take care of the boys," he assured me.

Jason is the first into bed. I'm still brushing my teeth. When I come out of the bathroom, a single bedside lamp illuminates the room, giving me just enough light to get o the bed without stubbing my toe on something. But, when I get to the bed, what I find there is Jason, naked, on his back. His arms are stretched above his head, his hands grasping the outer-most rungs of the headboard. His legs are spread wide. The impression he gives is of having been tied to the bed. His expression is blank -- no smile at all -- but his eyes sparkle. He is erect, and he's waiting for me.

Jason is so smooth, so bronze, so spectacularly beautiful, that when I see him I gasp. I drop my robe, and crawl onto the bed next to him, and for a moment I just caress him with my eyes, surveying the landscape of his body. Then I lean forward and begin to...lick him. I start at his chest, and lick from his left nipple to his right, and then down along his belly. Then I move back up and lick his armpits and down his sides, eliciting a shiver and a moan. His eyes are closed now. His breathing is becoming ragged and his dick is starting to leak a little. I lick my way across his belly, and then make my way lower into his pubic area, which he shaves smooth each morning. Skirting his erect dick, I begin to lick his balls, taking them into my mouth and rolling them around on my tongue. Again he moans, and continues to moan as I lick along his perineum, between his balls and his asshole. Jason is very sensitive here, and begins to squirm. Finally, moving to the foot of the bed, I pry his ass cheeks apart and start to lick all around his hole without ever actually making contact with it. His moaning becomes more urgent and his dick begins to leak profusely. The instant I touch the pucker, he gives a little shriek, and then catches himself, trying to control his volume so as not to wake the boys. I have no intention of helping him with that, though. I lick the pucker relentlessly, causing him to thrash his head from side to side, and finally to let go of the headboard, bringing his right hand to his dick. I knock his hand away. "Hold onto the headboard," I order. "You're not to move."

He moves his hand back to the headboard as I continue to work on his hole, driving my tongue as far inside him as I can get it, while tickling his balls with my right hand. He continues to moan, and I think he's crying. His dick is undulating to the rhythm of his heartbeat, and is leaking like crazy. I still haven't touched it.

After maybe ten more minutes of this, I grab a tube of lotion from the nightstand, and slick up my dick. I also spread a liberal coating on his dick, but I do it very carefully because I sense that he's pretty close. Then I lift his legs so that they rest on my shoulders, line up my dick with his hole, and lean forward, sealing my lips to his. Then, as my tongue forces its way into his mouth, I press my hips forward and enter him in one slow, fluid movement. He groans again, loudly. Once I'm inside him, I wait a moment so he can get used to me, and then I begin to withdraw ever so slowly until my dick is just about to pop out of him. Then I push forward, driving my dick back inside. Our rhythm is slow at first, slow and sensual. Because of how my body is positioned over his as I kiss him, our bellies are pressed together. So, every thrust and withdrawal strokes his slippery dick, which is sandwiched between us. I know Jason very well; I know the language of his body. He's not going to last long, so I pick up speed, changing the angle of my penetration just slightly so I hit his prostate with every thrust. This draws a very soft scream every time I push into him. Finally, with my right hand I begin gently pinching his nipples, and that's all it takes. "Oh...oh...OH!" he cries, muffled by our kiss, and begins to cum all over our bellies. He scrunches his eyes and his sphincter muscles at the same time, which sends me over the edge. We both cum in torrents. We cum for what seems like forever. And when we're done, only then do we break the kiss. Jason is crying, sobbing. He finally lets go of the headboard, and wraps his arms around me, holding me in a vice grip, refusing to let me go. I simply lay on top of him, kissing his face as he calms down.

Finally, when he's stopped crying, he leans forward and kisses me again. "That was so wonderful," he says. "I'm not sure whether it's the fact that we're on vacation, or the romantic feel of this town, but I haven't cum that hard in a long, long time. I love you, Tim. I don't tell you that enough. I don't think about it enough. I'm just so in love with you."

"I know, baby. But, you couldn't be more in love with me than I am with you. And, I don't tell you enough, either. I feel guilty about that."

He kisses me again, and as we break the kiss finally, he smiles. "I'm leaking," he giggles. "We'd better get cleaned up."


