After arriving in the kitchen, I made Peter a quart sized jar of apple juice and Sprite to drink. Mom used to make it when our stomachs got upset.
"Just sip it slowly. It'll help calm your stomach down, plus it will put fluids back into you. I got dehydrated from the chemo a few times. Dad made this stuff up and I felt better." I said.
I then got a towel out of the cupboard, wet it and took it over to Peter where I laid it on his face and head then just held him in my arms saying "It's going to be okay. I promise you it will. I'm going to go tell dad that you got sick. He needs to know. It might be serious."
I took Peter into the TV room, got him comfortable, turned a movie on and then went back to Dad's office.
Dad was just picking up the phone when I entered, "Dad, can I talk to you for a minute? Sorry."
Dad looked up and nodded.
"Dad, Peter got sick to his stomach a little while ago. I made him some of that drink you made for me when I was sick. He's watching TV and relaxing right now."
"Okay. I'll be right out to check on him. Would you call Jeremy please? At least let him know we are taking Peter to the hospital and that is where we will be."
"Will do. Dad?"
"Thanks. I love you so much."
That said, I went back upstairs, retrieved my cell phone and then called Jeremy to let him know what was up.
I went downstairs to my office to make some phone calls. The first one I made was to Ella. She is a long-time friend of the family and is employed as a manager by Hawaii's CPS.
Me: May I speak to Ella Right please. This is Jim Blake.
Receptionist: Just a moment sir.
Ella: Hello, Jim. How are you today?
Me: I'm good Ella. It's good to hear your voice again. How are you today?
Ella: Oh, I'm fine. Overworked and under paid, nothing different. Would this happen to be a social call or do you have something on your mind?
Me: Ha haa, you know me well. No, sorry this is not a social call. I have a situation.
I explained the situation to her, retrieved the audio/visual data and then transmitted it to her pc ...
Ella: Okay, Jim. I am authorizing any and all treatment necessary at University Hospital. He will be seeing Dr. Martin Miller, a pediatric surgeon, and he comes highly recommended.
Me: Yes, he's excellent. He's David's doctor. We really like him. David really trusts him explicitly as do I.
Ella: Jim, I am putting Peter into foster care until our investigation is completed. We are, however, very limited with foster care availability to teen aged boys. Most of our availabilities are for girls.
Me: Oh. It seems that Peter and David are becoming very close. He is really a good kid and all. I don't believe his mother when she said he was a bad kid.
Ella: Well, what you told me a little while ago, about her calling him those vile filthy names, tends to make this an offense under the Federal Hate Crime statutes, perhaps, but we can't recommend those charges since we don't know, for certain, if he is or is not gay. One last thing is that I am required to contact law enforcement. From what the video shows, there is ample evidence of some serious assault to him.
Me: The hospital will notify the police when we arrive. We will, of course without question, cooperate with them. Peter knows they will be involved.
Ella: Okay, I'll get the mill started on finding him a foster home to go to. I'll also check availability on the other islands.
Me: <a pregnant pause thinking carefully ... the answer came to me in a New York second> ... I am willing to keep him here. We have developed a rapport with him. He likes Peter and I'm confident that he and Jeremy will be okay too. I feel he is learning to trust me. What would it take?
Ella: Well, we have not done this before. You have no Family Study or anything along those lines, so I don't know ... I don't see a problem with it so I will just sign off on the Family Study. Are you sure you want to be his guardian?
Me: I would not have suggested it had I had any reservations. I'm only concerned for his welfare and safety.
Ella: Okay. Well I just had to say it and to get your response so that all of the bureaucratic bullshit is covered, I mean requirements.
Me: Right. I would have preferred you to use Plain English, but I understand what you are saying. I chuckled.
Ella: Okay. Consider him placed with you. I will fax over the necessary authorizations to get him seen ASAP.
Me: Thanks Ella. You have been a great help. I appreciate it.
Back to the story
After telling dad what had happened, I joined Peter in the TV room where we sat alone quietly after not finding anything of interest on the tube.
"David, I'm totally fucked if I have to go back there. I don't think I can take it again. I would rather run away and live on the streets. At least there I know what I can and cannot do, and I know how to survive. It's not that bad."
Just as I began to say something, dad appeared, "I've just talked to our social worker. I have good news and then some really, really good news."
Both Peter and I look up to listen fully.
First, we're going to get your medical needs attended to. I have been authorized to take you to University Hospital's Emergency Room where you will be seen and treated by a doctor we know, Martin Miller. He took care of my wife and David during their illnesses."
"He's great Peter, you will like him, I know you will." I added factually.
