When Donnie stopped in front of Andre’s trailer to let him out, Andre’s mother
opened the door and peeked out. When Andre exited the car, she hollered out
for him to invite Kyle and Donnie inside.
“Momma wants to meet you,” he said nervously. “You only have to stay a
minute.” Donnie looked at Kyle, shrugged his shoulders and got out of the car.
When they entered the small, cramped trailer, Kyle looked around. Two small
children were sitting on a sofa watching a Shrek movie. The room was neat and
tidy, and pictures of Andre’s family adorned the walls.
Andre’s mother extended her hand and said, “I’m Mrs. Tyler, but everyone calls
me Mom Mabel.” She was a small woman wearing a blue dress that looked two
sizes too big for her. Kyle thought that when she was younger, she probably was
very pretty. In fact, there was a striking resemblance between her and Andre.
Andre stepped forward and introduced Kyle and Donnie. She turned off the
television and told the two children to go play in their room. When one started to
whine, she gave her a menacing look and they scrambled to their room.
“Please sit down, Boys,” she said and pointed to the sofa. Kyle and Donnie sat
down, and then Andre asked Kyle to scoot over toward Donnie so he could sit.
Andre’s mother went into the kitchen and returned with three sodas. After
handing them to the boys, she sat down in an old, blue recliner.
She eyed the boys carefully before asking, “How is Buddy?” Andre explained that
he was feeling much better, especially after meeting Donnie and Kyle.
“He laughed today,” remarked Andre excitedly. “I haven’t seen him laugh in a long
She studied Kyle and Donnie carefully, and then said, “Maybe friendship is just
what the doctor ordered.” She then asked the boys how they had met. Kyle
nervously explained how his father was the one who hit Buddy with his car.
“It wasn’t his fault,” she explained. “Buddy was doing something he shouldn’t
have been doing.” She glared at Andre and stated threateningly, “If I ever find
out you’re messing with drugs, remember what I said.”
“Yes, Momma,” replied an embarrassed Andre. “You brought me into this world,
and you can take me out of it.” His mother sat back in the recliner and let out a
They sat and talked as they sipped on their sodas. Mom Mabel wanted to know
about Kyle and Donnie. She said her son didn’t have many friends, and she was
pleased that they had befriended him.
Kyle and Donnie glanced quickly at each other when she asked, “Are you boys
gay like my Andre?”
“Momma!” shrieked Andre. “You can’t ask them that!”
“Fiddle faddle,” she laughed. “What’s the harm in asking?” She leaned forward
and stared into Kyle and Donnie’s eyes. “I’ve known my boy was gay from an
“Momma!” Andre screeched again.
She looked over at Andre and said, “Hush, Child.” Andre sat back and glanced
quickly over at Kyle and Donnie. He was afraid his mother was being too abrasive.
“I’m not judging,” she remarked as she smiled at the boys. “I’m a Christian
woman, and I go to church every Sunday morning.” She glanced sadly at Andre
and said, “He quit going a couple of years ago.”
“That’s cause they hated me being there,” he spat angrily.
“That’s their problem,” she said softly. “Someday we’re all going to have to stand
before our God, and I believe the scripture where it says judge not lest you be
judged.” She folded her hands in front of her almost as in prayer. “I’m not
perfect, and I know I’ve done some sinning in my lifetime. But I don’t want the
good Lord to ask me one day why I said this about one person, or that about
another. It isn’t any of my business what people do as long as they have love in
their heart when they do it. God Almighty will decide if it was right or wrong.”
“And Jesus will be sitting on his right side,” she continued, “And he’ll look down
and say, “I asked my children to do one thing, and that is love each other as I
have loved you. Then he’ll ask, ‘Did you love your fellow man?’” Tears started to
appear in her eyes. “I want my heart to be filled with love. I don’t want to look
him in the eye and tell him I didn’t do what he asked.”
She looked around at the small, cramped trailer. “I don’t have a lot, as you can
see. But the Good Lord blessed me with an abundance of love. I share that with
my children, grandbabies, family, friends and strangers.” She smiled warmly and
said, “It’s the only thing I got to give.”
She leaned forward, stared directly into Kyle and Donnie’s eyes and said, “So I
asked you if you are gay because I wanted to love you as you are.” She looked
tearfully at Andre and said almost reverently, “Just like I love my boy.” Kyle
glanced quickly at Andre when he wiped tears from his eyes.
Kyle turned back toward Andre’s mother and said, “Yes, Ma’am, I’m gay.”
“Me, too,” remarked Donnie.
She sat back, smiled and replied, “Good.”
They continued to chat for about fifteen more minutes. Besides asking them
personal questions, she related a few comical stories about Andre. Most were
about how he would do things as a small child to get attention. “One time,” she
laughed, “when he was about six, he put on a pair of my Sunday church high
heels and a big, purple feather hat and paraded up and down the street.” Kyle
laughed uproariously when he looked at Andre’s embarrassed face.