The next morning finds us in one of the local cafés for breakfast. We're trying to keep it simple, so we get the boys soft-boiled eggs, toast, orange juice, and cups of hot chocolate, a Mexican specialty that's usually made with a pinch of cinnamon. I hate cinnamon, personally, but the boys love it, so the hot chocolate is a big hit. Jason and I just have Cappuccinos with croissants, and Evan has a Café Americano and a bowl of granola. None of us are big on breakfast...well, none of us except Kevin who is absolutely addicted to eggs. It was Kevin's passion for eggs that finally convinced Jason to start raising chickens in the back garden. "Commercial chicken eggs are too dangerous these days," he'd said. "Too much chance of salmonella and other diseases. I don't want to chance it. I want him eating fresh, organic eggs, our eggs." That seemed prudent, and marked the origin of our flock -- Henrietta, Gertrude, Sesame, Mei Mei and Eleanor -- from whom we receive around four eggs a day.

Breakfast complete, we make our way toward the town square to watch one of several parades. I have no idea what we're going to see, quite frankly. If you'd asked me, I would probably have guessed at floats, clowns, and other happy images celebrating the resurrection. That's not what we see. What we see is a procession of actors dressed in tattered robes and begrimed with ashes. What we see is a near-naked Jesus carrying an enormous cross and being whipped along toward Golgotha by those following him. What we see is something out of Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, obscured by smoke and dust. A re-enactment of the old mythologies so realistic that about a third of the way through, I have to whisk my little Kai away. I picked him up and held him soon after the procession started. He clung to me, his head draped over my shoulder, his eyes scrunched shut. So, I whisper to Jason that Kai and I are leaving and that we'll meet him at the lunch place we selected in an hour and a half. He nods. Kevin seems okay. Kai is not.

Kids learn the difference between reality and stories slowly as they mature. Kai mostly has it, but horror films, some action-adventure films, and bullshit like this worry him. They make for really-nasty nightmares. As I carry him back toward the children's playground at Parque Juárez, I wonder what these people are trying to achieve with such a brutal festival. Do they want to teach their children to fear god? Or is this all about objectifying Christ's suffering so they'll be more likely to venerate him? I have no idea. It simply strikes me as cruel, and should, I think, be X-rated. If sexual acts between consenting adults can be rated X, this should certainly be. I'll grant you, Kai may be a little sensitive about this sort of thing, but he wasn't the only child there who was near to tears. I saw a number of frightened children clinging to their parents, trying to hide from what they saw. Kai struggles with enough demons of his own without me manufacturing more for him in the form of this grandiose fiction.

When we get to the park, I sit down on a bench with Kai on my lap, and we whisper to each other. He asks about the man being whipped, and I reply that it's just a story. It's not real. He nods, and after maybe ten minutes of whispered conversation, I tickle him, and he starts to giggle, a sure sign that he's come through the worst of it. Then we go to the slide, and he climbs up, and slides down. He plays on an enormous green stone alligator, and then joins a game of tag with maybe seven other little boys his age. I chat with the mothers, and they fill me in on some of the history of the town. Then, I look at my watch, and realize that we've been here nearly an hour and a quarter, and it's time for us to leave for the restaurant. I gather up Kai, who has made some new friends, and off we go.

Like breakfast, lunch is modest. The trick with Mexico is balance because the food isn't necessarily the healthiest. Evan managed to find a vegetarian restaurant near the city center that's advertising all-organic veggies. The meal we had last night was full of butter and lard. Lard is a big component of Mexican cuisine. It's why it often tastes so good. Refried beans are creamy because of lard, and steamed rice is laced with it to give it a pleasant flavor. I want something healthier for lunch, and so Evan's vegetarian place seems perfect. And it's nearly that, nearly perfect.

There's a dietary tenet that says you have to have meat of some kind with every meal because only meat provides a "perfect" protein, a protein that delivers everything your body needs to regenerate. But, if that's true, how do rabbits flourish, or any of the long list of animals that live on veggies alone? It turns out that while meat is perfect, you can achieve a perfect protein with food combinations such as grains and legumes, or grains and seeds, or seeds and milk products. You don't need meat. You just need to be a little creative. And that what La Media Naranja is -- creative. A short walk from the city center, La Media mixes beans, grains, cheese, and seeds with green veggies into delicious salads, soups, sandwiches, pasta dishes, and casseroles. Evan and I opt for a portabella bake with goat cheese, couscous and a marinara sauce, and the boys go for the squash and gorgonzola soup with a side of black beans. Jason ends up with a pizza of onions, chanterelles, feta and sunflower seeds. How is this Mexican, I hear you cry? I don't know. But it is. You can taste it. It must be the herbs and spices they use, and god know, the portabellas are plenty spicy. I don't know how it's Mexican, but it's delicious, and light, and just what I was hoping to get for lunch.

