Two Boys

Rocco Paperiello


This is the final Part IV of a four part story. (See Part I for Index). It is a story about relationships between and among teenagers. This includes intimate relationships between young males. If you don't approve or are offended, then how come you're reading this? Find a different story. Or perhaps read on; you may be persuaded to think differently.

If, for some legal reason, you are not allowed to read this in your area of the world because of illogical laws, again I will not condone (publicly) anyone breaking the law, so either move or read sentence six. I definitely don't want the thought police after either of our butts.

Please, this story is sort of my property, so if you ever want to quote some of it, please e-mail me and also give proper attribution.

Note that an author welcomes any feedback. Constructive criticism is appreciated, and all e-mails will be answered.

Rocco Paperiello

PLEASE NOTE: This story is finally coming to a conclusion. However, much to my dismay, the NIFTY editors declared that all the included photos must be eliminated. Even the photos of the two boys themselves which I included near the end of the story. The entire story, including the last Chapter 104, plus the Epilogue, AND ALL THE PHOTOS, can be found at and at . I hope you enjoy it.

PART IV -- Graduation and College

Chapter 103a -- Back Home and Revelations (part a)

Our trip to Wonderland finally ended. I think Rocco could have stayed there all summer, but I had called home for just a "hello, how are you," to discover that Mr. Webster had had a heart attack. He was doing OK, but I decided that I was needed there. Rocco made no argument. Just moaned a lot that night. For a couple of diverse reasons. In complaint that we were leaving our idyllic time off behind. And because of all the things I did to him, and had him do to me. We were still quite entangled in the morning when we got up. We packed our small tent and sleeping bags, and air mattresses, and camping gear, and threw everything we could into the car. We had accumulated enough additional items that the car was overflowing.

And there was a small moment of unpleasantness right before we left. Rocco was in the site right next to where we had been camping, seeing if the couple there wanted our cooler and a few other odds and ends we decided we didn't want to haul back with us. We had quite a drive ahead of us and wanted enough room to be comfortable.

Rocco was as I said `next door' talking to this young couple. I could plainly hear the guy there say something to Rocco about him seeming too young to be already married. It was this last phrase that got my attention perked up. So I stopped stuffing my clothes into my rucksack, poked my head out of the tent, and listened.

"I didn't mean to embarrass you, but you and your wife could be heard last night." Mr. `Neighbor' (whatever his name was) said to Rocco as he looked over at his young wife and smiled. "We completely understand."

Mrs. `Neighbor' added: "I see you have a ring. Many men don't wear one. Can I see it?"

Rocco extended his left hand and Mrs. `Neighbor' remarked. "That's unusual. I've never seen a wedding band with a stone in it before. But why pink?"

Rocco started grinning and I could almost hear the gears turning in his head. It was that grin that decided me. He was going to give them something to think about. He heard me coming and as he looked up at me I sighed. He was going to do it. Just as I got there Rocco said: "I'd like you both to meet Jade." They turned and you could tell that they were a bit surprised at a number of things. They seemed to have separate discrete reactions as they first saw that I was black, then as they saw my hooks, and fumbled a bit when I offered my hook to shake hands so to speak. They said something like hello or the like and I could see the big question marks in their eyes.

Then Rocco followed up with: "Jade and I have been married for almost two years." And I couldn't believe he still could look like he was a young teenager, and with this so apparent innocent look.

The guy suddenly realized what Rocco had said and panicked. He turned, and started literally pulling his wife with him saying something about how they had to be away for something. His wife still had not comprehended until I could hear him harshly whisper: "Marge, they're a couple `a queers!"

They left almost running. Rocco started chuckling, but then suddenly sobered. And he pulled me into him. "Jade, I sort of had fun doing that, but I suddenly thought how much nicer if they had merely congratulated us. Will the world ever allow that to happen?"

"Probably right after they start treating black people like everybody else." I could even see a small tear dripping down his cheek and strengthened our hold onto each other. And then it was our turn for a shock. We turned back to our campsite and almost immediately walked smack into a huge fellow walking by with a small girl I assumed was his daughter.

