Throughout the spring
semester, we saw each other once a week or so. We worked hard on
keeping it fun and keeping our mouths shut.
We'd enacted a conspiracy for the new year, and we both did what we
could to keep it going.
It was a fucked-up mess.
His part in the conspiracy was to let me think that everything had been
all his fault, to pretend he was now changing his ways so we'd get
through the rest of the year without too much pain. My part was
to pretend that I actually believed that he still wanted to be my
I tried to act
happy. This was, after all,
what I'd asked for.
The year shot by. NCAA
signing day came; I accepted athletic and academic scholarships.
I'd be playing soccer at a well-respected but small liberal arts
college a few
hours away from Dallas. I'd gotten some looks from universities
back east for my academics, but I didn't want to go far from home, and
I wanted to play soccer. The college I chose fit both
Matt had also been
given a significant scholarship to play football for a university up
north that had been looking at him since the previous year. When
we signed on the dotted line, another piece of the past let go, and we
pointed ourselves toward the next chapter of our lives.
As the semester went on, Matt
chose the year's new Posse members. I knew that when spring got
here, so would the Posse beach trips. I had already decided I
wouldn't have time for the beach anymore.
The last weekend in February,
I was over at Angie's studying. She was sitting at her desk, and I was
stretched out on her floor with my books and papers. Her parents
had gone to a concert at Bass Hall in Fort Worth. Over the past
month or so, we'd been talking together about our impending graduation;
it seemed to me that all the seniors, in ways distinctive to each of
gradually disengaging from this place that had dominated their lives
for so many years.
At one point in the evening,
she looked up from her homework and said out of nowhere, "Andy, I
think we need to talk."
I took a deep breath, sat up,
She closed her book.
"It's coming down fast, isn't it?"
Leaving. Starting over somewhere else."
"Oh," I said. "Yeah, I
guess it is."
She looked at me sadly, and
said, "I love you, Andy."
I went over to her, pulled her
into me, and kissed her for a long time. Then, pulling away, I
said, "I love you too, Angie."
She sighed. A tear
fell. "High school romances..."
"I love you more than that," I
"Maybe," she said. "But
what do we know? We're
going off to different
schools. It might as well be different planets. You know
"Yeah, it is," I said softly.
"Andy, I've been thinking
about this," she said. "It's gonna hurt no matter what and no
matter when. God, I don't want us to just leave things like they
are, like we're this great happily-ever-after couple, and then we go
off to college and gradually the whole thing just dies. That
would kill me."
She began crying softly.
I held her in my arms.
"What are you saying?"
"I think we need to break up,"
she said. "I think we need to do it now, and put some distance
I didn't know what to
say. It wasn't as though I hadn't been
thinking along those lines myself.
"I don't know what's going to
happen in my life," she said. "I know what I want to do; and
I...I wish I could...could have you with me forever," she sobbed.
"But with everything so different next year..."
My heart was in my
throat. "Angie, you don't have to tell me," I said. "I think
Silence hung in the air
between us. Then I leaned in and kissed her. We kissed for
several minutes; desperation pulled us together tightly.
Finally, pulling away from me,
she sat down on her bed. "I think I could love you forever," she
said. "How would we know, though? Let's make a clean break
now, while we still can. I...maybe someday we'll find our way
back to each other if it's meant to be."
Battling for composure, I
said, "I fuckin'
"I do too," she said.
She began to unhook the chain
from her neck that held the promise ring I'd given her. "Take this."
"No, Angie," I said,
stricken. "God, no. Keep it. Take it off your neck,
okay, but please...keep it."
She nodded, crying. Then
she stood up and walked over to her closet, and put the ring in her
I had to summon the will power
to hang tough, because part of me was reeling, wondering how many more
things I'd have to lose before my senior year was over.
I took her in my arms
and began kissing her again. My hands moved up her back, and down
to her hips. Tomorrow would be what it had to be; tonight I needed
"Angie," I said, "I want to
make love to you one last time."
She smiled through her tears,
and caressed my back and my butt as she held me close. Then she
began unbuttoning my shirt. "I haven't ever loved anybody this
she told me. "Always remember that."
We undressed each other
She pulled me into her bed,
and we made love.
The sex was bittersweet; I'd
never experienced it like that before.
After it was over, lying next
to her, I said, "I'll always love you."
She put her hand in my hair
and stroked my head, then moved lower to my neck and back, and then
down to my butt. As she caressed me, she kissed me on the chest
and said, "Don't forget me next year."