"Okay. I don't feel so good. I'll go to the hospital. Are we going tomorrow?"
"No, we're going tonight. We're going to head there right away. But first, I want to give you the really, really good news... Peter, if it meets with your approvals, you will be staying here with us until everything gets sorted out, and then we'll go from there."
"Really, you would do that for me?" Peter said incredulously, not believing a word of what dad had just said ... his disbelief was in his voice and it crossed his face like a billboard sign.
"Of course it's true. Peter, I don't mess with people's minds. We play and kid around this house a lot but my boys know that when I say something in all seriousness then they know it is true. The same is true with them. I've never had to worry about honesty with my boys, I'm very fortunate."
"Oh no, I'm getting sick again." Peter said suddenly, grimacing in pain. He looked like he was going to pass out.
Dad came over and scooped Peter up in his strong arms and then carried him into the bathroom by the TV room. I followed along. They just made it just in the nick of time as Peter let loose emptying his stomach both ways again. I sat down on the floor next to him while dad supported him on his other side. I was sure he was going to faint because his color was so pale and he was shaking so badly.
"Better?" Dad whispered quietly.
Peter shook his head and dry wretched again.
"David, go get him a large t-shirt from Jeremy's room. We'll put it on him for the trip to the hospital. We need to get going. I'm very concerned."
That said, I went up to Jeremy's room, pulled off a shirt and then went back downstairs. Dad was just finishing up with bathing Peter at the sink. I took his soiled clothing and took them to the laundry room where I put them in the washing machine and then made my way back to the bathroom. They were getting it together ... dad wrapped a huge soft bath towel around Peter's lower sections and then picked him up and carried him to the Escalade. After locking up the house and resetting the security system, we took off for the hospital. I was riding with Peter in the back seat with his head in my lap. Every once in a while, he would dry wretch but by then there was nothing of any substance.
Dad was driving fast, very fast, faster than he should have been going on city streets ... I was glad he was.
A police cruiser came up behind us and flashed his lights. Dad pulled over quickly. When the officer came to Dad's window, I rolled mine down so the cop could see the situation we were in. After seeing Peter and with Dad's explanation, the officer started to radio in for an EMS response but dad asked him if could just escort us. The officer agreed as dad restarted the engine and put it in Drive ready to go. The officer took off and while we drove fast, we were not in any imminent danger and did not drive too fast.
Arriving at University Hospital, dad lifted Peter into his arms just as an orderly came out with a stretcher. Dad gently laid Peter on the bed and then told the orderly to move it because Peter was so sick.
Quickly, they took him back into the treatment areas. I followed along but dad stopped me after reading the sign saying you had to be 16 years old or older to be a visitor. I was not happy but reluctantly complied, "Let me know what's going on dad."
After hugging me deeply, dad said "I will, I promise."
The waiting room was occupied only by two other people, a man and a girl who was maybe 14 years old. They looked nervous as they talked quietly between each other. As I walked in, they sort of gave me a sideways glance and then resumed what they were talking about.
Since I had the whole large seat to myself, I cried myself to sleep with worry and pain knowing Peter was hurting and having no idea as to what they are doing to or for him.
I awoke some time later with having my shoulder shaken and a voice calling my name gently. As I became awake and aware, I looked up and saw that the person shaking my arm was a nurse who took care of me when I was in the hospital; someone who had seen me during my darkest days of despair and pain from the surgery I had had to remove the cancer that cost me my leg.
She sat down beside me and put her arm warmly and protectively around my shoulder and then said upbeat, "Hi, David. It is good to see you, how are you?"
Not holding back, I went into her arms and held on for what seemed to be dear life. I cried out my frustrations, sadness and anger at Peter's mother and uncle and what they had done. During my sobbing, I told her just what had happened and why we were here at the hospital and why I was being kept away from my friend.
"Yes, honey, we have rules set up to protect both the visitor and the patient. The treatment rooms are not very large and it gets kind of crazy in there at times. Tell you what. I'll go check on him for you and then I'll come back and let you know." Glenda said assuringly.
I nodded knowing she was good to her word.
She got a pad of paper and pen out of her uniform pocket. I gave her Peter's full name and approximately when we had arrived.
She got up after hugging me warmly and then went back through the treatment area doors.
A few minutes later, Glenda returned with a small smile on her face and then said "Rules are made to be broken in this case, Mr. Blake."
"I'm going to take you back to see him right now. It seems that he wants to see you too. My. My. My you boys have something special going on, and well, I'm breaking the rules so you guys can be together until they take him to surgery." Glenda said with a wink framed by a tender & gentle smile.
