Here is the fifth installment.

Thank all of you who have written to me again. I've tried as usual to answer all your questions about Buddhism but for an authoritative introduction to the Buddha Sasana I urge you all to visit Access to Insight.

Anyone who wants to may email me at and I appreciate all comments on the story.

There is no sex in this story but there may be some physical gestures of affection – although nothing that younger readers need hide away from.

Dhamma-Vinaya Bums Chapter 5

Ten minutes later we were at the restaurant queuing up plates in hand for the buffet. The deal was straight forward, the price included a big bowl of steamed rice and as many plate pilings from the counter of hot and cold dishes as you liked. I noticed that were going to pay a premium for anything to drink except green tea or water, but hey, who can object to people making a living?

First trip I got broccoli with cashews, tofu in black been sauce and some vegetable chow mein. When we all got back to your table I thought that between four plates we probably had more food than we could eat, but I was wrong. We sat shovelling rice and various other things, picking off each other's plates, things we'd missed picking out for ourselves and we each made one more trip back to the counter for more food. David started a game of trying to steal from my rice bowl which led to a chopstick fight. Meanwhile the diminutive Joaquin – well, he was smaller than the rest of us – put away so much food I could only feel admiration for him. It was just unnatural - the kid was skinny as a rake - but he ate more than any two of the rest of us combined. We ordered cokes to go with the food and we got a free jug of iced water. When we were finally convinced that we wouldn't visit the buffet again the server brought us plates of sliced orange to finish up.

Minutes later we staggered out into the sunshine, me feeling full enough that I could easily have fallen asleep in the sunshine for a while but Martin and Joaquin at least had other plans.

“So Jakob, we gonna get you a board and skate for a bit?” Martin asked me. I couldn't really say no, not when he was being so generous and so friendly, so I agreed.

“Sure bro. I wish I'd put Vans on this morning but I can skate a bit in my 'boks.” I wouldn't have the grip in reebok tennis shoes to catch much air but I didn't much care about that. Looking at Joaquin's grip on his plank I reckoned that he probably never let the thing go and that I wouldn't be impressing him at least, whatever I had on my feet. David pulled it together for us.

“To the batmobile guys and let's get J dude a board.” We walked the few yards to where David's Volvo was parked and we climbed in. Martin and David took the front while I got in the back with Joaquin. As soon as David started, Martin flipped on the radio and quickly found a local station. Everyone except Joaquin laughed when a slightly breathy, almost whiney voice sang out 'he was a skater boy, she said see you later boy'.

“Noooooooo,” Martin's brother cried out in mock anguish. “Move right along bro, just move right on. Avril is prohibida.” Martin let a few more lines ring out before he put Joaquin out of his misery and sent the radio searching again. This time the auto-seek stopped and I heard the opening words of the old 70s band Steely Dan's Rikki don't lose that number chime out soulfully. 'We hear you're leaving, that's OK. I thought our little wild time had just begun'.

“Hippies,” Joaquin snorted. But he didn't object any more so we stayed with it. 'You tell yourself you're not my kind. But you don't even know your mind. And you could have a change of heart.' I remembered how often I'd read my own meaning into the song, and especially those lines when I'd suffered from stupid teenage crushes on straight boys in the past. The memory of my younger self's agony was swamped by my newer feeling of having maybe found someone who was just my kind and I smiled at David in the rear-view mirror.

It didn't take long before we were pulling into the drive of a big two story wooden house in what looked like a nice lazy residential district. Martin and Joaquin jumped out of the car first, the younger boy rushing ahead, his older brother waiting for me and David to join him.

“Nice house Martin,” I complimented him nodding at the big wooden building.

“My Dad built a lot of it himself. You have to come and see it sometime but let's get the board now. In the garage,” he said and led us up the path to a double garage at the side of the house. He lifted the already open door and we stepped inside of the empty space. Joaquin was already there looking through a box of stuff in one corner.

“Jakob, you want a helmet and some gloves? Pads?” he asked me.

“A helmet and gloves would be good and elbow pads if you have 'em,” I told him. “Thanks Joaquin.”

“No problem. Here,” he said passing me a foam lined plastic shell. “Try that one.” I put the helmet on and tried it for fit, making sure there wasn't too much give. It fit fine and Joaquin seeing this handed me a set of pads and a pair of open fingered gloves with wrist guards. I checked that I could get my hand in a glove and nodded my satisfaction.