He was just standing there looking at us intently. I supposed he'd heard us also. That was when we got the surprise. He extended his hand, and said: "Well, how about if I congratulate you two then?"

Rocco stood rigid. I don't think he could believe what he just heard. But the guy started to smile as his small daughter asked: "Congratulate them for what Daddy?"

"For being in love and being married," he replied to his daughter and he took my hook. Rocco suddenly reanimated and they shook hands also.

Rocco said: "I don't know who you are but I will never forget this moment. Thank you." Damned if my White-boy didn't have tears running down his face again. He then added with even more emotion: "It's sure nice to see that not the entire world condemns us."

I was curious as to why this stranger, who seemed to be some rough character, with what looked like gang tattoos on his muscular arms, took the trouble to show he approved of us.

He told his daughter to let her Mommy know that Daddy would catch up, and as she took off, he then said: "That's OK, bud, everybody condemned me for years. I was in a gang, and then in and out of prison a coupl'a times, when my former High School girl friend decided I was worth savin', even when I didn't want no savin'. But a strange thing happened. I fell in love. And so she DID save me by the love she gave me. Well, anywhere there's love, I consider that a plus. Just wanted to let you guys know."

We watched him catch up with his daughter, while a few other passersby were staring, probably wondering what was going on.

"Well, White-boy, that was sure a nice experience." And we caused a few more intent stares as we embraced right there in the open. I couldn't believe this was the same White-boy who had been frightened about anyone finding out about us just a few weeks ago.

When we got back to breaking camp Rocco asked me: "How come Jade, we find some real religious people so full of intolerance and even hatred sometimes, condemning us, and this guy out of prison is content to just see the love we have for each other?"

I didn't have a good answer. "I'm not really sure, but my suggestion would be, let's just worry about ourselves for now. And do we really want to drive all the way back east?"

On our way back to Livingston we barely managed to get away from the Upper Geyser Basin when looking at our park map, I realized that the largest springing the park we'd totally missed. Rocco didn't take much convincing. We stopped before we'd gone even 5 miles at the Midway Geyser Basin. We also discovered the seething inferno, Excelsior Geyser was here too and I decided it was the largest boiling pot in the world. As we watches frequent boils would send up continuous clouds of steam. It was hard to imagine just what its 300 foot eruptions would see and feel like that it had not had since the last century.* Rocco and I decided not to wait around. The boardwalk took us completely around the amazing Grand Prismatic Spring.


Grand Prismatic

[ * Excelsior Geyser came alive for about two days for the first time in over 80 years in September of 1985. Several eruptions were well over 100 feet. This might not seem large but they were fully as wide as high and momentarily added another third to the flow of the Firehole River into which the hot waters spilled.]

The next day, we were finally on the TRAIN headed east. Yes, I said train, and alas the next day. We talked about it on the way to Livingston, Montana, and Rocco said he really wasn't looking forward to driving all the way cross country.

"Jade, even with this car getting over 20 miles a gallon, with gas prices as high as they've gotten, up to 30 cents in places, and more than 2000 miles to go each way, with all the small towns we would have to go through, maybe it would be easier to just park the car and take the train. Maybe even cheaper when you take in to account all the hotels we would have to stay at and so on."

So by the time we got there we had decided to take the train. Unfortunately, we had gotten to Livingston too late by twenty minutes to get the train that day. We stayed at the Morris Hotel right across from the train station for the night and had dinner at a small cafe nearby. Livingston was quite a bustling town. There were all kinds of rail sidings where they added engines to the trains to get them over Bozeman Pass just to the west. But we headed east the day. This time we splurged on a Single Pullman Sleeper with its high backed chair that folded down into a somewhat narrow bed.


Single Sleeper

The clerk didn't even say a word when we asked for only one. I guess he thought we would just be taking turns using it. Or maybe not.

One thing I did notice this time on the train was the fact that all the people who worked on the train were black. Except for the conductor. I guess I was too busy taking in the sights last time to really take note. Not a white attendant, or waiter, or cook, in sight. And I also noticed not a few stares from them when they saw us traveling together. We had a late meal in the dinning car just before they stopped cooking for the day. We then headed back to the sleeper car and ran into minor trouble. When the attendant asked to see our tickets, we had only one to show. And he objected to us both entering the car.

