The Root Beer Boys, a story of love. © 2000 by K Ration. All rights reserved.
This story is dedicated to Bill, AJ, Driver and Squirt.
The Root Beer Boys
Wayne was lying on his back on a branch about eight feet above the ground yelling.
"Hey guys! Look at me! Dare any of you to beat this!"
With that he stuck both hands out to his sides, just lying there on that little branch that couldn't have been more than four inches across. All of a sudden I saw him start to waver. Before he could bring his hands back to his sides and grab the branch, he was falling. I don't even want to try to describe the sound his head made when it hit the concrete driveway.
I had heard that when you're about to die your whole life passes before you in a flash. Let me tell you something. As I saw Wayne falling and then bounce on the concrete, I saw my entire short life with him flash before me. Just about everything we had done together, everything we meant to each other blazed across the skyline of my vision. My heart hurt so bad all of a sudden I thought I was the one who had fallen from the tree.
I ran to where Wayne was laying, clearly unconscious, blood leaking from his nose. Something told me not to pick his head up, so I just laid down next to him there on the driveway, snuggling up as close as I could with my arm across his back. Most of the other kids were so scared they ran home, but Tommy Newberry ran to get my mom. She had heard my scream and almost knocked Tommy down as she threw open the door.
We didn't wait for dad that day. Mom called our doctor who called an ambulance. We rushed Wayne to the hospital where he had all sorts of x-rays and, I think, an MRI or something. While we were waiting, I started to have trouble breathing, and some nurse rushed over to me with one of those expensive high-tech pieces of medical equipment called a brown paper lunch sack and told me to hold it over my nose and mouth and breathe deeply. As she held it in place, I was thinking she's trying to suffocate me! That's when I learned about hyperventilating.
After what seemed like hours, the doctor came out and told us Wayne had a concussion and borderline skull fracture. He wanted to keep him in the hospital, but dad talked him into letting us take Wayne home. We had to stop by the hardware store and buy two sandbags on the way home, though.
Wayne was unconscious for two full days, and for seven days he had to lay flat on his back with his head sandwiched between those sandbags. Dad sat up the first two nights in a chair next to Wayne's bed, his hand resting on Wayne's chest. If Wayne moved to turn over, dad would wake up and hold him down. I tried to tell dad I could do it. I mean, I had insisted on sleeping in Wayne's bed, and it was only a twin. With me between him and the wall, there wasn't much room left over. I knew if he moved, I'd feel it.
"I can do it, dad! I won't let him get hurt again!" I said with tears in my eyes. "I love him, too, dad. Don't you trust me? I couldn't keep him from falling. I didn't know he was going to do that. It wasn't my fault!"
My tears were now flowing like a waterfall. I loved the little guy so much, and I was so afraid.
My dad looked at me like he usually does when he has to make me do something he knows I don't want to do. I think he really struggled with some parts of being a father.
"Wayne, I don't blame you for what happened to Wayne. I know it wasn't your fault. He was just showing off and being careless. But I missed the first eight and a half years of his life, and I'm not taking any chances. I trust you, but if something happened, I'd never be able to live with myself. Now you can sleep with him if you want, and you can help mom watch him during the day, but I'm NOT leaving you in charge at night. I'm sorry, but that's the way it is."
I spent almost every waking moment with Wayne that week. I slept with him every night. When he finally woke up, I was right there, staring at his face, wondering how God could ever have made someone who looked so wonderful, so innocent, so... lovable. Dad was sitting beside the bed and was the first one Wayne saw.
He only called our dad that when he was feeling especially vulnerable.
Dad swallowed real hard before he spoke.
"Hi there, kiddo," he said, his voice just above a whisper. "How are you feeling?"
"My head hurts. What happened?"
"You fell out of the tree onto the driveway. You've had us a bit worried."
Tears started dripping from the corner of Wayne's eyes.
"I'm sorry daddy. I didn't mean to do it. I didn't mean to worry you," he said, starting to cry in earnest.