“You better make sure that stuff fits J,” David said. “I don't wanna spend the evening watching you being stitched up in the emergency room instead of sitting in a movie.” I smiled to myself at the thought of our just planned date.

“Don't worry D, my skull is so thick I'm in no danger,” I joked back.

“Ha, well skater boy, I think I like your skull as it is. I don't think I want to see it in pieces.” I wondered for a second if he was seriously worried about me hurting myself. I couldn't deny that the idea that he cared was sweet. Martin jumped in before I could think of a reply.

“Don't worry David, we'll make sure your boy stays on the nursery slopes until we know he's safe.” The three of them laughed while I frowned and shook my head.

“No point dudes, you can tease all you like but I'm not gonna be showing off and bailing bad just to impress you losers.”

“Let's get going,” Joaquin cut in. “This board should be fine Jakob. I was using it until I got the double kick.” He handed me a slightly battered maple plank covered in scuffed grip tape. I turned it over to check the trucks briefly and then held it tail up nose on the ground.

“Are we going then?” I asked. “Martin, you skating too?”

“Not today bro. I'll keep David company and watch you two make the close acquaintance of the pavement for now,” he said.

David turned and led the way out back to the car. Joaquin and I put our boards in the back of the Volvo and this time Martin and his brother climbed into the back together while I joined David in the front. He drove us back through town and as we passed down the main street I caught sight of two shirtless boys coming out of a 7/11. I recognised them as Mitch and Darren, the two guys who'd tried fag baiting us earlier. Joaquin saw them too.

“The puppet master and his puppet,” he snarled bitterly. “If they step into the road run em down David.”

“Woah! Bro,” Martin looked at his brother in surprise. “All that anger will do you no good hermano. You know that. Chill.”

“Yeah well sometimes I can't help it man. Those two are just apes.”

“Even apes need love, bro,” David joked gently looking at Joaquin in the mirror as he drove. “They got issues of their own I think. No point letting it get to you.”

“God, everybody is always telling me to let it go! Just once can't I get angry and punch someone out?” Joaquin whined.

“You really want to Joaquin?” I asked him. “I ain't gonna pretend I don't ever feel the same way man but I don't believe it's ever the best way to deal, you know?” I looked at him over the back of the seat. He sat quiet, a resigned look on his face, turned to the window. After a short moment he turned to look at me.

“You don't know them Jakob. That pair are full of hate man and they love hurting people any way they can.”

“Oh I got an idea. They welcomed David back to town this morning,” I told him. “They came across like a pair of cavemen.” I laughed.

“What's so funny?” Joaquin asked.

“Your brother was so funny, that's what. That pair really didn't know how to deal with Martin,” I told the boy.

“Come on Jakob. Don't go bragging on that for me,” Martin said. “Truth is I should have just ignored those assholes. Trouble is that the minute I thought of saying what I did it was too funny not to say it just to see their faces.”

“What did he say?” Joaquin asked me. I recounted our little exchange with Darren and Mitchell earlier, ignoring Martin's blushes. Joaquin looked at his brother in amazement and roared with laughter. “Big bro you are so bad. You know Darren is dumb as a rock. He probably believed you.”

“Darren probably believes ten stupid things before breakfast every day, Joaquin. I really don't think anything we said would change his opinions,” David responded sadly. “I don't know why that pair got to me so much. There's worse stuff in the world than them but they always used to get to me.”

As we chatted we were pulling into a small gravel parking lot next to the entrance to the park we'd been in earlier. We all bounced out of the car and Joaquin and Martin led the way to the skating park. David kept a hand on my shoulder as we walked. We came through the trees and I pulled on my gloves and pad and set the helmet I'd borrowed on my head.

I stood goofyfoot on the board and pushed off tick-tacking down the path towards a long concrete ramp. I carved into the ramp and, after turning on the coping, rode back gently, fakie. OK it wasn't anything but I felt a bit shy. I tried not to look at any of the other skaters but I caught Joaquin looking at me with a slight grin. He pushed off hit the same ramp and caught some air with an indy 360 then pushed back towards me.

