A Special Place
By Sequoyah Pendor
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(Parts Forty-one - Fifty)
Matt and I took the things from the
Jeep into the house and cleaned up and put everything away. It took longer
than it might otherwise have done, because we were constantly stopping for
some passionate kissing. I was pleased to learn that our new ways of making
love had taken nothing from the old. Damn, I loved kissing my man!
We had just finished getting things
put away when Yong Jin and Greywolf arrived. They came into the house laughing
and holding hands. "No more school until September," Greywolf shouted as
he tossed a load of books and papers on his desk in the library. When he
and Yong Jin walked into the kitchen, he said, "And I bet you thought only
students were thankful when school was out!" He laughed and grabbed Yong
Jin and the two did a dance across the kitchen. They were acting like a couple
of teenagers--even to engaging in some pretty passionate kissing themselves.
When they had calmed down a bit, Yong
Jin asked, "How did the skip day go?"
"Perfect, absolutely perfect," Matt
"Yea, and the Fellowship has a new
couple," I added. "Jacob and Paula finally got over holding each other at
arm's length. I mean they really got over it."
"Well, if they decide to stick together,
next year will be pretty tough," Greywolf observed.
"It surely will," Yong Jin commented.
"But both seem like strong people. If they want to make it work, they can."
"I'm just glad we don't have to," Matt
said, pulling me to himself and kissing me. "Being separated would be no
"You just don't know," Greywolf said.
"Yong Jin and I have had experience and it's the pits."
"That's not the only news," I said.
"Well, grab a Coke and tell us all
about it," Yong Jin said as she got four cold Cokes.
We sat talking about the day and all
that had happened. "The house is now officially ours. Millie saw to that.
Of course we have to pay her back. She had Mr. Fox, one of her lawyers, incorporate
us as the Oberlin Five, Inc."
Greywolf laughed, "Leave it to Millie.
Well, paying her back will be no problem. All the money Yong Jin and I and
Gabrielle and Jens set aside for your college is now available for other
things since your hard work has paid off in scholarships."
"Plus the money I got from sales at
the exhibition," I added. "Even Larry found out he wasn't as bad off as he
thought. His parents had established a college fund when he was born and
his mom kept it up after his father left until he was eighteen when it was
paid out. Also, he has a job this summer."
"Hate to be this way, but did you get
any work done on the speeches?" Yong Jin asked.
"We did. I guess we'll have to finish
them tonight," Matt said as he looked at me with a frown.
Just as he spoke, the phone rang and
Yong Jin picked it up. After she had greeted Mom, she said, "Yes, he's here.
One minute... It's your mom, Luke."
"Mom, what's up?' I asked into the
"I haven't been able to leave work
yet--I planned to be home early, but it looks like I'm stuck for another
half hour so I wanted to make sure I got you before you made plans for tonight.
Your dad and I want you and Matt to have dinner with us. Michael and Mary
Kathryn are having dinner with the Andrews.
"I hope Michael is up to it. I'm not
sure he is after today. I think he overdid the swimming."
"I hope not. Anyway, this is pretty
important to your dad--well, to me too. He would like to sit down and have
a talk with you after dinner. And, by the way, plan to spend the night at
"By myself?" I could feel the hair
on the back of my neck rising. I was well on the way to being very angry
when Mom said, "I certainly hope not! Have you and Matt had a fight?"
"Of course not!"
"Then I suspect you'll be spending
the night at home with him in your bed. I would if I were you," Mom laughed.
"You've got to learn not to be so touchy, Luke."
"Mom, I think I have reason to be touchy."
"Maybe not after tonight. See you around
I told Matt what Mom had said and he
suggested we work on the speeches before going to my place since we obviously
weren't going to have as much time as we thought. "But I'm sure there will
be more to do and they have to be ready tomorrow for Ms. Jones to approve."
Yong Jin called us at 6:30 to remind
us of the time. We had gotten so absorbed in the speeches that the time slipped
up on us. We had made great progress, but now only had time for a quick shower
and getting dressed before it was time to go. Just before we showered, Matt
set the computer to copy the speeches onto a disk so we could continue to
work on them at my place later.
Just before we were ready to leave,
Greywolf said, "Sons, be patient and hear Jens out, regardless of what he
has to say. I'm sure this is serious business for him and will not be easy,
so be patient. Remember, he loves you both."
"We will, Dad," Matt said and we hugged
both Matt's parents and turned to leave.
As we reached the front door, Greywolf
called to Matt, "Matt, don't plan on using the Jeep Thursday. I'm taking
it in to be checked."
"Ok, Dad, but remember that's the birthday
bash at Uncle Michael's. I'll need it then."
"I'll see what I can do about getting
the work it needs done before too late," he replied. "But I'm not sure. You're
going to need to be sure it's ready for the trip to Sewanee."
When we reached my place, both Mom
and Dad were in the kitchen. "Dinner will be ready shortly," Jens announced.
"Maybe you want to catch the latest news."
There wasn't much of interest in the
news and I was only half paying attention, Matt saw to that, when suddenly
I heard, "More happening in the McBride case in Concord today. In a civil
action suit against McBride, Judge Snow ruled that McBride's assets would
be confiscated and placed in a trust fund to continue therapy for those he
had abused. A local therapist told this reporter that the three young men
who had testified to years of abuse from McBride will probably be in therapy
for some years. However, I also learned that the three had completed their
high school education while living in a halfway house and will be graduating
with their high school class at Independence High School."
"That's surely an interesting development,"
Matt said. "I wonder how Independence students will take that?"
"More for the speeches, Matt," I responded.
I was surprised when we got to the
dining room. The table was set for a celebration. What was going on here?
There was a wine glass at every place and Dad had wine sitting in front of
his place. When we had gathered around the table, Dad said grace. I was shocked
when he, as Greywolf had done, passed up the standard grace to offer thanks
for his sons Matthew and Luke and for their love for each other. Shocked?
I was thunderstruck! When he had finished the grace, he poured wine for all
of us and offered a toast, "To the Family, blessed beyond measure and to
our two sons who have found love--unexpected and, at first, unacceptable.
May it grow and deepen in the years to come."
The dinner was, of course, perfect.
"Gabrielle, I hope you have taught your son to cook. I don't think I can
last months without at least a hint of your wonderworks from the kitchen."
"Never let him fool you, Matt. Luke
is an excellent cook, but then I seem to recall Greywolf and Yong Jin haven't
neglected that part of your education either!"
As the meal progressed, we talked about
our day at the falls, about having the house and about all the plans for
the next week and the summer. "Mary Kathryn has already told me about the
picnic Sunday. I think that is a wonderful idea! I thought you'd want to
go off and party on your own," Mom said.
"That's Saturday night," Luke said.
"Mr. Greywolf and his entourage are going back to the club in Lexington."
We finished the meal and Matt and I
started to clear the table as usual when Dad said, "Leave the wine glasses."
After the table was clear, Dad asked, "Boys--I guess you're no longer boys,
huh? But I still think of you as boys. I want to talk with you and wonder
if you'd like to talk in the den or sit here around the table?"
"Jens, I vote for the table," Matt
replied and I nodded.
When we were settled again, Dad filled
our glasses, sat down and became very silent. He sat for what seemed like
a very long time looking at his wine glass, twirling it between his fingers.
Actually I'm sure it was only a minute or two. But I was getting very nervous
and, when Matt took my hand under the table, I knew he was too. He finally
looked up and said, "I really don't know how to begin. I have something I
want to say and I'm afraid I'll bungle the job and I sure don't want to.
Be patient with me."
"First, I want you to know I love all
of you kids. Matt, I don't think I love you or Michael any less than I do
Luke and Mary Kathryn. That's kinda hard for me to say, not because it's
untrue, but it's hard for me to say 'I love you,' to Luke and Mary Kathryn,
my own flesh and blood. Telling the children they were loved just wasn't
done in my family and it's been very hard for me to say it even as seldom
as I do. But it's true. I love all of you very much."
"The second thing..."--Jens the accountant
was getting the books in order just as Greywolf the scientist has to have
everything in order--"I want you to know is that I have struggled very hard
to accept your relationship. It has called into question beliefs I thought
absolute and unchangeable. It shook all I have believed to the very foundations.
I'll admit I still don't understand two men loving each other as you two
love. But then love is not to be understood, just accepted--and I do accept
"Then a major problem--to my mind--is
that you are still children, very young, and have made a decision..."
"Dad, there was no decision," I said.
I could feel myself bracing for something. I wasn't sure what.
Matt squeezed my hand, looked at me
and mouthed, "Patience".
Dad ignored my remark and continued,
"...a decision to accept who and what you are and to act on it: to accept
that you were in love with a man and let him know it--and everyone else for
that matter. Gradually I have come to realize that you are no longer children,
but I'm still not yet ready to call you adults. Well, I guess I am, it's
just that being adults carries responsibilities that I didn't want you to
have to have. But then, you aren't children and I don't really want to keep
treating you as children."
"Matt, Luke, I told Gabrielle to ask
you to stay here tonight. I wasn't sure I could do that without saying the
wrong thing. I have noticed that since you two have acknowledged your love
for each other--I mean other than as brothers--you have spent little time
here." Dad laughed, "I've even thought about renting out Luke's room. But
seriously, I have noticed that your displays of affection are much less free
here than elsewhere and I suspect your love-making has also been restrained."
"Dad, Matt and I knew you had problems
with our relationship. I won't say that we haven't made love here--within
the bounds we set for ourselves--but you're right. It has been restrained
because we knew how you felt and we just didn't feel comfortable here. Also,
I--we--had respect for you, if not your position. And we weren't going to
cheapen our love by being sneaky."
"Well said, Son," Dad said. "I know
that you had placed boundaries on your love-making until you were eighteen
and, since I got drafted to help prepare your love nest at the falls, I think
I am safe in saying you observed those bounds, but only as long as you said
"Luke's no longer a virgin, if that's
what you mean, Jens," Matt said and then turned bright red. Dad had a good
"That's what I mean," he said. "I have
some real problems with premarital sex--although, to be frank, I wasn't innocent
when Gabrielle and I were married."
"Jens, be honest. Our wedding night
was our first night as husband and wife, not our first night." Damn if Dad
"Anyway, as I was thinking about that,
I realized that you would never be married to each other. At least, not as
marriage is understood and recognized legally. I know you plan a commitment
ceremony, but that's beside the point. What I'm trying to say is that I recognize
your commitment to each other and expect you to make love any way you care
to in this house. And I hope, if not now, soon you will feel comfortable
Both Matt and I gave a great sigh.
"Dad, I was afraid... I mean... I was afraid... I don't know what I was afraid
of but, Dad, you don't know how happy that makes me. Not because I can make
love to Matt here. If not here, I would somewhere, but because of your acceptance
of us." I got up and hugged and kissed my dad. Matt did the same. Both Matt
and I had tears in our eyes--I guess remembering Dad's reaction only weeks
ago--and damned if Dad didn't have a tear or two in his eyes.
"Jens, I know how hard it has been
for you to reach this point, but I want you to know that I will honor it
the only way I know how, by loving your son with all my heart and soul,"
Jens poured the rest of the wine into
the glasses and as he did said, "Matt, I could ask nothing more and expect
nothing less." He raised his glass and said, "Here's to the finest sons a
man could ever ask for, and to their love--for each other and for the family.
May both grow ever deeper and stronger!"
We drank the toast and I said, "I know
you'll not believe this, but Matt and I have speeches to work on. I think
we'll say goodnight and go up."
We hugged Jens and Gabrielle and both
of us said, teary eyed, "Thanks, Jens." Matt added, "And we promise to make
you proud of us and of our love," then we went to my room.
As soon as we got upstairs, we discussed
the fact that we planned to mention Danny, Buddy and Jake, the three who
had beaten and raped Gregory, in our speech. "Luke, that worries me," Matt
said. "I am really concerned about that."
"So am I, Matt. Maybe we should just
leave it out."
"We could. Maybe we should."
"Matt, why don't we let them decide?
I mean it's a part of what the speeches are about. Maybe they would want
us to say what we planned to say."
"What do we do? We won't have time
to make major changes in the morning."
"Let's give them a call."
It took a while to find the phone number
of the halfway house, but we finally decided it was too important not to
make every effort and, in desperation, called Judge Snow at home. We apologized
for calling her so late and at home, but when we told her what we had in
mind, she thought it was a good idea. "Especially since you are leaving the
decision in their hands." She gave us the number and, when we called, we
managed to get all three on the halfway house speaker phone and went over
what we had planned. When we finished, Danny said, "It's going to be rough--for
you and for us--but I think you should go ahead." The other two agreed.
Then we worked on the speeches, again
getting completely immersed in them, until I had to rush to the toilet for
a piss. When I got back, Matt had fallen asleep in front of the computer,
his head on the keyboard. When I looked at the clock I saw that it was 3:30
in the morning and we had to be at school at 9:00 for rehearsal. The speeches
could still use some polishing, but I saved them and shut down the computer,
got undressed and picked up my man and took him to bed. He was so out of
it that I got him undressed and under the cover before he gave any hint of
waking up. When he did, he smiled, reached up and kissed me and was immediately
asleep again! So much for making mad passionate love in my house tonight!
Of course, by the time I had spooned into the back of my love, I was also
asleep. I guess there are, as Michael pointed out, limits--limits of all
Saturday morning is usually sleep-in
time at my house, but this morning the clock went off at 7:30. I hate alarm
clocks! One day I hope I will be in a position to not have one in the house!
Matt reached across me and slammed the snooze button for another nine minutes
of sleep. I guess sometimes even teenage priorities get changed.
The clock went off a second time and
Matt and I dragged ourselves out of bed. We went to the bathroom and took
care of morning necessities. We barely had time for a quick shower with no
playing around. I shaved while Matt got dressed. While I got dressed, he
printed out copies of the speeches and we went downstairs.
Dad was in the kitchen alone, fixing
breakfast. "I hope you two had a good night," he smiled.
"I guess it was good. Actually, Dad,
we worked on the speeches until 3:30 and, while I was taking a piss, Matt
fell asleep at the computer. He barely woke up when I got him undressed and
in bed. Just long enough for a quick kiss. I was asleep two minutes later."
"I guess you're adults after all,"
Dad mused. "You're learning there are responsibilities which keep you from
doing what you want to do. You may as well know, that doesn't change."
"Yea, like getting up to feed two boys
when you'd rather be in bed--sleeping or otherwise," Matt laughed. Dad joined
in his laughter.
After breakfast we rushed to school,
getting there in the nick of time. When we walked in, a very excited Ms.
Jones met Matt. "Matt, we had a Rogers organ delivered late yesterday to
be used for graduation. When we had rehearsal, the assistant conductor and
the director handled the ensemble and chorus--we are NOT using recorded music
this year--and they did fine so the two groups are in good shape, but with
Paula and Eugene back and the addition of the organ, do you think you could
work to improve the selection of music?
"I hope I can," Matt replied. What
did you have in mind?"
"Get together with Eugene and Paula
and see what you three can come up with. I'll leave it up to you three."
"Pomp and Circumstance" have to be
"I meant it when I said I'd leave the
music up to you three. How are the speeches?"
"I have a hard copy of them," I said.
"We want to do some more work, but I think you can see where we are headed.
Any changes will not be a big surprise."
"I trust you two so I'll read what
you have and you can do what you want to improve that. To tell you the truth,
the hard part of graduation is well in hand. It's getting the marching in
and out and getting up and down that seems to be too complicated for graduating
Ms. Norman had the seniors marching
in and out and standing and sitting, trying to make everything look smooth.
It didn't. She was getting pretty put out and finally said, "Take fifteen."
I hadn't been too involved since I just marched right up on stage and didn't
have to do the up and down bit--which looked silly to me, but then it was
When Ms. Norman called for the break,
I walked over to Ms. Jones who had read the speeches. "I think the speeches
are great, but I wonder about one thing. You mention the three students who
beat and raped Gregory...."
"Matt and I called them and ran over
the speeches with all three because we would not have included what we did
without their knowing and approving it."
"I would have thought as much, but
I wanted to be sure. And their response?"
"They thanked us. All three thanked
us. In fact, all three wept and said they couldn't understand how we could
say what we did about the outcome."
Actually, as we said, Matt and I had
been very hesitant about mentioning that horrible event, but when we talked
with the three, they urged us to do so. Even though Ms. Jones approved the
speeches, I knew they needed more work and Matt had agreed when we talked
about them on the way to school.
During the lull, Derrick Armstrong,
football hero and student body president, came over. "How's Michael doing?"
"He's coming along fine," Matt said.
"He actually swam some yesterday."
"Do you think he might come to school
before we finish? I need to talk to him. I know he had to give up being a
marshall, but I hoped he would be here."
"Give him a call. I think he can make
it," I said.
Derrick left to call Michael and I
joined Matt, Paula and Eugene. Matt was sitting at the organ, running his
fingers over it as if it was my naked body! "Babe, have I been replaced?"
I asked in a whiney voice.
Matt smiled and said, "Not likely,
but I tell you, I'm amazed at what this baby can do. I have always heard
electronic organs put down and I'd probably choose the Flentrop over this
but, man, what I wouldn't give to have this baby. It can do just about anything.
Three manuals. I would just love to have it. But right now I guess you have
been replaced for a spell since we've got to get the music done."
Later Matt told me he, Eugene and Paula
had told Ms. Jones they would announce the beginning of the ceremony with
"Fanfare for the Common Man" and then use Clarke's "Trumpet Tune" instead
of the usual "Pomp and Circumstance" which Eugene said the ensemble was having
trouble with since they only started work on it yesterday when he was at
the falls. The rest of the music they selected--including the recessional--was
also from the concert.
Sure enough, as soon as Ms. Norman
got everyone back in place and processional started, a couple mothers went
rushing up to Ms. Jones. One was the mother of a daughter who was graduating
only by the grace of God and a few points from her teachers. Ms. Norman called
a halt just as she shouted, "I don't care how it's done. It can be an eight
track tape so far as I am concerned, but my daughter is going to march to
the graduation march!"
Ms. Jones of the icy voice drew herself
up to her full height and asked, "And just what is the graduation march?"
"Don't play dumb with me, Lady!" the
mother was shouting now, "You know..." and in her best "my daughter is being
mistreated voice" tried to do a bah, bah, bah version of "Pomp and Circumstance".
"Oh," Ms. Jones said, "you mean "Pomp
and Circumstance". I guess if you insist she march to that you need to find
a high school that's using it. Most will. We're not!" and turned and walked
away as she said, "Get on with it, Norman".
Then there was a problem because Eugene,
Paula and senior members of the chorus and ensemble had trouble getting back
to their places after they had done their parts of the program. Finally Ms.
Norman, who was in charge, decided the only easy way was to let them sit
together and made a change in the strict alphabetical order in which the
diplomas were given out. The same loud-mouthed mother and her tag-along raised
cain again because their children got pushed further back in the line. Finally
Ms Jones had had it with all the fuss and said, "We'll seat the honors students
in the front, the chorus and ensemble members who are not honors students--if
there be any--directly behind them. We'll do honors in alphabetical order,
then members of the chorus and ensemble in alphabetical order and then the
remaining students in alphabetical order. Seems to me the honors students
and the ensemble and chorus have done enough for Independence to have that
bit of preference shown to them. Anyway, that's the way it's going to be!"
The two busybodies started to say something when Ms. Jones announced, "The
rest of the rehearsal is closed to all except participants. Ladies you are
"Millicent Willingham will hear about
this," Ms. Loud Mouth shouted as she walked out the door. Her poor daughter
was embarrassed to tears. Sometimes parents are more concerned about their
own image than their children it appeared.
While Ms. Norman was rearranging students,
Derrick came back and spoke with Ms. Jones. I heard her say, "As soon as
he's here, we'll discuss it."
We marched in and out a couple more
times, Derrick and I marching straight to the stage rather than sitting in
the audience. Eugene and other seniors in the ensemble didn't have to march
and Paula and senior members of the chorus peeled off when they reached the
risers for their group.
As we were marching out the last time,
Michael came in. Ms. Jones motioned for me, Matt and Derrick. When we reached
them, Derrick said, "You all know it is traditional for the president of
the student body to introduce the valedictorian--in this case co-valedictorians.
However, I spoke with Ms. Jones and I would like for Michael to do that.
Michael has done more for this school in a couple or three months than I
have done as student body president all year. Frankly, I haven't done shi...
anything. I would like to introduce Michael and let him introduce you two."
"Derrick, what will your classmates
think of that?" Michael asked.
"The ones I have talked to think it's
a good idea."
"You know the program can't be changed,"
Ms. Jones said.
"Doesn't bother me," Derrick replied.
"But with all the changes made today, I guess the only thing correct is the
list of graduates anyway! But, if you like, I'll call Dad. His best friend
runs a print shop and I bet we could get new ones. I'll call as soon as you
give me the corrected program."
"What do you three think of Derrick's
suggestion?" Ms. Jones asked.
"I think it's a grand gesture, Derrick,"
"So do I."
"Derrick, if that's what you truly
want to do, I am honored, but it's your decision. You have earned the honor,"
"That's just it, Michael, I haven't
and now it's too late. But I have learned a lesson about the difference between
being a leader and having a title. You're on tomorrow, Man!" He started to
slap Michael on the back, but stayed his hand just in time.
"Thanks," Michael smiled, "if you hadn't
stopped that hand, I don't think I'd have been able to do anything tomorrow!
Now I guess I better get home and get busy trying to find something decent
I can say about these two brothers of mine."
After Michael left, I noticed Derrick
looked puzzled. Finally he asked, "Are you two and Michael brothers?"
"Not by blood, but otherwise, one hundred
percent," Matt said.
Ms. Jones wanted to know if there was
anything she needed to do for us. "Just be sure there are two mikes for the
speeches because we're doing a dialogue," I said.
"Glad you reminded me of that. I'll
see that it's done. Paula left as soon as she could with that redheaded junior--Jacob--saying
'Time's a'wasting' as she walked out, but if you, Matt and Eugene, can stay
a bit, we'll get the program corrected and, Derrick, you can see what you
"I'll wait outside with Larry," I said
and started toward the door, then remembered, "Oh, by the way, Ms. Jones,
the Fellowship is having a graduation celebration tomorrow afternoon. We
like you to be there if you aren't going to another one."
"Thanks. I appreciate that, but I suspect
that's a time for you young adults."
"Not at all. We're having a family
picnic at the falls. Parents and friends invited."
"Then I'd be honored. See you at graduation."
As Ms. Jones went about getting the
program corrected, I walked to the parking lot. Larry was sitting in Eugene's
car, listening to a tape. I joined him and, as we listened, we started talking
about yesterday and how much fun it had been. Then we both got the giggles
when Larry brought up the loud-mouthed mother. "I'd like to be a fly on the
wall when she decides to dress down Ms. Jones to Millie," Larry laughed.
Matt still hadn't joined us and the parking lot was empty except for Eugene's
car, Matt's Jeep and one other car I didn't know.
Matt finally walked out of the building
with Eugene and two other seniors. I soon recognized them as Randy and Sandy.
When the four of them reached us, we all spoke and Randy said, "We're just
telling Eugene how much we appreciate what he did to keep us in school and
to allow us to graduate".
"Well, to tell the truth, we were telling
him just how much we appreciated the punishment," Sandy laughed. "Randy and
I have been best friends for years, but that was it. I guess both of us were
afraid what might happen to our friendship if we told the truth, but after
that kiss in the cafeteria, we decided we liked it and, well, we finally
admitted we were in love with each other and had been for ages."
"Sure was easier than the way Matt
and I got together," I said and pulled Matt to me for a kiss.
"I admire your guts--all four of you,"
Randy said. "I'm afraid we can't be as open as you four. I know I would be
put out of the house if my dad found out...."
"And that would be the least of my
troubles," Sandy added. "I know my old man would beat the shit out of me.
He does that just for kicks now, especially when he's drunk--which is most
of the time. Give him a reason and I don't think he'd know when to stop."
"Also, we both are football players
and I'll bet our scholarships would evaporate if the college found out. I'm
sure we would be hounded off the team at best. But at least Sandy and I are
going to the same college and we are roommates, so we can be together and
what we do behind closed doors--well..." he grinned. "But, again, thanks
Eugene, you made two men very happy. And I still can't get over how fast
you can put a football player's ass in the dirt. But we've got to run. Laters."
"Laters," the four of us said.
"Luke, we better run too. We still
have work to do on speeches. See you guys tomorrow," Matt said.
Matt and I spent the afternoon working
on the speeches at his place. We reached the point where we were just fussing
over them without making any improvements and I finally said, "Matt, let's
call it quits for now and have Yong Jin take a look at them later".
It was a beautiful spring day so Matt
and I decided we'd go for a walk along the river. Of course the falls are
a special place, but the river above and below the falls is also beautiful.
We walked to the river bridge, climbed down the bank and walked up the river
toward the falls. We had our arms about each other's waist and stopped from
time to time for a gentle kiss. We weren't, it seemed, in the mood for heavy
making out. That was strange until Matt said, "I guess without saying it
or even being conscious of it, we're storing up memories, Luke. I feel kinda
sad knowing that all we have known and loved is, well, no longer going to
be a part of our everyday life. Soon all of this will be very far away from
us and I don't think we can ever, really, come back to it."
"I know what you mean, Babe. It frightens
me at times. I thought that this summer was just like other summers--we'd
go away to camp or whatever and come back to what we have always known. But
even if we were coming back here, we wouldn't be coming back to what we've
always known. I mean there'd be no school, no Fellowship--at least for us.
All that we're leaving behind. Of course, we'd also be coming back to each
other as we've never done before... But we won't be coming back, not back
to this place, to the family... not really. And you know what frightens me--still--is
that we could have reached this point in our lives, separated and never have
"But we didn't and we are, Yonghon
Tongmu." Matt took me in his arms and kissed me softly, gently, then lowered
me to the mossy bank of the river where we lay in each other's arms. Matt
was unusually tender as he slowly undressed me. Soon he, too, was lying beside
me in all his wonderful, naked, dark beauty. Our love-making was as gentle
and soft as the light breeze in the willows above us. Matt started kissing
my body, stopping to look up into my eyes and smile the smile which made
my world light up. God I loved this man who could be a wild Korean Lakota,
but who could also be a gentle warrior making love to me under the canopy
of the willows with the soothing sound of the river near by. Even when he
took me into his mouth, his love-making was gentle, tender, soft--unrushed
and unhurried. When I had given him my gift, he looked into my eyes and said,
"We're creating memories, Yonghon Tongmu, memories to last forever".
In the tenderness of our love, we lay
in each others arms, looking into each other's souls until I started making
love to my Dark Angel's hard, perfect body. When he filled my mouth with
the pure taste of Matt, I drank it, filling my being with the nectar of my
love. In the gentle warmth of our love we lay together, whispering things
to each other which only appear foolish to those who are not in love.
As with all good things, our time together
had to come to an end so we dressed and walked, holding hands, stopping for
a kiss, laughing and enjoying being alive, back to Matt's place. We walked
into the kitchen just as Greywolf came in, his hair wet from the shower.
"I hope you two were enjoying yourselves while I slaved away in the garden,"
"I don't know about your slaving away,"
Matt joined in the laughter, "but we certainly were enjoying ourselves. Well,
kinda. Well, we did enjoy ourselves, but I guess yesterday started us thinking
about how our life here is drawing to a close."
"Yea," I added. "We were just thinking
about graduation as the end of another school year until yesterday, but both
of us keep thinking that it's not. It's the end of being here in surroundings
we know and love, among people we know and love and who love us. All that
is about to change. It's kinda a happy-sad time."
"Yes, it is. For us too," Yong Jin
said. "Too soon the house will feel incomplete because you and Matt won't
be around. I keep thinking about when I weaned Matt. It was time for him
to move on, but nursing him was a pleasure for both of us. He cried the most,
but it was a kind of sad time for me as well--and it hurt. But he could hardly
have gone to school hanging on my breast."
"Mom!" Matt exclaimed.
"It's true, Matt," Greywolf said. "I
guess the unfortunate thing is that most people, figuratively, go through
life hanging onto a breast. This place and the people you know and love have
given you all we can at this time. That doesn't mean the place will no longer
be special or that the people will stop loving you, but both will take on
a new meaning for you. You can't stop growing, even when you have growing
pains--as you will, always."
"I know it's really none of my business
and you can tell me that if you wish," Yong Jin said, "but how did your time
with Jens go? Gabrielle told me he was very anxious to talk with the two
of you, but had been pretty tight-lipped about it."
Matt and I told Yong Jin and Greywolf
about our talk with Jens and how he had said he considered our love special
and welcomed it.
"I recall how frightened we all were
about Jens finding out about you two. I knew he was a good man at heart,
but I also knew how hard it was going to be for him to question what he had
been taught all his life," Greywolf said. "But I guess I also knew how very
much he loved his son and all the rest of the Gang of Four. I am very thankful
that he has come to see that love is love and that your love is as deep and
precious as it is."
"Needless to say, I am more than happy
with my dad," I said. "He not only has my love, but also more respect than
I can tell."
"Hate to change the subject, but what
about the speeches?" Yong Jin asked.
"We'd like for you to hear them and
see what you think," Matt said. "And, by the way, I plan to spend the night
with Luke. We kinda didn't get to see how comfortable we would be at his
place last night."
Yong Jin raised an eyebrow as only
she can and I laughed. "We worked on the speeches until I had to go to the
toilet at 3:30 and when I got back, Matt was asleep on the keyboard! He hardly
woke up when I undressed him, just enough for a goodnight kiss."
After we did a run through of the speeches,
Yong Jin said, "I think you've done enough. Put them aside and get to Luke's.
And don't play around all night because Matt has to play tomorrow morning.
He only has one more time to play before he leaves for the summer."
Matt and I drove to my place knowing
we would sleep as late as possible and wouldn't want to have to walk back
to his place for the Jeep.
After dinner, we took a shower, playing
around but keeping everything within bounds. I mean there were much more
exciting things to come! After we got our hair dry--I kept threatening to
cut mine since getting it dry was a chore, but Matt reminded me that it was
one I seldom had to do since he did it and I better not cut a single hair--Matt
put on some soft slow music and we danced. Man, how I loved holding his hard
body in my arms, his head resting in the crook of my neck and dancing. His
hair was free and completely covered his back, even his great butt. As we
danced, I reached behind him and took his cheeks in my hands, pulling his
hips to mine. Soon I realized that he, as I, was very hard. He nibbled at
my ear and then whispered, "Luke Hans Yonghon Tongmu Larsen I love you. I
love you. I love you!"
I raised his head from my neck, looked
into his black almond eyes, smiled and said, "Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul
Greywolf, I love you too. Dark Angel, I couldn't love you more if I were
twins!" I slipped my hands into his hair and pressed my lips against his
again and again. Our open-mouth kisses became more passionate as our tongues
started a familiar duel. We were both very hot and very hard when I reached
down, swept my Sarang Hanun Pomul into my arms and carried him to my bed.
I stood over him, drinking in his dark
beauty. His hair was a black, black pillow for his smooth beauty. He extended
his arms and I fell into them. As I lay atop his body, he grasped two handsful
of my hair and pulled my lips to his in a kiss which knew no bounds. We continued
kissing each other as he rolled atop my body, his hair--God how I loved his
hair--forming that special private world I had grown to love more and more,
a world filled with the fragrance of Matt. His hands were all over my body,
his mouth and tongue making me hotter and hotter. When he started licking
and sucking my nipples, I started groaning. Finally I said, "Dark Angel,
I want you. I want to feel you inside me. I want to feel you deep inside
me." As I spoke, I managed to twist to one side and pull open the drawer
of the night stand where I had placed the lube I had forgotten on our birthday.
Matt reached in the drawer and took
the lube and soon was working it into me with a finger, then two. He continued
relaxing me until I finally said, "Babe, I want you now!" After applying
more lube to me, he covered Chili Pepper and started gently entering me.
"Dark Angel, I am ready. Please!" Matt still moved very slowly, very gently
until his Lakota arrow was buried deeply inside me. As he pulled back and
then slid in again, he hit a spot I didn't know I had. It felt as though
an electric charge of pleasure shot through my whole being. Matt raised my
legs to his shoulders as he knelt over me. Again and again his plunging arrow
hit my target and I clinched my teeth to keep from shouting as I urged Matt
on, "Yes, yes, yes, Love! Faster Matt, faster. Deeper, deeper." His balls
had been slapping against me, but now they were drawing into firing position.
Suddenly he reached out, grabbed my hair and pushed himself as deep as possible
into me. I felt him explode inside as he pulled my lips to his in a crushing
kiss while still exploding. I could hold back no longer and felt hot man's
seed shoot across my body. As I did, my Dark Angel collapsed on me.
Both of us exhausted by our love-making,
Matt held me tight, Chili Pepper still inside. Exhausted by our climax, yes,
but not enough to prevent passionate kissing. Finally, Chili Pepper grew
soft and slid from inside me and we lay side by side, gazing into each other's
eyes, both smiling, but saying nothing for a long time. Then Matt said, "Luke,
I want to make love to you like that until the day we die. You are my life,
my reason for living, Yonghon Tongmu."
"And you mine, Sarang Hanun Pomul.
You, my beloved Dark Angel, are the very reason I am living." As we had done
at the river, we lay, saying little, just basking in the presence of our
After we had recovered, Matt became
my wild Korean Lakota again and was smothering me with kisses. In spite of
the fact that only a short time ago he had brought me to a roaring climax,
Little Luke made his presence felt and Matt said, "Luke, make love to me.
Make the stars sing and the planets dance."
Foreplay is wonderful and exciting
and great! But there comes a time when it is not enough. "Luke, I want you
NOW!" Matt said. "I am ready for you NOW!" And he was. I hope I never have
to choose between being inside Matt and having him inside me. Both are out-of-this-world
experiences and I want to have both as long as I live. As I approached my
climax, I took Chili Pepper in my hand and brought Matt along with me. As
I felt my hot seed pulse into my love, he covered my hand with his.
Again, we were both exhausted and I
collapsed on Matt's body, placing my head on his chest, listening to his
heartbeat. We were silent for a long time and then Matt started laughing.
He started laughing! "Bright Angel, do you remember when we glued ourselves
Recalling that morning, I got the giggles
and the two of us, fresh from some damn hot sex, were laughing like two ten-year-olds.
I finally gained some control and said, "I guess this means we are no longer
uncomfortable making love at Jens' place".
"I think it means we have also learned
the Michael and Mary Kathryn trick of playing when making love."
"Maybe not when, but surely after,"
"Well, if we don't want to be siamese
twins, I guess we'd better clean up," Matt said. We took a shower, went through
the hair-drying routine--I was amazed to find Matt really needed to wash
his hair. I mean, I knew it was long, but to get--well, you know. I had grabbed
clean sheets out of the linen closet as we left the bathroom, and we changed
the bed. As we were making it up, Matt laughed and asked, "Do you think Gabrielle
would believe the sheets are the result of a wet dream?"
"If she does, I have a bridge in Brooklyn
I want to sell her."
We crawled into bed together; the fresh
sheets felt delightful against my bare skin and the fragrance of my Matt
filled me. "God, I love you so much I ache," I said as I kissed my Dark Angel
"And I love you so much I feel great
my Bright Angel."
We cuddled together, looking lovingly
into each other's eyes and drifted off to sleep, dreaming of a long, wonderful,
as-yet-unknown life together.
Mary Kathryn knocked on the door and
called to us, "If the two of you can drag your asses out of bed long enough,
breakfast is in fifteen minutes and you know you're not leaving here alive
without breakfast. Mom will see to that!"
We both hopped out of bed and dashed
for the bathroom. Mary Kathryn was standing outside the door and said, as
we rushed by, "I see part of you is awake if not all of you," pointing to
our erect cocks as she laughed and started downstairs.
We took a quick shower, taking care
to keep our hair dry and, in what had become a routine, I shaved while Matt
dressed for church. As soon as I was dressed, we went downstairs where breakfast
was waiting. As we sat down Matt looked at Jens and said, "Thanks, Jens."
Dad smiled and responded, "From the
smiles on your faces, I deduce that you found sleeping here comfortable."
"Both before and after we fell asleep,"
"I'm pleased," was all Dad said.
Matt and I went to St. Mary's and I
stood behind him for the choir warm-up, occasionally singing along softly.
Matt tells me that, contrary to my belief, I have a nice singing voice, but
I don't believe it.
At announcement time, Fr. Tom called
the four St. Mary's seniors to the chancel steps and gave us each a small
box. "These are graduation gifts from St. Mary's to four outstanding seniors,"
he said. "I hope you will wear them proudly knowing they represent our appreciation
and love." Inside each box was a beautifully wrought small silver cross and
As I turned to leave, he said, "Hold
on Matt". Facing the congregation, he added, "As all of you know, Matt became
organist at St. Mary's when he was about ten. We had a couple years, I guess,
of organ sans pedals--first because Matt couldn't really reach them. Then,
when he could, we were still sans pedals because Matt had to be one of the
most awkward eleven- or twelve-year-olds I have ever known. But he grew and
he changed and even Millie admits he's better with his feet than she ever
was--a high compliment because 1) Millie hates to admit anyone is better
at anything than she, and 2) because she was--and I suspect we will soon
learn, still is--good."
"When Matt started playing, Greywolf
and Yong Jin were determined that he wasn't going to be spoiled by money
and the vestry of St. Mary's was determined that we wouldn't engage in underpaid
child labor. Unknown to Matt, a plan was hatched. Matt, had you been more
attentive to the budget of St. Mary's, you might have questioned why we had
an organ fund. Kinda strange for a parish which has more organ than most
think is needed. Well, the arrangement was that you would be paid what you
got as an allowance--and Greywolf was pretty cheap on that count, wasn't
Matt laughed and nodded.
"The fact of the matter was, the money
to pay an organist, less an amount equal to your allowance, was placed in
the organ fund. That has remained true for eight years--accruing interest
at a very favorable rate due to the market I might add. Greywolf increased
your allowance as you grew older--not enough to please you, I'm sure--and
the stipend for the organist was also increased each year. The organ fund
was to be yours when you left for college. But, of course, you don't need
money for college since you and your three classmates earned--and I want
to emphasize earned--amazing scholarships. After talking with your parents,
the vestry--wisely, I believe--decided to spend the organ fund for an organ.
Frankly, I was amazed at how much was in the fund and we decided to go all
the way. You are now the proud owner of a Rogers 950 with all the trimmings."
Fr. Tom then handed Matt another small box.
Matt opened the box and took out a
small brass plate and a note. He unfolded the note, looked up with tears
in his eyes and read, "To be attached to the side of the organ now sitting
in the auditorium of Independence High School." He then read the engraving
on the brass, "To Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf, Organist of St. Mary's
Episcopal Church, Concord, 1987-1995." Matt couldn't contain himself. As
the congregation stood and applauded, Matt grabbed Fr. Tom in a great hug,
rushed down the center aisle to hug his mom and dad, then grabbed me in a
hug. I thought he was going to kiss me right in the middle of St. Mary's,
but I guess he suddenly realized that would probably cause Fr. Tom problems.
Instead, as he hugged me, he whispered, "Now I have two organs I love!" Damn,
I turned beet red!
"Matt, moving an organ and getting
it properly set up is not an easy or inexpensive task. Accordingly, there
is money in the fund to move and install the organ in your home after today's
graduation. Further, it will be transported and installed in what I believe
is a house belonging to The Oberlin Five, Inc. when you leave at the end
of the summer. It is something you have earned by your devotion to this congregation,
your hard work and your sense of responsibility. Enjoy it with our blessings."
When church was over, the coffee hour
was actually a grand reception for the four of us and everyone wanted to
talk to all of us. It was a delightful madhouse, but it did mean that we
had little time before graduation. However, the food at the reception made
lunch unnecessary, so we weren't too rushed. That is, we weren't rushed,
but Matt was hopping around like a kid waiting to open presents Christmas
morning. Finally he could stand it no longer and said, "Luke, would you like
to go with me to school?"
"Matt, it's only 12:30! Graduation
isn't until 2:00. We were told to be there by 1:30. What's your rush?" I
asked as if I didn't know.
"I want to go see my baby," he laughed.
When we arrived at the school, Ms.
Jones met us with a huge smile on her face. "I thought you'd get here a bit
early," she said. "Matt, thanks for loaning the organ, even if you didn't
know it was yours." As we left the house, Greywolf had handed me a small
toolbox and, while Matt went wild on the organ, I affixed the brass plate
to the side of the instrument.
Five minutes after Matt started playing,
I saw Paula, Eugene, and the entire chorus and ensemble start sneaking out
from backstage. Obviously they had been tipped off by Fr. Tom. Matt was still
unaware of their presence when he started playing the Gounod "Sanctus". He
hadn't finished more than a bar or two when the ensemble and chorus joined
in, scaring Matt out of his wits. When he turned around, all started applauding
and cheering. Their cheers soon changed to Lakota war whoops.
The whole group got into the music
for graduation full swing and was having a great time until Ms. Jones said,
"Ok, enough. It's time to get dressed for the big show." We left the auditorium
and went to the room set aside for the chorus and ensemble, where the seniors
got into their graduation gowns. Michael and all the Fellowship were there,
waiting for us. When we were dressed and ready, Ms. Jones held up her hand
for silence and said, "I want you to know I am very proud and honored to
be your principal. The people in this room have made Independence High School
what it was intended to be. I am eternally grateful to all of you. Now--let's
get this show on the road!"
Graduation and commencement--an ending
and a beginning had started.
Matt and the ensemble took their places
and started playing--and they didn't play "Pomp and Circumstance". I noticed
that the daughter of Mother Loud-mouth was in line. I guess Mommy had decided
graduation without "Pomp and Circumstance" was better than no graduation
at all. The faculty marched in behind Ms. Jones and Mr. Allan, all dressed
in academic regalia--gowns and colorful hoods. Immediately behind them were
Derrick in his cap and gown and Michael dressed in the unofficial school
uniform. The two young men, of course, marched directly to the stage with
the administrators and faculty as did I. As soon as everyone was in place,
the senior members of the ensemble joined their classmates while the underclassmen
went to their reserved section. Eugene and Paula, of course, sat with the
honors students as both, along with Larry, were wearing honors insignia.
Matt came on stage and sat beside me. I wanted to reach out and grasp his
hand, but refrained.
After Ms. Jones welcomed the audience
to the 1995 graduation exercises of Independence High School, Derrick went
to the podium and said, "Ms. Jones, Mr. Allan, faculty, students, parents
and friends, today a long-standing tradition of Independence High School
is being broken. Traditionally, the president of the student body has introduced
the valedictorian and salutatorian. But a young man, a sophomore, broke another
long-standing tradition at Independence this spring. Rising seniors, as if
by divine right, have always run for student body president for the coming
year. This year, a sophomore ran for the office and not only won, but won
by a landslide. He won because he had shown what a leader is, and that was
recognized by his fellow students. The student body president-elect has,
through his leadership, done more for Independence High School and the community
than, I suspect, all the past student body presidents--myself included--have
done. It is my expressed wish that he, not I, make the introductions this
year. Michael Andrews."
As Michael stood up to walk to the
mike, the entire senior class stood en masse and started applauding, and
soon the entire audience joined them. Michael nodded in acknowledgement of
their applause, but it didn't stop. A few seconds later, he held up his hand
for silence but the applause went on. The faculty had remained seated until
Ms. Jones stood and started applauding. She was immediately joined by the
entire faculty. Michael turned and looked around at them and started turning
red. The applause continued and Michael said what Michael always says: "Holy
shit!". Fortunately, he was still facing away from the mike and the applause
drowned out everything, but Luke, Greywolf and I knew what he said and all
three cracked up. Finally, Michael leaned into the mike and said, "Enough
already! I have a picnic to attend when this is over and I'd like to make
it before dark!" The audience laughed heartily, but gradually stopped applauding
and sat down.
"Ms. Jones, Mr. Allan..." Michael did
the proper introduction and then said, "I am deeply honored at Derrick's
gesture. While some wonderful things have happened at Independence this year
and I may, in some way, have provided some of the leadership which helped
bring them about, I take credit for them in no way. Others also have been
leaders who stood for right and brought about changes. But without those
who chose to follow good leadership, nothing would have happened. Leaders
are leaders--for good or bad--because they have followers. Any good that
may have been accomplished came about because good and decent people made
wise choices in the leaders they followed."
"I take special delight and am doubly
honored to introduce the 1995 Independence High School valedictorians. There
is no salutatorian. I am told that Ms. Jones and Ms. Norman used every conceivable
means of calculating grades to be able to choose between the two men who
will address you today, but each time came up with the same result, a tie."
Michael turned toward Ms. Jones, smiled, and said, "I could have told you
that. There is no way to choose between my brothers. Well, actually, you
could have chosen the older over the younger. While they have the same birthday,
one is fifteen minutes older than the other--and reminds us of that when
it is to his advantage!"
"The criterion for choosing valedictorians
is simply grade point average. Given the fact that grades are now calculated
to the second decimal point--utter foolishness since the original grade is
a whole number and we all know or will know about significant numbers before
we get out of the ninth grade--it is amazing that two students would end
up in a tie. It is more amazing that the grade point average of these two
men is 4.00, a perfect one." Michael again turned, this time to look at Matt
and me, and said, "If they only knew how far from perfect you two are, but
I won't tell!" The audience loved it.
"As you will be told again later, their
hard work and discipline as students is not going unrewarded. Both--along
with Larry Watley, Eugene Willingham and Paula Wright--have received full
scholarships to Oberlin College, not a mean feat. But in addition to the
usual full scholarship, the five had also received a scholarship to pay for
their books and fees." There was thunderous applause at Michael's announcement.
"Grades make them valedictorians, but
grades do not make a man or woman. It is other qualities which make them
worthy of honor and respect as men and women. Personally, they have shown
me qualities of love and concern, care and responsibility my entire life.
They were patient when I wanted to learn to ride a bicycle, learn to swim,
drive a car and in a thousand other things. They have demonstrated their
love, sometimes tough love, throughout my life. When I was wrong, they let
me know it. When I was right, they supported me without question. And that
is far more important than grades."
"The same has been true of their relationship
to Independence High School. Their contributions to life here are well known.
I need only mention the state and national recognition they brought to Independence--recognition
given to no other school in this state, past or present. The concert and
exhibition held a few weeks ago, for which these two men were responsible,
received state and national radio and TV coverage. In connection to that,
I am sure Paula Wright and the chorus, together with Eugene Willingham and
the ensemble, would demand I mention the fact that their groups were invited
to be a part of what was to be a recital by one of the valedictorians--a
one man show. When he learned the chorus and ensemble would not be having
a spring concert, rather than keep his recital as an ego trip, he asked that
they become a part of it, making it a concert the likes of which Concord
had never witnessed. Surely these two deserve to be honored by Independence
for putting this school and this town on the map."
"For these, and reasons too numerous
to count, I am deeply honored and humbled, overjoyed and delighted, to present
to you my brothers and the 1995 co-valedictorians of Independence High School,
Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf and Luke Hans Yonghon Tongmu Larsen."
I took a minute to recover from Michael's
introduction, especially with his adding Yonghon Tongmu to my name. Matt
looked at me and smiled, reached out for my hand and the two of us walked
to the podium.
Matt turned to Michael who was now
seated behind us and said, "Thank you, Lil' Bro. Glad you could find something
nice to say about us." We all three had huge smiles on our faces.
Matt started our speech.
MATT: "Ms. Jones, Mr. Allan, faculty,
parents--especially our parents David and Margaret Andrews, Yong Jin and
Patanka St. Michael Greywolf, Gabrielle and Jens Larsen--and friends.
The human soul, it has been said, is
divided between good and evil, right and wrong, prejudice and love, bigotry
and acceptance, between, if you will, darkness and light. Darkness and light--these
are in constant battle to determine whether life and the human spirit will
prevail over death and nothingness. This year--especially this spring semester--has
seen the battle between darkness and light raging in our school and our community.
LUKE: While the war between darkness
and light will never be over so long as there are human beings on earth,
darkness fought well in Concord and Independence High School this year. And
light is winning.
MATT: Looking back, it began when the
bigotry and prejudice of students in this school and this town drove a young
man to utter despair because he was different. Daily taunting, name-calling,
shunning was his life at Independence. But his despair was not enough to
satisfy darkness. Bigotry and prejudice led three other young men, classmates
of his, to beat and rape him. Raped and beaten because he was different,
he was rejected by his parents because he was gay. Beaten by his father to
a point near death, thrown out of his home, he was, literally, left in the
street to die. Darkness had won a victory at Independence, a victory which
found tacit approval by the Concord community when those guilty of the act
were given no more than a slap on the wrist for their deed--they received
probation. Yes, darkness claimed a major victory.
