This is the final Part IV of a four part story. (See Part I for Index). It is a story about relationships between and among teenagers. This includes intimate relationships between young males. If you don't approve or are offended, then how come you're reading this? Find a different story. Or perhaps read on; you may be persuaded to think differently.
If, for some legal reason, you are not allowed to read this in your area of the world because of illogical laws, again I will not condone (publicly) anyone breaking the law, so either move or read sentence six. I definitely don't want the thought police after either of our butts.
Please, this story is sort of my property, so if you ever want to quote some of it, please e-mail me and also give proper attribution.
Note that an author welcomes any feedback. Constructive criticism is appreciated, and all e-mails will be answered.
Chapter 89b -- Plans (part b)
It was early February and an exciting time of the year. It was also two days after our weekend at Twain's house and where my White-boy reestablished his own world record for a premature ejaculation. He had insisted on taking off all of my clothes and then I had barely put my arms inside his pants to pull them down when he almost collapsed on top of me. I couldn't believe it. As I pulled down his pants his penis was spewing forth.
We spent the entire late evening and the night in bed together and we acquired a memory that would never fade. By that next morning I think Rocco also held the world record for moaning in one 12 hour period. Wow what a night it was! After that evening, night, and morning, I decided that never again will I ever criticize my White-boy for pulling a `finagle.'
That next morning we were worried about what we could do with the sheets. It was about 10 o'clock and Dan had just knocked on our door telling us that he and Allen were preparing breakfast. Rocco and I were just finishing dressing after a marathon shower that had to have depleted all the hot water for the entire block. Rocco was quite amazed, and grateful, that the bedroom came with its own shower and bathroom -- just like a hotel room. Rocco opened the door when Dan knocked and Dan started loudly and obnoxiously snickering as he proceeded to open all the windows.
"Wow. Smells like a brothel in here." Rocco was acutely embarrassed. (I was too but I pretended not to be). And Rocco turned even redder when Dan suggested we put our sheets through the wash machine -- which fortunately was in this wing of the house.
That was two days ago. Now we were all back in the routine of our usual school day. But graduation was getting that much closer and expectations were high. And everyone was either making plans or anticipating the fulfillment of plans.
Most of what we were talking about lately -- besides all the cold weather and horrible stuff in the news -- was about our futures and going to college. Both Rocco and I had applied to literally almost a hundred colleges and of course for their scholarships. And although I too got a Letter of Commendation from the Merit Committee, I never did make semifinalist. I told Rocco that I hadn't expected to, but nonetheless a good part of me had been hoping.
It had been the previous April when Rocco dragged me downtown to the main library to decide on "where we were going to college." But to tell you the truth, I was more going through the motions than anything else. It didn't seem real enough to me. Don't get me wrong. I was being serious at the time, but behind all my thoughts was the idea of things not being quite REAL. And although I "agreed" with Rocco on a couple of schools, I didn't REALLY "believe it deep down" that this was anything more than hopeful thinking.
But after a summer of working and making some really good money and with the understanding that we would be returning to those same jobs this coming summer, and with the knowledge that I DTD have a trust and that Rocco totally BELIEVED that he WOULD get a scholarship -- well, the idea of college suddenly became VERY REAL indeed.
Last April we merely looked up some catalogues of schools on the list he got from the counselor of colleges participating in the Merit Scholarship Award. But it wasn't until the very end of October when we got really serious about deciding where we REALLY wanted to go. For the previous couple of months we both had been sending away for admittance and scholarship application forms, information on room and board, and other financial aid stuff including Work-Study Programs and even school loans. So at the very end of October we had carted the entire bundle of stuff back downtown to the main library to look over all the school catalogues again.
Main Public Library, Philadelphia
And that time it was quite different. We were both mutually enthused and the entire atmosphere was more: "OK this is our FUTURE we are talking about!"