“The boards OK then?” Joaquin asked me as he kicked the tail of his board and grabbed the nose.

“Yeah it's great thanks. Nice air, bro,” I told him. Joaquin offered me props and punched my shoulder.

“Come on then J, let's skate,” and he set off towards a half pipe with me following him behind. For a while the two of us rode our boards around the obstacles, Joaquin practising varials, spinning the board beneath him as he went off the lip, me mostly grinding and grabbing.

I was soon pretty sweaty and beginning to feel the exertion in my muscles and I decided to head over to sit down for a bit With David and Martin. A trio of skaters where with them when I got there. I felt a moment's uncertainty as I sat down next to David and he put his arm round my shoulder. I pushed it out of my mind. Why was I prejudging these guys? Why did I imagine they'd think anything of David touching me casually? Martin made a quick round of introductions and we sat chatting idly watching Joaquin who was now practising caballerials – riding fakie and making a 360 turn on the lip before riding down the ramp. He was a beautiful skater. He wasn't flash but he never wasted a movement and he obviously had the dedication to keep at a move until he was satisfied with it.

“What's the deal for the rest of the day guys?” Martin asked. David looked at me shyly for a moment before replying for us.

“I'm taking J to a movie this evening and before that sometime we have to pick up the TV and DVD and head back to the vihara. I need to get stuff ready for breakfast tomorrow morning if we're gonna be out late.”

“What are you seeing?” Rory, one of the skater boys, asked. David turned to me.

“If it's OK with my boy I thought we'd see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” My boy?

“Good call,” Rory replied. “I can forgive Jim Carey almost anything after seeing that and the soundtrack is excellent. It's showing at the Paradiso yeah?” David nodded and then pulled his arm from around me to look at his watch.

“It's 3:30 J,” he told me. “We don't have to rush. There's a show at 7 and then at 9 if you prefer a later one. I thought either way we'd eat out before or after, K?”

“You wanted to phone your rents too right? I wanna call mine but that won't take long.” I told him.

“I'm going to leave it until tomorrow. I think I might have more to tell them,” David grinned at me. I laughed out loud and teased him right back.

“Well I might do the same, but anyway I need a shower. If we collect the TV and stuff and head back now we can do phone calls and showers and be back here in time to eat before either show really.”

“Where are you guys thinking of eating?” Martin asked us.

“Well it's up to Jakob but I thought we'd eat at the Orc's Nest. Cheap and cheerful. Not that you're a cheap date J!” David said giving me a squeeze.

“All is fine with me,” I responded contentedly. “I think we should go get our shopping and head back so that we can get back to town soon. We should probably tell someone we're going to be out late as well”

“Let's go then. Any of you guys wanna ride? Martin? Joaquin? Anyone?” David asked. Martin asked if we'd drop him back by Wild Oats so he could get a lift with his dad. The rest of the guys were going to stay and skate and hang out some more.

We collected our TV and DVD player from the mall, dropped Martin off and were back at the vihara by 4:15. We met a few of the bhikkus on our way up to our room and David introduced me to those I didn't know. I saw that there was one western monk and one or two I thought were probably Sri Lankan from their features and names. David talked briefly to bhikku Paisan whom I'd already met and explained our plans to him.

“You don't have to worry about breakfast tomorrow. Some of the families are coming to spend the day at the vihara and they'll be bringing food offerings. You two should just go and enjoy yourselves and don't worry about getting up tomorrow,” the bhikku told us.

“But the offerings won't be here in time for breakfast, bhante,” David said. “We need to have breakfast ready before morning puja. It's no trouble honestly, we've got time to make the porridge this afternoon.”

“David you remember Mrs Srisai?” Bhikku Paisan asked him with a grin. David nodded. “Well, she'll be here at 6 tomorrow with breakfast for an army believe me. The problem tomorrow is going to be too much food all day,” the young monk told us laughing. “Go out, enjoy yourselves. You have keys, no?”

“Yes bhante, we've got keys. If you're really sure then we'll leave breakfast to Mrs Srisai,” David complied. Bhikku Paisan made as though to go about his own business then turned back towards us.

“You know you two are very welcome to join everybody tomorrow don't you? If you do, I wonder if I could ask you a favour?”

“Anything bhante,” I offered. “How can we help?”