"I'm sorry sir, could I also see your ticket." He addressed himself to me. I didn't think he realized we were together. It was Rocco that then said: "We're together. We only purchased a single sleeper. We were going to sleep together."

I wondered what had been getting into my White-boy lately. He was getting bolder all the time. By next year he'd be challenging Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship. I was a bit worried about what the attendant was going to do. And then a big smile lit his very black face. "Sho' `nuf gentlemen. I do declare that's fine with me." And he seemed more delighted than either Rocco or myself. "Let me shows you two fine gentlemen the way."

The high backed upholstered chair dropped down into a narrow bed. I realized the attendant had to figure out about us. No mere friends would be practically sleeping on top of one another like this. Or I didn't think so. I was wondering if one of the other attendants or fellow workers aboard the train wasn't his partner.

Earlier that day Rocco had called his uncle and asked if he had any work for either of us. His uncle asked if we could start the next day. He was loaded down with new contracts and had to move into a new warehouse and yard. He wanted Rocco to run his big forklift. "The last fellow ran right into the wall and tore right through it. I need someone experienced."

He said that they had so much paperwork and inventory, Valley could use more help too. But we told him where we were calling from and he had almost insisted we take a plane back.

But Rocco countered: "See you next Wednesday, Uncle Bill."

It was while on the train the next day, and looking out over the forest of Wisconsin, that Rocco started wondering to me how come his Uncle Bill or Aunt Valley, never made any comment about us even though he had to suspect about our relationship.

"You could always ask him. You seem to have gotten a bit pluckier lately."

"Pluckier? Where'd you get hold of that word?" We had been playing a game of backgammon, and I almost dumped the entire thing as he poked me in the ribs.

"Damn Rocco behave." I blocked the next thrust with my hook and he complained as usual.

"It's just so nice feeling free. I just wish other people could just live and let us live. You realize that only while we are traveling through Illinois will we be legally allowed to have sex? Too bad that state doesn't have some nice mountains. I might think of moving there."

"Well, that attendant last night was sure delighted. And this morning proved even more interesting. I couldn't believe the service we got at breakfast."

"You're right. I think the cook was somehow involved. Maybe he was even that guy's partner. He wouldn't even let us pay for the meal."

"I wonder what it'd be like forever riding back and forth from Seattle to Chicago. Would they even look at the scenery anymore?"

We changed trains again in Chicago. And a day later we finally arrived at Penn Station. We had left a lot of our stuff locked in the car a couple thousand miles back. We just had a couple rucksacks and two suitcases. We took the el to Bridge Street where we met BJ. I had called ahead and BJ insisted on meeting us there. And he even had a different truck. This one was only 2 years old.

All kinds of complications were going on since we got back to the city. We were again staying with the Webster's in my old room. Tim wasn't around quite as much in the middle of summer break. A third friend had joined with him and Billy this summer and the three of them were trying to break all records of how much trouble they could get into. And I had hoped that Billy would temper Tim. When Mrs. Webster started complaining about the M-60's they somehow bought illegally and set off right behind the house I thought Rocco was going to burst out laughing. If she ever knew! And they had become so enamored of the red efts the year before that they had eventually purchased a dozen small chameleons and Tim had this huge terrarium set up now in his room. And he forgot to put the top back on last week. There was still one lizard unaccounted for. And then there was the incident with Tim and Billy racing down the path in the park on their bikes and he ran into a poor woman. Mrs. Webster paid for her doctor bills. And the time Billy hit Tim (accidentally) on the back of the head with that rock while playing on the train tracks (which they weren't allowed near).

That sounded so familiar. I was thinking about telling Mrs. Webster about how Rocco got that scar on his forehead.

The above was only a sample. "But Mrs. W, look at the bright side." I said. "Because of Billy, at least in part, Tim passed all his school work last year. So Billy's having at least some good affect on Tim. That's a nice bonus."

Mrs. Webster would not be mollified. "It's how Tim's affecting Billy I'm worried about! And this new boy is just as wild."