After lunch, Jason and Evan decide they want to shop, an activity I simply cannot abide for long. So, I take the boys and we make our way back to Parque Juárez, where they spend the next two hours running around and playing with the legions of other children there. The park is packed with children of all ages and their parents. I get into a conversation with a group of mothers about the parade. Unlike the women I talked to this morning, these mothers are mostly North American -- expats -- and are not catholic. I describe my experience with Kai at the parade, and several nod. "Yeah, we've been through that before. The festivals aren't a good place for young children. They're way too violent," one says.

"Violent, or just plain tasteless. I mean, what's the point?"

"My youngest was very frightened," I say. "It took him a while to calm down." They nod.

"If you're looking for a way to explore Easter with your sons without scaring them to death, come to the Unitarian Fellowship tomorrow morning," one of the women invites.

"I had no idea there was a Unitarian Fellowship in San Miguel. Is it large?"

"We have maybe thirty participants on any given Sunday. Really nice people. Very caring. Very welcoming."

A couple years ago, Kevin had asked to go to Sunday school, and I'd delivered him into the hands of the Presbyterians, which was a huge mistake. It traumatized him for a time. Then, on the recommendation of the parents of one of his playmates, we took him to a Unitarian service. He was hooked. He attended their Sunday children's services for months and months. It was only recently that we'd stopped going. I think it was Kenny's travel schedule that got in the way. I realize now, sitting here talking to this woman, that I miss them, the Unitarians. The idea of attending their Easter service tomorrow appeals.

"Where do they meet? What do I need to know."

"We meet at Hotel Posada de la Aldea on Ancha de San Antonio at 10:30 am. It's right across from the Instituto Allende, the town's big art center. We're doing a flower communion tomorrow, so each of you should bring a flower. Nothing fancy, necessarily. Something you can pick along the way, or something you've grown. Please join us. We'd love to have you."

I smile and nod, but also realize that I'm running late. I'm supposed to be back to the city center to meet Jason and Evan in ten minutes. "I'll see you tomorrow," I say to the woman I've been chatting with. "Thanks for the invitation." Then I gather up the boys, and make my way back down Calle Aldama to meet up with the guys. I find them chatting on a bench in the center of the square. They have three bags apiece, and when we reach them, they're excited to show me what they've collected. The thought of unpacking all this stuff though is daunting, so I put them off. "Let's eat first, then we'll head home and you can unpack it all. Okay?"

Jason looks a little sad, but Evan smiles and nods. We make our way to the other side of the square to Calle Hidalgo and to a restaurant named La Bugambilia, a restaurant recommended to me by one of the Mexican women I was talking to this morning. "It is authentic," she says to me in Spanish. "Real Mexican food is usually not spicy. You make it as spicy as you want it. I think you will find that the food at Bugambilia does not require heat to be good. I think you will like it." We arrive at 6:30, and the place is packed, but it's packed with Mexicans, not with North Americans. That's a very good sign. Always look for ethnic restaurants that are filled with people of the ethnicity of the restaurant. If they like it, it's bound to be good. The waiter seats us, hands us menus, and we begin the chore of figuring out what we want to eat.


The trouble is, the menus are voluminous. They're six pages long. Ironically, it's Jason who finds the perfect meal for each of us. "Evan, there's Menudo here. Didn't you say you wanted to try Menudo in a real Mexican place?"


"Kev, they have cocoanut shrimp, your favorite. Kai, they have a seared trout filet. You love trout."


And then he gets to me, and what he finds has my mouth watering. "Tim, look on page three, five items down." I flip to page three, and there it is. "Beef tongue in tomato sauce with garlic, olives, and capers." Oh...my...god...


The meal is magnificent, so much better than last night, and half way through it, the entertainment starts. The restaurant has a tiny stage off to the side, directly behind us. On the stage is an upright piano with a guitar leaning against it, and a stool. None of us notices when a musician appears on the stage, seats himself, and prepares to play. What he plays is flamenco guitar, really good flamenco guitar. Jason is the first to spin around and watch the musician, watching his left hand as his fingers fly across the frets. The difference between classical guitar and rock guitar is huge. It's like the difference between playing chop-sticks on the piano, and playing a Chopin Nocturne. When you play rock guitar, you're playing chords, and you probably maintain a chord for several seconds. Whey you play classical guitar, you're playing individual notes on individual strings, and you're fingers are moving constantly, precisely. Classical guitar is enormously difficult to master, which is why there was only one Andres Segovia. Yet here we have a musician who can't be more than 18 out in the middle of a Mexican village playing like a master. I just can't believe what I'm hearing. I give Jason a quizzical look, and he nods. "Yes," he seems to affirm, "he really is that good."


