The Root Beer Boys is a story of love. © 2000 by K Ration. All rights reserved.
Is it true? In many ways it is. In some ways it isn't but could be. I wish it were all true, that it had really happened just exactly the way it unfolds.
This story is written for teenagers. It is a story about love. Does it really matter whether it is gay love or str8t love? It also contains a limited amount of graphic descriptions of sexual activities between two underage boys. But if you're looking for something to occupy your mind while your hand is busy, go someplace else. If you are under the legal age in your community, either leave now or skip over those parts. You'll see them coming in plenty of time to avoid them. If you are over 18, you're supposedly old enough that any further disclaimer shouldn't be necessary.
There is a young Country & Western artist by the name of Billy Gilman whose CD provided a lot of the inspiration for this story. In fact, those who are familiar with that CD will see its influence in Chapter 1. I recommend it to everyone!
I'd like to thank the author of Falling-off-a-log for writing such a beautiful story that it prompted me to try this one. After "True Love," I had decided that I had no other stories in me. We will see if I was right.
I'd also like to thank Bill Watts for his inspirational stories and his responses to my e-mails. Bill, you are one special person.
I want to thank AJ, a young reader who encouraged me to write again and who is now writing a story of his own.
Finally, I'd like to thank a very special someone who has been a huge influence on me over the past four months. I call him Squirt, and he will certainly see some of himself in this story.
These four people, none of whom will I ever get to meet in real life, but all of whom I would love to hug and shake hands with, have brightened my life and helped me grow in my love for others. A simple "thank you" is so inadequate, but it's all I have except for this:
This story is dedicated to Bill, AJ, Driver and Squirt.
The Root Beer Boys
I have light brown hair, weigh about 125, and I'm in love.
I stand about 5'6" tall, wear glasses, have practically no hair above my waist except on my head, and I'm in love.
I'm a junior in high school, play baseball, sing in the church and school choirs and play the piano, and I'm in love.
I live with my mom and dad, I'm adopted, I have one brother and lots of friends, and I'm in love.
This is my story, mine and my brother's.
My brother's name is Wayne. He's 14. He has curly, blond hair, weighs about 110, and he's in love.
He stands about 5' tall, wears contacts, has practically no hair anywhere except on his head, and he's in love.
He's in the ninth grade, plays soccer, sings in the church and school choirs, and he's in love.
I want to tell you how I got to where I am, how WE got to where WE are.
For most of those eleven years it was just the three of us - Mom, Dad, and me. But just after I turned eleven, my life... no all our lives... changed forever. It didn't happen all at once, though. Actually it took about three weeks for my folks to tell me what was going on. One night I went to bed with everything just like normal. The next morning I woke up and the atmosphere seemed different somehow. Dad wasn't making his normal jokes and belches at the breakfast table, and mom spent most of her time in front of the sink instead of at the kitchen table with dad and me.
I tried to ignore it for several days, then I started asking questions. I started on mom, first, but she just sent me to dad. For the first two weeks, he just kept brushing me off, trying to make like nothing was up, nothing was different. A couple of times, when I got up late to get a drink of water and wondered into the TV room to see who was up, dad's eyes looked like he'd been crying. But I was never sure. After almost three weeks, I was about to crack up. I wasn't sleeping so good and even my school work was affected. I mean, in the sixth grade how bad can school work be, right? But mine was bad. Finally, I confronted my dad after dinner one night. I know I was so keyed up I almost had tears in my eyes when I forced the issue.
"We gotta talk."
"Yeah, son? What about?" Still with his face in the newspaper.
Standing in front of him, I reached out and gently pushed the paper down so he had to look at me.
"I'm serious dad. We gotta talk."
By this time I was actually shaking. I mean, my body was trembling. Partly in fear and partly in anger. I was afraid he and mom were going to get a divorce. And I was angry because they were shutting me out.
With a sigh of exasperation, Dad let the paper fall to the floor beside his chair.
"OK, son. What's it all about?"
"You tell me, Dad!" I almost shouted. "What's going on around here?"
Dad looked at me for a moment with this stern look on his face. Then, when he saw the tears starting to trickle down my cheek, his expression changed. I mean, I watched his face actually soften and the look in his eyes even changed. He reached out and lifted me onto his lap. As I sat there crossways on his lap with my head resting on his chest, he told me the story.
"Well, son, it's like this. About nine years ago, when your mom and I had only been married a few years, I made a mistake. A big mistake. I got involved with another woman. She was younger than me and used to work in the office where I work. Without going into details, we ended up having a brief affair."
"What's an affair?"
"We had sex. We made love. Something you should only do with your wife. That was my mistake. I cheated on your mom. Your mom just found out about it."
"Is that why she's been so quiet lately? She mad at you?"
"Yes, son, that's a big part of it. She's angry. But more than that, she's hurt, deeply. I love your mom more than life itself, and I'm not proud of what I did with that other lady, even though we were only together like that a few times. But while the affair was over rather quickly, the consequences aren't over."
"What are consequences?"
"Consequences are the results of our actions, Squirt (that's my dad's nickname for me). Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Sometimes you don't know whether they are good or bad."
"Just let me finish, son. There's one particular consequence of my affair with that lady that is about to change all our lives. And his name is Wayne."
