Like Father, Like Son

Chapter 10

Copyright / Disclaimer

Copyright 2001, Duke Price

This story contains descriptions of sexual acts between boys of similar ages. If this is not to your tastes or is not legal in your locality, please leave now! The story and its associated characters are entirely fictional and any resemblance to people, living or otherwise, is purely coincidental. Please bare in mind when you read this, that portions of this story takes place in the early 70's. That was a time before HIV/AIDS. If you are going to engage in sex, remember to please be safe!

Like every other author out in cyberland, I would love to hear what you think of my story. My email address is




Dear Paula,

Please don't get mad, but I have to be alone for a while! I feel like I'm losing control and I have to try to get my shit together! You and the kids have fun! I'll call you in a couple days. I'll meet you back in Iowa!



Damn you, John! How am I going to explain this to the kids and your parents!

"Mom? Is everything OK? Where's Dad?" Andrea said sleepily as she sat next to me on the bed.

"Who's the letter from?"

"It's from your father."

Looking concerned, "Why did he leave a letter?"

"Oh, honey, your father just needs to be away for a while. He needs to relax."

"He doesn't like spending time with us anymore, does he?"

"Andrea, he loves you and Conrad very much. He's just had some personal problems that he needs to work out on his own. Don't ever think that he doesn't love us. He loves us all very much!"

"Can't you help him?"

" I'm afraid not! It's something that he has to solve on his own."

There was a knock on the door. Andrea opened it to let Con and Ryan in. "Hi, Mom! Where's Dad? DAD, WHERE ARE YA?"

"He had to go away for a while. He'll be meeting us in Iowa in a couple of days. I'm going to take a shower. We have to get ready to go!"

Looking concerned, "Oh, he was going to take us to the farm today!" Con said disappointedly.

"You'll get to visit the farm. If he doesn't take you maybe your Grandfather will. Now go get ready to go!"

"Ok, Mom."

After getting dressed and packed we headed for the lobby to check out. We had just finished checking out when I saw Michael walk into the lobby. Waving, I hollered, "MICHAEL! OVER HERE!"

He saw us and walked over to where we were. The kids looked a little puzzled at me. Probably wondering who this stranger was, but I ignored it and walked over to him. "Hi, Michael. It looks like it's going to be just you, me, and the kids flying to Iowa. John was gone when I woke up this morning and he left this letter. Should we be worried?"

"John, John, John…I'm sure he'll be fine, Paula!" as he gave me a hug.

I looked back at the kids as I hugged him. Con and Andrea were talking to each other as they looked at us disapprovingly. God only knows what they are thinking. "Michael, I think the kids are thinking we are having some sort of an affair."

"Hmm, they don't look very happy. Perhaps you should introduce them to me?"

The kids stared at us as we walked back at them. "Come on Michael!"

Ryan had a hold of Con's arm, sort of holding him back. Con and Andrea were looking more and more irritated. "Kids, I'd like you to meet Dr. Michael Francesco. He's a friend of your father! He's also a cardiologist and will be accompanying us to Iowa."

Ryan spoke up first. "Nice to meet you, Dr. Francesco," as he elbowed Con.

"Please call me Michael!" as he held out his hand but neither of the kids made any attempt to shake his.

"Ahem, Michael is a old friend of your father and was supposed to be a surprise for John! He'll just have to see him in Iowa!" Con and Andrea's expression sort of changed as it must have sunk in that Michael and I were not having an affair

"Glad to meet you, sir!" Con said. I could tell he was a still a little perplexed about this whole situation.

Andrea walked up to Michael and held out her hand and shook it too. "Nice to meet you!"

"It's a pleasure to meet you both!" Michael said, looking a little nervous.

After shaking Michael's hand, Andrea looked at me, winking with a big smile on her face. It was very obvious that she thought that he was good looking. I have to admit he could be a model. He obviously takes very good care of himself and dresses in style! How the heck can I possibly compete with that!

Con's look of disapproval turned to one of curiosity. "How long have you known my dad?"

"Oh, let me see…I think I was 12 years old when I met your father. We grew up together! We were like brothers!"

"That's strange because Dad has never mentioned you before?"

Michael said. "Aha."