The guitarist plays three more pieces, each of which is spectacular. Then he begins a slower piece, and Jason's eyes light up. He motions me to follow him to the stage. The guitarist, seeing us approach, stops playing and smiles. "Tell him that the piece he's playing is by Ferdinando Carulli. It's a sonata for piano and guitar. Ask him if he's ever played it with piano accompaniment."


I relay the message, and he gets very excited. "Si...si..." he says, delighted that someone has recognized the piece. He loves this piece, he says. He used to play it with his father, who died last year. It's one of his favorites.


"Ask him if he would allow me to accompany him."


The musician's eyes get as big as saucers. "Si. Por favor!" he entreats.


Jason climbs up on the stage, opens the piano, and strikes a key. It's in tune, more or less. "Tell him that I will start but that he should set the pace. I'll follow him."


I tell him, and he nods. Jason pauses for a moment, thinks, and then starts to play the intro to the first movement, and after maybe thirty seconds, the guitarist joins him. It's not an especially-complex piece, but it's lyrical, and there's so much interplay between the two instruments that they seem like they're...making love. Jason and this guitarist are so attuned to each other you'd think they'd rehearsed this for weeks. Jason's eyes are closed, his expression serene, while the guitarist has laid his head on the top of the guitar and seems to be enjoying the purest form of bliss. The first movement takes six minutes, but they don't stop there. They continue through the second movement and ultimately the third. And when they're done, the room explodes with applause. Everyone stopped eating at some point and has been listening all this time. Lifting his head finally, the guitarist looks at Jason and smiles wanly. There are tears in his eyes. "Gracias," he says, "para mi padre."


Jason gets up from the piano and hugs him. Then he motions me back from the table. "Tell him I need to speak with him. Tell him I'm the Concertmaster with the San Francisco Symphony. Tell him I'd like to meet with him tomorrow. Arrange it."


The guitarist and I chat, and I arrange a time and place for them to meet tomorrow afternoon. His name is Joaquin Hernandez, it turns out. He learned to play the guitar from his father. He's eighteen. And, besides being a superb musician, he's a knockout. We'll meet him in Parque Juárez (where the boys like to play) tomorrow afternoon at 2 pm. Having by now finished dinner, we listen to him play for maybe another twenty minutes before leaving the restaurant. We then spend forty-five minutes or so people-watching from a bench in the town square before heading home. It's my night to sleep with Kevin and Kai, so once the boys are bedded down, I kiss Jason and Evan good night, and make my way to bed. I'd really like to make love to Jason again tonight, but I can't ask Evan to sleep with them again tonight. It wouldn't be fair to ask him.


He can offer, though, and does. I kiss him fondly, relinquish my place behind Kevin, and make my way to Jason, who is still awake and waiting for me. I love him so.


Sunday morning. Easter. We've all roused ourselves a little early this morning so we can have a nice leisurely breakfast before making our way to the meeting of the Unitarian Fellowship at 10:30am. It is a beautiful morning, warm and sunny, and the flowers we find to take with us are perky. Jason finds a Bird of Paradise, and Evan finds some really-pretty Geraniums. I find two Gerbera Daisies for the boys, and a white rose for myself. At about 10:20 we arrive at the hotel on Ancha de San Antonio, having gotten lost only twice. We make our way inside, following another fellow with a flower, a sprig of lavender. We're among the first to arrive. We plant ourselves in the third row of chairs, and wait, and soon enough the other members of the Fellowship begin to arrive. Welcoming is not the word! They are all so excited to see us. Everyone who comes in greets us, telling us their name, who they're here with, and where they come from, and look for similar information from me. By the time the actual ceremony begins, everyone knows us, but the minister asks those new to the Fellowship to stand and introduce themselves again anyway. So, I get us all up again, and introduce us. "I'm Tim," I say. "I'm from San Jose, California. This is Jason my husband, and three of our children, Evan, Kevin, and Kai. We're here just for the day to share your joy. We're happy to be here with you."