After talking a while I was starting to get the impression there was something more. "Mrs. W, you have brought up a half dozen boys. This can't be the whole story. So what are you really worried about?" I was suddenly feeling almost paternal.

"Well, I'm jus' worried he's like you two. You know what I mean. It's so hard growin' up that way."

What she just said really surprised me for a number of reasons. One, I didn't think she felt so deeply about how hard it could be or even understood that much about it. The other thing I never suspected Tim to be gay and still didn't think it.

"Mrs. W, I'm pretty sure Tim is NOT `like us' as you put it. And by the way, thanks for realizing just how difficult it can be. If it weren't for Rocco, I'd be one hurting boy. Of course as it is, I think I'm one of the luckiest boys around. But how about me and Rocco just talking to Tim and finding out. And how did you get this notion anyways?"

"Well, it's jus' that Tim and Billy are NEVER separated. They's joined at the hip to be sure. And he NEVER once has talked about any girl, except to complain about them."

"Gees, Mrs. W, he's your typical 13 year old. And as far as girls go, some boys mature much later. Rocco never went thought puberty 'til he was 15."

It was then that Mr. Webster ambled into the kitchen. "Can't an old man sleep in the morning for once? What all this caterwauling about?"

I told him and Mr. Webster just grunted. "Clara, that Tim's a good boy at heart. Don't get yourself so worried up about this. How `bout I talk to the boy. I happen to know about boys and sex if you hadn't noticed by now."

I was glad to see Mr. Webster doing so well. He was in the hospital for only a week, so it couldn't have been too serious a heart attack. Mrs. Webster kept trying to get him from going right back to work with that furniture business that was slowly but surely getting off the ground. They had even rented out the garage from their neighbor to expand. But what Mr. Webster said surprised me a bit. He never seemed especially comfortable with me and Rocco and he never talked to us about our relationship very much.

"But Mr. W, maybe me and Rocco would be better for this if what Mrs. W is worried about happens to be true."

Mr. Webster stared at me for a bit and started to chuckle. "Damned if I hadn't just thought about this whole thing as if it were near normal. Maybe you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. I think it's not Tim we got to be worried `bout. It's Jade. He's got us all turned around in our thinking. Next thing you know the whole world will start thinkin' it's normal."

I wasn't sure to be happy or sad. I was also afraid to reply. It's the closest Mr. Webster's come to tolerating me and Rocco as a couple. Well, that's not exactly what I mean. It's more like he's gone all the way to acceptance.

We finally agreed me or Rocco would talk to Tim first. And that night I did ask Tim about it. The reaction I got I wasn't expecting. He laughed.

"Wait 'til I tell Billy. Boy will this gross him out!"

And that seemed to be Billy's cue. He just popped into the room. And Tim got this funny look. It reminded me of Rocco when he was thinking of doing something weird. And sure enough. . .

Tim grabbed Billy and said in falsetto: "Oh Billy, I want so much to be your boyfriend!"

Billy didn't seem to get frazzled at all. He replied, well more like he pretended he was in some movie script: "Oh, Tim! My heart belongs to someone else. Sorry. I guess you'll just have to die broken hearted."

They were both hamming it up. They both started laughing. Billy then remarked: "Tim, I think you've been around Jade and Rocco too much. And how about Jennifer? I thought you. . ." That's all he got out. Tim clamped his hand over Billy's mouth. And he sort of said in a hushed voice: "Damn, Billy. She's a white girl. And you know that we can't never talk `bout that."

Now I really was a bit worried. I would have to fill Tim in on the realities of life. Though Rocco and I did see several black guys with white girls at the college. But those sure could cause problems here.

"Who's a white girl?" Rocco asked. He had just walked in. It looked like everyone had a cue today. Billy turned and said: "Tim just asked me to be . . ." And again that's as far as he got. Tim jabbed him in the ribs. That eventually led to Mrs. Webster yelling from the stairs to keep the wrestling for outside.

Anyway I was happy to inform Mrs. Webster the next day her worries were groundless. (Unless Tim and Billy were better actors than I was ready to believe).