Andrea asked, smiling, "Michael, do you have any sons?"

Ryan and Con started to snicker. Andrea punched Con hard on the shoulder. Then she turned to Michael and smiled sweetly, waiting for his reply.

"I'm afraid not. I don't have any children."

Looking disappointed, "Oh, I see."

"That's enough interrogating! We have to get to our plane! Let's go!"

Con and Ryan kept their distance mumbling to each another. We finally were loaded in the airplane. Soon after loading up we on our way and climbing to 18000 feet. Everyone knew the drill before takeoff. We needed to have a sterile cockpit. When we leveled off at Con said, "Can we talk now, Mom?"

"Sure you can. Thanks for not talking. Chicago is a busy area. I'll feel better when we get farther away!"

Con said, "Michael?"

"Yes, Con?"

"What was Dad like as a kid?"

Michael smiled and said, "Well, your father was quiet until you got to know him. He didn't have many friends and the ones he had…he referred to them as acquaintances. He was sharp as a whip! Your dad was also quite the little scrapper! He enjoyed sparring. I'll never forget the day we met. I had just moved from Florida and some boys were picking on me. Your father came to the rescue to even the odds. These three boys that were ganging up on me had previously experienced your father's skill at sparring and backed off. We were friends ever since that incident."

"John told me that you could hold your own too!"

Michael smiled at me. "Well, little Jimmy never messed me again!"

Con asked, "Did he use to kick some ass?"

"Con! Watch your mouth!"

"Hehe! Let me just say that he usually finished what other people started and he never backed down!"

"Yeah, my old man's tough!" Con and Michael smiled at each other.

"Con…are you involved in TKD?"

"No, but Ryan and I have thought about learning the martial art."

"It's a wonderful art! It teaches you self-control, coordination, and confidence. I highly recommend it!"

"Michael? Are you in TKD?"

"Yes, I'm a 5th degree black belt. I'm sure your father would love to teach you the art!" Con and Ryan smiled at each other in agreement that this would be something that they'd like to get involved in.

"I'm thinking about moving to Green Bay to join your father's practice and if I do I would be more than happy to teach you boys!"

Ryan said, "Cool! Can you show us some moves in Iowa?"

"Sure! I can show you some basic things to get you started! You have to remember that TKD is a life long practice. I will teach you the tenets of TKD - Courtesy, Integrity, Self Control, Perseverance, Indomitable Spirit, and what each of those means!"

Andrea spoke up, "Can I learn too?"

"You bet you can!"

Michael went on to talk about the history of TKD and the kids listened intently. Heck, even I found it interesting. His enthusiasm about the martial art was addictive! He spoke highly of John's skill and how they used to have some intense sparring sessions.

Ryan asked, "Did you ever hurt each other?"

"Oh sure, but never seriously. John broke his finger once and I broke a toe. Nothing serious."

Andrea asked, "Did ya ever have to use TKD on anybody?"

"Sure, but it was for defense. You see the main idea around the martial art is a strong defense is good offense. If you can counterattack, your attacker will either become frustrated or frightened and leave you alone."

"Did you and Dad ever get into any fights?" Con asked, smiling at Ryan.

"Fights…No! Arguments…YES! You can't agree on everything! Life would be boring if you agreed on everything! I think you need to remember that life is full of conflict and once conflict ceases to exist you are probably dead!" Michael said, smiling.

Laughing…Con said, "I guess I'd rather have conflict!"

Ryan said, "Yeah, me too!"

The kids bombarded Michael with questions about John. Michael was more than happy to talk about him. The kids listened intently.

Con asked, "So why didn't you guys stay in contact?"

Michael looked at me and said, "Oh, sometimes people grow apart. I moved to Boston and we sort of lost contact with each other."

"I don't understand how you two could have just quit talking to one another?"

"Sometimes people cross paths and go their separate ways. It's kind of like how it's stated in the lyrics of ‘In My Life’ by The Beatles." Places I remember all my life…though some have changed…some forever, not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments with lovers and friends. I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living. In my life I've loved them all."

"YES…I KNOW THAT SONG! I hear Dad playing it! I like that song too. It also says…"But of all these friends and lovers, there is no one compares with you and these memories lose their meaning. When I think of love as something new. Though I know I'll never lose affection for people and things that went before I know I'll often stop and think about them. In my life I love you more!"