There is applause, and then the service begins. The idea behind the Flower Communion is that everyone brings a flower that they find beautiful, and they add it to a collective vase at the beginning of the ceremony. Your flower represents you -- your spirit, your life force, your individuality. Additional flowers are added to the vase as part of the ceremony as members of the Fellowship come forward and dedicate them on behalf of joyous events or concerns. One dedicates a flower to the memory of her aunt who died last month. Another dedicates a flower to her son, who is on drugs and who may never be free of them. She asks that we send him our prayers. And one man dedicate a flower to his new granddaughter, born three days ago. The Fellowship pours its essence into the collective vase, and at the end of the ceremony, each member files past the vase, and takes a flower, any flower -- except the one he or she brought. Essentially, you're going home with the spirit of another individual, someone you've bonded with. It's actually very touching and has Jason, Evan and me teary-eyed by the end of it.

In addition to this, we have a treatise on Easter which treats it as a holiday of renewal, of natural rhythms. We sing a hymn to spring. We all hug each other. And then we go to lunch. This is my kind of spirituality. No biblical verses. No bogus stories. No mythology. No fire and brimstone. No christ or god. No bullshit. Just a bunch of people coming together to support and love each other, to show each other solidarity in turbulent times. We don't all believe alike, and it just doesn't matter. We all concentrate on our samenesses rather than our differences. It is so damned refreshing.

At lunch, the boys are the center of attention. They're captivating to the older members of the fellowship, who may not be able to spend as much time with their grandchildren as they'd like. They're so well-behaved today that they have many admirers. Kevin falls for a 92 year old Jewish guy named Joe who tells him stories of growing up in pre-World-War-Two Brooklyn. Kai ends up on the lap of Dorothy, a Mexican woman who rarely is able so see her grandchildren because they live in New York. Evan spends most of his time talking to an Australian guy who has lived here for five years after emigrating from Brisbane. And Jason and I spend our time chatting with the minister, a former baptist who concluded some time back that there is no god. The only god among us is in us, and it's our task to let that god out, to let it connect with the spirits of those around us.

By the time lunch is over and we've said our farewells, I realize that I'm going to miss these people. Yes, I've known them for only three hours, but there's a genuineness, a connection, that I haven't felt in a while. I feel close to them. I feel responsible for them. It's altogether a very-warm feeling, one that I will cherish for some time.

By the time we leave the fellowship, it's 1 pm. We have just enough time to make a circuit of the arts and crafts presented at the Instituto Allende across the street. Then we have to make our way to Parque Juárez to meet with last night's musician, Joaquin Hernandez. Evan buys an earring. He wants to get his right ear pierced, like mine, he says, and finds a vendor who will sell him a single earring rather than the usual two.

Finally, we make our way to the park and, seeing some of their friends from yesterday, the boys run off to play. Anyone who thinks that bigotry isn't a learned behavior need only drop their young children into an environment like this one and see how fast they acclimate. There are Mexican children here, and Caucasian children, and now Asian children, and not one of them recognizes that they're any different from anyone else. How refreshing is that?

Joaquin arrives at around 2:05 and spots us right away, coming over to our bench and greeting us. "Buenos Dias," he says, and we all return his greeting. Jason and I have talked, and have agreed that Evan will act as translator for this discussion. His Spanish is better than mine, and he's a faster translator. I have the impression that he can actually think in the language, which is a real benefit. When I speak Spanish, I'm constantly translating from English into Spanish, and vice versa. For him, on the other hand, the words just tumble out of his mouth. I decide to move to the other side of the playground where I have a better view of the boys, and spend the next hour or so in conversation with another expat mom about her experiences in San Miguel.

San Miguel, it turns out, is one of those places that made it onto the radar screen of disaffected Americans some five or so years ago. Before that time, you could buy a two to three bedroom condominium or flat in the heart of the city center for around US$100,000 ($1.4 million pesos). That's exactly what hundreds of Americans did, driving the housing market up and up until today when that same condo or flat will cost you something like US$1.4 million ($19.6 million pesos). This, of course, has priced a lot of Mexican nationals out of the housing market entirely, and made the American presence in San Miguel somewhat odious. This goes a long way to explain several comments made by members of the Unitarian Fellowship that charity work is essential for Americans here, and that the more public that work is the better. "Americans have to be seen to be giving back," this expat mom tells me. "We have to be seen to be making up for what we've taken away. When I first got here two years ago, I could not make any friends. None of the Mexican families would have anything to do with us. Then I started volunteering at a local hospital. I'm a registered nurse, and I started donating my nursing skills for free, both at the hospital, and to families that needed in-home nursing but couldn't afford it. Word got around, and those Mexican families that had snubbed me suddenly became a lot friendlier. I'd become a part of the community. I'd become one of them, helping to care for their children and elderly parents. We have to be seen to care about something beyond ourselves here," she concluded.

