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.
Chapter 94 -- Denouement
I was a mess. And Jade knew it. I had recovered from the trauma of last June. Well mostly. However, I wanted to let my Mom know about us, but I didn't want to hurt her. At least any more than she had been. I guess that wasn't really possible. Moving out last June had been traumatic for everybody. In mid-August I had given up my apartment and had moved in with Jade. Where I belonged. And now in mid-September we were mostly packed and ready to leave for college. But now I was at an impasse. I felt I was in some kind of limbo.
"Jade, I can't start a new life, so to speak, with my Mom not knowing about us."
I could see Jade wasn't too eager to advise one way or the other. "White-boy. I want you happy. Will it matter that much if we wait say `til Christmas?"
"The truth is I don't know. I can't really decide. My first reaction is to put it off as long as possible. On one hand I hate living a lie any more. I want a life. But I want a real life. Not something acted out. But on the other hand I don't want to hurt my Mom. And I know this will. She still doesn't even know we're moving out to Washington together either. She still has the idea that you're going to Temple and I've not said anything to dissuade her from thinking so."
Jade asked me: "How come something like this has to hurt? I know. That's just a rhetorical question anyway. How come society has decided that our love is wrong? And when you really think about it, how come so many people get so riled up over it? How does our relationship hurt anyone else? Even if what some churches say, and we're hurting our souls or whatever, all kinds of sinning does that. But I don't see everybody getting so all fired up about say prostitution. Sure, they condemn it, but it's not so reviled. And that can actually hurt someone beside the so called perpetrators. But we hurt no one. So just how come being gay can generate so much hatred?"
I looked at Jade and asked: "Are those all rhetorical also?"
"Yes. Unless you actually got an answer to any of `em."
"Sorry. What I would like to know is this. Many societies accepted gay people as a normal part of their society. Some even revered them. So how come the society that wrote the later parts of the Bible hated homosexuality so much?"
"Talking to Allen again?"
"Yeah. How'd you guess?"
"All that anthropology and Bible stuff. He's big into that. I've talked to him about some of this stuff too. He said it had something to do with how they considered and treated women. In the old Jewish society women were barely more than property. Thus if a man were reduced to the role of a woman, or especially allowed himself that, it was considered one of the worst things you could do."
We were quiet for a while. I finally lifted my head from Jade's lap and said: "Are we just feeling sorry for ourselves again?"
Jade said: "Definitely."
"Thanks for letting me know. But this doesn't help me decide. Look Jade, this affects the both of us. What should I do?"
"I can only answer with another question. Let's assume you don't tell your Mom, and we go out to Washington. Are you gonna be this hard to live with?"
That got my attention. I sat up completely and faced him. "It's that bad?"
"Not all the time. But sometimes, yeah."
"Damn. Sorry Jade. I wish you'd said something."
"Well, it's mostly been ever since we got back from Ricketts Glen. You were pretty much OK this past summer. And most the time we were at Ricketts Glenn, even when Dan and Allen were gone, you were fine. But since we've come home, your moods have been up and down like a yo-yo. When we go out to college will this continue?"
We had ended our employment about 10 days early in order to have a small vacation. (Well not quite. Uncle Bill talked us into working several days last week to train our replacements). And Ricketts Glen was my favorite place in the Pocono's.
I thought about this seriously. I couldn't do that to Jade. "Honestly Jade, I don't know. But let's assume I decide to tell her."
"Well how should I do it?"
Jade thought about this awhile before answering. "Well, you keep saying that she thinks about things a lot just like you. And she's as hung up on her religion as you had been. So how about telling what you went through to come to the conclusions you have. Maybe that could help."
I thought about this a bit and realized Jade was probably right. Mom and I were somewhat alike. So I thought, how would I respond to this kind of approach? I couldn't be sure but I supposed it was the best we could come up with. And I also realized, that somewhere along the line, I'd made the decision to tell her.
"OK, I think I'll tell her. But we have a problem. We're leaving for Washington two days before my birthday. Classes start the 20th. And I just can't tell her and leave. It doesn't seem right. She'll want to talk. At least I hope so. Even if we delay it somehow, and it might cost a fortune to change the tickets anyway, it means she has three or four days to wreck us if she decides to do something."
"You actually think she'd try to? And also remember; we won't even be here for two of those days. What could she really do?"
"I don't know. But it's scary. We're so close I don't want to ruin it."
"Look White-boy. I'll support you no matter how you decide."
We dropped this for a while and started talking about all our plans and then what we'd miss most when we went.
"What I'll miss most is Mrs. W and Tim. Even Mr. W. Even if he just accepts us because he's naturally a nice guy, and he'll do anything Mrs. W says. Nothing else is even close. And Tim don't want us to go. You heard him."
"Tim's doing well. And he and Billy are pretty close. And he still has the Webster's. He'll do all right."
"Yeah. But will I do all right without him?"
I saw that Jade was half serious. I knew how he felt. "Well, I guess I'll just have to fill in."
We continued musing like that all afternoon. We were in Jade's room. Tim was at school, Mr. W was busy building furniture next door, and Mrs. W was ten miles away helping to take care of her newest grandson. She was supposed to be back tomorrow. It felt so strange. Neither of us seemed to feel like having sex. We just wanted to be in each other's arms. I felt both very good and very anxious at the same time.
Then Jade said: "You know I just realized something. How come your Mom and Mrs. W have never met?"
"I don't know. Except that my father was pretty much against me associating with you, and Mom wouldn't want to make the situation any worse."
"Well, I was just thinking. If you tell your Mom about us, it might be a good thing if she could talk to Mrs. W about it, don't you think?"
"That makes sense. What do you have in mind?"
"Well how about we invite your Mom over here say for lunch or something. Sometime when your Dad wouldn't have to know about it."