I swallowed hard. "I'll
never forget you. Ever."
Too soon, the clock downstairs
struck midnight. It was time to go. I got up and began
getting dressed. "How are we gonna do this at school?" I
asked. "How can we be around each other without..."
"I don't know," she
said. "We're in so many of the same things. Andy, we can't
just shut each other out. It's not like I want to avoid you or
never think about you. I just have to dial it all down, you
know? And so do you. Let's keep it friendly at
school. And we can be together when our friends do stuff
together. But don't come over any more, okay? And don't
call." She wiped her eyes with her hands.
Blinking back the wetness in
my own eyes, I said, "God, Angie, I can't believe how fuckin' hard this
"I know," she answered.
you know it's right."
"Yeah." I put my shoes
on and stood up to leave. She walked me to the front door, and
before I opened it and walked away, I pulled her to me one last time
and kissed her; it was long, and passionate, and so sweet.
She broke the kiss and pulled
away from me, crying softly. "Andy, go now; please. I can't take any
this. I'll see you in school Monday, okay?"
"Okay," I said.
And with that I opened her
front door, walked through it, and closed it behind me for the final
Breaking up with Angie
accelerated the process of disengaging myself from the world as I knew
it and getting ready for a new life. From that point on, I began
walking through my current life as if it was something of a ghost
town. Things began to seem less real.
During the final months of the
school year I watched myself from a distance, going
through the motions of my last days of high school. I hung out
with Matt once in a while, in a hopeless attempt to make
the most out of the time that we had left together. I
gave spring soccer season everything I had, and threw myself into my
studies. I went to parties, spent time with my young Varsity Bro, and
did my part to organize the Posse beach trips--trips I'd decided I
wouldn't be taking. But there was an odd, detached quality to all
my efforts. In everything I did, a numbness had settled in on me.
I came to appreciate that
quality, and I cultivated it.
Late in April, Matt came over
to the house one Thursday afternoon. I was playing a video game;
my door was open and he walked right in. "Hey," I said.
He came in and sat on my bed,
watching me play.
When I finished, I powered
down the machine and turned to
look at him. He nodded, wordlessly.
"I came to talk to you about
something," he said tentatively.
"What is it?"
"I want to ask you something,"
he said. "I'm gonna cut to the chase, bro. I want to know
if it's okay if I ask Angie out."
The surprise must have shown
on my face, because he quickly added, "I'm not talking anything
serious. I mean...well, that's not right, exactly. I
don't mean I'd be just playing
around. She's a nice girl."
I nodded, staring at my hands as he continued. "We talked about
the two of
you. I want to get to know her better. And she and I--we
have something in common."
I looked up at him.
Something blazed in his eyes, something that was daring me to take him
on over that line.
But the fight, the passion,
had drained out of me over the past few months.
"We're not together anymore,"
I said coldly. "I got no say over who she dates. I got no
say over who you date either." I turned back to my video game.
"You fuckin' do," he said,
bitterness flaring up suddenly in his voice.
I ignored it.
"You want my blessing? Fine. You have it. Go ahead
and ask her out," I said.
He scowled at me. "Look,
"Give it a rest," I said,
dismissing him as I pressed the "power" button on my game machine. "I'm
not interested. Go ahead and ask her
He sighed deeply. "Andy,
why, why, why do you keep"—
I turned back, ready for a
Why do I keep calling you on your
attitude? Well, fuck
that. I threw it back at him: "What the hell are you
He saw the look in my eyes
and shrugged his shoulders. "Nothing," he said.
After a moment, he continued.
"Okay, then, I'm taking that as a 'yes' from you. Just remember I
"You asked," I replied,
summoning all the indifference I could. "I said it was
fine. What's the problem?"
"Like you don't know,"
he said, as he walked out.
In May, a number of our
classmates threw senior parties. I'd just as soon have been left
alone, but it seemed rude to crawl into a hole and ignore these people
I'd spent ten years
with. So invariably I'd find myself at places
where Matt and Angie had come with each other.
I can't say I was jealous or
angry. I can't say I felt much of anything. I was past
grief. Miles past it, on into something else I didn't even know
how to define.
Matt and Angie dated for a
but a couple of weeks before graduation time they stopped seeing each
other. At a
party right before graduation, I asked Angie about it once when we had
a moment together.
"He's nice," she said.
"But we don't have much in common. Not much, anyway."
"We could never be alone
together. Even when we were alone. There was always someone
else there with us. Haunting us both."
I looked up at her.