"Something special?" I thought to myself then to Glenda, "Maybe so, don't know what that really means, but yeah, we're pretty close."
As I thought about for a time, I nodded after thinking that we have kissed, are drawn to each other without our really knowing what we were doing. It all seemed that being with him just seemed so normal and natural, like we belonged with each other.
Nurse Glenda led me through a maze of hallways while I was searching each room looking for Peter, or some sign of him and dad. After making one last turn, I saw him in front of me in a room not much larger than a closet, it seemed. A nurse was removing his clothes and he was giving her a bit of a hard time by holding his shirt down and refusing her access.
Glenda asked that nurse, "Is there a problem here?"
Nurse: He won't give me his clothes. He's going to x-ray, sonography and then to the operating room – I'm sure he will.
Glenda: Has Dr. Miller seen Peter yet?
Glenda: I'm off shift. If you don't mind, I'll take care of this patient for you.
Nurse: Okay, that's fine. Thank you. Take care of yourself Peter. Good luck.
The second the nurse left the room, I went to Peter and with a smile quickly kissed him on the cheek, "Hey Peter. We're breaking the rules by my being here. What have you found out, anything?"
"No, not yet. God, David, she was trying to take off all my clothes, what little I have on anyway ... the door is wide open!"
"Hi Peter. My name is Glenda. I'm going to be taking care of you. I'm sorry if you were embarrassed ... I'll get you one of those sexy hospital gowns, and I'll close the door.
"She's a special friend of mine. She took really good care of me when I was here for my treatments. She's tops, dude. And she has seen me all naked and stuff many times; it's no big deal to her." I said confidently, knowingly.
Peter sat up and they quickly changed him into a gown. Just then Dr. Miller walked into the exam room, shook my hand firmly, "Hello, David. I just saw you a few days ago, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. I couldn't be better. But Peter is very sick. Please take good care of him."
At that moment, Dad came into the room. He pulled me into a quick hug and then went over to Peter, leaned down and gently kissed him on the forehead.
Dr. Miller performed his examinations, "Peter, I'm afraid you require surgery on an emergent basis. I am very concerned with the amount of pain you are having in your stomach and the condition of your right testicle. We are going to get x-rays of you, a sonogram and photographs. Your right testicle appears to be ruptured. I believe it will have to removed. We won't know for sure until we get in there and take a good look around."
"Photographer? Are they really going to take pictures of me naked?"
"Yes, I am afraid so. You have many injuries that need to be documented because you clearly have been abused, harmed and hurt. The court will require the documentation for evidence against whomever it was that hurt you like this. Do you know who hurt you, Peter?"
"Yes, my mom did it. Harlan too." Peter said quietly.
"Sheesh, Peter is going to be a porn star." I spontaneously sputtered through a laugh.
Everybody looked at me. I immediately heated up like I was going to catch on fire right then and there. Hoping to save some grace, I said "What?"
Peter rolled his eyes. Dad shook his head. Dr. Miller looked at me seriously. Glenda said "And people wonder why there are so many unemployed comedians in the world..."
Dr. Miller interjected seriously, "I have two questions for you, Peter. The first one is: are you safe here?"
"Absolutely. Jim and David are helping me."
"The second one: has anyone in this room hurt or harmed you?"
"No way. No. I'm safe. I finally feel safe."
"Do you have any questions for me?" Dr. Miller asked professionally.
"Uhm... will everything work okay ... I mean, you know, it's embarrassing, sorry."
"There is no reason to believe that your ability to be a sexual human being is compromised. Men having only one testicle are able to father children, naturally. Later, if you would like to, we can implant a prosthetic testicle so that your scrotum looks perfectly normal in every way. We cannot do that now because this surgery will be an emergency, and because there is so much swelling. Does that answer your question?"
"Yes, thank you, doctor."
"Any other questions before we take you off to radiology and then on to the operating room?"
"No. Thanks for being honest with me."
Dr. Miller nodded and then he and Glenda exited the small exam room, leaving dad, Peter and I alone.
Peter turned to dad, "Are you going to be here when I wake up?"
"Yes, we'll all be here, count on it. I'm going to step outside for a minute... I forgot to ask about something..."
That said, Dad left the exam room, leaving Peter and I alone together.
"David, I need to tell you something. I'll understand if you don't understand, okay?"
"I've never told anybody that I'm gay. Well, I kinda did, but not really. My mom kind of figured it out... I guess. I never told her anything... but she seems to know. Look at me, yeah, she figured it out for herself."
That said, Peter looked me deeply into the inner recesses of my soul and he waited expectantly, as if I were going to reject him.