“There will be lots of children around, which is wonderful. But some of them will get restless. Do you think you would mind too much looking after them at lunch and for a while afterwards? We thought that the children could have lunch outside – a picnic. If you felt up to watching over that and maybe while they play in the grounds for a bit after?”

“How many are we talking about bhante?” David asked nervously.

“Not more than 10, I promise,” bhikku Paisan replied.

“It'll be fun,” David said. “We'll take them out back have some food and have them playing games for a bit afterwards.”

“Thank you. Have a good time this evening.” We both sketched a bow at the bhikku before he left us and carrying our new equipment then took the corridor and staircase that led to our room.

“What do you say?” I asked David, when we got there. “Shall we set this stuff up and test it quickly?”

“Depends,” he answered. ”Which movie showing do you fancy? If we set this up and choose the 7 pm show it probably means eating afterwards.”

“OK, then I vote we get this kit set up, eat and then see the 9 pm showing, that is if you won't mind driving back so late. It's been a long day D.”

“No worries Jakob. Let's get this stuff out of the boxes then. We'll shower after we have it set up.” We set about getting the TV and DVD player out of their boxes. It took us only a few minutes to have the cables connected and the two boxes connected to power sockets. The TV had a ring style internal aerial and we were both surprised to find that we got decent reception for a few local TV channels at least. Neither of us were totally sure about tuning it but we could check that out some other time. For a moment we were stumped as to how to test the DVD player. But then David remebered that there were some DVDs in the library that people played on the computer when they needed to.

He went downstairs to borrow a DVD and while he did I decided to take my shower. While I was alone for the first time since he'd asked me out, I thought a bit about our day and the slightly strange way things had ended up. Thinking back I realised that David had probably asked Martin to collect the car from the shelter so that he'd have the chance to speak to me alone for a short while at least. And then I wondered how that added up with Martin's “glad that one's sorted” remark. It looked almost as though Martin had been expecting something to happen between me and David. I shrugged inwardly as I rinsed soap off and stepped out of the bath to dry myself. In the end, I was just glad that David had asked me. I was surprised at the when, how and where but I was glad it had happened. Back in our room I found David playing around with the remote control unit of the DVD. On screen there was the menu for the disk he'd found and soon there was video and sound on the TV.

“Way to go D. Now, all we need are some movies.” There was now a scene playing looked to be a documentary about Buddhist temples in Thailand.

“There's a blockbuster in town. We'll see if we can join up Monday,” he said. “Now though you wanna get dressed while I shower? We have plenty of time if we're seeing the 9 pm.”

“Sure,” I said and David grabbed a towel and made for the bathroom. On his way out he produced another one of his surprises. As he passed me he gave my shoulder a squeeze and brushed his lips against my cheek.

“See you in five J.”

Once he was out the door I sat on my bed and just smiled to myself for a minute. I wasn't used to this yet. I wasn't used to this at all. In fact, I had always imagined that the casual affection stage came some time after the first date. Well, I wasn't complaining.

Just a few minutes later David was back from his shower and we were both dressed and on our way downstairs. On the way out we met Ajahn Ariyesako in the entrance hall.

“Boys!” He boomed smiling at us. “I hear that you are being relieved by the wonderful Mrs Srisai for breakfast duty tomorrow! Wonderful! For you I mean although I'm sure we'll enjoy her breakfast. Enjoy yourselves at the movies. I'll make sure the light down here is left on for you,” and with that he was gone down the corridor that lead to the meditation hall.

We went outside and slipped into the Volvo. This time David turned on the radio after he started the engine. He settled on a station and I recognised Rufus Wainwright straight away.

You gave me all your love in one day
You gave it all and almost faded away
Well I'm gonna take this sad unread issue
In my arms tonight

He grinned mischievously at me and I blushed. We drove back along the road into Crystal River city and listened to the music. The light wasn't fading yet but the day seemed cooler now especially with the breeze from the open car window. After a few minutes just listening to the music and looking out of the window at the scenery. I spoke without turning to David.

“D? Can I ask you something?”

“Anything J”

“When Martin and Joaquin found us in the skate park today Martin said something that I didn't quite get. He said 'glad that one's sorted' and he was talking about you and me. Do you know what he meant?” I turned to look at him and saw that he blushed slightly.