"Andy, what are you doing?"
she asked quietly.
"I'm doing what I thought we
both decided on," I said.
"I'm not talking about with
me," she said.
She turned her head slightly;
I followed her eyes as they stopped, momentarily, on Matt. He was
laughing and joking with a small crowd across the room. She
turned back to look at me, her face a silent accusation.
I stared into her eyes.
"Sometimes things happen you can't fix," I said. "I got
control over the way people think about me."
"You're wrong," she said
quietly. "You're wrong about so much."
"What do you know about it?" I
said, glaring at her.
"More than you do," she said,
glaring right back at me. "A hell of a lot more, apparently."
"Yeah, well, you're free to
think what you want," I said. "I know what I know."
About that time Jessica Hanson
came up and started talking her usual drivel, rescuing me. I
listened politely for awhile then walked off to talk to somebody else.
Graduation weekend came.
At the baccalaureate ceremony, Matt gave the class president's
address. He hadn't even asked me to help him with it. He
hadn't needed to. It was warm and sincere, and it said what it
supposed to say. Angie gave the salutatory address. She did
a fine job, as always. I was proud of both of them.
The graduation ceremony was
held the next day in the big stadium at SMU. I don't remember
much about it. I smiled when Matt and Angie crossed the stage;
we'd made it to the end.
I went to a graduation party
that night. I spent the entire evening by myself, drinking
Jack-and-Coke. People came up to me to talk all night. Over
and over again. Rehashing ten years. Reminiscing, laughing
at old times, old times that would have ripped into me like a knife in
the gut if I hadn't developed a real talent lately for going
numb. So I endured all that, along with everyone asking me
endlessly about where I was headed, about where Matt was headed.
I said enough to be polite, and kept pouring the booze down. Matt and I
made eye contact across the room several times. A nod, a smile, a
My best friend that evening
was Jack Daniel's. It
didn't talk back; it didn't stare at me or
accost me with silent accusations; and its only desire was to float me
I don't remember driving home.
The next morning I was
awakened by Danny. "Move, asshole," he said, kicking me.
I was lying in the hall
upstairs outside the bathroom door.
"God, how much did you have to
drink? I can smell it all over you," he said. "Get the fuck
up and go to bed; I don't want to have
to hear Dad come up here
and rag on your sorry ass."
I forced myself off the floor,
and dragged myself back toward my room. Danny called out, "Andy."
"What?" I muttered.
"You been walking around like
a fuckin' zombie for weeks, and now you just lay there drunk on your
goddam ass, blocking the door to the bathroom. What the fuck is
wrong with you, anyway?"
I thought back on Danny waking
me from my nightmare last September. "I already told you," I
mumbled. I fell into my bed and slept.
The clock radio came on at
I know all
there is to know
about the crying game;
my share of the
there are kisses,
where you are,
no more of the
I slammed the radio off, and,
steeling myself, climbed out of bed. I walked to the bathroom and
threw down a couple of aspirin to dull the ache in my head.
Max Miller was the head soccer
coach of the team I'd be playing for in the fall. The
Monday morning after graduation he called me on the phone.
"Congratulations on your
graduation, Andy," he said. You ready to play college soccer?"
"Excellent," he said.
"I'm calling all the incoming freshman
just to let all of you know
expect from you for the
"Okay," I said.
"Soccer season begins early,
and I'll need you boys in shape when you hit campus," he
mailing you a workout regimen. It's mostly
cardio, but I want you to do some weight training at a gym this summer. Can you still work
out in your high school's weight room?"
"Yes, I can," I replied.
"Good," he said. "Now
about the cardio. If you'll do what the sheet says you'll be in
good shape. If you don't, the first month of practice is going to
be pure hell. I think you'll find college-level soccer a step up
from your high school play."
"That won't take much," I
Max laughed. "Good
point," he said. "Never mind the high school team. I know
you've had good coaching in club soccer. The main difference from
club is that the game is going to be faster and you'll need to be in
top cardio shape from the moment you hit the field come August.
Every year I have freshmen who don't believe me, and they don't make
it through August workouts. Can I trust you to believe me?"
"Yes, sir," I said.
"Good. I need you here
on campus the first Sunday in August. Classes won't start until
the end of the month, but I'm going to assemble the team for an
afternoon orientation meeting that first Sunday afternoon, and
attendance is mandatory."
"I'll be there, Coach," I
said. "And I'll be in shape."
"All right then," he said.
I hung up the phone.
Things are finished here, I thought; my new world just called.