I thought about this a while and said: "Only one thing. She might think it strange if I all of a sudden asked her to come over here. Maybe we can get Mrs. W to invite her. You know she don't even know that we're going to the same college. Although I never came out right and lied, I did leave her with the impression you were going to Temple."
"Rocco, you told me that five times already. You losing it boy!"
"I think I am."
When Mrs. W got back the next day, while we were eating lunch, Jade and I brought up the subject. That is after Mrs. W spent thirty minutes describing just how precious her new grandson was. And showing 200 pictures. (OK just 20).
So the upshot was we got Mrs. W to invite my Mom for lunch. She actually thought it was a good idea. "Well, the world's a certainly a changin'. That's for sure. To think me actually invitin' a white woman to my house for lunch. All the saints in heaven sure knows things a changin'."
"Well, I'm white and I practically lived here for a year."
"That's certain true, but you can't know how strange this is all to me. The only times I talked much to a white woman was to say `Yes`m ma'am. And what else you wants me to do?' That's when I was cleaning houses to help pay the bills. Those were hard days, that's for sure. I jus' thank the good Lord He's been so good to my family. That's for sure."
When I had called my Mom, she seemed genuinely happy to hear from me. I hadn't seen her in a few weeks. "I just wanted you to know that I was alright. I was on a sort of vacation to Ricketts Glen. You know how I love it there. Waterfalls all over the place."
We talked about some unimportant things for awhile and then my Mom brought up Mrs. Webster herself.
"I got a strange call from Mrs. Webster a while ago. She wants me to come for lunch tomorrow. You have anything to do about this?"
Mom would definitely suspect any answer that wasn`t the entire truth. "Actually Mom I do. Jade and I think that before I leave for Washington, you should at least have visited Mrs. Webster once. She's been an important person in my life. And you've only met Tim one time. He's a great kid. I really wish you'd go."
Mom hesitated and then asked. "There's more to it then that isn't there?" My Mom was not unintelligent. Just the opposite.
"Well yes. But you won't ever know what unless you go. And now you ask. Yes, something extremely important. So important in fact, I want you to make sure you can be there most the afternoon. I need to talk to you about something very important."
Now I could visualize my Mom getting worried. "I don't understand. Why there? Why can't you discuss whatever you need to right here?"
I realized I may have said too much. "Mom, I need to talk to you about something that indirectly has to do with Mrs. Webster. I know this all sounds mysterious, I'm sorry, but I'm asking you to do this for me. Please!"
"Well, why can't you at least tell me what it has to do with?"
"OK, it has to do with Jade. I know that Dad thinks that he's been a bad influence on me somehow which is all nonsense. And I have deliberately misled you about where he's going to college. We're actually going to Washington together. I just didn't want Dad to know."
Mom didn't say anything for several moments. "I was wondering about that. You kept being vague about just where Jade was going to school. But sometime he's going to have to be on his own. I hope he realizes that. Your Dad and I always thought he took advantage of you. But I still don't understand. Why does that have to be discussed at Jade's house?"
"Mom, I just think it would be nice if you got to know Mrs. Webster before we left. She's an important person in my life. Whether Dad likes it or not. And I hope you don't have to tell Dad. He might not like it that Jade and I will be together at college."
"He sure won't. But if you really want this, I will go. I guess your father doesn't have to know about the college thing yet either."
I wanted to feel my Mom's hug one last time. Will she be hugging me tomorrow?
Mom and I wound up walking over to the Webster's together. I first went to our house and Mom and I talked a bit about future college plans. It was a beautiful day and it really wasn't that far. Mrs. W gave her usual effusive greeting. And things were a bit awkward until Jade and I started talking about college. Things finally got easier and Mrs. W was a hard person not to like. She said just the right things to help my Mom be more at ease. But the hard part was coming up. Mrs. W also knew what I was going to do. And she was the type of person that would help if she could, rather than not get involved.
"So Mom I said there was something I had to discuss with you. And it involves Jade more than you might think."
That got her worrying again. I could see it in her demeanor. Although, right now she seemed more puzzled than worried. "What I don't understand, why the big mystery, and the big build up?"
Mrs. W suggested we go to the living room to be more comfortable. She then told my Mom she'd be in the kitchen if she needed to talk to her. Jade went with Mrs. W. That also puzzled her some. "OK Rocco, you're starting to worry me. What's this all about?"
"Mom, I've been trying for years to tell you something. I just never got the courage. A lot of other people already know, including Mrs. Webster. That's why I thought to bring you here for this."
Mom went white. "My God Rocco, now you're really scaring me. What can be so bad that you've been afraid to tell me?"
"Let me start this way. The day I met Jade, I started writing a Journal. I want you to read it. Most of what I need to tell you I wrote in there. Remember I always said that I had problems with things? I even saw Fr. Hearn about them and a few other people. Also Dr. Krazenski. In fact this is a letter from him that I need you to read after you read my Journal. I don't even know what it says, but he wanted me to give it to you when I told you all this." I handed her a sealed envelope.
Mom went from worried to puzzled and back again. And then to frightened: "Are you all right? This have something to do with what that, that. . . what Jade's uncle did to you?"
"Mom, please believe me. It has nothing to do with him. I'm all over that. (Well, I was mostly). Dr. Krazenski told you that. This started way before I even knew Jade or his uncle."
"But then what has it to do with Jade?"
"Please Mom. I need you to read my Journal. I'll answer any questions you might have as you go along."
I handed it to her. She hesitated as if the Journal could burn her. And maybe it could.
She was about to open it when she stopped and said: "You know I almost did read this more than a year ago. I found it in your closet. I sat there for five minutes and then took it to my room. It lay on my dresser for a week and then I decided to just put it back. Only I couldn't remember just where I found it. I put it in your old rucksack. I always wondered if you ever notice it was moved."