“Busted.” He said. “J, I'd told Martin that I liked you and didn't know what to do about it. So he was pleased that I'd done something.” I thought for a second and then another question occurred to me.

“When did you tell him?”

“Last night. After we got back to the vihara I called him after you'd gone to sleep. Don't mind J will you? I wasn't meaning to talk about you but I kind of needed some encouragement and advice.”

“No problem D. I don't mind. It's kind of sweet. So you like me, eh?” I teased.

“No doofus. I don't like you. This is a charity date,” he laughed at me and I smiled back.

We didn't talk any more until we reached town. David parked the Volvo outside the shelter again explaining that it was safer there because the cinema didn't have parking and we walked the few blocks towards the Orc's Nest.

“We have lots of time. You wanna eat now or if you like there's a gaming arcade?” He asked me.

“Let's eat. I'm not a huge arcade game fan and anyway D we can take our time. You know, we haven't really talked much yet? I mean we've been hanging together but I don't know very much about you really,” David smiled at me and arms on shoulders we walked into the Orc's Nest.

The place was busier than it had been the previous evening. There was music I didn't recognise playing and I saw that kids at some of the tables had gaming boards out playing chess and D&D and whatever. We found a window table again and sat down to wait for a server. It was only a minute or so before a boy came over to take our order. He crouched down by our table and smiled.

“Hey, David. Good to see you back. Are you staying a while?” He asked.

“The whole summer Seth. This is Jakob, we're both staying out at the vihara. How's things with you?”

“Fine thanks. My obnoxious little brother told me he'd seen you. I expect I need to apologise for him?”

“Don't sweat it. Mitchell's a creep but it's not your problem Seth.”

“Thanks David, but if he gets on your case while you're here tell me and I'll make sure he knows to leave you alone. Anyway, you guys ready to order?”

David looked at me eyebrows raised and I scanned the blackboard with the menu on it. There was a special 'humous and falafel plate' which sounded good to me so I asked for that and a mixed fruit juice. David said he'd have the same and Seth left us to take our order out back.

“Who's Seth's brother?” I asked David.

“Mitchell. Can you believe it? Seth is one of the nicest, kindest and smartest people I know. I don't think anyone understands how they can be brothers.”

“Wierdness. Well Seth seems like a nice guy. This is a cool place too” I said.

“It is. This was the one place I felt I could always come to without stressing about being hassled after I came out. Everyone just accepts everyone else here: all freaks together.”

“What was it like when you came out? I mean, from what you said your parents were OK?” I asked.

“My parents were fine. But then, I knew they would be. They've never been anything but tolerant and accepting of people. Mom and Dad are lawyers and they'd always done civil rights work. I was still scared but not really because I thought they'd hate me or anything, just scared that when I said it it would be final you know? I'd have made it all real. Anyway, I had been in touch with a support group – PFLAG – and I read the literature on their website and spoke to them on the phone and I decided to do it. It was great. They reassured me straight away that gay was good and that they loved me. I couldn't have wanted a better reaction. My problems were only outside the family. What about you. How did you come out?” he asked me.

“I didn't really. I mean I didn't sit them down one day and say I'm gay. The first time I had a date with a boy I told them about it and that was it. I did get a talk from them about sex and relationships and homophobia and then after that it was just this fact about me that everyone knew. At school it was more difficult for a bit. I decided not to lie to people or hide anything and so eventually everyone found out and there was some hassle. But you know what? I found out that for everybody who has a problem there's people who will accept you and will even stand up to the bigots. Sometimes it surprised me just who was ready to watch my back for me.”

“Word, bro. Martin stoop by me like I said but other people did too, people I would never have expected it from. I felt guilty a little bit because I realised you know that I'd misjudged some people.” He smiled at me. “I look back sometimes and I think how lucky I am that so many people, more than you think, really hate bigotry and it makes me proud that some of those people knew that standing by me would mean they got baited too.”

“Tell me if you don't want to talk about it, but what about your church? I mean, that must have been harsh finding out that you weren't accepted there?” David looked at me for a moment, concentrating visibly.

“That was the hardest in a way, J. I hadn't always been comfortable with things I heard in church but I'd always thought that it was about a message of love and peace,” he grinned sheepishly. “Sound stupid?”