“Momma!” shrieked Andre. “Stop!”
As he sat on the tattered sofa between Andre and Donnie, Kyle felt a sense of
comfort and a feeling of being at home. He let his hand drop from his lap onto
the sofa where Andre’s hand was resting. His hand brushed gently against
Andre’s hand. The subtle gesture didn’t go unnoticed by Andre’s mother as she
looked at Kyle and smiled gently.
Donnie looked at his watch and announced that he had to go. “My parents have a
nine o’clock curfew,” he explained.
“Oh, Dear,” remarked Mom Mabel when she noticed it was 8:50. “Would you like
me to call your home?” He explained that they would not get mad when he told
them where he was.
As they were leaving, Andre’s mother hugged them tightly. “You better come visit
with us again,” she said. She kissed Kyle’s forehead and whispered softly,
On the way to the car, Andre grabbed Kyle’s arm and stopped him. “I’m sorry,
Guys,” he apologized. “Mom can be a little overbearing.”
Donnie asked, “She loves you right?” Andre nodded his head. “Then it’s all good.”
The boys quickly hugged before Donnie and Kyle got in the car and pulled away.
When they were out of the mobile park, Donnie turned to Kyle and exclaimed
excitedly, “He’s really into you!”
Kyle gave him a puzzled look and asked, “Who?”
Donnie laughed and said, “Are you blind as a bat? Andre.”
“He didn’t stop looking at you all night,” said Donnie. He started singing,
“Kyle’s got a boyfriend. Kyle’s got a boyfriend.”
“Would you shut up,” laughed Kyle. “He doesn’t.” He then gave Donnie a puzzled
look and asked, “Does he?” Donnie laughed and shook his head.
Donnie replied, “Dude, there is some serious chemistry going on between the two
of you. I can see it.”
Kyle’s eyes lit up as he asked, “Really?”
“I’ll tell you what,” replied Donnie. “It’s a little late, but do you want to go back to
my house and talk? We’ll grab some snacks and go to my room.” He held his
stomach and said, “I’m starving like Marvin.”
“I have to call home,” replied Kyle. He took out his phone and called his mother.
After warning him to be home by eleven, she gave him permission.
“Thanks, Mom, love you,” responded Kyle as he hung up.
Donnie laughed and said, “It’s not cool, Dude, to tell your Mom you love her.”
Kyle gave him a puzzled look. “Why?”
Donnie shrugged his shoulders. “Don’t know, but I think it’s in the teen manual
somewhere.” They both started laughing.
Five minutes later, they were pulling into Donnie’s driveway. His home was similar
to Kyle’s home. It was a large brick, two-story house on a well-manicured and
landscaped yard. A large boxer lying on the porch stood, wagged its tail and
scrambled down the stairs. When Donnie got out of the car, the dog jumped
excitedly on him.
“Down, Sinbad!” The boxer sat and continued to wag his tail. He started to get
up and jump on Kyle when he walked around the car, but Donnie admonished him
again. When he knelt down to pet him, the dog nudged him and almost knocked
“He’s beautiful,” remarked Kyle as he knelt to pet him. The dog lifted his head and
licked Kyle’s cheek.
“He likes you,” said Donnie. “Of course, he likes everybody.” He laughed and tore
off toward the porch. The dog sprang up and chased him. When they got to the
porch, Sinbad jumped on Donnie and knocked him to the ground. Kyle
approached and laughed.
Donnie opened the door, and Sinbad went running in. “Come on,” said Donnie as
he motioned for Kyle to follow him.
He threw his book bag on the foyer floor and shouted out, “Hey, Mom! Dad!”
“In the den,” a woman’s voice hollered back.
Kyle and Sinbad followed Donnie into a room off the kitchen. Donnie’s parents
were sitting closely together watching a large plasma television. They smiled when
the boys approached.
His mother looked at the clock on the wall and said, “It’s late.”
“Sorry,” replied Donnie. He then explained that he’d been at the hospital visiting
Buddy. They were already aware of Buddy being hit by Kyle’s father. The
neighborhood watch had sent out an email informing them of the accident.
“Who’s your friend?” asked Donnie’s father as he stood, approached Kyle and
shook his hand.
“Kyle Caldwell, Sir,” replied Kyle politely.
“No shit!” exclaimed Mr. Dennis. “You Carl Caldwell’s boy?”
Kyle’s face reddened as he said, “Yes, Sir.”
Mr. Dillon had the boys sit, and he relayed how he and Kyle’s father played golf
on Sunday afternoon. He said his father had talked about him, so he was thrilled
to finally get to meet him. “We gotta watch the old bird, though,” laughed Mr.
Dillon. “He’ll shave a few points off his score if we aren’t paying attention.”
He looked over at Donnie and asked, “How come you haven’t invited Kyle home
“We just met a few days ago,” replied Kyle. He stood and pulled Kyle to his feet.