Rocco and I had been back at work for just a few weeks and it seemed like all the rest of it, going to college, and our vacation were almost a dream we'd had. We had this full weekend off only because we had pleaded and then did an end around with Valley. Most of the men were working six days a week. The overtime was great but you had to rest sometime. Of course it wasn't exactly rest me and Rocco had last night. I guess I should have used a different word.

We were also planning on taking Billy, Tim, and Mark, their new friend, to the beach tomorrow. Rocco had called Dan and arranged to borrow his car again. The three boys were all excited. We decided to go to Barnegat Light. I had a lot of good memories from my vacation there a few summers back.

For right now things were going well and I was quite happy. And Rocco hadn't had a melancholy moment for almost a week. In fact we were so `up' concerning our both immediate and long term futures that almost by mutual `ESP', that afternoon before the shore trip, we seemed to gravitate towards my old house next to the park (which we discovered had just been torn down) and the very first areas we had `explored' together -- including `our rock` which for some reason seemed smaller than we remembered. We were lazily walking and reminiscing especially about the good things.

It would be the next weekend when Rocco would get got a real shock. Not a bad type shock, but just a really surprising kind of one.

And it was the evening after we returned from the shore when I got my own shock. It would be in the form of a letter. Rocco, Tim, Billy, Mark and I had all just returned from the Jersey shore at Barnegat Light.

The trip itself was great fun. All four boys -- I include Rocco -- had been cavorting (yes, cavorting) around the ocean, beach, and rock jetties all day and three of them (how Rocco escaped I do not know) had new bandages on knees or elbows to show for it. I was totally unable to watch as all four started running full speed down the long jetties inviting disaster as they leapt from rock to rock. And to think it was Rocco who started it all.


Barnegat Light and one of the jetties on which the 'boys' tried to injure themselves

As I watched I couldn't believe it but I swear Rocco was almost as small as all three other boys, and definitely the most slender of the four. (On pain of death I refrain from using the word skinny). All of the boys, and myself, thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Later in the day we all walked along the sea exposed open beach as the tide has almost fully retreated. Rocco showed the boys how to dig for the small sand crabs and of course collections of clamshells filled a good part of the back of Allen's station wagon.

We barely made it off the Island before stomachs started to growl and we made a stop at one of the numerous sea food restaurants that dotted the area. And of course, at that time of the year, we had our choice of all sorts of fresh fish and shellfish. Both Billy and Mark were quite skeptical when told that fish could taste good. Tim had already had that `education' on previous occasions.

It was Mark who first objected to the lack of `real choices' on the menu. "But there's nothing on this I like." He held up the single typed page. "It's all yuck stuff."

Billy joined in: "No burgers? Not even chicken!"

There was a lot more in this vein and even Tim tried to convince his friends that fish actually COULD taste good. But evidently the only exposure to seafood that these two had was probably the old processed stuff that indeed WAS `yuck stuff.'

Rocco seemed up to the challenge. "Look, I tell you what. We will order a couple types of fish plus some shellfish. If you can't find anything you really like I will take you all to the nearest stake house.

Billy tried to make one last parting shot -- something about Rocco having to like fish since he ate it every Friday. (Supposedly since Rocco had been raised Catholic).

We ordered flounder, sea bass, bluefish, scallops, and clams -- all fresh that day from the ocean. I could swear there were several new spots worn through the glaze on the plates as we all made sure all possible edible portions were eaten. It never ceased to amaze me how delicious fresh seafood could be. And we had two new converts.

We finally got back to the city, dropping Mike and Billy off, and parked in front of my house. Rocco then prodded Tim off the seat. We were all quite tired. Rocco was a bit surprised when Mrs. Webster started applying some Noxzema on Tim's sun baked shoulders.

"But I thought that was the entire idea of all that melanin in your skin. It's me who should be sun burned."

"Well, after an entire day on the beach even Tim can get a bit sore."

Rocco then switched brain gears. He leaned closer and whispered: "Well maybe I better make sure all your skin areas are OK. You better let me inspect them."

Of course I was quite content to allow my White-boy to inspect away. (Making sure first that Tim was back downstairs devouring some of Mrs. Webster's oatmeal or sugar cookies. Note that it had been an entire two hours since he had eaten last. It had taken an hour and a half to get from the shore to the Tacony-Palmayra Bridge, and twenty-five minutes to get across the bridge with all the shore traffic coming back to the city).