[As Matt said those words, I looked
at the seated seniors and saw the three weeping openly and wondered if we
had made the right decision.]
LUKE: But light was not defeated. A
kind uncle rescued Gregory, took him to another state where he could enter
a new school and have a new and better life.
MATT: But darkness was not finished.
It was not satisfied with the its victory. It demanded more and it won more.
In one way or another, students at his new school learned Gregory was gay
and the abuse and harassment started afresh. Again, he was hounded because
he was different until finally, in utter despair, he saw no way out except
the final--and dreadful way--he took his own life. Gregory was a sacrifice
to the hatred and bigotry so loved by darkness. Yet even that was not enough
to satisfy darkness. An administrator at this very school, in announcing
to the student body Gregory's final desperate act, proclaimed Gregory should
have expected what he got because of his choice of lifestyle. How could anyone
believe Gregory chose to be hounded, literally, to his death? And how did
his lifestyle warrant his death? The proclamation by the administrator implied,
if not gave, his approval to the acts which drove Gregory to his death. Darkness
celebrated and laughed at the foolishness of his servants.
LUKE: But darkness did not win. Yes,
Gregory was dead, a sacrifice to hatred and prejudice, a sacrifice which
cost the world we know not what and can never know, for Gregory is dead,
but darkness did not win. The administrator who had said Gregory should have
expected what he received was immediately challenged by Patanka St. Michael
Greywolf. Greywolf's challenge galvanized Michael Andrews, a sophomore, into
action and he began an immediate student protest, a protest which led to
the dismissal of the administrator. Further, Michael called upon the students
of Independence to acknowledge their complicity in Gregory's fate. He called
for a service of public repentance by the students of Independence, a service
which was attended by most of the students of this high school. Those who
gathered were students, such as myself, who had essentially stood by in silence
when Gregory was hounded by abusive words and taunts in the halls and classrooms
of this school--classrooms in which we were supposed to be learning what
it means to be concerned human beings in a world of diversity. Darkness was
not laughing. Light was shining for us all.
Further, since Gregory's body had been
cremated without ceremony, Michael called for a memorial service for him.
The cost had been high--as it always is. In this case it cost the life of
a young man of unknown potential, but light triumphed.
MATT: But darkness and evil had not
finished. The battle between darkness and light is not like a ball game--win
or lose, it comes to an end--no, the battle continued. The same three young
men who had attacked Gregory once again attacked some Independence students.
Now legally adults, their probation was revoked and their attack was so outrageous
they were charged with many serious offenses including attempted murder.
Seeing nothing but emptiness in their future, the three tried to take their
lives. Darkness had won a major victory and he laughed.
LUKE: But not for long. Fortunately,
the three young men were not successful in their suicide attempt. Alive,
they revealed a well-known pattern. They abused because they had been abused.
Perhaps out of fear at first, they revealed that they had been tools of a
man who claimed to represent all that was right and good and holy. They had
been victimized by one who claimed to serve light, but was a true servant
of darkness. The young men who had beaten and raped Gregory had been raped
and abused by a man who condemned those of us who are different. Their tormentor
was a man who operated a child pornography business netting him hundreds
of thousands of dollars. They were not only the victims of his sexual abuse,
but also caught in his web and forced to make pornographic videos distributed
world wide. Darkness had a powerful servant, but the young men chose to serve
light. And because some people care and serve light through providing mental
hospitals, the three were sent to the state mental hospital for treatment,
and then to a halfway house where their treatment continues. Maybe we complain
about taxes, but your tax dollars worked serving light, seeking to repair
the damage done to the three young men. Because of their treatment, they
are here today. They have a hard road ahead--no-one said living in the light
was easy--and darkness has already exacted a tremendous price from them.
It took their childhood, but light is winning their future for them.
MATT: But the three were not the only
ones who suffered from the darkness of that man. Eugene Joyce, simply because
he took part in the service of repentance and memorial for Gregory, was beaten
and left to die by his father--a father whose mind had been poisoned by the
very man who had raped the three and who had also raped Eugene. Don't you
know darkness was joyous at the possibility of destroying one as talented
as Eugene? Darkness was pleased.
LUKE: But darkness was not to have
the four. All chose to serve light at a high cost to themselves. They all
testified against the man who had victimized them. Their abuser will be a
very old man before he sees the world--if he ever does--except through bars
and razor wire. And justice is not finished with him yet. Light prevailed.
Eugene, in spite of his nightmare and
his father's condemnation of him as a liar, testified. Light had found, in
him, a willing servant. Eugene was adopted by a loving woman, Millicent Willingham,
and as a result is not only graduating with honors today but also, together
with Matthew Greywolf and Paula Wright and the chorus and ensemble of this
school, won honors no other school in this state has received. Eugene rose
from the depths where darkness tried to keep him. Light was victorious.
MATT: But darkness was not defeated.
As Concord and Independence were celebrating the victory of light brought
about by the concert and exhibition, darkness struck again. Operating out
of hatred and prejudice, again with minds poisoned by the same man who had
raped the young men and who had made himself wealthy selling child pornography,
four young men and four young women plotted to destroy the work and life
of Luke Larsen. Their leader slashed a painting in the exhibition while yelling
slurs against the artist. When Michael Andrews again stood up for what is
right and sought to prevent the destruction of the painting, he was slashed
so badly there was little hope for his survival. And darkness laughed and
laughed as Michael lay dying.
LUKE: But Michael's death was not to
be. Students and parents of this school lined up to give blood because there
was not enough to save Michael. Literally gallons of blood were shed for
Michael, shed as surely as if it had been shed on the battlefield--and it
was. It was on the battlefield between darkness and light. Students maintained
a vigil, a vigil marked by candle light when night came. Light was shining
in the darkness. Darkness discovered light had many warriors at Independence
MATT: These are but some of the battles
darkness has fought. Defeated in major battles, darkness, as always, becomes
more subtle, more cunning, using small attacks to undermine light. When LaTisha
Gregory took a stand against those who had slashed the painting and Michael,
racial slurs were hurled at her. She was called "nigger", a coach--a so-called
leader of young men--encouraged the vandalism of campaign posters, a student
was attacked because he was gay. Subtle so-called jokes, slurs, name-calling
and put-downs are still heard in these halls--and will be until the warriors
of light demand they stop. Darkness is ever with us.
LUKE: But so is light. LaTisha has
a major scholarship to study jazz, the coach has been dismissed in disgrace,
the student attackers have learned a painful lesson about violence. [I looked
at Eugene and saw a huge smile on his face and on Larry's as well. Randy
and Sandy were practically laughing out loud. Ben and Marc were looking very
sullen.] Shortly you will learn of the accomplishments of the students graduating
today. There is little doubt that this graduating class has been given more
and larger scholarships than ever given to a graduating class at Independence.
There is no question this class will set a record for SAT scholars. Every
student in the careers program has received a job offer and/or apprenticeship.
The present is a witness to the victory of light this year at Independence.
MATT: But the war is not over. As surely
as Independence exists next year, there will be new battles. Hatred, prejudice
and bigotry do not take a holiday. Darkness waits for the smallest chance
to attack. Darkness smirks.
LUKE: Yet as this class graduates,
we leave behind mighty warriors of light. We leave an administration which
will not tolerate hatred and bigotry, a dedicated administration which has
already demonstrated it will not tolerate darkness, doing battle against
it whenever it appears, an administration which will give all the support
it can to the light. We leave behind a faculty which has witnessed what it
can do and knows it cannot do less in the future. We leave behind a student
body president who knows well the power of darkness and who has demonstrated
his stance as a warrior for right. And this is most important of all, we
leave behind a student body which has shown through difficult times that
those who question the values and responsibility among the youth of today
are fools, tools in the hands of darkness.
MATT: Darkness has fought a good fight
this year at Independence and will continue to fight. Never forget that.
Never forget that.
LUKE: But light has triumphed! And
light will triumph in the years to come because we know it can and we know
it must. Thank you.
There was deadly silence then the audience
went wild. Michael hopped from his chair and ran to the podium to hug both
of us. Ms. Jones was right behind him. The seniors, who had been applauding
wildly started war whoops and when I turned to look, Jake Hilliard, Danny
Elrod and Buddy Johnson were running toward the stage. They ran up the steps
three at a time and all three embraced me and Matt, crying for all they were
worth. Matt and I hugged them as the seniors and other students continued
the war whoops.
Once Ms. Jones got order restored,
Ms. Norman started announcing the scholarships and apprenticeships. While
I had mentioned them in my speech, I was bowled over when I heard them named
one by one. Independence's seniors had, indeed, set an amazing new record.
The rest of the ceremony was just the
usual--giving out awards--of which there were many--and diplomas. Matt returned
to his new toy and the recessional marked the end of the graduation ceremony.
An ending had just taken place. Suddenly I realized I was in unknown territory.
Matt walked up to me and said, "I feel like that little kid I was twelve
years ago when the next day was my first day at school. I had thought about
it, been told about it, but I was frightened because it was new and unknown."
"So do I, Sarang Hanun Pomul, so do
A soon as we could get away, Matt and
I, Eugene and Larry, Paula and Jacob left school and headed for my place.
When we got there, the rest of the Fellowship had already changed into shorts
and shirts for the picnic. We five seniors rushed upstairs and did the same.
When Mom saw us she said, "You have changed! We all wanted pictures of you
seniors in your caps and gowns at the falls."
"No problem, Yong Jin," Luke said as
he slipped on his gown and once again tried to balance his cap atop his blond
"By the way," Michael said as we left
the house, "I learned nothing was planned for Jake, Danny and Buddy--their
parents have more or less abandoned them--so I invited them to our picnic.
They weren't sure they would come...."
"Would you?" Bill asked. "That would
take a hell of a lot of guts. I mean, don't get me wrong, I hope they come.
A lot of people are going to have to reach out to them if they are to make
it, but it sure won't be easy for them to show up at a celebration where
the people they might see as having put them in jail will be."
"Yea," Linda said, "but if they have
made any progress at all, they know that our pressing charges against them
was their only hope for salvation". It's easy to forget most of the time
that Linda has a good brain, then she comes out with an insight like that.
"Well, if they decide to come, Ms.
Jones will be bringing them."
One of the nice things about living
where we do is that there is little traffic so we felt free to hold hands
and walk down the middle of road toward the falls. The gate put in for David's
and Margaret's wedding was kept closed except when necessary. When we reached
the fence, we all crawled through rather than open the gate, only Matt and
Paula getting their gowns caught on the barbs. As I bent to untangle Matt's
gown I said, "Better a throw-away gown, Lover, than your face," and kissed
When we reached the falls, all the
parents wanted to make pictures and we were posing first one place and then
the other. Everyone was careful to not get too much in the picture because
the four guys looked kinda silly with bare legs below their gowns. But leave
it to Millie--she kept having us move back and when she made a picture said,
"I think I'll have that one made into a poster and call it 'Barefoot Graduates'".
Well, we were barefoot. We had kicked off our shoes as soon as we reached
Mom, Gabrielle, Margaret and Millie
had started getting the food laid out. Paula's and Larry's moms were helping.
Soon people started coming in. When Dr. and Mrs. Walker arrived, they were
carrying two gift-wrapped packages. "You can put those on one of the tables
over there," Millie said. I looked where she pointed and there were a couple
tables with name tags for graduation gifts. Before the day was over, it would
be piled high.
Suddenly I had a sinking feeling. I
turned to Luke and said, "Luke, I forgot to give..."
"We forgot to give each other our birthday
Greywolf heard us and laughed and said,
"From the looks on your faces the next morning, I doubt that very seriously".
I blushed and Luke laughed. "Seems each of you gave yourself to the other.
Pretty big birthday present I should think. Save the other for Thursday night
and the party."
"Makes sense," Luke said. "You know,
Sarang Hanun Pomul, we forgot just about everything that night!"
"I did, everything except you."
All this was said as the five of us
got lined up in a cap and gown, barefooted receiving line as people came.
Chelsea and Gladys gave each of us a hug as they came down the line. Fr.
Tom said to Jacob, who was standing behind Paula, "Young Man, I understand
you have captured the heart of the prettiest and most talented woman in the
graduating class. You are to be commended on your taste in women." Jacob
blushed and Paula laughed. Uncle Michael and Mr. Stephenson shook hands with
all us men and hugged Paula, giving her a kiss on the cheek. I was surprised
to see Mr. Fox. He was with a beautiful young woman he introduced to us as
Ms. Paris then said, "So all the stockholders of the Oberlin Five, Inc. are
here. Some serious investing you are doing. Think you might do some for me?"
he laughed. Several other people came, some friends of Paula's I did not
know. Several teachers came. When Mr. Mitchell came, Luke said, "The man
deserves a cheer." We were happy to oblige. Ms. Norman came with her husband.
Strange how you never think teachers have a life outside of school. Mr. Allan
was also with his wife--a real looker. In all I guess about fifty people
showed up in addition to the Family.
It seemed we had done our social duty
when Ms. Jones appeared, followed by Jake, Buddy and Danny. The three seemed
hesitant, but when they reached us, we greeted them like long-lost friends.
I'm sure all of us were thinking about Bill's statement that if they were
to make it, people had to reach out to them. And, man, it did take guts to
"Ok, one more picture, then we eat,"
Millie said. "You three, borrow a cap and gown and get over here by the falls."
The three complied--I mean Millie had spoken, what choice did they have?
The food--need it be said?--was excellent.
Soon older and younger adults fell on it like a plague of locust. I mean
it was almost 5:00 and we hadn't eaten anything after the church reception.
Soon everyone was groaning from having eaten too much. People were sitting
down in groups talking, then getting up and moving to a different group.
Luke and I were sticking close together. I saw Jens smile at us once and,
when we walked over to him, he said, "I guess no-one would know you were
on your honeymoon from the sad look on your faces," and laughed.
Luke looked over to where Mr. Mitchell
was standing alone for the moment and said, "Matt, I think this would be
a good time to thank Mr. Mitchell". We walked over and Luke said, "Mr. Mitchell,
there is no way Matt and I can ever thank you enough for your faith in us
but, even more than that, I'll never forget you admonishing us to take time
just to enjoy being alive. That's meant a great deal to me especially since...
well... well... since I tried not to live. Calculus I might have been able
to live without, but that lesson I..."
"We," I interjected.
"We needed to endure all that has happened
since you first gave it to us. Thanks." Luke grabbed Mr. Mitchell in a bear
hug which he returned, then I hugged him as well.
"A teacher lives for such moments,"
he said. "They are rare, but worth the wait." Mary Kathryn suddenly yelled,
"Hey, you guys going to open presents or what?" None of us needed a second
invitation. There were all kinds of gifts.
Millie gave all five of us huge down
parkas with fur trimmed hoods. We put them on over shorts and stood, barefooted.
Everyone started laughing. "Laugh now," she said, "but next winter in Ohio
you'll love me to death. I've been there!"
One gift was addressed to the Oberlin
Five and Paula got to open it. It was from all our parents and was a real
nice digital camera. "We expect pictures from you all next year," Paula's
When we had opened all our gifts, there
were three packages left. They were addressed to Danny, Buddy and Jake. Mary
Kathryn handed the packages to them. They seemed stunned for a moment, then
started opening the gifts slowly. Inside were three very nice watches, all
different. "Who're they from?" Mary Kathryn asked.
"The card just says, 'Good luck and
we're pulling for you.' It's not signed," Danny said. "Thanks to all of you
"Ok, folks," Paula shouted, "It's time
to get... " she paused and started taking off her clothes! I think all the
Fellowship was standing with their mouths open as she continued, "in the
water!" She started laughing like mad as she revealed a swim suit which showed
off her stunning figure. Jacob gave a wolf whistle, stripped off his shorts--also
revealing a swim suit--and the two of them raced to the top of the falls
where Jacob grabbed Paula for a passionate kiss just before they dived into
"If you forgot to bring swim wear,"
Greywolf said, "I think you might find something that fits in one of the
baskets over here. Women to the cane brake to the right, men to the left."
Matt and I had to dig out trunks from the basket. Danny, Buddy and Jake were
standing back, but Luke tossed them trunks and soon the basin was full of
young and old.
Michael was standing in the water when
David and Margaret walked in. "Guess Mom won't be doing any diving anytime
soon," he said. "My two sisters are showing right well, don't you think?"
It was pretty obvious that Margaret's
figure had started undergoing a significant change.
All the kids were diving from the top
of the falls except Michael. Luke, Jacob, Bill and I were waiting for Michael
to get out of the way below, when Danny, Jake and Buddy came up. Luke said,
"Glad you guys decided to come. I know it wasn't easy."
We all dived and, when we got into
the basin, cut-to-the-chase Michael said, "Glad you guys showed up. I know
it took a lot of guts."
"Yea, it took more than I thought I
had," Buddy said. "I wouldn't have except Ms. Jones kept insisting. She said
we had to begin to associate with people again and knew that it would take
guts and some real determination. But it also took a lot of heart and forgiveness
for you to invite us."
"Well, that's what it's all about,
I think," Michael said. "Maybe we can talk about that. The adults will be
"I think we would like that," Buddy
said after reflecting for a minute or two. "I would anyway." About that time,
the adults did start leaving and Ms. Jones asked, "Are you guys ready to
"I guess it'll have to wait," Buddy
said. "Sorry, because now seems a good time and place."
"It is," Michael said. "Here's where
we come to be alone and think, or come to talk out things. Yes, this is a
"Ms. Jones," Bill said, "Linda and
I can take the guys home if that's all right.'
"I'm not sure. I had to sign them out
of the halfway house. I'm not sure it would be permitted."
"I'll call and see," David said. He
was never far from his pager and cell phone. The guys gave him the number
and he called. He talked for several minutes, then still holding the phone
he said, "Couldn't get permission for you three to go back with Bill, but
if an adult will take responsibility..."
"May I use your phone?" Chelsea asked,
and took it when David nodded. "I want to talk with these guys anyway."
While Chelsea was on the phone, Greywolf
walked to the edge of the basin after he got dressed and said, "Think you
fellows could load everything? David and Yong Jin have gone to the house
to get the vans so we can carry stuff back."
"Sure," Bill answered for all of us,
and we climbed out of the water and started gathering up things. By the time
we had the first load to the meadow, David and Mom had the vans waiting.
We quickly loaded them, then Bill said, "We'll walk to the house and help
"You can do that later," Greywolf said,
"Why don't enjoy the falls a bit longer? Matt, remember you have to move
the furniture in the den so there will be a place for the organ."
"We'll all help," Jacob volunteered.
"Well, take your time at the falls.
It will still be here when you finish."
It was arranged for Chelsea and Gladys
to take the guys back to what would be their home for the foreseeable future,
the halfway house, and she came over to the edge of the basin.
"Guys, I've been hatching a plot and
would like to talk to you."
"We also wanted to talk to the others,"
Danny said. Soon all three of them, the Fellowship and Gladys and Chelsea
were sitting on blankets on the beach.
Danny opened the conversation, "I guess
what I wanted to say--what we wanted to say--to you guys--and Paula, Linda
and Mary Kathryn--is that we are sorry for what we tried to do to you. We
have been in pretty intensive therapy and gotten a lot of shit--pardon ladies--straightened
out. Buddy, Jake and I have all talked about why we did what we did and I
think we know why--that doesn't excuse it or change it or make it right.
Also, it doesn't mean we don't still have some of the same irrational thoughts
"Yea, we were all filled with rage
over what had been done and was being done to us and we felt helpless against
McBride so the rage got directed elsewhere--where it didn't belong. Today
I saw all your friends--old and young--around you celebrating your graduation
and when I saw how happy your parents were, I felt rage rising up in me--against
you. I found myself becoming enraged because you had everything and I had
nothing. You were being loved and I was hated. Didn't make sense that I was
enraged against you folks, but I was. The difference was that I recognized
what was going on inside and was able to stop it. Sometimes I still can't,"
Jake said quietly.
"Eugene, I find it very hard not to
direct my rage at you,' Buddy said. "You were in the same boat with us and
you escaped. That makes me feel weak and rotten. Why couldn't I have been
strong enough to escape? But it wasn't to be." He, then the other two, started
telling us about the whole rotten mess with McBride. Unlike Eugene, he had
been giving them drugs and alcohol when they were mere kids--with predictable
results. McBride had them right where he wanted them. Suddenly the three
were telling us horror stories of how they were abused. The videos often
showed them, they said, being absolute animals to each other because that's
what McBride's customers wanted, but they stuck together because they were
all they had. McBride pimped for them, often giving them to older men who
were into every kind of perverted sex. It got so graphic that suddenly I
was sick to my stomach. I jumped up and ran into the cane brake where I started
throwing up my guts. About the time I was going into dry heaves, Chelsea
appeared. She had a wet towel which she applied to my forehead and gradually
I stopped heaving.
"I guess I'm just a wuss," I said.
"No, you're a sensitive human being
whose sensitivity hits him in the stomach. Matt, I'm sorry you had to hear
all that... well... I guess I'm not. When a person gets a boil, it has to
be lanced and drained of the pus and corruption inside. I know those three
guys have spilled out the same sick mental pus in their therapy sessions,
but I suspect there is a major difference between that and pouring it out
to your peers and to those your mental and emotional illness has hurt. I
think all of you have done them a great favor, allowing them to purge themselves
of an infection of the mind as powerful as any of the body. Frankly, I have
seen just about everything I thought, but I'll admit, I haven't come as close
to being sick as I was today in years.... Are you ready to go back?" I nodded.
When we reached the group, Mary Kathryn,
Linda and Paula each were holding one of the three, all of whom were bawling
like babies. As the three women--man, we were lucky to have three such strong
women in our midst--held the three former tough guys, stroking their hair,
Danny, Buddy and Jake gradually calmed down. Strange as it might seem, I
noticed all of us guys were sitting quietly, patiently. Sometimes, I guess,
a woman's touch is what is needed and we knew it.
The three finally gained control of
themselves and Chelsea said, "Fellows, I have talked with the director of
the halfway house and with your therapists and all agree that if you are
willing, you can work in the hospice. It won't be easy. You'll be dealing
with people who are dying and know it. You'll be doing some pretty unpleasant
work--changing diapers on adults, cleaning them when they soil themselves,
feeding people who can't do it themselves. But I think you might draw strength
from those who are facing certain death, but who are dealing with who and
where they are so you can learn who you are and where you choose to be headed.
You'll still live at the halfway house, but one of you will be on night duty
and sleep at the hospice--if you get any sleep. In return, the hospice will
pay you a small, very small, stipend to get what you have to have. And a
bit more. Your therapy will be paid for as long as you need it--Judge Snow
has seen to that--but you'll need money for college. A generous supporter
of the hospice had agreed to pay your expenses at Lexington Community College
so long as you maintain passing grades. Of course, getting to Lexington would
be a problem, but the college holds extension classes in Concord. You can
take courses here for the two years needed to get your associates' degree,
then you'll be ready to move on. I don't want an answer now. I want you to
talk about it among yourselves, think about it on your own and spend some
time at the hospice--we have two patients already and I am sure more will
come soon. When you have made your decision, one way or the other, let me
Again, silence. Finally Danny asked,
"Why are you all doing this for us?" His voice was filled with suspicion.
"Because we think you can be redeemed
and that's better than having three people rotting in prison or a mental
hospital costing the state money rather than contributing to it," Gladys
said. "Actually, it's just good economics--as well as the right thing to
do." Silence again, then Gladys said, "Ok, fellows, you know what you've
got to do. Now it's time Chelsea and I get you back."
The three were profuse in their thanks
for the afternoon and left, all three a bit teary eyed. Who knows what will
happen with them? I surely didn't, but at least there was a possibility that
they might become worthwhile citizens and I felt good--still queasy--but
We all went back to the falls and it
was obvious that Paula was in command. All the women were skinny dipping.
Needless to say, the trunks we were still wearing were shed quickly. We all
swam for another hour and then got dressed and went to my place.
Since school was out, Mom and Dad said
we should move the desks out of the den to make room for the organ. We put
them in the downstairs guest room and decided that was all that needed moving.
In spite of the fact that we had eaten more than enough in the late afternoon,
Mom prepared more food and we all sat around the dining room table, laughing
and talking about the day. It had been a wonderful day for all of us. We
were in complete agreement about that. The talk got serious when the three
guys came up, but soon became light-hearted again until Michael said, "Commencement--a
beginning. But it's also an ending."
Again we were all lost in our thoughts
for a time until Bill said, "Well, I for one am ready for an ending and a
new beginning. I don't think I could have stood the pace much longer. My
good God, how have we lived and stayed sane for the past three months? I
guess if I were a religious person, I'd have to say that was the answer--good
God. Even if I am not overly religious, I guess I'd have to say that."
"Yea," Paula said. "How else would
you explain it? But does it matter? Who would believe it if we told them?"
"Well, I've got to run," Jacob said.
"I know my dad has a ton of chores for me this week--and we do have a party
Thursday and break loose Saturday night. Laters."
After the others had left, Michael
said, "I've got to go. Today has really been great, but I have about had
it. Wild Woman, drive me home?" Mary Kathryn's kiss was a positive answer.
Only Luke and I were left.
"Sons, if you can spare the time, how
about a glass of wine with your mom and me?" Mom got glasses and we all four
went into the den. "Matt, Luke, I have been proud of you two all your life.
You are, even allowing for my natural prejudice, two very exceptional young
men. I have heard a lot of graduation speeches and usually I could recite
them without having seen them before the speaker stood up, but I have never
heard speeches with the power yours had. They will be remembered, I'm sure."
"I agree," Mom said. "It took real
men to give them. I am sinfully proud of you two."
We sat and talked, drinking our wine.
When we finished the wine, we talked some more. I suddenly realized that
graduation had, for Mom and Dad, changed our status in their eyes. Sure,
they talked about our being grown men, but now we were being treated as grown
men. I liked it, but I also found it sad. What about those times when I needed
to be a little boy again? I guess I'd have to wait to find out.
"Greywolf, do you know when the organ
is arriving?" Luke asked.
"I suspect around 9 or 10. The movers
were to be at the school at 8 to pick it up. Shouldn't take long to get it
ready to move the short distance it has to be moved."
"Sunrise as usual tomorrow?" Luke asked.
"We could put it off to Tuesday," Dad
"I would like to go ahead with it.
Everything's changing. I'd like to keep what I can unchanged."
"I would too, Dad," I said.
"Then it's sunrise as usual," Dad said.
"I'll call Jens and David. I guess that means early to bed or you two will
play around the rest of the night and not make it."
What Luke had referred to was a tradition
the families established about the time the two of us were born. Prior to
that, each family had a garden, but with David's and Jens' schedules--Gabrielle's
and Elizabeth's as well--their gardens were a real chore. Since Mom and Dad
were out of school for most of the summer, they offered to have a common
garden. Dad had always done a Lakota blessing of the garden when he started
spring planting and Jens had his own blessing, but when they started the
common garden at our place, both blessings were kept, but took place the
day after school was out at sunrise. Of course, things had been planted before
the first of June, but I guess a retroactive blessing worked as well as any.
After Jens and Dad did the blessing,
Gabrielle, Mom and Elizabeth prepared furrows and the men planted seeds.
For the first time, as I thought about it, I realized there was something
very sexual about that. Since Mom had been given a summer fellowship to study
Hopi culture, corn was always the seed planted in the symbolic blessing and
planting of the garden. After the ceremony, we all had breakfast together.
This year, Margaret would participate for the first time.
It was a great family tradition. The
blessing and planting were, of course, ceremonial, but sometimes I think
it is ceremony which keeps us going. During the summer, Mom and Dad, along
with the Gang of Four, do most of the work of tending the garden. But the
entire family gathers once a week to work together and share a meal afterward.
I was with Luke. I wanted the sunrise
blessing of the garden this year, perhaps more than ever before.
We said goodnight to Mom and Dad and
went up to my room. After making gentle, tender love, we lay in each others
arms and talked about the day. It had really been wonderful. Then, our hard
bodies snuggled together, we drifted off to sleep, two very, very happy high
While Luke and I had not made love
all night--just enough--and actually had gone to sleep early, Sunday had
been a long--wonderful, exciting, tremendous, but long--day so we didn't
wake up. Dad came upstairs and knocked on our door well before dawn. We got
up, took a quick shower, Luke shaved and we got dressed. Downstairs, Mom
had coffee and juice ready as we would have breakfast after the blessing
of the garden.
While we sat in the kitchen, Dad went
into his room and dressed as a traditional Lakota--which he was, deep inside.
While we were still at the table, the rest of the Family arrived--it is just
understood that Jens and Gabrielle, David and now Margaret would not be at
work the first day school was out. We all had coffee and then went to the
garden. Dad began chanting a Lakota prayer as he waved smoking braids of
sweet grass and sage over the garden, fanning the smoke about with a branch
of cedar. The fragrance of the burning grass and sage floated on the morning
Jens then did a blessing of the garden,
sprinkling holy water over the ground. He had been concerned that he could
not get holy water from Immaculate Conception and mentioned it to Fr. Tom
who had laughed and said, "Jens, if you think it will do, we use holy water
at times too, you know." Jens said he didn't know and took the water Fr.
Tom gave him.
When the two blessings were done, the
three women began digging furrows. They had just started when Mary Kathryn
took up a hoe and started making a fourth one. All of this, as usual, was
done in silence. When the men started planting the seeds, Michael grabbed
a handful and started planting the furrow Mary Kathryn had made. Luke looked
at me with a puzzled look on his face and I said quietly, "Later".
Just as the last seed was placed in
the furrows and the women had covered them, the sun rose above the horizon.
We were all dressed to work in the garden, but that would be all that was
done until after breakfast.
Breakfast on the day of the garden
blessing was always a joyous affair and this one was no exception. While
we were just sitting around drinking an after-breakfast coffee, I asked,
"Mary Kathryn, when did you and Michael decide to participate in the planting?"
"About two seconds before I grabbed
the hoe. At least that's when I did. I didn't decide, I just did it and don't
"As soon as I saw Mary Kathryn I knew
what to do. Like her, I didn't decide, I just did it. Strange."
"Maybe not," I mused. "Dad, there seems
to be something kinda sexual in the whole ceremony of planting. I mean women
open the ground and men plant. That struck me this morning."
"Matt, it is I'm sure. Take a look
at any agricultural society and if you scratch the surface, you'll find the
whole planting thing is related to sex, remember the fertility goddesses?
All who had them were agricultural cultures you'll recall. I suspect you
wouldn't have to look very far afield to find a culture where what Mary Kathryn
and Michael did amounted to marriage or at least engagement."
"Don't you go getting any ideas, Michael
Andrews!" Jens said in his best stern father voice.
I guess Dad saw a questioning look
on my face because he said, "Matt, you and Luke are different from a majority
of the people in the world. You know that. You will no doubt recall your
mother's first reaction at learning you were in love with Luke. Her first
reaction was that you would not have grandchildren for us. That's not why
you two are in the world. Sometimes that will be--no doubt--painful, but
you and Luke are here to make other contributions. Never, ever, forget that!
It is not a mistake. You are different for a reason. You are not mistakes!"
"I guess," Luke said. "that explains
a question a ninth grade girl asked me after Matt and I announced we were
a gay couple. She asked, 'Which one of you is the woman?' I didn't really
know what she meant, so I just told her, 'Neither. We are both very much
men. Can't you see that?' and she said 'Oh,' and walked off in that swishy
ninth grade girl walk. I guess the world thinks it has to be divided into
men and women. But I'll admit, today was the first time I really--I mean
really-- thought about our being men--I mean, you know--men in love and a
"And a handsome one, I might add,"
Gabrielle said. While that ended the discussion, I was sure it was not the
end of the question for Luke and me, especially when everyone expects you
to be like everyone else.
"Well, while we are on this sex and
planting bit--and I really did feel this morning was special--I guess I have
an announcement to make," Margaret said. "It's still early so the results
are very tentative, but it appears Michael was right. I had an ultrasound
this week--I couldn't wait any longer--and it appears as nearly as anyone
can tell that Michael will have two sisters by Thanksgiving at the latest,"
"Kathryn Elizabeth and Mary Margaret,
don't you forget," Michael smiled.
"Don't you think that is really too
much name for the poor girls to bear?" Yong Jin asked.
"Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf's
mom would ask that question?" Michael sure had her on that one. "Anyway,
they'll be called Elizabeth and Mary so there's no confusion between mother
and daughter even though I'd really like them to be called Elizabeth and
Margaret. But none of this short nicknamey stuff!"
"Nicknamey stuff?" David asked.
"Yea, Dad, you know: Liz and Maggie,
that kind of nicknamey stuff."
"Well, Michael, I suspect we can keep
names straight if you want to call one of the girls Margaret," Margaret said.
"We seem to be able to avoid comnfusion when we talk about the family--I
mean whether we mean all of us or just one of the families within the family.
Seems reasonable we could keep two Margarets straight," she laughed, then
added, "But if it turns out you're wrong, Michael, Margaret wouldn't fit
a boy very well."
"I don't know why you keep questioning
my ancient wisdom and powers," Michael said and hugged Margaret.
"May be more truth than fiction to
that," Greywolf mused.
"I'd really like to have the girls
to be called by the names of my two moms," Michael said and it was clear
this was important to him and he was showing Margaret great respect.
"Ok, so it's Elizabeth and Margaret
if that's ok with your dad," Margaret smiled and hugged Michael, obvioulsy
pleased. "Is that ok with you, David?"
"Sure. Actually I like it if your comfortable
with it," he smiled at his wife.
"Very comfortable," was her response.
Breakfast was a wonderful time together,
but at 7:00 Dad said, "Well, I guess it's work time". We all went back to
the garden. The parents were making furrows and planting while the Gang of
Four tackled the weeding of earlier plantings. Margaret called to Michael
once, warning him not to overdo the work. "You may think you're as good as
new, but you still have healing to do."
Michael is one of those blonds the
rest of us hate. He tans as if by magic so he had, of course, taken his shirt
off. A look at his chest was a reminder of just how seriously he had been
cut, but he wasn't overdoing the work. He was spending most of his time gazing
at Mary Kathryn. "Michael, look at the weeds, not Mary Kathryn," I laughed.
"Man, if you knew how I felt about
my wild woman you wouldn't say that," he answered.
"Think I might have some idea about
being in love," I responded.
"Well, if I were you, I'd be jealous.
Matt's paying no attention to you."
Of course, Matt never had to worry
about the sun and it was hard to keep clothes on him when he was just a baby.
I looked at my dark beauty, shirtless and in short shorts, his hard body
gleaming with sweat in the morning sun. "Michael, did you say something?"
"Yea, I said you weren't with us. Why
do you keep looking down the road? As if I didn't know!" Michael laughed.
It was true. Matt was paying little attention to what he was doing. Instead
he kept looking down the road.
"Matt, it won't be here before 9:00
at the earliest," I said. "Now let's get to work so you can be free when
it does arrive."
Matt looked up with a sheepish grin
and said, "Ok," and really did get to work. By 9:30 we were finished with
the morning's work in the garden and Matt's other organ still had not arrived.
He was quickly becoming a basket case when everyone went home to get cleaned
up. They would all be back; we were having lunch at the Greywolf's. Of course,
I stayed and Matt and I showered together, playing around a little bit, but
he wouldn't stay still long enough for much.
As we were just finishing with our
hair, Yong Jin yelled up from downstairs, "They're here."
The movers got the organ and speakers
in the house and the Rodgers man started having them move the speakers around
and testing one placement then another until he was finally satisfied. "Anyone
here play?" he asked. I thought it kinda strange that he had just spent an
hour getting speakers placed with no idea anyone could play until I noticed
the grin on his face. Then I remembered seeing him at graduation. "Want to
take her out for a spin?" he asked Matt. I knew that for the moment at least
I was in second place as Matt practically leaped on the organ bench. He cut
down on Millie's surprise--the Widor "Toccata". I was afraid we would all
be blasted into the next county before he finished. "I guess that answers
my question," the Rodgers rep laughed. "If you have any questions or problems,
give me a call," he said as he handed Greywolf his card. Matt was in another
world and didn't hear a word he said.
Lunch was on the late side as we all
sat in the den listening to Matt play. My man sure knows how to handle an
organ--ok, so I knew that already, but I was talking about the Rodgers! After
lunch, Matt could hardly wait to get back to playing. He played for an hour
without stopping. Finally, he started playing what we had all been waiting
for and soon we were all singing "More". I guess some people would think
we were all nuts, but there were five couples singing to each other as though
they were the only two people in the world.
When we finished the song, no one said
anything. We just all got up and the five couples--three sets of parents
and two kid couples-- walked hand-in-hand to the falls carrying picnic baskets.
This was the second part of the family tradition for the first day school
The day at the falls was another happy-sad
time, everyone realizing that this would be the last time we were together
as we always had been. Late in the afternoon, the five couples were scattered
about the beach, talking, laughing, expressing love for their partners. "Matt,
what do you think Greywolf meant when he said we were here to make a different
contribution to the world?"
"Luke, I have thought about us more
than once when I see our parents together and even when I see Michael and
Mary Kathryn together. Our parents have children--of course they all have
made and will make other contributions--but they have had children. I am
positive that Michael and Mary Kathryn will do the same. I mean, I don't
know whether or not they will stay together until they get together for good,
but I keep having that dream in which I see Michael and Mary Kathryn and
she is holding a baby, his baby. But--Luke, you and I will never have children--at
least not our own. So I guess what Dad was saying is that we are here to
do something else as our contribution to life. Sure be easier just to have
"I'm not sure Jens would agree," I
laughed as I kissed Matt softly. "But if we make no other contribution, we
can show the world what love is all about, I mean real love."
We all eventually ended up on Lookout
Rock watching the sunset, then walked home in the twilight. Matt and I had
decided we would split our nights between our homes, so we went to my place
where we found we were very comfortable making love.
Since school was out, the Gang of Four
had chores to do--after all we do live on farms. We talked with Jens, David
and Greywolf about what needed doing and worked out a plan for the week.
As always, the Gang of Four worked together and this year, three of us had
to take up any slack that Michael couldn't handle--which proved to be very
Tuesday, after work, Matt and I took
a long hot shower and then made mad passionate love. I know our first time
will always be special, but I can tell you that, as with any art, practice
improves technique! Matt had learned to take things slow and easy--sometimes
too slow and too easy--but man, he was a real love machine. I was getting
no complaints either! After making love for a good, long, wonderful time,
we lay in each others arms, just snuggling together, enjoying being alive--bless
Mr. Mitchell. We took another quick shower, got dressed and went downstairs.
After supper, the rest of the family showed up and Matt played for us again.
It was great--more memories stored up.
When the parents had gone, the Gang
of Four sat on the front porch, talking and cuddling. "Luke, why don't we
call Nelson and meet him in Lexington tomorrow afternoon? We can take that
much time away from chores. We could meet him and then do some shopping.
We need to pick up some things for the summer and we could do that in Concord,
but I'd like to see Nelson."
"You two like to go with us?" I asked.
"Sure. I'd like to get away from here
awhile," Michael answered.
After all the to-do over graduation,
Larry and I went to his place to spend time with his mom. I had mentioned
to Larry that we had been so wrapped up in what was going on and with each
other that she had seldom seen him. Larry agreed and we decided to spend
some time at his place before he left for the summer. I knew his mom, after
all I spent as much time at his place as I could before all hell broke loose,
but we had never really had a kind of family time with her. She was very
pleased when we told her we would be spending time at their place before
Larry had to leave.
When we got back from the picnic, she
was sitting in the living room, looking through a box of photographs. She
started to put them away when we came in, but I asked her if I could see
them. After all, I hadn't known Larry the way Matt and Luke knew each other.
We spent two hours looking at pictures of Larry and his family while his
mother told stories about when he was a young kid. I loved it and Larry got
embarrassed several times. There were many pictures, but none of what I would
call a happy family. Without thinking, I said that.
"You're right, Eugene. We never were
really a family. Larry's dad was a big man on campus and all the girls were
all over him. Of course, I had a crush on him and when he asked me out, I
was in heaven. We dated a few times before he started telling me how much
he loved me and that if I loved him, there was no reason we couldn't have
sex. I was innocent and stupid and fell for his line. He assured me I wouldn't
get pregnant--which was the only thing holding me back--and I finally gave
in. I insisted he use protection, but he told me it didn't feel good and
that we didn't need it. Well--Larry, I should have told you before, I guess--but
you know what happened. When I told him I was pregnant, he started screaming
and yelling, asking how I could allow it to happen."
"He insisted that I get an abortion
but I had no money and, besides, I was young and in love--at least I thought
I was-and I was carrying his child, so I refused. As soon as he knew I was
pregnant, he wanted nothing to do with me. I thought about all sorts of things--including
suicide--but did nothing. I felt so rotten--I mean morning sickness is no
fun--all I wanted to do was die. My mom was pretty smart and figured out
what was going on from my mornings in the bathroom. When she confronted me,
I told her I was pregnant. She told my dad who wanted to kill Larry's father
but, when he got calmed down, Mom and Dad decided to call the Watleys. The
four of them got together and decided we should get married. Both Larry's
father and I were seniors in high school and the baby wasn't due until late
summer. 'You two can finish high school, but you're getting married now,'
Mr. Watley said. He was a very forceful person and Larry's father was afraid
of him, so we 'ran away' and got married over spring break."
"Well, to make a long story short,
Larry's father was already having sex with another girl and that didn't stop
when we got married. I put up with his playing around because I saw no way
out. When Larry came out of the closet, it was an excuse for his father to
leave, which he did. It was the best thing that had happened to me in years."
"It was the best thing for both of
us," Larry said and hugged his mom.
"I'm sure glad you were broke when
you got pregnant," I said and I meant it.
"So am I," she said, "but I can tell
you there have been plenty of times I wished I hadn't been. I don't mean
I haven't loved Larry. He has been the delight of my life and still is, but
there have been times that, had I not had him, I would have gotten out of
the mess I had made of my life by listening to a man's lies."
We talked for a long time about the
hard life she had led and how much Larry had meant to her and how proud she
was of him.
When we went to bed, Larry was hot
as a fire cracker and ready to make love big time. I felt a bit uneasy about
making love at Larry's since we had been used to making love at my place
and, as Millie had pointed out, her bedroom was in another wing of the house.
There was only a bathroom between Larry's mom's bedroom and his. Larry sensed
my reluctance and finally asked, "What's wrong, Gene? Why don't you want
to make love?"
"I do, Lar, believe me, I do, but...."
"But what? What's the problem?"
"Lar, I do. I am as ready as you are,
but I feel uneasy making love in your house."
"Why? What's wrong with my house?"
"Well, it's not your house, Lar. It's
you. When we make love you make all kinds of noise and you say things I just
as soon your mom not hear. And, besides, you are a screamer."
"I'm a WHAT? A screamer? I don't believe
"Well, you are. When you cum, you scream."
"I do not! And I promise I'll be real
"You'd better be!" I said and Larry
started getting me ready to make love. He kissed me passionately and soon
even I was ready to say things I wouldn't want his mom to hear! Finally I
said, "Lar, I'm ready. I want you inside me now!" Soon his man's tool was
inside and he was making love to me and I was loving it. He did manage to
be reasonably quiet but, when he plunged all the way in, I knew he was about
to explode inside me. He took a deep breath and I knew what was next. I quickly
grabbed a pillow and shoved it in his face just in time to keep his scream
from being heard halfway across town. When he collapsed atop me, I couldn't
help but laugh. "Babe, if that wasn't a scream I silenced, I don't know what
I could barely make out Larry's face
the room was so dark, but I did see a sheepish grin on his face as he said,
"Gene, you make a man feel so good, screaming is just natural!"
We lay in each others arms for awhile,
kissing and talking of our love and then I made love to Larry. We both got
the giggles when, just as my world exploded into a Fourth of July fireworks
display, he hit me in the face with a pillow.
In the wonderful feeling of having
made love we lay side by side, looking into each others eyes even though
the room was dark and talked about what a wonderful life we had and how surprised
we were that we did. "It's a wonderful life, Lar," I said, "because I have
you and we have so many people who love and care for us. Who would have thought
we would ever be so loved?"
"Yea, we've had hard times, Gene, but
we are surely loved. And you are loved above all."
"So are you, Lover." We continued talking
about the things lovers talk about until we fell asleep.
When morning came, we had breakfast
with Larry's mom and told her we were going to work on a tape for Matt's
and Luke's birthday. "Mr. Greentree has told me I can use the editing equipment
at the station so we're driving over. It'll take two or three days, I suppose,"
"While you are there, see what you
need to take over for the summer," she told us.
When we got home from Lexington, I
had a certified letter calling me as a witness in the McBride case. I was
to report at 9:00 Wednesday the 14th. It also said I would be assigned a
room in the Lexington Hotel--not the finest, but adequate, Millie called
it, and I was to expect to be involved in the trial for at least two weeks.
At least two weeks? I guess my summer had just been planned for me. I got
very angry--very, very angry. In fact I just lost it because, even from the
jail, McBride was messing with my life. I was so out of control that Millie
called the therapist and told her I needed to see her now. She said she would
meet us at her office. Larry drove me over since I was incapable of driving
Larry and I had been seeing her on
a weekly basis recently and I thought everything was fine. But it was obvious
it was not. After she had seen me, she wanted to put me in the hospital for
a few days, but I finally convinced her I would be better off at home. She
relented and gave me a prescription and told me I could go home after she
talked to Larry--provided I saw her every day for a while. She made appointments
each day until I was scheduled to go to Lexington for the trial.
When Larry came out of her office,
I was still shaking and he hugged me to himself until I got control again.
We went by the drugstore and got the prescription filled. When the druggist
gave it to Larry, he said something about it but I didn't hear what he said.
I asked Larry what the druggist and the therapist had said to him and he
responded, "They told me to make sure I kept an eye on you. I told them I
planned to do that for the rest of my life," he laughed, leaned over and
Millie and I were both surprised and
scared shitless when Gene read the letter about the trial. At first he just
seemed resigned to the fact that much of his summer was going to be spent
in the McBride shit, then he absolutely lost it. He started shaking, screaming
and throwing things. I grabbed him and held him while Millie called the therapist.
He was finally calm enough for me to drive him to see her even though it
was long after office hours. Millie was afraid he would lose it again while
I was driving, but finally consented to my taking him alone.
After the session with Gene, the therapist
called me in to talk about the situation. She said she was not surprised
at Gene's reaction and, in fact, had expected it before. "The letter was
just a trigger to release all he has been holding inside. He has been so
busy and so involved lately that he didn't allow himself to fall apart, but
now the concert and school are behind him, he has time to come unglued--and
he did, big time. Maybe if he hadn't been so involved, he would have worked
through more stuff, but that's just guessing. I do know he is in a very bad
place right now. I would like to have him in the hospital where he can be
watched but, when I saw how agitated he was becoming, I decided I wouldn't
force the issue. I am giving him some medication to help him keep better
control, but not enough to prevent his getting rid of some of his anger and
rage. I want you or someone to have him in your sight at all times. And I
mean at all times. Can you do that?" I nodded. "I don't want to frighten
you, but I do want you to know how serious I think this episode is. Eugene
is perfectly capable of taking his life right now, of committing suicide.
So don't be paralyzed, but don't get lax either."
When I got the prescription filled,
the druggist asked me if I knew what it was for. When I told him I did, he
said, "I don't want to alarm you, but you need to keep this under lock and
key so he only gets the proper dosage. Too many and he could be a very sick
young man. Just a warning. And absolutely no alcohol--not a drop. Also, I'd
make sure anything else he might use to harm himself is safely put away."
I thanked him and tried to put on a good face for Gene. Poor Babe, last night
we had talked about what a wonderful life we had, then McBride reared his
ugly head again. I honestly think if I could have gotten my hands on him
I would have strangled him. No wonder Danny, Buddy and Jake were facing years
While Millie was keeping an eye on
Gene the next morning, I raced to my place and told Mom what was going on.
She was very upset and wanted to know what she could do. I told her I couldn't
think of anything, but sure would call on her if I needed her. "You will
keep a close watch on Eugene, won't you, Son?"
"You better believe it!" I replied
and then went back to Millie's. Eugene seemed his old self, but then he was
taking his medicine and I am sure it had a lot to do with it. "Do you feel
like going to Lexington?" I asked.
"Sure," he replied. "You'd think I
was sick or something."
I thought to myself, "Or something
and it's a mighty big 'or something'," but said nothing.
