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.
PLEASE NOTE: This story is finally coming to a conclusion. The entire story, including the last Chapter 104, plus the Epilogue, is now hosted at http://crackerwriter.us . I hope you enjoy it.
Chapter 98d -- Home Is Where the Heart Is, But Where is My Heart? (part d)
Except for the episode of being stared down by Rocco`s father I was having great visit home. And it really felt like home -- and even better because my White-boy was with me of course. And even that bad scene with the Webster's oldest son George, Jr. was the occasion of hearing for the first time from Mr. Webster that he at least tolerated my relationship with Rocco and maybe even more. And I could tell that he was even more free around Rocco now. Like it definitely wasn't just to please Mrs. Webster. He also said something about the world changing. I hoped he was right for a lot of reasons. Rocco kept saying that he believed that even if what was moral never changed, it was our understanding of it that gradually changed over the years and centuries.
I remember that very first night after Rocco had finally gone to sleep, I just pushed myself up on one of my arms and started thinking. Earlier I'd been in Tim's room and one of those cut out calendar pictures on his wall Rocco and I had actually seen! And I now looked around in wonder. Things felt almost unreal. Was it actually ME home from college? Was it actually ME who had just made love to this same boy who four years ago practically insisted we be friends? Was it actually ME who felt so free being who I am? Was it actually ME who was looking forward to such a wonderful future? I looked down at my White-boy as a wave of resounding emotion surged through me. I shuddered at the thought of where I'd be right now if he hadn't become a part of my life. I considered myself one of the more fortunate of people in the whole world.
Yesterday Rocco and I visited Joey and his longtime girlfriend Gina at Joey's new apartment. Joey was quite excited about his new job at the local newspaper, the Holmesberg Times. And although they denied having wedding plans, the way they looked at each other and acted about each other spoke otherwise. Joey kept asking all sorts of questions about our travels, and college and was quite amazed when Rocco mentioned a peculiar aspect of the dating scene on campus.
"Now I knew you lying out of both sides of your mouth. Rocco, I can almost believe one of us dating a white girl in secret, but out in the wide open and not even getting hassled. I don't believe it."
Rocco got one of his I'm gonna-say-something-outrageous type looks and sure did: "You said `one of us' so I assume I'm included." He then pulled up the sleave of his shirt and pretended to examine his arm. "Sure don't LOOK like I've gotten any darker. And by the way I was asked on a date by quite a pretty Chinese girl. And quite smart too."
Joey seemed taken aback by Rocco's remark. But then regrouped. "You know what I mean. And damn Rocco I DID include you as one of us. I guess for a moment there I forgot you were white."
It was Gina who picked upon what else Rocco said: "A girl ask you on a date? And Chinese? What was her name?
Rocco was smiling. "Gina, her name is Xia. Xiaojin. Liu is her family name. She is quite brilliant. Way smarter than Jade. Why she asked me out instead. And Joey, that thing about forgetting I was white, you've just brightened my day. Wouldn't it be nice if we can all do that. Me included."
We talked for quite awhile and I became convinced Gina and Joey were a serious pair. We were also filled in about Teague.
"You know how fiercely competitive he is. Well nobody gave him a chance to keep that scholarship he got to Drexel. You have to get all C's or better. Can you believe it? The last couple times we tried to get Teague on the basketball court he begged off. Had to study! Can you believe it? Said he gets enough practice at the gym on campus."
We left and I was wondering. Joey did not even hint at questioning how come Rocco and I were still together all the time. And I was still afraid when he will eventually find out.
Consuela was doing quite well at Temple, and was still dating Jason occasionally. In fact both of them came to visit us a while at the Webster's. We spent the afternoon gaining weight finishing off all the cookies Mrs. Webster baked (except for Rocco who was now perpetually stuck at 103½). And while we were gaining weight we were also comparing notes about college, and catching up on all the news. We were hoping to catch Allen and Dan but it turned out they were on a special vacation. They were in Hawaii of all places soaking up the sun. Allen had gotten a big bonus from some project he had worked on for half the year and Dan was between semesters at Temple. Allen had also convinced Dan to not worry about working any more since he could easily afford the remainder of his tuition.
When they had left I asked Rocco how come he had been looking back and forth from Jason to me when they first came.
"It must be the sun Jade. Or actually the lack of it. I think Jason is almost as dark as you are. You need to get out in the sun more."
That evening Rocco made sure to inspect all 100% of my black skin "just to make sure I was still dark enough."
Another thing that was so great was being able to be with Tim again. I guess Mrs. Webster possibly couldn't see it, but being away for several months I could see a change in the boy. He was much more confident and despite Mrs. Webster's worries, even less rowdy and rambunctious. He proved that on the trip to the Smithsonian. Our final Christmas present to him.
Rocco borrowed Dan's station wagon again and we left for Washington DC very early Friday morning. VERY early. Tim had been practically pulling me out of bed before 6 a.m. Rocco I literally pushed out of bed and onto the floor. Definitely not a morning person. He frequently claimed that he was not responsible for anything he did for the first half hour after he got up. And Mrs. Webster we discovered was downstairs already cooking breakfast even though we had decided to just bring some cornbread and milk with us to eat on the way.