Our attack was three pronged. First we searched out Colleges where we could both gain admittance and where we were applying for scholarships. These involved colleges where the tuition was relatively low but still had good reputations. The next group contained local colleges in case we didn't earn enough money to afford room and board elsewhere and thus had to stay here in the city. Strangely -- if we got no scholarships -- staying in the city would not be that much cheaper even if we stayed with Mrs. W and paid minimal room and board there.
And lastly we included those few schools to which scholarships were supplied to the High Schools for THEM to give out to "deserving" student who otherwise didn't get any competitive scholarship. This included St. Josephs College, La Salle College, and Villanova, and several partial grants given out by businesses such as the Sears-Roebuck Foundation Award. That was why Rocco was so certain of at least something. These were usually awarded by the school according to class standing.
As we got started I couldn't help but be infected by my White-boy's enthusiasm. Last April we had chosen the two colleges because Rocco had to put their names on the Merit Scholarship application. But now we got much more serious with our choices. Rocco had already sent in about 30 Admission forms together with applications for scholarship so I made sure I applied to those places too.
By the end of October Rocco already had several letters of acceptance. Just no scholarship offers. He told his parents that all these applications were just to increase his chances of a scholarship. But really it was also a partial blind. He didn't want his parents to know that if we could at all afford it, we were DEFINITELY NOT going to stay in the city. Even if he got a scholarship from one of the city colleges.
I remember our discussion about where we would go to college. (Of course a scholarship offer from elsewhere would change our plans). We wanted someplace not too conservative, but in the mountains somewhere. At the main library we got out all the college catalogues in the Rocky Mountain area. It was a bundle. We settled on about a half dozen. We did it most scientifically. They had to offer graduate majors in Education, Math, and I was still thinking English. The next thing we did, we looked at tuitions and room and board. We were fortunate that many of the land grant colleges in the Rocky Mountain area and further west had the lowest tuitions even for out of state students. In fact, the tuitions for an out of state student say to MSU in Bozeman Montana, was even cheaper than IN STATE tuition at Penn State. So then with all the schools that still qualified, we started looking at the pictures.
Rocco said: "We pick the ones that have the best pictures of mountain scenery."
Very scientific. We got it down to about six. U of M in Missoula, Montana, EWSC in Cheney, Washington, WSU in Seattle, Washington, U of NM in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and U of I in Boise, Idaho. These comprised the final lists assuming we could afford it and no scholarship changed plans. One place in particular though had grabbed Rocco's greatest interest.
"One thing I like to know White-boy. We talked a lot about where, but you seem so intent on this place in Washington. How come?"
"Didn't you look at their admission statement yet? And all the information about applying for scholarships, grants, or student loans? And about the pre-enrollment for classes?"
"Well yeah. I looked through it a few times. But it didn't seem so different from all the rest."
"Wrong oh prestidigitator of little repute. I bet you didn't perform the most important test?"
"OK, I'll bite. What didn't I do?"
Now he was smiling from ear to ear. "You didn't weigh it! I did! The absolutely MOST important consideration of all."
Now for once he really had me. "OK. I guess you'll eventually tell me why that's so important. So how about doing away with me guessing for an hour and you just telling me? And, by the way. What does my being a poor magician have to do with anything?"
"Well, their instructions for all the above we mentioned weighed only half as much as everybody else's. That means only half as much red-tape, or instructions. I like a place that eliminates red tape. The form for pre-registration was only a single page! The one from MSU (Bozeman) on the other hand was five! And the application for student loan was two. Almost all the others were five to ten! And wizard of little fame, you don't know how yet to make paperwork disappear."
"I bow to your obviously superior powers of discernment."
We both suddenly broke out laughing. We did that a lot lately. It felt so good.
I looked up the town of Cheney, Washington where EWSC was located. It was this tiny town just west of Spokane Washington. Rocco said: "And it's right in the middle of big mountains! We can go hiking all over the place. And in the summer, if you get your scholarship too, we don't even have to work for the money. We could get jobs in Yellowstone Park or in Glacier Park or anywhere! A big vacation!"