Mr. Greentree was out of town working
on a project so we didn't get to see him, but everyone was very helpful at
the studio and I got a lot of work done on the tapes. We also started burning
CDs of the concert for the whole Fellowship. When we arrived, I had called
Nelson--Matt had given me his number and wanted to know why I needed it.
I told him Eugene and I were going to Lexington to check out my summer's
internship--which was true, just not the whole truth. Nelson was in class
finishing up some lab work and would be starting summer school next week,
his mom told us. I left the studio's number and he called about 11:30. We
agreed to meet for lunch.
Over lunch we talked about all that
had been going on. I hadn't planned to mention Gene's recent episode, but
he did. I noticed, as Eugene told Nelson about the letter concerning the
trial, a quiet, but very real, outburst was triggered. "I would kill the
son of a bitch if I could get my hands on him!" Gene said with uncharacteristic
vehemence. With his quiet outburst, I was reminded that I was in charge of
his medication and checked my watch. He was half an hour overdue for his
mid-day capsule. I slipped it to him and he looked at me and then popped
it into his mouth and washed it down with his Coke. "I didn't think I needed
those," he smiled, "but I guess I do."
We talked about Saturday night and
Nelson said he was planning a big surprise for us. "Any possibility Mr. Greywolf
and his entourage could show up at the hotel for dinner? Probably would be
nice to have a private room, but it would be great for the gang to be visible."
"I don't know," I said. "The prices
there are pretty steep."
"Sure, compared with MickeyD's, but
I think I can get you a discount and, after all, this is your after-graduation
break loose night. Right?"
"Right. We'll manage. Make the reservations,"
"Great! This should be a howl!"
We went back to the studio and worked
until 3:00, then drove home in time for Gene's appointment. We'd have to
come back tomorrow to finish up.
Tuesday Mr. Greentree was back and
offered some suggestions without telling me I was wrong or didn't know what
I was doing, but it was obvious to me. I could see that working with him
all summer was going to be a pleasure and that I was going to learn a whole
hell of a lot. I was really excited about it. We had just about finished
when Mr. Greentree suggested we call it a day and go by his place and meet
He had a great family. His wife welcomed
us as if she had known us all our lives and were family she hadn't seen in
ages. He showed me the sunroom which was to be mine for the summer. "Won't
this keep your family from having a place to relax?" I asked.
"We can do without it for the summer,"
he said and Mrs. Greentree agreed. She then suggested we have a Coke and
we all four sat around her kitchen table. "Look," I finally said, "don't
think I don't appreciate your offer, but I really feel bad about taking your
sunroom when you would be using it. If it doesn't upset Jon (Jon was their
son), I'd be more than happy to share his room and the sunporch would be
available. In fact, so long as Eugene is here, I can stay with him. I'd like
to stay with him." As soon as I said that, both Gene and I blushed big time.
Damn that Matt Greywolf, I think he is a carrier for the blushing disease.
I was afraid to look up, thinking I might have said too much.
"Laura (Laura was Mrs. Greentree's
name; Mr. Greentree's name was Jonathan and he was called that so as not
to be confused with Jon) knows about you two guys so you can stop blushing,"
Mr. Greentree laughed. "If Eugene is going to be in town, we would expect
you to stay with him."
"Will you be here often?" Mrs. Greentree
"I have to come the 14th and will be
here for at least two weeks, probably more. I am a witness in the McBride
Mrs. Greentree didn't ask any more
questions and Mr. Greentree knew about McBride. "Look, you have a right to
know what's going on," Eugene said. I felt myself grow tense as soon as he
spoke, but I needn't have worried. He told the Greentrees the whole story
and when he finished, Mrs. Greentree got up and wrapped her arms around him.
"You know every parent fears something like that--that their children be
abused. And I don't just mean sons abused by men. In fact, that is seldom
the way it is. I am a school counselor and it's most often girls who are
being abused by older brothers, by fathers and step-fathers and by other
creeps. It's nothing to be ashamed of, Eugene. You wouldn't be ashamed if
you had been robbed, you would blame the robber. Well, you have been robbed.
You have been robbed of innocence and trust." Mrs. Greentree was holding
Eugene, his head against her bosom as she stroked his hair. "You are a brave
young man and I admire you for it. Larry, if you didn't spend all the time
you could with Eugene while he is going through his ordeal, I would think
less of you. And you can certainly share Jon's room. I am sure he would like
the idea of having a big brother for the summer. And don't worry, I certainly
won't worry about you being with him if that thought has crossed your mind."
Jon came in from a swimming lesson
while we were still talking in the kitchen and when his mother told him I
would be sharing his room--I wished she had asked, but she didn't--he started
jumping up and down, then threw himself at me. "I'll have a big brother after
We had to leave shortly after our conversation
and, as we drove home, Gene said, "We really are richly blessed, Lar, we
Eugene had his session with the therapist
as soon as we got home. While I was waiting, I gave Matt a call and told
him what was going on.
"No alcohol?" he asked.
"Not a drop. Why?"
"I'll need to talk with Uncle Michael
because you know he will have wine for toasts."
"That's ok. Eugene can just have something
"No way, Jose." Matt replied. "We are
not going to set him apart. Anything else we can do?
"Can't think of anything. We're going
back to Lexington tomorrow to work on a project so we'll not be around. But
if I think of anything--or if you do--we'll be in touch."
"Oh, Luke and I planned to be in Lexington
tomorrow. We're meeting Nelson for lunch. Why don't you guys join us?"
"Sounds good. See you then."
We had called Nelson Tuesday and told
him we were coming over Wednesday morning and wanted to get together. He
suggested we do so before we went shopping since he was working Wednesday
We met Nelson at a real old-fashioned
ice cream parlor which also served sandwiches and, as soon as we had sat
down, Larry and Eugene joined us. "Good to see you two again," Nelson said.
It was then we found out the two had seen Nelson earlier and he knew about
Eugene. Larry told us about their visit with the Greentrees. We continued
talking for a couple hours. Nelson told us he had made reservations at the
hotel for our dinner and that he managed to get the cost down to about three
or four times MickeyD's. "I hope Mr. Greywolf will come properly dressed,"
he laughed. "I think I might put the word out and see if we can't make a
fool out of that teenage reporter jerk again.
After we left Nelson, Larry and Eugene
were going back to Concord to make Eugene's appointment. "And Millie and
I have one as well today," Larry had said. Luke and I went to the mall, something
Concord was lacking. I'm not sure whether that is such a bad thing after
watching teenagers, who had nothing to do but horse around, causing trouble
and making a nuisance of themselves.
It didn't take us long to get what
we needed and we got back home in time for supper. Matt had stopped by his
place and Greywolf reminded him he was taking the Jeep in the next morning.
Thursday we got up for a run which
we had been neglecting lately. Mary Kathryn joined us and I was surprised
when Michael was waiting at his place. "Do you think you are up to running?
I'm not sure about that," I said.
"Got checked yesterday and was told
I could do what I felt like doing, but not to feel like overdoing it," he
laughed. "Mom suggested I might want to just walk and Wild woman agreed we
would just walk."
Matt and I took off in a run as Mary
Kathryn took Michael's hand and the two started walking. When Matt and I
returned, we met Michael and Mary Kathryn and slowed down to walk with them.
"You guys ready to leave Sunday?" Michael asked.
"Not really," Matt answered. "I mean
I have things organized, but not packed. I have everything ready to pack,
if that's what you mean.'
"Not exactly," Michael said.
"I know what you mean, Michael. And,
no, I'm not ready to be separated. But I would never be ready, so I guess
I am as ready as I will ever be. I am really dreading getting on that plane."
I had thought about that a lot. Matt and Michael had planned on driving,
but it was a long drive for Michael so he was now flying as well. Matt had
offered to take me to the plane, but we agreed that it would be better to
say our goodbyes at home so Dad and Mom were taking me and Michael to Jackson
to catch our planes.
"Yea, know what you mean," Michael
said. "But I guess we all know what we are doing is for the good."
After a shower--a wonderful shower
with my man--Matt and I ate breakfast, then tackled the chores for the day
with Michael and Mary Kathryn. It was obvious that Michael had had a remarkable
recovery and seldom showed any signs of not being up to par.
Matt and I had discussed the fact that
he had been playing, but not really practicing, since the concert and I hadn't
done any work since the exhibition. We decided we would spend the afternoon
working on our arts.
Michael came out to the studio about
4:30 and suggested we go for a swim. "Swimming really helps get things in
shape," he said. He called Mary Kathryn and he and I went to get Matt. Mary
Kathryn met us at the falls. We swam and had a lazy time with a bit of hot
making out but, since Michael and Mary Kathryn were with us, Matt and I kept
it respectable. We didn't leave the falls until after 6:30.
Luke and I showered, dried our hair
and got dressed for the evening. We had talked about dress for the occasion
on skip day and decided, since Uncle Michael was starting the birthday celebration
with dinner, dress would be the unofficial uniform for the guys and dresses
for the women. When we got downstairs, Dad and Mom were dressed and ready
to go. "Sorry I couldn't get the Jeep back," Dad said. "Michael and Mary
Kathryn are picking you two up shortly. Yong Jin and I are going on ahead
to see if we can help Uncle Michael and Mr. Stephenson."
Shortly after Mom and Dad left, Michael
drove up. Luke and I were sitting on the porch waiting for them. "Ok, you
two, ready to party?"
"To the party, Michael!" Luke responded.
"Hold it," I said. "I forgot again."
"Need to get your brains out of your
crotch, Bro," Michael laughed.
I rushed upstairs and grabbed Luke's
gift and we were off.
Everyone was at Uncle Michael's when
we arrived shortly after 7:30--the family and the Fellowship along with Millie,
Larry's and Paula's mothers. "Know you invited my parents," Jacob said, "but
I told you they weren't interested in being with us". Bill and Linda said
the same about their parents.
Uncle Michael and Mr. Stephenson served
drinks--fruit juice--and we all stood around talking--catching up on what
everyone had been doing since Sunday. At 8:00, Uncle Michael and Mr. Stephenson
excused themselves and a few minutes later returned to say dinner was ready.
And what a dinner it was! It started as usual with toasts. When Eugene took
a sip from his glass he almost sprayed the table. "What is this stuff, Uncle
Michael? I hate to be this way, but it tastes terrible."
"It's sparkling grape juice," Uncle
Michael said, innocently.
"Look, I know you did this for me,"
Eugene said. "I appreciate it but, if you don't mind, I'll have some fruit
juice and, Mr. Stephenson, see if you can get some good stuff for my friends."
Mr. Stephenson laughed, "It is a true
friend that will save his colleagues from sparkling grape juice," he said.
"Eugene, you are truly a man of honor!" None of us were surprised when Mr.
Stephenson disappeared into the kitchen and returned with the real thing.
After toasts to me and Luke, we tackled
the food. "I've discovered I am not the only decent cook in the house," Uncle
Michael smiled. "John is every bit as good and I suspect all of you are the
real winners in a bit of competition the two of us had in preparing for tonight."
He was right!
After dinner, we went back into the
living room for the opening of presents. "I'd like to show all of you something
before the two guys open their presents," Uncle Michael said. "It's not a
birthday present, but really a present for all of us." He walked to an easel
I hadn't noticed before and unveiled the painting of me which had been slashed.
"It's certainly not as good as new, but I think maybe more valuable because
of the suffering that we, and especially Michael, have endured," he said.
We all stood back looking at the painting. If ever I doubt Luke's love for
me, that picture is proof that I am wrong.
Finally, Luke could stand it no longer
and walked over to the picture and gave it a careful inspection. "Uncle Michael,
if I didn't know where the painting was slashed, I don't believe I could
find the spot," he said as he turned to look at Uncle Michael.
Michael walked close and, after looking
at the painting for a few minutes, said, "I couldn't either. Uncle Michael,
do you think the restorers would take me on?" and laughed. Luke got a pained
look on his face which he tried to hide quickly, but little escapes Michael.
Michael grabbed him and said, "Sorry, Luke. I was just kidding. I wear these
scars proudly because they are just a sign of how much I care for you, Bro."
Michael used his pet name for me, something he seldom did with Luke and I
knew it meant a lot to both.
When we started opening presents it
was clear that a lot of thought had gone into them. Larry and Eugene gave
Luke a tape Larry had re-edited of the exhibition and me one of the concert.
They also gave everyone a CD of the concert. Bill and Linda gave us both
CDs of music they knew we loved and Jacob and Paula had made up a photo album--including
many photos of time we had spent together at the falls. Gabrielle said, "Mary
Kathryn! How many times have I told you to keep your clothes on?" Sure enough,
there were some great skinny dipping photos.
Millie gave us--together--a great sound
system which she said she expected us to share in Ohio. There were, finally,
four small gifts left--mine and Luke's to each other and one for each of
us from our mom and dad. "Matt, you're the oldest so you go first," Luke
said. When I opened the box from Mom and Dad, there was a key inside. It
was taped to a picture of a Jeep with a note which said, "Thought you might
need to be enclosed in Ohio." I didn't know what it was all about then Luke
started laughing. "So that's the reason the Jeep was unavailable today!"
I finally realized Dad and Mom had given me a new Jeep, an enclosed one unlike
my old one which just had curtains!
When Luke opened his, it also had a
key and a picture--this time a pickup. The note said, "I suspect the Oberlin
Five will be making frequent trips to the home improvement store and will
need something to haul things in."
Luke and I gave our parents great hugs
and then said, "Where's the wheels?" Dad told us they were right outside
and when we opened the front door there was a shiny red Jeep and a shiny
red pickup parked at the curb.
"Now get back in here and finish,"
"Luke's the youngest so he has to go
first," I said. When we had been thinking of what to have Michael get for
Mary Kathryn, I had a brainstorm and Mr. Swartz was able to pull it off for
me. I had a bracelet made for Luke which combined our two symbols, corn and
thunderbird. When Luke saw it he grabbed me and kissed me, then started laughing.
I understood why when I opened his gift to me. It was identical to his.
"When we were talking to Michael, I
got the idea," Luke said, "and when I asked Mr. Swartz about it he said he
would take care of it."
"Same thing he told me! He gave me
an empty box to give you with a card if the bracelets didn't get finished
in time," I laughed. Luke said Mr. Swartz had done the same for him.
After the presents were open, Uncle
Michael started some music and it was dance time. Luke, Michael, Larry and
I danced with our moms first and Mary Kathryn and Linda danced with our dads.
Eugene was dancing with Millie--well, with his mom too. Linda grabbed Uncle
Michael and laughed, "Some really good looking men are going to waste!" Bill
quickly went to Ms. Wright and started dancing. "I don't like being a wallflower,"
David said and bowed to Paula. "Neither do I," Uncle Michael said and grabbed
Mr. Stephenson. The whole place broke up.
After the first dance, it was lovers
dancing with lovers except Uncle Michael and Mr. Stephenson, always the great
hosts, started dancing with Ms. Watley and Ms. Wright after Millie said,
"One dance is enough for this old lady." It might have been, but before the
night was over, she had danced at least half the dances.
About eleven, the parents decided it
was time to go home. There were serious groans from the Fellowship until
Uncle Michael said, "Hey, no one said you had to go. Just close the front
door when you leave. John and I are going upstairs, but the downstairs is
yours. There are drinks in the fridge and if you want anything else, look
in the kitchen and see what you can find. And don't worry about the music.
If it gets too loud, I'll just call the police."
After Uncle Michael and Mr. Stephen
had gone upstairs, we danced another hour or so, but all of us had work to
do Friday, so we left about 1:30. As Luke and I walked out the door, he said,
"Damn! We have to drive by ourselves. Terrible being a two car family," but
the look on his face said otherwise. When we reached the Jeep and truck,
Luke asked, "What's on the list for tomorrow?"
"I don't think there is a whole lot
other than getting packed to leave Sunday. Why?"
"I hate to be this way, but I think
we best sleep at home tonight so I can get things together. I haven't really
done anything because... because... because I don't want to even think about
being separated from you. I just haven't been able to do anything toward
getting ready. I think if I sleep alone tonight I might get things done tomorrow.
Do you understand, Babe?" Luke was on the verge of tears.
Well, had I been honest with Luke I
would have said, "Why not spend every minute together since we were going
to be separated?" But I knew he had been honest about how he felt and that
he needed to be alone tonight so I said, "Get done early, ok?" and kissed
When I crawled into my lonely bed,
I thought about the day and gave thanks for all the wonderful friends I would
soon be leaving behind as well as special thanks for those who would be with
me. How any one guy could be so lucky I didn't know, but I did know I was
one of the luckiest guys in the world.
I also thought about Eugene and the
ordeal he faced. How lucky he was to have Larry and Millie standing behind
him. And how lucky Larry was that Eugene allowed him into his life. If Eugene
was in as bad shape as he was, what must life be like for Jake, Buddy and
Danny? People who abuse others are just animals. And I realized that to many
people all gays were like McBride, child abusers. How could anyone think
that who knew people like Larry and Eugene or Luke. Well, Larry had shown
a cruel streak when he sexually attacked Eugene but he didn't go out and
hunt down someone and, God knows, he was paying dearly for his rash act.
And Eugene loved him and I think Larry would die if he ever hurt Eugene again.
All these thoughts were racing around
in my head, then I thought about being separated from my beloved Luke for
six whole weeks and, before I realized it, I was in tears. Waiting until
we were eighteen had been hell at times, but we were together. But now...
now that we could love each other with our whole being, I didn't think I
could stand being separated. I was still weeping softly when I slipped off
Sometime later I was having the most
vivid dream. I dreamed Luke had slipped into bed beside me and had pulled
me to his hard, wonderful body then kissed me very softly. The dream was
so real I felt I could feel his head as he rested it on my chest. I could
even see his golden hair shining in the moonlight when I looked down my chest.
"I couldn't stay away," he whispered. It was then I realized I was not dreaming.
"Luke, you're really here!" I said
in an excited whisper. "I thought I was dreaming. Babe, you are a dream!"
I said as I grasped his face in my hands and pulled his lips to mine. "You're
"I'm here, Sarang Hanun Pomul. I'm
here. I couldn't go to sleep for thinking what a fool I had been for not
spending every precious moment I can with you. The moon was so bright, I
decided I'd make up for being a fool and come here."
Our love making was total, complete,
wonderful. Sure, our technique had improved, but so had our understanding
and appreciation of what the uniting of our bodies meant and the love it
expressed. Gentle, tender, caring was our love making--and hot and passionate.
Afterwards, as we lay in each others arms, Luke said, "Matt, I don't know
how I can stand being separated. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would
be painful, but, Babe, we are still together and already I hurt."
"Yea, I know. I know. And just think,
we might have been separated forever."
"Matt, I can't even think about that.
Or when I do, I know that it will not be that way, but six weeks is real.
So hold me tight, Dark Angel. Hold me tight." I held Luke tight, his head
resting on my chest, and stroked his hair until we both fell asleep, safe
in each others arms.
In spite of having been out late and
then waking up in the night for love making, we were both awake early for
the morning run. Michael and Mary Kathryn joined us and Michael actually
jogged rather than walked for awhile, but then slowed down to a brisk walking
When we got back to my place, we showered
and dressed and went to Luke's for breakfast. After breakfast, Gabrielle
said, "Ok, you two, when I get home this afternoon, Luke, I expect you to
be packed and ready to leave Sunday. That goes for you too, Mary Kathryn.
We are not going to have time for anything Sunday. The minute church is over,
we've got to hit the road for Jackson." Mary Kathryn would be going with
Bill and Linda.
As soon as breakfast was over, I went
home and looked over two checklists; I had made one and Mom had made one.
Both of us checked what I had laid out, then she and I started packing. I
planned to travel light, but still ended up with two huge bags.
We had not finished when Dad came in
for lunch. I had expected Luke to come for lunch as he and the others of
the Gang of Four often did during the summer, but none of them showed up.
Mom had told me she would help me pack,
but I should get my things together. I had received a list of things to bring
to the Abbey which helped and I started getting them together. As I laid
things out, I remembered I had been told to bring a cassock and surplice
which I meant to get from St. Mary's earlier, but had not. I called and Gertie
told me to come on and that Fr. Tom would wait for me. It was nearly noon
when I called.
When I reached St. Mary's, Fr. Tom
asked me if I was up to lunch since he hadn't eaten. I realized I hadn't
eaten since breakfast and readily agreed to lunch. We went to a part of town
which I knew existed, but hadn't been. I mean, Concord is so small everyone
knows it all, at least casually, but the part we were in I just passed through
from time to time; I didn't know it. He took me to a small cafe and before
we walked in said, "I know it doesn't look like much, but this is the only
place in town where you can get good Greek food. I love it."
The man behind the counter greeted
Fr. Tom with a hearty, "Good to see you, Father. You haven't been around
here in awhile. And you, young man, you have to be Michael Andrews. Sorry
you got cut. Some people are just nuts. Good to see you up and about. How
are you doing?" I assured him I was doing great and shook hands with him.
He told me his name was Demetri. "You were my guide when I went to the exhibition,"
he said. "That Luke Larsen is some artist. I loved every minute of my time
with you and went back a couple times the following week. I especially loved
his painting of you as a Greek warrior. Lunch today, Father, is on the house
because you have brought Michael here. I'll pick the dishes."
When he brought the first dish, Fr.
Tom asked him to join us. He agreed saying he had help now so he wouldn't
be jumping up and down all the time. "So why are you hanging around with
this so-called priest," he laughed. Fr. Tom explained that Demetri was Greek
Orthodox and since there was not a Greek church in town, he came to early
service at St. Mary's. "Yeah, when there's no Greek church, we Greeks are
told Episcopal churches are ok for us to attend. We're very flexible--the
Sacraments are valid for us, but the priests aren't kosher," he laughed again.
Fr. Tom told him I was going to spend
a month in a monastery thinking about my vocation. "Got a girlfriend?" he
asked. When I said I had he said, "Well, you can have a woman if you join
up with this Episcopal crowd. Our priests can if they are married before
they become priests. What does she think about this? I mean if you two are
really serious? Of course you're still a kid." I told him she was having
problems with my struggle and that we were serious, very serious. "You've
got a real hard decision to make then."
The food was delicious--although half
the time he had to tell me what I was eating--and we talked about the exhibition,
about my summer and what I expected to be doing next year. He told me he
had a grandson who would be coming to Concord at the end of the summer to
live with him. "His father departed for parts unknown last year leaving him
with my daughter and she has her hands full trying to make ends meet. He's
become a bit wild and at the same time, suffers depression from what has
happened to his family I suspect. He'll be a junior next year."
"So will I," I responded.
"Michael's president of the student
body next year," Fr. Tom added.
"Maybe you can keep an eye on him,"
Demetri responded. "I know that his grandmother and I are a bit old to have
a teenager in the house and especially one with problems, but it seems best."
I laughed, "I have decided that a teenager
without problems is a dead teenager. Sure, I'll keep an eye out for him.
When's he arriving?"
"I'm not sure. Some time this summer.
Can I give you a call when he comes?"
"Sure, and I'll come over for another
free lunch!" I laughed.
"Great. I'll call as soon as he gets
We finished lunch and we were driving
back to the church when Fr. Tom asked, "Mary Kathryn still having problems
with your decisions?"
I certainly didn't want to mislead
Fr. Tom. I found I had to remind him just about every time the topic came
up that I hadn't made a decision and still had a long time before I had to
decide. "She's still having problems about a decision I may make. I haven't
made one yet. And when I must made one, if it is a choice between becoming
a priest and having Mary Kathryn, God doesn't stand a chance."
"Could be that God will win either
way, but I hope you don't have to face that decision. I have known some pretty
bitter men who decided they would take the woman and regretted it the rest
of their lives. Doesn't make for a very happy marriage. I have also known
some piss-poor bitter priests who made the wrong choice and blamed God because
they didn't have the woman they loved. What's Mary Kathryn's real problem?"
"She says she just can't see being
Mrs. Father," I said, only half-joking. "The idea of being Mrs. Goodie-goodie
doesn't appeal to her. And, to be honest, it doesn't appeal to me either.
I like my wild woman and never want to see her tamed. I certainly don't want
her to feel she has to become someone other than who she is in order to be
"I hear you," Fr. Tom replied. "That
wouldn't make for a very happy marriage either. But, on the other hand, you
are only sixteen and a lot can happen before you have to give serious thought
"You know, Father, I am getting pretty
sick of being told my love for Mary Kathryn is puppy love. I guess I could
be wrong--I have been once or twice in my sixteen years--but I think I know
enough about love and commitment to know that what we have is not just lust--although
there is plenty of that--and it's not some superficial warm feeling. I know
our love will change and grow and when the time comes for marriage, our love
will be different from what it is now, but--and I mean BUT--there is absolutely
no doubt in my mind that our love is here to stay--at least until death do
"You could be right, of course, and
just in case you are, maybe Mary Kathryn needs to meet some clergy wives.
I don't mean the Mrs. Father type or the Mrs. Rector types--God, I hate them.
All seem to be trying to make up for what they perceive as their husband's
shortcomings and the man always has plenty after being married to such a
bitch--and I mean that... bitch--for a few years. She is going to camp next
"Right, and the two weeks following."
"You might find her attitude changed
when you get back. Mrs. Fathers do not go to summer camp but there will be
clergy wives there--some are even counselors just as Mary Kathryn will be.
They couldn't be roped into anything other than just being the midst of the
action with their campers. Could make a difference."
"Well, it certainly won't hurt regardless
of how she sees them. It will either change her mind or make her more stubborn."
When we got back to St. Mary's, I said
goodbye to Fr. Tom, took the vestments and went home. When I got there, I
laid everything out, checked my list and lay down for a few minutes. I was
fine, but sometimes I did get tired and stress seemed to tire me quicker
than actual physical activity. And I had been under a great deal of stress
since Mary Kathryn and I talked about why I was going to the Abbey. When
I told her at the falls skip day the only reason she didn't scream and run
was because everyone was there, but I can tell you she was not a happy woman!
Since then, it had been a very touchy subject. It was so touchy that it was
pulling us apart until one day I said, "Look, Mary Kathryn, nothing has changed.
We have the summer to work through this. I need time to work through it on
my own and maybe our being separated will give you time to think things through.
But right now, we don't need to keep hurting each other. I'll promise you
one thing, and I am sure of this, I will never stop loving you and, regardless
of what happens, you will always be first in my life. I will not choose between
you and anything else because there is no choice."
At the time we were sitting on our
front porch in the late evening, listening to the sound of night creatures.
When I said what I did, Mary Kathryn became teary eyed, pulled my body to
hers and started kissing me all out. She soon had my shirt off and started
running her fingers along the scar. I slipped my hand under her shirt and
cupped a breast as our kissing became more and more passionate. When she
started kissing my chest and nipples, I got so hot I thought I would explode.
I raised her shirt and started kissing and sucking her hard nipples. As I
continued, she loosed my belt, unbuttoned my jeans and slipped her hand inside,
cupping Mr. Andrews and my balls. (Luke and Matt had christened my cock Mr.
Andrews years ago, long before I showed any signs of becoming a man. They
had tried calling me Mikey and I hated it and told them so in no uncertain
terms. Later, when we were taking a piss, Luke said, 'I know why you got
upset at being called Mike 'cause I see Mr. Andrews, not Mikey,' and laughed.
I had started calling him the Sword of Love, but when the two of them heard
that, they started kiding me and kidded me so much, I went back to Mr. Andrews.)
I unzipped Mary Kathryn's jeans and slipped my hand inside, feeling the soft
hair surrounding her womanhood. As we continued our kissing--which grew more
and more passionate--my finger hit a special spot and Mary Kathryn started
breathing heavily and groaning, "Michael, Michael," then a shudder ran through
her body. When it did, she gave big Mr. Andrews a hard squeeze and he exploded.
Our passion somewhat spent--somewhat--we
held each other close and our kissing became gentle, soft, tender. Finally
Mary Kathryn looked into my eyes and said, "Michael, we can work this out
because we have to. Nothing can separate us or take our love from us." Suddenly
she was crying big time. I know men talk about not knowing what to do when
a woman starts crying and I had always thought it was kinda silly, but it
wasn't funny. I didn't know what to do. We had just made love to the very
limits we set for ourselves and she had said we couldn't let anything separate
us or take our love from us, then she started crying! I didn't know what
to do so I just held her to my chest, her head on my shoulder, as I stroked
Mary Kathryn gradually stopped crying
and, when she did, she looked up at me and said, "Michael, when I said 'separated'
I remembered we are going to be separated and then I saw your body lying
in the hospital and remembered knowing that we were probably going to be
separated forever. I have been pretty good at keeping my feelings inside,
but tonight they got me before I knew it." I gave her a gentle kiss, which
she returned, and we sat quiet for the longest time, just holding each other.
God, I love my wild woman!
Friday had been packing day for the
Gang of Four. While Mom and I were packing, she said, "You know tonight is
the last dinner we will have together. Would you like the family to get together
"Need you ask? Of course, I would.
And Mom, can we all stay here tonight?"
"Need you ask? Of course you can. I'll
call Gabrielle and Margaret while you finish packing. And remember, you are
to take your vestments. I have washed and ironed them. You'll have to get
some at St. Mary's in the morning--or maybe you need to go over and get some
that fit today." Mom went downstairs and I looked around to make sure I hadn't
forgotten anything. She had put my vestments in a garment bag and I put it
with my other things. I checked the two lists we had made--again--and
I was done. I had managed to get packed without thinking too much about being
separated from Luke, but there were times when I found it difficult to hold
back the tears. Some people say gay men cry more than straight men,
but I wonder how many straight men would anticipate being separated from
someone they loved as much as I loved Luke without shedding tears? I know
old straight-as-they-come Michael have done his share of crying over being
separated from Mary Kathryn--and I couldn't blame him one bit. In fact, I
would have been disappointed had he not cried. So much for another stereotype!
Well, I had everything ready to go
I wanted to go see Luke, but he was busy packing and even if he weren't,
I knew we'd just bawl if I went. Instead of going to the Larsen's, I went
to St. Mary's and found a cassock and surplice. I'd have to throw the sleeves
back since they were not split as was an organist's, but I had done that
before so it should be no problem.
As I drove home--man, the new Jeep
was nice although Luke would still have to be careful or he would impale
himself on the stick or the four wheel drive knob--I thought about Luke and
how he was doing. I knew Gabrielle was with him and I hoped she could help
him keep his chin up the way Mom had helped me. When I got home, having nothing
else to do, I chose my usual escape from too much reality--I lay down on
my bed and went to sleep. It was about 4:30 when I sacked out.
I had been sleeping for about an hour
when the phone woke me, but Mom got it and I just lay on my bed, wishing
I didn't have to leave my Luke. There were some delicious smells coming up
the stairs from the kitchen. I was really glad Mom had suggested dinner.
It would be four long weeks before I had dinner here again and six horribly
long weeks before I had dinner again with Luke. As I lay thinking about that
I suddenly felt Luke's presence. But he wasn't here; he was home packing.
As the feeling grew stronger, I remembered I hadn't "felt" Luke's presence
for a long time. I wondered.
As I lay wondering about the feeling,
it grew so strong I looked at my door and there stood Luke! I jumped out
of bed and grabbed him, holding him close. "I felt you coming, Yonghon Tongmu!
I couldn't believe it! You're here!" I fairly attacked Luke, kissing him
Luke started laughing, "Man, how can
I live without a wild Korean Lakota around?" He ran his hands under my hair
and pulled my face to his for an open mouth, tongues and all kiss. "Michael
called and wanted Mary Kathryn to go to the falls with him. He also told
her we were invited to come long if we could behave ourselves."
"Are you sure the price is not too
high," I laughed and started kissing him again.
"Maybe so. What do you think?"
"If it is, we can always head for the
bushes," I laughed, full of joy now that Luke was here. We went downstairs
and before we headed to the falls, asked Mom if we could help out.
"I think you'd be pretty worthless
right now," she answered with a smile. "Go on to the falls."
When we reached the falls, Michael
and Mary Kathryn were already skinny dipping. Sure enough, Michael was well
on his way to a great summer tan had started getting a summer tan. I don't
know how he would explain the great tan to a bunch of monks when there was
an almost complete absence of a tan line. Maybe they'd never see him as we
After swimming hard for an hour, it
was obvious that Michael had much of his strength back, but he still had
a ways to go before he was as strong as he had been. Without a word, we got
out of the water and lay on a blanket Mary Kathryn had thought to bring.
We lay on our backs staring at the sky, saying nothing. After we had been
silent for several minutes, Mary Kathryn asked a very serious question, "What
do we expect to get out of this summer? I mean, of course, Luke and Matt,
you expect to learn more about your art, but I mean beyond that?"
We had been silent for awhile and when
Michael spoke. "I know I have a long time before I have to really make a
decision, but I hope I can get some things straight in my head. This priest
thing is really bugging me and especially since Mary Kathryn is so opposed
to it. Maybe I can get it out of my mind. I don't know."
Luke and I had discussed the fact that
Mary Kathryn seemed to be rather cold to the idea of having a priest husband,
but hadn't expected it just to be plopped right out like that. "What's your
problem with the idea, Mary Kathryn?" Luke asked.
"It's hard to put into words," Mary
Kathryn said very thoughtfully. "I mean when he first mentioned the possibility,
I was still thinking in terms of Roman Catholic priests and my immediate
thought was he just wanted to dump me. I was hurt and angry."
Michael laughed, "I was the one hurt!
She slapped my face and asked why I didn't have the guts just to tell her
I didn't want her any more. Of course I soon took care of that thought!"
"Anyway, even after I remembered that
Michael could be a priest and married, I didn't like the idea and I still
don't. I look at Fr. Tom and see an old man who has been married, but I can't
really see him as married. I... ok, I can't imagine him getting all carried
away and making mad, passionate love. I mean you know, digging sex. I love
Michael to death, but I also lust after his body--what's left of it these
days," she laughed and kissed the scar on Michael's chest. "And it's not
just that, the whole idea of being Mrs. Father or Mrs. Rector really turns
me off. You've seen those British films with the stuffy vicars. I couldn't
stand that. I couldn't stand having all the little old ladies watching my
every move and treating Michael like their pet poodle. I am too full of life
and hot-blooded to be a priest's wife."
I was trying hard to control myself.
I understood why Mary Kathryn objected to being the wife of a priest--her
idea of a priest--but I didn't want to upset her and I didn't try to change
her mind. But I also remembered Fr. Tom's wife and she certainly didn't fit
the description Mary Kathryn had painted. I guess there were times he wished
she had, but I was a bit young and didn't notice such things so I didn't
remember a great deal about Fr. Tom and her relationship. But I did remember
her bright red convertible, her dyed red hair and the way she dressed--kinda
chic hippie. I also recall Mom and Dad laughing about one episode or another
when she had said, "I married Tom, not Fr. Tom." She had all the little old
blue haired ladies buzzing as long as she lived and she just didn't give
a damn. And, I suspect, Fr. Tom loved it.
"So what do you want out of the summer,
Mary Kathryn?" Luke asked his sister.
"Well, I hope I get some things settled
in my head as well. God, I have said I would never be a teacher, but I love
kids--little kids mostly, but I have also been thinking about what middle
school girls are going through--and I have thought some about being a teacher.
But mostly I have thought about maybe being a school counselor. I have also
thought about being a pediatric nurse. When Fr. Tom asked about my being
a counselor at camp, I thought it would be a good chance to see how working
with both groups would be--I mean I'll do the young kids camp and the middle
school camp as a counselor. I hope I can get some feel for what being a teacher
or counselor would be like. Fr. Tom also told me there would be clergy wives
acting as counselors and I sure as hell want to keep an eye on them. Maybe
I'll change my mind about Michael being a priest if he decides to do so--but
I doubt it. And if I don't and he does...." Suddenly Mary Kathryn was not
wild woman, but a hurting one. Big tears formed in her eyes.
Michael pulled her to himself for a
very tender and loving kiss as he said, "Mary Kathryn, I have told you and
I meant it, I will not give you up for anything. I mean that." His eyes also
began to fill with tears. Hard decisions faced my brother and sister and
what they decided would definitely effect their relationship and maybe even
"I guess I have only one thing I expect
beyond what I do in terms of music," I said. "It sounds so harsh and cold,
but I know that given our fields, Luke and I will be among many more gay
men--openly gay--than we have here. We will be lonely--and horny--and unless
I miss my guess, some gay guys we meet will be as lonely horny as we are.
And let's face it, we are two damn good looking and very naive guys. I suspect
the temptation to fuck--and I mean fuck 'cause there is no question that
I will never lose my love for Luke--will be great. I expect to learn about
temptation--real temptation--the way I have never known it. And most important--life
determining importance--how to deal with temptation and remain faithful.
I mean, I have been tempted by Luke to the point where I didn't see how I
could stop while we were waiting, but that was different. Had we given in
to temptation, it would have been disappointing I suspect, but we would not
have been unfaithful. If I can't handle the temptation this summer, I will
end up being unfaithful to Luke and I know I would die if that happened....
But I am human."
"And hot to trot!" Michael added.
"He's hot all right and I love it,"
Luke said. "But I am with Matt on what I expect out of the summer. I know
he thinks I have better control than he does...."
"You do," I said quickly.
"But I expect what Matt has said about
his situation will be the same of mine."
"Kinda sorry I asked," Mary Kathryn
said. "This is pretty heavy stuff we are all going to be dealing with. What
makes it really frightening is that all of us are going to be dealing with
things which could really hurt the ones we love. Damn!"
"You're right," Michael agreed, "but
it's real. And what really makes it frightening is for the first time we
won't have each other to lean on. We'll be separated and alone for the first
"Look, I know we can't spend a fortune
on phone calls, but we've got to keep in touch with each other," Luke said.
"I'm going to be pretty restricted
in my contact with anyone. That has worried me from the beginning. I mean
I can write and will--at least Mary Kathryn--but you know how slow snail
mail is," Michael observed.
"E-mail?" I asked. "I know I will have
access to computers in the computer lab. That was in the material I was sent."
"So will I," Luke said.
"Mine will be very limited," Michael
said, "Mom got a laptop for me to use this summer and I got permission for
very restricted use. Mostly I'm expected to keep a journal on it. I can send
copies of the journal with some personal messages, but not everyday."
"I can arrange to send e-mail from
camp, I think," Mary Kathryn said, "if not, it will be snail mail, but better
slow than none."
"So much for a carefree summer!" Michael
said as we got ready to go to the house. "But I also expect to have some
fun. Don't know exactly what given where I will be."
Dinner was another happy-sad event.
We all knew that Sunday we would be scattered and the summer was an important
one for all of us, but we also felt the love and support of the family--the
whole family. There wasn't much talk of the summer, but enough for us to
know the parents knew we were facing great unknowns which would easily determine
our future and that they were both confident that we would handle things
well, but anxious as well.
After dinner, the Gang of Four went
to my room and had a ball talking about how we were dressing for our break
loose night in Lexington. Nelson had said the manager and the maitre d' didn't
get along and suggested we be even wilder in our dress than we had been before
to give "that maitre d' asshole" a hard time. Luke had talked to the other
guys and learned Eugene and Larry had picked up outfits--"You'll flip when
you see them," Eugene had said--for themselves and for Jacob and Bill. Earlier,
when we had talked about "Mr. Greywolf and his entourage's" break loose evening,
I talked to Dad and Mom about what Luke and I would wear. They had a good
laugh and then suggested dress for the women which was equally as outstanding.
We the Gang of Four were staying at
my place for the night and when we got ready for bed, Michael said, "I'm
going down the hall to spend some time with my wild woman and since we're
still resisting temptation, I don't plan to spend the night, so you guys
need to plan accordingly."
As soon as he left, I got Luke undressed
in record time and he didn't take all night to get me out of my clothes.
Naked, we stood, hands on each others shoulders, admiring the beauty before
us. As we embraced for a passionate kiss, Michael burst into the room and
said, "Ok, just a minute. Wild Woman says I can sleep with her if I observe
the limits. Man, talk about temptation! But I am man enough to do it...."
"You better be man enough NOT to do
it," Luke said in his big brother voice and laughed.
"Hey, you don't have to go all the
way to make love or have you forgotten?" Michael challenged his lover's brother.
"Man, I am going to snuggle up to my soft, wonderful woman and I will resist
temptation for the privilege."
"You're a good man, Michael," Luke
said. "I'm honored that you want to be my brother-in-law as well as my brother.
Enjoy snuggling against Mary Kathryn's beautiful soft body as I will snuggling
against Matt's beautiful hard one. But I make no promises about resisting
Michael gave Luke a high five and dashed
down the hall. Luke and my love making was very tender and gentle, dreamlike.
We were so in love it was hard to realize it wasn't all a dream. I was afraid
it was too good to be real, but then, as Luke made love to me, I knew it
was real, really, really real!
The next morning, we four got up for
a run and Luke asked Michael "Can you say, honestly, my baby sister is still
a virgin?" with a mean look on his face.
"At least technically," Michael laughed
as Mary Kathryn gave him a wild woman kiss. "I kept my promise, but I sure
don't know about next time!"
"I do," Mary Kathryn said, kissing
"And just what does that mean?" Luke
"Just what I said," Mary Kathryn answered
with a wicked grin.
After the run, Luke and I, then Michael
and Mary Kathryn showered. As they showered, Michael started singing at the
top of his lungs, "More than the greatest love...." When we were dressed
we went down for breakfast. During breakfast, we all decided we would spend
Saturday with our families since we would be gone for several weeks and when
we returned, Luke and I would soon be going away to college.
The Fellowship all came to my place
about 4:00 Saturday afternoon to get ready for our night on the town. We
were leaving about 6:00 or 6:30. After they heard about our dressing up for
the big event, all the parents decided to show up for pictures before we
When the members of the Fellowship
arrived, Mom sent the guys to my room and the women to the guest room with
Mary Kathryn to get dressed.
Nelson had asked for Mr. Greywolf and
his entourage to show up and stir up some excitement and we decided to do
it up right. I dressed in light buckskins--leggings and open vest--decorated
with black and red bead work which Dad and I had purchased at a pow wow last
year. I wore the red and black beadwork headband I had worn before and added
matching arm bands. Dad had loaned--and believe me I mean loaned--me his
bear claw choker. Instead of a single braid, I did my hair in two braids
and wrapped the ends in buckskin thongs with more black and red beads. I
wore moccasins, of course, also richly decorated in red and black bead work.
Luke and Michael were "Mr. Greywolf's"
assistants and dressed as I except their bead work and chokers were yellow
and green. Their vests and leggings were darker buckskin, also decorated
with beadwork. Of course Luke needed a head band and, to tell the truth,
Michael's hair had grown pretty long since he stopped having it cut some
time ago so he, too, wore a headband.
Bill, Jacob, Larry and Eugene were
dressed in black jeans with matching black vests and black high laced boots
of soft buckskin. I don't know where Eugene found them, but all four wore
black belts with silver and turquoise decorations. They wore only arm bands
and chokers of turquoise and silver beads. I didn't know Dad had so much
beadwork! Since their hair was short they didn't wear headbands.
We had decided Paula would be "Mr.
Greywolf's" date for the evening and Mom had outfitted her in an almost white
buckskin dress decorated with silver and turquoise beads as were her high
buckskin boots. Man, she was something to behold! The others were dressed
in black skirts and turquoise blouses. They all had on headbands of the same
color bead work as Paula's and also wore silver and turquoise belts.
When we went downstairs, Dad asked
if we would be allowed into the hotel without shirts. "I know those bare
chests will drive the women crazy, but I'm not sure the hotel management
will be happy to see you--but you are a handsome bunch."
"Hey, Nelson asked for Mr. Greywolf's
entourage and here we are," Larry laughed.
"It also helps that he cleared it with
the manager," Eugene said. "But I want to see the look on the maitre 'd's
face since he hasn't been told!"
All the parents had shown up--even
Jacob's, Linda's and Bill's--for pictures and it took forever to satisfy
them, but we were finally ready to leave.
In Lexington, we parked the cars except
Eugene's and Paula and I got in the back seat and Michael and Luke got in
the front to drive us to the front of the hotel. Linda and Mary Kathryn were
sitting on the back of the seat behind Paula and myself while the four guys
walked along side the car like secret service guards. The parking valets
was duly impressed when we arrived and everyone hopped to to help "Mr. Greywolf
and his entourage".
When we reached the lobby, the Junior
League ladies were just going to their banquet room and were all atwitter
at the sight. I could understand the high school girls getting all carried
away when Luke and I had come with Uncle Michael and Mr. Stephenson, but
these were grown women! As we approached the dining room, the maitre d' could
hardly control himself he was so upset at all the shirtless guys. Luke and
Michael walked up to him and said, "Mr. Greywolf and his party are here.
I believe you have reservations?"
"Yes, but we have dress requirements.
You are not welcome without proper dress. You will have to leave at once!
We do not allow people here improperly dressed! I can see bare skin. Bare
skin on your chests!" He was shaking he was so outraged at, as he put it,
"your indecent exposure!"
I caught sight of Nelson, who was trying
not to laugh, a few feet away. "You, Sir," Luke said, "are insulting Mr.
Greywolf's heritage. I wouldn't do that if I were you."
"This is an outrage, an outrage. We
do not allow savages in our dining room!"
Michael then stepped up, drew himself
to his full six feet two inches--at least five inches taller than the sputtering
little man with the waxed mustache--and said, "You don't seem to understand,
my good man. See this scar? I got this defending Mr. Greywolf and I don't
like to be messed with. And when you call me a savage, I may not break your
arm, but when you call Mr. Greywolf a savage--well, to tell the truth, you
are endangering your life."
Paula leaned over and whispered, "Notice
Michael he didn't "defending a painting of Mr. Greywolf."
When I looked at Nelson I could see
he was on the house phone and laughing so hard he was about to pee his pants.
So far the Fellowship was doing an amazing job controlling pent-up laughter.
"Now, my good man," Michael continued, "if you will just send Nelson over,
I believe Mr. Greywolf is ready to be seated with his party."
"I told you," the maitre d' was shouting
now, "you cannot come in until you are properly dressed! I am in total charge
here and you have to get out. I'm totally in charge!" People in the dining
room were, for the most part, having a good laugh at the little man who obviously
wasn't in control of himself, much less anything else.
Just as he finished shouting, the manager
walked up behind us and said, "Oh, Mr. Greywolf! I am delighted that you
decided to visit us again. Why haven't you been shown to your table? Has
something held you up? And my, my, how handsome you all look. So glad you
decided to come dressed as befits your heritage. It adds class to our establishment."
He then turned to the maitre d' and said, "James, I know you are dying to
show Mr. Greywolf and his party to their table, but I'm pulling rank. Mr.
Greywolf, ladies and gentlemen, this way please."
When we reached the table and had all
been seated he laughed and said, "I have wanted to put that pompous windbag
in his place for years. Thank you for helping! I'm giving Nelson a break
tonight. He's all yours and I am hanging around for the excitement when the
Junior League dinner breaks up. And by the way, I'm taking care of Nelson
and your evening is on the house. Nelson asked about a discount and I agreed,
but after seeing James almost die of apoplexy, it's on the house. In exchange,
you have to head for the lobby just when the Junior League ladies get there.
"Deal!" we all said.
The dinner was great! We asked Nelson
to join us, but he refused saying he had to "make the show look good." And
he did! You would have thought we were the President of the United States'
party the way he kowtowed to us! Everyone in the dining room was looking
at us and, I suspect, trying to figure out just who we were to be receiving
so much attention. It was a good thing we were obviously enjoying ourselves
because otherwise there would have been questions about our laughter. Sometimes
one or the other of us just couldn't hold it all in and burst out laughing.
We had finished eating and were toying with our dessert when Nelson brought
us the check--which showed a balance of zero--which was our signal to get
ready to go to the lobby. I gave him Dad's charge card and signed the check
when Nelson brought it back--including a generous tip for Nelson even though
he was "being taken care of." After all, we had gotten everything for free,
so why not?
My "bodyguards and assistants" surrounded
me and we walked to the lobby. The Junior League ladies were all in the lobby
when Nelson walked out with us and said--loudly--"Mr.Greywolf, I do hope
you will come again while you are filming." That did it. There was a rush
of Junior League ladies trying to get past my "body guards" and "assistants"
for autographs. Luke and Michael finally stepped outside the circle Bill,
Jacob, Eugene and Larry had formed and asked, "Ladies, who are you?"
A young woman stepped forward and said,
"We are the Junior League of Lexington."
"Are you the president?" Michael asked.
The woman was suddenly tongue tied and could only nod her head.
"I'm sure Mr. Greywolf would be happy
to sign autographs if you would be patient. Wouldn't you,"Mr. Greywolf?"