Michael laughed nervously and I could see him blush a little. "So you're a Beatles fan?"

"No, but I do like a few of their songs and, like Dad…I like that song a lot!"

Michael asked, "Does it have a special meaning for you?"

Looking at Ryan and smiling, "You could say that."

"Good for you, Con!"

"Do you think that your paths will ever cross again?"

"I hope so, Con! I miss your old man!" Michael turned away and faced the front of the plane with sort of a blank stare.

There was a long silence and then Con said, "I hope your paths cross again. I think Dad could use some help right now."

Michael glanced over at me and Con continued, "I mean he could really use some help with his job and I think it would be nice if you and Dad could be friends again."

"We'll see, Con."

Con wouldn't let it drop. "My dad REALLY needs help! He's getting tired! He's working too hard!"

"Con…stop pushing!"

"But Mom! I'm worried about him!"

Andrea spoke up, "Yeah…I think Dad's depressed!"

Michael said, "I'll tell ya what…I'll talk to your dad and see what I can do to help him out, Ok?"

Sounding relieved, Con said, "Thanks, Michael!"

"Yeah, thanks!" Andrea said.

I turned around and looked at the kids. Con had tears in his eyes. Ryan was trying to comfort him by massaging the back of his neck. I knew then that I had made the correct decision in asking Michael to help John out. I guess I didn't realize just how much John's depression was affecting the kids.

Michael looked at me and smiled reassuringly and reached over and patted me on the shoulder. Michael tried to lighten the mood by telling us about some of the stupid things he and John used to do. About how they built their own tree house, how they used to fly RC airplanes, motorcycle riding, and how much fun it was to help out on the farm.

I could tell the kids were getting excited about visiting the farm. We finally made it to Sioux City. We dropped Michael off at his home and went to John's parents.

Jill and John Sr. met us at the door. They looked ecstatic to see us. Jill said, "We're so happy to see you all!"

Jill looked down at the car. "Where's Johnny?"

Trying to be upbeat, "He'll be here in a day or two. He had some business to attend to."

Jill and John looked visibly disappointed and said, "Well, come on in! Make yourselves comfortable. I'll make something to eat! We weren't sure exactly when you'd get here!"

"I'll help you, Jill!"





I didn't know exactly why, all I knew is that I needed to go home. After getting off the plane in Sioux City, I rented a car and immediately drove to Grandpa's grave. The graveyard was out in the country only a couple of miles from my grandpa's farm. It was very quiet out here. All you could hear was the wind blowing through the trees, the birds singing with an occasional cackle of a pheasant off in the distance. I knew this countryside like the back of my hand. It felt good to be back! I sat down next to a large maple tree near my grandpa's grave and rested my head back against the trunk. I could feel my body begin to relax as the tension began to melt away. As I drifted off to sleep I heard a familiar voice.

"Johnny? Is that you?"

"Grandpa!" I ran up to him and gave him a big hug.

"Johnny! How's my boy?"

I looked down and shook my head. "Not so good, Grandpa. I've made a mess of my life!"

"Oh, I wouldn't go that far! You've done well for yourself. You've made me proud!"

"Financially…maybe. Other than that, the rest of my life is crap!"

"How so, boy?"

"I married a really nice woman and I have two wonderful children."

"Yes, they're beautiful!"

"Well, when I got married I chose a path that excluded Michael."

"Yes, that is a problem, Johnny!"

"Grandpa, what should I do? You always had the wisdom to point me in the right direction."

"This is a decision that you must make on your own. Seek help from the people that love you!"

Grandpa's image started to fade away. "No don't go! I need you!"

I was abruptly removed from my slumber when I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard someone say. "John, what are you doing here?" I looked up to see who it was but the sun obscured my vision.


Feeling embarrassed, I stood up and brushed the dirt off of my pants. "Oh, hi, Michael! What are you doing here?"

"I could ask you the same thing!"

"I just needed some time alone to reflect."

"John, you look like shit! No, you look worse than shit! Everyone is worried about you!"


"What made you think of coming here?"

