Journey to Love

Chapter Forty-five

Dance of Heart and Heart

by Sequoyah

Edited by Cole, Peter and Scott



I started the slide show which focused on the clinic -- its environment, people it served and Kathryn and Richard. There were pictures of the garden, the trickle of water the canyon depended on, and the horses. There were no pictures of me which Levi pointed out and Jeremy did as well. “Maybe later,” I said quietly, hoping they wouldn't mention it again.


“No cell phone and no TV,” Patsy whined, “I'd be bored.”


“Remember Poor Richard's Almanac, 'Early to bed early to rise'? Took a while to get used to, but since the only electricity available was from our gasoline-powered generator and gasoline had to be hauled fifteen miles to get to the canyon, it made sense to go to bed at dark and get up at sunrise. I think I saw more sunrises this summer than in the rest of my life. I took a photo of each sunrise and sunset for a week. They make an interesting group of photographs. There was no time to get bored during the day. Most days we left the canyon by 6:30 or 7:00 and weren't back until 5:30 or 6:00. If we were there, we were working in the garden where we grew much of the food we ate, or doing household chores or working at the clinic. Food had to be preserved for winter. You learn to enjoy the solitude or I guess you'd go nuts.”


“What about sex?” Patsy asked. “I didn't see any girls, just that old woman. Bet you weren't thinking of her when you jacked off. Who did you think of when you jacked off?” I tried to ignore her, but she really was getting under my skin. That was at least the fifth or sixth such question the airhead had asked.


When I showed the pictures of the twins, there was a lot of oohing and ahing. “I had been at the clinic for about three weeks when the mother's husband brought her to the clinic. They were headed to a midwife, but knew she couldn't make it and came to the clinic. I was there alone as Kathryn and Richard were out making rounds. I had seen Kathryn deliver a few babies, but I realized I hadn’t thought about doing it on my own. I had the husband use the radio and called Richard, but lost contact, but he got Kathryn to call me. From what I had been able to tell Richard, Kathryn said she thought the woman was having twins. She said that complicated things, but to keep calm. 'Women have been having babies for years,' she said. So, I helped deliver them and there they are, healthy and happy and growing like weeds.”


“Good reason to make sure you take your pills, girls.” It was Patsy again.


“Here's a photo of a man who we found at the clinic door when we came back from a weekend away. He had been bitten by a rattlesnake. He would probably have lived had he not made it to the clinic, but would have lost a leg. As it was, he had been bitten long enough before we found him that some tissue died and his leg will be disfigured, but he will be able to do what he had done before. Here are just some photos of people the clinic serves.” I just let the slide show run.


Patsy said she needed to piss and someone told her where the bathroom was since we were in the living room.


“Okay, Derek, we need to hear about your big adventure,” said Evans who was in one of last year's study groups. “I know that Brother Fitzsimmons was involved in kiddie porn and my aunt who lives in Phoenix said an OCU student named Derek Wilson had helped take him out.”


“Yeah, Derek, tell them what you brought home from the desert.” Levi grinned.


I had photos of Jayden beginning with him lying in the desert to his standing in the trickle of water. As the photos played, I realized that there was no way I could avoid the whole story since many of them had at least read about Brother Fitzsimmons. I started by telling them how Jayden had been beaten and put on the street by his own father miles from anything and anyone he knew. I said he had been picked up and forced into kiddie porn and prostitution just as Patsy came back, “Well, I know who you were fucking now.” The photo of Jayden standing under the water trickle was on the screen. “Hell yeah, that's who he was fucking. You should see the faggot's bedroom.”


I was livid. There were very few rules at my place, but one of them which had always been respected was that my bedroom was off limits. No-one was ever to enter it unless I invited them. Besides, this slut had just made a claim that was not only untrue, but insulting to me and Jayden as well as implying he was a slut. I had tried ignoring her and Casey should have had sense to take her away before, but now I was beyond angry. Before Arizona, I might have been polite and pretended nothing had been said, but this was after Arizona and what she had said was filth I would not let stand.


“Patsy, I have watched you play with Casey's cock all night in a restaurant and here with twenty or more people present. Jayden would never do that. I think I am safe in saying you are not a virgin because if you are, you set a new standard for prick teasing. Jayden had sex with men and did kiddie porn to stay alive. First, simply to have something to eat and a place to sleep, then because -- well, if you saw the rest of the photos and heard the whole story, you would know what else. Instead of that you have abused my hospitality by invading my privacy. Jayden Fulton has more dignity, more moral integrity, more humanness and more respect for other people in his big toe than you have in your whole being. I have never fucked him and he has never fucked me. He is one of the finest human beings I have ever met and he is, at this moment, starting a year-long program to heal the damage done to him. I don't know what Casey wants to do, but I want you out of my house now and you are never to show up here again. Get the fuck out!”


