These events occurred somewhere in a place I've been. A place where time passes dreamily. A place where our heart's desires are fulfilled. Where every yearning heart is held and kept and lifted up in loving embrace. Please play safe and be kind to yourselves and to one-another.
Our community always felt like a small town. In truth, it is a semi-rural enclave on the outskirts of a large northern city. But it is one of those places that people don't seem to move away from. Or they do, but only for a while, and then they're back again. Our parents and grandparents came here and put down roots -- and boy, what roots! Most of the people in this story still live in the same houses, these grand old cozy big homes that once rang out with the shouts of their parents' voices as children. Grandma's cooking smells are still there, in the walls somewhere, if your nose is keen enough.
Anyway, a few years have passed -- not a lot -- and some of us have moved away. But the place just keeps drawing us back. Some to raise a family, some to heal. And I still see these people in the course of a day and often we have a moment to stop, perhaps to touch, and to look each other in the face and smile, remembering how we were.
"He must bring you such joy," Jake whispered to me, as we watched him.
I just nodded and wiped ineffectually at the tears running down my cheeks. Derek was playing Frisbee with some island kids who'd accidentally thrown the disk right where we'd been lying on the beach. D had jumped up and joined their game, much to the younger kids' delight.
"Look at him," my voice whined, sounding like an asshole.
Jake just smirked: "I he weren't John's 'baby' -- and yours -- I'd run over there and take a big-ass bite of him, for sure," he chuckled. Watching him spin and catch: "You can really tell a finely-tuned nervous system when you see it in action. See him in action. Did you see him stick his leg down... out to down... to slow down... Out-To-Slow-His-Spin-Down?' he labored, "Geez!"
"He's so perfect... ," I snorted a huge glob of cry-snot. My voice came back to normal: " I don't know. I just don't know. He's so beautiful... Sometimes I don't see what he could possibly find in me."
"I do, Brand.
"I'm not gonna give you the 'you're-so-cool' pep talk right this minute, cuz you aren't reallly ready to hear it. Are you?"
I shook my head.
"Look, if I said a bunch of fucked stuff about Derek -- no, not Derek, say one of your buddies from soccer -- you wouldn't just sit there and agree with me, would you? If it were Derek, you'd certainly jump to defend him, so that doesn't really count. But another friend, you wouldn't just sit there and let me carp and tear him down and criticize and be unfair about him, would you?"
"Well, how well do you know Derek, Brand?"
"Very well. Extremely well. We are closer than... We are kind of part of the same person," I shrugged.
"If you wanted to pick him apart, could you?"
"I wouldn't. Ever. Even if he hated me."
"Okay, but you do know him really, really well. You know what sorts of things upset him, what sorts of things bring him joy. You pretty much know his dreams, don't you?"
"Yeah. Better than he does, maybe, sometimes."
"Well, so... let's say you were possessed by an evil demon and you wanted to hurt Derek. You'd be pretty well equipped, wouldn't you?"
"Yeah... ," I was starting to think, when Jake stole my thoughts.
"Pretty awesome responsibility, sometimes, isn't it? Holding his heart like that?"
I just started up with the tears again and felt so small. And got a boner. Weird. "I love him, Jake! Oh, God, I'm so lucky!"
"You are, Brand. In more ways than you may know, right now. Very lucky.
"Now, do you think it would be fair -- set aside for the moment whether you would -- do you think it would be fair to undermine him, to chop at his sense of self worth, to tell him his dreams are a bunch of bullshit?"
"No, of course not." I snot-snorted again, then grabbed a paper towel and blew my nose loudly. "Ick. Course snot."
"Yeah? If it isn't fair for you to do it to him, do you suppose it would be fair for him to do it to you?"
"I s'pose not. At least it would really... ," I shrugged, "... fuck me up pretty bad."
"Do you see where I'm going with this?" he asked. I shrugged and shook my head a little.
"Well, if you wouldn't do it to Derek, cuz it would devastate him... And he wouldn't do it to you -- would he?"