He was getting so enthusiastic I couldn't help but get caught up in it myself.
He kept going: "And I even got a couple of books out of the library on the states in the area."
I really liked Montana myself, but Washington and Idaho were also fantastic. So many spectacular mountains. But Rocco was later starting to shy away from Montana. He was worried that they might be too conservative. "Two gay boys might be run out of town." (Or out of the state). I wondered why he thought Washington or New Mexico might be any different.
Just as we were leaving the library that day, Rocco expressed his concern that he had subtly coerced me into going along with `his' choices.
I replied: "Actually, many of the places we talked about I think I'd be OK with. Just so long as we're together." Then I wondered if Rocco remembered that reply we got from one of the Texas schools. I added: "But the one I was really thinking about most was Baylor."
We both burst out laughing. It was the only one that said we couldn't room together -- we weren't the same race.
Now in early February, several days after our `beautiful' weekend, we were in home room and everyone was excited as we learned that the newest results of the December SATs were in and we were allowed to go to the office to pick them up. Rocco and I were near the front of the line. I was quite pleased with my results with both morning tests above 600 with English near 700. But Rocco did better than I did even in the morning English which was supposed to be my best area. Of course in morning Math Rocco had almost every one out-striped. Later I found out that only Jerry Price beat him out.
We were at our lockers getting our books to go home at the end of the day when I could see Rocco was fuming. He "only got a 780" in the College Board morning Math.
"I could have sworn I had a perfect score," he said, "I wonder what I missed?"
"Look, even Jerry Price didn't get a perfect 800. Nobody gets a perfect 800."
Rocco got this fanatical look for a moment. "Some kids do. And I wanted to be one of them."
"Well, look at the good stuff." I had just come from the counselor's office. "You said you got a composite of 148 for the Merit Scholarship score and Fr. Edwards just told me last period that finalist needed a 142. That's the highest composite ever needed but you made it anyway! How come . . ." I never got any further. Rocco was streaking down the hall to the counselor's office. If he'd have been a horse in the Kentucky Derby, I'd have placed a bet. He invaded the office.
By the time I got there Rocco was whooping it up. "I did it! I did it! Fr. Edwards wouldn't tell me what Jerry Price had gotten except that I was the second highest in the school."
Fr. Edwards tried to calm him down. "Look Rocco keep that under your hat. We aren't supposed to make that 142 target score known until tomorrow. I suspect that your letter should be awaiting you when you get home."
Rocco couldn't stop talking all the way to his house. He was anxious to see if there was any mail of course -- one very special letter. And he couldn't stop talking.
"Fr. Edwards was also convinced that with my score, I should know pretty soon if I qualified for any scholarship! And a large percentage of the finalists get full scholarships! And all of them get some kind of grant. You know what this means? It means we can go to Washington after all! Isn't that great? And thanks for all the word wars!"
Sometimes Rocco would spit out non sequiturs. "Slow down. I think it great but it's not definite. And I did some figuring the other day and it will still be tight if I can't get at least some grant from the State or some scholarship from Eastern Washington myself. And what does our word wars have to do with it?"
"I got a top percentile in vocabulary on the test. And vocabulary also helped me to get that 748 on the boards in English. That was almost as good as my score in the afternoon Advanced Math. And you're being too pessimistic again. Remember we will be working for my uncle again this summer. Me getting a Merit Scholarship will makes it a certainty! Smile! We done it!"
I replied: "I can't believe it Rocco, a possible Merit winner and you can't even get basic grammar correct. One, it's `my getting a Merit Scholarship,' and two, it's `we've done it.'"
The letter WAS waiting for him, and he DID make Finalist. There was no calming him down after that. Rocco kept assuming that he already HAD the scholarship. I was cautiously hopeful. But crud -- specific scholarship awards wound not be released until March and some winners even notified until as late as June!