"Oh, John, don't you remember? Whenever you were troubled, you always would seek your Grandfather's advice and after he died you used to come visit his grave."

"Oh…I forgot." I sat back down on the ground with my knees up.

Michael sat down next to me. "Talk to me, John."

"Michael I'm so unhappy and after a lot of reflection I know what I have to do!"

"And what is that?"

"I'm going to divorce Paula. I'm miserable in this marriage and I'm making her life a living hell!

"Have you thought about seeing a counselor?"

"What…so he can tell me something that I already KNOW?"

Michael just sat there. Then he said, "You better think long and hard about this. Think about what you'd be giving up. Remember, John, you always wanted a family!"

"Michael, I've thought about this for years. I had no business getting married!"

"Now you have children…what about them?"

"They'll move on…besides, I'll continue to be in their lives."

"What if Paula finds another man? And what if he hates Con for being gay?"

"Oh God…I didn't think of that! Hmmm, he can live with me. Heck, Andrea can live with me too if she wants!"

"See, you haven't thought everything out!"

"Michael, I've thought about this long and hard! I love Paula as a dear and close friend! I don't love her like Mom and Dad love each other. The truth of the matter is, I can't continue to be something I'm not!"

"What, may I ask, is that something?"

"I'm gay, Michael, and that's all there is to it! It's time that I come to terms with that!"

There was a long silence. "Michael?"


"Have you ever thought about us ever getting back together?"

"Gee, let me see. I think about that probably…Hmmm…I'd have to say…every day, John. Every single day when I enter my home and look at the pictures of us on the wall, I think about us getting back together. I told you that I'd always love you."

"Good, because I want us to be together again!"

"Whoa! Wait a minute! People change! You might not be the same John that I knew 16 years ago and I may not be the same person that I once was! We all change, John! I mean…I love the John that I knew in the past, but what kind of person are you now? Did you ever give any thought to that?"

"No, I haven't!"

"You should! John, I've grown accustomed to living alone! I've come to accept the idea that we are not going to be together. I have friends and for the most part I'm content with my life. I knew when we were together that our days as a couple were numbered and despite that…the pain of losing you was almost unbearable! What I'm trying to say is, I'm not sure I want you back!"

I sat there in silence. Letting it all sink in. "I can see your point and even if we never get back together, I still think it's best that I break up with her. I'm not happy being married and to be fair to her I should leave her so that she can find someone who will love her the way she should be loved!"

I looked at Michael’s face and I could see it turning red. I've seen that look before and it usually meant that he was getting angry. Then he glared at me with his blue eyes and said, "John, I hope you realize what you are doing to your wife and children! The kids are worried sick about you! And what you are doing to Paula is exactly what you did to me 16 years ago! You are not someone who I can trust! You treat love as if it's something disposable!"

"Michael, please don't be angry with me!"

"Fuck off, John!" Michael stood up and started walking to his car. I got up and ran to catch up to him.

"Michael, wait up!" with tears beginning to run down my face.

"Stay away from me!" he yelled.

I caught up to him and placed my hand on his shoulder. He immediately turned and gave me a solid right hook to the chin. I fell backwards from the impact and then propped myself on my elbows. I shook my head, trying to get rid of the stars. I could taste the saltiness of the blood that was running from the corner of my mouth. In a fit of rage Michael pounced on me, grabbing hold of my shirt, putting his face up to mine. Tears were escaping from his eyes and were dropping on my face. Then he yelled, "You son of a bitch! How dare you come back after all of these years and expect me to just let you back into my life! How could I ever trust you with my heart after leaving me like you did! And what really pisses me off is that I'm seeing you do the same thing to Paula! Paula loves you just as much as I…" He let go of my shirt and lightly pounded his fists on my chest. He rolled off of me with his back to me and silently cried.

I cautiously put my hand on his arm and he immediately shrugged it off. "John, you treat love like it's something disposable. If it doesn't suit you today, you just get rid of it. Paula and the kids love you! How can you just leave them?"

"Please, Michael, listen to me! When I broke up with you I knew deep down that you were the one! You are my soul mate…the love of my life! I just couldn't come to terms with my sexuality! I knew it then and I know it now…that you and I are meant for each other. I love you! I will always love you! There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about you and I haven't been happy since the day we broke up! Michael, we're in our 40's now. Life is quickly passing by and if we don't act now, there may never be…US again!"