I chuckled a bit. "So that's how it got there. I really couldn't remember if that's where I'd put it. But I didn't think so. But I wasn't sure. So I finally assumed that's where I'd hidden it."
She smiled at me. I hoped it wouldn't be her last.
She started reading, and I could see her eyes start tearing before she got to the second page. She looked at me and said: "I never knew. How lonely you felt. You never told me."
I didn't answer. I didn't see any need. She went back to the Journal.
"I'm glad I didn't know. About the truck that is. And you thought about suing us?" But she had a smile.
I said I was only kidding. She resumed. Then she got this funny smile but didn't say anything. I wondered if she got to the part where I said I'd seen Jade's penis.
Mom stopped and got this worried look. "What's this big secret about?"
"It's in there." That's all I said. When she realized I wasn't going to say more she went back to the Journal.
Mom looked up after another couple pages and asked worriedly: "Just what are you trying to say here? You thought you may be attracted to boys? Lots of boys go through that phase. That's what I've read anyway."
"Mom, it's more than that. But please finish the Journal. This is hard enough as it is."
My Mom got real worried but started again. She looked at me a couple of times but didn't quite ask a question she was about to. Mom suddenly said with a tear in her eye. "You were frequently thinking about what you could do for someone. I always knew that about you. I loved you for that."
Now I got teary. "Thanks Mom."
Then she must have gotten to the part where I really spelled it out. She got this expression of horror on her face and I got scared: "Rocco, tell me now. Do you think you're a homosexual? Is that's what this is all about?"
"Yes. But it's more than that. I AM a homosexual. I'm sorry, but that's how God made me." And I wondered why did I have to say I'm sorry at all? "And Mom, I can't believe that you never suspected."
"I did at times wonder about certain things. But many people go thought phases. At least that's what I've read. But this is sick. How can you just accept it? You know it can be treated. We can find a doctor."
"Mom, all that stuff is so much bullshit." My Mom cringed at my use of that word. "Sorry, but that says it best. And don't think it's something you or Dad did wrong. I was born this way. And I've HAD to accept it because that's the way I am. And about 4% or more of the population are the same. And before you start thinking about it being an illness, you're pretty smart so think. How come there have been gay people in all different kinds of societies and all through history in all different kinds of cultures, if it's something caused by how people grow up? Answer that."
My Mom looked at me with an expression I'd never seen before. Like I just said I had leprosy and there was no cure.
"But that's not what I've read."
"You just haven't read the right stuff. Dr. Krazenski said he thought most of that stuff was wrong. He showed me things by a psychologist in California, Evelyn Hooker, and even the Kinsey Group. They all think differently. Even Dr. Krazenski thinks this."
"You mean you talked to him about all this? And he says it's not an illness?"
"Exactly! And he even gave me that letter to give you."
"Well, I don't know. That's sure different than what I've heard all my life."
She went back reading. She stopped: "Did Jade's mother know about your feelings for her son? And how could she be OK with that?"
"Mom, it was much more than that. She also knew her son was the same way."
Mom really got this bad look again. "So it's as I thought. Jade made you this way."
"Mom, that's stupid. Did Dad make you heterosexual? No one makes you whatever way. You just discover what you are. And I had a whole lot of trouble accepting it. I was really hurting and I had no one to turn to."
"I'm sorry. I wish I'd have known sooner. I'd have kept you away from Jade, that's for sure. And gotten you to a good doctor."
I was suddenly getting very depressed: "Mom! Haven't you listened to a word I've said? I am the way I am, and it isn't something to be cured. Can a doctor make a person right handed if he's born left handed? And if someone can make you a certain way, then how come all the heterosexuals I've been with didn't make me heterosexual?"
"This is all so difficult. This is not how I've thought about all this. How can you be so sure?"
"Look, Mom. I've had four years to think about these things. And I've talked to a number of people and read all I could find. Please Mom. Do you think I just like hurting you? Please, try to understand."
"I'm trying." And she went back to reading. And suddenly: "What did that woman tell you? That you and Jade were meant to be together? She put that rubbish into your head?"
"Mom, if you can't stop thinking like that then there's no sense continuing. Please believe me. NOBODY influenced me, or made me, or anything `elsed' me. I was BORN this way. Besides, I was always too stubborn to let people influence me that way. Of all people you should know that."
I'm not sure I convinced her. She continued. I knew this would be an ordeal, but this was so much harder than I could have imagined. I was shaking all over.
"Your father said it but I didn't believe him. Those people had you doubting your faith."
"Mom, EVERYTHING had me doubting my faith. Realizing I was homosexual was the biggest thing. How could God make anybody that way and then say it was wrong? How would you react if you found out you were that way when you were growing up?"
Mom actually paused and then said that the thought was disgusting.
"But Mom, that's an honest question. Now maybe you have just a little inkling how I was feeling. Are you starting to understand just what a terrible time I had with all this?"
She didn't answer. Eventually she asked; "What was this Plan?"
"Well, that's complicated. It was getting pretty difficult trying to reconcile what I was and my religion. So Jade and I started trying to find out as much as we could so I could make a proper decision about things. I even got the nerve to see Fr. Hearn about it."
"Well, how come Fr. Hearn didn't set you straight?"
"Mom, it's not that simple. We talked a lot. But the more we talked, the more I didn't believe what he was saying."
"You mean you lost your faith?'
"I wish things could be that simple. But no. In fact, I'm probably more religious now than I've ever been. You might even say that I found my faith."
"But I thought you said you started not believing what Fr. Hearn was telling you?"
"Mom, that was probably the most important thing I finally came to realize. That faith is not religion."