Cool Luke could handle this, but I only nodded knowing if I opened my mouth
I would start laughing. Really, these were the cream of Lexington's young
up and coming women--or wives of husbands who were--and they were acting
just like teenyboppers! I was signing an autograph for a woman who said,
"My son is Curtis Jelks and does the 'Teen Beat' show on Saturday and I am
sure he would love to interview you. Would you have time?"
Luke answered for me, "I doubt it.
We are here for only a short time and Mr. Greywolf would like to visit a
teen club he visited the last time we were here checking out Lexington."
"Checking it out for a film?" she asked.
"I think it is safe to say that the
next picture Mr. Greywolf makes will be made here," Michael said with an
absolutely straight face. Old Michael--never lying, but allowing people to
think one thing when he had meant another. But only Michael and cool Luke
really had straight faces: "assistants" and the women in the entourage were
all about to fall out laughing. As soon as she had the autograph, the woman
took a cell phone from her pocket. Her poor son was about to fall for the
fake movie star bit--again.
The hotel manager reappeared and motioned
for Bill and whispered something to him. When Bill came back, he asked for
the parking tickets. I continued signing autographs when Luke leaned over
and whispered, "The hotel manager has a limo waiting outside for us. Nelson,
his girl and some other hotel people are driving the cars over and will come
back in the limo." By this time, others were asking for autographs and after
several minutes, Luke announced that we had an appointment at the teen club.
"We want to check it out,' he said. He didn't say for what, but everyone
standing around assumed it had to do with a film to be made in Lexington.
When we got in the limo, we could finally
laugh and we all did until tears were streaming down our faces.
"Do you think we gave "Curtis, this
teen reporter" time to get to the club?" Jacob asked.
"I'm sure he was there five minutes
after his mom called," Linda laughed. Sure enough, there were TV cameras
and lights waiting for us outside the club. The teen reporter came rushing
up and said how glad he was to see us again. "Are you planning on making
the film here, Mr. Greywolf?" he asked. "I assure you," Michael said again
with a straight face, "the very next film Mr. Greywolf makes will be made
in Lexington." There were other questions and Michael and Luke answered everyone
without telling a lie. Could they help it if assumptions were made? As we
posed for the cameras and Michael told the kid our Indian dress was from
the Greywolf family, reflecting 'Mr. Greywolf's heritage." He spoke very
solemnly. Luke added equally as solemn, "Mr. Greywolf is Lakota. You probably
would call him a Sioux, but he's Lakota."
Later when I told him he was stretching
the truth kinda far with that statement, he said, "I'm not. You may not be
all Lakota, but so far as we know MR. Greywolf is." The whole Fellowship
absolutely cracked up over that.
When we got inside the club, "this
reporter" left the crew outside, but came in himself. We decided it was best
not to spoil his show, so I danced with Paula. Michael and Luke started dancing
with Mary Kathryn and Linda while the four "body guards" stationed themselves
around the dance floor as if they were protecting "Mr. Greywolf." Of course
the DJ and many of the people in the club knew immediately what was going
on and were having a blast. I felt a little sorry for "Curtis, this teen
reporter," but not a lot because he was so arrogant and had constantly put
down the many small towns served by the Lexington station. "This is for those
poor teens in xxx" was a common line when he introduced a new song "since
they are so isolated from the exciting teen life in Lexington." Strange because
he didn't know squat about the teen club where we were and which was probably
the best things the teens of Lexington had going for them. Maybe he'd wake
up after being fooled the second time.
As soon as the second dance started,
I motioned for the body guards and Jacob came for Paula, Bill for Linda and
Michael continued dancing with Mary Kathryn. The other two couples were sitting
the dance out when Larry said, "This will never do. I know we'll get it on
with our loves as soon as "this teen reporter" leaves, but there are women
just standing around. Let's dance!" The four of us invited girls who
were just standing around to dance. Soon we were all dancing fools, having
a grand time.
After the third dance, Curtis was still
present. Michael said he was sitting the next couple of dances out because
he was tired and Larry, Eugene and I joined him. Luke started dancing with
wild woman--and she was!
We had been at the club for about an
hour when Curtis finally left as Nelson and his girl arrived. Nelson went
immediately to the DJ and said something to him, but refused to tell us what
he said when he came back. He just got his girl and hit the dance floor.
When the dance ended, they came back to the table and asked Michael if he
was ready to dance again. Michael said ''I'm ready!" Nelson caught
the eye of the DJ, who nodded, and then announced, "This is a special for
Mr. Greywolf and his entourage." The DJ put on a new CD and said, "Greywolf,
this is for you and the Fellowship from Nelson."
As the CD started I realized it as
the variations on "More" from the last movement of "Yonghon Tongmu." I hadn't
realized it when I wrote it, but it was actually great for dancing. Of course,
the dance style changed several times--everything from a waltz to wild--but
that was fun too. This time there was no holding back. Eugene and I grabbed
our lovers and hit the floor with the rest of the Fellowship. Eugene, Paula
and I were ready for the quick switches in the music since we knew it by
heart. The others were just about as good. We were singing and dancing our
hearts out as the music played. When the music became very romantic and lyrical,
Luke looked into my eyes, smiled, and kissed me big time. His example was
followed by the other Fellowship couples while the other people in the club
shouted and cheered.
We continued dancing or sitting at
the table talking and enjoying ourselves until time for the club to close.
After announcing the last dance, the DJ lowered the lights and played a very
romantic, slow dance version of "More." As I held Luke close I realized this
was our last dance for a long time. I tried to hide my feeling, but when
I looked up at Luke, I saw tears in his eyes and just lost it, sobbing on
his shoulder as we danced.
After the last dance, we went with
Nelson and his girl to the ice cream parlor for malteds--one of the few places
I suspect you could get real malteds these days with all the fast food places
selling those horrible so-called milkshakes--and sat and talked until it
closed at 1:30. After saying goodbye to Nelson, we all stood in the parking
lot talking about what we were going to do. Eugene suggested we all go to
his place for the night. It sounded like a good idea until Michael reminded
us all that the only couples together tomorrow night would be Bill and Linda
and Eugene and Larry. That settled it quickly. We wanted the night for ourselves.
Of course by the time we got home,
it was very late. Michael and Mary Kathryn discussed his staying at the Larsens,
but decided against it, so after some passionate kisses, they finally went
their separate ways. Luke and I decided we'd stay at his place for the night.
As soon we crawled into bed, we decided we were not really up to any any
heavy love making. And while we agreed on that, both said we didn't know
why since it was our last night together for some time. We ended up as we
would have done before our birthday: kissing, cuddling, loving each other
gently for awhile and then slipping into dreamland.
Sometime before daybreak, Luke kissed
me and when I was awake said, "Sarang Hanun Pomul, I want to make love to
you, but not here. By the river." We quickly got out of bed, slipped into
sweats and, hand in hand, headed for the river. We went to the spot where
we had made love before, undressed each other, and lay on the soft mossy
bank. The sound of the river and night creatures filled the air and the moonlight
through the willows made a shifting pattern on us as we lay together. We
were in no rush, knowing we would soon be separated for six weeks. Our love
making was as tender, loving and gentle as the sounds around us, filling
us with the deep sense of being united in heart, mind, body and soul. Finally,
satisfied, we just lay in each others arms, looking into the eyes of the
one who made our world and life worth living. Luke kissed me softly and asked,
"Storing up memories, Sarang Hanun Pomul?" I smiled at the face of my beautiful
love and said, "Memories which have to last at least six weeks, Yonghon Tongmu."
Soon we fall asleep in the warmth of our love.
I was awakened by the predawn songs
of countless birds calling on the sun to rise. Luke was sleeping beside me.
I felt a knife go through my heart as I realized in a few short hours we
would be separated--not for hours or days, but for weeks. I leaned over and
pressed my lips to his. Immediately no longer sleeping, he ran his hands
beneath my hair and pulled our lips together for a passionate kiss. In the
predawn light, we made love again, Luke exploding inside me as the first
rays of the sun penetrated the willow canopy above us.
After too short a time, we pulled on
our sweats and walked toward the falls, only a short distance up the river.
As we came out of the willows just below the falls, I saw Michael and Mary
Kathryn, both asleep on a blanket on the beach. Both were naked, two beautiful
bodies lying snuggled together. "Morning, lovers," Luke shouted, causing
them both to bolt upright.
"Couldn't you have sung a sweet song
or something?" Michael grouched as he looked toward us. He reached beside
the blanket where there were two pairs of sweats and pulled them on as Mary
Kathryn did the same.
"I guess great lovers have the same
great ideas," I said, greeting the second couple in the family. "Looks to
me as if temptation won."
"You're wrong, Oh sex on the mind one.
But it was a hard fight."
"Not sure about the fight," Mary Kathryn
laughed as she kissed Michael, "but it was hard. But I took care of that,
but not the way you're thinking!"
Luke and I joined our brother and sister
on the blanket and we again talked about what lay ahead. "I've always heard
that things and people were scattered to the four winds," Michael said, "but
I just realized its not a metaphor--you know about metaphors don't you, Luke?"
he laughed as we all recalled Luke's struggle with metaphor before the AP
exam--"it's not a metaphor for us. I'm going north, Luke south, Mary Kathryn
east and Matt west. When and where shall we four meet again?"
"Here in this place as soon as possible,"
Luke answered then added, "Well, I guess we better head home. Don't think
it would be a good idea for you to come with us, Michael," Luke said. "Don't
think Dad will be fooled about Mary Kathryn being home all night, but if
you don't show up, I suspect you might escape hanging!" Luke laughed as Michael
kissed Mary Kathryn then started walking down the river. Obviously he was
going to walk to the road and then home rather than crossing the meadow.
I guess he remembered the outcome of one of the walks Luke and I had taken
in the open meadow.
The family was gathering at the Andrews
for breakfast since there would be no family Sunday dinner. Luke and I showered
and he shaved after Mary Kathryn had showered. We got dressed and went to
Margaret's and David's for breakfast. It was not the usual jolly family gathering.
While we were eating I noticed Jens kept looking at Michael and Mary Kathryn.
They must have noticed too because Michael was getting very nervous. We all
knew about Jens' temper, especially when his kids were involved. Wild woman
finally had had it and said, "Yes, Dad, Michael and I went to the falls after
we got home last night. And yes, we didn't keep our clothes on. And yes,
the love making was hot, passionate, fantastic."
I thought to myself, "Mary Kathryn,
why get Jens going since we will all be splitting soon?"
"And no, Michael is not gay. I can
assure you of that, not that it should matter to you, but it sure as hell
would matter to me! Dad, anything else you want to know?" I saw Mary Kathryn
wicked grin which she was hiding from Jens and also the fire in her eyes--which
he definitely saw as soon as she had the grin under control." Jens was trying
very hard to keep control and I knew it. Damn, was there to be a family fight?
Just what we all needed to remember when we were separated! "Oh, I forgot,
we're both still virgins if it takes going all the way to lose your virginity,"
Mary Kathryn added with a wicked laugh. There was a communal sigh of relief--not,
I suspect because Michael and Mary Kathryn had resisted temptation, but because
there was nothing for Jens to be upset about.
But Jens did not like being the butt
of a joke so I wasn't sure how he would take the whole thing until he burst
out laughing. "You women sure know how to pull a man's chain," he laughed,
"especially you, my baby girl."
"May be your baby girl," Michael said,
taking a risk, "but definitely my wild woman and I love it." He leaned over
and kissed Mary Kathryn who was sitting beside him. The rest of the breakfast
was a joyous time with a lot of joking and "remember when" game playing.
During church, Fr. Tom called Bill,
Linda and Mary Kathryn to the front for a commissioning ceremony, commissioning
them as campers and the camp counselors. During the Prayers for the
People, there were prayers for travelers--we were all mentioned by name--and
for God's blessing on our summer endeavors.
As soon as the service ended, we all
went to the parking lot since Michael and Luke were leaving for the airport
immediately. Ms. Wright had asked about Paula going with them so she and
Jacob were waiting for us. After hugs all around, Michael and Mary Kathryn,
Jacob and Paula, Luke and I embraced for a last passionate kiss and then
our loves were gone. We did manage to keep the tears to a minimum, but our
pain was not. Even Jacob was teary eyed. Man, when he caught the bug, he
caught it big time. I didn't blame him. Paula is some fantastic woman.
The three leaving for camp were to
leave very shortly, so all of the family joined us for a quick lunch and
then the campers took off in Bill's car. I had offered to drive Jacob to
Lexington, but since it was really out of my way, he had declined. Eugene
and Larry insisted he go with them. Larry was to start his internship Monday
so they would drive over very early Monday morning.
Suddenly I felt very alone. I guess
I could have hung around awhile, but I had a very long drive ahead of me
and Dad and Mom insisted I get started. Dad had made reservations at a motel
just over half way to Sewanee. I had to check in at Sewanee by noon Monday
and if I hit the road, I'd get some sleep tonight.
We all knew I would be home in four
weeks which was usual for my summer programs since I was in high school so
there were never any tears or prolonged goodbyes--until today. I guess we
all realized this was just a practice for my leaving in September and we
all were a bit misty eyed as I got the Jeep and started the long trip. When
I got on the road, I put in a CD and tried to enjoy the drive as I got deeper
into the mountains.
It was twilight when I reached the
motel and checked in. I was tired from driving and, I suspect, the tension
of the day. I tried to watch TV, but it was all so silly I finally just turned
it off, crawled into bed and turned out the lights.
I don't know why, but as soon as the
lights were out, my mind started racing, thinking about all that had happened
since that day I saw Luke lying face down in the river. I found it hard to
believe it was only four months ago this week. What an emotional roller coaster
ride those four months had been! But with all the pain in those four months,
it had been a glorious time and I was overcome by a feeling of deep thanksgiving!
I thought about all the Fellowship, scattered, but still very much with me.
I offered up a prayer, in my way, for Larry and Eugene and what they faced,
for Michael and Mary Kathryn and the hard decisions confronting them, for
Jacob and Paula and their new-found love, for Linda and Bill and their deepening
relationship. I gave thanksgiving for the family, those six wonderful, loving,
caring people who had nurtured all of us. And I gave a special prayer and
thanksgiving for my Luke. I missed him so much already it was painful and
I had seen him less than twelve hours ago. What would doing without his arms
about me for six weeks be like? I didn't want to think about it. Finally
I was able to escape into dreamland where I dreamed of our last night together,
making love in the moonlight under the willows with all the night sounds
When we reached the airport, all three
of us checked in. Paula and Michael were to be together on the first leg
of their trip. Their plane was leaving after mine, so when my flight was
called, I hugged Mom and Dad, Michael and Paula and raced to the plane without
looking back. I knew I was only leaving for six weeks, but I knew I would
be in tears if I hung around.
I found my seat and sat down, staring
out the window. Soon a young, very attractive woman sat beside me. I smiled
at her and she smiled back and introduced herself. "I'm Janet," she said,
extending her hand.
"I'm Luke," I replied as I took her
"Where are you headed?" she asked.
When I told her, she laughed and said she was also on her way to Sarasota
and the Ringling School of Art.
We talked about what we expected and
finally acknowledged we didn't know what to expect. As we talked, she asked
me if I had seen the public broadcasting system's special on an art exhibition
in Concord. When she did I laughed, then did a Matt Greywolf blush. When
she saw me blush she suddenly laughed and said, "I thought your name sounded
familiar! It was your exhibition! I'm honored to be with you this summer.
That was some exhibition and you are some artist!" She started asking me
questions about it and soon I was talking a mile a minute. I sure didn't
feel shy about my work!
"Can I ask you a very personal question?"
she asked. When I nodded, she asked, "The painting of the young man dressed
as an Indian in the room by itself, why was it so special? That's not what
I mean. I mean I could see that it was magnificent and was special in that
way, but it seemed to be special in some other way." She laughed and then
said, "I'm not sure what I mean."
"Maybe I can help," I said. "Yes, it
is special, very,very special. It is a painting of my brother--well, not
a blood brother, but my brother nonetheless." I then started telling her
the story of the family and while she looked interested, after talking for
five minutes I said, "Look, I'm probably boring you to death."
"Not at all! I am absolutely fascinated.
I am an only child and my parents are divorced so I am always fascinated
by families and you seem to have a super family--wow--three brothers and
a sister and three fathers and three mothers. I remember the series of paintings
now, but there was one of--what's his name?"
"You want all of it?" I laughed. "It's
a mouthful. His full name is Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf."
"You said it. That is a mouthful. Why
all that name?"
That, of course, called for another
story and she was completely absorbed in my telling it. As I finished, she
said, "Well, it's a good mixture. He is a good looking hunk."
"I couldn't agree more. And he is as
good and kind and loving as he is good looking."
"Which brings us back to my question.
The painting seems to have something special beyond the fact that he is your
brother--I remember another good looking hunk--I started to say dressed,
but I guess it's undressed--as a Greek warrior and I didn't feel that specialness
I thought for a moment before I decided
to answer her question then said, "Well, he's special to someone. He is the
light of my sister's life, her soulmate. Matt is mine."
It took her a minute before she realized
what I meant and then asked, "You mean you and Matt are...."
"We are lovers and, damn, I miss him
already. Six weeks without Matt are going to be pure hell." I knew it. I
just knew it. My eyes started filling with tears.
Janet put her arm around my shoulders
and pulled my head to her chest and stroked my hair. "You are lucky you have
someone to love and who loves you," she said. Soon I was able to gain control
and sat up and smiled at her. "I guess since you grew up together, you have
been lovers for some time."
"Well, yes and no," I replied.
"We found we had been in love with each other for years, but we have only
known it for four months this week."
"That sounds like a great story," she
said. "Tell me about it." Before I knew it I was telling Janet about my attempted
suicide and all that followed. From time to time I stopped and told her if
I was boring her to tell me. Each time she urged me on. "You must have felt
like you were living on a rollercoaster these past four months." I agreed.
When I told her about the painting
and Michael getting cut, she was outraged. "I hope Michael is ok," she said.
Again, I started telling her about Michael's escaping death and that the
painting had been restored.
By the time the pilot announced we
would be landing in fifteen minutes, Janet had heard the soap opera which
had been my life the past four months. I realized I had done all the talking
and apologized and said she'd have to tell me her story soon. "Pretty dull
stuff, I suspect," she said, "to someone who has lived your life. But, yes,
we'll have to get together and I want to hear the CD of the concert. You
do have one, don't you?"
"If the truth be known," I replied,
"I have several!"
When we landed there was a car waiting
to take us to the school. As we approached the school, I was struck by the
people walking around. I knew that piercing and wild colored hair in spikes
was the rage in places, but I felt like I had just been dumped into another
world. "Guess Concord is a bit more conservative than Jackson, but even Jackson
would find some of these folks weird," she laughed. We agreed to meet for
dinner and I went to my room and started unpacking, trying not to think about
Matt. Thank goodness, Janet had kept me busy talking and while I talked a
lot about Matt, I wasn't missing him. Now in my room alone, I missed him
like hell. When I placed a photograph of the painting beside my bed, the
I was glad I had Paula with me because
it kept me from thinking too much about leaving Mary Kathryn behind. After
we got on the plane I asked her how things were going with Jacob and that
did it. She started talking about him a mile a minute.
"I thought I was in love with that
rat Sheldon and was really broken up when he had to move, but prom night
cured that! I was hurt deeply by his demanding sex and then leaving when
I wouldn't, as he said, 'put out'. I thought I knew him, but I didn't and
how can you love someone you don't know? After that night I knew one
thing. I knew I'd never allow a man to hurt me that way again. When I realized
I was developing some very strong feelings for Jacob, I kept giving myself
a real talking to and thought it was working, but that day at the falls,
I realized I had only been fooling myself. But I still held back--I guess
it didn't look that way, but I did."
"Bless his heart, that redheaded hunk
took it all in stride. He was patient and so very caring and loving. I don't
know that I would have been as patient as he was. I know you all see him
as a happy-go-lucky, carefree guy without a serious bone in his body--and
in a sense that's right. I have never known anyone so in love with life.
But there's another side to him, a very serious side. I sometimes think he
is like a puppy because he is so full of life and so much fun. But he's also
a loyal, loving person. He loves as he does 'most every thing--unconditionally.
He just wants to love and be loved, but is never pushy or demanding."
"Once when we were doing some heavy
making out, I got very uptight and he knew it at once. He took my face in
his hands and looked me straight in the eye and said, 'Paula, I love you.
I have never loved anyone as I love you, not even close, but that doesn't
mean I want you to do anything you are not ready and willing to do. Don't
get me wrong, I'd like to make mad, passionate love to you right here.' We
were sitting in the den for heaven's sake! 'But I can love you without having
sex. When we are both ready, then I promise you we'll have sex we will both
remember in the nursing home, but that will only happen when we are both
sure the time and place are right.' That's the kind of guy he is, Michael.
God knows, I am so thankful we both realized that there was something special
between us because I love that man so much it hurts sometimes. And just when
we discovered we were in love, we got separated." Paula's eyes became misty
and I held her close, knowing well how she felt.
When we reached the hub airport, we
only had a few minutes before our next flight so we hugged each other and
as we started to part, she grabbed me and kissed me hard. "Pretend I am Mary
Kathryn," she smiled.
I kissed her back equally as hard and
said, "That's from Jacob."
The final leg of my flight was a short
one and when I got off the plane, two monks were waiting for me. Suddenly
I thought, "Just what have I gotten myself into?" They introduced themselves
as Brother Gregory and Brother Anselm. We picked up my luggage and drove
to the monastery, arriving near midnight. As they showed me to my cell, Brother
Gregory said, "Michael, the Abbot has said after your trip, you were to sleep
in until Mass at 6:00. Someone will call you in time to get dressed. You
have a cassock I assume?" I assured him I did and he told I was expected
to wear it to Mass. Following Mass and breakfast, I would meet the Abbot
to discuss my stay with the monks. I undressed and slipped into bed--it was
hard, the bed that is--and just before I fell asleep I wondered what my wild
woman was doing. I wasn't much into praying, I guess, but I had started doing
what Matt had said he did, thinking back over the day and giving thanks that
God had given me a mom to love and who loved me, but above all for giving
me the love of the most wonderful woman in all the world, Mary Kathryn, my
It was hard watching Michael drive
off, leaving me behind. As I watched him leave for his plane, I wondered
what it would be like to have him leave my life altogether. We had long since
stopped talking about going steady and all that kind of thing. Instead we
talked about our future--immediate, next year, next ten years, in the nursing
home. There had been no question about our being together until parted by
death. That is, there had not been that kind of talk until Michael started
talking about maybe becoming a priest. I would never have him know it, at
least not for a while, but if he decided to go to hell I'd probably follow.
Nonetheless, I can tell you one thing, I would sure dig in my heels and put
up a fight! He was mine and neither God nor anyone else was claiming him
without a fight!
I thought about our Friday night together.
We both had expected to sleep in separate beds--I mean temptation to throw
all care to the winds was very much in bed with us--but when it came time
for him to go, I asked if he thought we could stay together and still keep
our first time for later and special. We talked about that and agreed that
we didn't really know. Finally, Michael said, "Mary Kathryn, I am willing
to give it an honest try. I'd like to spend this night beside you." I agreed
and he walked down the hall and told Matt and Luke. We were in the middle
of some really passionate love-making when he said, "Mary Kathryn, I want
you--all of you--more than I can say, but..."
I looked at my lover's face above mine
and sighed, "So do I, Michael. Please know that, but... well, here's where
we cool things down." And we did. Don't get me wrong. I didn't want it that
way and yet I did. I was so glad he agreed because I know that, had he not
done so, our first time would have been that night. We turned the temperature
down, but it never got too cool! There are ways and then there are ways to
make love! Afterwards, I looked into his eyes and smiled, then said, "Michael,
you have a will of iron".
"Well, you helped me get rid of something
else that was iron!" he said as we cuddled together and spent the night locked
in each others arms.
After he left for the airport, I sat
with the remaining family having a quick lunch before leaving for camp. "Could
I let him go if he decided he had to be a priest? Honest?" I wondered to
myself. I doubted it, but I wasn't looking forward to having to make that
choice. Maybe a month among monks would change his mind. All these thoughts
were swimming around in my head as we ate. Then it was time to go.
After we put two weeks' stuff for Bill
and three weeks' stuff for me and Linda in his car, it was so loaded half
the back seat was taken. Most of the stuff belonged to me and Linda. When
Bill said something about it, Linda said, "It just takes more to keep girls
looking good than it does men". One thing for sure, men like Bill and Michael
look good no matter what! Anyway, we were off to camp.
Sunday afternoon after all the Fellowship
had left Concord, Eugene and I were sitting in my room, moping. We listened
to all the music we could stand, then sat around moping some more. We weren't
even up to making love. Eugene finally said, "You know, we're acting as though
we have lost our last friend".
"Kinda feel like we have with the whole
Fellowship gone except Jacob. But why don't we spend some time with people
we have been kinda neglecting? Why don't we take the women in our life for
Eugene thought that was a great idea
and he went looking for Millie while I called Mom. Soon the four of us were
in Eugene's car, the top down, driving out into the country. It was a beautiful
late afternoon and we were having a grand time. We waved to Greywolf and
Yong Jin, who were sitting in the porch swing, as we passed.
Several miles out of town there was
a winding dirt road running along the river. Eugene turned down it and we
stopped at a place where the river was very wide and shallow. We got out
and soon all four of us were wading in the river, skipping rocks across it
and having a ball. Mom and Millie were like two kids, enjoying themselves
thoroughly. Millie had found a rather large rock--flat, round and thin--just
made for skipping on the water. She leaned back to give it a good toss when
her foot slipped and she fell into the river with a splash.
At first she seemed ok, but when she
tried to get up, she slipped again. Eugene rushed to her side, reaching down
to help her up. "Don't think you better do that, Son," she said. "I think
I did some damage to this old lady."
I joined Eugene, who was terrified
but not the only one frightened. We all thought Millie was indestructible,
but it was clear something was seriously wrong. Mom joined us as Millie said,
"I don't know what I did, but it hurts like hell. Damn fool woman acting
like a kid. I should have known better." I saw Eugene's eye filling with
tears. "Well, I can't sit here with my ass in the river all day. Let's see
if you guys can get me out." Eugene and I slipped our arms under Millie's
to lift her out of the river. Mom tried to hold her feet, but she said it
felt better just to let them hang. She was clearly in pain, but she was Millie
and not complaining.
When we got her out of the river, it
was obvious she had done more than bruise her butt. Something was broken,
I was sure of it. We got her to lie down on a grassy spot and as comfortable
as possible, then Eugene called 911.
Since we were about fifteen or so miles
from town, it would take the EMS team a while to reach us. Also, Eugene said
he didn't know where we were. Neither Mom nor I knew. We didn't know where
to tell them we were. Finally Millie asked for the phone and told the dispatcher
we were on the river road on the Rankins' farm. "Hurry if you don't mind.
I hurt like hell."
Less than five minutes after the call,
a van came down the road very fast. It slid to a halt and David and Margaret
jumped out. "Thank God, you're here," Eugene said. "Mom's really hurt. How
did you get here so fast?"
"We heard the call on the scanner and
took off. We knew we could be here long before the EMS," David answered as
Margaret examined Millie.
"What happened, Millie?" she asked.
"Damn fool like, I was playing in the
river as if I were Eugene's age and slipped and fell. When I tried to get
up, I fell again. Think I may have messed up something."
"If I had x-ray vision like Superman
I could be sure but, unless I miss my guess, I'd say you were right," Margaret
said as she opened her doctor's bag and took out a syringe. "I'm pretty sure
you broke a hip. I'm going to give you a shot of pain killer since I don't
have any Jack Daniels with me," Margaret smiled and Millie actually laughed
The shot began to take effect very
quickly and soon Millie was feeling little pain. "You know," she said, "I
think this afternoon was worth a broken hip. I mean it. Hell, I haven't enjoyed
myself as I did playing in the river like a kid in a long, long time. Son,
we've got to do this more often."
"Mom, I'd just as soon not do all of
it ever again. I'm sorry."
"You're sorry? You gave me a hell of
a good time and you're sorry? For what? For giving me a good time? That's
what it was, Eugene. That's what it was." The shot soon hit full force and
Millie was just about out of this world.
David came over and told us the x-ray
techs and an orthopedic surgeon would be waiting at the hospital when Millie
got there. While he was talking, the EMS arrived and in five minutes had
Millie ready to roll. As soon as they left, Margaret looked at Eugene, who
was still shaken from Millie's fall, and said, "Eugene, I think you'd better
let Larry drive." Eugene just nodded. "We'll meet you at the hospital," she
added as she got into the van.
I knew the Greywolfs would be wondering
what had happened, since they were still outside when we passed and must
have seen David and Margaret leave in a hurry and the EMS team pass. "Gene,
call the Greywolfs and tell them what happened," I said as I waved to them.
Eugene called the Greywolfs and when
he had finished said, "I've got to call Jason and I don't even know his number.
I don't even know him. Every time he and Anthony planned on coming, something
happened. Silly, I guess, but I'm kinda frightened at the thought of calling
him. I mean, I'm a brother he never asked for and has never met and I have
to call him and tell him I broke Mom's hip."
"What a bunch of bullshit!" Mom said.
I almost lost control of the car because my mom doesn't say things like that.
"I have never heard a bigger bunch of pure bullshit in my life!" she went
on. "It wasn't pain killer talking when Millie said she enjoyed herself playing
in the river more than she had in a long time. You have given her so much
for which she is thankful, and today just added to it. She might have fallen
anywhere. Millie is no longer a young woman and these things happen. Just
be glad it happened while she was enjoying life. And why be frightened of
calling Jason? I'm sure that Millie has sung your praises to him a million
times since you came into her life and he, if he is as good and loving as
I have heard, must be overjoyed at the pleasure you have given his mom. You
don't know his number? That's why there's directory assistance."
I still was nervous when I called
for Jason's number. I dialed it, half hoping he wasn't home. No such luck.
The phone only rang twice before it was picked up. A male voice answered
and I asked, "Mr. Willingham?"
"No, this is Anthony. I'll get Jason."
I waited, shaking a bit, until another voice said, "Jason here."
"Mr. Willingham, this is Eugene. Eugene
"Oh, the other Mr. Willingham. Ok,
Eugene, what's with the Mr. Willingham bit?"
"Well, I mean... Ok, Jason, this is
"That's better. What's up?"
"Mom's been hurt. She fell in the river
and I think broke her hip. She's on her way to the hospital. I'm sorry."
I started crying.
"Hold on, Eugene. Tell me what happened."
I started from the beginning and Jason
listened patiently. I thought I heard Jason laughing and when he spoke, I
knew he was.
"Sorry for laughing, Eugene, but I
can just picture Mom skipping rocks on the river then falling on her butt!
What a tale she'll have to tell. And I'll place money on her grousing that
there was no Jack Daniels available." By the time he finished, I was laughing
too. "Eugene, you and I have quite a mom. I'm sure she'll do fine. Wish we
had met before--isn't that life, always wishing you had done something before--but
this time it'll happen. Anthony has his pilot's license and has been dying
to fly over so we'll be on our way within the hour. There's a small lighted
strip in Lexington where we can land at night. Could some of your friends
"That's the reason we were in the river.
All our friends left today for summer programs. Only Larry and I are here
so we decided to go for a drive with our moms and ended up playing in the
"Eugene, love you already. Anyone who
would think of taking Millie to wade in the river is alright in my book!
We'll rent a car. I hope the agencies will be open."
"Jason, Larry can come meet you."
"And leave you at the hospital without
your soulmate? Nothing doing. I know I'd want Anthony there with me."
"Hey, the Greywolfs can come. I know
they will. I called them just before I called you because I knew they would
be all upset not knowing what was going on. I'm sure they'll be at the hospital
shortly after we are. Anyway, they or someone will meet you."
"It will take us about an hour and
a half to get there since we have to throw some things together, drive to
the airport and fly over. See you soon, Little Brother."
"Great, Big Brother." After I got off
the phone, I really was looking forward to meeting my big brother for the
first time. I told Larry and his mother the plans. Larry's mom said if the
Greywolfs couldn't go, she would.
When we checked in, Janet and I learned
we had rooms on the same floor and were told to come back to the lobby at
7:00 to be picked up for the opening dinner. "Coat and tie," the guy who
checked us in told me. I laughed at Janet's remark as we started up the stairs,
"Coat and tie for those pierced and painted dudes we saw? Clown suits would
seem to be more appropriate."
I had finished unpacking when I looked
at my watch and realized I still had an hour before I had to be downstairs,
so I decided to shower before getting dressed. I had just finished and was
drying myself when there was a knock on the door. Without thinking, I yelled,
"It's open". Janet opened the door and came in. "Oops, sorry. I wasn't thinking.
I am so used to having my sister see me in all states of dress--and undress--that
I forgot where I was."
Janet laughed, "Never apologize for
showing off that bod, Man, you look good enough to eat with a spoon." She
really started laughing when I blushed. "I didn't know there was a man on
earth who still blushed," she said.
"There are a few," I said. "Actually,
it's a MGTD--Matt Greywolf transmitted disease--caught by people who are
around him too long. If he were as fair as I am, he'd look like a Christmas
tree much of the time he blushes so much. Have a seat. I'll be ready in a
Janet sat on the bed and, as she did,
she picked up the photo of the painting of Matt. "Is he really as handsome
as this painting or did you kinda make him special."
"He is special but, yes, he's as handsome
as that picture. He's beautiful. See." I handed her my wallet with photographs
of Matt. One I had forgotten about was a picture of Matt diving from Lookout
"You're right," she said as she looked
at Matt in his natural beauty suspended in the air above the falls' basin.
"A beautiful place," she added. "Bet there's stories about it too."
"Tons of stories, but you must be tired
of stories by now since I bent your ear for the entire flight."
"Not at all. I want to hear every one
of your stories. You are a fascinating guy. Kinda wish... well, you're not,
but we can be friends, can't we?"
"Sure. I'd be honored. Well, I'm dressed.
Think I'll pass?"
"I'm not sure. We could break out your
paints and work on your hair," she laughed. "But I guess you'll do." She
stood up, took my arm and we went downstairs.
The dining room was set up with round
tables for program participants. Shortly after we arrived, a man at the front
table announced that each table was set for five students and an instructor.
"Leave a place for the instructor who will be sitting at your table, but
sit anywhere you please." Janet and I walked to the nearest table and were
soon joined by three others--two women and a guy. All three had numerous
things pierced and all had spiked hair dyed green, red and purple.
They introduced themselves as Bill,
Bobbie and Bud from Orlando. Janet and I introduced ourselves just as a young,
dark-headed man came to the table and introduced himself as Rich Smith. "I'm
one of the painting and drawing instructors. When we introduced ourselves
he said, "Luke Larsen... your name sounds familiar. Have we met?"
I told him we had not. Janet asked
him if he had seen a TV program on an exhibition in Concord. "I know it wasn't
broadcast nationally, but I thought you might have seen it somewhere."
"I have. Someone showed a tape to the
faculty. It was supposed to convince us that we had some talented people
coming," he answered in a voice which clearly indicated he had been convinced
"It was Luke's," Janet said.
"Ah, that's why your name sounded familiar.
Pretty good show, Luke. Some fairly good stuff." I didn't know what to think.
"Fairly good stuff?" That sounded like damning with faint praise, but then
he was the artist, the instructor. Guess I needed to have my ego deflated
After the welcoming address--which
fortunately was short--we got to eat. I was starved. The food on the plane
was--well it was food on a plane, need I say more? I really felt out of it
when the table conversation turned to the latest and hottest music enjoyed
by the multi-colored three because I had heard very little of it. From the
conversation, I don't think I had missed much.
After dinner Janet suggested we walk
back to the dorm and asked Rich for directions. As we walked, I asked her
about herself. She told me she and her boyfriend of two years had recently
broken up. "No real fight or anything, we both realized about the same time
that we were boring each other to tears. I miss having him--or someone--around
but I'm not torn up over it. We could have had a longer relationship, but
we were never really close--I mean as friends--and if you're not friends,
there's not a lot to talk about or do if you know what I mean."
"Not really," I said. "Matt and I have
been friends since the day we were born. Now we are friends and lovers--but
"You're lucky," she said. She told
me about her family and the divorce. Seems her parents had used her against
each other and she had taken advantage of that. "I was a really rotten, spoiled
brat until I got into art. That gave me something that was mine and which
neither of my parents understood. It created a whole new world for me." We
talked about our art and what it meant to us as we walked.
When we reached the dorm, I walked
her to her room and told her goodnight. When I got to my room, I undressed
and slipped into a very lonely bed, wondering where my love was tonight.
I prayed he was safe. I was still thinking of him when I drifted off to sleep.
Anthony and I got our things ready
and drove to the airport. I stowed things in the plane while he filed a flight
plan and we were on our way. We had been flying a few minutes when he asked,
"Jason, I have never mentioned it except in passing, but why haven't we flown
over before? What kept us? I offered several times, but you always had an
excuse. You know you hurt Millie when you didn't go over for the concert."
Anthony was right, of course. I hadn't
told him why I wouldn't go to Concord because I knew he would think it was
petty because it was. "Anthony, I didn't go because I was jealous and hurt
when Mom adopted Eugene. I know I had no reason to feel that way, but I did.
It ate on me and every time we talked on the phone it made it worse. She
told me all the glowing things about Eugene and I kept feeling as though
she had allowed him to take my place. In my mind he was just some throwaway
kid she had taken in and replaced me. I couldn't go to the concert because
I was afraid it would prove just how stupid I was and I knew it."
"When I heard that kid's voice and
his obvious concern for Mom, I realized how wrong I had been. But you know
what really changed my mind? It was when he told me how Mom had been hurt.
Only someone who really loved Mom would have taken her to the river and played
in it with her. I have been a real shithead."
"Agreed, and not the first time, Jase.
Not the first time. Do you think Eugene knows how you feel?"
"Felt. I hope not, but I intend to
tell him. He has a right to know his big brother can be a number one asshole."
"Maybe I need to talk to him as well.
Maybe I need to tell him his big brother is also one great guy."
Anthony looked at me and smiled. It's
been how many--a lot--of years since I saw that smile for the first time
and I still get goose bumps when I see it. I leaned over and kissed him and
said, "You know you still kill me with that smile". Which, of course, got
another one for me.
The Greywolfs were waiting for us and
we were soon on our way to Concord. Almost as soon as we were in the car,
Anthony asked, "Well, what do you two think of Jason's new brother? You do
know him don't you?"
"The only way Millie might have picked
a better one would have been if she had picked one of ours." I had to explain
to Anthony about the three families. "And how are all the family?" I asked.
As we drove, I got caught up on what had been going on that Mom had neglected
to tell me about. She had simply told me Eugene had been beaten and thrown
out by his family, but I didn't know the details. "And he has been in court
and has to go next week? What's that all about?" I asked after I had learned
what kind of kid Mom had adopted and why--and she had adopted him before
she knew about the abuse by the preacher.
Before Greywolf finished, I was feeling
sick. He actually had to stop the car and let me throw up. When I got back
in, Young Jin asked, "Rough plane trip?"
"No, he's sick because he has been
an asshole," Anthony said. "Sorry about the language, but he has."
I didn't want Anthony to tell them
what a jerk I had been, so I told them.
"Don't worry about how Eugene will
take it. He had a real struggle with it himself, afraid you'd think he had
horned in on your place. He'll understand," Yong Jin said.
When we reached the hospital, Anthony
and I went immediately to Mom's room. As I walked in the door, a young man
practically threw himself at me and embraced me in a bear hug. "I'm so glad
you're here Jason. Mom hasn't waked up yet, but I know when she does, she'll
get better the minute she sees you."
"Who says I'm not awake," Millie said.
"Sons, hug your crippled mama. You too, son-in-law.
We talked with Mom for a short time,
then the nurse came to give her a shot. "You'll be asleep shortly, Mrs. Willingham.
Guys, Mrs. Willingham had a hip replacment you know. She'll be up tomorrow.
That's the way it's done with replacements these days. But tonight she sleeps."
When we got downstairs, Eugene introduced
us to Larry, "my soulmate, my love, my life." Anthony said, "Ain't young
"Almost as grand as old love," I laughed
as I hugged Larry.
When we got home, Eugene asked, "Like
a nightcap? I know I can find some JD and stump." I nodded, and Eugene disappeared
and returned shortly with two drinks and two sodas.
The four of us sat and talked about
many things. Larry showed us part of the concert tape--what a fool I had
been to have missed that--and, after we had talked some more, Anthony said,
"I think it's long past bedtime".
"You go ahead, I want to talk with
I had forgotten Larry for the moment
until Eugene said, "Lar, go on to bed. I'll come later". Larry walked over
to Eugene, bent over and kissed him passionately as though there were no-one
else present. I guess Anthony decided that was the ok sign and kissed me
After our lovers had left, I said,
"Eugene, tonight as we were flying over I told Anthony I had been an asshole
and he agreed with me". I then spilled all the stuff I had been feeling for
too long. Eugene listened, paying attention to every word I said. When I
had finished, I said, "Brother, I am very sorry. I caused you pain and I
know I hurt Mom, something I thought I would never do. Please forgive me."
I hadn't realized it, but I had started crying as I talked because I realized
just how much I had hurt Mom and Eugene. Eugene didn't say a word. He just
got up, walked over to me and hugged me tightly. Then he said, "You don't
know how much it means to have a big brother. I understand how you must have
felt, but I never wanted to replace you even if I could. Forgive you? Sure
Eugene and I didn't stop talking until
the pre-dawn hours, then both went to our lovers' beds.
I hit the snooze button on the alarm
clock three times and, before it went off again, there was a knock on the
door. Recalling having been caught with my pants down--actually off--the
night before, I yelled, "Just a minute". I crawled out of bed, grabbed a
towel and tied it around my waist. "Come in, it's open," I yelled.
Janet opened the door and came in.
"Don't you ever lock your door?" she asked.
"Forgot. Never lock it at home," I
replied, still half asleep.
"Well, you better remember. You never
know who might come in and catch you in your birthday suit. And now you better
get a move on if you expect to eat breakfast. We have to be in the studio
in an hour."
I dashed into the bathroom--thank goodness
we each had our own--took a very quick shower and shaved. Maybe I'd leave
off shaving while I was here. When I finished, I tied a towel around myself
again and went looking for something to wear. "Better look the other way
unless you want to appreciate my glorious body--which you can see, but not
touch," I laughed as I snagged a pair of boxers and pulled them on. When
I was dressed, I grabbed my sketch pad and my pencil box as we had been told
we'd begin work with pencils. Then Janet and I were off.
After breakfast, we went to the studio
where we were to meet our instructor and get the details of the program.
The dark-haired instructor who had sat with us last night was head of our
group. "I'm Rich Smith, but call me Rich," he said, "You are all high school
students--actually most of you have just graduated, congrats on making it--and
probably had minimal art training and study. Accordingly, you will spend
your first half of the program with me working on drawing and painting. We
will begin drawing using pencil, charcoal, the usual. Then those of you who
are ready will move to painting, going from acrylics to oils and, finally,
"I've looked at the work you submitted
as a part of your application and know that all of you are talented or you
wouldn't be here. That's the good news. The bad news is that you range from
pretty good to pretty bad so far as technique is concerned. Within reason,
you will work at your own pace, beginning where you are and moving ahead.
For those of you who are pretty advanced, you can be on your own, doing whatever
you like after the morning session. For those of you who are not so advanced,
you will be here in the afternoon as well. Questions?"
A guy with red, green and orange spiked
hair and a nose ring asked, "Do you mean that if we're good enough, we are
free all afternoon?"
"Glad you asked that. You are ...?"
"... because that's not what I mean.
I mean that if you are advanced enough and complete the assigned projects
in the morning, you are free to create and work on your own projects in the
afternoon. You can paint, sculpt, whatever, but you have to be working on
your art. All studios are open to all students in the afternoon. Just be
sure to identify yourself when you go to another studio and make sure I think
it's ok for you to do so."
"As I said, I looked at the work you
submitted with your application and have a general idea of how good you are,
but I want to have another look at what you can do. I want a pencil drawing
of your hand--the one you do not use drawing of course. When you finish,
I will have a better idea of where you are in your art. Questions? Then go
I had done pencil drawing ever since
I could remember so I flipped open my sketch pad, put my left hand, palm
up, beside it and started drawing. As I worked away, I saw Rich walking about
the studio, looking over the shoulders of the artists at work. When I first
started working with Mr. Stephenson he really bugged me doing that, but gradually
I got to where I seldom knew he was there. So it was when Rich came by. He
passed by without comment. I had just about finished my drawing--I was using
a very soft pencil and smudged the lines with my finger to give texture and
shades of gray to the drawing--and when I was satisfied, I turned my hand
over and started drawing the back. Strange, my hand was always there at the
end of my arm but, as I drew it the second time, I realized I was seeing
things I had never noticed before--a blood vessel, a small scar, a broken
nail. I was fascinated.
I had just about finished drawing the
back side of my hand when Rich said, "When you finish, you may take a break.
Be back at 10:45 for the critique." I finished in about five minutes, stood
up, stretched and headed for the restroom and grabbed a Coke out of a machine.
I looked at my watch and saw I had half an hour before I had to be back,
so I decided to go outside. I sat on a bench in the shade knowing what the
bright Florida sun would do to my skin. I needed to use sunscreen every morning
or I would end up a mess because I wasn't about to stay inside all the time.
Janet came out and joined me a few
minutes after I sat down. I was deep in thought and I guess she sensed it
because she didn't say anything for a while then said, "A penny for your
I smiled at her and said, "I bet you'd
never guess. I was wondering if Matt had reached Sewanee yet. He had to check
in by noon today so he should be there. I was just hoping he is safe and
sound. This is the first time we have been separated and I miss him so much.
I guess I miss him especially because I know he's so far away."
"Where would you like to be with him
right now--I mean other than in bed!"
"I'd prefer not being in bed, thank
you! I'd like to be with him at the falls, swimming, playing around and maybe
"What's so great about the falls?"
"It's a special place," I replied and
started telling her all about the falls--from the time the family discovered
them until our skip day. "The falls are a special place in a thousand ways,
but they are very, very special because Matt and I made love--all the way--for
the first time there." I didn't go into detail about our love making, but
I did tell her about the candles and making love as the sun rose. "God, I
miss my Dark Angel, my Sarang Hanun Pomul," I sighed.
We almost forgot to go back to class,
but managed to rush in at exactly 10:45. "There's a table in the center of
the room. I want all of you to put your drawings on the table and gather
round it so we can talk about them," Rich said as soon as we walked in.
When everyone had gathered around the
table, Rich asked, "What sticks out in your mind about the exercise?" I was
surprised when students started talking about how hard it had been or how
easy. I hadn't thought about that. I don't think I ever do; I just draw.
Finally I said, "What really struck me was how I had never seen my hand before.
I mean, of course, I had seen it, but not really. I saw things I never noticed."
"Anyone else feel that way?" he asked.
A couple other students nodded their heads.
"One of the things which separates
good artists from poor artists is the ability to observe, to see, and to
see things in the familiar you have never seen before. Open your eyes and
you will be surprised," he laughed. "Now look at the drawings and tell me
what you notice."
"Some people drew the back of the hand--most
in fact--some drew the palm side and that guy..."
"I'm Luke," I said.
"Luke. He drew both." It was Douglas
"Trying to impress the instructor?"
Rich asked. I didn't know what to make of this guy. Maybe I was being thin-skinned,
but he seemed to want to make sure I knew I wasn't very good.
"Just following instructions," I replied
with more than a note of sarcasm in my voice. "You said draw my hand and
it has two sides."
Rich ignored my remark and started
talking about the drawings on the table. "Notice," he said, "each of you
have a style and a particular technique. Some are very realistic while others
are highly stylized--here's one bordering on cubism. Some look like anatomical
drawing. Luke's looks more like a charcoal approach than pencil due to his
using his fingers to smudge the drawing." He continued to point out things
about the drawings then said, "For the second half of the morning session,
I want you to team up in pairs and draw your partner's hand. Again, draw
the one he or she is not using so both of you are drawing at the same time.
And, this time, use a different technique. Go to it. Try to finish by 12:30
so we can have a critique before the session ends at 1:00. During the critique
I'll tell you whether or not I want you back this afternoon.
Before you could say "scat!", Janet
grabbed my hand and said, "We're partners, Luke."
Try drawing with one hand and holding
the other still. It's not easy. This time I selected a harder pencil and
drew Janet's hand in a style that looked like an engraving, very detailed.