We had gone straight to his house. He couldn't wait. The letter was on the TV set just inside the door. Two seonds later the letter had been ripped open and Rocco was shouting. Carl was there at the kitchen table. We didn't see his Mom. "Carl, I did it. I'm a Merit finalist. And I should find out soon about a scholarship. That's what the counselor said! Isn't that great?"
And that was the very first time I saw the look of superiority get wiped off his brother's face. The transformation was amazing and I finally understood maybe in part why Carl was so mean so often to his own brother. He feared him! He was afraid that Rocco WAS smarter! Wait `til I tell Rocco.
"Look Rocco. You're wrong. Even I didn't get a Merit. So you sure couldn't have."
Rocco answered: "What was your composite? I think you said 130 something. Well mine is 148! So why can't you be happy for me? I was when you got that scholarship to LaSalle."
And that was one of the big differences between them, even if they were brothers. And why I loved my White-boy. He could never be jealous about someone else's success. He wasn't made that way.
Before Carl could even respond, Rocco was running around looking for his Mom. "Carl, where's Mom? I've got to tell her."
But he didn't even wait for an answer; he raced down the stairs looking in the cellar. Then he raced back and hit Mach 3 as he zoomed upstairs.
"MOM! Guess what!"
I suppose he found her. No more shouting. Finally he came into the kitchen with his Mom following. They were both smiling.
His Mom said: "This need's a celebration. Maybe we can get something from Breadenbecks?"
Carl then interrupted: "He just made finalist. That doesn't mean anything. They have twice as many finalists as scholarships. Maybe more. Only if some of the first half turn them down do they contact the rest on the list."
"But Mom, Fr. Edwards said that with my score he was pretty sure I should hear from them pretty soon. I'm in the top group as Carl puts it."
"Well, let's just wait and see. And I've been ignoring you Jade. How are you doing? Rocco said that your scores are almost as good as his."
I prevaricated a bit. I didn't want to spoil Rocco's moment of joy. But so far I had nothing. It was early yet but still I was a bit disappointed.
That evening, while telling Mr. & Mrs. Webster, and Tim about Rocco making finalist, I think Mrs. Webster could tell that something was not quite right. And damn it all I couldn't figure exactly what it was myself. It was several hours later, while I was getting ready for bed I was surprised to see Mrs. Webster at my door.
"Jade, I thinks we needs a little talk."
Mrs. W took my chair even though it groaned a bit while I took the edge of my bed.
"What we need to talk about Mrs. W? Everything is going great."
"Well, I needs to tell a story. It's about Mr. Webster and his best friend. This happened even before the big war. We'd just a been married and jobs were terrible. Mr. Webster got laid off from the hosiery mill and it was a good while when he finally got put on by the city which was tryin' to help but he was only workin' part time. There were two people for every job. His best friend, however, who had been working at that same big mill, just got this big promotion to inspector and was making enormous wages. He was gettin' almos' 20 dollars a single week and only had to work 4 hours on Saturday!"
"Why you telling me all this Mrs. W?" I was quite puzzled. And almost nobody works in hosiery mills any more. Stockings were rarely even seen these days.
"Well, you knows as well as me that Mr. Webster is as good a person as you can get. But how do you think he reacted when his best friend was suddenly making more than twice as him?"
"Don't know. I guess he was glad for him. His best friend an' all."
"You sure? And how you now feelin' about Rocco getting' the finalist award and probably this scholarship?"
"Great. I'm happy for him. He's sure smart and worked hard."
"And how are you feelin' `bout NOT gettin' any thing yet yourself?"
Mrs. Webster's words suddenly struck home. I started feeling terrible. I wanted her to leave so I could sort out myself. "I guess disappointed. But it's early yet. I'll still have possibilities."
"An' so let's gets back to my `riginal question. How you feelin' `bout Rocco gettin' this award? An' I wants the entire truth."