It was a relief to have one
I spent as much time as I
could outdoors that summer. When I wasn't conditioning, I was
doing landscaping and lawn-maintenance work, making a wad of money
to set aside for my first year in college. The heat was
oppressive, and there was no coastline in sight; Dallas was landlocked,
and I was beached.
That suited me fine.
I worked on my body and worked
at my job;
I got up early, went hard at it, and rolled into my
bed early at night. I dated a few girls, and had a little sex.
Mainly I tried to focus on the future.
But I couldn't shut the past
out completely. Things kept coming up to remind me that it still
Years before, Matt and I had
planned to throw the Mother of All Graduation Parties on the beach on
July 4 after our senior year. In fact, we'd pledged to each other
that after we'd gone our separate ways we'd come back every summer and
make it a yearly blow-out, inviting all our friends from the old
days. For this first one, we'd already been told by Ruben's
parents that we could use their condo; we'd
rent several adjacent
condos for guests.
Both of us had planned and saved for
this party for a couple of years now. We'd been putting money
into a savings account for the occasion, and our parents had
even been helping out with some significant contributions.
It wasn't something I could
walk away from. The past was like that; it seemed
easy--inevitable--to walk toward something new, but not nearly so easy
to shrug off all that had come before.
So throughout April, May, and
June, we stumbled and sputtered through making arrangements, setting
things up, deciding on who was coming, and all the other deadly details
required us to be together, think together, talk together. And somehow
we got the thing planned.
Finally, the day came.
I'd agreed to go down with Matt a day ahead. Ruben would be
coming up the next morning.
We drove down in his van with
a whole load of supplies. The conversation was light and not too
strained, though dotted with our now-characteristic stops and starts.
As we crossed over onto the
island, I could feel my chest tightening. The dread increased as
we got closer, and as we parked at the condo and began to unload, I
couldn't say a word.
Matt was also
We made our way to the third
floor and walked down the corridor to the condo. I put the key in
the lock and opened the door.
When I looked into the condo, September
sledgehammered back into me. The wind left me, and a
moan escaped my lips.
Nervously, I looked back at
Matt. Our eyes locked for a moment.
I turned back toward
and moved further in; my eyes went toward the sliding glass door to the
I could see beyond the balcony.
I could see the beach.
Just about the time it became
too much to deal with, the familiar numbness descended on me,
and from that point through nearly the whole rest of our stay, I didn't
feel much of anything.
We got the place set up.
Matt took the front bedroom and I took the back. Then we threw on some
beachwear and walked down to the ocean. We swam a little, and
walked along the beach, talking quietly. Never about anything of
consequence: Summer jobs; starting college; what we
thought of our new coaches; communication we'd had with
them; what they'd asked of us during the summer months; who
we'd been out with during the summer.
It was almost scripted, and it
barely scratched the surface. I could have done it in my sleep.
As evening fell, we went
inside and played a little poker, watched a little TV, drank a couple
of beers. I went to bed around midnight; about thirty minutes
later, I saw the rest of the lights go out as Matt turned in for the
The next day drifted along for
me in the same anesthetized haze. Ruben showed up around
eleven. And as the guests arrived late that afternoon, I pressed
some internal "party mode" button and went through the motions of
smiling, laughing, welcoming, joking, drinking.
Angie came with Justin;
it barely registered with me.
The party was a big success
and everybody had a great time. And why not? The Dynamic
Duo knew how to throw a fuckin' party.
Only once did my facade falter.
Toward the end of the evening,
after the party had started to mellow, we were all sitting around a
campfire on the beach. Matt had his acoustic guitar out and was
entertaining the crowd with a sing-along, pulling songs from his famous
setlist. The group was drunk enough to participate in the
singing. Somebody called out, "Do one by yourself, Price."
The rest of the crowd shouted and clapped in agreement.
Matt thought for a minute,
then said, "Okay,
I'll do one, but not by myself." He looked over at me.
"Andy, get your ass over
He motioned with his head for me to
come over and join him. As the group cheered, I squirmed. I
had no intention of doing it.
walked over to
him, sat down next to him, and said under my breath, "This is your
gig and you're on your own here. I'm not singin' with you."
"Yeah, you are; it's a duet,"
he said. "You'll know it."
I didn't want to make a
scene over it. As
I shrugged in acquiescence, he turned back to the group, and said,
"This one goes kinda
high, so it'll show you what a woman I am." Everybody laughed.