“No D, of course not. I admit I never understood Christianity really but that was because I could never work out the connection between what they told us Jesus taught and what some Christians did. But, you know D, it was only some Christians. I met some people who were really sound, real believers in peace, who were Christians.”

“Yeah, like Edward,” David said.

“Edward's a Christian?” I asked surprised for some reason.

“Yeah, a Methodist. You know what that is?” he asked me.

“Nope, sorry, I mean I've heard of Methodists but that's it. I know nothing.”

“Well, they seem really cool. They're big on social justice and stuff and they're tolerant. Edward was telling me that he thinks very soon they'll have gay ministers in his church and gay marriages.”

“Oh way cool.” As soon as I said it I blushed a little.

“You want to get married J?” David asked, a glint in his eye.

“When I meet the right guy,” I said and stuck my tongue out at him. We both laughed and then David reached across the table and took my hand. For a moment he looked into my eyes and it was as if we were alone.

“That's nice J. It matters to me that stuff you know? Getting married; being a family; staying together.

“Being a family?” I asked.

“Yup. Being a family. Bringing up kids. Making a home. All that stuff.” I blushed. Here were a little 24 hours after meeting and we were holding hands while David talked about bringing up kids. I realised that however beautiful this boy was, his real beauty was his character, his moral self and that I wanted to know that part of him as much as or more than I even wanted to kiss him. Our food arrived: flat breads, falafel, humous, salads. For a few moments we just ate. Then we managed to have some more conversation. Nothing heavy just music and sports and movies. Seth came over again to see if we were OK and we got some more fruit juice. Despite what I'd said earlier we didn't talk that much about ourselves. Well no, that's no true. We did talk about ourselves but it was so easy we didn't notice. He liked math, I liked English. He wrestlted, I did aikido. Throughout our falafel plates our hands kept touching and between sentences I lost myself in his deep green eyes and, it seemed to me, he lost himself in my eyes too. David broke the moment.

“So who are your family?” he asked.

“Me, I'm the cute one obviously, and two brothers, mom, dad – hippies – full set of grandparents and lots of aunts uncles and cousins. Noah, my younger brother is the non-bio.”

“Non-bio?” David asked looking bemused.

“Noah is our special bro. He's adopted,” I explained.

“That's way cool, a special bro.” David flashed his brightest grin at me. “And your rents are hippies?”

“Yeah, well, you can imagine the type: the whole Bob Dylan and Grateful dead catalog; arrests on anti-war demos; occupied the administration building at college; vegetarian wholefood coop shoppers.” David laughed again at my wholey accurate word sketch. “I love them so much. They've always been there for me; always loved us all.”

“What do they do?” he asked me.

“Both teach at the University of Chicago. Dad's into East Asian Studies – history and stuff, mom's in Oriental Languages.”

“Ah, Pali!” David guessed.

“Nope, well, she does teach some Pali classes sometimes for students specialising in Buddhism. But her real job is ancient Hebrew,”

“Wow!” David observed. “So that's where you get the brains,” he teased me. “How old are the brothers?”

“Joshua is 19 and Noah is 13.”

“I always wanted a brother. So what about school. What do you like? What are you good at?”

“Well, I like alost everything really. I'm good at maths and languages. I'm taking French and Latin, and I take a Pali class at the temple as well. I play hockey at school, I'm an aikidoka and I skate.” I finished.

“Aikidoka is someone who does aikido? Right?”

“Yup.” David looked at me thoughtfully.

“How does being into martial arts work out with being a buddhist?” he asked me.

“Just fine,” I replied. “A lot of martial arts were developed by Buddhists. Aikido doesn't have to be violent and even the contact kind is not about hurting people. It's about the discipline really.”

“Boyfriends?” he asked me with a wink.

“A few dates but nothing's ever come of it. I'm working on something though,” I teased. David blushed and squeezed my hand. Just then Seth came back to ask if we wanted dessert or coffee. Coffee at this time would have kept me awake all night but a brownie with icecream sounded like a perfect idea. David agreed and Seth was soon back with deep dishes of vanilla and gooey chocolate brownies.

We finished our meal and paid up, then David led me to the cinema his arm in what I was beginning to think of as its usual place across my shoulders. We soon reached the cinema Paradiso. As he'd promised David bought us pop-corn and cokes and we went to sit in half filled theatre. As the lights went down David set his popcorn in his lap and reached to take my hand.