"I usually don't go kissing on other guys, Peter <smiling>. Maybe I am too. I've not really given it much thought... well, in a way I have." I said and then felt hot crimson blood flow freely through my veins.
As if Peter were reading my mind, "I've been thinking of you a lot lately..."
"Yeah likewise, me too, I mean, well you know what I mean..." I admitted out loud. I shrugged my shoulders.
At the same time, Glenda entered the room. She had IV equipment and other things to do to Peter, "Oh wait, I forgot something, I'll be right back, don't go anywhere."
For a moment, a look of fear passed through Peter's face. I looked deep down into his eyes. His soul was pure white. It was frightened. It was filled with shame and guilt. A big part of his soul, however, was empty – nothing was there.
Seemingly, without provocation, without any effort, our lips touched, as if the kiss was the very first one. Our touch did not linger, it was short and sweet – but it was powerful. I tingled all over, and I mean `all over'.
I reached down to his face for another kiss and found that it had the same response as the previous one. Wow.
As I was standing straight up, Glenda entered with a full cart of supplies and other apparatus, stuff I had no idea what it was.
Dad followed her into the room a minute later.
"I hate to break up the party but it is time for you to leave now so that I can get Peter ready. X-ray and the operating rooms are ready for you, Peter. Jim, you and David can wait in the surgery waiting room. Dr. Miller will see you immediately after Peter's operation is finished."
"Peter, we'll be thinking of you, and we'll be in to see you just as soon as we can." Dad said patting his shoulder. Dad and Peter looked at each other. Without asking and without offering, they embraced warmly.
Dad looked at me as if he were giving me permission to do as he had done. I lowered the bedrail, leaned in so that Peter and I could hug. The hug was warm; the hug was genuine; the hug was deep; the hug was very, very meaningful.
"I'll be here too. Don't worry about what we talked about, okay?"
He nodded, and then dad and I exited the room. Dad put his arm around my shoulders. Neither of us said a word.
We went down to the cafeteria, and got some nasty shit they called food and a Coke. We sat down at a table far from the cash registers. The room was basically vacant. We ate in silence though, every once in a while, our eyes would meet. I wanted to talk to him, ask him some questions ... but the words would not make any sound.
Just as I screwed up the courage to say something, dad's phone rang. His eyes enlarged slightly – something had definitely got and held his attention as he listened to the person on the other end of the phone.
"Okay, thank you. Keep me informed."
"David, I need to make a few calls. Will you be okay for a while without me?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine. I'll go back upstairs and wait in the waiting room."
"They shouldn't take too long. If Dr. Miller comes out, please page me."
I nodded. We gathered up our things, put them onto the conveyer belt and then took the elevator up to the 3rd floor. We'd been in the waiting room several times before over the past few years, so finding it was no issue. Dad hugged me then he took off and was soon out of sight.
I got on the internet, checked email and was getting ready to write some of this story when Jeremy called.
Me: Hey, Jeremy.
Jeremy: What's going on? Dad left a note saying you two had gone to the hospital.
Me: Yeah, we're at University. Peter's undergoing surgery.
Jeremy: Is he okay?
Me: He's is in surgery. He was hurt really bad.
Jeremy <worried>: How bad was he hurt? Is he going to...
Me: No. He better not die.
As those ugly words left me lips, I broke down and started crying. I was trying to talk, but nothing intelligent or understandable came out.
Jeremy: David, calm down. Get a grip. Tell me what happened to him. The cops are all over the place. When I drove home from work, Peter's house and the street around their house was roped off as a crime scene. What the fuck – how bad did they hurt him?
Me: Oh Jeremy, they beat the shit out of him. He's got bruises and cuts all over his body. They are operating, I mean Dr. Miller's here... they kicked him so bad that he's going to.., they are going to have to take his nut off.
Jeremy: He's in really good hands David. He's going to be okay. You've got to believe that. When you had your surgery, I had thought the same thing – I was expecting the worst thing to happen. If he's going to be okay, then that's the big deal. Be strong.
Me: Yeah, okay, you're right. <blowing my nose and wiping my eyes>
Jeremy: I can't get out of here again. They have the street blocked off. Emergencies only they said. If you need me there I will get there. Just say the word.
Me: I love you too, Jeremy. Dad's here. Peter is going to live with us for a while.
Jeremy: Good. He seems real nice.
Me: Okay, dad is here. He wants to talk to me. See ya later. Love ya, bro.
Jeremy: Me too. Call me.