"Now you got me confused. How can they be different?"
"That's the most important question you've asked all afternoon. It's because I finally realized that they were different that I was finally able to resolve a lot of my problems!"
I think I finally had Mom really thinking. I had some hope. "Please continue reading and maybe you'll find out how I came to this conclusion."
She did. A bit later she looked at me and said: "I did let you off a week early. Your father didn't know a thing about it." She went back to the Journal. "I thought the plan was about religion, now it's about the radio license?"
"That was ANOTHER plan. We had a number of plans actually."
Mom had tears in her eyes again. "Is that how you felt? That everybody would hate you? And I never thought about it that way. That you'd want to fall in love. But why can't you just fall in love with a nice girl? I thought you said you really liked Consuela?"
"Mom, that's what being homosexual means! You can't love a girl that way. It's much more than sex. It's about getting emotionally attracted, and yes, even falling in love. Instead of a girl, it's a boy. For me, it was Jade. That's who I fell in love with. Please, I know it's hard. But try to understand."
"I'm trying. Please you believe me. I AM trying." After a while she asked: "And this thing with your brother. I could never understand why you two couldn't get along?"
"Mom, I don't want to get into that. Maybe another time."
"But it's all through this Journal. You really resented Carl that much?"
"Mom, Carl was sometimes down right mean to me. But you would never believe me."
"I sure hope you're wrong. And I think you never tried to understand your father."
"Mom, I do understand him enough. He simply doesn't care about me. It's that simple."
"Rocco, it's NEVER that simple."
A bit later Mom smiled. I wondered what she read. Then she asked: "What's this about telling your father off? And what didn't I understand?"
I tried to remember and then finally realized that I only told Dad off that once. And what a disaster that turned into. "It was when I asked Dad about how come he didn't apologize to me about not believing I had a real Ham License. I insisted that he explain. But he just got angry and stormed off. And I couldn't make you understand just how much that hurt me."
"I'm sorry, Rocco. But you know I've always tried."
"I know that Mom. And thanks."
My Mom continued with the Journal but then stopped suddenly and said: "I can answer that one question. You asked in here why it has to cause so much pain to find out their son is a homosexual. I'll tell you. Because it's so wrong, and it will ruin your life."
"But how can it be wrong to be something you have no choice about? Answer that. I never chose to be this way. I struggled with it for so long. Why is it wrong to find out you're gay? And as for ruining my life, it`s not being homosexual that can ruin your life, but how everybody else reacts to your being homosexual."
"I don't know. This is all confusing. It's what we've always been taught."
"But Mom you still haven't answered my question. How can it be wrong to be a homosexual, when you didn't choose it?"
"I don't know."
Mom suddenly got this weird look. Not scared exactly. "Rocco, you write here about having sex with Jade? You know that's wrong don't you?"
"Mom, no I don't. In fact I don't believe it is wrong. Not for a committed couple. That's the way God made us, and I can't believe He'd expect us then not to live that way. I know you don't agree. But I'm sincere. I simply don't believe we are doing anything wrong. At least believe that."
"What did that boy do to you?" My Mom was showing a lot of distress.
I was thinking about all the times that my Mom kept worrying about how other people were being a bad influence. But Jade was anything but that. I finally realized what his influence over me was. I answered. "He loved me."
Mom wasn't expecting that kind of answer.
Only a few second later she suddenly gasped: "What do you mean you're practically married?"
"That must be when we agreed to get married."
"But that's impossible. I hope you don't still think it's possible."
"Mom, you better keep reading."
Mom looked again at me. "What pain are you talking about? And what's this about Jade being in trouble?"
"That was when he was being raped by his uncle. I didn't know what was happening but I felt his pain so badly."
"What's this you told Dolores? And what was this revelation?"
"Well I told Dolores that Jade and I were boyfriends. And the revelation was that I kept asking God to help Jade and suddenly realized He already answered my prayers."
"And how was that?"
"I was God's answer. It was me that He sent to help Jade."
"Don't you think that a little presumptuous?"
"No. I still firmly believe it. It was me that God sent to Jade. . . . And it was Jade that God sent to me."
Mom wanted to say something but didn't. She went back to the Journal. Then she started crying. I wondered if she found the time I was in such turmoil. And wrote it all down. She looked up and then she hugged me. I felt so good suddenly. "Rocco, I never knew you were so hurt by the fear of losing your family. And after reading this, I don't believe anyone can doubt your love for Jade. But this is so hard to take in. It goes so much against everything I believe."
"Thanks Mom. I never wanted to hurt you. This I feared so much. Just please believe me. Jade and I love each other. It's a good love."
"Well, I'll try." She was near the end when she read the same page several times. "This you have to be making up. Boys can't be married."
Mom went white again.
"Mom, we ARE married. We were married almost a year ago. Maybe not legally, but before God we are married. There's so much I've wanted to tell you but I was scared. I so much wanted you to be at our wedding, but just when I was about to tell you, that was when you went on so bad about Allen and Dan kissing. By the way, they were married two years ago."
"I simply can't believe this. Of course it can't be a valid marriage. How can you possibly believe that?"
"Mom, how can you possibly NOT believe it's valid? And why shouldn't it be valid? I don't care what the church says. I only care what God thinks. And Jade and I are married. It's just that simple."
"But marriage is for a man and wife. And having children. That's God's plan."
"That's only PART of God's plan. What about all the people getting married that can't have kids? How about Uncle Bill and Aunt Valley? Are their marriages then invalid? And if not, then how is our marriage any less?"
"Rocco. This is something that I have never considered. How could anyone? You're now talking about things that you've probably thought a lot about, but I haven't. I don't know how you can form the belief that all this is right. That God approves all of this. That it's even normal."