We watched the movie in silence communicating solely by hand squeezing. It was funny, moving and romantic – perfect move for a date and when we left the cinema afterwards we were both smiling. We walked down the lamplit streets still holding hands and talking excitedly about the movie, remembering the moments that had moved us or made us laugh. I noticed that we were getting close to the shelter when David turned to face me and pulled me by my hands into a doorway.

“Can I kiss you?” he asked.

“You already have,” I laughed at him and leaned in to kiss him on the mouth. His arms wrapped around me and held me close while I closed my eyes and let him explore my mouth. When we broke the kiss my heart was beating like a steam hammer and my brain had turned to mush. I had the worst case of warm fuzzies I'd ever experienced. A silly song was ringing round my head with the chorus “David likes me, David likes me”. I think that kiss cost me ten points of my IQ but I would have given twenty right at that moment. David whispered to me.

“I like you Jakob. I like you lots. I want us to do this lots if you will.”

“You want us to kiss lots?” I asked slyly making him laugh.

“Hmmm...That too but I mean I want to spend time with you – alone, getting to know you and seeing if I can make you like me like I like you.”

“Fool boy, I like you already. I like you lots.” With that I pulled on his hand and we walked the remainder of the way to the Volvo. David unlocked the car and got in, me following him a moment behind. I suddenly felt very shy although I was feeling the happiest I had done for a long time. All of a sudden I wanted to ring my parents right away and tell them about my date. I wanted to tell everyone about David and how wonderful he was. I looked at him as we drove through town in the dark and my chest tightened and I had to gulp for breath. What this boy did to me was incredible.

Soon we were out of town and driving through the wooded countryside. The moon was low in the sky and huge looking, full and silver shining. Until now we'd had no music in the car but David slowed for a moment and switched on the radio. He pushed buttons and in seconds a preprogrammed station came on. To my surprise the smokey voice of Ella Fitzgerald creapt out of the speakers and wrapped us velvet soft music. The music thrilled me.

Your lips were like a red and ruby chalice, warmer than the summer night
The clouds were like an alabaster palace rising to a snowy height.
Each star its own aurora borealis, suddenly you held me tight
I could see the Midnight Sun.

I can't explain the silver rain that found me--or was that a moonlit veil?
The music of the universe around me, or was that a nightingale?
And then your arms miraculously found me,suddenly the sky turned pale,
I could see the Midnight Sun.

Was there such a night, it's a thrill I still don't quite believe,
But after you were gone, there was still some stardust on my sleeve.

The flame of it may dwindle to an ember, and the stars forget to shine,
And we may see the meadow in December, icy white and crystalline,
But oh my darling always I'll remember when your lips were close to mine,
And we saw the Midnight Sun.

When we reached our destination David parked the Volvo but instead of going inside, he took my hand and led me around the side of the house to the lawn behind that led down to the creek. We walked hand in hand down to the water and when we got there David helped me into the boat we'd taken out earlier. He sat, on the boat bottom, back against the stern and pulled me down to sit next to him. His arm surrounded me and I pulled him close. We kissed again and then we lay back, David's head on my shoulder, and we looked up at the night sky. I felt as though we were bathed in starlight.

“David,” I whispered into his ear. “I don't ever remember feeling like this before.”

“Nor me J,” he whispered back. “I feel as though it's my birthday and chrismas all at once”. I laughed at him and sat for a second stroking his hair.

“D, I feel so good right now. I feel like a fool in a way but I think I have to say this. David, I think I love you.” The moment I said it my mouth was suddenly dry and my breathing faltered. Then his hands were on my face holding me so that I was looking into his eyes.

“You better love me J because my heart is so big for you,” he said and kissed me again. For a long time we just lay in the moonlight holding each other and finding each others lips again and again. Finally I stood and stooped to lift David up and we walked back across the grass. We went in through the front door of the vihara and turning on lights as we went made our way to our room. When we got there I pulled David with me onto our bed as I pulled him close I whispered that I loved him, again. We were both tired but contented and not long after we lay down, still in our clothes, David's head on my chest we fell asleep and I spent the night in his arms for the first time and I dreamed of oceans of love.