It took much longer than the previous one and I had just finished when Rich
said, "Take two more minutes if you need them. As soon as you finish, put
your drawings on the table and return to your places." Janet finished a minute
later and we put our drawings on the table.
Rich moved the drawings around and
asked the class to compare them with the previous ones and decide which drawing
belonged to whom.
Matching some were easy--the techniques
and styles showed little change. Three, however, kept being shifted around.
"Ok," Rich said, "if your two are not together, make the changes. Douglas,
Janet and I all changed ours. Douglas had used the same technique I had used
on my first one although his style was clearly different. Janet had done
a much more abstract piece than her first which was like an anatomical drawing.
"Clearly the three drawings which were confusing illustrate an important
point. Each artist has a style that is his or her own. However, each of you
needs to have a pallet of techniques. If you will look closely at the six
drawings which were confused, you can see the artist's style even though
the techniques are vastly different. Well, that concludes today's session.
Several of you mentioned the fact that you arrived late yesterday after a
long trip so why don't you take the afternoon off to get settled and get
some rest? Tomorrow we'll begin the afternoon sessions.
As we were leaving, Douglas asked me
and Janet, "How'd you guys like to spend the afternoon at the beach? I live
in Crescent Beach and am staying at home so I have my car here."
"Sounds great to me," Janet said. "I
need to work on a tan if I'm going back to school next fall after six weeks
"I'd love it provided we can get some
sunscreen on the way. Otherwise I will be burned to a crisp. A tan I have
never had and never expect to have."
Douglas went to the dorm with us and
we picked up towels and swim wear and soon we were on our way to the beach.
Douglas had picked out an isolated stretch--I was surprised that such existed--and
had a beach umbrella. I had pulled on some long pants and a shirt, knowing
what would happen if I got too much sun. When I stripped to my trunks and
started putting on sunscreen, Janet said, "Let me do that." I may be gay,
but the way she was putting on the sunscreen got my attention! I noticed
Douglas giving us a funny look and thought I might need to speak to him and
definitely I needed to talk to Janet. She was coming on very strong and while
it was not a temptation--well, not really--someone rubbing your thighs all
the way up to your equipment is bound to get a rise out of a horny eighteen
We had a grand time even though I spent
most of it in the shade of the umbrella. Even after that and the sunscreen,
I was a bit pink from the reflection from the water when we got back to the
It was time for dinner by the time
we had changed and I asked Douglas to eat with us and he did. We talked a
blue streak through dinner and on the way back to the dorm. Janet thanked
us for a great afternoon and went down the hall to her room. I invited Douglas
in for a Coke.
When we were inside, I told him I wanted
to apologize for thinking he was a nut because of the hair and nose ring.
"No need to apologize," he said. "You have to expect people to think you're
weird if you look weird. I don't, really, in my school. I come here for art
classes and am an artist, and students in my fine arts magnet school are
going to look pretty much as I do--or worse! But I want to ask you a question--well,
it's kinda personal..."
"Feel free," I said.
"How long have you known Janet?"
"I met her on the plane. Why?"
"I find her very attractive, but I
thought she was your girlfriend. I mean she acts like it."
"Yea, I know. She sure is coming on
strong. It's kinda embarrassing and puts me in a hard spot."
"A spot wouldn't be the only thing
hard if she gave me a massage like she gave you with the sunscreen."
"You don't have to tell me about that!"
"I really wondered because I couldn't
help but notice that when I came in with you earlier," he said, nodding toward
the photo beside my bed.
"That's a photo of a painting from
the exhibition Janet and Rich were talking about last night."
"If I'm wrong, tell me, but I don't
think you'd have a photo of a painting by your bed unless the subject was
important. I mean..."
"You mean you think the subject is
"Well, you're right. That's a painting
of Matt Greywolf and there is no-one on earth more special than Matt. To
answer your question--which you haven't asked--I'm gay and Matt is the love
of my life. Hope that doesn't mean we can't be friends, but that's the way
"Hey, so long as you don't hit on me,
I'm fine with it. But what's with this Janet chick? When are you going to
"She knows. That's the reason I can't
understand her coming on so strong--and she is, isn't she? I mean I am not
totally inexperienced around women and I think I know when I am being hit
"Take it from one who is very much
into women. You're being hit on big time."
"What do you think I should do about
it? I mean she knows I'm gay. She knows I am so in love with Matt I tried
to kill myself when I thought I'd never have his love and she still comes
"Suspect she is testing you. Lot of
women believe a guy who claims to be gay really wants a woman. You'd be a
feather in her cap if she could make you straight or maybe just make you!
I'd love to take her off your hands, but I don't know what you should do.
Maybe talk to her and tell her you'd like to be friends, but can't if she
keeps hitting on you." We talked a while longer about the Janet situation
and then the talk drifted to usual teenage things. He was surprised I didn't
know the music he liked and even more surprised at what I liked. We talked
about school and our fears about next year. All that kind of stuff.
When he left, I went downstairs where
there were two computers in an alcove and wrote a long e-mail which I sent
to everyone about the trip down, our first session and the afternoon on the
beach. I didn't say too much about Janet in that, but I wrote Matt a separate
"Dark angel, My Love and My Life,
I miss you so much! I want your arms
around me. I want to be in that special world you create for us with your
hair. I want to smell the fragrance of my Matt. Only one day has passed and
already I am ready to come to you.
Janet, whom I mentioned in the general
letter, seems to have taken me on as a project. She wants my body! She knows
about us, but is still coming on strong. Not to worry, she's no competition
for my Sarang Hanun Pomul!"
The rest of the e-mail was just an
outpouring of my love for my Matt.
I went back upstairs, undressed and
slipped into bed. I lay there thinking about the day and about what I was
going to say to Janet. Finally, I went to sleep to dream of my Dark Angel.
I woke up in the middle of the night
without knowing why at first, then I realized I had had a wet dream. It had
been so long I almost forgot about them. I cleaned myself and the bed, then
went back to sleep to be awakened by the damn alarm clock. This time I got
up right away and was dressed when Janet knocked on my door.
That second day Rich had us drawing
a series of still-lifes he had set up. Again I thought he was overly critical
of my work, and also that of Janet and Douglas. It was surely obvious by
the end of the morning session that we were by far the best students he had
so I didn't understand what was going on. I'll admit I was getting more than
a little pissed.
After the final critique, he told most
of the students he wanted them to return at 2:30. Others he told about other
studios where they could work. Then he said, "Luke, Douglas and Janet, I
would like to speak with you before you leave".
Everyone grabbed their materials and
dashed out the door. When they were gone, Rich said, "How would you three
like to have lunch with me? I'd like to discuss some things with you."
We all nodded and picked up our materials.
As we left the building, Janet reached out and took my hand again. This time
I nodded to Douglas and he took her other hand. I didn't want to embarrass
Janet, but she needed to know that I wasn't interested--which she should
have known anyway.
As we walked, Rich pointed out other
buildings and studios. I asked him about sculpting and especially casting
using the lost wax process. He promised to introduce me to someone who would
be willing to help me with my interest.
As soon as we had gotten our lunch,
Rich led us to a table that was a bit isolated from the general noise in
the cafeteria. "I wanted to talk with you three because you are by far the
most advanced in the class. Janet, you and Douglas are good, very good, so
don't get me wrong when I say I don't expect anyone in the class to reach
the point where Luke is starting. Maybe you two - you are very good, but
Luke is light years ahead of all of us--myself included. That doesn't mean
I can't teach you a few things, Luke, it just means you have had damn good
"Teacher," I corrected him.
"... a damn good teacher, and have
worked hard at your art."
I decided I'd discuss my bruised ego
and asked, "Sunday night you said you had seen the tape of my exhibition
and I had some fairly good stuff. That didn't sound like you thought much
of it. Then yesterday and today you have been very critical of our work and
Rich laughed, "Bruised your ego did
I? You did have some fairly good stuff. Most all of it was excellent. I guess
I was a bit jealous and a bit frightened. This is my first year teaching
and when I saw the tape I was a bit up-tight at the idea of teaching someone
who could put that together. Friends?" He extended his hand.
I smiled, shook his hand and said,
"I'll repeat myself. It's not that
I don't think I can't teach you something. I know I can. But I also know
that I will never be the artist you are at ... how old are you?"
"Eighteen. I was eighteen the last
day of May."
"One question I'd like to ask--you
don't have to answer if you don't want to--but the painting of the Indian
in a room all by itself ..."
Janet looked at me. As she did, my
mind was racing a mile a minute. Did I want to answer or not? Did I want
to be honest or not? I didn't know.
"... was really something. There was
something very special about it. I actually borrowed the tape to look at
your 'fairly good stuff' and focused on the series of paintings called "The
Family" and the sculpture. It is very obvious to me that these are people
you love very deeply. I was struck by the fact that the same person appeared
in those two and then, unless I am mistaken, is the subject of the one by
itself. Care to say something about him?"
Janet started to say something and
I shot her glance. Did I want to out myself to Rich, as I had done with Janet
and Douglas? I wasn't sure. "He's my brother," I said. "Well, not a blood
brother." I then started telling him about the Family.
"That explains the series and the sculpture.
Hope what you have just said was in the catalogue," Rich said.
"It was," I told him.
"Well, it's a marvelous painting. Did
any dealers see your show?" he asked.
I told him they had and how much had
been sold. When I mentioned how much I had earned, all three whistled.
"Did the painting of the Indian--Matt,
you said ..."
"Luke, tell them his name," Janet said.
"Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf,"
I said. "His middle name is a Korean one given to him by his father," I laughed.
"His mother is half-Korean and has never told anyone whether it is good Korean
or not. It means 'Beloved Treasure'."
"Did the painting of Matt sell?"
"It was not and is not for sale," I
"Oh," Rich said and dropped the subject.
"There was a montage in the exhibition. Now that would be what I call fairly
I had to laugh. "Didn't rate it that
high but, damn, you know what? It sold."
We all four laughed. "Well, no-one
said taste and money go together," Douglas said. "You should see the trash
my mom and dad have spent thousands on. I mean real trash. The worse it is
the more they are convinced the artist is a misunderstood genius. Luke, do
you have the tape of the exhibition?"
"No, but I do have a CD of the concert
held in conjunction with it. Like to hear it?"
"Don't let him kid you, he has a stack
of them," Janet said. "And he has a video of it as well.
They asked about the concert and when
I was about halfway through talking about it, I noticed Rich half-smiling
and maybe nodding his head.
"Well, back to why I wanted to talk
with you three. First of all, I'd like for you to be kind of assistants to
me. If you don't mind, I will announce to the class that you will be willing
to work with individuals when you are not working on your own projects. The
second thing is that I want you to know that I will often use your drawings
to point out things I believe could be improved because you are good and,
Luke's ego aside, take criticism. Many of the students in the class would
probably be discouraged by too much criticism, but could learn from my critique
of your work. If I say something with which you disagree, disagree. I'm not
asking you to just accept what I say, but do know I may appear to be picking
on you. Ok?"
We all nodded.
"Rich, I'd love to see the video of
the exhibition if I could," Douglas said.
"Even if Rich could get a copy, I haven't
see any place to play it except in the lobby of the dorm and I don't think
that would go over with the others in the dorm very well. They're into chick
flicks or blood and guts and the VCR has been in use every time I've gone
through the lobby," I replied.
"What do you have planned for Friday
evening?" Rich asked. Seems none of us had given that any thought. "I'd like
to see it again and the video of the concert as well, if it's not just the
usual high school kind of thing," he said.
"It was good enough to be broadcast
by the local PBS station and an audio of excerpts--actually two original
compositions--played nationally on 'Performance Today' on PBS. I think it's
good--but I'm prejudiced."
"Would you three like to come over
to my apartment for pizza Friday and watch them? My room-mate would certainly
enjoy the concert as he is a musician." We agreed and he gave us directions--it
was just off campus--and we said we'd be there at 7:30.
Rich went his way and the three of
us started back to the dorm. Again Janet took my hand. I was getting very
anxious about what she thought was going on. She knew I was gay, so what
was her problem?
When we got back to the dorm, I asked
Janet to come to my room after she had gone to her room and put her things
away. Old cool Luke was not at all cool. I didn't know how to start or what
to say. Finally I just said, "Janet, I think we need to talk".
"Talk," she responded.
"Please don't get me wrong and if I
am out of line please tell me, but I am becoming very uncomfortable around
"Why? What's the problem?"
"I don't know how to say this without
appearing to be a complete egotistical ass, but I know no other way to put
it. You seem to be coming on to me--holding hands and all that sort of thing.
You know I'm gay. I'm not interested in women. Well, that's not true. I love
women as friends, but that's it. I have never thought about women other than
as friends. Never once. I haven't even wondered what it would be like to...
you know... well, have sex with a woman.
"Didn't seem that way at the beach,"
she said. "I know you got hard when I was putting sunscreen on your legs."
"Janet, I'm a horny eighteen-year-old.
I suspect a girl ugly as sin playing around Little Luke would get his attention.
But if you have anything other than friendship in mind, you need to forget
it. It's not going to happen. And even if I did want to give women a try,
I wouldn't, I couldn't. There is one love in my life and our pledge to each
other is faithful until death do us part. I hope I haven't read too much
into your actions or hurt you. I don't want to do that, but I want you to
know exactly where I stand."
Janet was silent for a while, her head
down. When she looked up, there were tears in her eyes. "I'm sorry Luke,
I really am. To be honest, I guess I was hoping you weren't sure about being
gay and in love with Matt because I do find you damn attractive. I really
lied about breaking up with my boyfriend. I was and am crushed by the break-up.
He dumped me for another girl. I loved him and he played with me until he
got tired and moved on. When I saw you and talked to you on the plane, you
seemed like a dream come true. Six weeks with you and I was sure we'd have
something going. I was wrong and knew it from the start, but I was grasping
at straws. Now I have messed up. I'm sorry."
"Janet, I meant it when I said I like
having women friends. I enjoy talking with you, being with you, but as a
friend. If we can keep it that way, I'd be pleased, but that's as far as
it ever goes--ever."
"I understand, Luke, and I'm old enough
to know that most love at first sight is lust at first sight. So ... friends?"
"Friends," I said and hugged her.
As I did, she laughed and said, "But
I still think you have a bod good enough to eat with a spoon! Well, I think
I'll go and drown my broken heart in a Coke. I guess I need to write my mom
"Don't want to push but I'll tell you
Douglas, underneath that green, red and orange hair seems like a great guy
and he could really go for you. Might want to give that some thought. I'm
sure he'd be fun and, hey, you have six weeks here."
"Thanks, Luke, for being so understanding.
I want you as a friend and, when you write that Korean Indian, tell him he's
a damn lucky man." Janet kissed me on the cheek and said, "Thanks for taking
me seriously enough to set me straight and not let me make a complete fool
"That's what friends do," I said and
gave her a hug.
Before going to bed, I went downstairs
and sent e-mails to everyone and a special one to Matt. I decided I wouldn't
tell him about my talk with Janet. There was no reason to as far as I could
see--and in a letter it might not be clear that she was no temptation. As
I wrote, I asked myself if that were really true. I mean, had I really no
interest in getting it on with a girl? If I did it was buried so deep that
I couldn't find it. No, there was no temptation at all.
The evening at Rich's was great fun.
His room-mate, Josh, seemed really nice and made some ego-boosting comments
about the exhibition. All three of them raved about the painting of Matt.
When I told them it had been slashed, they wanted to know why and I thought
I did a careful job of not giving the real reason.
"I hope it can be restored," Douglas
had said and I told him it had been.
That brought up Uncle Michael and when
I said he was my agent, Rich said, "Michael Sanders is your agent? I know
artists old enough to be your grandfather who would give their right arm
to have him represent them. He is one of the best-known in the country."
We took a break for the call of nature
and then Rich put in the video of the concert. I thought Josh had been looking
at me kinda strange when the painting of Matt had been shown and now I knew
he was every so often. The concert was long and we took a restroom break
again at the intermission. When the second half started, Josh said, "When
Rich told me about a video of a high school concert, I tried to think of
an excuse to be elsewhere, but those people are great, all of them. The organist
is the guy in the painting, isn't he?"
"Yea, he is," I answered. Before each
selection, Larry had done a close-up of the program and when "Yonghon Tongmu"
came up, Rich asked about the name. How was I going to get out of this? "It's
Korean--at least it's supposed to be--for heart's companion or soulmate,"
I said. As the piece played I unconsciously started singing "More" when a
singable version was playing. I guess I got carried away because I suddenly
realized all four of the people in the room were looking at me.
I stopped singing and when the tape
ended, Douglas said, "I don't know an awful lot about music, but that was
good. And, Luke, you really seemed to get into that last piece."
"'More', on which it is based is a
kind of theme song for the three families that we call the family--those
in the sculpture and the series of paintings."
"Ok, I'm not going to beat about the
bush any longer," Rich said. "Luke, it is very obvious that the painting
of Matt is very, very special--you even said it was not for sale and never
would be. Then there is an original composition called soulmate. I wish you
could have seen your face every time Matt was shown in the video and especially
while he was playing that last piece. How off base am I in saying Yonghon
Tongmu is none other than Luke Larsen?"
I could feel my face turning red. As
I blushed, Janet laughed and said, "You definitely are a victim of a MGTD".
"Meaning just what?" Douglas asked.
"Matthew Greywolf transmitted disease,"
she laughed, "blushing. Luke told me yesterday that anyone who stayed around
Matt long caught the blushing disease."
"Yes, I am Yonghon Tongmu," I said.
"Matt and I are soulmates. Hope that is no problem although I'm not sure
I give a damn because if it is, it's your problem."
"No need to be defensive," Josh said.
"Rich and I have been a couple for almost two years now. Lots of gay men
and women here."
"Well, it was a problem for me," Janet
said. "I saw this gorgeous hunk on the plane and found out he was coming
here and decided he was mine. So it was a problem. He turned me down flat."
"No problem here. I'm not gay, but
I can see if I were I'd go for this Greywolf character. Even I can see he's
some handsome dude," Douglas said.
"Be glad he's not here," I laughed--more
out of relief than anything else. "He'd crawl your case for calling him a
dude." I looked at my watch and saw it was late and said, "I don't know about
the rest of you, but I need my beauty sleep". Soon Douglas, Janet and I were
walking across the campus, holding hands as I taught them the words to "More".
When I got to my room, I brushed my
teeth, undressed and slipped into bed. I lay awake for a while wondering
just what I had done by outing myself--I had even done it not knowing it.
"Luke, Yonghon Tongmu, you're just going to have to realize you love that
Korean Lakota so much you can't hide it. Only five more weeks and I'll be
with my warrior," I thought and on that thought drifted off to sleep and
to dream of being in Matt's arms.
The alarm clock woke me at 7:30. I
was confused at first, not knowing where I was, then remembered. I showered,
got dressed, and checked out. I found a place nearby for breakfast and, while
I was eating, looked at the map. I still had two-and-a-half or three hours
to drive, but plenty of time to make the noon deadline.
I reached the campus of the University
of the South at 11:00 and had no difficulty finding where I was to check
in. A very pleasant woman welcomed me to the campus and the conference then
gave me my room assignment. "You are the youngest participant we have so
I have put you in a two-person suite with another young man. He's twenty
or twenty-one I think. You're an organist?" I nodded. "So is he, so you'll
have something to talk about."
When I got to the dorm where my suite
was located, I grabbed some of my things and went looking for my room. I
found it, put my things down to unlock the door and when I opened it, a very
blond, tall, very good looking guy was standing in the living area. "You
must be Matthew," he said, extending his hand to help with my things. "I
am Lucas. Understand we are the young dudes this summer and both organists.
I took the room on the left of the bathroom. If you'll give me your key,
I'll unlock your door."
When we got inside, I put my things
down and as we shook hands Lucas asked, "Something wrong? You look like you
saw a ghost!"
"It's just that you remind me so much
of my best friend it's amazing, and his name is Luke."
"Maybe we can be best friends too,"
he laughed. "This is your first time here, right?" I nodded. "I've been coming
for three years. Started when I was eighteen. That's your age, right?" I
nodded again, still in something of a state of shock over how much he reminded
me of Luke.
Recovering somewhat, I said, "Man,
I can't get over how much you remind me of Luke. Anyway, since you've been
here before, maybe you can teach me the ropes."
"Not much to it. That is, unless you
get upset over being called the baby organist. Some of the older folks get
a kick out of that. You know, 'Young buck doesn't know shit' implied, but
never said. This is Sewanee you know, the University of Southern Gentlemen
and Ladies. Well, I'll let you get unpacked. Guess you were told there's
a reception at 7:00 with dinner at 7:30 and it's coat and tie--every night.
This is Sewanee, you know. And you will hear that until you are sick of it.
But as the two young bucks, maybe we can find a way to have some fun. Glad
"Me, too," I said as he turned to leave.
I called Mom and Dad to let them know
I was safe and heard about Millie. I was really pleased to learn Jason and
Eugene had met and were hitting it off so well. That finished, I unpacked
and put my things away. I took out a photograph of Luke--it was one of him
standing beside his painting of me--and put it on the window ledge by my
bed--probably not a good idea if someone saw it, but I didn't care. I looked
at the photograph a long time before I showered--how I missed Luke's being
with me, playing in the shower, washing and drying my hair, loving me--and
left my hair loose when I had dried it, then dressed. When there was a knock
on my door, I saw the time was 6:40. "Come in, it's open."
Lucas stepped into the room and this
time I was prepared. On second look, he didn't look all that much like Luke--just
very blond with a mop of curly hair. He, as Luke, was built well but definitely
not Luke. "Ready to go and meet the old boys?" he asked.
We walked across campus--it was so
British I expected to see a Beefeater or some such--as the quarter-before-the-hour
The reception was noisy, especially
in light of the fact that there were less than a hundred people present.
When we walked in Lucas said, "I'll get your drink and you get food. Don't
have a problem with alcohol do you?"
"No, but I don't usually drink. Just
Lucas came back with two short glasses
with something and ice. "You're in Tennessee now, Matt, so you have to at
least try Jack Daniels."
I took the glass, raised it and said,
"Here's to Millie".
Lucas tapped my glass with his and
said, "There's a story there".
I laughed, "One hell of a story." To
tell the truth, I drank some of the sour mash and water, but didn't really
like it. Anyway, we snacked a bit, but there wasn't a great deal of time
before dinner was announced and I put the glass down, still half full, and
thought, "Millie would kick my butt".
There was a sizeable gathering for
dinner. There were place cards and I guess someone decided to put the "young
bucks" together because Lucas and I were at the same table. There was wine
and, since no one asked my age, I enjoyed it with my dinner, recalling the
great times the family had wine together.
After dinner, the vice chancellor of
the university welcomed us and turned things over to Dr. Camp, head of the
summer's music programs--there were several including one for high school
students. After his welcoming remarks, he said, "This is Sewanee, you know,
and we have traditions. Well, you know what everyone says, 'Do it twice at
Sewanee and you establish a new tradition'. But there is one of much longer
standing among this group--at least among the organists in this group--and
that is recognition of the baby organist. Lucas Garrett, stand up." Lucas
looked a little puzzled, looked at me and stood up. "Lucas has been baby
organist for three straight years but even organists grow up. Lucas, you
are now retired as baby organist."
Everyone applauded and cheered. Lucas
bowed and sat down. "We have a new baby organist this year. Matthew--I must
confess, I called his father last week to find out what to do with his middle
name, well, actually names--and still forgot so I called him back and recorded
it. Probably will still butcher it but, anyway, the new baby organist is
Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf. Stand up Matthew."
I stood and started to sit down when
Dr. Camp said, "No, no. I'm not finished. Now you all have heard 'Small stature,
large organ'." The place cracked up and got worse as I turned redder and
redder. "Well, we all know that's not really true and Matt's not small, but
St. Mary's--where he is organist--is pretty small, a middle-sized parish,
but it has a big organ. You'll learn more about that later." I was still
standing and still very, very red. "I think one of the reasons you old organists
designate a baby organist is because you know you'll have someone to pick
on who isn't quite as good as you are. Wouldn't be making too many plans
in that direction this summer. Matt, a quick quiz and I want quick answers.
You get a call Sunday night saying the Bishop is paying a surprise visit.
What's your music?"
I decided I would have some fun too.
"How hot was my Saturday date and when did I get home?"
"As hot as you like and you slipped
in after 2:00."
"Prelude, 'Sheep May Safely Graze',
offertory, 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring', postlude, 'Gig Fugue'. But if I
hadn't been lucky and the date wasn't that hot and I got home at midnight,
guess I'd play the 'Toccata and Fugue' for the prelude. It seems very appropriate
for a Bishop's surprise visit since it was the theme for 'Dracula' and we
all know why Bishops pay surprise visits." To say I won an audience would
put it mildly! The whole place went wild.
"You need to keep Mr. Greywolf's responses
in mind, ladies and gentlemen, when you decide to give the baby organist
a hard time. Well, it's 8:00 and as you know, we always open with some sort
of concert. That's a tradition. But this year it has a new dimension. Guess
you might think I'm a cheapskate--you can let me know afterward--but there's
not a live concert tonight. Well, there may be a bit of live stuff later,
but the official opening concert is a video tape." Groans all over the room.
"Save your groans until later. It took a bit of doing, but I have a video
all of you--regardless of your instrument--performer, choir people and directors
will appreciate. If not, we'll have a live concert before the week's over.
Ok?" Well, what could we say?
"This better be good," Lucas said.
"It's definitely not the tradition."
"I could have seen a video at home,"
I said, very disappointed. While we were talking, a screen came down at one
end of the room and a video projector dropped from the ceiling in the middle
of the room. "Lucas, look at those speakers! There's speakers there to handle
just about anything."
"You're damn right. If the music's
any good, it should sound great."
The lights dimmed and the video started.
"Holy shit!" I practically shouted. It was the video of THE concert!
Larry had opened the video very simply
by showing the front of the program. Someone in the darkness said, "Edward
Camp, your ass is grass and I'm a lawnmower--for inflicting a high school
concert on us!"
Lucas said, "Matt, did you know about
"Shit no!" I was learning to be a foul
mouth quickly. "Man am I in for a rough four weeks! These guys will eat me
alive!" The program slowly opened, the first selection was highlighted and
the concert began. I wanted to crawl under the table.
About the middle of the first selection,
the woman sitting on the other side of me leaned over and said, "I think
there is a whole room full of people saying 'holy shit' under their breath
right now and I know the guy grousing about high school concerts would like
to slip out. This is unbelievable." Lucas was pounding my arm and bouncing
up and down with excitement. Maybe it wasn't so bad after all!
As the highlighted name of the second
selection faded and the music started, there was an audible intake of breath.
I couldn't believe how these people were reacting. They were professionals
for the most part and we were just three high school groups performing. I
was surprised myself at the video because I was seeing and hearing it with
When it came time for the intermission,
the lights came up and Dr. Camp said, "Well, it's just a high school concert;
some of you must be tired because of a long trip--or age--so we'll just stop
"Like hell you will!" It was the guy
who had made the comment about high school concerts. "We're taking a ten-minute
intermission and coming back." There was loud agreement and Dr. Camp laughed.
I was ready for a piss and, as I stood,
Lucas said, "This way or you'll be trapped". He quickly led me down a hall
and into a restroom. As I was pissing he said, "Uncut".
"Hair and cock," I replied. "My dad's
doing." Checking another man out is common practice we all know, but you're
supposed to pretend you're not. That's the man's rule so I was surprised,
but I had been surprised all evening.
While I was still at the urinal, Dr.
Camp came in. "Hope you're not too upset, Matt, but when I heard your compositions
on "Performance Today", I called Millie--who is an old friend--and when I
learned a video had been made, asked about getting it. She had me call a
fellow named Larry, I believe"--he looked at me and I nodded--"and he said
he had one with excellent sound and he would send a copy. I could use it
provided you didn't say no. Well, I learned long ago, if you don't ask, no-one
will refuse you. How is the old bird, Millie, I mean."
I told him what I had just learned
this afternoon and he started laughing when I told him she had fallen in
the river while skipping rock. "Some things never change and Millie is one
of them." He was laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes. "The tales I
could tell you about Millie! Well, we better get back to this terrible high
When the video was over, people were
all over me. It was downright embarrassing--and very enjoyable! After thirty
minutes of listening to people and answering questions, I was worn out. Lucas
finally said, "It's time to put baby organists to bed. Sorry folks."
An old fellow was standing near and
said, "I'm the grand-daddy organist, Son, and if I am still up, a baby organist
still has some juice left. I want to see the kid in action. Edward told me
about the video last week and I insisted on sampling it. Just heard the first
piece because I didn't want to spoil this evening. I did tell him to get
something in here for you to play and there it is. In one corner of the room
was a Rodgers, just like mine. That accounted for some of the speakers placed
around the room. "You gotta play for this old man."
"'Sheep May Safely Graze', maybe?"
"Yea, then something exciting. Keeps
the old ticker going."
Good thing I memorize music because
so far as I could see there was none to be had. Of course, I could do "Sheep"
in my sleep but, when I finished, I opened the organ up and did the Widor.
"Think that might hold you?" I smiled at the old fellow.
He really was old and walked with a
slight limp as he came over to the organ. When I slid off the bench, he hugged
me to himself and said, "I have dreamed of this day, Matt. I really have."
"Thank you Mr.--I don't know your name."
"Woods, George Woods, but call me Woody.
All my friends do and I hope we will be friends."
Lucas and I were finally able to go
to our suite and as we walked across campus he said, "You know you have a
wonderful talent, don't you? And your technique is unbelievable. You are
a great organist, Matt. At eighteen you are great. And I bet Woody takes
you on to mentor. Hope he does." We talked more about music and organs as
When we reached the dorm, I asked,
"Any place around here I can get and send e-mail?"
"There are computers off the lounge
on the second floor where our suite is. You want to send some tonight?"
"Got to," I said.
I went upstairs, took off the coat
and tie and went to find the computers. I wrote a long e-mail telling everyone
of the events of the evening and telling Eugene he was in my thoughts and
prayers as his days in court approached. I also told him I was glad he got
to meet Jason and to hug Larry and Millie for me. I just added a postscript
to that for Mom and Dad and thanked them for letting me take organ from Millie.
Of course I wrote Luke an additional
letter. I had told him about Lucas and had written, "Man, if anyone had designed
a tempter, the only thing they would have added to Lucas would be to make
him gay!" I had second thoughts about what I had written, saying to myself,
"That's true, Luke Babe, but you don't need to hear that." But I typed it
again. I didn't want to deceive Luke at all. Then I wrote, "But I'm yours,
all the way, all the time." I made sure he knew that I was his and I loved
him more than life itself and I missed him like crazy. "Yonghon Tongmu, right
now I'd give up sex if I could just have you with me." And I poured my heart
out to the only man in the world for me.
I sent the e-mail, went to my room,
undressed and slid into bed. What a day this had been! The only thing which
could have made it more perfect was to have shared it with Luke. I had much
to give thanks for as I reflected before falling asleep at the end of the
first day of six weeks without Luke's arms around me. But he did hold me
in my dreams.
I was somewhat startled when an unfamiliar
voice called "Little Brother, we better get moving or our Mama will have
our asses". It took me a while to realize what was going on. It was Jason
standing over me in a robe, smiling, who spoke.
"Oh, how right you are. Damn! I was
supposed to be up and go with Larry and Jacob--a friend--to Lexington this
"Maybe that note on his pillow will
help," Jason said as he sat on the edge of the bed.
I picked up the note and read, "My
wonderful Sleeping Beauty, I know you and Jason were up most of the night,
so I got up and Jacob and I are going to Lexington. I'm taking your car since
you have Millie's. Gene, I am so pleased that you and Jason talked the night
away. I'm sure you both feel better about each other and can become good
friends--no, close brothers. I love you now and always, Lar."
I handed the note to Jason and when
he read it, he said, "I have so much I want to learn about you and your friends.
If I hadn't been such as ass, I could have been a part of so much that I
"Jason, Larry and I have been in therapy
since your mom..."
"Mom, our mom..."
"Our mom... took me in. It has helped
a lot and we both have learned so much, but I think the most important thing
we have learned is to let go of the past, especially the guilt and anger.
It's been hard for Larry--letting go of guilt, I mean--and letting go of
rage and anger is hard, still hard, for me. But the past is the past--can't
be changed, but sure can fuck up the present and the future."
"Maybe after we get ready and see Mom,
we can talk about all that's been going on."
"Well, shower and get dressed. Anthony
has breakfast almost ready. Then we're all off to see Millie of the Skipping
Mom was delighted to see us, of course.
"Where have you three been? It's almost noon. I even got out of bed for you
and you weren't here."
"I'm afraid I couldn't get those two
out of bed for anything," Anthony laughed. "Don't think they ever actually
went to bed last night."
"Actually we didn't," I said. "It was
this morning before we called it a night."
"What about Larry and Jacob? Eugene,
I hope you didn't screw them up. And, Jason, did you find out what a pouty,
childish ass you have been by not coming sooner?" Millie was on a roll.
"Larry took Eugene's car to get himself
and Jacob to Lexington," Jason said, "and, yes, I had already decided I have
been a jerk--and Anthony made sure I meant it when I told him that. That's
why Eugene and I were up all night."
"Good. I hope you don't think you had
me fooled with your lame excuses. How long are you staying?"
"Anthony and I talked before Eugene
got up, and called the office. Edith assured us she could keep the office
going a month if necessary, so we'll be here until you're home and settled.
I will stay until Eugene's ordeal with the trial is over. To tell the truth,
Edith can run the office very well without me--or Anthony."
"Fine. I'll be leaving day after tomorrow.
Started walking a bit this morning. Amazing what new parts can do."
We stayed about an hour, at one point
guarding Millie while she used a walker to move around the room a bit, then
started back home. On the way, Jason commented on what had been done to the
"dump" on the street where Millie lived and I suggested we take a closer
look, knowing Uncle Michael would welcome a visit. After the grand tour--the
renovations were almost complete--Uncle Michael suggested we also go to the
hospitality house, especially to see Luke's sculpture. When we finished,
it was mid-afternoon so we had lunch at a Greek place Michael had told us
about, then went back to spend some time with Millie. By the time we got
home, it was five and Larry was back. Mr. Greentree insisted he leave early
after he heard what had happened.
I suggested we pack a picnic and go
to the falls and talk. After the picnic was ready, we drove out to the country,
stopped at the Greywolf's to thank them for picking up Jason and Anthony
and tell them we were going to the falls to talk. "Not a better place in
the world for that," Yong Jin said, then asked if I had read Luke's and Matt's
e-mails. I hadn't even thought to check, so she handed me copies of both
and I took them to the falls.
While Larry and I read the letters,
Jason and Anthony got the picnic ready. As we sat down to eat, Larry said,
"It doesn't take much reading between the lines to see that Matt and Luke
have their hands full. Both worried about being unfaithful, and Luke has
a woman with the hots for him and Matt is sharing a suite with a Luke look-alike
and almost-namesake. Wow!"
"Do you think a woman would be tempting
to you?" Anthony asked. "I mean you're gay and know you're gay and are very
"You know, at first thought I would
say no, but as hard as I tried to deny being gay for so long, I wonder if
I might start thinking something like, 'Well, I know I like Eugene and that
makes me gay, but am I really? Maybe I need to try being with a woman and
see.' But, no, I have never thought about it--don't think I could ever really
think about it. Then, when I recall what I did trying to prove I wasn't gay,
and if I were separated from Eugene for six weeks and was as horny as hell,
I honestly don't know. Don't think I'd follow through, but then I've never
had a woman all over me. Then, too, knowing Luke, I'm sure that what he has
written is only part of the story. If he says she's after his bod, you can
believe she is really after it."
"Matt's a different case--I don't mean
about being interested in a woman, but ... Well," I said, "Matt has always
worried he would cheat on Luke. As we all know--in the words of Michael--Matt
is hot to trot and makes no bones about it--boner yes, bones no. I know one
thing, they have talked about being tempted and it sure looks as if someone
has taken them at their word."
"Well, let's eat. Nothing we can do
about their struggle," Jason said. We dug in while Larry talked about what
he had done his first day as a audio/video intern. "You must be proud your
video was played at the music conference at Sewanee. Now you get credit for
doing it because you can bet it will be talked about all over the country."
"I must confess, I wasn't made to feel
humble when I was asked about it by Dr. Camp or by Matt's description of
its reception--not at all. Since all the copyright stuff--there was little--was
cleared before it was broadcast, the tapes can be sold and Mr. Greentree
told me today I have all rights to their sale and can use the duplication
equipment at the studio. Now if the people of Sewanee will just get carried
away and order tapes...."
"To receive your video, just call the
toll-free number at the bottom of your screen. Have your credit card ready
and the tape will be rushed to you for not $59.99, not $49.99, but only $39.99.
And if you call in the next five minutes, we'll include, absolutely free,
a CD of the two original compositions from the concert. But hurry, this offer
will not be repeated more than a zillion times!" We were all actually rolling
on the ground at Anthony's imitation of all those special TV offers. "Actually,
I have a guy in the business who could handle that for you--I don't mean
the TV ads, but the orders and shipping, credit card transactions and all.
I'll give him a call if you like."
"Sounds good to me. Just in case there
are requests, Mr. Greentree showed me how to operate the duplication equipment
and we turned out ten copies today."
"Well, you know the fine print at the
bottom of those ads: 'Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery'. Looks
like we may have something here."
"I don't want to be pushy or prying,
but Eugene got on my case about carrying guilt around this morning..." Jason
"He would. He's very good at that,"
Larry said as he smiled, leaned over and kissed me.
"You two seem to be much into kissing,"
"Recommend it highly," I said. "Actually,
it seems to be a major habit among the Fellowship which I, for one, have
no intention of breaking!"
"The Fellowship?" Jason asked.
"Another thing you need to know about,"
I said. "And why I had problems with anger and rage and a whole lot of stuff.
Where to start?" Well, for the next couple hours--the sun was setting when
we left--we told Jason and Anthony about the Fellowship, how the concert
came to be, what was going on this summer--with all that led up to my having
to be in Lexington--without really talking about Larry and me. Yea, if you
work at it, you can skate past the bad part.
Finally Larry said, "Ok, you can see
why Eugene has a problem controlling his anger and rage at times, but it
has seldom been focused in the wrong place as Danny's, Jake's and Buddy's
has. You need to know about my guilt--which I usually manage to put behind
me--because it's why I love Eugene more than I can ever tell him." He then
told about how he had raped me trying to prove he wasn't gay.
"Larry, if a man loves you enough to
forgive that, you better hang on to him. He's a very special guy. I don't
care how much you love him now, it would sure take something to forgive that.
I'm not sure I would have been able to forgive Jason. No wonder the two of
you are in therapy and, thank God, it's apparently working. It's amazing,"
"I'm not sure I would be man enough
to ever forgive someone who raped me, Jason added."
"You would if you loved someone as
much as I loved Larry and if he had returned that love and made your hellish
life complete the way he had made mine," I replied.
"I see what Yong Jin meant about this
being a special place for talking. Thanks, Brother, I'll never call you little
again," Jason said. "Now I suspect we better get our things together and
tuck Mom in or she'll beat our be-hinds!"
We did just that and when Larry and
I went to bed, we made beautiful, gentle love. "Eugene," he said as he lay
in my arms in the afterglow of perfect love making, "see why I have difficulty
with guilt? Anthony, who has been Jason's soulmate for years, says he would
have a hard time forgiving that kind of attack from Jason. And, to be honest,
I would too--if I ever could. You are special, Gene, my very special soulmate."
He kissed me gently--I'm sure glad the Fellowship and, most of all, Larry
and I--is into kissing, I love it! Soon we were asleep in each other's arms--after
the very unromantic task of setting the alarm clock so Larry could drive
to Lexington in the morning. He said he would drive back and forth until
I had to go and stay--which, so far as I knew, was still Wednesday. I noticed
on the news that the day had been spent selecting a jury and the defense
team had said it would have an important announcement Tuesday noon, after
the morning session of court recessed.
Well! The announcement got the defense
lawyer a dressing down by the judge! He announced that the defense would
show that, as a gay man, I had willingly submitted to McBride's advances
and that I had been purchased as a "boy sex toy" by a prominent Concord matron
for her gay son. The judge was furious. He made it very clear that even if
both statements were true, they had nothing to do with the case. "This case
is about producing and distributing child pornography," he had fairly shouted
when court resumed in the afternoon. "Fortunately you made this statement
before the jury has been selected and I will personally question each juror
concerning what you have said publicly. Even if Mr. Willingham had submitted
to advances, he was underage and could not give consent. And even if he had
been purchased as a sex toy in the last year, it would have nothing to do
with this case. I ask you why these issues weren't brought up when the defendant
was charged with child sexual abuse? Not that it would have made any difference,
but it would have, maybe, seemed to have some connection with that case.
If you so much as breathe a word like this again to the press, or in this
courtroom, I'll hold you in contempt and charge you before the ethics committee.
Do you understand me?" The lawyer, it was reported, only nodded.
When Jason saw the news, he called
his and Millie's lawyers and asked them to file lawsuits against the lawyer
immediately. "Eugene, you have been libeled and I intend to make the bastard
pay," he said.
Needless to say, when we went to the
hospital Tuesday night, Millie was fit to be tied. "I want that lying bastard
to realize he has raised the ire of a mother over her sons."
I packed for a few days' stay in Lexington,
and Larry and I planned to get to bed a bit early. He was pretty tired from
having to get up and drive to Lexington the last two mornings and not getting
to bed until late. When I was packed, I fixed Anthony and Jason a JD and
branch, grabbed a couple sodas for me and Larry, and the four of us went
upstairs and talked about the events of the day. Jason explained that the
defense lawyer had risked making untrue public statements in the hope of
swaying a jury and it had backfired. "Millie says all three of us need to
file suits and that is being done."
"More time in court," Eugene sighed.
"I doubt it," Anthony said. "If the
lawyer is as smart as I think he is--although he was a perfect damn fool
in what he did--he'll settle out of court. Anything Millie gets goes to the
hospice, and anything Jason might get we have decided goes to a home for
abused boys that he and I have been supporting for years. You, of course,
will probably want to keep yours."
"Actually, I have scholarships to Oberlin
and Millie has settled an allowance on me, so I don't really need it. Damn,
I can't believe those words. For years my father gave me as little as possible--and
that usually after a beating--and now I have more than I need. But I would
like to help take care of my sister." I had to tell Anthony and Jason that
story. "And while he'll fuss, I'll take the rest and put it in a fund to
help Larry." Larry started to fuss when Anthony asked, "Larry, just how long
do you plan to stay with Eugene?"
"At least until I am dead," Larry answered.
"Then you need to realize that his
good times and his bad times are yours as well. You'll help him over rough
spots with what you have, he happens to have money to help you over one.
You're in this thing called life together or you're not." That ended that
We all finished our drinks and Larry
and I had a time in the jacuzzi and then went to bed, snuggled together,
and he was asleep in minutes. It took me a while longer to escape into dream
If I wondered what I had gotten myself
into last night, my wondering was doubled when at 5:30 someone knocked on
my cell door. "Praise the Lord, Christ is risen!" a voice outside the door
Fortunately, I remembered and responded,
"He is risen indeed!" and, under my breath, said, "But I'm not!" I wanted
to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep. After all, I had slept
less than six hours and I never got up before God unless I had school or
something, and Millie was sure God didn't get up until 10:00. Nonetheless,
I dragged myself out of bed, went down the hall to the bathroom and washed
my face, brushed my teeth and combed my hair.
I went back to my room, slipped into
my cassock and headed for the chapel. I must confess, I was half asleep throughout
Mass and heard little that was said. Breakfast was eaten in silence, of course,
while a monk read. I didn't hear him either. After breakfast, I returned
to my cell, got my toiletries and went to the bathroom to shower and shave.
After I lathered my face, I thought better of it and decided I'd not shave
while I was here.
I had just dressed when a monk came
and said Father Abbot would see me. We talked for an hour. He wanted to know
exactly why I had decided to spend a month with monks, what I expected to
accomplish while I was with them, that sort of thing. I explained the best
I could, admitting my own confusion. At one point he asked, "You say you
are considering the priesthood, but not the religious life?" I really didn't
know what he meant and said so. "You are not considering becoming a monk."
"Hardly! I'm having enough trouble
with the woman I intend to marry without that!"
Father Abbot laughed. "Well, Michael,
I think you are a bit young to be talking about marriage."
The "you're too young" song and dance
had gotten old, very old, and I told Father Abbot so--in no uncertain terms.
"I see you have a bit of a temper," he said.
"Only when things I hold sacred are
trampled on," I responded, still hot under the collar. "And this 'you're
too young' bit tramples on a love and a commitment I hold very sacred."
"Sorry, I didn't mean to offend, but
you are talking about a life-long commitment and you're only sixteen. I am
over four times as old as you and know that things look very different at
65 than at 16."
"I find it interesting that you are
perfectly willing to have me spend a month considering whether or not to
become a priest and think that's perfectly all right--and I think I am correct
that becoming a priest involves a life-time commitment--but a decision about
marriage is out of the question because I'm too young."
The Abbot laughed and said, "You nailed
me on that one! I think we'll have an interesting month together. Well, about
your stay here. You know the drill, right?" I nodded. "Then I needn't go
into it. Our life revolves around work, study and prayer. The times of corporate
prayer--services--you already know. You have time for private prayer..."
"I'm not sure I know how you want me
to pray," I said. "I have never been one to do the 'kneel beside your bed'
kind of praying, if you know what I mean."
"I think I do. You pray any way you
find fits. I was never one to put much stock in teaching people how to pray.
For me, it's just kind of natural and I think it is for most people, even
those who don't think they are praying. I once knew a Methodist cleric who
said all of life is about meditation, contemplation and prayer. Now his definitions
of those were not what you'd find in a book on spirituality or what you'd
hear from most monks. But I think he was right."
"Contemplation, for him, answered the
question, 'Who am I?' I suspect that's one of the things you'll be sorting
out while you are here. I hope it is. As you answer that question--it's the
hardest and the one which has a different answer just about every day unless
you are dead, and I'm not talking about in-the-grave dead but walking-around
dead--you are faced with 'What do I?' Call it lifestyle if you find that
helpful. That's doing. If I am who I am, what do I do? You still with me?"
"I think so."
"Well, before you do, you do a lot
of praying--I don't mean the usual. You think and evaluate and think again
about how you do what you are; how you be an authentic person. That's prayer.
And in that thinking and evaluating and struggling with how you be an authentic
person, you just naturally express gratitude and repentance. Just naturally.
I'm convinced that the religious person is concerned with only one thing
and that is how to be fully, authentically human. Earning heaven and avoiding
hell is, for me at least, a matter of no concern whatsoever. I don't even
care if they exist or not. I just want to be the most fully human, most authentic,
person I can be. Make sense?"
"Yea. It's about what Matt does before
he goes to sleep--he thinks over the day, giving thanks for all the things
which have made his life full, and expressing sorrow for all the things he
has done or left undone which have made it less full and for the times he
has hurt others. Yea, it makes sense. I like that."
"Well, if you'd like to work with someone
who does believe in a more formal approach, I'll arrange it."
"Not where I think I need to spend
"Where do you think you need to spend
"Can I be honest?"
"Well, you'll do no good spending time
here unless you are."
"Not long ago I asked my brother if
he thought I was a religious person. We talked about that and he finally
said, 'No, I don't think you are a religious person. Are you a spirit man?
Definitely.' Well, what he said made a lot of sense. I think at this point,
that's where I'm stuck in deciding about the priesthood. I mean, if a priest
has to be a religious person, then I may as well go home now. If it requires
a spirit person, then I have to struggle with whether or not that's how I
want to be a spirit man."
"Not a spiritual man?"
"Not if being spiritual means living
outside the real world." I smiled and said, "I think I'm right that some
Jewish guy said something about living in the world, but not being of it.
That's what I think I am about and need to understand."
"I understand. And when you think about
being a spirit man, you can forget I used the term religious person because
when I use it I mean what you call a spirit man. I like that. Are you sure
you're just sixteen?" the Abbot asked and, when I looked up, he had a smile
on his face and that made me smile. "Michael, I think you're going to be
a breath of fresh air around here this month. Brother Gregory will take you
in tow and show you the ropes, but I want to spend time with you. Right now
it's time to do morning work and I think you have been assigned to the kitchen
for the present. When you get back to your cell, I want you to do some writing--whatever
you wish and need to write, but also write out what you would call your spirit
journey. Start where you wish and end with your decision to come here. No
one will read it--unless you ask--but I want you to put it on paper so it
will be fresh in your mind. Beginning tomorrow, we'll spend an hour a day
together and you tell me about your spirit journey."