He took his guitar in hand,
and began plucking out a plaintive intro that jolted me out of my
numbed state: It was a ballad--"More Than Words"--from the
Extreme CD he'd gotten me for Christmas.
"Take the low part," he
whispered, as he segued toward the opening lines.
Is not the
words I want to
hear from you.
that I want you not
But if you
it would be
To show me
how you feel!
My heart was racing.
What the fuck? The tender melody was battering the door of
months' worth of my defenses.
The low part was coming up, so I tried
get a grip. I took a breath and joined him for on
the next lines:
Is all you
have to do to make
wouldn't have to say
that you love me,
I stopped singing as he took
the over the solo. Turmoil churned inside me.
He kept looking at me as
he sang. Goddammit, why was he always fuckin' looking at me?
you do if my heart
was torn in two?
words to show you
love for me is real.
you say if I took
those words away?
couldn't make things
saying "I love you."
Wracked with pain, I still
sang my part where I needed
to. I knew the harmony and the lyrics by heart. But every
line came at me as an assault, as his eyes seemed to search the depths
I turned my head away from him and toward the crowd as the next verse
I've tried to talk to
you and make you understand,
have to do is close
reach out your hand,
close; don't ever let
Is all I
ever needed you to
wouldn't have to say
that you love me,
The lyrics went into recap,
and the song wound down. Matt's final guitar licks were
note-perfect, and his tenor voice was plaintive and true.
After we'd finished, there was
an awed silence. Then the group went nuts, cheering and
clapping. He looked at me and smiled.
it was an anguished
smile--a smile that held a thousand accusations, a thousand pardons, a
thousand hurt questions...and utter incomprehension.
It felt like I'd been punched
in the gut.
And I felt naked and exposed. A tear went down my cheek and I
quickly wiped it away, hoping nobody noticed. Hoping above all
that he hadn't noticed.
Nobody did; they were too busy cheering.
And he was too busy acknowledging his crowd.
But though I could shake the
urge to cry, I couldn't shake the impact.
A lightning bolt ripped
through my brain: Could I have been
wrong all this time?
Before I could carry myself
off with that question, a part of me I knew and nurtured well stepped
in and spoke up with force.
grip, goddammit. Whatever it is you're imagining about him, you
need to forget
it. You know what he thinks of you.
From somewhere else in my
head, another opinion tried to push its way out: But did you see how he looked at you? And
what about the song? Why did
I sighed. I had to stop
living in the past. Matt and I were history, and none of it was
my fault. I
wasn't ashamed of who I
was and how I felt about him, and it wasn't my problem that he couldn't
deal with it. The numbness washed back over me. I wasn't going to
let him hurt me with my love for him. I'd wrapped that love up
and pushed it away from the soft center of me months ago.
I smiled my perfect lie of a
smile back at him, and shook hands with him in a perfect betrayal of
the "secret handshake" we'd always used with each other. Then I
got up and walked away.
I walked back to the condo,
went into my bedroom, closed the door, climbed into bed, and turned off
We wound the trip down without
incident. The next day came, and we cleaned things up, said
goodbye to our guests and saw them off, then packed up and began the
Conversation on the way back
was much the way it had been on the way down. I drove most of the
way home this time. When he dropped me off at my house, he got
out with me and helped me unload my stuff onto the front porch.
After we'd finished I walked with him back to his van.
Climbing into the driver's
seat, he grinned at me and said, "Wow,
bro; we did it. It was a great time, don't you think?"
"I think everybody had a
blast, Matt," I said softly.
"Man. Our senior
party. All those years when we'd talked about it. Seemed
like it would never happen, right?" His words were questions.
Requests. But I didn't know what it was he was asking.
"Yeah, I guess so," I said,
looking down at the pavement.
A leaden silence threatened to
intervene. I stepped in to fill it. Looking up at him, I
said, "I guess we gotta start
saving for next year, right?"
He smiled again.
Man, we'll have lots of new stuff to catch each other up on.
It'll be even better than this one, because..."
He paused and cleared his
"Anyway. I'm headin' home. Talk to you later."
"Later," I said.
As I walked to the porch, I
shook the beach sand off.
July came to an end. I
was due at college for training camp the next week. Matt was due
at his university for training camp a week before that.
The night before he was
scheduled to leave, he called me up. It had been two weeks since
we'd last spoken.
"Well, tomorrow's the day, I
guess," he said.
"Yeah, I know," I said slowly.
Neither of us seemed to be able to continue.