I chat with this woman and two of her friends for an hour and a half while watching the boys frolic. Then Jason makes his way over to me and plunks down on the bench next to me.

"How'd it go?" I ask him.

"Perfectly," he replies, happily. "He has a passport. He and his father drove to a music festival in Austin a couple of years ago to play. That meant he needed a passport. He got one. And, he says it's his dream to play for a `real' symphony," he says with a snort. "He's played with a group here, but I guess the musicianship isn't really very good. I told him I couldn't promise him anything, but I wanted to fly him out to San Francisco so he could audition with Tilson Thomas. He didn't know who Tilson Thomas was, of course, but I told him about the Symphony, and what we play, and he was very excited. He doesn't really have any ties to San Miguel. His mother died when he was very young. He was an only child, no cousins or other family locally. He could leave this behind and never miss it."

"How likely is he to be successful in an audition?"

Jason rolls his eyes at me. "You heard him playing the Carulli. His phrasing was perfect. You can play that piece in a lot of different ways. I don't know that I would have thought to play it as he did, with those slow, almost processional sections in the second movement, but it worked. It was stunning. I think Tilson Thomas will love him, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the symphony sponsoring him as a solo artist. That certainly would make him a lot more money than he'll make as just another member of the orchestra. This guy has real talent!"

"So, will he leave with us?"

"Yeah. I don't want to leave him here on his own. He might get cold feet. I called the Symphony. They'll arrange for his travel with us." He pauses for a moment, and a split second of worry crosses his face.


Jason smiles. "There is one complication."

"What's that?"

"He's gay."

This comes out of the blue. "How the hell do you know that?"

"I asked him."

"You asked him?" I respond, absolutely incredulous.


"And he told you?"

"Well, sort of. We danced around the question for a while, and then I finally asked him straight out."

"And he told you?"

"Yeah. He looked a little...uncomfortable, but he admitted that he's gay."

"Why'd you ask him? What made you think he might be gay?"

"He set off my gaydar. He did it last night, actually. Who knows why? Mannerisms, the way he carries himself, the way he hugged me after we finished the sonata. I don't know. But he's gay."

"Okay." I pause, and then look up at him. "And how's that relevant? How's that a `complication'?"

Jason motions across the playground to the bench where Joaquin and Evan are still sitting. They're still talking, their faces so close to each other, basically whispering in each other's ear. Joaquin has his hand on Evan's leg, just behind the knee, caressing it. "I think they're falling in love, Tim."

"Horseshit!" I scoff. "They can't be falling in love. They've only known each other for an hour, and they spent that hour talking about your shit, not with each other."

"I dunno. They were both looking pretty dreamy for most of that hour. I wouldn't be surprised if this turned into something."

Jason is amazingly intuitive about this kind of thing and pegged it right away. In the course of the next three days, while Jason and I took the boys horseback riding, to a little farm and petting zoo, and to any number of other places, Evan spent time with Joaquin. While the boys played in the park with their new friends, Evan sat off to the side with Joaquin. Finally, the evening before we're set to leave for San Jose, Jason and I decide to go up to the roof-top terrace and watch the sunset, only to find that Evan and Joaquin have beaten us there. They're sitting toward the end of the terrace, among pots and pots of flowers, kissing. We surprise them. Joaquin looks embarrassed, but not Evan.

"Can we join you?" I ask.

"Si...si," Joaquin stammers, staring at us nervously.

"It's not a problem," I say to him in Spanish, setting our chairs behind them. Once we're seated, Jason leans over and kisses me, and we begin to kiss at least as passionately as Evan and Joaquin had. This puts them both at ease, and they return to their own kiss, gazing at the crimson skyline as the sun slowly extinguishes itself, kissing with such love as I haven't seen since Cliff, Evan's boyfriend, was murdered. I'm happy for Evan. This is a boy who craves intimacy, and with Cliff he found it. Then it was snatched away. Perhaps this relationship can grow into something as meaningful as what he lost. At least it seems to have brought him out of an abyss of depression that he's inhabited since Cliff's death.

The next day, we begin the long journey home, with Joaquin in tow. He brings with him everything he owns -- his guitar, and a small bag of clothes. He is clearly excited by the prospect of a new life, although I don't have a sense that he found his old life anything but satisfactory. Jason is excited to have found a classical guitarist, something the symphony has been looking for for some time. And Evan is excited to be in love again, to be head over heels in love.

So, I guess this was a pretty good vacation.

Published first at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nemo-stories/