Michael started to laugh. He sniffed and said, "So that's it! I should have known! You're going through a midlife crisis! Well, John, it's time to grow up! Life doesn't get any better than this! Actually, John, my life is pretty damn good! I have all the money I need! I have my friends and hell…I even have your parents! John, you've even managed to leave them out of your life too! No, John, there will never be US! Go home to your wife and kids! Go back to Green Bay!"

I sat on the ground, stunned at what I just heard. I guess I shouldn't be surprised with his reaction.

"Michael, can we be friends?"

Michael sat there and shook his shoulder. "Sure, John, your kids are worried sick about you and they are all convinced that I can help you! And because they think that I can help you out, they've asked me to be a part of your life again. Hell, even Paula wants me back in your life! She's desperate! She's worried sick that you might become more depressed! She's also convinced that you are going to leave her! I told her and the kids that I would try to help you. I can empathize with them! I know the pain that Paula is going through and to see the worry in your children's eyes! How can I refuse! Not only that, I feel like I owe you!"

"Don't do me any favors, Michael!" I got up and started tucking my shirt in as I walked back to my car.

Just as I was going to open my car door a pickup truck slowly drove by and then came to a complete stop. I noticed a dark haired woman was taking a long hard look at us. She appeared to be trying to figure out who the heck we were. I'm sure that not many people visited this graveyard and she probably knew everyone that did. As she drove nearer the face was vaguely familiar. I think it's Jean's mother! No wait, Jean's mother would be in her 60's or 70's. I think it's…Jean! The woman came to a complete stop and parked in front of my car. I could tell that she couldn't figure out who it was and looked a little nervous. I would have been a little nervous too because my clothing was dirty. My shirt was blood stained with a few buttons missing. I had a big lip and my hair was a mess with grass in it! She kept studying my face, not sure if she should get out of her truck. But then I could see her mouth some words but couldn't hear what she said. Then as I got closer her eyes lit up and she jumped out of the truck and started to run to me. "JOHN! Is that you?" Her eyes began to dart back and forth to me and then to Michael who was now sitting by Grandpa's grave. She peered behind me. "Michael?"

"Hi, Jean? Yes, it's me, John and Michael!" As I turned my head to see what he was doing.

When she reached me she gave me a big hug. She broke our embrace and gave me an inquisitive look. "John, what hell are you and Michael doing here?"

I looked down and started sobbing.

Looking very worried, "What's happened? John, talk to me! Did someone…DIE or get HURT!"

Unable to speak, I shook my head no.

"Were you in an accident?"

I shook my head no and was wiping the tears from my eyes.

"What's the matter!" she asked.

I couldn't answer her.

Sounding a little panicky, she yelled, "MICHAEL WHAT'S GOING ON?"

Being a ‘take charge’ sort of individual,. Jean said, "MICHAEL, GET OVER HERE! I want to know why John's so upset!"

Michael slowly strolled on over. He stood next to me. "Michael. What's going on?"

"Fighting," Michael said under his breath.

"What? I didn't hear you!"

"Fighting! We were fighting!"

"Boys!" Jean said with a look of relief and then distaste.

After a moment of silence, she said. "I want both of you to come to the house so that we can talk about this."

With a whine Michael said, "Jean! Come on! I don't want to talk to him!"

"Don't piss me off! You know that I can kick both of your asses with one arm tied behind my back!"

We both knew better than to disagree with Jean. She had a terrible temper and, being a farmer's wife, she was tough as nails. We both nodded obediently and walked to our cars and followed her to the farmhouse.

My grandfather's farm was only a couple of miles from the graveyard and I was amazed at how little it had changed after all of these years. They maintained the place beautifully. They even added some amenities like a new garage and a paved driveway. Jean loved gardening and the place was beautifully landscaped. Off in the distance I could see a green tractor cultivating a bean field. As we approached the house two boys and a girl came storming out the door. Each of them said, "Hi Mom!" They gave us very little notice as they ran out into the yard.

"You kids be careful! Those kids are too damned wild!"

I laughed. "Just like their mamma?"