"First I know you love me and will never really reject me, no matter what you think about Jade and me. Two, Jade and I intend to live together. It's a life commitment. And you have to accept the fact that it's not going to change. And three, you have to believe me when I say what I do believe. Remember you said I was the religious one in the family? Well, nothing's changed. I just don't believe some of the things the Catholic Church teaches anymore. I believe God made us this way so we have the right to live this way. And I believe that God blesses out marriage. Marriage isn't just for giving birth to kids. Or there's a lot of heterosexuals out there who shouldn't be married either then." I barely was able to finish. My emotions were blowing up.
We were both crying a little right now. I finally was able to continue: "You're almost finished. With the Journal I mean. How about finishing it then we can talk."
She read to the end and looked up at me. "So obviously Mr. and Mrs. Webster know about you and Jade and approve?"
"Well, Mrs. Webster had a son a long time ago that she found out was gay and how she reacted drove him out of the house. And then he got killed in Korea. She never forgave herself. And after a lot of thought, she said she'd never reject anyone again. No matter what. And Mr. Webster loves his wife so much, he will go along with whatever Mrs. Webster wants."
"And even Dr. Krazenski was at your wedding?"
"Yes. He realizes that we really love each other. And he said he would not judge us."
A bit later she said: "I am never hysterical. And are you wearing the ring now?"
I showed it to her.
"What's the stone?" she asked.
"Pink Tourmaline. Pink has significance for gay people. The Nazis made gay men in Germany wear a pink triangle. Thousands were sent to the death camps. But unlike the Jews, those that survived the prison camps, were just jailed afterwards."
"Something I never knew." She sat there thinking and added: "Rocco. I do love you. And I always knew you were different. I just never knew how different. And I know you've thought a lot about these things. But I haven't. I need time. I will read this again later, when I'm not so upset. Probably a few times. But I just wish you had more faith in me. I would never have rejected you." We hugged and I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt free. Free to be myself.
I let go and walked across the room. I had to move. "Actually, I didn't think you would. But that's different from being absolutely positive. But what had me really worried was two other things. I couldn't accept not being with Jade. And I was worried you'd forbid us to see each other. And another vague worry was being sent to an institution to be cured. It would have destroyed me."
"Well, I honestly can't say how I would have reacted. Just know neither of those will happen now."
And then I thought of something. Things with my Mom had turned out as well as I could possibly have expected. "Mom, I need to get something to show you. Wait here. I'll only be a second."
Mrs. Webster no doubt was listening in. She picked that exact moment to bring in a tray of cookies. (She had a habit of baking when she was anxious). "Mrs. Papariello, please try one of my butter cookies. Rocco can't leave them alone. Land sakes, I can't understand why that boy of yours ain't two hun'ert pounds by now."
I came back down with our wedding pictures. I went into the kitchen and told Jade things went as well as we could have expected. Maybe even better. We were both smiling as we went back into the living room. Mom looked up at us.
"Mom, let me introduce my partner for life. And these are our wedding pictures."
I presented the small album to my Mom. It had about 50 pictures. Everything felt surreal. Mom looked through the album like she was discovering a new world. And maybe she was. She had tears as she went through the whole book. "My God, it's just starting to sink in. My son's married. It's hard for me to accept, or even believe. But maybe I can get used to the idea."
We talked some more about the wedding and then I told her we needed to talk about a few other things.
"Mom, I want you to read that letter from Dr. Krazenski, and then please talk to him. He can explain a lot of things a lot better than I can. About our relationship even. Will you please do that?'
"Yes of course. But not now. Not for a few days at least. I need time to adjust."
"And there's always Mrs. Webster. I'm sure she'd talk your ear off if you let her."
Mrs. Webster swatted at me, and added. "Mrs. Papariello, I sure will be right here any time you needs us to talk."
And then I realized something else. I smiled at Mrs. Webster. "And in a way she's my mother-in-law." I stood up and kissed her cheek. I think I surprised both of us. Jade and I smiled.
"And one last thing. What are you going to say to Dad? I really don't think he will ever accept this. About Jade and me."
My Mom got this real troubled look in her eyes. "Rocco, I think you are right this time about your father. He will NEVER accept this. As for telling him, I definitely will. But not now. Maybe not even next week. I will just have to see."
I looked at the clock. Wow. It was almost after 3 o'clock already. Dolores had recently gotten a job but should be home before Dad. Carl and Mariann would be getting home soon too.
"Mom, I have to tell Carl, Dolores, and Mariann. And come to think of it maybe a few other people." I was starting to feel unbelievably free. Free from `The Big Lie'." Free to be me. FREE! In spite of the turmoil of my emotions, it felt so good.
Mom got this worried look again. And I thought I knew what she was thinking.
"Mom, I don't want to tell Carl if he'll just tell Dad. Will he not tell Dad if you ask him not to?"
"Yes. I will make sure of that. And maybe we can wait to tell Mariann. She has such a mind of her own, I can never tell what she will do."
Jade then showed Mom his ring.
Mom looked closely. "My. That's quite cleaver. I never would have thought of it."
I wanted to kiss Jade right then, but thought I better not push things.
I don't know what my father would do when he eventually found out about Jade and me but I honestly didn't care. That's not true either. I did care. But I was resigned. That's more accurate. And the really frustrating thing was I still didn't know why he stopped being my father. I suspected I'd never know for sure. I hoped I would be proven wrong. Somehow I never met any of his expectations. We hadn't spoken to each other all summer. I kept hoping, but maybe he meant what he had said. I was no longer his son. Well, I think I hadn't been his son for a number of years.
I actually thought that if anyone could accept us it was Mariann. She definitely had a mind of her own. Mom was right about that, but since Mom asked us to put it off for now, I guess I would.