“Well, get on your high horse, but you are still a fucking faggot.”


That did it. Casey had started to get up, but didn't make it before Levi and Telvin had her by her shoulders and ankles and carried her downstairs and dropped her on the curb. I was shaking all over. Why were people so cruel?


“Folks, I think we all need to leave,” Casey said. “Derek, I am so sorry. No excuse, but the little head was in control.”


“Casey, sit down,” Jeremy said. “If you want to leave later, you can, but I'd like a few minutes. First off, I want to thank Derek for what he has given us, not just tonight, but most of you have benefited from knowing Derek Wilson over the past year. But beyond that, one of the things Derek has said he learned over the summer is about friendship. Derek, Levi, stop me if you need to, but otherwise I want to talk about the man we love.”


I had no idea where this was going, but I trusted Jeremy. I guess Levi did as well, because he nodded, giving Jeremy the go-ahead. Jeremy proceeded to lay it out in plain English. He talked about our relationships, mine and Levi's and mine and Wolf's. “For some slut -- sorry Casey, but some of us tried to tell you -- to call Derek a faggot and suggest -- no, state -- he was fucking someone is more than slander. Derek Wilson is a friend. I have never met Jayden, but because Derek calls him friend, that makes him more than alright in my book.”


“For all of you ready to run with the gossip, Derek is a virgin and likely to remain so until he knows he is in love with a friend, a lesson we might all take to heart even though we are not virgins.”


There was as close to absolute silence in the room as was possible with so many people packed in. Finally, Casey said. “Derek, we'd like to know the whole story behind Jayden. I know some of it, enough to know he is a brave man as are you. Again, I apologize for Patsy.”


“Nothing for you to apologize for,” I said. “This will take a while, so if you need to go, I guess now is the time.” No-one stirred. “Well, Patsy and I have one thing in common. I need to piss. Levi, if you'd direct traffic for the guest bathroom, there’s a bathroom through that door where Patsy went and some of you can follow me to the restroom off the library, but I'm first!” There was a quiet chuckle through the room, and I sensed a lightening of the mood which had become pretty heavy.


For another hour I talked about the whole episode surrounding finding Jayden. When I finished, a woman reminded me I’d said he was in a year-long program and asked about it so I described it briefly. I guess if your culture was the dominant one the idea on which the Pueblo was based didn't make a lot of sense.


When everyone except Jeremy had left, he asked about spending the night and I said I wished he would. He said he had to get his toiletries and clean clothes and would be back. “I have calls to make so just lock up and come on up when you return.” When he left, I realized the difference between alone and solitude was really becoming clear to me.


I sat down in the library, welcoming the quiet after being with the crowd in the living room and I remembered I was going to call Wolf earlier. On the off-chance he was still home, I called. “Hi, Derek. When did you get back?”


“Hard to believe, but I left Arizona yesterday morning. Where are you?”


“In the Big Apple. I came last week. Well, I had been here, but was home for a week and came back. I'll be living here and going to Columbia. I’m getting a small stipend from CNN, and with my college fund Dad and Mom think we can swing it. I started classes today. You at OCU?”


“Yeah, back in the house, by myself. Auntie spent the summer with a friend in New Mexico and won't be back until later. Got my schedule today and it is going to work my buns off. How did your internship go?”


Wolf said nothing for several minutes and finally said, “Derek, you could have told me how it would go. When you called me and we said goodbye, I was on a road to hell. Fortunately, one of the CNN anchors saw what was happening and we had a ‘come-to-Jesus’ session. He did everything but physically kick my ass. He told me I was the most self-centered, selfish asshole he had met in a long time and read me chapter and verse. He gave me two weeks to shape up or he'd talk to the head of the interns. The same day, two of the three I was running with got sent home. I turned myself around with a lot of help and am still struggling, but making progress.” He was quiet, I’m sure, thinking back on the summer. I waited.


“Hey,” he said suddenly, “I ran across the story of you and your boy lost in the desert. I want to hear the whole thing. I'll see what we have in the archives, but maybe we can get together for a Coke and you can tell me about it. I did see Brother Fitzsimmons was involved in it.”