"Son, I just got off of the phone with the prosecutor who said that Peter's mother will be charged with attempted felony murder, child endangerment, several counts of armed criminal action, failure to provide a safe home for her minor child, and because of some things she said at the door she may also be charged in Federal Court under Hate Crimes statutes. It looks like she will be going away for a good long time, as she should." Dad said sadly.
"Yeah, I just talked to Jeremy. There are cops all over the place. They have the whole area marked off as a crime scene, dad. The road is closed and everything." I said breaking down into tears, sobbing all over dad's chest with his arms around me holding me tight and secure.
When I regained my composure, I asked "So what are we going to do, Dad?"
"Well, first and foremost, we are going to provide Peter a safe place to live for just as long as we are permitted to. There are some laws we have to follow and procedures we have to do to make it happen."
"Like what? He can't go back there ever, to live with that bitch again, uhm, sorry dad." I said with absolute certainty.
"No problem, son. You are just telling the truth, and needed plain English to be used for emphasis and clarity. Just don't say that in anger to someone, okay?" Dad said looking me in the eyes.
"I promise, dad."
"Okay, well I am not sure what we do from here, let's just take it one day a time, okay? Let's just make sure Peter is okay and then go from there."
"Yeah. One day at a time. Daddy?"
He looked over to me and was paying total attention. I went on: "Daddy, what do they mean by Hate Crimes?"
"Son, a Hate Crime is an act of physical violence put onto a person because they are of a different nationality or disability or a gay person, among other reasons. It gets kind of complicated. From what Peter's mother said to me at the door, his case could be tested against Hate Crime statutes which would increase her sentences, if she is found guilty, exponentially. If it is determined that the Hate Crime statutes do apply, then her sentence could be tripled or even quadrupled and her time would be done in a federal prison rather than in a state prison."
"Why do people do and say those things?" I asked.
"Well, son, there really is no easy answer. One good example would be that first time we went to the mall after your surgery ..." Dad started to say.
Interrupting him, I said "... and those dip-dogs who were saying bad things about my leg being gone; that I was a freak of nature and all of those other hateful things including that one idiot who tried to trip me?"
"Yes son. Those are bigoted people. Had you actually been tripped and been injured then yes, that in a way could be construed as a Hate Crime, because it was an act against an American with a Disability. The courts would have had to decide that though. Another example would be African Americans being attacked, injured and/or killed because their skin color is `different'. The cases we hear most often are those that involve injury or death of a gay or lesbian person. Remember Matthew Sheppard?" Dad said.
I nodded then said "It makes me scared, Dad."
"What makes you scared, Son?"
"People hurting people because of who they love."
"I know, son, hate is not right. Not for any reason. Did you know it takes more energy to hate than it does to love?"
"I don't hate anybody, dad. I really don't."
"You know son, now that I think about it, I really don't hate anybody either, though I do hate what some people do. Does that make sense?"
"Yeah, I totally understand."
"I love Peter."
"I know. You love him very deeply. I can tell. I can see it in you two."
"Yeah. I'm pretty smart."
"Daddy, does that make me gay? I mean I love Peter with all of my heart. I want to do everything with him; to be with him; to make him feel good."
"Just remember I love you unconditionally, forever and ever, no matter what." Dad said pulling me into a deep reassuring hug.
Another hour passed by.
"Dad, when are they going to get done? I'm worried. They have been in surgery for over 4 hours now."
"I don't know son, he had a lot of injuries. Dr. Miller thought they were going to have to remove his spleen because it looked like it was bleeding on those special x-rays that were done. He said that they probably would not know the full extent until they actually got in there to actually see up close."
"Son, how does Peter make you feel?"
"Good. I mean, umm, he is hurting, and because he is hurting that makes me hurt."
"Does your body react when he is close to you? Do you get all tingly?"
"Oh yeah." I said assuredly.
"Does anything else `happen'?" Dad asked with a quick averting of his eyes to my crotch area then quickly back into my eyes.
Since my dick was already at about half-mast, I quickly rearranged things with my fingers without looking away and then felt my face flush as I realized what I was doing, and, the question he just asked. All I could do was to slightly nod yes.
"You're fine, David. You are going to be just fine, I just know it. And you know what?"
"I'm going to love you until I cannot breathe anymore and then forever and ever and a million jillion years after that. Love Peter, David. He is going to need all the love he can get. This whole thing is going to be very difficult for you two. But you are going to be just fine, I just know it. And I will be here for you every step of the way."
"Daddy, I don't like girls in `that `way."
"I've known for many years, David. Your mother knew also."
"We're smart, David. Here comes Dr. Miller."
My heart leapt into my chest. Dad took my hand in his own.
*** To be continued.
(Edited and reposted 1/15/2011)