Jean smiled. "Yeah, I guess! Just like me!"

We walked into the kitchen that was spick-n-span. "You boys sit down while I make us some strong coffee!"

"Do you mind if I get a little cleaned up?"

"Sure, the bathroom is…well you remember where it is!"

It was weird being back in the farmhouse. It was like I was expecting to hear Grandma or Grandpa say something. It was a little unnerving! Even Michael's mood seemed to change. "Jean, you and Bill have made some nice improvements!" I yelled down the hall. The bathroom was close to the kitchen. I washed up and examined my lip, which was swollen and turning a shade of purple.

"Coffee's ready!" Jean yelled.

I went back into the kitchen and glanced at Michael who seemed to be lost in his thoughts. Jean handed each of us mug of strong hot coffee. It had a wonderful aroma! Jean sat down, looking at me and then at Michael. "Care to let me in on what's going on?"

Michael and I said at the same time. "We… Sorry! Go ahead! No, you first!"

Just at that moment Bill came through the door. "Honey, is everything OK? I saw two cars drive in."

He looked at us and said. "Michael? John?"

Looking irritated, Jean said, "Not now, honey! You can talk to the boys later!" as she motioned for him to leave.

"Oh, sorry! Umm, I have to do some more chores! I'll see you guys later?" as he excused himself.

"He's a sweet man but his timing sucks!" as she took a sip of her coffee.

I sighed and let out a little laugh. Being the persistent sort of person Jean is, she said, "So do I have to drag it out of you! What the hell's going on?"

Michael spoke up first and said. "He's been gone all of these years and now he wants me to just take him back!"

Looking at me, "Is this true, John?"

Feeling very frustrated, I said. "Look…everyone makes mistakes! I fucked up when I broke up with you! I've regretted it ever since!"

"Jean…he has a wife and two kids! He can't abandon them! The kids are already worried sick!" Then he looked at me. "John, you should have seen their faces when Paula and I hugged at the hotel. They thought we were having an affair! Have you thought about what the kids might think about you leaving their mother for some guy! HA…have you thought about that?"

"I have thought about it! Let me ask you this. Is it fair to the kids to have a father and for Paula to have a husband that is miserable to be around? You said so yourself that they are worried about me!"

Neither Michael nor Jean said anything. Then I said, "I've made my decision! I can't live like this and it's not fair to them."

Michael said, "Jean, please tell him that he's making a big mistake! He loves Paula! He told me himself!"

"I do love Paula, like a dear and close friend…NOT LIKE A HUSBAND AND WIFE!"

"Listen, John, we can't tell you what to do."


Jean interrupted Michael and said. "Shut up, Michael!"

Then she looked back at me. "This is your decision. It's your life and you must do what makes you happy! On the other hand, you can't expect Michael to just invite you back into his life! I also feel that if you two decide to get back together, you will need to pick an appropriate time after you are divorced. Don't forget that you are a role model for your kids!"

"Jean, I can't believe you are encouraging him to leave his wife!"

"I'm not, Michael! It's John's decision and as a friend I think you need to be there for support! I know you still love him, you haven't been happy since he left you! Am I correct?"

Michael nodded in agreement. "Well, if you love him…then at least be there for him as friend!"

Jean reached over the table and squeezed each of our hands. " I want to show you two something. Follow me." We walked out the front door and followed her out to the woods. The forest hadn't changed much. I knew where we were headed. It was our special place. It was the oak tree that supported our tree house.

Jean looked at both of us. "I know that this place is special to both of you."

I could feel my face blush. She went on to say, "There was a lot of loving that happened here and I'm not just saying sex!"

All Michael and I could do was to stand there looking dumbfounded at her. "Oh please, I knew what you two used to do up here. Don’t you think I wanted to stay overnight in this old tree house? You guys would talk about camping out here, well one night I came out to join you two but was a little shocked with what I saw you two doing!"

I started to laugh but then Jean gave me a stern look. "You two were so in-love! You were beautiful! God, I can still see you two in all of your glory!" I wanted to laugh some more but I knew better. She was trying to make a point, trying to somehow remind us of what we once had. She didn't have to remind me. I don't know about Michael, but I remember it all!