"Thanks, Father," I said as I stood.
"That's why I'm here," he said as he
laid a hand on my head. "Michael, you're special. I hope you know that and
I wish I could say your time on earth will be easy, but I'm afraid not. But,
my son, you will lead an exciting life."
I found the structure and schedule
of the abbey comforting. I didn't have to worry about anything, which freed
my mind and my spirit to think and search. My sessions with the Abbot started
with me talking about my life--the first session I just talked, but then
asked that he read what I had written before I came to see him so he'd better
understand me and my struggle. We talked about everything--my mother's illness
and death, Luke's attempted suicide, discovering Mary Kathryn loved me, the
books Fr. Tom had suggested I read--everything. I worked in the kitchen and
in the garden, loved the services and spent a lot of time thinking and, in
my version, praying.
Toward the end of the second week,
I was talking with the Abbot about my relationship with Mary Kathryn, and
before I knew it I had told him about our love-making and the difficulty
we had not crossing the line we had, to that point, set for ourselves. "Doesn't
sound very priestly, does it?"
"Michael, a man I loved and respected
very much is now, I fear, a neglected theologian. He died at an early age--45--and
because what he wrote was controversial, it was just ignored after his death.
Too many people--and far too many priests--think theology is something you
learn, that it's all in books. You know some of those books, Fr. Tom had
you reading them--and you do need to know the thinking of the church in the
past--but theology is living and breathing or it kills. Anyway, Terry was
a great theologian. Since he often wrote about sex, a little old lady came
up to him once and said, 'Father, I think you are a dirty old man!' and--this
is true--whopped him with her umbrella. He looked her straight in the eye
and said, 'Madam, every theologian is a dirty old man, even if she's a young
woman!' His point, as I am sure you know, was that theology had to deal with
the nitty-gritty issues of human life. So your lustiness sounds as though
you have made a start toward becoming a theologian. And, as an aside, I guess
I just took away another excuse for why you should not consider the priesthood."
I wrote the Fellowship every third
day what was going on in some detail--what I was doing, but mostly what I
was thinking. Of course, I wrote Mary Kathryn a special letter each time,
telling her how I missed and loved her. I had written her about the Abbot's
talking about prayer, and the definition of a theologian as a dirty old man.
I was well into the third week when
I lay on my bed--it didn't seem as hard any more--thinking about my time
at the Abbey when I realized the question of going into the priesthood had
not been raised by the Abbot, and I hadn't given it any thought after our
first conversation. Interesting!
I got up before Lucas and showered,
and was sitting in my room braiding my hair when he came from the bathroom,
a towel around his neck and nothing else. I took one look and said to myself,
"He's definitely not Luke." Luke was absolutely smooth and this guy was covered
with blond hair--I was to learn to hate it because he never cleaned the shower
and shed like a dog.
"Last night was great," he said, standing
in the door. "You sure put some old farts on alert as to what they have to
"I had nothing to do with it," I answered.
"I was as surprised as you."
He was looking around the room and
spotted the picture by my bed, walked over and picked it up. "Interesting
photo. Who's the guy?"
"Luke, my best friend," I responded.
"Great picture he's standing beside.
He must think you're special."
"I hope so. He's special."
Lucas raised an eyebrow, but I said
nothing more. "Well, I better get dressed if we are to make breakfast."
"Getting dressed might be a good idea.
It's Sewanee you know," I said and laughed.
After breakfast, we had a gathering
to talk about what we wanted to do during the program. There were many offerings
and we were told that, so long as the leaders were willing to hold one, there
was no minimum number for a workshop. As I was looking over the offerings,
Dr. Camp came by and said, "Matt, Woody would like to talk with you about
what he thinks you should do, kinda be your mentor since you are new to the
I walked across the room to where Mr.
Woods was seated. "Good morning, Mr. Woods," I said.
"Please call me Woody. I know I'm one
of the old farts, but I'd like for us just to be friends. Equals, although
at my best I was never your equal as an organist. I told Edward I'd like
to take you under my wing if you are willing. I think I can help you get
the maximum out of the program, but what did you have in mind?"
I told him I expected just to have
organ lessons and hadn't realized there were other possibilities.
"Why do you think you need lessons?"
"Mainly I need someone who can help
me with my footwork. I am not satisfied with it. Also, now that I see they
are available, I'd like to get into one of the composition workshops. I know
I have a very long way to go there."
"Pretty weak there, too."
"I'd like you to do a workshop dealing
with church music--especially one dealing with some new thinking about liturgical
music--playing, looking at some of the newer stuff and composing."
"Wow! I hadn't expected so much--so
many possibilities I mean." We looked over the offered workshops and laid
out a plan for the four weeks. We also picked out other options should a
workshop not be given. With Woody's help, I had my plan done long before
the others and got what I wanted--four sessions: organ lessons, composition,
improvisation, and organ history and building. Since we were finished, we
sat and talked. I asked Woody about his career.
"I'm a priest," he said. "When I was
ordained, a large parish took me on as an assistant with the understanding
I would also serve part-time as an organist. They had an organist who wanted
to be part-time as well so it worked out fine. I preached and celebrated
every other week and was organist on the other Sundays. I was wearing two
hats and loved it. I met and married a wonderful woman while I was in that
parish and we stayed for six years after we were married. We expected to
start our family there, but that was not to be--there or anywhere else."
"In my new position, I was rector of
a middle-sized parish--like St. Mary's I guess--and the organ went by the
wayside. Although when I had had it with some bull going on in the parish,
I'd go into the church and play. I also played every chance I got, but it
was not often enough. I really missed the organ and longed for another position
like my first but once you've been a rector, places assume there's something
wrong with you if you want to be an assistant. In the meantime, Alexandria,
my wife, decided she would study for the priesthood and, when she was ordained,
we found a parish in Ohio that was happy to have a priest and organist package.
Didn't learn to like the weather, loved the parish. I took on students and,
when I was asked to supply in parishes, always had someone good enough to
play for a service or two. It was an ideal situation."
"We were there for ten wonderful years
then Alexandria became very ill. I had an opportunity to take early retirement
and did, because we knew she wouldn't live very long. Got a motor home and
traveled, stopping when she needed to. A year after we started our trip,
I found her dead beside me when I woke up one morning. I moped around awhile
and then realized I was wasting precious life, and looked around for something
to do. Found a small parish which was about to close because it didn't have
a priest or money to pay one. I took it on for use of the rectory. Been there
ever since. Am here for the summer program while a priest who wants a break
takes over the parish, play when I get a chance, and hold down the parish
with the help of the laity. Also have students still. They play for most
of the services but, if not, I priest awhile and play awhile. Kinda one man
band. Still hate Ohio winters, but being near Oberlin for concerts helps
make up for it."
"You're near Oberlin?" I asked excitedly.
"I'll be there next year. In fact Paula and Eugene are going as well. Two
of our other friends are going also." I then told Woody about how we got
the scholarships without explaining all the details. In other words, I didn't
explain the relationships among the five.
"I'll keep that in mind. Think I might
find a place for you to play if you're interested. Maybe a place for the
other two as well. Well, back to your program. I just thought of something.
I've got you signed up for an excellent teacher so far as your footwork is
concerned, but I'd like to spend some time with you while you practice. He
can show you things I can't because of my damn gimpy leg, but I can observe
and correct while you're practicing. I mean, if you'd like.
"I'd appreciate it, Woody," I said
and I meant it.
When all the plans were turned in,
it was lunch time and we were told the committee would go over them and have
any changes ready by 2:00--but since mine were turned in early, they were
already approved. "Meet back here then and we'll get started."
Lucas and an older fellow joined us
for lunch. "Matt, like you to meet Stinky Mason," Woody said. "Stinky and
I were students together at St. Luke's--as the seminary was called back in
the Dark Ages."
"Matt, glad to meet you. See old Woody
grabbed you right off the bat. Hoped I might get a chance at corrupting you."
"Stinky is the best foot man in the
organ business," Woody laughed. "Unfortunately, his hand work leaves a lot
to be desired. Actually, to be honest, Stinky, I signed him up to work with
you because he wanted help with his feet. Told him you were the best and
I'd coach him at practice."
"You've got the best," Lucas said.
"Stinky is the best man I know at teaching the pedal clavier and Woody is
a damn hard taskmaster. If you learn nothing else these four weeks, you'll
be able to dance on the pedals."
"What else did you get him into, Woody?"
Stinky asked. He insisted I call him Stinky and, when I said it made me feel
disrespectful, he laughed and said that was my problem, not his.
We talked about what Woody and I had
decided and Lucas said, "Hey, the kid came here to have fun. You guys intend
to work him all the time."
"If he can't find a way to have fun
in spite of us, I guess he's not really a Sewanee man," Stinky laughed. "What
does next year look like, Matt?" he asked.
I again repeated the story of how I
ended up at Oberlin and Stinky kept nodding. "And the two we saw conducting
last night will be there?"
I assured him they would be. "Along
with my best friend who is an artist and another who is studying mass communications,
the one responsible for the tape sprung on me last night," I added.
"I wondered if you really didn't know
about that," Stinky said.
After lunch, I went to the workshop
on composition. It was not easy as I was just about completely self-taught
and what was being worked on and discussed was not something I knew. I caught
on fairly quickly but knew this was going to require real work. The same
was true of the second afternoon session, liturgical music. I had played
most of what was talked about but never really thought about it much beyond
When the session ended, it was nearly
five and dinner was at seven each evening. I started walking back toward
the dorm when I heard Lucas call, "Hold up, Matt". When he caught up with
me, he asked about the sessions and I told him they were not going to be
easy. "Sure they will. It'll just take a bit of time. You swim?" I nodded
and he said, "Great. Pool or lake?" I told him river and he asked if I'd
like to take a short trip to where he knew a great place to swim--"You'll
love it if you love swimming in rivers," he said. "Grab a towel--you skinny
dip?" Again I nodded and, as we were coming out of the dorm, he said, "You
have a Jeep, right?" I indicated I did and he suggested we take it.
Sewanee sits atop what is fondly called
"God's Holy Mountain". It's not like the mountains I knew at home, but a
plateau. The top where the university sits is flat, but go in any direction
and soon you encounter a cliff several hundred feet above the valley floor.
We drove down a paved road which became a gravel road and then a narrow dirt
road. I could see why Lucas suggested the Jeep. When I thought the road could
get no worse, Lucas indicated a barely visible trail and we drove down it--slowly--for
half a mile. We had been descending the entire way and when he said, "Ok,
we stop here," I could see, through the trees, a broad valley stretching
out before us and could hear a waterfall.
We walked a few hundred feet, following
a trail barely wide enough for one person, then suddenly walked into a clearing
by a waterfall. It was not as beautiful as THE falls but it was nice, and
there was a small basin the water spilled into from the falls. "This is it,"
Lucas said. "Not too many people know about it. My best friend showed it
to me when I came up to visit him when he was a student in the college. Well,
last one in's a rotten egg!" We both stripped and I was about to dive in
when Lucas yelled, "Stop! No diving. There are rocks on the bottom and you
don't want a broken neck." We waded in. The water was a lot colder than I
expected and, when I commented on it, Lucas told me it came from a cave on
the side of the mountain above us. It was cold and so refreshing it reminded
me of all the good times I had had at THE falls.
After half an hour or so, Lucas was
completely blue. "You're looking like a Druid, all blue," I laughed. "You
blonds get like that. I've seen Luke so blue I wondered if he'd live." I
shouldn't have said that because I suddenly had that awful image of Luke
after I had dragged him to the waiting hands of the EMS.
I sat silent for a while and, finally,
Lucas said, "You have the strangest, pained look on your face. Something
"Just an unpleasant memory which popped
up unexpectedly. I'll be ok."
We had waded out of the water and were
sitting on the bank when I said that. Lucas reached out and put his arm around
my shoulder. "Want to talk about it?"
I shook my head and then after second
thoughts said, "Alright," and told him about Luke's attempted suicide--but
not the reason. Thank goodness, he didn't ask.
"This Luke is very important to you,"
"Yea, he's my brother."
"Well, yes and no." I then told him
about the families and how we all looked at ourselves as a family.
"So you have two brothers and a sister
and three mothers and three fathers. WOW!"
He kept encouraging me until I had
told him the story of the families and what the kids were doing this summer.
When I finished, he picked up his watch and said, "We better get a move on
or we'll miss dinner."
"Thanks for a wonderful afternoon,
Lucas," I said after we were in the Jeep and headed back up the mountain.
At dinner, Woody and Stinky joined
us again. We were in a smaller dining room than last night and the tables
only seated four. "Lucas show you a good time this afternoon?" Stinky asked.
"Sure did. We drove down the mountain
"To the river, I bet," Woody finished
my sentence. "That's where Stinky got his name. We ditched class one afternoon
and walked down there. I had been told about it by a friend who had finished
Sewanee the year before. As we were walking back, Stinky encountered a black
and white pussy cat and got too close. Took a week before anyone wanted to
be around him. Finally a professor told him tomato juice would get rid of
the skunk scent. It at least helped. I'm sure the college store thought we
were having a tremendous Bloody Mary party!" Both men were dying laughing.
"It's a beautiful spot. Few people know about it and I haven't been in years.
Can't handle the walk down the mountain."
"I have a Jeep so we drove to within
a few hundred feet or so. Think you could handle that?"
"Sure would like to try."
"First chance we get to go back, you're
After dinner, Stinky asked if I would
like to play some for him. "Want to see just how bad you really are," he
said. Soon Woody, Stinky and I were in All Saints Chapel. It was huge compared
to St. Mary's, and I expected some organ. Man was I ever disappointed. After
playing for a few minutes I said to Stinky, "This organ sucks!"
"You are not the first to say that.
It's a good organ, but the heat means it is out of tune most of the time
in the summer. Don't know why they haven't gotten around to air-conditioning
the place--if not for the people, at least for the organ. Doesn't make sense."
After I had played awhile, Woody said,
"Matt, you are an organ whore. Know what that is?" I shook my head. "An organ
whore is someone who can't keep his knees together. When you reach for the
end of the pedals, you spread your knees."
"My organ teacher started by tying
my knees together," Stinky said, "but when he released them again, apart
they came. When I was twelve or thirteen, he'd place a dollar bill between
my knees. If I finished a lesson and still had the bill, it was mine. There
was an ice cream parlor on the way home and I loved chocolate malts, so I'd
hang on to that bill and get my malted. Don't know what we can do for you,
but we'll work on it."
When I walked back to the dorm, Lucas
was in our common room watching some movie which he stopped when I came in.
"You brought a VCR?" I asked.
"I'm a movie nut. Where I go, the VCR
goes," he said. "Wanta watch? It's hot!"
"Thanks, I don't think so. I need to
write some e-mails and work on composition before I go to bed." When I finished
the e-mails telling everyone about my day, I reviewed my notes from the liturgical
music group and the those from composition. I also had some exercises in
composition to do.
I was so involved in what I was doing
that I didn't know when Lucas came down the hall and stopped at my open door.
"Hi, how's it going?" he asked.
"Oh, sorry, didn't know you were there.
Not easy, but it's starting to make sense. Come in."
Lucas walked in and asked, "Can I take
a close look at that photograph again?"
"Sure." He looked at the photo and
then at me several times and finally said, "Great painting. Good-looking
brother you have too." Then he asked, "Want to take a break for a cold one?"
"If it's Coke," I said. "I'm not into
beer, at least not yet." I stood up, stretched and followed him to the common
room. He got a beer and a Coke out of the frig and we sat down.
"Tell me about that photo. It's fascinating."
I told Lucas about the exhibition and that Luke was inspired to do the painting
when he saw my hair blowing in the wind as we came from the falls one day.
He didn't ask any more questions about it, but did ask, "Was all the exhibition
as good as this painting?"
"I guess that is in the eye of the
beholder," I laughed. "One piece, a montage Luke thought was nothing, sold
for a hefty price but, basically, it was all as good as the painting, I think,
but I'm prejudiced. He is my brother and best friend."
"I sure would like to have seen it,"
"Maybe I have the second best thing.
I have a video of the exhibition with Michael and Mary Kathryn, another brother
and my sister, as docents. Maybe we can watch it one night, but tonight I'm
ready to hit the sack."
I had forgotten our conversation until
Thursday, when Stinky and Woody agreed to go to the river with us. After
swimming until we were half-frozen, we were all four sitting on the bank
in our altogether when Lucas said, "Stinky, Woody, this kid is from a really
great family. Talented as shit too. Tell them about the family, Matt."
I did and, when I finished, Lucas said,
"He has a brother--well, not his blood brother--who is an artist. Matt has
a photo of him and a painting of Matt he did in his room that is a knockout.
Tells me he has a video of an exhibition that was held at the same time as
the concert. His other brother and sister are the docents. You old codgers
"Sure," Woody answered immediately.
"How about we bring a couple bottles of good wine up tomorrow night and have
"Think Dr. Camp would be interested?"
I asked. "He should have to sit through another video after making you all
sit through one."
"Call him Edward," Stinky said, "but
never Ed. He hates that. Actually, he's more into art than either of us--not
that I'm not interested, but he will just eat it up. You want to ask him?"
"In that case, Woody, better make it
three bottles of the good stuff."
"Not so long as I have JD," Lucas laughed.
"Well, you're right about that," Stinky
said. "Friday night after dinner at your common room."
"Why not use the big screen?" Woody
asked. "It'll not be in use Friday night--you can depend on it. There'll
be parties all over the place."
"Suits me. I'll make arrangements for
that," Stinky responded.
After dinner, Lucas started another
movie and I hit the desk to do my work. I was working as hard or harder than
I had ever done in school and was loving every minute of it--except when
I got stuck and got frustrated, which I was at the moment. I yelled for Lucas,
who came running, I suspect thinking I was being attacked or something. When
I showed him what I was doing, he laughed and said, "Matt, I couldn't compose
a variation on 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'. You passed me composing when you
were still in diapers, I'm sure. Why don't you hang it up for the night?
The world will continue spinning."
He was right, and I smiled and said,
"Thanks for reminding me". I went to the frig and got a Coke and brought
him another beer. His movie was just over and, as it finished, he asked about
the family again. I went to the room and brought back a small photo album
I had put together for the summer. We looked at the pictures and talked for
an hour or so. When we had finished, he said, "Four good-looking kids. I
mean all four of you are knockouts, and that Mary Kathryn is a real beauty.
Bet she has boys all over her."
I smiled and said, "Only one. She's
not called wild woman for nothing. Not only can she put most men in the dirt--and
has done so to several--but they would also have to deal with Michael and
few want to take him on. Gentle as a lamb except when it comes to fighting
injustice and protecting his wild woman."
"They're a pair?"
"Last time I heard. They are having
a real struggle right now. Michael is giving serious thought to becoming
a priest and she wants no part of it. Of course he says he'll never leave
her for any reason and she would probably never leave him, but it's a struggle."
"And they're only sixteen?"
"Just barely, but you'd never know
it listening to them talk. Theirs is definitely not just highschool puppy
love." I turned the page and said, "And here's the rest of the gang--The
Fellowship of the Rings. You saw Paula and Eugene. That's Larry who did the
video. That's Jacob. He and Paula are an item now. This is Bill and Linda.
They are in church camp this week along with Mary Kathryn. Michael is in
a Benedictine monastery testing his vocation. Larry's doing an internship
with the PBS station in Lexington where Jacob is doing construction work
this summer. Paula's doing music in a camp for Jewish children with problems.
Eugene's involved in a court case as a witness. We're scattered all over
the place. And, of course, Luke. Luke's in Sarasota at the Ringling School
"The Fellowship of the Rings?" Lucas
looked puzzled so I told him about how the Fellowship came to be, except
I just said some posters were vandalized. Then he said, "Seems you good-looking
guys can't attract women. Seems a bit lopsided in that department."
"I guess we're all just so close that's
never seemed to be a problem." The answer seemed to satisfy him. "Well, I'm
off to bed. Just about exhausted myself fretting over those composition exercises.
"Goodnight, see you in the morning."
The week which followed had pretty
much the same pattern as the previous one. Sessions in the morning and afternoon
and then Lucas and I--sometimes with Woody and Stinky--would do something
before dinner. One day we tried all the organs we could find, another we
drove down the mountain to pick up some things we needed, but mostly just
to get away. We swam. After dinner, I worked. I really worked on composition.
Lucas kept telling me this was just a summer program and I needed to have
fun. In a strange way, wrestling with composition was fun, but I never convinced
Wednesday of the first week, I had
begun to have thoughts that Lucas was gay. Thursday morning he came into
the bathroom as I finished showering and, while he was pissing, said, "Nice
set of equipment you have there. Uncut too. You said that and your hair was
because of your father?" I told him Dad was Lakota and wouldn't cut his hair
except to trim the ends when they needed it, and refused to allow me to be
circumcised. "Good dad," he had said, then added, "You must drive the girls
wild." I just gave him a wicked grin and went to my room.
It didn't matter to me whether Lucas
was gay or not, except by Thursday I was missing Luke like crazy and the
lust meter was registering pretty near full. I had had a wet dream the night
before, one of several I had had if the truth be known, and that in spite
of the fact that I had gotten myself off a few times. I learned right away
that having had Luke's hand on my man's tool, my own was a piss-poor second
best, but it was all I had.
Friday morning Lucas said he was going
home to Nashville for the weekend. "I'm leaving early tomorrow morning. My
roommate and I are going to party! Of course, I have to play Sunday, but
that's no big deal. I've gotten in more practice here than I probably would
have at home. Want to come? I promise you a good time."
"Sounds good," I said but, by the time
I got back to the room, I was having second thoughts. What if I had gotten
in over my head?
After dinner Friday night, we went
into the room where the opening dinner had been held. Woody had said at dinner
he had invited a bunch of people to see the video of Luke's exhibition. "Hope
you don't mind."
"Of course not," I had said, "but I
don't expect anyone else to show up". I was proven wrong because there were
twenty or thirty people in the room when we entered.
Man, the big screen made a huge difference!
Everyone was life-size and the sound was perfect. I almost forgot where I
was as I watched. Michael and Mary Kathryn were superb. Of course I had thought
that before, but I was impressed all over again with the job they did. When
Michael started the interview with Luke, I could hardly stand to watch but,
at the same time, couldn't take my eyes off my Yonghon Tongmu. I missed him
When the tape had finished, people
were asking all sorts of questions of Woody and he finally said, "You know
just about as much as I know. The exhibition was held in conjunction with
Matt's concert you heard Monday night. Matt, would you answer questions?"
"Sure, if I can."
The first question I had anticipated:
"Tell us about the artist and the young man and woman who were docents."
"They are my brothers and sister. Well,
not blood kin, but our three families are so close we called ourselves the
family and consider ourselves brothers and sister. The woman is Mary Kathryn
Larsen, the artist's--Luke Larsen's--sister. The man is Michael Andrews.
And don't get your hopes up, ladies. He belongs to Mary Kathryn and a mother
tiger is tame compared to wild woman."
One older woman laughed and said, "I
can surely see why".
There were few other questions because
Michael and Mary Kathryn had done such a great job. Finally a man asked,
"What happened to the works not designated. I heard that the sculpture was
given to a hospice hospitality house and some of the others were given to
individuals, but what of the rest?"
"Most were sold. Michael's uncle, Michael
Sanders, is Luke's agent. I might add, the montage which we all thought was
just a fun project, fetched a handsome sum."
"How about that fantastic painting
of you as an Indian? I'd love to get my hands on that," a lady said.
"Well, first off, it was not entirely
me AS an Indian. I am, at least half. My dad is Lakota. Mom, by the way,
is half Korean and half American. But the painting was not for sale. However,
when the school went to the exhibition the day following its official opening,
it was slashed. In an attempt to defend it and the artist from attack, Michael
was also slashed and was given up for dead at one point. He did recover and
the painting was shipped to New York and restored. It is back with the artist."
There were a few more questions and, when it was over, Woody handed me the
tape and said, "Like to come to my apartment for a nightcap? I have the wine
we didn't have since we came here."
Lucas, Stinky, Edward and I went to
Woody's apartment--he had a really nice one--and he fixed a JD and branch
for Edward, then broke open the wine. Just after he had handed us our glasses,
the phone rang. He listened for a few minutes and said, "Think that's no
problem". He turned toward me and asked, "Matt, got anything against an electronic
"That all depends on the organ," I
Woody talked into the phone, then turned
and said, "A Rodgers 950".
"That's like mine. No problems with
"Problem solved, Bruce. Probably won't
be "Sheep" either. He hung up the phone and said, "Sorry to ruin your party
weekend, Matt, but you're playing in Chattanooga Sunday."
"In that case, I better run," Lucas
said. "I'm leaving early in the morning 'cause I've been away way too long.
The rest of us continued drinking and
talking. Actually, I did most of the talking and little of the drinking.
It seemed the three wanted to know all there was to know about me. They were
very interested in the painting slashing and I managed to get through that
without ever saying why it had been slashed. Fortunately they were more interested
in the whole shaman thing.
Saturday, I slept in and didn't even
know when Lucas left. When I had gotten up and dressed, I went to hunt food
since breakfast was long passed. When I got back, I wrote a super-long general
e-mail about the events of the week and a long one to my Luke. I started
to mention that I thought I had a gay suite mate, but decided since I wasn't
sure, I wouldn't worry Luke, then changed my mind and did write him of my
suspicions. He had a right to know, I thought. I had e-mails from all the
Fellowship which I read, and then wrote some individual replies before lunch.
Well, actually, I got so busy reading and writing e-mail that I missed lunch
as I had breakfast, so I went to the student center and grabbed a snack.
When I finished it was after two and I still had to find the organ Woody
told me I could use for practice. I found it and practiced for two hours.
Woody had given me the hymns and service
music numbers for Sunday and we had selected three pieces for prelude, offertory
and postlude. All were familiar, but no "Sheep". When I felt I could handle
Sunday, I took a break and walked around the campus a bit, then returned
to the organ and started playing the transcription for organ of "Yonghon
Tongmu" I had been working on for one of the workshops. I wanted to hear
how it sounded. I was so absorbed in what I was doing I didn't hear Woody
walk up behind me. I only became aware of him when he started singing "More".
"Beautiful love song," he said when
I turned around.
"It's the family theme song," I responded.
He looked at the music on the organ
and said, "I see you're taking your time here seriously".
"And I'm loving it."
"Well, it's almost seven and I thought
you might like to see another special place here on God's Holy Mountain.
If you'll drive, I'll provide the food and drink," he said, showing me a
We drove to a place, pretty remote,
where you could sit on the edge of a cliff and overlook the valley below.
"Want you to see the sunset from here," Woody said as he unpacked the basket.
I told him about Lookout Rock and how you could see both the sunrise and
sunset from it.
We had a leisurely meal and talked
of many things. Finally Woody asked, "Matt, tell me more about the concert
and exhibition--how did it all come about?
I explained that the spring concerts
had been canceled and I was obligated to do a recital as my grade for an
independent study and asked about the chorus and ensemble joining me.
"Seems to me that was very generous.
You could have done the recital and gotten a great ego boost for a good one-man
"But look what an ego boost we all
got! Actually, I just wanted to help friends who were being deprived of an
opportunity to perform--and perform they did!"
"Couldn't agree more. But how did the
exhibition come about? I don't see the connection."
"Woody, you're a friend and a priest
so I guess I need to tell you the whole story." I told him about Luke's suicide
attempt, and why, and all the whole story."
"So you're gay and you and Luke are
lovers. I wondered about that when I saw your face while you were watching
the video. And that painting didn't look as if someone was inspired just
by hair blowing in the wind. So what is your relationship?"
I told Woody about our promise to wait,
and how we had finally been physically united. "Our relationship is until
we are parted by death. We are having a commitment ceremony when we think
the time is right. Right now we are separated and I am worried about being
unfaithful. It just keeps gnawing at me because I am always ready, if you
know what I mean."
Woody laughed and said, "I think I
can remember that far back." He then fell silent and we both just sat, deep
in our own thoughts. Finally he said, "Matt, do you know that Lucas is gay?"
"No, I didn't know, but I have been
wondering because of some remarks he has made."
"I don't want you to get me wrong here.
I took Lucas under my wing when he came here the first time, as I have you.
I like him a whole lot. He's a good organist, sharp, and a fun person. As
I said, I like him a lot. But I have a real problem with his lifestyle and
he knows it."
"You mean his being gay?" I felt my
"No, I don't mean his being gay. Being
gay is a part of who he is, just as being gay is a part of who you are. Being
gay is not a lifestyle, it's how you live as a gay man that is your lifestyle.
Lucas is a playboy. He loves sex and his motto is 'Variety is the spice of
life'. He had a narrow escape a little over a year ago when he took up with
a new partner. They had been together a month or two when he told Lucas he
was HIV+. Lucas was scared shitless. Fortunately, since he enjoys variety,
he does use condoms but, as he said, a couple nights before his partner told
Lucas he was HIV+, he had insisted on going 'bareback riding'. Lucas phoned
me in Ohio in tears and, as I said, very frightened. Fortunately, when he
was tested several months later, he was not positive. That taught him one
lesson, but it has not taught him anything else. I know from talking with
him that as soon as a partner starts talking about commitment and a long-term
monogamous relationship, Lucas skips. He went home today to a new roommate
he has been with for a couple months. I think six months with the same guy
is his record. And even then he is much into variety and insists on an open
relationship. Again, I like the guy and only wish the best for him, but I
want you to be warned. He is very seductive, charming, and a playboy. If
you were going to be tempted to be unfaithful, you couldn't have been put
in a better situation for you to yield. Besides, he sheds like a dog, I am
told, and never cleans the shower!" Woody laughed.
"Thanks, Woody. When he invited me
to go to Nashville with him this weekend, I got a very strange feeling after
I agreed. Glad I didn't go. But as you said, I like him too. It's just that
he will have to understand that I am into commitment--very, very much into
commitment--but, man, I do get horny."
"You're eighteen, Matt."
When we had finished that conversation,
the sunset had started and got more and more beautiful. Both of us just sat
in silence enjoying it. At one point I sighed and Woody said, "Wish Luke
were here? I wish Alexandria was here. Separation is the pits regardless
of its length." When the last rays of the sun disappeared, we went back to
the campus and, after I showered, I slipped into bed and dreamed of sharing
the sunset with Luke when we were as old as Woody.
On our way to camp, Linda had asked
me, "You and Michael ok? I've heard you two were having some problems. Want
to talk about it?" I had thought I was glued together well, but suddenly
I was in tears and it all came out in a tumble.
As I talked, Linda put her arm around
me and hugged me to herself. When I finally came to a stop, she said, "Look,
Girl, you don't have to make a decision right now. You two have the summer
to work things through, but I'll tell you one thing: if I were you, I'd fight
like a tiger to keep that man. He is something special, very special, one
in a million."
"I know that," I said quietly.
"Does that mean I'm not?" Bill asked,
poking out his lower lip.
"Hell no, Lover Boy! You are special,
very special, but you know what I mean, you big lug."
Bill smiled at Linda and leaned over
and kissed her. "Yea, I know. The more I get to know him, the more respect
I have for him. Yea, he's a very special person. In fact, I have learned
to respect and to love people in a lot of new ways since becoming a part
of the Fellowship."
"Don't sell yourself short, Bill. Linda
and I both know the Fellowship happened because of you. Linda has a very
special guy herself. At least I guess she has you."
"Don't think I could escape if I wanted
to," Bill laughed. "But, yes, Linda has me. Strange, I had screwed around
with a lot of girls--and I mean that literally--but, when I look back, I
realize something was missing. In spite of the fact that I had women all
over me, I was lonely. Weird, right? Then I met Linda. No fucking around,
just a lot of talk--well, she IS Linda..."
Linda slugged Bill on the arm.
"...a lot of love-making without going
all the way. I dream about her. I think about our life together and dream
of the future. And I'm not lonely. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect us
to remain--I started to say virgins, but that sure won't work for me--together
without... well, you know.... Anyway, right now I am a very happy man."
Friday afternoon we were at the pool
and Linda said, "So the problem is that Michael may decide to be a priest
and you can't stomach the idea of being a priest's wife. I can sure understand
that. Especially after I see what one is like. That bitch counselor in cabin
four, Mrs. Allison, is a priest's wife. She's so uptight I don't think she
can fart without extra effort. You know what she told her girls about sex?
She said that they should look for a man who wasn't too interested in sex
so they wouldn't have to endure it too often! The very idea. I can see why
you balk, Mary Kathryn, although I don't think Michael is 'not too interested
in sex' or that you'd dislike 'enduring' with Michael, would you?" she laughed.
"I can hardly wait! And I mean that!
Now if she were like any one of the three other counselors. I mean when I
saw that old woman come in and announce she was our counselor, I thought
we were in for a dull week. But, man, was I ever wrong. Bill, did you see
Cindy, our counselor, yesterday on the ropes course? She was tops. One of
the girls asked her about how old you were before you stopped having sex
and she said, 'You're going to have to find someone older than I am because
I still rejoice in having sex with my man and have missed him like all get
out this week and we have been at it for forty years'. And look at Susan
over there. She's young and full of it. Don't think a priest's wife would
show up at camp with a string bikini. Half the boys flirt with her and she
seems to enjoy it while making sure they know she's not serious, just having
"And old killjoy Mrs. Allison got on
some of her girls for wearing indecent shorts--too tight and too short--and
told them flirting is not what nice girls do."
"Then there's Ann. She's just as down
to earth as you can get. Cusses like a sailor. When her girls asked about
having to endure sex, she said she'd never endured, just enjoyed the hell
out of it, then told them about spending a week at the beach and getting
sand burns having sex on the beach in the middle of the night after she and
her husband had been skinny dipping. Well, if Mr. Michael thinks I'm going
to be a priest's wife, he's got another think coming."
"You could double that for me," Linda
Bill laughed and said, "Glad to know
that Linda, although--well.... Both of you know, I have never been much on
religion. I mean I grew up being taken to church and Sunday school. In my
family you just did that. I didn't understand why, since church played absolutely
no part in everyday life. Oh, Dad was active on this committee and that if
they were connected to the right people. Once I asked him why we had to go
to church and he said, 'It's good for business. When you own an insurance
agency in this town, you go to the right church and make sure the right people
know you.' Well, as I grew older, I stopped going. Then when Linda dragged
me to St. Mary's I was doing the same thing as Dad--except I was out for
Linda rather than business. But from the first time I was at St. Mary's I
had this very strange feeling. I felt like I had been away a long time and
had come home. Sounds strange I know, but that's what I felt. I started having
the same thoughts as Michael..."
"You didn't! You wouldn't!" Linda said
as she pounded Bill on the arm. It's a wonder the man is not black and blue
from that woman.
"Yea, I did. I wonder where priests
would come from if you women had your way? Anyway, I talked with Fr. Tom
several times and he finally said, 'Bill, you may be thinking about becoming
a priest, but I don't think so. I think you are romanticizing. How about
spending a couple days following me around? Then we'll talk again if you're
still interested.' Well, I did. He ordinarily didn't work Saturdays, but
I spent two with him. I didn't really need the second one. I guess I was
thinking about Sunday. You know, kinda like playing basketball--you get all
dressed up in a uniform and hit the courts to the cheers of the crowd. Man,
was I ever wrong."
"Several calls at the hospital, a nursing
home and the homeless shelter pretty much took care of any romantic ideas
I had, but that wasn't what really did it. Two things convinced me being
a priest was not for this joker. The first was a woman screaming about having
flowers and candles all over the church for her daughter's wedding. She went
on and on after being told the policy on weddings at St. Mary's. I would
have told her to fuck off after five minutes, but Fr. Tom kept trying to
reason with her. The second was dealing with some super-serious suffering."
"I was pretty sure it was not the job
for me after the hospital, nursing home and homeless shelter--and the screaming
bitch--then Fr. Tom insisted I accompany him when he was called to the hospital.
He told me a young couple were having their first baby and were very excited
since they had been trying for a long time. 'But I guess something's wrong
because the ob-gyn called me to come.' When we got to the woman's room, her
husband was there and they had not seen the baby. The doctor came in seconds
after we did and told the parents the baby had severe--very severe--birth
defects and didn't make it. He tried to comfort them by telling them how
severe the defects were and the child was better off dead. Both parents became
hysterical and the doctor just left. I felt so helpless. Fr. Tom was a real
comfort to them, but I just stood there. Man, I knew that being a priest
was not a game and that I was not cut out for the job. I just don't think
I could deal with people who worry about candles and flowers when people
sit in a nursing home abandoned by their children, have no place to call
home and babies die. All that pain on the one hand and, on the other, the
day-in-day-out shit which just doesn't really matter."
"So," I asked, "why hasn't Fr. Tom
done the same kind of thing with Michael?"
"Where do you think Fr. Tom got the
idea? Michael asked if he could hang around to see what being a priest was
like and Fr. Tom agreed. They have spent a great deal of time together over
the past weeks--he even called Michael out in the middle of the night several
"But he never said anything to me about
that!" I was angry and hurt.
"He asked Fr. Tom to say nothing. In
fact, Fr. Tom asked him if he minded my knowing before he took me on. Just
before he left, he told Father it no longer had to be kept a secret. Michael
had said it was something he had to struggle with himself and he didn't want
you to be bothered with it. I guess when he left he thought you might find
out and it might help you make your decision about your relationship."
"That's just not fair! Michael shouldn't
keep secrets from me!" I was really pissed.
"Maybe not, but he thought it would
only upset you more and he didn't want that, especially if he decided--as
I did--that it was not for him. Don't think that will happen, Mary Kathryn.
Fr. Tom said he was better at dealing with people than he and most priests
he knew were. 'I guess the kid has been through so much pain in his young
life that he really understands suffering people.' Apparently there was no-one
to whom he could not relate--well that's not quite true," Bill laughed.
"Seems the woman who pitched a bitch
about the flowers and candles decided to have another go at getting her way.
Fr. Tom wasn't in and Michael had just arrived. Gertie sent her into Fr.
Tom's office to speak to Michael, telling the woman Michael was a new assistant.
When Gertie used the intercom to tell Michael she was coming in, Michael
had pushed the wrong button so it was left open. Fr. Tom came in shortly
after the woman had gone in, and sat in the outer office with Gertie, listening
in on Michael."
"Mrs. Rutan, hadn't been to church
in years. She and her family had left when the first black members came to
St. Mary's, but decided her daughter had to have a big church wedding there.
Of course, she didn't know Michael wasn't an assistant." Bill was laughing
big time. "Anyway, she started bitching about the music which was not allowed
at weddings. Michael asked why she was bringing up the music, as she had
done the flowers and candles, since the church had a policy about what could
and could not be done at weddings. The woman raised her voice as she started
telling Michael her grandmother had gone to St. Mary's so she should be able
to do as she pleased. Michael never raised his voice. He just quietly told
her 'If I get married here, the rules apply to me. They apply to everyone.'
I guess she thought she could wear him down so she started on the music again.
Again, Michael carefully explained the policy on music and she got louder.
After listening to her rant and rave for awhile, Michael finally said, again
very quietly, 'Mrs. Rutan, the music policy and all the policies concerning
weddings were adopted by members of St. Mary's who support the church with
their money, time and presence and I am sure all would be unwilling for them
to be changed for you. You plan to have the reception in the Common Hall.
There you can have anything played you want--you can even have "We're Going
to Do Tonight What We Did Last Summer" played if you like, but the wedding
is a religious service and will be treated with dignity. If you don't want
that, you can go elsewhere.' 'I just might do that,' she said and Michael--in
his best Clark Gable voice--said, 'Frankly, Mrs. Rutan, I don't give a damn!'
She, of course, stormed out of the office, ignoring Gertie and Fr. Tom as
she rushed past. When Fr. Tom told Michael he had heard all, he added, 'Michael,
you can always catch more flies with honey than vinegar,' to which Michael
replied, 'Why the hell would I want to catch flies?'"
I couldn't help but laugh. I could
just hear Michael. He was never one to suffer fools gladly, as Fr. Tom had
told him several times before. Damn, I missed him.
"Fr. Tom told Michael that he would
make a damn good priest, 'but you'll spend a lot of time in hot water'. I'm
not at all sure Michael can just forget being a priest, even if you decide
you can't handle it. Sorry. You just have to realize that you're in love
with a pretty special guy."
That did it, I started bawling like
a baby. I wasn't sure if it was because what Bill said confirmed what I knew,
but didn't dare think, or if it was because I really missed the man who was
my life and who was messing it up. Linda hugged me and we were all silent
until I stopped crying.
When I did, Bill said, "I know you
and Michael really have a thing for each other, but you are so young. Actually,
you two are like Matt and Luke, a year younger than your classmates. Why?"
Before I could answer, Linda said,
"All four skipped a grade--seventh, right? When they were junior highs, seventh
grade was seen as a review grade and if teachers thought you didn't need
it, you skipped it. All four of those 'dumb farm hicks' skipped seventh."
"Anyway, you and Michael sure are young
to be thinking about spending your life together. You can find someone else,
even though you think this is forever. I mean, have either of you ever even
dated someone else?" Bill asked.
"Yea, junior high kind of dating. Both
of us did, I more than Michael but, yea, we dated some. I mean, the thoughts
of dating my brother just didn't seem right. Then, even when I realized what
I felt for Michael was definitely not what one should feel for a brother,
I kept dating, but never fell into the going steady bit. And every date I
had must have thought I was a cold fish because I'd begin to feel a little
romantic, look at my date and see it wasn't Michael so... well, when Michael
kissed me at Christmas, that was it. So I guess we're young but I don't think
there is, or could be, anyone else. If we can get over this hump, then we'll
be together for the next one."
"Well, this is a big one, I can tell
you that," Bill said as the whistle blew, ending the afternoon swim.
I didn't write the Fellowship after
I got back to the dorm. I wanted time to think about what Woody had told
me. He had said he would go with me to Chattanooga so I wouldn't get lost.
I'd have more time to talk with him on the trip. I wanted to do that before
I wrote Luke about Lucas. I wasn't sure what to say and what to leave unsaid,
but I did write Luke. I told him about playing tomorrow and about sitting
with Woody and watching the sunset. "Luke, it would have been absolutely
perfect if only you had been with me. The sunset was beautiful and Woody
is such a great and loving person I know you would love him. It was so peaceful.
But what I'd really like would be for the two of us to have been there, your
arms around me, your lips against mine, me making love to you."
"During the sessions, I get so involved
I forget the pain from not having you here, but then.... And, Babe, tonight
I'm alone and I miss you so much." I poured out my heart to the one I loved,
telling him how I ached because he was not with me. But I couldn't stop on
that note so I added, "Luke, Mr. Right Hand sure isn't a replacement for
my Yonghon Tongmu and Chili Pepper lets me know it!" I sent the e-mail, went
to my room and once again proved I was right in what I wrote.
The weeks, in one sense, were flying
by. Both Stinky and Woody complimented me on the improvement in my footwork.
I could see it too, but breaking old habits is never easy. Composition opened
whole new avenues for me and, while it was hard work, I loved every minute
of it--except when I got frustrated by not being able to do what I thought
I should be doing. I had to have a project for it and was transcribing and
rewriting "Yonghon Tongmu". The liturgical music workshop was turning me
into a real church organist and I was also doing a workshop on organs. It
dealt with the history of my instrument and organ building. I was doing four
sessions a day and Lucas kidded me about it a lot. "Nobody does more than
three," he had said, "and most just do two and have fun the rest of the time".
I never convinced him I was having fun in the workshops.
One afternoon of the third week, he
asked if I wanted to go swimming and, of course, I did. We asked Woody and
Stinky--we always did when we went swimming--but both declined. After we
had swum until he was blue and were sitting on the bank, he suddenly said,
"You're gay, aren't you?"
"As a matter of fact I am, but how
did you know?"
"I have pretty good 'gaydar'," he had
replied and I asked what that meant.
"Oh, you know... you can pick out a
gay guy in a room full of people."
"No, I don't know. I never had that
"You mean you never suspected I was
"Sure I did, but it wasn't gaydar.
It was remarks you have made about my equipment and the way you check me
out every time you get a chance."
He laughed and said, "No-one has ever
accused me of not noticing a nice cock and you have a very nice one. Got
"As if you hadn't figured that out.
Yes, Luke and I are lovers."
"Thought as much. How good is he?"
"Look, I don't want to offend you,
but our sex life is kinda personal and private. I love him to death and that's
"Sorry, but I bet you're horny as hell
with being here 'most three weeks and him being in Sarasota."
I laughed. "Well, I wasn't castrated
before I left and, yes, I am horny as hell. Nothing really unusual about
that. Luke says I am always hot to trot and he's right."
"Well, there's no-one here. Like to
trot a little?"
"There's two answers to that. In terms
of being horny, the answer is a definite 'yes', but in terms of acting on
it, the answer is a definite 'no'."
"Why? You're hot, I'm hot. We're both
gay and both would love a good hot fuck."
"You're wrong on one count, at least
I think you are. I have never fucked anyone and never been fucked. Luke and
I have made love, but it's not fucking."
"What's the difference? It's just words.
Fucking is fucking."
I was silent for a while, knowing that
nothing I said was going to change Lucas' attitude, but I wanted to make
it very clear that there was a great difference in my mind. Finally I said,
"Lucas, have you ever been in love? I mean in love, not lust?"
"There's a difference? I don't see
any. I meet an attractive guy and he likes me and we both like sex. So far
as I'm concerned, that's love."
I knew I wasn't making any progress,
so I thought a while longer then said, "Lucas, when you are fucking, what
are you thinking about?"
"Man, I am totally focused on the feeling.
A big dick moving in and out of my ass, the taste of a nice cock in my mouth,
my dick in a hot tight ass, a hot mouth on my cock. Man, I think about the
only thing there is to think about--how good it feels."
"Another question, how do you like
"I love getting it and giving it at
the same time--double pleasure. That's the reason I love three-ways. I can
fuck and suck at the same time or be sucked and fucked. One is as good as
the other. Why?"
"That's the difference. When I am making
love to Luke I focus on one thing: making him happy and giving him pleasure."
"And you don't get pleasure? You're
"I didn't say I didn't get pleasure.
I do. God, do I ever, but my focus is on expressing my love for Luke. I want
him to feel pleasure because I love him. And I receive two times what I give
and I love it and thank God for it, but Luke comes first, always--well, nearly
always. The one time he didn't will never, ever be repeated. Is there lust
in our love-making? Damn right; it's often filled with lust, but it is always
an expression of our love for each other. And I will never call that fucking."
"All I got to say is that fucking is
fucking and you don't know what you're missing and you don't know what you
"Lucas, Luke and I are in love and
we intend to be together until we die. And being faithful is a part of our
"Your cock disagreed with you big time
for a while there," he laughed. "It sure wanted some hot fucking."
I didn't answer and Lucas dropped the
subject. He had been right, of course. When he suggested fucking, Chili Pepper
made his presence felt big time. And I'll admit when I got back to my room
I whacked off, producing a huge amount of ball juice. I definitely wasn't
about to have intercourse with Lucas--I mean Luke and I had resisted temptation
and we were much in love with each other--but as I whacked off, I thought
about how good it would feel to have someone else doing the job while I relaxed
and enjoyed it. "Why do you have to be so hot and horny?" I asked myself.
Millie came home after two days in
the hospital and was able to get around with a walker--which, of course,
she hated and fussed about. Jason reminded her that she either use the walker
or she sit and, while she grumbled, you could see she knew that.
They had discussed the civil suit against
the lawyer and when the lawyer's lawyer came by with an offer, they declined.
He offered to settle for $5,000 each. Millie exploded. "We filed suit for
a million each and that's what we expect! He should have known better!"
The lawyer said it was a mistake. His
client hadn't intended to slander anyone, but had only gone on the facts
"Facts? Facts? Eugene and Jason had
never met until the day before Eugene made his statement. And he had access
to the tapes which will be used against McBride. A complete idiot could see
that Eugene hadn't invited McBride's sexual assault, but was physically hurt
and emotionally scarred by what McBride did. Your client must think we're
complete dumb asses if he thinks we couldn't see through his scheme and couldn't
see the real facts."
"But the kid you took in..."
"He's my son, legally and every other
way," Millie thundered.
"But your son is gay."
"You don't know that and, besides,
that's none of your or anyone else's damn business. And whether he is or
is not has absolutely nothing to do with what McBride did to him. McBride
has already been convicted of sexually abusing him and that settles that.
But, all of that aside, this case is about making and selling child pornography.