“Yeah, and by the way, the boy in the desert is not a boy. He is a man in every sense of the word.”


“Boyfriend? Fuckbuddy?”


“Never the latter and not the former yet, but I think that's a definite maybe, but we are very, very close friends.”


“As close as Jeremy?”


“In a different way but, yeah, as close as Jeremy.”


“I was always jealous of you and Jeremy. You had something we never had.”


“Bingo,” I said. “I figured that out this summer. We were taking things slow and easy, but that only applied to specific ways of having sex. We never gave ourselves time to become friends. Wolf, friends can become lovers. I'm not sure the other way around is possible and I know it's not when you are together practically twenty-four/seven. I'm convinced without a foundation of friendship a relationship cannot last.”


“Maybe you're right. Well, keep in touch.”


“You too.” As I closed the phone I knew that if I didn't call, I'd not hear from Wolf again. That was okay now that I knew he hadn't fallen down the rabbit hole the past summer because someone yanked him out.


I called my dads and we talked for almost an hour. Jeremy came in while I was talking with them and yelled, “Hi Derek's dads.” I told them it would probably be a couple or three weeks before I got down. I hadn't looked at the aquatic meet schedule yet and I was still getting acclimated. I told Mom the same thing when I called her.


When Jeremy and I went into the bedroom, he looked at the posters of Jayden and said, “Derek, you keep those there and your willy will be so sore from overuse it'll have to be bandaged. Babe, he is one fine-looking dude.”


“Jeremy, he is ten times as beautiful inside as he is outside. In spite of all he's been through, he is kind, gentle, caring, loving. I'm sure there is resentment and bitterness somewhere in him, but I have never seen it. He has a year to heal and I know he will.”


“You're in love with him,” Jeremy said simply.


“I think maybe you're right,” I said with a grin as I felt a blush wash over my face. I then told Jeremy of our 'I think I love you' confessions the night before I came home.


“It's going to be a long, rough year, Beloved Friend,” Jeremy said.


“I know, but if that's what it takes for Jayden to be whole, I'll wait. I'll wait no matter how long it takes.”


“Yeah, Derek, you're in love.”


I decided I'd write Jayden ’most every day in a kind of journal style, but only mail it once a week since, after all, he’d only receive mail once a week. I knew one of the staff went into Chinle on Saturday to pick up needed supplies and the mail. I mailed the week's letter on Monday to make sure it arrived in time to be picked up Saturday. Jayden's letter was mailed on Saturday and I was always eager to get home Thursdays for lunch when his weekly letter would be waiting for me. We were both afraid he’d not be able to write every week, but neither of us missed one.




I was dreading art history since it was well outside anything I knew, but was told it was a crip course, just a lot of memorizing. When I showed up the first day, I was told the course had changed and if we needed art history for our major, the registrar's office would be open to us during the class period. “If you signed up for art history as a humanities elective, what is being offered qualifies. I will be teaching a hands-on art appreciation course. Frankly, it's an experiment. We will do a survey of art history, admittedly just skimming the surface. That will be half the class. The second half will involve actually working with various media to explore the characteristics of a medium and how the artist works with it. There will be no final examination so you'll not be among those carrying a packet of postcards memorizing the artist, piece's name, date, medium, all that. Instead you will select a medium or media and create a piece of art for exhibition. It’ll be pretty much pass or fail and I will take into account your talent and skill level. Questions?” Professor Tredinik asked. There were many, but none of consequence.


I loved the course and enjoyed playing with the various media. Well, I only called it playing once and the professor corrected me saying I was creating.


The biology class required a lot of memorizing, but the labs could usually be accomplished in a little more extra time -- maybe an hour -- than the two hours allotted to them. Chemistry was another question altogether. The scheduled two-hour lab always took at least three and a half and usually four. Math was a breeze, especially with our study group.


It was four weeks into the semester before I had a free weekend. Jeremy was free as well and we packed Thursday night and loaded the car Friday morning. I made sure Auntie had everything she needed and that Louis and Caroline were staying at my place to be with her. She’d had a wonderful summer, but I could tell she was not the woman she had been a year ago. When I finally prevailed on her to get a thorough physical, the doctor changed some of her medicine and she seemed more alert, but when I went by to chat with the doctor, she said, “Derek, her body is wearing out. To be honest, I hope she goes to bed one night and doesn’t wake up rather than reaching the point where she can't do anything for herself.” I agreed.


Jeremy and I met at the car after our 10:00 class and hit the road for Stanton.