"Now I want you two to talk to each other in private and I want you to be civil with each other! No more fighting!"

"Yes, Ma'am!"

"Now I expect you both to be back for dinner!"

"Yes, Ma'am!"

There was a long silence. "Well, Michael, I told you everything. I know I've been a real idiot! I hope that you can somehow forgive me!"

"Yeah, well, I guess we all make mistakes but this is a really big one!"

"God, I know…I'm so scared, Michael! I don't want to lose Paula as a friend and the kids…I'm afraid they'll hate me!"

Michael closed his eyes. I wanted to know what he was thinking. "John, Paula wants me back in your life so that you'll be happy again. I told her that what she's asking is very risky because I still love you."

We both sat down under the old oak tree and picked at the grass. "So what did she say when you told her that you still loved me?"

"She said that that was a risk that she had to take. Besides she feels that she's already lost you. Not only that, she's worried about you becoming more depressed and is convinced that I am the only person that can help you. The problem is, I can't really trust myself. I think I'd want more than friendship and to be totally honest with you, I'm not really happy with my life. I'm lonely!"

"Oh, Michael…I'm so very sorry! I hate myself! I've made everyone so miserable!"

"John, don't be so hard on yourself1 I could have found someone else but I chose not to! It's not your fault that I'm alone. It's not like I haven't had people try to start a relationship with me."

"Well, Michael…I hope you do find someone that makes you happy! You deserve to have someone special in life because I think you are the most wonderful person in the world!"

"Well, thanks, John! I thought I had found that special person a long time ago but we've gone our separate ways. The question is, will our paths cross again and if so, will we feel the same about each other? I'm sure that each of us has changed and that connection…that common bond may no longer exist?"

"Yes, but we'll never know if we don't at least try!"

Michael chuckled. "How do you know that I'm talking about you?"

"I know that you are referring to me. You said that you compared all the others to me!"

"I did?"

"Yeah, so don't play mind games with me! Once I'm divorced I am going to do everything possible to get you back!"

Michael looked down, smiling. I could tell that he didn't want to smile but he couldn't hide it. Then he glanced up at me and said. "WHAT?"

Smiling back at him I said, "I think that you are the most beautiful person I know!"

He gave me a peck on the cheek and got up. "We have to get back to the house. Jean will kill us if we're late for dinner."

"Wait! Just one more thing! This is our special place and since we may never come back here ever again I was wondering if I could kiss you one last time?"

Michael looked amused. "You are such a Casanova! Well, that part of you hasn't changed! OK…I could do that!"

We looked into each other's eyes as I drew him into an embrace. I was really curious, as I'm sure he was, if that old flame was still present. I closed my eyes, stood up on my toes and moved in for the kiss. At first it was me doing the kissing but then I heard that familiar sigh, he embraced me tightly. We broke the kiss and I said, "OW! My lip is sore!"

"Here, let me kiss it and make it better!" And we went in for another kiss. This time it was me that was sighing.

We pulled apart and we held hands, looking down. It was like we were afraid to look each other in the eye. Maybe we were afraid that the other didn't like the kiss. One thing for certain, I enjoyed the kiss and I didn't want to let go of his hands. Then Michael finally looked up at me in a shy sort of way with a very serious look on his face and said. "Was it good for you?"

"YES!" As I brought him in for another kiss. This time it was more passionate. It was like we hadn't even been apart for the past 16 years! The flame had been rekindled! We broke our kiss and holding our embrace, I placed my head on his shoulder where I had so many times, before. I didn't want this moment to end and I didn't want to say anything for fear of ruining what had just happened.

Finally Michael broke the silence and said, "We should head back to the house!"

I looked at Michael and noticed him staring up into the oak tree that once held our little house. "Whatcha lookin at, Michael?"

"I'm looking at our special place and thinking about how wonderful it was. It's those memories that keep me going. What happened just now gives me some feeling that there is still hope for us! At the same time I don't want to get my hopes up!"

"Let's just play it by ear and see what happens! I know without a doubt in my mind that I will be happy just to have you back in my life! If not as a lover…at least as a friend!"

Michael smiled and flashed his pearly whites at me. "I hope more than friends!"

"Me too!" I gave him another kiss.