I was on the verge of tears but I stopped them from coming. I was suddenly feeling so guilty. I couldn't admit some of my thoughts.
"Jade I wants you to think on this. It would take a pure saint in heaven not to feel at least a little bit wishin' that this award was his. Jus' like Mr. Webster wishin' that he'd a gotten that inspector's job `specially when he thought he worked every bit as hard." Only human nature. Nothin' wrong in that."
Mrs. Webster left. And I struggled with my thoughts as I realized that a small part of me was jealous of my own soul mate. How horrible was that? Finally I was only able to get to sleep after promising myself that Rocco and I would talk this out sometime soon -- as soon as I could figure out how to say it all. And I even gave myself a deadline. I would not wait any more than three weeks. I was hoping by then to have worked it completely out of my system. "Sorry White-boy. And I really and truly am happy for you."
The very next day I started making plans to show my White-boy just how much I did love him. Mr. & Mrs. Webster were planning a short trip next month to visit with their third oldest son who lived now in Chester. Only overnight but that was all I needed. Now to borrow a page out of my White-boy's book and figure out how to get Tim staying somewhere else that weekend!
It was several weeks later when the all important letter came. I was sure glad. Rocco was finally mostly back to his old self. After he went totally berserk that is. I was there when he opened the letter.
Soon we were talking about our future plans now that things seemed mostly settled. And I was finally out of my `jealous mode' as I was now calling it and was determined to talk about it to my White-boy. If he'd only cooperate.
We were at `our rock' in spite of the cold. I was walking about trying to stay warm. March, and it was almost the coldest day of the year. I was walking, but Rocco I had on a tether so he wouldn't float away. It was as cold as Neptune, but Rocco didn't even seem to notice. But my arms sure did. We started talking about our revised college plans. Even with the recent raises in tuition and all that we found out, Rocco was right. With the scholarship, and the money we would be earning, Eastern Washington State College was now definite -- for both of us. I just didn't like the idea of taking out college loans -- a real possibility since I didn't have a scholarship yet myself.
"Look Jade. Do the math. If we work this summer again, and make the same as last summer, we've already arrived at our goal! And if you get any award, that's frosting on the cake. It's early yet. And you're 13th in our class. And there's the Sears-Roebuck Foundation Scholarship that hasn't been awarded yet. And that can be used anywhere."
My White-boy had me winning that one since he found out about it. It was a 5000-dollar grant that would be just what I needed, with my other savings and so on. "Look Rocco. Now that you got the Merit, I know we can go to Washington for sure. But let's not count our chickens until they hatch. We still don't have quite enough funds for all four years."
Rocco started making chirping sounds. But he was right though. Things looked so good. And I wondered how come then I couldn't feel as happy as he was?
I just frowned. Rocco must have known how I was thinking: "Jade, you got to stop thinking like a black boy. Believe it. We're going to do it! Be happy!"
And he was right. I kept feeling that somehow a black boy couldn't succeed like this. I thought I'd stopped doing that but I guess it goes so deep. Well, success will get it out of my system for good. I started to smile as I realized all the implications of Rocco's Merit Scholarship. It makes so much suddenly possible. And I started laughing. I couldn't stop. Maybe it was finally sinking in. We WILL do it!
Then I again tried to bring up what I had been thinking and feeling guilty about. Of course a couple of weeks helped me to put it into a better perspective but I still felt guilty enough to want to talk about it. So I did. When I finished my White-boy was holding me tight and crying.
"But don't you see Jade, this is YOUR scholarship just as much as mine! Remember we are one person. . . . And besides, if anyone should be jealous it's me."
"Ok, I'll bite. Explain." I know he was about to come out with one of his famous `Rocco-isms.'
"Well look. Look at us. What do you see? You are handsome, and big and strong, while I'm still this little wimp."
I never could think of myself as handsome or even good looking, but I fully knew that my White-boy saw me that way. And I couldn't help smiling. I realized that to me Rocco was quite cute. I'd just never survive telling him that.