And Carl could now stop feeling intimidated or challenged by me. He would forever be able to assume superiority.
Dolores I was still disappointed in. I really thought she would be able to accept us. Maybe it will take more time. But she was so afraid how revealing our relationship would affect our family, she couldn't get past it. Well, after tonight, we would definitely be past it.
We finally got to my home of the past 16 years. (We moved there when I was two). It felt a bit strange. Jade was with me. It felt so good to be out of hiding. Out from under the tyranny of `the big lie.' To be free. Dolores was just getting home when we got there. She could tell by Mom's expression and red eyes that something big had happened, but didn't say anything more than give a polite greeting to Jade.
We walked into the kitchen and Mom looked at the clock. "Rocco, I'm simply too rung out to fix dinner."
"Don't worry Mom. How about I call Shef's Pizza and have say two pizza's here by 5 o'clock?" It was time to break tradition.
My Mom got this funny look and then she laughed. It sounded so good. Maybe some semblance of normalcy can return. "That sound's good. Why don't you do just that?"
Dolores looked up with almost astonishment on her face. Just the fact that Mom was letting us get pizzas from Shef's was revolutionary. "Mom, are you all right? Did Rocco do something?"
"I'm not OK. But I will be. It will just take a lot of getting used to. Rocco has something he wants to say. And I guess so does Jade."
I said: "Dolores already knows we're married. . . . But she's never seen our rings."
Dolores looked at me with quite a bit of fear. "You told her? About everything?"
"Yes. I had to."
Dolores looked at Mom and saw that the world hadn't ended. Not yet anyway. Then she looks at me and Jade. "What's this about rings?"
Her curiosity got the upper hand. She looked at mine than Jade showed her his.
"Wow. That's different."
I looked at her and said: "Well, the family didn't blow up yet. Of course Dad doesn't know yet. And Mom wants you not to say anything."
"Don't worry Mom, I've kept this secret for a year. I can keep it a bit longer."
Dolores went upstairs to change and I followed her up. I pulled Jade with me. OK, I yanked on his hook and he came with me. I caught up with Dolores just before she was about to enter her bedroom. "Dolores I need to say something. I'm sorry for making you have to keep this all to yourself all this time. But Jade and I are married and that's just how it is. I hope someday you can accept us."
"I don't know how I feel anymore Rocco. But I will no doubt be thinking about it a lot. I just hope Dad don't come completely unglued."
"I've been thinking about just that. I actually expect him to react like he's done for over four years. After he hit's the roof, he will probably just have another reason to ignore me." I didn't add: "And makes Mom cry again," though I was thinking it.
"I really hope so." She then realized what she just said. "I didn't mean it that way."
"Dolores, whether you meant it that way or not, that's just how it is. Dad hasn't been able to accept me for years. And I don't believe he can ever change."
Dolores then looked at Jade. "And Jade, take care of my stupid brother. He needs all the help he can get." And she even smiled.
Maybe I've misjudged my sister again. I guess time will tell. But that smile seemed like a good start.
Carl then took that time to show up. I could hear him downstairs. Jade and I went down to greet him. "Carl, Mom has something she needs to tell you."
Carl replied: "I don't take orders from you."
Mom had come into the room. "But I expect you to show some respect to me if not your own brother."
My God, was that really Mom?
"Carl, sit down and for once and listen without one of your wisecracks. Rocco and Jade have something to tell you, and I fully expect you NOT to tell another soul. Especially your father. I will tell your father in my good time. Can I have your assurance of this?"
Wow. My brother didn't even say a word except yes.
Mom finished: "Good. Please listen. And I don't want any of your remarks afterwards."
I said: "Carl. I will make this as short as possible and then you can decide what to think. I really don't care. Jade and I were married on Sept 22nd of last year." Jade and I looked at each other and we smiled.
Carl stared for a moment just chewing on what I had said. He didn't seem to want to swallow it. But he finally did and I think it gave him indigestion: "Oh my god! You're a queer! I always knew there was something wrong with you."
Mom was angry: "Carl, what did I say about your remarks?"
"Sorry Mom. But this is certainly a shock."
"And remember, I will tell your father. I expect you to obey me on this."
Reluctantly he agreed. Mom went upstairs, probably to change. Then I got an idea. One of my devilish ones. I looked at Jade and he understood and even smiled. He pulled me to him and gave me a good kiss. I returned as good as I got.
"My God. You two really are sick. I can't believe you have the guts to do that in public."
"Carl, I have only one piece of advice. Love is the most important thing there is. I hope someday you find that out."
He watched bemusedly as Jade and I left the room. I went upstairs to tell my Mom that we were leaving.
"Where are you two going?"
"I want to see a few friends."
"And Mom, . . . I'll stop by Shef's and pay for the pizzas. And they'll deliver them."
When I thought about it more, there was actually only one person I felt I wanted to see. Jimmy Alexander. We really got to be pretty good friends. And maybe even his dad would be there. I couldn't begin to fathom what their reactions might be.
"OK White-boy. We told your Mom. Shocked your brother. Made up some with your sister. Now what? Aren't you exhausted?"
I wished he hadn't mentioned that. Now I thought about it I realized I was running on fumes. "Yes. I feel like I just went 10 rounds with Cassius Clay. And lost them all. But I really want to talk to Jimmy. And maybe Mr. Alexander if he's there."
"OK. I can but direct my humble feet where thou whilst."
I rolled my eyes. "That line needs a lot of work before it becomes believable."
Ten minutes later we had gone to Shef's where we met Frank Moore and spoke briefly and said we keeping touch. Then on to Jimmy's house. We met him in his backyard. It was strange. Or maybe not. On the way over I started noticing things. The beautiful late summer flowers. The giant black and yellow bumblebees in the hollyhocks. The incessant twitter of the sparrows lining the electrical wires and bushes. Everything seemed more vibrant. More alive. More engaging. As we walked the two short blocks from Shef's I made a remark to Jade about this.