"That's OK, son. You're going to be OK and that's all that's important now. You've been asleep for a long time. There's no need for tears. We're all OK."
Wayne sniffed and wiped his nose with the sleeve of his pajamas. Hey! It's all he had at the moment, OK? Geez!
"A little more than two days."
Wayne's eyes got real big.
"That long? Where's Andy?"
Obviously he hadn't noticed me. Some brother I am, huh?
"Right there beside you, son. Right where he's been for the last two days."
Wayne turned and looked at me with the most endearing look in his eyes.
"Are you serious?" he whispered, staring at me.
"Serious as a heart attack," I responded.
Starting the day after he woke up, I played CD's for him, read to him, talked with him. I even gave him sponge baths, telling mom he was too old for her to be doing it, when actually I just wanted to do it myself. I found myself wanting to do everything for him. When he had to take a crap on the bed pan, I held the pan. And I wiped him when he was finished because it was too awkward for him to do it himself and still lay flat on his back.
All that personal attention gave me so many opportunities to look at that part of him that we didn't really study on each other very much. After that one night together, we hadn't fooled around again. I had done a little experimenting with Joey Stephens and Aaron Abrams. It never made me feel dirty or anything. I mean it was fun and I usually enjoyed it while it was happening, but it always left me feeling guilty somehow. We always had to sneak around to beat off and then when it was over, it was ...just...over.
I had lots of time to think as I sat with Wayne while he was sleeping. After seven days of hardly being out of his presence except to bathe and eat, I began to realize that my love for him went far beyond the love one usually has for a brother. I hadn't really thought of love before, any more than I had thought of girls. Or even boys. I guess I was slow in getting to that stage of my life. The circle jerks I had with Aaron and Joey were fun, but they were just play stuff, nothing serious about them. We hardly ever used magazines or pictures. We'd just get together once in a while and play with each other's dick until we shot off. Sexual orientation never really came up.
But as I cuddled up to Wayne at night and held him in my arms, I found myself wanting to be this close to him all the time. I found myself just naturally drawn to nuzzle his neck and kiss him behind the ears when I was sure he was asleep. During the day I found myself looking at him constantly. As we talked and laughed, I watched his eyes, his lips, his whole face. I could tell when he was joking and when he was serious just by the expression on his face, the way the pupils of his eyes would dilate and contract. I wasn't aware that he was doing the same thing.
By the end of the week I realized I was in love with him. Not just that I loved him, but that I was in love with him.
Oh, SHIT! I thought to myself when this realization finally dawned on me. Now what the fuck am I going to do? I'm gay and in love with my brother. Not only am I a homo but I'm incestuous to boot. Wait a minute. I'm adopted. So we aren't brothers by blood. Is that still incest? Who cares? We're both boys. Can't have kids. Besides, he isn't gay so we aren't going to be having sex anyway. Aw SHIT! What am I going to do? Dad is going to shit if he ever finds out. And I can't tell Wayne, 'cause he'd probably freak out or something. Aw FUCK!
Wayne was allowed out of bed the second week after the accident but not out of the house. We still did everything together, but at least he was able to sit on the john and wipe himself afterwards and give himself a bath. Thank God for small favors. Once I realized I was in love with him, his body became an object of desire. I realized what had been missing that night I taught him to masturbate. The guilty feeling. I hadn't felt guilty when we were finished. It hadn't been just a quick hand job and go on about our business. It had felt good emotionally as well as physically. I hadn't thought of it that way before, but it was suddenly obvious to me. The way we had slept together that night, and the look on mom's face the next morning. Did she suspect something way back then?
We were watching a movie one night with lots of kissing in it. I forget the name of it, but every time they'd get to a love scene, I found myself comparing the lady's lips to Wayne's. I'd look over at his mouth as he was watching the TV. I'm sure he caught me looking at him a couple of times, but he didn't seem to notice anything unusual about the way I was looking at him. We had always held hands and hugged a lot, especially those two weeks, so I didn't think anything of reaching over and taking his hand in mine.