"Growin' boys needs real food." Mrs. Webster said. "An' I won't lets you leave here hungry."
Billy showed up soon after dragging a small suitcase over to the station wagon. His Mom had given him a ride the short block because of the suitcase and she and Mrs. Webster talked while we were chowing down. I had never seen Billy's Mom over here before so I guess they had gotten to know each other more recently. I was slightly surprised since Mrs. Coleman (Billy's Mom) was a very devout Bible carrying Baptist while Mrs. Webster went to some `other' church. But they seemed to be very close friends now the way they were conversing. Mrs. Webster soon introduced Rocco to Mrs. Coleman as "my college friend" and Mrs. Coleman started asking him all kinds of questions mostly about him being careful driving and being sure to keep the `boys' safe. Billy must have quite some time ago already mentioned that "my college friend" was white since she never seemed to make note of that. Rocco was his usual voluble self -- he had two cups of coffee in him by then.
We finally got under way with Tim and Billy. The two boys with the Conoco Road Map acted as navigators. We decided to get out of the city as soon as possible so we made our way southwest first to the Baltimore Pike, and then on to Route 1. Fortunately we were not only ahead of most of the rush hour traffic, we were going in the opposite direction.
Baltimore was a morbidly depressing city. We seemed to go through miles and miles of run down slums. There was a four lane highway that led out of it toward DC so it was somewhat faster going from there. The first thing we noted besides the Capital Building, and the Washington Monument in downtown DC was that it seemed impossible to go in the direction you wanted. All the roads you wanted to take were one way the wrong way. And wow. You even had to pay a dollar just to park! Good thing we took a lot of cash with us. The first thing we did was get a map of all the Smithsonian buildings and decide just where we wanted to go. There was even an art museum and history museum but the boy's never gave it more than a thought. It was also a good thing that we already got a motel room on the way into town. Rocco didn't want to stop but I said then we wouldn't have to worry about getting a place later. I couldn't believe it; just a room with two double beds cost 18 dollars! At this rate we'd be broke by morning. And I didn't mention this to Rocco but I was also worried about finding a place that would give a room to colored people. But the guy at the desk was not only all smiles, he was black himself. The only funny look he gave anyone was Rocco. But he never said a word.
Museum Of Natural History
We wound up spending the whole day in the Museum of Natural History. And as they promised, both Tim and Billy were very well behaved. In fact we only lost each of them once. We left the museum at closing, drove back to the motel, and were lucky to find a restaurant called The Hot Shoppe just down the street. The food was not too expensive and was also very edible. (All the sandwiches and cornbread we had brought with us was long gone). The boy's were still talking about all the `neat stuff' they'd seen as Rocco and I went to sleep.
The next day we were back at the same museum to see parts we hadn't seen. A new thing called a diarama was being put up in one long corridor and we were detoured downstairs and through the basement and back up another stair. Rocco got all excited when we saw this old geyser cone down there. It was about the size of a small desk and had all sorts of openings and beads all over it. He asked the guy who was directing us through this part of the basement about the cone but all he could say was that it came from Yellowstone Park a long time ago.
In the afternoon we went to the Arts & Industries Building which we visited briefly (Tim and Billy said it was boring) and then on to the Aeronautics Museum where we spent the remainder of the afternoon. They were in the middle of renovating part of it and said that a lot of Space Program things would soon be added.
On the way home all of us realized that to really see what we wanted we would need at least another week. We didn't even get to the Washington Monument or any of the government buildings. But Tim and Billy were quite happy with our short visit. It took us several hours to get past Baltimore this time and we had to call Mrs. Webster to say we would be a quite late. By the time we got home (near midnight) both Tim and Billy were asleep stretched out on the back seats. Rocco said that was all the driving through large cities he wanted to do for a while.
The next day back, Rocco and I took Tim and Billy on a walk through Pennypack Park. (Billy had slept over with Tim. Mrs. Webster made the arrangements with his parents when she knew we'd be getting back so late). This time we took the trolley down Frankford Avenue to Solly Avenue and walked to the falls and beyond which had been one of our favorite places to explore. On our way back both Tim and Billy had to try to cross on the top of the dam that made the falls but fortunately gave up before they fell in. It didn't seem to matter that there was ice covering part of the creek. And when I started telling Tim and Billy they should have had more sense and how dangerous it was, I had to mention the time Rocco DID fall in trying the same stunt. Billy said he learned in school that the bridge across the creek at Frankford Avenue was the oldest highway bridge in the country. He said that "hundreds of years ago it was part of the King's Highway." Neither Rocco nor I had ever known that. We tried to see if there was a plaque or something but could find nothing.
By the time Billy's Mom had come for him his sneakers were almost dry. Luckily he also had an extra pair of dry socks with him in his suitcase.