"White-boy, it's called being alive. I realize now that we made the right decision. No more living lies, no more living in fear, no more living with an ever-present background worry. You've just made your life less complicated!"
Jimmy was a Senior now. Somehow he seemed older than me most the time I knew him.
"Hi Jimmy, your dad home?"
"Sure, shall I get him?"
"Yeah, why not. Kill two birds with one stone." He asked what I meant, but I said I'd tell them both together.
When he went inside, Jade said: "I hope you don't give his dad a heart attack. He's so conservative, he makes Barry Goldwater look liberal."
"I'm not so sure. I think he's more liberal then you might think in some ways. I guess we'll see."
They both came out and Mr. Alexander greeted Jade warmly. "Well, Jade. I don't think I've seen you for a few months. Jimmy said you and Rocco've been working again all summer. How is everything?"
"Very good sir. Rocco and I came over because we're going out to Washington to college in a couple of days, and before we leave we wanted to tell you both something."
"Well, that's wonderful. Do you know what your majors will be?"
We talked a bit about classes and stuff and then I finally said: "I wanted to explain something to the people who are important in my life, and Jimmy has been a good friend and you I have come to really like and respect. I don't have the faintest idea how you will take this, but here it goes. I'm sorry Jimmy that I never invited you to my wedding but I was married almost exactly a year ago. The reason I didn't tell you, I didn't want my parents to know. My Mom knows now, and she will tell my Dad, so I'd ask you both not to tell him yourselves. My Mom will do that."
Jimmy yelled. "Holy shit! Oops, sorry Dad. Wow Rocks you're always full of surprises. Married?! But I've never seen you with anyone! And who is she? And why couldn't you tell your parents?"
But then Mr. Alexander shocked me. "Jimmy, I believe it's pretty obvious just why all the secrecy. Rocco, how did your mother take the news?"
Jimmy stood there genuinely puzzled. I was still in a bit of shock. Jade was laughing to himself.
"My Mom, not too well, but she loves me and I have good hope that she will eventually accept it."
"Well, I don't know how I feel. This is a departure from normalcy even for you. And I certainly will try not to judge you. And as Jimmy said, certainly full of surprises. And now I even notice Jade's ring. Can I see it?"
Jade extended his left hook.
"That's pretty ingenious."
"Dad, what's going on here?" Jimmy just kept looking from one of us to the other.
Mr. Alexander smiled. I never would have expected this kind of humor from him. He seemed to delight in his son's perplexity. "Rocco, shall I tell him or will you?"
"Jimmy, what your father amazingly has figured out is that I'm married to Jade."
Jimmy's expression was comical. I think I just brought a touch of chaos into his nicely ordered world He sputtered a bit, but finally said. "That's just wrong! You guys got to be kidding me." Then he got a big smile. "Nice try Rocks, but what's really going on?"
Jade said: "Jimmy, your father believes it. And I even showed him my ring. Rocco's is identical. We're married. Rocco wanted to ask you to our wedding but was afraid of your reaction."
Jimmy turned to his Dad and said: "But Dad, that has to be so wrong. They can't really get married."
Mr. Alexander just answered in his usual way: "Are you so sure it's wrong? And are you so sure two boys can't get married?"
Mr. Alexander responded: "I'm sure that many people, and maybe even most people would argue that it is wrong. Certainly our Church condemns this kind of relationship. But obviously neither Rocco nor Jade believes it's wrong. I find that intriguing. Especially since I have admired Jade, and I always believed Rocco to be a well intentioned person. Intriguing indeed. As to marriage, empirical evidence would prove you wrong."
"Empirical evidence?" Jimmy wasn't sure what his father meant.
"The fact that they ARE married proves that at least in their case, two boys CAN get married."
I thought Mr. Alexander was getting some perverse pleasure from taunting his son.
I added: "Jimmy, Reverend Burrowes, of the Holmesberg Unitarian Church performed the ceremony. And your father is correct. Most people would condemn us. I would just hope that you can reserve judgment. I would like to stay friends."
"But my gosh, this is hard. Dad, how can you . . ." He stopped. "Sorry Rocks, but I don't know."
Mr. Alexander asked: "Do you boys have time to come inside and talk?"
I looked at Jade and he said yes. We went inside and Mr. Alexander told Jimmy to get us some sodas. And we talked about our relationship. Jimmy couldn't seem to figure out either us or even his own father. I thought it strange too. Eventually Mr. Alexander said: "I don't know boys, but I suppose I will have to think about it. It still goes against everything I've ever believed in."
Jimmy finally asked a question he'd been wanting to ask. "What I don't understand. What I'm trying to ask. Well, how come you guys decided this?"
"Jimmy, the only thing Jade and I decided was to get married. We fell in love just like any other couple. No one decides to be a homosexual. It's something you discover and struggle with. It's too bad teenagers aren't told anything. There's too much ignorance and unnecessary guilt floating around."
Then Jimmy's eyes widened a bit. "My gosh, that letter two years ago in the school newspaper. You guys wrote that?"
"I wrote it, but someone else snuck it into the newspaper. But what it said is true."
Jimmy turned and said: "Remember Dad, I told you about it. I thought it was some sick kid." Jimmy sudden looked a bit embarrassed. "Sorry Rocks, . . . didn't mean that."
Mr. Alexander asked a few more questions and we answered as best we could. I suspected Jimmy still didn't know what to think. I finally said: "Jimmy, listen to your Dad. I'm confident he'll be honest with you. And Mr. Alexander, I'm not trying to change what anyone else believes, but just saying what we believe. And both Jade and I believe that we are doing nothing wrong."