But this time something was different. I don't know what it was. Maybe the movie, maybe my hormones were finally starting to enter into the picture, maybe just the fact that I had admitted that I was in love with him. But when I held his hand this time it was definitely different. There was more heat. There was a feeling of electricity without any real feeling. Kind of like when a flourescent light hums. You can tell there's electricity flowing through it but you can't feel it.
I was aware of my dick getting hard, but that wasn't so important. I wasn't so big it showed. What was important was the fact that I couldn't concentrate on the movie. I began to breathe differently. I felt light headed, almost dizzy. It was almost like the night in the hospital when I hyperventilated. I remember thinking that's all I need. Right in the middle of this movie, I jump up and get a lunch sack from the kitchen and stick it over my face. What'm I going to tell mom and dad? The movie makes me want to puke!? I felt wonderful and miserable at the same time. Had I not been so surprised at my own feelings I might have noticed Wayne's shy glance out of the corner of his eye and the blush that came to his cheeks as I held his hand.
And I had to be careful how I looked at him so he wouldn't get suspicious, and so my folks wouldn't either. Or any of our friends, for that matter. Sometimes songs we'd hear on radio or CD would make me cry because of how the words would just seem to express how I felt about him. That's what worried me most. If it happened when we were alone in our room, he'd usually ask me what was wrong. I hardly ever had a good explanation. And to top it off, he kept finding excuses for us to be alone together.
Another thing that made that year so bad was dad's comments about gays. I don't mean he was homophobic and talked about it all the time. He wasn't like that. But when the subject came up or when he saw some guy he thought was homosexual, he always made some mean, nasty comment. Things like, "that guy's a fucking freak of nature," or "can you believe how that fairy walks and talks," or "geez, can't we just round up them queers and ship 'em all to San Francisco?"
The fact that I now realized I was gay made his comments hurt even more than they had before. They had always embarrassed me and made me feel bad for the people he was talking about. But now one of those people was me. If we were at home when he'd say something like that, I'd try to slip off to my room and cry. One time Wayne followed me. I was lying face down on my bed crying into my pillow when Wayne laid down next to me and put his arm over my shoulder.
"What's the matter Andy? Why are you crying?"
I thought I could hear a tear in his voice, too.
"I just get so upset when dad talks about gay people that way. Why does he have to be so mean? No queer ever did anything wrong to him that I know of."
"Yeah, I know. It bothers me, too. But it never made me cry before."
I rolled over to face him.
"So, you're crying, too? How come?"
"Because of what he said. And because he made you cry."
At that point we just sort of wrapped our arms around each other and laid there, sniffling softly. At one point I found myself kissing his neck. I hadn't realized I was doing it, and I sort of jumped back, afraid of how long I might have been doing it. Wayne gave me a questioning look.
"I'm sorry, sport. I didn't mean to do that."
"It's OK, Andy. I kind of liked it. You mean a lot to me, ya know."
We settled back down and left it at that, but I was careful not to start kissing him again.
Anyway, when the game was over (I won), I picked up this stick and was scraping it into a point. Unfortunately, I was scraping it towards me. The blade kept getting caught on the nub of a little twig about two inches from the point. So I cut into the base of it and then gave a sharp pull. The nub came off and the knife kept coming right into my eye. Well, not into it actually. The sharp edge of the blade sort of hit my face from eyebrow to cheek, cutting right down across my eyeball.
Blood went everywhere. I screamed in panic and Wayne threw up. But as I was jumping up and down screaming and bleeding like a stuck pig, Wayne grew up. I think he aged four years and became two years my senior. He grabbed his handkerchief, pulled my hands away from my face and slapped his folded handkerchief over my eye, all in one move.
"Ow! Shit Wayne! Fuck, that hurts!"
"I know it hurts, Andy, but you gotta hold it there!"
We were yelling at each other out of fear bordering on hysteria. Actually, I think I was hysterical and Andy was calm. It averaged out to "bordering on."
"You gotta stop jumping up and down and screaming, Andy. You're just making it bleed worse."