Finally he said, "My mom's out
of town with her
job and she won't be back for a week. She's gonna fly up and see
me when I've gotten settled in for a week or so. We've already
said our goodbyes and there's nobody here to..."
"Look, I'm mostly loaded up,
just a few final things. I'm probably gonna leave around ten
tomorrow morning. Do you think you could--I mean, would you come
by early and spend a couple of hours with me, you know, help me pack
the last stuff, and just...I don't know...just...just kind of be here
when I leave?"
"Of course," I said quietly.
"I know it's early, but I..."
He fell silent again.
I said, "I'll come around
"I'd like that," he said.
"Matt," I said, jumping in
before he'd had a chance to say more, "I know what you feel and I've
already dealt with it. Let's leave it alone, bro. It doesn't
matter. We're movin' on. You don't owe me any explanation
or any words or anything, and it wouldn't change much anyway."
"I don't owe you?" he
said. I heard him take in a sharp breath.
After another suffocating pause, he
glad you're coming tomorrow."
"I'll see you then," I said,
and hung up.
We talked friendly and laughed
a lot that next morning; there were dim echoes of the old
days. But as I walked the final few items out to Matt's van, and
watched his room transform from a dwelling-place to a museum, a dark
cloud of regret descended on me. With every step I took, with every
item picked up and loaded into his van, with every trivial word
exchanged between us, I wanted to beg him to forgive me--forgive me for
loving him, forgive me for being someone who made him uncomfortable.
But it was too late. And
it was all a moot point. We were leaving the road we'd walked
together and were heading out on new--and separate--ones.
And anyway, I couldn't fix the
bad feelings he had about me just by wishing he didn't have them.
Over and over again during
those two hours, I tightened and tensed and held myself in check, in
control. I would not--could
not--lose it in front of Matt.
Finally the van was packed and
the hour had come. We closed his front door behind us and walked
toward his van.
As we stood by the van, he
shuffled his feet, stared at the ground, jingled the keys in his
pocket. Then, looking up at me, he said, "Well,..."
And suddenly, I knew, in a
horrible flash of insight, that I had been wrong.
All the conflict, all the
pain, all the waste; all the hatred for "not being like him": it had
never come from him; it had always come from me.
And, looking at him, I began
to have some comprehension of how he must have felt over the past year.
Ten years collapsed in ten
seconds, and as I stood there, looking at him, the scene merged with
one from a different time and place:
up at his face; his
steel-blue eyes locked onto mine and held us both there, frozen. There
was no sound, no movement, for what must have been forty-five seconds,
as his piercing eyes both took in my compassion and silently expressed
his own deep devastation.
We moved toward each other at
the same time and embraced stiffly, awkwardly. He slapped me on
the back, held the embrace for a bit, and then pulled away. He
smiled, wiped the corner of his left eye with a finger, and said, "I'll
e-mail you. You got my cell number. Or I'll
catch you on IM; you know, make sure you're studying.'"
"You know it," I said,
blinking back tears and laughing a little, "but I think it'll be the
other way around."
We smiled at each other
awkwardly. "I'll always be your friend, Andy," he said, looking
me in the eyes.
I couldn't meet his stare for
long. I looked down at the ground and said quietly, "I know."
And for the first time since
September, I believed it.
Which made it worse.
He climbed into the van and
rolled down the window. "Good-bye, Andy," he said.
"'Bye, Matt," I said. I
held my hand out to him; he gripped it tightly. Desperately.
I made myself let him go.
I stood in his driveway as he
backed out of it. Then I stepped out into the street and watched as his van
seemed to get smaller and smaller. Finally,
it disappeared from view altogether.
I walked slowly toward the
front door of his house and tried the handle. He'd forgotten to
I stepped in and slowly made
my way up to his room.
I stood in the doorway,
staring in, for a long time.
Then I walked in, went over to
and picked up the pillow he'd left behind. I pulled it tightly
against me, burying my face in it, breathing in his scent.
I took it with me as I turned
and walked away.
That night, lying on his
pillow, I dreamed of two young boys playing together.
Copyright 2005 by Adam Phillips
Well, here we are. This is the place I stopped writing last
year. Long-time readers know that Cross-Currents has undergone some
revision over the last couple of months. It's time for me to
start writing a new chapter, and
this year I'll try to get new chapters out a lot faster than I have in
It's been a long, strange trip, and I thank new and long-time readers
alike for years of email support, and in some cases, ongoing online
College looms ahead for Andy. I hope to have a new chapter ready
for you soon. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and
I'll do my best to reply.