So you can tell your client he can shove his offer up his ass and go to hell.
And if you come back with another pitiful offer, I'll toss aside this walker
and personally kick your ass out the door!"
"It's clear to me, Mrs. Willingham,
that you and your sons are just out for the money and are being unreasonable."
I guess some people just don't know when to shut up.
"Get out of my house, you slime bag,"
Millie shouted. "If you're not on your way out in two seconds, I may just
kick your ass now." With those words, Millie raised herself up on the walker
and pushed it to one side. She laughed as the lawyer ran for the door. As
soon as he was out she said, "I bet his shirt tail doesn't hit his back until
he's in Lexington! The very idea insulting us with that offer."
The next day a courier brought a letter
offering to settle for $100,000 each. Millie and Jason discussed it over
dinner--Eugene was in Lexington for the trial--and decided they would accept
$150,000 if, and only if, Eugene decided to do so. Millie called Eugene and
asked him if he could come home after the trial the following day to talk
about a settlement. Millie's lawyer made the counter-offer.
When he came, Eugene just wanted to
get court things over with and was perfectly happy with the settlement. Mr.
Fox set up two funds for Eugene--one which paid his aunt $1000 a month for
caring for his sister and the other for Larry. Larry's was set up to pay
him about $1500 a month. The interest was to be added to the principal and
at the end of five years, the balance, if any, was to be paid out.
After Eugene signed the settlement
agreement--which included the slanderer making a public apology and taking
out half-page ads in both Lexington and Concord newspapers apologizing--he
said, "That's one worry gone. This trial is really getting me down. Tomorrow
I'm supposed to testify and when I finish, Danny, Buddy and Jake will testify.
None of the tapes has been shown yet, but as each of us testifies, they will
be. I keep thinking I'm man enough to handle it, then I just go to pieces.
Last night Larry held me for an hour while I cried, and the tapes haven't
been shown yet. Mom, I think you better call our therapist and make late
appointments for every night until this is over. I think that's going to
be necessary instead of us staying in Lexington, but we can't get home until
six or so."
Millie motioned Eugene to herself and
hugged him tightly while he cried. Millie may be a tough old bird, but there's
a big heart inside. When he stopped crying, Eugene said, "Larry was coming
over with me, but Mr. Greentree was working on a special project and told
Larry he'd like for him to help. 'If we work late tonight, you can be free
to go to court tomorrow. Eugene will need you,' he said."
"Damn!" Millie said. "Anthony, Jason,
we are going to be there too!"
When Jason protested that Millie wasn't
up to it, she demanded he call her doctor. "At this hour, Mom?" he had asked.
"With what he gets paid for putting
old ladies back together, he should expect to go the extra mile. Call him."
Jason got the doctor and explained the situation. When he came back, he said
the doctor said he couldn't stop her, but that he would advise against it
as strongly as possible. When Millie insisted on going anyway, Jason said,
"Mom, I have never put my foot down so far as you are concerned, but I am
now. You are not going, period."
"Call David and see about an ambulance,"
was Millie's response.
This time Millie didn't win. David
was sympathetic, but said he couldn't do it without the doctor's permission
and, further, taking an ambulance from the county when it was not absolutely
necessary could mean someone who really needed it wouldn't have it. On that,
Millie gave in. If it had just put her in danger, she'd not have stopped,
but she wouldn't put anyone else in danger.
The first day in court went slowly
and Eugene wasn't called. There were all sorts of legal playings around trying
to get the tapes excluded, including the fact--which was admitted--that they
had been copied and the faces of everyone, except the four who would testify,
obscured. I didn't understand all the ins and outs of the arguments, but
the final outcome was that the judge said he would watch the unaltered tapes
and determine if there had been any tampering with the copies--beyond obscuring
the faces of those who were not to testify. So Eugene had spent a day in
court for nothing.
Mr. Greentree told Larry he should
stay with Eugene until the ordeal was over. We were all relieved that Eugene
would have his soulmate with him all the time. When we got back to Concord,
both guys went to the therapist. After Millie had gone to bed, Larry came
down and asked me and Jason to come up and we sat and talked to the two for
a couple hours. I'm not sure what we did other than listen, but both seemed
The second day of the trial, the judge
announced that he had watched hours of tapes and that, while the copies were
obviously the same as the originals, he was not going to permit them to be
shown. "I fear that an appeals judge might rule differently and I don't want
to allow any possible grounds for overturning the verdict, regardless of
what it might be. Accordingly, only those tapes which show the four witnesses
will be allowed, with one exception: I will allow those in which there are
adults involved. They might wish to protest, but I will not protect them
and hope they do protest." Clearly he knew that none would since the tapes
would become evidence for other child sexual abuse cases.
Eugene was the first witness called
after the officers involved in collecting the tapes and video equipment had
testified. As he was testifying, Jason leaned over and whispered, "Millie
sure picked a real man to adopt. I don't think I could go through what my
brother is going through. It has to be pure hell."
Eugene first told of his rape by McBride
and then identified the tape McBride had made of it. The defense lawyer asked
Eugene if he were gay and the prosecution immediately objected and it was
sustained. He then asked Eugene if he hadn't liked it. The prosecuting attorney
jumped to his feet but, before he could object, Eugene shouted, "Like having
water forced into my rectum? Like having a penis tear my rectum until I bled
for a week? Like having my father beat me because I tried to tell him his
preacher had raped me? Maybe you would have liked it, but I didn't. I still
have flashbacks to being raped. I still see a therapist so I can go on living.
No, I didn't like it. Maybe you would, I don't know. Maybe McBride would,
I don't know, but I think a just sentence would be to do unto him as he has
done unto others."
The defense lawyer was shouting, trying
to get the judge to stop Eugene, but the judge pretended not to hear. When
Eugene was finished, Larry leaned over and said, "Great! Now they have Eugene
pissed. If you want to see how strong he is, just get him pissed. Nothing,
but nothing is going to hold him back now."
The defense lawyer took the easy way
out and said, "No more questions".
The judge said, "I have some. How old
were you when the tape was made, Mr. Willingham?"
"You are sure of that?"
"Yes sir. I had just turned twelve
shortly before I went to camp."
"Did you know you were being videotaped
when this happened?"
"Yes. Rev. McBride said he was taping
it to show how I had to have the devil poked out of me."
"And you didn't object?"
"I objected to what he was doing to
me, hurting me. I didn't think about a video. I was worried about dying.
I worried about bleeding to death from my torn rectum."
"Thank you, Mr. Willingham."
Several other tapes were shown of Eugene
beating off, being sucked off by McBride and being molested in other ways.
I was surprised he was as cold as ice water during the ordeal. "How can he
be so calm?" I whispered to Larry.
"I told you, he's pissed. Anytime Eugene
is as calm as he is now, you can be sure he is pissed to the nth degree."
The defense tried to discredit Eugene--maybe
he was mistaken about his age, maybe he had lied about the tapes to punish
McBride--but he stood on what he said, as solid as a rock. Finally, the defense
asked, "Mr. Willingham, Rev. McBride might have made the tapes out of some
personal need--perverted as it might be. And, I suppose, it might be argued
that he is guilty of molesting you--although I am not granting that. But
this trial is not about molestation or child sexual abuse. Do you understand
"I should, since I testified against
him in the molestation case in which he was convicted."
"Your Honor, I move that statement
be stricken from the record as non-responsive to the question."
"I find it most responsive, but I will
order it stricken and the jury should disregard it. Mr. Willingham, please
answer yes or no."
"Yes, your honor. And yes to the question."
"Then, Mr. Willingham, a major part
of this case hinges on whether or not Rev. McBride knowingly distributed
tapes which might be called child pornography. Do you understand that?"
Do you know what constitutes child
pornography, Mr. Willingham?"
"Then will you tell this court in your
own words what constitutes child pornography."
"Child pornography is any graphic depiction
of an underage child engaged in sexual activity. I'm sure of that. I may
be mistaken, but I believe it includes showing an underaged male with an
"Yea, you know, with a hard-on." The
defense lawyer could be heard as he gasped, but that didn't stop him.
"Mr. Willingham, do you know what hearsay
Larry whispered, "Uh oh, now he's treating
Gene like he's stupid. He's really asking for it."
"And what is hearsay, Mr. Willingham,
and do you know if it can be admitted in court."
"Hearsay is something you have been
told, but not witnessed yourself and it cannot be admitted."
"You're right. Now think carefully.
Can you of your own knowledge--remember you're under oath--tell this court
that you know Rev. McBride made any effort to distribute the tapes we have
seen today in this courtroom."
Larry's face lit up and he was grinning
a very wicked grin. "Here's where he nails McBride big fashion," he whispered.
The defense lawyer looked as if he
had been hit in the face with a sack of fresh dog shit. "And just how can
you do that, Mr. Willingham?"
"The day McBride was arrested and I
saw the tapes being brought in, I suspected what he had been doing. I spent
all that night searching the internet."
"And you found something?"
"I found a web site in Amsterdam offering
child pornography for sale."
"Well, we all know about Amsterdam,
but this is Lexington in the USA. That proves nothing, does it?"
"No, it doesn't, but the video clips
on that site of me being fucked and sucked off by McBride do--video clips
of tapes for sale."
The defense lawyer was clearly rattled
and said, "I have no more questions of this witness, Your Honor, and request
"It's 11:30. We'll recess for lunch
and reconvene at 1:00."
Eugene got off the witness stand and
ran to where we were sitting. When he reached Larry, he embraced his soulmate,
hanging on for dear life as he wept great sobs. Larry stroked his hair and
said over and over again, "I am proud of you, Babe and I love you to death."
Then he said, "God, Gene, you are so brave and to think..."
Eugene stopped crying immediately and
looked at Larry and said in a very commanding voice, "Drop it, Lar. Damn
it to hell, drop it!"
The prosecuting attorney came up to
us and said, "Mr. Willingham, I want you to know that I think this case is
over. It's not often I have a defense lawyer present my case against the
defendant, but he did because he was fool enough to think he could get you
angry and rattle you."
Larry laughed and said, "But he did
half of that. He got Eugene angry and if you want to get him rattled, you
don't get him angry. When he is angry he is as cold and logical as a computer."
"It was a real stroke of luck that
you had done that search of the internet. Why didn't you tell me that?"
"To tell the truth," Eugene answered,
"I had been so concerned about the tapes and what they would do to my life
that I had completely forgotten about it. Why didn't you remind me, Lar?
You were with me."
"Gene, I had forgotten it also until
that fool lawyer asked the question about hearsay and I told Jason and Anthony
then that McBride was about to get nailed."
"You mean to tell me had the lawyer
not asked the question, it would never have been brought up?" the lawyer
"That's right," Eugene said.
"There are days in which I believe
Lady Justice is alive and well and this is one of them. Lunch is on me."
"Would love to, but I'm with my brother
and our best friends."
"For what you did today, I'd buy your
whole family lunch," he laughed.
"Well, if you're buying, you are just
about buying for the whole family," Eugene said as he introduced us all.
"I'm Henry Armstrong," he said.
Lunch was interesting to say the least.
Danny, Buddy and Jake came in and waved. "Do you know those guys?" Armstrong
"Sure do," Larry said. "We just graduated
with them. And, of course, they testified against McBride in his molestation
trial. "Let's invite them over."
Armstrong motioned them over and, when
they joined us, Larry introduced Jason and myself.
All three nodded and then Danny said,
"Good to see you guys. Eugene, you nailed that filthy bastard's ass to the
wall this morning. I don't think we will have much to add this afternoon.
I mean it's clear he did the tapes and offered them for sale. The only thing
our testimony will add will be just a hell of a lot more perversion."
About that time, the defense lawyer
came into the resturant and walked over to our table. "Armstrong," he said
without acknowledging the rest of us, "I'd like to talk with you before court's
back in session. Judge's chambers at 12:30?"
"I'm enjoying my lunch with a great
bunch of guys, but I can make it by 12:45."
"I'll be there."
"He wants to cut a deal. What do you
say to that?"
"I say burn his ass," Danny said. The
other two agreed.
"It would keep these three from having
to testify again. It worked on me big time today as it did the first time.
How about you guys?"
"Same, I suspect," Buddy said, "but
you did it, so can we."
"Don't doubt that, but if it's unnecessary."
"Look," Armstrong said, "we finish
the trial and he is sentenced. He serves his time in the state pen for the
molestation conviction. If he lasts--prisoners love to get their hands on
child abusers--he'll get time off for good behavior and will probably be
paroled. He goes to the federal pen and gets out early. That's probably what
will happen. He might even have the state time count against the federal
time. If I cut him a deal by dropping the charges to one count of manufacturing
and distributing child pornography and give him a sentence of twenty-five
years to be served after he has served his state time--and without any time
off or parole--he'll be what? ninety when he gets out. Otherwise, he may
get a life sentence which actually is less time. Weird, but that's the way
the system works."
"I say go for it," Eugene said.
"Man, I appreciate not having to testify
again and if you are sure you can nail his ass to the wall for good, go for
it," Buddy said. Danny nodded.
"Jake?" Armstrong asked.
"Either way's ok by me."
Court wasn't called to order until
1:30 and, when it was, McBride changed his plea and got the sentence Armstrong
had outlined, and we all went home with the news for Millie. As soon as dinner
was over, Larry and Eugene rushed upstairs to e-mail the Fellowship the news--and,
I am sure, to make mad, passionate love. But I knew that Eugene would be
haunted by McBride for years to come.
The first two weeks passed quickly
and Janet, Douglas and I had become almost inseparable. We were doing charcoals
before the first week ended and assisting students who asked for our help,
some still working with pencil. Afternoons I spent with Mr. Adams who was
an expert in casting bronze and was teaching me how to do the lost wax process.
It was not easy, but it was new and exciting. He asked that I select a small
piece to cast. I decided to try to do a sculpture based on the painting of
Matt and it was going well.
The three of us usually hit the beach
by 5:00 and, even with the sunscreen, I was actually developing a faint tan.
Janet and Douglas were bronze. We also spent time at Douglas' place. He was
right, his parents had spent tons of money on trash, but his room--which
was huge and overlooked the gulf--was well-decorated with his work, none
of which was trash. We also spent time at Rich's place, I especially, on
I was missing Matt like crazy and couldn't
wait to check my e-mail for his letters. One evening when I got back from
Rich's place there was a long letter from Matt. He had told me earlier that
his room-mate was gay and a playboy, but in this letter he told me Lucas
had actually suggested they fuck each other. Matt went into detail about
their conversation and his reaction to it. He wrote that he got hard when
Lucas talked about it, but that it was just what anyone would expect of a
horny eighteen-year-old. I'll admit I was uneasy, but also thought I would
have probably gotten hard too. But, then, I knew Matt and how hot he was
and could get, and here was a good-looking guy hitting on him. Was I jealous?
No, I was a bit frightened. But I knew that, unlike my not telling Matt all
about Janet, he had told all that had happened.
I still hadn't written him about my
talk with Janet and saw no need to. That didn't mean she had given up. Well
into the second week she was still, occasionally, hitting on me but by the
end of that week, I was clearly out of the picture and Douglas was in. In
fact, Janet was spending the weekend at Douglas' place and I was alone for
the first time since I had arrived.
Saturday I slept late and was awakened
by the phone about noon. It was Rich. "Luke, Josh is out of town this weekend
and I thought--if you have no problem with a teacher and student going out--you
might like to go to a gay nightclub. Ever been to one?" I told him I had
not, just a teen club where gays were welcome. "Got a false I.D.?" he asked.
"Well, no, never had a need for one."
"You do now. Pick you up in half an
hour and drop you off where you can have one in thirty minutes. Then we'll
do some shopping for an outfit for you. See you in half an hour."
I got an I.D. which said I was twenty-one
and then we went shopping. I expected to go to a mall, but Rich took me to
a shop which catered to the gay community. I wasn't very comfortable, but
before I knew it he had picked out an outfit for me--tight, and I do mean
tight, black leather pants and a black leather vest. "Perfect," he said.
"But what about a shirt?"
"With a chest like yours, you want
a shirt? Don't be foolish!"
Rich dropped me off at the dorm and
I caught up on my e-mail. I wrote Larry and Eugene asking what Eugene was
going to do now that his summer was free--I had expected him to mention it
in an e-mail after he wrote about the trial ending, but he had not. Of course,
I wrote all the others and a very long letter to Matt. I wrote him about
Rich inviting me to go to a gay night club with him, but didn't mention the
outfit I had bought. I don't know why I didn't since Matt was the one into
clothes, but I just didn't think I needed to.
Rich was picking me up at 8:00 for
dinner at the gay club, then we were going dancing. I showered and got dressed
and was ready when he arrived. He was dressed in an outfit like mine which,
I must say, looked good on him, but not as good as mine did on me! Maybe
it was all my blond hair with a black headband that made the difference.
"Ready to party?" he asked when he
"Let's party!" I replied.
We had a delightful meal, talking about
nothing in particular. I did a lot of people-watching because no-one was
dressed in what I would have considered standard attire. It was 9:30 before
we finished dinner and then went next door to the dance club.
The club was packed with guys in even
stranger dress than those in the restaurant--some might be more nearly called
half-dressed. The music was loud and I couldn't believe the lights. As soon
as we were inside, Rich said, "Let's dance!" and dance we did. After fifteen
or twenty minutes, Rich said, "Time for a drink, and tonight's on me. Like
"As a matter of fact, I don't. I drink
wine with the family and that's it."
"If not beer, then something tall and
cold." Rich pushed his way to the bar and came back with a beer and a tall
glass. "Think you'll like this," he said as he handed me the glass. It tasted
like a tart lemonade and really was refreshing. "Hey, slow down!" he said.
"I want you on your feet. That drink has a kick." We found a table with two
chairs and sat down. There were two other guys sitting at the table, making
out big time. Why did that make me uneasy? I didn't know why, but it did.
When we finished our drinks, we were
back on the dance floor. Man, I love to dance and this was wild. Rich was
good and I was having a great time. After dancing for at least half an hour,
Rich got another round of drinks and this time we found a table with only
one chair. Rich sat down and patted his lap for me to sit on him. As we were
drinking our drinks, I felt Rich's hand on my thigh. I thought he had just
forgotten where he was and who he was with, so I just moved my leg and kinda
pushed his hand away. He seemed not to notice. He may not have noticed, but
Little Luke did. When he suggested we dance again, Little Luke was still
The DJ was playing a slow song and
Rich pulled me close. Little Luke had taken notice and refused to behave.
"I think I feel a very hard cock," Rich said.
"You're right. I'm a horny eighteen-year-old
who has been separated from his lover for three weeks. What do you expect?"
"We could take care of that," he said
as he looked at me and smiled. "You know you are a damn handsome man and
I am very attracted to you."
"Here's where the dance ends," I said
as I backed away from him and started off the floor.
I found a table and sat down. What
had I gotten myself into? Rich came over with another drink and said, "I'm
sorry, Luke. I really am. I thought you'd like to have a little fun. I didn't
mean to offend you."
I took the drink and said, "It's ok.
I was just horny as hell and kinda forgot where I was, but you've got to
know that Matt and I have pledged to be faithful to each other. It's tempting,
but no thanks."
"I understand and, again, I'm sorry.
"Friends." We finished our drinks and
I said, "Wanta dance?"
I was feeling strange as we walked
to the dance floor, but was really enjoying myself as the DJ played some
really hot numbers. I was also sweating big time. The room was hot and we
had been dancing for another half hour when Rich said, "Break and another
"Not right now, I've got to piss."
I was kinda woozy, I guess from the heat.
As I started toward the john, Rich
said, "Just remember, a lot of people come here to get laid."
I knew what he meant as soon as I opened
the door to the john. I also knew, at once, the difference between making
love and fucking.
When I got back to the table, Rich
had another drink for me and I downed it. The place was hot and I was sweating
from the heat and the dancing. I was feeling very strange and needed some
air. "I need to get out of here," I said as I stood up and started walking
toward the door. Not only was I feeling pretty strange, but things seemed
to be moving around. As soon as I got outside, I threw up. I felt like shit.
"Rich, take me home, please," I said.
I managed to keep down whatever was
left until Rich stopped the car in front of the dorm. "Don't think you need
to be seen helping a half-dressed and more than half-drunk student to his
dorm," I said. "I can make it on my own." Rich nodded in agreement and I
opened the door, got out, puked and dragged myself to my room. I undressed,
falling when I tried to take off my pants, took a cold shower and hit the
bed. The damn thing started spinning and I didn't make it to the bathroom
before I threw up again. I finally managed to get to the bathroom and thought
I'd wash out my mouth and then realized I was thirsty. I drank a glass of
water only to have it come right back up. Fortunately, I was at the basin.
"To hell with the mess," I thought as I dragged my body to the bed and crashed
The week in camp had been great! I
found I was excited about everything we did. I played basketball, swam, and
Mary Kathryn, Linda and I ran every morning before Morning Prayer and breakfast.
The sessions on church history and theology I ate with a spoon. I had never
taken religion very seriously, but I found talking and thinking about it
very interesting. I especially liked the afternoon sessions when we went
to the cabins to relax and talk about how what we had learned related to
everyday life. Evening almost always included some activity--campfires, square
and line dancing (I had always thought of them as really square, but I had
great fun). Then there were the bull sessions in the cabin after lights out
when the counselors were at a counselors' meeting and we were on our own.
Our counselor was a priest who was my kind of guy, he could relate to us
and we to him easily, but he was always the adult.
One night--well, every night in one
form or another--sex came up. But one particular night one of the super-macho
guys started talking about fucking. I knew he was just a loud mouth--guys
learn to tell the difference in the tenth grade, I think--and I finally had
had it so I said, "You know what? I think you are just bullshitting. I have
probably fucked more girls than you will have when you are in the nursing
home. And you know something else? I'm ashamed of it and I wish I hadn't."
"You don't like to fuck, but you did.
Are you some kind of queer of something?"
"If I ever hear you use that word again,
I'll beat the shit out of you. I don't like words that put people down."
"You like queers?" he asked, and the
next minute he was on the floor.
"I don't like people who use words
that hurt--queer, nigger, sissy, faggot--you know them all, I suspect. If
you mean do I like gays, I don't know. I haven't met them all, but I have
four gay friends and I wouldn't trade a thousand bigoted rednecks like you
for one of them."
"I guess that's why you don't like
to fuck. I guess you're going to tell me you're not fucking Linda. I've seen
you two making out."
"It's none of your damn business, but
I'll tell you I'm not fucking Linda and never intend to. I do intend to make
mad passionate love to her all the way one day, but I'll never fuck her.
You want to know the difference?" I then told him the difference--I was still
holding him on the floor. "I guess you will never know the difference since
you seem intent on fucking, but maybe if you ever get to do either--both--you'll
discover the difference." I let him up off the floor and he got in his bed,
pouting. The rest of us talked about the difference between fucking and making
The only ninth grader in our group,
who had been very shy and seldom said anything, said, "Bill, thank you. I
think if I get nothing else out of this summer, I have just learned something
Several other guys agreed with him,
including one who never boasted about fucking around. He said, "Bill, I know
that empty feeling," turned over and went to sleep.
The next day, after the three of us
had finished lunch, Linda told me the girls in her cabin were all talking
about what had happened the night before. "Thanks, Bill. I think maybe you
have found your niche. You're a basketball star so young guys will listen
to you and you have your head screwed on straight so you have something to
say. Think about it." I did then and for a long, long time afterward.
I never paid much attention to the
news, but my Aunt Mendy had asked me about this Rev. McBride from Concord
who was being tried in Lexington for child pornography and I told her the
whole mess. She remembered he had been tried in Concord for child sexual
abuse, but didn't remember much about it. "They started picking the jury
today," she told me. "It was on the news." Well, I certainly paid attention
to the news then.
When I got home from work, she told
me the defense lawyer has said Eugene had been purchased as a boy sex toy
for some Concord matron's gay son and that he was gay and had invited McBride's
attention. I was furious! I knew the whole story and told my aunt what had
happened. "Well, is he gay?" she asked.
"What has that got to do with something
which happened to him when he was twelve?" I asked and I guess she knew I
was pissed. "That bastard McBride not only raped him, but video taped it
and sold copies of the tape. Now you tell me what his being straight or gay
has to do with that."
"Well, I just wondered." I didn't answer.
It was none of her business and I was sure she would never drop it if I told
her he was gay and was one of my best friends.
The evening news carried a repeat of
the lawyer's statement and announced that Eugene, Millie and Jason had all
filed libel suits against him. "Good," I said. "That lawyer needs to publicly
eat his words." After the news I called Eugene and told him I was with him
and hoped everything turned out ok. When I asked how things were going, he
told me about Millie and that he was having a rough time, but he had the
support of Millie and Larry and now Anthony and Jason. When I asked about
Jason, he couldn't say enough about his big brother. I was glad.
The next day, I couldn't wait for the
news and when I learned that McBride had accepted a plea bargain again, I
was very relieved for Eugene. I called again and suggested he and Larry come
over Friday or Saturday night to celebrate. They decided Friday night was
best and said they would pick me up at 7:30.
I had e-mailed Paula the news as it
happened, but when the trial was over I decided that was a good excuse to
call her. I was dying to hear her voice. While I waited for someone to get
her to the phone, I thought how great it would have been had we gotten together
earlier but then was just glad we had finally done so.
She was ecstatic at the news of McBride
and said she had written Millie a note when she learned of the broken hip.
I asked her how camp was going and
she became very excited. The camp was great; she loved working with the kids
and was really enjoying being among so many Jewish adults and kids. "Being
Jewish in small-town Concord is pretty lonely at times," she said. "We get
to synagogue more often now than we did when we could barely pay the grocery
bill," she said. "Since it requires that we drive to Lexington, we couldn't
afford to do it very often before. I really don't have anyone to talk to
about my religion and it is important to me." I didn't comment. Being essentially
heathen, I was sure I couldn't understand her feelings. After that, we talked
about how we missed each other and how being separated intensified our love
for each other. I finally realized my aunt was going to kill me over the
phone bill and reluctantly said, "Goodnight, Paula, I love you, girl."
"Goodnight my red-headed love," she
said and we hung up.
I dreamed of Paula every night and
that night my dreams of her were more vivid than ever.
Friday night the guys came over and
we went out and had a great time. I enjoyed dancing since there seemed to
be women going to waste every dance. The guys and I kinda caught up on what
had been going on with the rest of the Fellowship and generally had a good
time. After the club closed, we went to the ice-cream parlor and sat and
talked until it closed. Much of that conversation revolved around Paula's
comment about religion. Eugene said, "You know, when there was a discussion
about the music for the concert, I said I was nothing--and that was true,
so true that I had to be baptized before I could be confirmed, but religion
is becoming a very important part of my life. In fact, come to think of it,
the Fellowship is a pretty religious bunch--and I think seriously, not just
for show. You're here in Lexington, why don't you contact the rabbi and at
least see if you can get some understanding of Paula's religion. Can't hurt.
You don't have to become Jewish, just find out where Paula is." Well, I decided
that made a great deal of sense and called and made an appointment with the
rabbi who, much to my surprise, was a woman.
After our first meeting, we met on
a weekly basis. When my aunt found out I had been to see a rabbi, she started
in on Jews and I just walked off. I had to live in the house for the summer
and she had proven she was a bigger redneck than my dad, and that took some
doing. I sure as hell didn't let her know I was, for all intents and purposes,
studying Judaism with a rabbi. She would have shit her pants or kicked me
out. But it took a lot of effort to control my red-headed temper.
Saturday morning, campers started leaving
after breakfast. Parents who had to pick up campers were told that everyone
had to be gone by 10:00 so the camp could be ready for the third and fourth
grade camp starting Sunday. Of course there were two or three still around
at 10:30, but they were told to wait on the porch of the lodge. Those of
us who were staying were free after 9:30. Two of the male counselors were
leaving and Bill and Howwy, another rising senior camper, were taking their
place. Bill and Linda came by and said they were going for a walk and asked
if I wanted to go along. "Very sweet and very nice of you, but if I were
Linda and Bill were Michael and I asked Linda and she said she would, I'd
kill her on the spot," I laughed.
Bill grinned and said, "I was prepared
in case you said yes. We'll be good," he said as the two of them started
down a trail. I was getting ready to feel sorry for myself when the four
female counselors came walking up from checking the cabins. Mrs. Allison's
husband was waiting for her. She gave him a peck on the cheek and immediately
started bitching about something or other, then got pissed because he hadn't
gone to the cabin to pick up her stuff. "I had to drag all this here myself,"
she whined. I felt like busting her one. He kept saying, "My Pet this and
My Pet that," until they finally had everything in the car and left.
"Now that's one priest who truly wears
a dog collar," Ann laughed. "If I have ever seen a man on a leash, he's it."
"Dog collar?" I asked.
"Yea, that's what priests' collars
are often called."
"Well, I can tell you one thing I have
learned at camp this week. If Michael Andrews puts on a dog collar he's going
to have to find another woman to lead him around!"
"What do you mean?" Susan asked.
"Mary Kathryn's man, who at sixteen
she claims she'll marry, is at a Benedictine Abbey thinking about his vocation.
He thinks he wants to be a priest and Mary Kathryn has a problem with that,"
"What's the problem, Mary Kathryn?"
"You just saw that bitch and you ask
what the problem is? You heard what she said about sex. I bet she has little
teas and all the blue haired ladies come and then make fun of her behind
her back. No, thank you. I'm more like you three. I couldn't put up with
being a priest's wife. No way, Jose!" By the time I had finished, all three
were laughing so hard they had tears in their eyes. "What's so damn funny?
I love a man more than life itself and he's sitting up there with a bunch
of monks trying to decide whether I'm going to have him or God gets him!"
That only made them laugh harder.
Finally Susan got control enough to
say, "Mary Kathryn, you have a bigger problem than you think. I AM a priest's
wife and, to make matters even worse, I'm a priest. Jack is a priest who
is a hospital chaplain and I am rector of the local parish. When I'm gone,
he does the parish, supplies on Sundays when a parish is without a priest
or the priest needs a break and he helps me out. I guess that makes me a
priest's wife priest."
"You're lying," I said in utter disbelief.
"You're not at all like a priest's wife!"
"I'm not? Jack's sure going to be surprised
when he finds that out," she laughed.
"Well... I don't know what to say,"
"Stereotypes will always get you in
trouble," Cindy said.
"I'm glad Michael doesn't know this.
He's death on stereotypes and I need something to hold over his head. I mean,
Susan, you are great but that means the score is one to one--you and Mrs.
"Hate to break the news, Mary Kathryn,
but you've got the wrong score. I make it two to one--and it depends on whether
you give the Allison team a point or the Susan team," Ann laughed.
"Not you too!" I was absolutely beside
myself. My carefully constructed argument was going up in smoke before my
eyes because I really admired the two women. "Well, I think you two are great
and it sure changes my thinking--some--but I don't know you as well as I
do Cindy. I mean spending a week in the cabin with someone doesn't leave
a lot to the imagination about a person. Oh, I don't mean you two are not
great, it's just, well, maybe you kinda, you know, have a special camp face.
I mean, you know, maybe Cindy does too, but you know, when you practically
live with someone twenty-four hours a day, you know."
"I know what you mean, Mary Kathryn.
I have lived in the cabin with you a week and never once heard you say 'you
know' and now it's practically half your words. Methinks you are trying hard
to hold on to something and covering up with 'you know'. Well, I don't like
to hear that so I'll just settle the whole thing. I'm a priest's wife as
well. All the women counselors in senior high camp have traditionally been
clergy wives and usually there hasn't been a single 'Mrs. Allison' and wouldn't
have been this year but, bless her heart, good old standby Ernestine slipped
off a ladder while doing a roof repair on her house and broke a leg. First
time she hasn't been here in at least twenty years. She was a priest's wife.
He retired two years ago and died last year. She's sixty-seven and would
have been here anyway, except she was finally convinced she'd be more valuable
"And she still comes to camp?"
"Comes to camp, repairs roofs, takes
in stray kids, gives the school board hell because they won't adopt a policy
on bullying and name-calling, fights to keep prayer out of school, you name
"Holy shit," I said without thinking,
blushed and said, "Sorry, that's what Michael would have said."
Cindy laughed. "That's what John calls
the bulletin, newsletter and committee reports. He hates them. When our oldest
was about six, he walked into church one morning and, having learned to read
pretty well, wanted a bulletin--usually kids don't get one--looked at the
usher and said in a loud voice, "Give me one of those holy shits, please".
"Wish I could stay for next week, Mary
Kathryn," Ann said. "You and Susan and Cindy will be peers next week--you'll
be counselors. You'll also meet some other clergy wives who help with the
program. Some you will like and others will be a pain in the ass. They're
just people and have all the good things and all the bad things which make
people people. I'll be back for middle school and there will be another wife
replacing Cindy or Susan. I'm not sure who the fourth counselor will be that
week. Right now I'm going to run. I've been away from my man a week and I'm
ready to get home." We hugged and she left.
"Guess we should have told you before,
but after I learned you were having a problem, we decided not to. I'm surprised
someone didn't tell you," Cindy said. "Next week when we are counselors and
not camper and counselor, we'll do some talking. Susan?"
"I'd love to have a chance to talk
to a young woman who's trying to decide where to go with her life, especially
when it seems so determined by a man."
"Thanks," was all I could say and I
was relieved when the bell rang for lunch.
We would have lunch, then a training
session from 1:00 until 5:00 and had been told we were free Saturday night.
At lunch, Bill and Linda invited me to go into town to a movie with them.
Before I could object, Bill said, "And you'll drive'.
I had to get up earlier than usual
on Sunday morning to meet Woody and drive to Chattanooga. On the trip down
we talked about the program, what I thought I had learned, that sort of thing.
Finally Woody asked me about next year. I had told him, of course, that I
was going to Oberlin, but that was about it. "Five of us have bought a house
on Lake Erie near Lorraine since there was no campus housing available because
we were accepted after the deadline. With our scholarships, we could afford
to buy a house that an Oberlin professor made available to us." I told him
about the house and the rest of the Oberlin Five.
"Sounds great," he said.
"The whole Fellowship"--and I had to
explain--"will be going up the middle of August after we all finish our summer
programs. Our parents are going too, at least most of them, and we are going
to paint and do whatever else needs doing. You'll have to come up and spend
some time with us."
"I'd love it," he said. "It would be
kinda like visiting a grandson."
"I suspect you'll end up with at least
five grandchildren next year."
"What is your plan of study, Matt?"
I explained that I expected to do dual
enrollment and get an engineering degree as well as one in organ.
"In case I can't make it as an organist,
I won't starve to death," I laughed.
"Matt, you could make it as an organist
right now. Not one of the best, but good enough to live well. With four more
years of organ and composition, you won't have to worry. What I'd like to
see you do is an apprenticeship with an organ builder. An organist who understands
his instrument is a rarity. Usually, they know basically how they work, but
I mean really know an organ. What do you think of that?"
"I haven't, but I'm sure enjoying the
workshop I'm doing here which includes some study of organ building."
"If you are interested, I am positive
I can get you an apprenticeship with Holtkemp, an organ builder in the area.
Maybe not the best known in the world, but known and respected. I'm sure
you could make arrangements to get college credit for that."
"I'd love that, Woody, if you could."
"Can and will. We'll make it final
when you come up to your house."
The service went well. The choir was
about the same as St. Mary's and the service was little different. Not quite
as high church, but high enough.
At the coffee hour following Mass,
everyone told me how good I was, but I knew I was a visitor and only nice
things would be said. I did give weight to Woody's "Good Job!" After the
coffee hour, a couple who had known Woody previously asked us to have dinner
with them. They insisted we ride the incline to the top of Lookout Mountain
where we ate in a restaurant which overlooked Chattanooga and the Tennessee
On the way back, I told Woody about
the episode at the river and he just said, "Matt, Lucas will be Lucas. Maybe
one of these years he'll meet someone and fall in love. I hope so. His present
lifestyle really upsets me and it also worries me. But I can tell you this:
he will not give up on you. You are really driving him nuts. First, because
you are so damn handsome. If you were ugly--well, I've always said if suddenly
all men were ugly, Lucas would become a monk. Second, you haven't fallen
victim to his charms and that is a real challenge to him. Good luck this
As I opened the door Monday after my
last session, I thought Lucas had struck it lucky because of the shouts and
groans but, as soon as I turned the corner, I saw he was watching a porno
flick. "Join me," he said, "this is a hot one". I had never seen a porno
flick before--honest--so I sat down and started watching. Two guys were fucking
like bunnies. On the one hand, I found it kinda boring and disgusting and
on the other--well, Chili Pepper got hard as a rock and started streaming
pre-cum. Suddenly I felt Lucas hand on my hard cock. I pushed it away without
comment, but half a minute later it was back. "Now try to tell me you're
not hot and ready to at least jerk off," he laughed.
"Right on both counts, but take your
"Matt, you're going to get your rocks
off tonight. You know that and I know that. Now I want you to tell me the
difference between our doing each other and doing ourselves. There is no
difference and you can't tell me otherwise."
"Lucas, you're right, I can't tell
you otherwise. I can't tell you anything about being in love and being faithful.
Maybe one day you will understand. And you may even be right that there is
no difference, but I think there is and Luke thinks there is and that makes
it true for us. So I guess I better go before this goes any further." I got
up and went to my room and closed the door. Of course, Lucas was right, I
did get my rocks off, but I did it and Luke and I had certainly understood
that would happen.
The next morning, Lucas didn't mention
the night before nor did I. But it wasn't his last attempt at seduction.
All week he kept making suggestive remarks, making sure we were in the bathroom
at the same time every morning and suggesting we go swimming every day. I
made a point of being sure Woody and Stinky could go with us before I agreed
to go. I knew I was being tempted big time because I kept an erection too
often and too long not to be aware of what was going on. Every time he asked
about going swimming, I said, "Sure, Woody and Stinky have already suggested
Each time he said, "Shit!"
Lucas was leaving Saturday afternoon
since he wasn't performing Sunday in the closing concert as I was. He came
into the bathroom while I was drying after my shower and immediately saw
that I hadn't gotten Chili Pepper under control. He reached out and stroked
him a couple times and it felt good. I reached out for his cock...
After breakfast, Lucas said goodbye
and left. After he was gone, I lay on my bed for a long time, trying to decide
what I was going to write to Luke. I had been absolutely forthright with
him to this point and I couldn't convince myself I should not do so now.
I was more than a little ashamed of myself and sick at my stomach as I sat
down at the computer to e-mail Luke. What would he say? What would he think?
What would he do? I tried to imagine that I was in his place and he in mine
but for the first time I really didn't know my Luke. As I finished the letter
I was in tears, went to my room and escaped reality by sleeping until time
for the closing concert. After dinner, I asked Woody to come to the room
and sat and talked until all hours. When he left he said, "Matt, remember
you love Luke and he loves you. There will be hard and painful times in your
relationship. This is one of them."
When I woke up Saturday morning, I
felt as though a flock of buzzards had spent the night in my mouth, my head
was pounding as if someone was inside with a jackhammer and the stench in
the room sent me rushing to the john for another good puke. I finally managed
to get it together enough to clean up the mess from the night before, shower
and brush my teeth--twice--but that was it. I closed the blinds and crawled
in bed and pulled the covers over my head. When I woke up, I was feeling
better, but not in tip-top shape. I did manage to crawl out of bed and get
a Coke, which I kept down. A couple aspirin helped and soon I felt like finding
something to eat. By then it was 6:00. I decided I'd go to a movie and caught
a bus to a theater.
When I got back, I tumbled into bed
again and slept late Sunday morning. By the time Douglas brought Janet back,
I was feeling human. They suggested we hit a pizza place and, as we sat down,
Douglas said, "Got a false I.D.? Want a beer?"
"Yes and a very definite no," I smiled.
I then told them about Friday night.
"Man, you were drunker than a skunk.
You must have been drinking doubles," Douglas said.
"Double misery at least," I laughed.
Week four the three of us were doing
oils. Oils were not my favorite medium, but one in which I needed to work.
I was enjoying learning and Rich was very helpful. He never mentioned the
previous Friday night, nor did I.
Friday at break, Douglas said Janet
was again spending the weekend at his place. "You're welcome to come with
"Think I'll stay here and work in the
sculpture studio tomorrow. There will be no-one there, probably, and I get
more work done when I'm alone. Thanks anyway."
"We are thinking about coming back
for a concert Saturday night. Not a big one and the groups are nothing special,
but if we can't find something more interesting, we'll come in. I'm sure
there will be tickets available--we haven't bothered to get any. As I said,
it's not a big deal but maybe you'll discover you like our kind of music,"
"Not sure I can take all the noise,"
I laughed, "but it will be different. But I'm not sure."
"Why don't we come by and check? If
you find something more interesting, leave a note on your door, otherwise,
we'll probably see you Saturday night--unless Janet makes my life so interesting
I forget!" Douglas laughed.
Saturday morning, I went to the sculpture
studio and worked until about 2:00. I was so involved I forgot lunch. I walked
over to the student center and got a snack--actually a huge snack--and then
went to the dorm, took a nap, then started to get ready for the concert.
I wasn't very excited about it, but at least it would be a new experience
and I had nothing better to do. I showered and got dressed and realized I
hadn't checked my e-mail. I went downstairs and there were several letters
from the members of the Fellowship and one from Matt. I decided I'd read
all the others first and save Matt's for dessert. After catching up on all
that had been going on with the Fellowship--I laughed big time when I read
Mary Kathryn's postscript to mine, going into detail about being knocked
for a loop about clergy wives. I then opened Matt's:
"My Bright Angel, Love of my Life,
my Yonghon Tongmu,
It has really been a week. After the
performance tomorrow, I'll pack and be ready to leave early Monday morning.
How I wish--oh how I wish--you'd be waiting for me so I could tell you what
I have to tell you in person, but you won't be and I can't keep it from you
any longer. I tried to call but there was no answer, then remembered you
had said you would probably spend the weekend with Janet and Douglas at his
I was suddenly very uneasy and confused.
What was Matt talking about? What couldn't wait?
I should have known it was about Lucas.
"...has kept up his campaign to get
me in bed with him all week. He asked if I wanted to watch a porno flick
with him earlier this week. I was curious since I had never seen one, so
I sat down beside him and started watching it. As I watched, I got hot--kinda
disgusted as well--but hot nonetheless. He noticed and reached over and put
his hand on my hard Chili Pepper. I pushed his hand away twice and finally
just left. But I have to admit, Yonghon Tongmu, I was very tempted, very
tempted to do what he suggested--wanted--for us to jerk each other off. But
I didn't. Instead, I went to my room and closed the door.
This morning while I was drying myself,
he came into the bathroom. Chili Pepper was making known his need for attention.
He was hard and there was no way to hide it. When Lucas reached out and took
my cock in his hand, it felt so good, so damn good. He had talked so much
about our jerking each other off and how he didn't see how that was not being
unfaithful to you--no more unfaithful than my whacking off myself that I
guess I had started believing it. Before I knew it, I was reaching for his
hard, hot cock..."
I didn't know what happened. I loved
Matt. We had talked about his slipping and I had assured myself I could handle
it when it happened. I was wrong. Sure, he had only got into a mutual jerk-off
session, but he had let Lucas take my place. I just plain lost it. I was
so angry, so hurt, so indignant, so everything that I saw red. I slammed
my fist on the keyboard, jumped up and screamed, "Well, fuck you Matt Greywolf,"
and ran to my room, tears streaming down my face. I was hyperventilating
while trying to tell myself it didn't really matter. I mean all Matt had
done was jerk off Lucas and be jerked off by him. No big deal--hell, yes
it was a big deal!!
I kept talking to myself, telling myself
that it was no big deal, but the longer I talked, the bigger deal it became.
What if Matt had only told part of the story? Talk to myself as I would,
I still felt betrayed, rejected, even unimportant to Matt's life. Sure, down
inside I probably knew that wasn't true, but I wasn't dealing with deep inside.
I was dealing with immediate, emotional, irrational thoughts and feeling.
"I knew it. Just knew that hot-to-trot Matt would get laid--even if it was
just a jerk-off session. But why would I think he stopped there?" I didn't
know the voice in my head talking, convincing me that I shouldn't trust anything
Matt said. When I reached my room, I had worked myself into a real rage.
Cool Luke, ha! I was anything but cool. I was fucking, raging angry. I realized
I had been pounding my fist in the wall in my blind, unthinking anger.
It wouldn't hurt so much, but I loved
Matt. I still loved Matt, but he had been unfaithful. He couldn't be trusted.
He had let a fuck-happy playboy touch what was mine! I was cussing, screaming
and crying and still pounding the wall when the phone rang. I started just
to let it ring, but finally picked it up. It was Rich.
"How you doing, Luke?" he asked.
"Not very fucking damn good," I said.
"Matt's been playing around with his fucking room-mate."
"That makes two of us. I came home
this afternoon and found Josh riding the ass of a fifteen-year-old student
of his. I think you and I deserve to go out and have a good time, forgetting
two-timing boyfriends. Pick you up in half an hour?"
"Damn fucking right," I answered. I
thought to myself, "Matt has screwed around so why shouldn't I go out and
have a good time? I mean, at least I'm not screwing around." I hung up the
phone, changed into the leather outfit and left a note for Janet and Douglas
saying I was going out with Rich.
When we got to the club Rich went straight
to the bar and ordered drinks. After last weekend, I should have had better
sense, but I was still not thinking, just reacting to my hurt and feeling
betrayed, so I downed mine in a couple of gulps. "Man, you are pissed," Rich
said. "Well, so am I. Josh and I had an agreement that we wouldn't fuck around
and I find him in the bed riding the ass of jailbait. Fucking bastard!" He
ordered another round of drinks. As we drank the second drink, our anger
at our lovers fed on each other until we were both being totally irrational.
The alcohol didn't help make us reasonable.
I drank the second one a bit slower
then than the first and when I finished it said, "Let's fucking dance." The
tune was slow and Rich pulled me to himself and ground his hips against my
soon rock-hard cock. When he wasn't doing that, he had his hand on Little
Luke. It felt good. In my hurt and anger, I said to myself, "Two can play
the fucking around game," and ground back. But it didn't work. It made me
feel I was betraying Matt; it made me... Well, it finally made me say, "I
wish you wouldn't" and Rich stopped. But I was hot and ready. I could feel
the precum in my briefs.
When the song ended and before the
next one started, we were back at the bar. Strange, I wasn't feeling the
alcohol as I had before. Maybe the drinks weren't as strong, I don't know.
We finished our drinks and danced again. Again Rich kept grinding his hips
into mine and groping me. I said nothing. We hit the bar again and this time
didn't leave. I don't know how many drinks I had but I was feeling no pain
when Rich said, "Let's cut out of here. Joe, we're leaving," he said to the
"Not on your own, you're not. I'll
call a cab."
"No need. We're ok." As he spoke, I
slid off the bar stool and into the floor. Strange, I still didn't feel drunk.
"No way Jose," Joe said and Rich allowed
him to call a cab.
When we got to Rich's place, he had
to help me from the cab and the two of us kept falling down and laughing
as we walked to his second-floor apartment. I should say he kept falling
down because I couldn't have stood if my life depended on it. When we reached
his door, he was practically carrying me so he just hauled me to the bedroom
and tossed me on the bed.
He lay beside me and started running
his hands over my body. I knew I shouldn't allow him, but it did feel good!
Soon he was all over me, kissing me, sucking my nipples and Little Luke was
not reacting as expected. I was hot and getting hotter in my mind, but still...
When Rich said, "To hell with two-timing boyfriends. Two can play that game
as well as one." I didn't answer because, when he said it, a knife sliced
through my heart. Not only because Matt was a two-timer, but also because
he was calling Matt names and I still loved Matt. God, if only I didn't.
If only I could say as Rich said, "To hell with him." While I couldn't say
that, I also couldn't tell Rich to stop. My mind was all mixed up and the
alcohol only made it worse.
When Rich reached down, unzipped my
tight pants and slipped his hand inside my briefs, he said, "Fuck, you're
so drunk you're not hard! I guess I'll have to give your cock mouth-to-cock
As his hot mouth sucked Little Luke
inside, I groaned. I had forgotten just what an incredible feeling that was.
As he started working magic with his tongue, I groaned, then looked down...
I looked down and, as I did, I saw the medallion--symbolizing Matt's and
my promise made what seemed ages ago, yet as fresh as the moment--lying on
my chest. I may have been stinking drunk, feeling betrayed and hot and horny
as hell, but that did it. I screamed "No!" rolled off the bed and staggered
toward the door.