Thus it was while in a state of half sleep, half after sex glow, and half resting contentedly with my White-boy snuggled up to me when I noticed the strange letter standing against the clock on the dresser next to the bed. Mrs. Webster must have put it there soon after we left for the day. The first strange thing I noticed was the red postage due stamps affixed to the front. Next was the fact that it seemed to have several postmarks. And lastly, and this is what first alarmed me, it had first been sent to my uncle in prison and then been readdressed to me at the Webster's address! Rocco right away knew something was up when I just about dumped him out of my embrace reaching for the envelope.

"What's the matter?" he asked.

"This envelope." I had it in my hook and was staring at the handwriting. "It was sent to my uncle and then back to me. I looked at the return address. "And I don't know anyone living in Miami."

I opened the letter and started shaking after reading just the first sentence.

Dear Noel:

I was quite schoked to get a letter from my brother Mike -- the word brother sticks in my craw -- and not jus cause I foun out hes in prizin, but caus he wrote me atall!! We hated each other for years Corse he couldnt not hated me more than I ben hatin myself. Pleese fogiv me.

So damm saddend . . .

That's all I read before yelling in some sort of anguish I did not know how to interpret. "DAMN! IT'S FROM MY DAD!" Then I found myself moaning. I was now at least as emotional as Rocco at his most volatile. This was even worse then when I faced my uncle in the prison hospital last year. I couldn't decide whether to be amazed, glad, or mighty pissed off. My Dad! My Dad who abandoned Mama and I when I was just three years old! Anger won out. I started ripping the letter to shreds. Then I guess I started shaking so much I must have really scared my White-boy. I could feel him holding onto me so tight but I was barely able to understand what he was saying. Something about asking what was wrong. The next thing I knew I was crying and couldn't stop. The entire heartache of Mama dying came back to me like it was yesterday.

I kept saying over and over: "Why did you have to leave us?" Or some such variation. My thoughts weren't very coherent.

The next morning I suddenly awoke to darkness and Rocco sleeping almost on top of me. It took several seconds for memory to come flooding back. Fortunately I was better able to handle myself. I remember Rocco leaving me for several minutes last evening and then coming back and just keeping a hold of me in bed. I don't remember what he had been saying. Mrs. Webster had been there also and I remember seeing Tim peeking through the open door looking very frightened. By this time I had stopped crying but still had trouble with my emotions. Sometime later Dr. Krazenski came into the room and I sort of remember him giving me some shot. How the heck Rocco got him there on a Saturday evening I don't know.

"You feeling any better?"

Rocco was now awake.

"Yeah." I gave out a big sigh. I did feel a lot more in control. And remembering last night I was thinking so much for being this bulwark of strength for my White-boy.

"Sorry about last night. It's just such a shock. I never dreamed I'd ever hear from him. I hate him."

Rocco I could see was quite upset seeing me this way. "Jade, maybe if you read the rest of the letter. Your Dad kept asking you to forgive him."

I wanted to. But I couldn't. The memory of Mama dying after my Dad had abandoned us all those years ago put a sward through me all over again. Finally, Rocco convinced me to read the rest of what my (heavily censored) Dad had to say.

Rocco read it to me. There was so much Scotch Tape I must have really shredded it.

Dear Noel:

I was quite schoked to get a letter from my brother Mike -- the word brother sticks in my craw -- and not jus cause I foun out hes in prizin, but caus he wrote me atall!! We hated each other for years Corse he couldnt not hated me more than I ben hatin myself. Pleese fogiv me.

So damm saddend to hears bout yo Mama. I spose you cant beleve this but I so loved yo Mama. But Is never no good for her. We shuld never goten maried. But corse wed then never had you. For yo alone I realy tride to make it work but even befor my brother foun out bout me things between Camellia and me were gone real bad. Started drinkin to much when I coudnt sex yo Mama no more. Things went so bad afer that Pleeze forgiv me but I jus coudnt stay afer what Mike did to me and talked all about me to peepel It was alredy so bad tween yo Mama an me by then. Pleeze forgiv me Id alike yo to stil call me yo DAD but dont desirve it no mor.