"Ahem! Will you two lovebirds PLEASE get your butts home for dinner! I told ya not to be late! The kids are wondering what the hell you two are doing out here and I'm running out of excuses!

"Please? She actually said PLEASE! Wow, I think you're softening as you get older!"

"Shut up! Now get home!"

"Yes, Ma'am!"

We had a wonderful dinner with Jean and her family. We talked about old times and it was great to see that Jean and Bill were so happy! I envied them! They were so content with their lives.

I drove up to my parents’ home and sitting out on the porch were Con and Ryan. When Con saw me drive up he opened the front door and announced my arrival. Michael parked behind me but stayed in the car.

Mom, Dad, Paula, and Andrea came running out the front door. Paula gave me a big hug and a kiss. "John, we were worried about you!"

"I'm sorry! I needed some time to think!"

"Well, I'm so happy that you are OK!"

Con gave me a hug. "Me too, Dad!"

"Me three!" Andrea said as she gave me a hug. That's unusual. Andrea usually doesn't show any type of affection and like me tends to keep things bottled up inside.

"I promise that I won't do that again! I want everyone to know that I feel a whole lot better now…thanks to an old friend!" I motioned for Michael to come on over.

He got out of the car. "Kids, I want you to meet someone that I grew up with. He's like a brother to me, someone that I consider family!"

I put my arm around Michael's shoulder and said, "Kids, I'd like to introduce you to Michael. I'm hoping that you will be seeing a lot more of him because he's thinking about helping your old man out with his practice!"

Con said, "We already met Michael! He told us about all of the fun things you guys used to do!"


I looked up at Mom and Dad on the porch. Mom was smiling and she had tears running down her cheeks. I couldn't tell what was going through Dad's mind. He just stood there with his arms folded across his chest and didn't say anything. Oh well, Dad, it's about time that we all come to terms with who the real John is! "Hi Mom and Dad!"

Mom came running down and gave me a big hug. "It's so good to see you again!"

Dad finally walked down to where we were standing and held out his hand. "Good to see ya, son!"

"Good to see you too, Dad!" He kept eyeing Michael. I know that he knows about us and he's probably pissed off at me right now, thinking…how the hell can I do this to my wife!

Paula stood there looking at Michael and me with an almost relieved or was it a resigned look on her face. As we all conversed I noticed that Con kept studying the two of us. He'd stare at me and then at Michael. Sometimes he'd whisper in Ryan's ear. I think he suspects something?

Mom said, "Come on in, we'll have some ice cream and cake!"

I didn't want to move my arm away from Michael. I feared that if I let go I would lose him forever! Michael smiled at me with his reassuring eyes and removed my arm from around him. He placed his hand on the back of my neck and gently urged me to follow the rest into the house.





When I read the following passage, I was astounded at how almost every idea fits the way I think life is and should be. As you read this, I hope there are some phrases that fit your life.

Maybe God wants us to meet a few wrong people before
meeting the right one so that when we finally meet the
right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.

When the door of happiness closes, another opens, but
often times we look so long at the closed door that we
don't see the one which has been opened for us.

The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on
porch and swing with, never say a word, and then walk
away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.

It's true that we don't know what we've got until we
lose it, but it's also true that we don't know what
we've been missing until it arrives.

Giving someone all your love is never an assurance
that they'll love you back! Don't expect love in
return; just wait for it to grow in their heart but if
it doesn't, be content it grew in yours.

It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an
hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but
it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

Don't go for looks; they can deceive. Don't go for
wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes
you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark
day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile.

There are moments in life when you miss someone so
much that you just want to pick them from your dreams
and hug them for real!

Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go;
be what you want to be, because you have only one life
and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet,
enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to
keep you human, enough hope to make you happy.

Always put yourself in others' shoes. If you feel that
it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best
of everything; they just make the most of everything
that comes along their way.

Happiness lies for those who cry, those who hurt,
those who have searched, and those who have tried, for
only they can appreciate the importance of people who
have touched their lives.

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss and ends with a tear.

The brightest future will always be based on a
forgotten past, you can't go on well in life until you
let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone
around you was smiling. Live your life so that when
you die, you're the one who is smiling and everyone
around you is crying.

-John S. Trower


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