Silence reigned for a minute or two. I guess dad was waiting to see if I understood. I just sat there, not understanding.
"I have another son."
My brain was not connecting.
"Oh? Who? Where?"
More silence as I felt dad's breathing get deeper. It seemed his heartbeat got louder too.
"His name is Wayne and he's nine years old. Right now he's in Arizona. But next week he's going to be right here with us."
It took a minute for that to sink in. I mean, I'm not stupid, but sometimes I don't process information all that fast.
"You mean he's going to come live with us? Where has he been all this time? What happened to that other lady, his mom?"
"I never knew about him, Squirt. His mother never told me she was pregnant. She just broke off our affair, left the company and moved away. She was killed in a car wreck a few months back. Wayne's been living with foster parents for the past seven months or so. They tracked me down from a diary his mother had kept and some pictures she had in it. They said he looked so much like me that they were certain he was my son even before we had the DNA tests done. They showed me some pictures of him, and I knew they were right, but the tests confirmed it."
Now like I said, I'm not stupid. Even I knew what DNA testing was all about. We watch the Discovery channel and the History channel all the time. All of a sudden I had this terrible fear run all through my body, almost like an electrical shock. I pushed away from my dad with my hands on his chest, tears suddenly pouring from my eyes like God had turned on a water faucet.
"Does that mean you're going to send me to an orphanage? Do I have to be adopted all over again?"
If I hadn't been so overwrought myself, I might have understood the expression on dad's face. As it was, mom happened to step into the room just as I said that and saw the look on my dad's face. She told me about it later. She even said it helped convince her that she had made the right decision. She told me that she had never seen such pain on my dad's face before. I guess my outburst caught him by surprise.
"Hell no!" he shouted.
"You're MY son. OUR son. You're not going ANYWHERE."
And he hugged me so tight I thought I was going to suffocate. He caught me without any air in my lungs, and I had to fight to get loose enough to get a breath. I was suddenly aware of mom kneeling beside the chair, running her hands over my back.
When I had calmed down, I sat up and looked at both of them.
"You mean I'm going to have a brother?"
They both smiled.
"One that's already potty trained? No diapers, no crying in the middle of the night, no fighting over toys?"
"Well, he's potty trained at least. But he might cry at night. At least for a few nights. This is all going to be new to him too."
"Where's he going to sleep?"
Our house wasn't all that big. We really only had two bedrooms unless we turned the TV room back into a bedroom.
"Well, we want to put him in your room for awhile, see how that works out. There's enough room for another twin bed."
"Aw, mom. My room's so tiny already. Where are we going to change clothes, get ready for bed, get dressed? Which bathroom is he going to use?"
I wasn't used to being naked around other people. We didn't take showers after phys ed in grade school, and I didn't have any friends that I had sleepovers with.
"Come on, Andy. You're only eleven. He's only nine. You're both boys. There's no reason you can't share the bathroom. And your bedroom. It might feel a bit strange the first time you change clothes together, but you'll soon get over it, I'm sure," mom said.
Well, I wasn't so sure about that, but I let it go. I didn't know what else to say about it anyway. I mean, there weren't that many options, were there?
"Here they come!"
I guess the social worker lady had told him what kind of car she would be driving. By the time the car turned into the driveway, I was standing between dad and the car, off to the side, closer to dad than the car. Mom was standing on the porch, right behind dad as I looked from his face to the car.
I don't know quite what I was expecting, but I was surprised.
As I watched, the car door opened and this little kid stepped out. He didn't seem very big for being nine years old. I never thought of another boy this way before, but Wayne? He had to be the cutest kid I had ever seen. I looked from him to dad and could immediately see what the people meant when they said he and dad looked alike. It was amazing. Then I looked back at Wayne. He was just standing there by the car holding his little suitcase, tears running down his face, looking so scared and so little. I could tell he was trying not to cry, and I saw him wipe the tears away with the back of his fist. I immediately felt like running up to him and hugging him, but I waited, looking back and forth from Wayne to my dad.
For what seemed like hours but was obviously only about a minute or two, we all just stood there, looking at my dad and Wayne staring at each other. The social worker lady never even got out of her car. She just sat there watching us. As I look back on it, it seemed like time stood still. All sorts of different expressions passed across my dad's face. He smiled, his lips trembled, his forehead wrinkled up as he raised his eyebrows, then wrinkled down as he squinted his eyes. I could see his chest heaving a little bit like he was having trouble breathing. Then it happened.
I have only seen my dad cry twice in my entire life (all sixteen years of it). And this was one of them.
After what seemed like hours, as I stood there looking at my dad, I heard Wayne's trembling voice for the first time.
Then I saw my dad move, tears running down his cheeks, his hand over his mouth. His eyes were squinted almost shut. I was so shocked, I couldn't move. He took about four huge steps towards his son, the other son, the one he never knew about until now. That was all it took. Wayne covered almost the same distance in a flash and stopped right in front of dad. Then I saw my daddy kneel down and take my brother by the arms.
"Oh my God, son, if I had only known."
He cried. Both of them cried. I cried. Mom was crying. Then I saw Wayne wrap his arms around our dad and bury his face against in his neck as he cried, "Daddy!"
...to be continued