I shook my head, positive: I know my baby and that's not even in him.
"He wouldn't, would he!"
"Then why is it okay to do it to yourself, Brand?" Jake paused. "You know yourself better than anybody. You know your hopes and your dreams. You know your most intimate... your half-formed ... your unformed thoughts, Brand! Who else could cut you to the bone, like you could? Like you do? Who else could gut your dreams and cut you down and crush your sense of self? Who else would? Shit, all the rest of us have better manners than that!
"Do you think of yourself as an asshole, Brand?"
"Well, part of me is," I smirked.
"Yeah, right. Cute. But you know what I mean. Is there some reason it's okay to let the one person who holds all your secrets -- who holds keys that not even Derek could hold -- is it... does it make any sense to turn that person loose to tear you apart?"
"Well, don't you think you had better reach an understanding with that person?"
"Yeah, I guess."
"Let's put it this way. Do you want to be everything good you can be for Derek?"
"Then cut it the fuck out, Brand. I don't know about yourself, but you sure as shit don't have my permission to attack the people I care about! And one of them is a guy named Brand Coulter! You can just cut that shit out this minute. It's stupid, it's dangerous, it's pointless. And it's bad manners, Brand.
"Besides, you're kinda cute, if you ask me."
"Oh, Christ! Don't make me throw up. You two are the poster children for the lonely-boner dreams of every fucking gay boy on this planet. You're both young and sharp and masculine and athletic. Graceful. Frankly, you are both gorgeous, at this age. 'Oh so toe-tally kew-el! Oooh!' His valley girl yelp made me grin, despite myself.
"Now if you weren't such a couple of spoiled rich brats... "
"We are not! Derek works his ass off."
"Hmmm!? See? Hey Brand, who did you jump to defend, there? Huh? Caught ya!
"So you got my point?"
"Let's go play Frisbee!"
Jake ran off. I followed a little more gingerly: the sand was this light brown kind and really coarse. It scoured at the bottom of the arch part of your feet -- the tender part -- and made this weird burn-y feeling inside your body cavity. Ick.
Derek ran up and did this grunt thing: "Uh, Uh, Ih!" I cleared my throat back back: "Eh, eh, em!" That meant "I love you," in our secret out-in-public code. Three of anything. He snapped the disk up in a high arc and stepped aside. I had to run knee-deep into the fucking cold water to catch it.
"Oh, yeah?" I dipped the Frisbee in the water and threw it to him at short range, spraying him as he tried to catch it. "Here's a gift for you, Dare," I yelled, scooping up this nasty-looking handful of bulbous half-dried kelpy stuff off the beach and chasing him with it.
He danced away, running backwards at first, 'till it became clear there was no way he could run fast enough that way to escape.
"Ahh! Fu-uck!" Running hard. Running down to the wet sand and accelerating away, before I got to the harder surface and began to catch up. He sprinted down the beach, with me in hot pursuit. Hot bathing pur-suit: he was so lithe and beautiful and alive and every bit the thing that makes a boy so beautiful.
Around a rocky blob and I got him, grabbing him by the waist and tackling him to the sand. The sand scratched painfully and I crawled up his body to hover over his face: "I love you, you fucker!"
He glanced around: the coast was clear. He grabbed my ears and pulled me to his lips. My dick got hard and my body filled with an unbearable tickling desire for him.
"Errrh! Ummm! How do you do that! My dick's about to snap off."
I crawled on top and pressed myself to him. He was hard, too and pushed up. I felt him bunched in his suit. Felt his fullness. Felt his boy-ness. Felt his hardness. Felt my vision closing down. A sudden, hard rush of lust took me. Mind blank. Pressed to him. Filled with him. Tender. Too much for words. Too much. Trembling. Shaking. His body, the only thing in my universe for a second. Flashing in my head. Hard twinge. Exquisite. Melting. Pulsing 3, 4 times. He kissed me again. Mind blank and heart so full: maybe I died for a second.
"I love you Brand. I am so lucky."