"That's easy for you to say asshole!" I yelled at him. "You're not the one who's going to be blind!"
Andy took my anger and threw it right back at me.
"Aw grow up Andy! Stop acting like a little kid! If you're going to be blind in that eye, it's already happened. Acting like a scared little kid isn't going to reverse the damage. Now CALM DOWN!"
I guess it worked. He had made me feel like a fool and I calmed down pretty soon after that. Then Andy did something else I would not have expected.
"You can't walk down the hill blind in one eye and unable to see out of the other, so get up on my back so we can get out of here."
"Are you serious?"
"Serious as a heart attack. Even if it gives me one."
By this time I was beyond arguing with him. I climbed up and he carried me down the hill to our home. By the time we got there we were both pretty well covered with blood. The handkerchief was soaked and blood had dripped down my arm and off my face to make a pretty good mess of at least the right side of Andy's body from shoulder to knee.
Well, to make a long story short, I didn't lose the sight in that eye. Probably due to Wayne's courage. But I do have the most awesome looking eye. You can actually see where the knife cut through the cornea and the iris leaving two distinct halves of what had once been a full circle.
This time it was Wayne, the thirteen year old, who watched over me. He was so solicitous, washing my forehead with wet cloths, feeding me aspirin for the pain. Yeah, it was painful! Hurt like hell!
Every night we slept in the same bed, just like when he fell out of the tree. Usually I'd go to sleep on my back with him cuddled up against me, one arm over my chest. I guess it would have played hell with my nether regions had it not been for the pain in my head and face.
One night I woke up to find him kissing me. Not on the lips, no. He was kissing my forehead and all around my damaged eye. The little light with a 25 watt bulb over my bed was on.
"What are you doing?"
He jerked back a little, just far enough for me to see the tears running down his cheeks. He sniffed and wiped his nose with a tissue he had in his hand.
"I was just kissing your injury, Andy. I'm sorry. Please don't be mad."
I reached up and wiped the tears from his cheeks. Without thinking, I licked his tears from my fingers.
"I'm not mad, sport. It felt good. Thanks."
"Can I do it some more?"
I laid there and enjoyed his kisses, thinking to myself, I wish he knew what his kisses are doing to me. I wish I could kiss him back. I wish I could tell him how much I love him. How I love him. That I'm IN LOVE with him.
He kept kissing all around my injured eye. Then he moved over to my other eye and kissed that one, too. Then his lips moved down to first one cheek and then the other. I couldn't prevent the tears from trickling down my cheek. Nor could I keep from pursing my lips. It just happened. I didn't even have my eyes open. All of a sudden, Wayne's lips moved from soaking up my tears to resting on my own lips. I was so enthralled by his touch that I didn't even think about what was happening for at least a minute.
Then my eye snapped open and I gasped aloud.
"I love you, Andy."
God it hurts when you get salty tears in an incision. And that's all I could do - cry. I hugged him to me and cried. He laid his head face down in my pillow, next to my cheek and cried. By this time, I had pulled him over on top of me so we were lying cheek-to-cheek, toes-to-toes, or as close to it as our height difference would allow.
"I love you, too, Wayne. But you have to know. I'm IN LOVE with you."
"I know that, Andy. You might have fooled mom and dad, but you haven't been fooling me. We've spent too much time together this last year. I can read you like a book when we're alone. You think I haven't figured out why you never want to be naked with me anymore? I may be a kid, but I'm not stupid."
"And it doesn't bother you?"
"No. Why should it. I feel the same way about you."
"For how long?"
"Oh, ever since Tommy Newberry and I beat off together about six, eight months ago. It was fun, but it wasn't anything like the night you and I did it. It was altogether different. That's when I knew for sure."
"Boy, you sure figure things out a lot faster than I do."
And with that I kissed him again. On the lips. Long. And hard. And with all the love I could muster at the time. Then my head started hurting even worse.
That was the last kiss we shared that night.
But there would be other nights.
... to be continued.