Been sobor now for months an so proud yo now in coleeg. DAMM proud!!!

Reson Is writing is since things so differnt now. Foun out yo like me an even have a boyfrind Pleeze be good to him even if he be white.

Pleeze forgiv me an if yo can find forgivnes my address is on the envlope. Stopped drinkin now fo months.



PS Yo uncle Mike asked me to forgiv him for what he don to me an also what he don to yo which I gues was the same thing.

We were both really crying by the end of the letter. And I couldn't hate him any more. I just felt so sad for him. And my Mama. And myself. And I couldn't also believe that Uncle Mike must have told him where I was and everything. Or at least some things.

The LETTER led to all kinds of things. It took me a whole week but I finally did write back trying to tell him about me and Rocco in some detail. I figured if he couldn't accept us on our terms than so be it. But in the letter he seemed to be OK with it. I previously had this tiniest doubt that what my uncle said about my father had been a lie but it wasn't and this settled the matter. One thing I could understand was how hard it might have been for him to accept himself for being gay.

I couldn't write at all about Mama or Uncle Mike yet. Maybe sometime in the future. Mrs. and Mr. Webster and Tim figured heavily in the letter back to him and about college and everything. I didn't want to say yet that we'd ever meet but I kept the door open. But I had to maybe heal a bit more before that could happen.

My White-boy kept acting like I was now `broken' or something so I had to fix up that wrong idea after two days of it. I am sure that his butt must have been sore for two more days afterwards. I know my penis sure was. (Wonder if I had the nerve to ask Dr. Krazenski if there might be a better lube)?

And I realized that I would have to give some thought to the fact that my `DAD' -- still impossible to really think of this man that way -- said that Uncle Mike was now `sorry' for what he did. Of course Rocco was all for immediately thinking Uncle Mike had changed but I was still skeptical.

But Rocco and I DID talk about things a lot and this helped me to put things into better perspective. And Dr. Krazenski also said I should see him too. Rocco and I were to have dinner there next week. I realized that I hadn't written either the Krazenski's or Cher in over a month -- not since that post card and letter about Steamboat Geyser -- and my guilt bone started acting up.

Of course Mrs. Webster was all concerned so I had to prove everything was (close to) all right by polishing off an entire batch of her butter cookies in one day. Rocco and Tim, and even Billy complained so vociferously that another batch was made the next day. And I told my White-boy that he was getting fat. (Actually he was still stuck at 103 pounds. He would always make sure I remembered that pound). I even got this diet book out of the library for him to read. That resulted in him having a couple more bruises on his body since I had to defend myself from his attacks.

As I said it was the next weekend when Rocco found out something that was almost as much a shock to him as that letter had been to me. We were at one of his Uncle's getting-to-be-famous barbecues the next Sunday when I overheard Rocco asking his Uncle Bill about how come his Dad hadn't talked with his own father for almost twenty years.

I was a bit surprised about Rocco asking him something like this. He was getting positively `courageous.' I guess a title fight between Liston and my White-boy was not quite so farfetched after all.

We had talked about him maybe asking about this but we hadn't decided for sure. And up `til now he kept saying that he was too afraid to broach the subject since absolutely NO ONE ever talked about it. But there was nobody else here yet and I guess he just took the opportunity.

His Uncle Bill got this worried look on his face and said that they needed to talk inside. A few minutes later I was surprised to hear Rocco calling from the back door saying I was needed. Now what?

When I got inside, Rocco said that his uncle had something to say that probably could include me. I was too puzzled to offer much resistance. His Uncle Bill was mostly a no nonsense guy but well liked since you knew he was always fair. And I could also see that Rocco, just over the past couple of years, had really gotten much closer to his uncle.

His uncle said to me as I got there. "Rocco asked me a really personal question about our family problems and he doesn't know yet but part of the answer sort of in a round about way could interest you. And I know he'd tell you later anyway. So let's talk."

He then sat down in a big chair and invited us to sit also.

Copyright 2008 by Rocco Paperiello