"Where the hell do you think you're
going?" Rich shouted. "We're just having a little fun the way our boyfriends
I didn't answer. I just snapped my
pants--they were falling down as much as super-tight pants could--and half
staggered, half ran through the door. I headed down the stairs, tripped over
my own feet and rolled and tumbled down them. I picked myself up at the bottom
of the stairs and walked, ran, stumbled, staggered, crawled toward my dorm.
I was not only so drunk I could hardly stand, but also crying so hard I couldn't
see. My Sarang Hanun Pomul had been unfaithful to me and my teacher had seduced
me. But I had let Rich seduce me. It hadn't been a hard job because I had
encouraged him. Hadn't I let him grope me and grind his hips into mine at
the club? I was as guilty of being unfaithful as Matt. No, I was worse. I
let Rich take Little Luke into his mouth. I was willing to have him make
love to my body and almost let him give me a blow job. Why? Because I was
drunk? Because I was horny? Because... I had to be honest with myself even
though it hurt. Yes, I was drunk. Yes, I was horny, but that wasn't the reason
I had submitted to Rich. I did it for revenge. I wanted to get even with
Matt. I wanted to hurt him as he had hurt me. I had allowed my hurt, anger
and feeling of betrayal to overcome my love for Matt, my promise to him,
the very light of my life.
I was nearly to the dorm, crawling
on my knees, when I finally saw what I had done. My self-hatred, self-loathing
overcame me and I started puking--not because I was drunk, but because of
what I had done. I felt I was trying to puke up the filth and rottenness
I had inside from what I had done. To make matters worse, I heard Matt's
voice in my head saying over and over and over, "Luke, I don't know what
I would do if you were unfaithful. I know I will never stop loving you, but
I don't know how I would handle you being unfaithful. I don't know how I
could handle that." Matt had been unfaithful to me. I knew that, but I kept
hearing his voice saying the same thing over and over and over. "I don't
know how I could handle your being unfaithful."
I was finally able to get on my feet
long enough to get up the steps at the dorm. Once inside, I passed a mirror
in the hall. I was a mess. Holding onto the handrail, I got myself to my
room, and had taken out my key when I saw a note sticking in the door. I
took it, opened the door and went inside. I tossed the note on the bed, went
to the bathroom to wash out my mouth and wash my face. When I returned, I
opened the note. It was from Janet.
Douglas and I came by to see if you
wanted to go to the concert. We asked a guy watching TV if he had seen you
before we came up. He said you had been sitting at one of the computers,
then suddenly shouted something and pounded your fist into the keyboard and
left. 'It's still up,' he said. 'No-one has touched it.'
When Douglas and I looked at the e-mail
still on the screen, we were afraid you hadn't scrolled down, that you hadn't
read the whole message. Sorry to invade your privacy, but we wanted to make
sure you saw the whole message and knew the whole story from Matt. We printed
the message and logged you out.
We'll be in around noon to see about
you. Luke, we both care about you and hope you haven't done anything more
foolish than getting a little drunk.
Janet and Douglas"
In the envelope was the message they
had printed out. I read again what I had read before, but there was more.
"This morning while I was drying myself,
he came into the bathroom. Chili Pepper was making known his need for attention.
He was hard and there was no way to hide it. When Lucas reached out and took
my cock in his hand, it felt so good, so damn good. He had talked so much
about our jerking each other off and how he didn't see how that was not being
unfaithful to you--no more unfaithful than my whacking off myself that I
guess I had started believing it. Before I knew it, I was reaching for his
hard, hot cock..."
Luke, my Bright Angel, my Yonghon Tongmu,
how can you forgive me? For a moment there was no question about what I would
do. Then, just before my hand reached Lucas' cock, I saw your ring on my
finger--'until death do us part'. I took my hand back, said to Lucas, 'You'll
have to take care of that yourself. I have a soulmate.' Luke, all he did
was laugh and say, 'I almost made it. I almost got a good jack off and Luke
would never have known.'
I said, 'But I would have and that's
what counts, Lucas. That's what counts.'
Yonghon Tongmu, I guess technically
I was not unfaithful to you because I never actually touched Lucas, but in
my heart of hearts I know I would have had I not been reminded that you mean
more to me than anything in the world. Please, please forgive me, Luke. I
love you so much I will die if you cannot and will not. I wanted so much
to tell you this in person, but I couldn't keep it to myself and from you.
I couldn't pretend it never happened.
I know there is a possibility you won't
see this until Sunday night or Monday since you are probably with Janet and
Douglas. I will be in agony until I hear from you.
A very sorry Matt"
What had I done? Matt had not been
unfaithful. He had resisted temptation at the very brink of giving in to
Lucas, but he had not. Had I not done the same? No, because when I finally
said no, my cock was in Rich's mouth and I was loving it. No, it wasn't the
same and I couldn't convince myself otherwise. Why had I not trusted Matt's
love? Why had I, cool Luke, not been able to be faithful? Why? Why? Why?
I fell to the floor weeping my eyes out. Again I heard Matt's voice over
and over and over in my head, getting louder and louder, except this time
he was saying, "Luke, I will never stop loving you, but I can't handle your
being unfaithful. I can't handle it. I love you, Luke, but it's over." His
voice was pounding and pounding in my head. Another voice, my own, was screaming,
"You are worthless. You had destroyed the only reason you have for living.
Luke, you are worthless and have a worthless life ahead of you."
Finally I could stand it no longer.
I had to get away, run away. I rushed out of my room and into the night.
It was raining and even in Florida rain is cold, and I was still dressed
in nothing more than pants and an open vest.
Matt's e-mail and the cold rain soon
had me sober enough to walk and I did, aimlessly in the rain. But I wasn't
able to think clearly with the voice, my own voice, screaming in my head
how worthless I had made my life. I walked and ran, trying to escape, not
knowing where I was or where I was going and didn't care. I finally realized
I was walking down a highway, along a causeway. The wind was strong and the
rain was pouring down like my tears. When I came to a bridge, I crawled under
it and curled into a fetal position, making my shaking body as small as possible,
but I couldn't stop the voices in my head, Matt's and my own: "Luke, I'll
always love you, but you have been unfaithful," and "Luke, you have killed
the only thing which makes your life worth living. You have destroyed the
good in your life."
I couldn't stand it any longer. I crawled
from under the bridge and started walking again. At the next bridge, I stopped.
I couldn't go on. I had taken everything from my pocket when we went to the
club except my key and the fake I.D. The key I had tossed on the bed with
the envelope so all I had was the fake I.D. I took it from my pocket, looked
at it and realized that it was proof of a lie which had resulted in disaster
so I tossed it into the dark waters of the sea as they crashed against the
causeway and rushed under the bridge, but the wind caught it and blew it
back over my head. It was coming back to haunt me.
That did it. I forgot all I had learned,
all the good things in my life, all the people who loved and cared for me,
even Matt who said he would never stop loving me--regardless. I forgot all
as I decided to wash away the voices in my head and my shame. "No-one would
ever know," I thought as I took off my pants and vest, folded them and put
them on the edge of the bridge. "The waves will wash me out to sea and carry
away my dirty secret," I thought as I climbed atop the bridge rail.
I tried to call Luke when I got up
late Sunday morning, but still got no answer. I was still feeling rotten
about what had happened with Lucas. But I was so very, very glad that Luke's
ring had stopped me before things got out of hand--or I guess, more correctly,
in hand--as I showered and got ready for Mass.
As I walked to All Saints', I thought
to myself, "I sure will miss the music when I get back home". Woody had asked
that I play for the service and I had rehearsed with the orchestra made up
of students from all the music programs and it was great.
I had lunch with Woody and Stinky and
when we finished, Stinky said, "Why don't we have a last swim before the
performance this evening?" We spent a couple hours swimming and then sitting
on the bank of the river talking. I hadn't intended to tell them what a fool
I had been, but the two had been so close to me that I suddenly found myself
telling them about the last week, including the episode in the bathroom Saturday
morning. By the time I finished, I was crying like a baby. Woody put his
arms around me and hugged me tightly and said, "Matt, to be honest, you fared
better than I feared you might. No real damage was done, was there?"
I looked at him and said, "Woody, I
guess I keep thinking that the lust in my heart was as bad as doing something
"I'm sure that Luke would disagree
and, even if he doesn't, your love for each other will win in the end. It's
too powerful to let one mistake overcome it." I felt better but, even at
that, I still felt rotten about what I had done. "You're not going to let
this wreck your performance this evening are you?" Woody asked.
The thought had never occurred to me
but as soon as Woody asked, I started bawling again. Through my tears I said,
"Woody, I'm playing an excerpt from 'Yonghon Tongmu' that I have transcribed
and re-written for the organ. I can't do it."
"Yes, you can and you will, Matt. Too
much depends on it. As long as you perform, you'll have times when your life
seems a mess and you perform anyway. That's what separates the greats from
When we reached the campus, I went
to my room and took a nap--or rather tried to. My old faithful escape from
reality failed me and I just lay on my bed thinking about what I would say
to Luke. I realized, again, that it would be two weeks in hell before I saw
him. I wondered if I had made the right choice by writing him about what
had happened. I mean I knew I would tell him but, the more I thought about
it, the more having written an e-mail seemed to have been a bad idea. Little
did I know just how very unwise it was and how soon I would be living in
hell because of it.
It was finally time for me to get dressed
for the closing dinner and the performance before it. As I dressed, I told
myself that my performance had to be great because it was my way of telling
the world how much I loved my Bright Angel, and of telling him how sorry
I was for the pain I had caused him. I started to call him before I left
for the performance, but decided against it. I didn't need any more emotional
load than I was carrying already.
The whole performance went well; some
parts were better than others, of course. After all, all sorts of people
were playing and singing. And while I was crying silent tears all the time
I was playing, I knew I had done pretty good. The applause was great and
welcome when I finished. The performance was followed by a reception and
many people came to speak to me and tell me how much they enjoyed the piece
and how well I played. But they were just people. As the reception was winding
down, Woody and Stinky came up--I had wondered where they had been--and hugged
me. "Magnificent, magnificent," Stinky said and Woody added, "Boy, you did
yourself proud. We're holding a small celebration in my room after dinner
and you are invited."
Dinner was a festive occasion. Awards
were handed out for some of the programs, but not for mine. There was a short--very
short--speech by the vice-chancellor thanking all who had, once again, made
the music program a success. Dr. Camp just said, "You have heard the performance
and that says it all for the music program. Thanks."
After dinner, several people wanted
to talk to me--telling me how well I had played and how much they had enjoyed
the composition. Several asked about copies of the video of the concert--fortunately
Anthony had sent me the address and business cards with all the information
for ordering it. It was a good twenty or so minutes before I was able to
leave for Woody's apartment.
When I arrived, only Woody and Stinky
were present. "Where is everybody?" I asked.
Stinky looked around the room and said,
"They're all right here. Woody and I wanted you to ourselves tonight." Woody
had been pouring wine and when he handed it to me I saw it was champagne.
"Here's to the best young organist I have ever met and to a better than good
composer," he said, and he and Woody raised their glasses.
"You don't know how much I treasure
those words," I said. "You two have taught me more than I can ever tell you
this summer--some of it was about being an organist but, most important,
about being human. Here's to two fine mentors." After that we talked about
the summer, went over the performance and then discussed my future.
"Matt, I hope you will take seriously
Woody's suggestion that you forget about engineering. It's a demanding course
and your studies at Oberlin will also be demanding. If you can learn something
about organ building, you will be a very valuable person in the organ community
and you need not worry about making a living. You will live well."
We talked about that at length. Finally
Woody said, "I don't want to take a thing away from Millie. She was good
and I bet she still is. She has done an amazing job teaching you but, let's
face it, Concord is a small town. Your exposure to the wider world has been
limited. And, while I hate to bring up a painful subject, that's also true
of your being a gay man. The value of the Sewanee programs--even isolated
on God's Holy Mountain," both men smiled, "is exposure to a wider world.
Some of it has been painful: learning not to be a whore--organ and, dare
I say it, maybe otherwise--comes to mind. You are a great talent and a great
man. Never forget that and never be less. End of sermon." The rest of the
evening was spent listening to the two old friends tell tales--half of which
may have been true.
When it was almost time to go, Woody
said, "Matt, be sure and get in touch as soon as you get to Ohio".
"I will, I promise. And I expect you
to spend some time at the lake when we are all there."
"Matt, keep in touch with me. I'm not
close enough to just hop up to the lake but, then again, I just might one
day. I do have some things I am thinking about and will let you know as soon
as I can check them out. And do let us know what happens between you and
Luke. I'm certain it will come out ok, but I'd like to know that."
We all three hugged each other, said
goodnight, and I walked across campus feeling as though I was leaving friends
I had known for ages. How good they had been to me.
When I reached the room, I took a deep
breath--the sick feeling I had felt before came back--and dialed Luke's number.
There still was no answer. Well, I guess if I had a choice of spending the
night in a dorm alone or being with friends, I'd stay with friends as long
as possible. I knew that Douglas drove in just in time for the first session
each day and I suspect all three decided that was a good idea.
I didn't go to sleep quickly. In fact,
at 2:00 a.m. I was still tossing and turning, thinking about all the possible
ways Luke could respond to my letter and none of them were good. I really
wished I had waited until I saw him or at least talked to him on the phone--but
I guess it was just proof that eighteen-year-olds are not nearly as grown
as we like to think. Sometime before 3:00 I finally drifted off to sleep
only to wake up again and again just as, in a dream, I was about to take
Lucas' cock in my hand. The last time I remember waking up was at 5:30 and
the predawn light was visible outside.
It was 12:30 when I was awakened by
the sun streaming through my window. I had overslept. Luke would be in his
workshop or at lunch so there was no use trying to call him. I had planned
to leave at 8:30 so I was very late, but was still determined to drive straight
through. Mom and Dad wouldn't expect me until Tuesday, but I wanted to get
home, needed to get home. I took a very quick shower, grabbed the last of
my things--I had put most in the Jeep yesterday--and dashed out of the dorm.
It took less than fifteen minutes to turn in my key and be checked out. I
was on my way just after 1:30
I had taken a scenic route to Sewanee
expecting to enjoy the mountains. I did, but it had made leaving Luke no
less painful. Now I was in a rush to get home, so I took the most direct
route and as many interstate highways as possible. I only stopped for gas
and drive-thrus to get some food and drink. I made the trip home in eight
hours. I noticed the Andrews' place was dark as I passed and, as I approached
it, saw mine was as well. The Larsens' house was all lit, so I drove past
my own place to Luke's.
When I went inside, Mom grabbed me
and hugged me tightly, her eyes full of tears. She finally let me go and
said slowly, "Matt, Luke's missing". I fainted.
When I came to, I was lying on the
sofa in the den with Margaret leaning over me. She handed me something and
said simply, "Matt, drink this" .Dad was standing beside her.
When I finished what she had handed
me, I looked around and didn't see Jens and Gabrielle. "What's going on?
Will someone tell me what's going on? Where's Jens and Gabrielle?" I pleaded.
"David has taken Jens and Gabrielle
to Jackson to catch a plane to Florida. We don't know what is going on otherwise,"
Dad answered. "This morning Janet called and said she had stayed with Douglas
all weekend and when they came in for the workshop, Luke didn't show up.
At the break, they rushed to Luke's dorm and found his room open. They expected
to find it ransacked, but his key and wallet were on his bed along with an
e-mail from you they had printed out Saturday when they had driven into town
for a concert. There was no sign of Luke. They went back to the workshop
and asked Mr. Smith about Luke, and he said he hadn't seen him since Friday's
class. When they told him Luke had left them a note saying he was going out
with him Saturday night, Mr. Smith said he didn't know anything about it."
"They called the campus police, who
checked the sculpture studio and learned Luke had worked there until after
lunch and had left and did not return. Finally, the campus police called
the city police and they started their own investigation since Luke had been,
apparently, missing since Saturday afternoon. Janet and Douglas talked to
them about the previous weekend when, it seems, Luke had gone out to a gay
club and gotten drunk. That was where he had said he was going with Mr. Smith
Saturday night. Mr. Smith denied that as well, saying, 'You know how kids
like to tell tales about their exploits. I don't know what he was talking
about.' Finally Janet remembered part of the name of the club and the police
checked it out. Seems no-one working then had worked Saturday night but,
when they went to the house of the bartender on duty Saturday night, he remembered
Luke and Mr. Smith being there. In fact, he said they both were drunk--especially
the younger one-- and when they decided to leave, he had insisted on calling
a cab. According to him, it was some time well after midnight when they left.
He said he always called the same cab company when someone had too much to
drink, and gave the police the name."
"The cab company looked at the log
and found no cab going to Luke's dorm. When the police gave the dispatcher
Mr. Smith's address, they found a log entry. The police contacted the cab
driver and he remembered the two well. "They were both drunk, but the younger
one was really drunk. He had to be helped out of the cab," he told them.
Asked what the young man had been wearing, the cabbie raised an eyebrow and
said, "Very little. He had on very tight black leather pants and an open
black leather vest. It wasn't much, especially since it had started raining."
"Confronted by the police, Mr. Smith
admitted taking Luke to the club, including the fact that Luke had a fake
I.D. and had been drinking heavily. Since he had lied previously, they took
him in custody for further questioning. All he added was that Luke had gotten
angry and left his place sometime early in the morning--between 2:00 and
3:00 he thought, but wasn't sure. 'That's the last I saw of him,' he said.
Apparently, that was the last anyone saw of him."
Just after Dad finished speaking, the
phone rang. He answered it, listened for a few minutes and said, "Thank you,"
and hung up. "The police have found Luke's fake I.D. and what they assume
are his pants and vest on the causeway crossing an inlet from the gulf. That's
all they know beyond what we have been told already." I fainted again.
When I came to, I was crying and heard
myself saying over and over again, "It's my fault. It's all my fault." I
didn't know how long I had been unconscious, crying or speaking. When I looked
up, I saw Margaret holding a needle which, obviously, she had just used on
I guess what she had given me made
it possible for me to gain some control because I stopped the babbling and
just sat weeping silently. Mom and Dad were sitting beside me and Dad said,
"Matt, tell us what you know. What is your fault? Why is it your fault?"
By the time Dad had finished, the shot
had taken full effect. I felt as if I was speaking, but not really there.
No, I felt like I was in a dream telling about something that had happened
to someone else. Anyway, slowly, and in a voice which sometimes slurred words
and paused for me to think of a word, I told them the whole story of Lucas.
I didn't hold back anything, including how I had almost started jerking him
off and wanted him to get my rocks off. When I had finished telling them
that, I said, "Mom, Dad, I had been honest with Luke about everything that
had happened to that point and I wanted to talk to him in person about that.
I tried phoning him, but I finally wrote him an e-mail. I now know that was
foolish. I should have waited until I could talk to him, at least on the
phone. I have thought about it a lot and I guess I took the easy way out
by e-mailing him."
"Mom, Dad, I betrayed Luke. I was unfaithful
to him and now he's gone. I don't know where, I don't know what he has done.
I am scared. I am frightened. I am ashamed. I feel filthy and dirty. I hate
myself." I had been in control to that point, but no shot would have stopped
the tears which started or the self-loathing I felt inside. I just cried
and cried, all the time saying, "Luke forgive me. Come back to me, Luke.
I can't live without you."
Dad said--his voice sounded far off--"Matt,
you are over-reacting. You actually did nothing. Maybe you wanted to, but
your loyalty to Luke stopped you."
The shot was doing its job and I couldn't
say what I was thinking but, to myself I thought, "Dad, that's logical and
rational, I'm sure, but this is not a physics problem. It's all emotional
and I don't see any logic at all, just hurt, pain, betrayal and I have messed
up big time."
Mom was rocking me slowly in her arms,
humming that Korean lullaby she had sung to me as a child, but I just became
more and more out of control. Finally I heard Margaret say, as if she were
far away, "I hoped the smaller dose would do the job, but it didn't". I felt
the prick of a needle and I entered blessed oblivion in seconds.
As I walked, I had thought about what
my first attempt at taking my life had taught me, all the pain it had caused
and all the love I had been shown since, but it was not enough. Maybe what
I had decided to do was illogical and foolish. I knew it would hurt the Fellowship
and the Family, and Matt, but I was convinced I had destroyed any possibility
of keeping Matt's love--no, not his love, but Matt. My life was worthless,
not worth living, and I knew it. I was filthy inside and hated myself. Full
of self-loathing, I climbed atop the bridge rail.
As soon as I was atop the rail, I gave
one last thought to Matt and said, "I love you, Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul
Greywolf," and leaned over to throw myself into the sea. As I did, I felt
an arm about my waist which yanked me back and then lifted me from the rail.
As soon as my feet were on the ground, two strong hands on my shoulders turned
me around. I was facing an Indian. I knew that, but where did he come from?
Why was he here? What was he doing? I had been all alone and suddenly out
of nowhere an Indian--well, he wore regular clothes, but I knew he was an
Indian--had pulled me back from the brink of death.
"Nothing in this world is bad enough
for a young man to seek death," he said. "Nothing." I didn't answer. I couldn't.
This was all like a dream. I think I must have fainted because the next thing
I knew I was being carried to an eighteen-wheeler. Still naked, I was half-frozen
from the rain. Inside, the strange man found a towel and dried me, then wrapped
me in a blanket and put me in the sleeper without saying another word. As
I gradually grew warm again, I couldn't keep sleep from my eyes. The drone
of the truck speeding down the highway was like a lullaby and soon I was
I don't know how long I slept but when
I woke up it was dawn--or maybe dusk--I wasn't sure as I peeked out of the
sleeper. The driver looked in his mirror and when he saw me said, "I've been
drunk before and slept for twelve straight hours, but I have never stripped
to take a dive into the gulf. What's wrong with you, Boy? You crazy, stupid,
or what? Do you have a name?"
"Luke, Luke Larsen."
"Well, Luke, you were about to do a
damn foolish thing last night. Damn foolish. I can't think of anything half
as foolish as killing yourself. Problems, even big problems, can be solved
but there's no solution in or for death. Too many people I know have tried
and too many have made it. I know, I know it doesn't solve anything and creates
one living hell for those you leave behind. You don't look like a stupid,
selfish person who has no love in his heart, but you damn sure were acting
like it. Want to come up front and tell me about it? You've got nothing else
to do for the next few hours before we stop."
I slid into the front seat and didn't
say anything at first, then said, "If we don't stop soon, I'm going to be
hurting, really hurting. I've got to piss."
"Good. Maybe I should let you suffer
for a while since that lets you know you failed at making a complete fool
of yourself. If you've got to piss, you are still alive. That's good." He
pulled over as soon as he could and said, "Hit the woods and piss."
I hopped out of the truck and ran for
the woods, clutching the blanket around me. And I sure did need to piss.
When I finished, I climbed back into
the truck and said, "I don't know your name."
"Taequo. Taequo Wayadisi--Running-wolf
"You're a Native American?" I asked,
knowing the answer I thought.
"Yeah, I was born here. Weren't you?"
"Yea, but what I meant was..."
"Am I an Indian? Sure. Pretty obvious
isn't it? But aren't you trying to avoid the issue?" He didn't say any more
and I was also silent. We continued down the road with Taequo picking up
his mike from time to time to talk to other truckers. I guess he was just
ignoring me. Why shouldn't he? I knew I was hardly worth thinking about.
Later, when he picked up his mike and
started talking, I began paying attention when I heard him say, "Yea, Al,
I've got a beautiful young man sitting beside me as naked as a jay bird.
Damn right I said he's beautiful... Well, I did kinda pick him up, but not
the way you mean... I could only wish, but I'm afraid he's not into older
men. Anyway, he needs underwear, pants and a shirt and I think Chris is a
perfect match for him... Hell no, he's ten times better looking than Chris,
so find some clean clothes for him before I get ideas. That is if that Chris
has any clean clothes. I'll pull into Walmart just ahead and we'll get clothes
on him... Well, since we'll be at Walmart we can get him shoes... No, don't
know his story, but it must be a beaut from where I picked him up... Ok,
see you in fifteen."
Fifteen minutes later, Taequo pulled
into a Walmart parking lot and was soon joined by another eighteen-wheeler.
A tall gangly man and one my size got out and started walking toward Taequo's
rig. The shorter fellow was carrying some clothes. Taequo introduced them
as Al and Chris. Chris tossed the clothes to me and Taequo said, "Crawl in
the sleeper and get dressed, then we'll think about shoes.
I did as I was told while the three
stood outside the truck and talked. When I was dressed, I slid into the front
seat again and Al said, "People will think we're damn fools walking into
Walmart with a barefoot boy. What size shoes do you wear, Luke?"
"Tens," I replied.
"Chris, get the boy some shoes," Taequo
said and tossed Chris some money. While he was gone, I heard Taequo telling
Al where he had picked me up. "Damn fool kid was about to drown himself,"
I heard him say.
Al walked over to the open door of
the truck and said, "Luke, wouldn't solve anything and would sure as hell
create a lot more problems for those left behind. Of course, you would have
proved you were too chicken to face real life and wouldn't know. How do I
know? I tried it. I've been there and I know it big time. I lost my first
real love to AIDS several years ago and decided to end it all the slow way--with
alcohol. It didn't work fast enough when I found out I was HIV+ so I tried
alcohol and sleeping pills. Almost made it, but Chris found me passed out
and nearly dead. He got me to the hospital and I survived. I'm still HIV+,
but show no signs of full-blown AIDS and I found Chris. He, too, is HIV+
but, by damn, we are both living and loving."
"I tried it too--before I mean--and
knew it was selfish and would hurt a lot of people, but I just couldn't stand
being the rotten human being I am."
"Can't be too rotten. You don't smell,"
he laughed. "How long before you have to stop driving today?" he asked Taequo.
"Another hour. Was thinking about a
motel rather than the sleeper tonight. How about you and Chris?"
"We're good for another eight to ten
hours since Chris has slept a good part of the day and he can drive and I'll
crawl in the sleeper. But we'll stop for a while if you like. We've got to
eat." The two continued talking and named a motel where Taequo would stop
for the night. They had just finished talking when Chris came back with shoes
and socks and I was finally dressed.
"Eat at the truck stop?" Chris asked.
"Yea," Taequo said, "and then you and
Al are joining me and Luke for a little prayer meeting." Chris laughed.
When we were back on the highway, Taequo
said, "Gay truck drivers sometimes live a hard life. Lots of redneck drivers,
but there are also some really great guys--gay and straight--pushing freight.
There's two of them. I didn't think Al would make it. After his partner Andy
died, he was able to drink and drive for a while, but soon it was all drinking
and no driving. He hired Chris to operate his rig and took just enough to
keep himself in drink. He owned his house and Chris moved in when he started
driving for Al. One day Chris was supposed to make a run, but a shipment
got held up and he decided to go by the house and sleep until he could leave.
That's when he found Al. Al was rushed to the hospital and went from there
to the detox center then a half-way house. Chris took short hauls so he would
be in town more often and spent every spare minute with Al. When Al got back
home, he said to Chris, 'Chris, I wouldn't be alive today if you hadn't found
me, and I don't think I would care if you were not here'. Al told me Chris
just looked at him, smiled and said, 'Not sure I'd care about being alive
if you weren't here'. That's when the two of them found out the other was
HIV+. Chris had never told Al he also had a partner die with AIDS--those
years were really rough on us gays--even those of us who didn't get the virus.
We had so many friends and lovers die. Well, those two tough, macho truck
drivers finally said the L word and have been together ever since. Believe
me, they both know how precious every day is."
"Yea, and without a partner and have
been for some time now. It's a lonely life, but I can always hope. Maybe
even keep a throw-away kid I pick up on a bridge," Taequo laughed then immediately
said, "Don't take that seriously, Luke, although you are a damn beautiful
piece of humanity."
"I'm gay," I said softly.
"I know," Taequo replied and we both
fell silent. Any further conversation would have to wait as we pulled into
a truck stop.
I had always heard that truck stops
had good food. I don't know if it was the fact that I hadn't eaten in over
twenty-four hours and had upchucked anything I had eaten before, or if the
food was really as good as it seemed. I wolfed down enough for two people
my size. I had just finished when Al said, "Luke, the one difference between
being dead and alive is who's food. Had you had your way, you'd be food for
worms and fish by now rather than eating. They'd be yelling to all their
buddies, 'Hey, come here, we've found a nice, tender Luke steak'. Seems to
me that makes the choice pretty damn straightforward." I almost gagged at
the thought but he was right, of course.
The motel was just down the road. Taequo
knew the woman at the desk and made a point of telling her he wanted a double
with two beds. Penny, the desk clerk, laughed, "Young man, I know Taequo
is gay but I'd trust him with my own son who's as good looking as you".
"Obviously takes after his father,"
Taequo kidded. "But one of these days, Penny, I'm going to come in here with
a hunk you will lust after and demand one bed."
"And I'm the Virgin Mary," she laughed
We went to the room and were soon joined
by Chris and Al. "Ok, it's prayer meeting time," Taequo said. I felt very
uneasy. I wasn't exactly in the right frame of mind for some religious something.
"What's the meaning of the stupid, dumb-ass thing you were about to do, Luke?"
I sat with my head down, staring at
the floor. None of the three broke the silence. Finally I decided I may as
well tell the whole story and started from the day I had swallowed the pills
and dived into the river and ended with feeling Taequo's arm around my waist,
pulling me back from a second suicide attempt. I hardly need to say I was
crying like a baby.
The three hadn't said a word and still
sat silently until Chris got up, came to where I was sitting on the bed,
put his arms around me and held me close. Finally he said, "Luke, you have
to be pretty dense to have tried to do away with yourself a second time.
Didn't you learn anything the first time?" I didn't answer. What could I
say? After another silence, he continued, "Luke, Matt, your family and your
friends love you--will always love you--and you just about told them to shove
their love up their ass because you got yourself in a mess. They all must
know you are missing by now and have to be beside themselves with worry.
You have been hurt, or thought you had been hurt, and you wanted to hurt
in return. Most of all, you wanted to hurt--kill--yourself because of what
you had done. But what had you really done? You need to think about that.
But your family and friends are hurting because, regardless of what you might
have done or might not have done, they love you. Remember, Matt said he would
never stop loving you. Do you believe that?"
I was crying again so all I could do
was nod my head against his chest. "Then you need to let him and them know
you are safe. You can deal with all the other shit--and you've created a
big pile of it--later but, right now, call them."
I don't know why, but I was terrified.
I didn't know what to expect when I called. I didn't want to have to face
what I had done, even on the phone. "I can't. Please, I can't. I'm no good.
"Cut the shit! You can and you will,"
Al said. His voice left no doubt that one way or another, I was going to
call home. I picked up the phone and dialed my number. The phone only rang
once and I heard Greywolf's voice. "Greywolf," I said and started crying
again. "It's Luke," I finally got out, "I'm safe". I started to hang up the
phone when Taequo took it from me and said, "Greywolf, this is Taequo Wayadisi.
I'm Tsalagi [Cherokee]. Luke is here with me. It's a long story, but he is
safe. Are his parents there...? Well, get in touch with them and tell them
Luke is safe. We're spending the night outside Columbia. If someone could
meet us in Jackson tomorrow, I could bring him there. It's not out of my
way too much. If not, I'll bring him to Concord... Probably about noon. I'll
call you when I can give you a better guestimate... No, he's not been harmed
in any way--well, emotionally he's a wreck but physically he's ok... Yea,
just tell him that Luke loves him and always will and that they will get
their problems worked out... Right, that exit on the Interstate will be great.
Call you tomorrow."
Al and Chris stayed a few minutes after
the phone call, gave me their address and asked that I stay in touch. Then
Al said, "Chris, Babe, time to hit the road". Both hugged me and Taequo,
wished me luck and were gone.
When they had gone, Taequo said, "You'd
never think it, suffering as they have, but you have just met two of the
happiest men in the world. Both know that sooner or later AIDS will get first
one and then the other and maybe that's why they are so happy. They know
every single day they have together counts and that it will end when one
goes so, in the meantime, they intend to make the most of it. Maybe we all
would be better off if we remembered we only have a limited time on this
earth to love, even you and Matt. Maybe if we remembered that, we'd not be
damn fool enough to try to shorten it." He was silent for a while, then said,
"Well, you slept all day but I've been working so I'm hitting the shower
and the bed."
Taequo took a long shower--he sang
in the shower, some Indian song, I think--came out in his birthday suit,
crawled into bed and said, "Sweet dreams, Luke". He was sound asleep when
I finished my shower and slid into bed.
As he said, I had slept all day and
didn't expect to go to sleep at once, but I guess the combination of events
and telling my story had also been hard work because I was asleep in minutes--but
not for long.
I waked up from a dream screaming and
Taequo was beside me in seconds, hugging me. "What's wrong, Luke?" he asked.
"I was having a nightmare. I dreamed
I was face down, ass in the air, on a bed and Rich was fucking me and I was
screaming for him to fuck me faster and deeper. Between screaming for him
to fuck me, I was saying, 'That'll show you, Matt Greywolf'."
"It was a bad dream, Luke. There's
a bad spirit torturing you. Don't let it." He held me until I relaxed and
then went back to his bed.
I wondered to myself, "How do I get
rid of a bad spirit? How can I ever be clean again?" I tossed and turned
for a long time and then fell asleep a second time only to have the nightmare
return. I waked up, apparently without screaming because Taequo was still
asleep. I got up, walked to his bed and, as I had done as a little boy when
I had nightmares, slid in beside him as I had Dad, spooning myself into his
back. I was asleep in minutes and slept until he woke me up in the morning
saying, "If you want breakfast, you better get pants on. Even truck stops
have some rules about dress."
We ate--and I ate like a wolf again--and
hit the road. Taequo never mentioned my crawling in bed with him and neither
did I. For the next several hours, I listened to Taequo talk about his hopes
and dreams and I would have talked about mine, but I knew so much depended
upon Matt and his reaction to my being unfaithful that I really had no hopes
or dreams beyond re-establishing our relationship.
"We'll be in Jackson in ten minutes,"
he said at length. "I said prayers to the Great Spirit for you, Luke. Listen
to Greywolf. Much healing is needed and he will guide you. Do keep in touch.
And remember you are special. I know that and maybe one day you will know
it fully. You have power... Well, here we are and our trails separate for
a time but they will cross again, maybe very soon. I know that." He pulled
into a truck stop and I saw the Greywolfs' van and Greywolf beside it.
Taequo and I got out of the truck and
walked toward the van. When we reached it, Greywolf grabbed me and hugged
me, then he and Taequo greeted each other. Taequo said, "Luke, run inside
and get me a couple bottles of cold water and get something for yourself".
As I turned to leave I saw Greywolf and he were deep in conversation.
It was odd that Luke didn't show up
for Monday's workshop so Douglas and I went looking for him as soon as we
had a break. When we saw his door open, we expected to see his room ransacked,
but it wasn't. The campus police got involved, then the city police and finally
everything came out. Well, most everything. Luke had gone to the club with
Rich--Rich lied about that--and had gotten drunk. As soon as we learned that,
Douglas said, "Janet, he hadn't read the whole letter and thought Matt had
cheated on him". I nodded. It seemed clear to me too.
Suddenly I remembered our conversation
on the plane and told Douglas about it. "Douglas, I'm afraid of what Luke
might have done." I was almost in tears and Douglas held me and tried to
reassure me, but he wasn't very convincing even to himself.
The police had picked up Rich from
his afternoon session and left word at my dorm that they wanted to talk to
me. I told them everything I knew--about the letter and Luke's previous suicide
attempt. The officer wasn't any more reassuring than Douglas had been. He
said the Larsens had been called and were on their way down. He wanted to
know if we'd like to be there to meet them. We both nodded and he said he'd
send a car and officer around to pick us up at my dorm.
We went back to the dorm and did the
only thing we could do, wait. When the officer came to pick us up, we got
in the car and, on the way to the airport, he got a radio message. Luke had
been found and was safe. That's all the police knew at the moment. "Think
I'll let you give his mom and dad the good news," the officer said. "They'll
only expect something bad if I start to tell them."
Needless to say, Luke's parents were
ecstatic when they heard the news and were asking a thousand questions, none
of which we could answer. Finally Luke's mom said, "Thank God, at least we
know he is safe".
We went to the police station with
them and found out that Rich was being held. Luke's dad asked some questions
and the officer said he didn't know whether Rich could be charged with anything
since Luke had gotten the fake I.D. himself so far as they knew and, with
it, they couldn't do anything about Rich buying him drinks. "Well, maybe
we could since he had him in class and should have known his age. But that's
about it. Even the teacher-student laws may not apply since it would be hard
to prove Rich had something to hold over Luke's head like grades. Frankly,
Mr. Larsen, if Luke were my son, I'd want Rich locked up for the rest of
his life but, to be honest, you will probably have better luck teaching him
a lesson dealing with the school."
While the officer was talking to us,
his phone rang and when he answered he said, "It's a Mr. Greywolf. He has
news of Luke."
When Mr. Larsen hung up the phone,
he told us Luke had been picked up by a trucker and they were spending the
night in a motel near Columbia. Greywolf would pick him up tomorrow in Jackson.
"I guess we need to find a motel because I want to talk to college officials
tomorrow before we leave," Mr. Larsen said.
"You'll do nothing of the kind," Douglas
said quickly. "You're coming to my house. We'll take care of you. Luke is
a good friend and we'll not have his parents in a motel. I'll call home and
tell them we'll have two guests for dinner."
Douglas' parents were often off doing
whatever wealthy people do and seldom had dinner at home, so I hardly knew
them. However, they canceled whatever they were planning for the evening
and had dinner with us. Nonetheless, the maid had barely cleared the table
when they said, "Excuse us, but if we rush we can make our after-dinner engagement".
After they had gone, Douglas asked
the Larsens if they wanted to go to their room, swim or visit. When they
said they'd like to visit, to see what we thought about the school and Luke,
Douglas said, "We can stay down here or, if you like, my place is more comfortable".
"I hope the maid got your dirty clothes
off the floor," I laughed.
"Ask her. She'll tell you I am very
neat in my space. Besides, you know that from all the time you've spent here."
Lupe, the maid, walked in as he spoke and said, "Douglas is my boy and I
trained him well". I had already learned that Douglas was hers. He felt more
like she was his mom than his real mom. Douglas showed the Larsens
to his room and got wine for them and sodas for us. Finally, I suppose, Mr.
Larsen could stand it no longer and said, "Janet, Douglas, was something
going on with Luke and Mr. Smith?"
Both of us started to answer, then
Douglas nodded to me. "There may have been--I mean you never can know everything--but
if there was, Luke hid it well. All he could ever talk about was Matt and
how much he missed him. But, no, I'm sure there wasn't, as sure as I could
be without knowing Luke's every move."
"I think I would definitely have known
and I am positive there was not. After Luke went to the club the first time
with Rich, he talked about their dancing and how all he could think of was
how much he missed Matt and how he wished he was with him rather than Rich,"
Douglas added. "I think what happened was that Luke read only part of Matt's
e-mail, decided Matt had cheated on him and Rich called him or he called
Rich and they went out and something happened. I'm sure that's what took
place. What happened with Rich I can only guess."
We talked about Luke a while longer
then the Larsens wanted to know about me and Douglas. Douglas said he was
staying at home and going to Ringling for his education as an artist. I told
the Larsens that since I met Douglas I wanted to switch schools and Rich
was supposed to be working on getting me into Ringling, but I guessed that
wasn't going to happen now. When I said that, Mr. Larsen said, "Are you sure
you want to do that?" I told him I did and he said, "Maybe something good
will come out of this yet". I didn't know what he meant.
The next morning, Mr. Larsen said we
had an appointment with the president of the school. "We?", Douglas asked.
"We," Mr. Larsens replied. "I was first
referred to some dean or other, but I said I had wanted to talk with the
president, but I would send my lawyer to talk with the dean if the president
was too busy. I've learned a few things from my boss," he laughed.
"We've heard tales about Millie," I
"All true, I'm sure, and there's more
to be told," Mrs. Larsen said with a smile.
The president was all apology until
Mr. Larsen said, "You can cut the crap, Dr. Winthrop. My son had a fake I.D.
which Mr. Smith helped him obtain, he was taken to a club twice--again by
Mr. Smith--where he got drunk although he is underage, and something happened
in Mr. Smith's apartment while Luke was so drunk he had to be helped out
of the cab. So let's just cut to the chase. What are you going to do?"
"Mr. Smith will, of course, have to
face a committee of the faculty senate and the outcome will depend on their
decision. At the moment I can't tell you what that will be."
"Dr. Winthrop, I suspect you would
like very much to have this not get into the papers but, I can tell you,
I am not satisfied with some future action by a faculty senate. I will go
to court if necessary and I will sue this school for all it's worth. Now
I might be willing to do otherwise if I can get some satisfaction here and
now. You know Mr. Smith's contract and know what you can do. Suppose you
tell me what you can do today before I leave this office. Otherwise, we are
wasting time and I need to find a lawyer."
"Of course, of course. Should this
get into the papers your son's reputation would be damaged and I know you
don't want that to happen. Perhaps we can work something out."
"Apparently you don't hear well, Dr.
Winthrop. It's your school that will suffer if this is not settled right
"Well, of course, we will refund your
tuition for the summer as well as the room and board even though it was Luke
who decided to leave."
"I can see we're getting nowhere. You
are wasting my time. You are trying to shift the blame to Luke. Perhaps he
was foolish for trusting a teacher, but aren't students supposed to? I believe
there are statutes covering teacher-student relationships even when the student
is over eighteen. Maybe I just need to spell out what you will do to save
Luke had laughed once about his dad
being a book-keeper twenty-four/seven and I knew what he meant as Mr. Larsen
laid out his demands. "One, you will, of course, give a complete refund which
will be applied to Miss Lake's"--he was talking about me!--"room and board
next year. That and her complete scholarship will make life easier for her."
"Oh, of course I didn't realize she
would be a regular student this fall," Dr. Winthrop said. "And on a complete
scholarship. That's very rare, very rare indeed."
"You know it now, so you need to get
the paperwork done. It's her reward for helping Luke and is one of the conditions."
"I see," Dr. Winthrop said, somewhat
"Second, Mr. Smith is to be dismissed
from the faculty immediately. I'm sure there is a moral grounds clause in
his contract or some such. You don't need a faculty senate vote. And don't
try the old dodge of just allowing him to resign--which I understand is the
usual policy of academia. It avoids lawsuits, but turns teachers loose to
do the same thing again."
"That could ruin his career," Dr. Winthrop
said in a pleading tone.
"I suspect a lawsuit might do the same
for the school--especially after it pays the damages I am sure any jury of
parents would grant."
"Well, I understand Mr. Smith is ready
to tender his resignation."
"Fire him," Mr. Larsen said in an icy
"Very well, if you think it is necessary."
"Finally, you are to write two letters
to Luke. One is to be a letter of apology and there is not to be any glossing
over the situation. Luke bears some blame in this mess--after all he is eighteen--but
the teacher-student relationship is sacred in our family so Mr. Smith must
bear the brunt of it, and therefore the school which hired him. The second,
and I suggest you might like to have Miss Lake and Douglas--Mr. Rhys--help,
since they saw Luke's work and know what he did, will state that you regret
Luke had to leave and give an account of what he had done up until his leaving."
"We are going to collect Luke's things
and get them ready to ship home, have lunch and be on the 4:00 o'clock plane.
I want all the paperwork done and certified copies of all of it in my hands
before I leave. You can have them delivered to the airport since that will
give you more time to get everything done. In the meantime, while Mrs. Larsen
is gathering Luke's things, I will make arrangements for a lawyer to file
the necessary papers should I not have proof that you are going to honor
the conditions. Good morning, Dr. Winthrop. By the way, we will have Luke's
things packed by 3:00. I suggest you make arrangements to have them shipped--today."
When we got outside, Douglas could
hardly contain himself. "Wow, I guess you have learned a few things from
Millie." He then grabbed me and kissed me flat out on the mouth and said,
"Janet, welcome to Ringling!" It was only then I realized what Mr. Larsen
had meant last night and that he had, in a sentence or two, changed my life.
Douglas and I helped pack Luke's things.
When we had finished, it seemed there was something missing and I couldn't
think why I felt that way or what was missing. Just before I closed the door,
I happened to glance at Luke's bedside table and remembered Matt's picture
hadn't been there. I went back into the room and looked carefully and found
it on the floor, shattered. It was obvious Luke had thrown it against the
Over lunch, I thanked Mr. Larsen profusely
for what he had done for me. "I'm afraid the cost was very high," I added.
"Janet, the cost was high, but nothing
would change that. Luke grew up in a very small town. He has had no experience
outside of small-town life. But, even at that, he should have known better
than to do as he did. He has suffered greatly the past few months and now
he is suffering more--much of it brought on himself by his own actions. Maybe
he will learn the world can be pretty cruel, but I hope he doesn't decide
it's out to get him. The cost was high, but there was some good out of it,"
"Well, you didn't have to do what you
did and I appreciate it."
"Janet, you and Douglas," he laughed,
"--even with that hair, Douglas--have been good friends to Luke. What I did
is a way of showing appreciation to you, Janet, and I think at the same time
"You're sure right about that!" Douglas
said and smiled at me.
"By the way, Janet, if there is any--and
I mean any--flack given you in an attempt to make life hard for you at Ringling,
let me know. If I can't handle it, I'll send Millie."
"Bringing out the big guns," Douglas
"Until you have seen Millie in action,
you don't know how big," Mrs. Larsen said. She paused a moment and then asked,
"What are you two doing after the program?"
"I'm supposed to go to Europe with
my mom and dad," Douglas said. "In theory it is to give us quality time together,
but I know how it will be. It will be as always. They will have an agenda
which holds absolutely no interest for me and I'll suggest I spend the days
in museums and other art-related places and they will agree, relieved that
I'm not with them, and we'll come home. It happens every year."
"I'll go home, get ready to come back
and find a way to avoid being caught in the middle of my mother's and father's
continuing divorce. You know how it is, 'Marriage is with you until the divorce
and the divorce is with you forever'. They'll fight over which one has me
for the rest of the summer--all the time hoping the other wins."
"Doesn't sound like either of you are
looking forward to a happy summer's end," Mrs. Larsen said. Both Douglas
and I nodded.
"Well, I can't really issue an invitation
since I am not part of the corporation, but I think the Board of Directors
of the Oberlin Five might like to have the two of you come to Ohio when we
are all there. Should be some work and a lot of fun--unless you really mind
parents--and there's another plus. As Eugene's mom, Millie will be there."
"Sounds great," Douglas said. I agreed.
"I'll see if I can work on the Board,"
Mrs. Larsen laughed. "Hey, we better get to the airport. We've got someone
Mr. Larsen paid the check and we were
on our way to the airport.
The Larsens checked in and we went
to the gate to wait for their flight. A man was waiting for us with the papers
Mr. Larsen had demanded. After he checked them over, Mr. Larsen said, "Ok,
it's all here". The man rushed out of the area. As he did, I was surprised
when I saw Mr. Smith walking toward us. "Mr. Larsen, there's Mr. Smith,"
"Jens, don't you dare make a scene,"
Mrs. Larsen said. "Don't you dare!"
Mr. Smith walked over to us, nodded
and said, "Mr. and Mrs. Larsen?"
"Yes?" Mr. Larsen's voice was pure
"Mr. and Mrs. Larsen, I don't blame
you for hating me. I hate myself. I make no excuses for what I did. Had I
realized... well, there's no excuse. I hope Luke is ok and will go on. He
is a tremendous talent. I didn't want you to leave without making an attempt
to apologize and to thank you. I have done great damage to my professional
and personal life, but I brought it on myself. Had you pressed charges, I
think I would have died because I know I would have gone to jail. I have
learned a real lesson. The cost has been high--not only for me, but also
for your son--but it could have been higher. I won't ask you to forgive me.
Were Luke my son, I wouldn't. But do know that I appreciate what you did.
I can put my life back together. I couldn't had I been sent to jail."
"Mr. Smith, the past cannot be changed.
You have hurt us deeply. In time we may be able to forgive, and maybe in
time you can forgive yourself. I hope so," Mr. Larsen said.
Mr. Smith whispered "Thank you," and
disappeared in the crowd.
The Larsens' plane was announced and
Douglas and I hugged them and they turned to go down the tunnel to the plane.
"I wonder what they will find when they get home?" I asked.
"Don't know," Douglas answered as he
took my hand, "but Luke's made of strong stuff--his Mom and Dad." He suddenly
swung me around, kissed me and said, "Jan, you're going to be here next year!"
I was excited too, but wondered what would become of a romance only four
weeks old. It might just be a summer romance--but I was still going to Ringling