My mom and dads would have spent the whole weekend looking at photos and talking about the summer had I been willing. Mom left about ten. She drove herself, something I never expected to see. Brad had insisted she learn to drive and he and Sam helped her pick out a car.


After she left, Sam, Brad and I were sitting around the kitchen table having a beer when I noticed my dads glancing at each other. When they both got huge grins on their faces, I had had enough. “Okay, what gives with you two jokers?” I asked.


They burst out laughing and Sam said, “You don't know, do you?”


“Know what?”


“What were you just talking about?”


“I was answering your questions about the clinic.”


“Were you?”


“What do you think I was doing?”


The two were having a hard time controlling their laughter. “Baby Boy,” Sam said, “you have been talking for the last five minutes and haven't mentioned the clinic. You have a faraway look in your eyes. You simply were not with us.”


“What do you mean? Of course I'm with you. I was answering your questions.”


“Derek, you can't fool your old dads. I bet you can't tell us the last thing we asked you or, more to the point, what you were talking about,” Brad said.


“Of course I can. You asked... well, I was saying...” I blushed. I could remember neither.


“Derek, Son, nothing seriously wrong with you. If we're lucky, it happens to all of us. Baby Boy, you are in love.”


I was thunderstruck. “Sure, Jayden and I said we thought we might be in love, but we never speak of it in our letters. We agreed what was going to develop would develop and I just never stopped to ask myself if I was in love with him,” I said. “I mean I have talked about it and the possibility, but I mean I never really...”


“You didn't need to,” Sam said. “Your head hasn't kept up with your heart. Your heart knows you’re head-over-heels in love with him, but hasn't gotten around to telling your head.”


I looked at the two of them as if they had gone nuts then felt a smile spreading across my face. I jumped up and waltzed around the room and sang, “Yes! Yes! Yes! I am in love with Jayden Marshall Fulton the Fourth!”


When I finally came back to earth I asked, “How did you know?”


“Son, when you talk about Jayden, you glow. You are sure this time and it shows,” Brad said.


“What if he has decided he doesn't love me?” I asked in near panic.


“First of all, don't start the ‘what if’ crap. You are in love with him. That's what counts right now. Enjoy it.”


I went to bed and lulled myself to sleep with, ‘Jayden, I love you. I love you, Jayden.’ I was happy.


To squeeze in as much as possible, Sam planned a dinner for Saturday night. He invited Mr. Manning and Stu along with the Sergeant Major -- Mrs. Willoughby was practically bed-ridden and couldn’t come -- Ms. Bianchi and Mr. Malik. DeAngelo, Joe and Jeremy would, of course, be there. It seemed DeAngelo and Joe now came as a set which included Angelica and Katrina. Mom and Sam spent most of Saturday in the kitchen.


Ms. Bianchi and Mr. Malik came early and they, Brad, Jeremy and I went to the pond. Missing out on swimming and diving all summer showed when I’d first started fall practice, but Jeremy and I thought I was back up to speed. I was pleased when my high school coaches and Dad Brad agreed.


Sunday for the first time in months I was in church. I had missed the Eucharist and vowed I'd get involved in a parish in Norfolk or the campus Episcopal group. Jeremy agreed with me.


We left for Norfolk at 9:00 Sunday evening since we could sleep-in Monday as neither of us had a class until 10:00. Thank God for Louis!


When we got back to Norfolk, Louis and Caroline were watching TV, cuddled on the couch in the living room. “You two are welcome to spend the night if you like. I have a letter to write then it's bed for me. There are linens... well, you know where they are.”


“Thanks, we'll take you up on the offer,” Caroline said.


“Good weekend?” Louis asked.


“The best. Well, goodnight,” I said and went to the library and, instead of sitting down at the computer, I found a sheet of nice paper and wrote Jayden a letter, opening with, 'I'm sure. Derek Edward Wilson loves his best friend Jayden Marshall Fulton, IV.' I signed the letter, folded it, and put it in an envelope by itself. I then went to the computer and wrote about the trip home, about diving for my former coaches and Saturday's dinner. I described how the dads knew I was in love before my head had gotten the message. I wrote about going to the Eucharist and how much it meant to say thanks for him. I finished the week's letter, then wrote across the bottom in pen, 'Derek Edward Wilson loves his best friend Jayden Marshall Fulton, IV,' and put it in the envelope ready to mail in the morning.


I slid into bed, looked at the poster of my beloved standing, arms raised, under life-giving water. Soon afterward I was in dreamless sleep.




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