And I even had gotten a few offers of a few small grants. They all were based on the fact of my disability, and were all in the range of 500 to 1000 dollars. Unfortunately they all said that receipt of other awards disqualified you for the one they offered. So I was holding out for something better.
Rocco kept insisting that I had to start thinking about everything was WE. It was WE who had won a full scholarship! I kept running things through my head and I did start smiling. It was just difficult to believe our dreams could become a reality. Do things like this happen to black kids? To gay black kids? To gay black kids with no hands? I just wished I were contributing more.
Soon Rocco said: "Jade, let's go to my house. I have something I need to show you."
I was happy to get out of the cold. My lower arms were bricks.
When we got just outside his house I could see that Rocco had been thinking. "Hey look Jade, I know why you think you have to get some kind of grant or something. But it doesn't matter. I think getting this scholarship makes me even happier for you than for myself. Remember it's OUR scholarship. We share everything. Half of it is yours!"
I sometimes accused my White-boy of being, in certain instances, oblivious of other people or their feelings. It wasn't that he didn't care, it's just he sometimes let his thinking go only so far. But right now he had me figured completely. Then I smiled: "OK White-boy, if I got half of that scholarship, let's see it?"
Rocco's Mom greeted us. "Why hello Jade. Haven't seen you here in a while. How are your college plans going? Any news of any scholarships yet?"
"Well, not really. Nothing definite, just a possibility of some grants that some corporations give and some things specifically given out to handicapped students. I'm not up there with Rocco." I hated talking about these things.
Rocco chimed in: "Hey, don't say that Jade. Your grades are some of the top ones in our class. And Mom, he's just too modest. He'll have a scholarship too. We just need to wait."
And I truly believed that Rocco believed it. "Well, I'll be happy for Rocco." I thought. And anyway, it's for US anyway when you think about it. Any scholarship either of us gets, means that much less money WE need. That's what Rocco kept saying every time I tried to explain to him about feeling a bit jealous of his success. I was smiling again.
His Mom then asked the question I did not want to lie about. And although I did not specifically lie, my answer was totally misleading.
"And do you know where you might be going to college? Rocco said that you intend to go."
"I've applied everywhere. Especially here in the city. Just the other day I received a letter from Temple saying that I was being considered for some kind of grant."
Rocco then almost pulled me away from further questions and upstairs into his room, and I said: "I have to leave before your Dad gets home."
"That's more than an hour away. Almost two. And look here. I made a list of all the courses I'll be taking the first year."
I looked at his formidable list. "Holy smoke White-boy. They won't let you."
"Yes they will. I got the letter from the Dean's office the other day. They said that since I won a Merit Scholarship, they'd let me take up to 21 hours the first quarter. And even more later. So I'll have a double major easy. I'm going to major in Math and Education, with minors in Physics and Computer Science. I have it all worked out."
His enthusiasm was pretty infectious. He had me convinced. He had things all worked out as he said. I just wished I did also. I was going to major in Education also. But I hadn't thought of a minor yet. I thought I'd wait to see. Rocco wanted me to minor in Math but I wasn't so sure. I was leaning more towards English. Or maybe even a double major too. Rocco moaned when I said that. "Damn. How many papers I'll have to type for you!" But he was smiling. I knew he'd do it too. And that's why I was a bit worried. I didn't want to burden him too much. This was college after all. Even my White-boy had limits. He just didn't believe it. He talked about double majors and double minors like it was an everyday thing.
When I pointed out that two of the courses he`d picked out had overlapping times, he remarked: "Well, maybe I don't need the Physics minor after all. Computer Science I think is the up and coming thing now. As I've said many times, I want to teach, but not in High School. I really want to teach in a small Community College somewhere. So I'll need a Master's Degree also. And Eastern Washington State offers them both in both Education and Math. I haven't decided yet. I need more information about which would be best to get a teaching job."