We finally escaped. "Damn Jade, I'm wrung out again. And Mr. Alexander took that better than I could have imagined. I wish my own father were like him." I didn't know whether to cry or just be relieved.
"Rocco, how about we find dinner somewhere, go to my house, and then lock my bedroom door. From the inside of course."
And that brought back my smile. "Great idea." Shef's should have delivered the pizza's to the house already. But Jade and I needed something ourselves. And we decided against pizza ourselves.
I had such a mixture of thoughts as we made our way to Padova's Delicatessen and bought a couple hoagies. We had decided to just eat at Jade's place. Simpler.
Jade mused: "Holy smoke. I'm tired out too." He looked at me with some concern: "I hope I have my White-boy back. Glad you went through all this?"
"It's gonna take a lot to figure out exactly how I feel, but I do feel so much freer."
Jade's smiled. "Well, Mrs. W still has a lot of those butter cookies left. We can raid them too -- I'm hungry."
Other hungers were sated that evening too. I never cease to be fascinated by Jade's body. I enjoyed giving him pleasure. One of my favorite things is to start out licking around his hanging ball sac. He pushes me down and sits on my shoulders and pushes his huge penis and balls right in my face. By this time it has lengthened and his head starts emerging from his long foreskin. I like licking that too. In spite of me taking him in my mouth, it's frequently me that comes first. Of course Jade always catches up. The second time we come is much less hurried and drawn out. I like it when Jade just lays on top of me and starts moving all around. We both did an awful lot of moving all around that evening.
Jade and I never left his room from 7 o'clock on. For once Tim didn't even disturb us. Maybe Mrs. W had something to do about that. And I kept wondering what was happening in my house, . . .my old house.
In the morning -- late morning -- I went to our stack of enlarged wedding pictures, and pulled out one of Jade and me smiling our best for the camera. "We need to get a proper frame," I said, and Jade understood immediately. To the Merry Shoppe one last time. I will miss that place.
On the way I reminisced about my visit there four years ago to buy my then blank Journal. I could hardly believe it. I could never have guessed how things would have turned out. As Jade keeps saying I was getting emotional again.
Jade saw the tears and asked: "Happy ones or sad ones?"
"I guess both. But mostly happy. We have so much to be thankful for. And to look forward to." I thought: "Thank you God. Please guide the rest of our lives together."
We were greeted as usual. It seemed some things never changed. The elderly proprietors (husband and wife) were there to greet their customers as usual, and I got a nice thought: "Jade, can you imagine us fifty years from now?"
"No, I can not. I suspect, if the past four years are any indication, there will be so many things that will happen that we are incapable of even speculating on."
I felt an overwhelming wave of happiness sweep over me and almost started crying again. I was barely able to pick out a nice frame. I spent too much but didn't care.
On the way to my house I got anxious all over again. How was everyone reacting? Especially Mom?
Mom, greeted me with one of her so-nice-big hugs. I will never grow too old not to appreciate them. Dolores was there and looked fairly upbeat.
And Mom and Jade and I talked for a while. Re-explaining everything all over again. Mom I think was listening more this time. It went pretty well, even if I could see her struggling with it all. But Mom loved me and that's what mattered most. I thought again that that's always what matters most.
Jade gave Mom the picture and she started crying. I hugged her this time. "I truly wished you had been there Mom. Please forgive me for not telling you then." Mom dashed off to the kitchen when the tea pot started whistling. (She actually uses it for her instant coffee).
A moment later, Dolores came up to us and said: "Jade, Rocco, I hope you are happy together. I still think it's wrong, but I believe that you two don't. So good luck."
We both hugged her. A thing I had almost never done. She went upstairs and Jade and I realized we were alone. We hugged tightly and then kissed. A pretty good one too. And of course it was precisely timed by fate. Mariann chose that exact moment to come through the front door. She was home for lunch.
"Oh my God! You guys are kissing! Mom! Mom! Rocco and Jade are kissing!" She always had healthy lungs.
I gave a deep sigh while Jade said: "I should have realized that this had to happen. I hope your Mom won't be too angry at us."
Mom came in from the kitchen and stopped dead. "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! I had hoped to put this off for a while, but there's no undoing it now." Mom directed at us one really annoyed look and then looked over at Mariann and finally said: "Well Mariann I guess we all need to talk. And whatever you do, your father can't be told until I do it. Understand?"
"Wow, Mom, Jade and Rocco were kissing!" A single track mind.
After we all had our say Mariann finally exclaimed: "Wait `til I tell Margie, she'll never believe it!" That was her best friend. To Mariann this seemed to be just one more piece of excitement. Well, she was just eleven after all.
It took another ten minutes to extract from her a promise not to tell anyone until Mom had told Dad. I felt guilty about Mom having to do that suddenly.
When Mariann left I asked Mom: "I was just thinking. Maybe it's not fair that I make you tell Dad. Do you think I should do that?"
"Definitely not. And who said anything about fair? I need to do that, and I don't even know how yet. And don't worry. I've dealt with your father for thirty years."
I hoped she was right. This was my final worry. And I expressed it to Mom.
"Mom, I'm still worried about how Dad will react. I know he'll never accept this. I never could understand how he felt about me other than the fact that since I was about 13, he's totally rejected me. And to this day I can never figure out why."
Mom looked at me with concern and said: "I think you're wrong. He is just disappointed. You are so different. He never could understand you. I had trouble at times myself." Mom even smiled at that. Maybe there was hope after all.
"Do you think he will let me or Jade even in this house again?"
"Rocco, we shall see. But I think you are underestimating your father."
Can Mom be right? Could it be that simple? Even if he just went back to ignoring me I guess that could be considered success.