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.
I'd seen Derek around the neighborhood, ever since they got back from South America. It's amazing, though. Like a coccoon. I mean, we all said good bye to this 10 year old kid and not even two years later, this teenager comes back. An 11 year old teenager. Well, almost 12. Deep voice, the whole 9 yards.
I'm not really sure why we hadn't connected before then. I had the BMX thing. And soccer. But mostly Dustin. See, when my Dad was... When we adopted Dusti, we were a normal, small family. Then Dad had all those heart attacks and he was just gone. He got OLD in six months. Frail. And then he was just gone.
Guess we all knew, after the first two heart attacks, that things were gonna change. We sort of had to pull up our socks fast.
So that meant that I picked up a lot of the details of Dustin's day-to-day. Getting him to the sitter, during school. Snacks and stuff. Bedtime.
See, my little brother is a genius. We adopted him when he was a year and nine months old, and he was already talking in short paragraphs. He was reading at 3. Now he's writing. I guess that's not all that unusual.
It's something in his eyes. It makes strangers freak out. When he decides to LOOK at you, its like "Houston, we have soft dock!" He opens up this... channel... and SOMEBODY's WATCHING. Somebody a whole lot smarter than you and me. People do weird things. Some of them try to treat him like a typical little kid. Gootchi-goo. That doesn't do a whole lot for Dusti, unless it involves ice cream. Most of the rest just get real quiet. Or they start babbling and telling him stuff. It's just weird. He does that to people. You can just see the... clarity.
You get used to it though. It's just that when he's CONNECTED, it takes ALL your attention, to keep up. I take care of him more than anyone and I don't always have the sheer cold-cranking power to connect. Dusti says that's OK. He just sort of assumes that people need this low-power state, just like they need to sleep later than a 4 year old does. He just gets up at 5 AM and builds a tent around the heater duct with some blankets and waits for us all to wake up.
No, sorry Dusti: we LIVE in this low power state. We just visit you in orbit, when we can.
So anyway, Derek and I ran into each other at the ice cream place and we got to talking. He saw Dusti and got a taste of orbit for a moment. I'm always curious, how each person will react. Well, Derek did good. He got very still for a second. Then he got this sort of twinkle, like of admiration. And they started with this whole thing I didn't even follow. They just kept up this "Like Mickey's buttons!" Smirk. "Underoos!" Ha Ha! All this stuff. I didn't hear a single complete sentence out of either of them for 5 minutes. Just this babble and lots of laughing. When he surfaced, Derek looked at me and you could see what a kick he was getting. You can tell something about people's sense of self-importance by how they react. Derek was excited and had a look of admiration. I knew then that he was real smart, but not hung up about it.
Did I say he has these wonderful eyes? They're actually grey, when they aren't blue. They sort of switch. After talking to Dusti, his were blue. And Derek and I got talking about radios or something, and then about the new mini computer on a chip that I got in the mail. It was a Nova, and I got this 1cm. square wafer glued to the letter. Obviously, it was useless, without the rest of the computer. I mean, it wasn't even in a package. Just a black wafer, like a huge Sen-Sen. What I liked was the letter. Addressed to Mr. Brand Coulter, Executive VP (R&D). Coulter Associates. Yeah, right! I love that stuff! But I miss Dad so much when I see it.
Derek and I made a date for him to come over in 45 minutes. He had to go switch the laundry. One of his chores. So we all headed out.
When Dusti and I got home, Mom was getting ready to go out. The dog was freaking out. That mutt always knows when Mom is getting ready. Mom says that it's when she puts on lipstick: Phoebe just flips and starts running in circles by the garage door. Mom says it's sort of insulting, that the dog thinks it must be a special occasion if she even puts on lipstick. Dustin told her it could be worse: "At least she doesn't do that every time you take a shower." Mom's used to that. From Dusti.
Well, anyway, I was getting this sugar reaction from the ice cream and not having eaten breakfast. I'd had a Coke and then a sundae with Dusti, and now they were wearing off and I was a little shaky. Derek showed up as Mom was getting ready to go out shopping. Seeing that I had a friend, she decided to take Dustin with, so we could do our thing.
Just as I finished saying good bye to Dustin -- he was in "Connection" mode, big time -- I looked up. And I guess I forgot to switch back to the civilian frequency, cuz I looked up at Derek and there was this CONNECTION. Oh, God... But it was different. It was Derek on the line. It was another teen. It was a very cute teen.
It was like being picked up by an invisible puppeteer. Lifted by my solar plexis. He was there and he was... transparent. And I wanted... him. I wanted him. In that moment, the puppeteer sort of picked me up and I came up off my knee, where I'd been talking to Dustin, and I stepped toward him. And Derek had this look like, "Help me!" And I mumbled something and he mumbled something back and the magnet just yanked us together, and it was like skating. Like dancing on ice and our mouths connected and the room whirled and we were on the bed and it was so magical. And I wanted him, I wanted Him, I had to have him and the clothes flew off and we sucked each other and rubbed and came real hard and it was like leaving this world. And we both passed out for about an hour.
And then I woke up. And there was Derek. An Angel in MY BED. My lonely bed. The bed with the lava sheets whose burning had so often denied me sleep, these last years. My lonely bed was healed and made new and cool and joyful. And there, like Christmas morning, was this exquisite creature. This fragile, delicate, tough, resilient, pink, perfectly formed Boy Angel. I fluttered inside, catching my breath.
I was instantly inflamed again as he, too, came back. As he returned to the surface. His eyes flew open, as if from a dream, and he looked around, just moving his eyes, and you could see him realize that it was real and you could see the joy and relief and he giggled. This deep, joyous giggle. And he grabbed me and rolled over me, pulling me on top and kissing me and making me very, very hard and rubbing and sucking and coming again, like lightning, and laughing.
And then a look in his eyes. A deep, peaceful, trusting look.
And those lips parted. And looking me deep in the eyes, he said,
"Let's get something to eat!"
That's Derek. Always the romantic.