“We’re going to my room.” Kyle waved to Donnie’s parents as he followed behind
Donnie into the kitchen. After grabbing four sodas, two bags of potato chips and
a box of Oreo cookies, they headed up to Donnie’s room.
Sinbad immediately jumped on the king-sized bed. Kyle looked around the room.
“Jesus,” laughed Kyle. “Don’t you ever clean your room?” Clothes were scattered
all around the room. It looked as if Donnie stepped out of them and left them
where they lay. Video games were cluttering his computer desk, and schoolbooks
were stacked in a pile in the corner. It appeared that the room hadn’t been tidied
“What can I say,” Donnie replied as he kicked a pile of clothes under the bed.
After tossing some sweat pants and a shirt off the bed into the open closet door,
he sat down on the bed. Sinbad instantly started licking his face. “Stop it!” he
squealed as he pushed the dog away. Sinbad jumped down and lay atop a pile of
Donnie patted the bed and told Kyle to sit down. “Are you sure it’s safe?”
Donnie responded, “I may not be neat, but I’m clean.” He laughed, raised his arm,
smelled his armpit and said, “See.”
“I’ll take your word for it,” laughed Kyle as he sat on the bed. Donnie handed him
a soda. He then opened up a bag of chips, reached in and took out a handful
before offering the bag to Kyle.
“So what do you think?” Donnie asked as he toed off his shoes and lay back on
“I think you’re a pig,” laughed Kyle as he toed off his shoes, lay back and ate a
handful of chips.
“No,” remarked Donnie, “Not my room. What do you think about Andre?”
“I’m really confused,” replied Kyle. “When I went to the cafeteria with him, all he
talked about was how Buddy liked me.”
Donnie gave him a puzzled look. “Buddy?” Kyle explained how Buddy had told
Andre he had a crush on him.
“Dude,” laughed Donnie. “Someone does have a crush on you. But it’s Andre.” He
studied Kyle for a minute. “So what do you think about that?”
“I’m not sure,” replied Kyle skeptically.
Donnie asked, “Is it because he’s black?” Kyle shook his head.
“No,” he replied. “That doesn’t bother me.”
“Is it because he’s poor?” Donnie knew he’d struck the truth when Kyle didn’t
respond and looked away. He sat up and looked into Kyle’s eyes. “So that’s it,
Kyle stood and paced around the room. “I don’t know.” When Donnie rolled his
eyes, Kyle confessed, “Okay. Maybe just a little.”
“You’re shit, you know that,” scoffed Donnie.
“I know,” lamented Kyle as he sat back down on the bed. “Would you go out with
him if he liked you?”
“In a heartbeat,” responded Donnie. “Besides being cute as hell, he’s a genuinely
nice guy. Not many of them exist any more.”
“It wouldn’t bother you that he lives in a trailer?”
“Why should it?”
“I don’t know,” replied Kyle. “It just seems we wouldn’t have a lot in common.”
“Are you kidding?” remarked Donnie excitedly. “You guys talked all night. You
didn’t seem to have a problem.”
“I know,” replied Kyle. “But...” He stopped before saying something he knew he
probably shouldn’t. He’d have to do a lot more thinking before he could
understand his feelings.
He sat back on the bed and asked, “Can we talk about something else?”
“Sure,” replied Donnie as he opened the Oreo box, took out a few cookies and
handed it to Kyle. “What do you want to talk about?”
“How about you?”
“Yeah, you,” replied Kyle. “How come you came up to me the other day in the
Donnie responded, “I told you. I just thought we had something in common. You
know, being gay and all.”
“Okay,” said Kyle, “But you’re like this super incredible guy, yet you don’t seem to
have a lot of friends. I mean you’re really cute...” He paused as his face began to
redden. “You live like this. You have a car. How many guys our age have cars?”
“Yeah,” laughed Donnie. “But it has my dad’s name all over the side. That’s not
Kyle stared into Donnie’s eyes. “How come you don’t have a dozen guys beating
down your door?”
“Fair question,” replied Donnie as he shoved a couple cookies in his mouth.
“Thar aw ash hawls,” he said.
Kyle fell back and laughed. “What did you say?”
Donnie swallowed the cookies and said, “They are all assholes.” He sat up and
crossed his legs Indian style. “I used to have a ton of friends.”
“In the seventh grade,” he continued, “I told Ryan Applegate that I was gay. I
thought he was a friend, and I could trust him. I just needed someone to talk to
about how I was feeling. ”
“The next day he went to school and told everyone what I said.” He fell back on
the bed and stared up at the ceiling for a minute. “Everyone started calling me a
fag. They would do things like hide my books. Someone poured a bottle of
ketchup in my locker.”
“Sorry,” remarked Kyle sadly.
“Naw,” replied Donnie. “It’s okay. It made me stronger. I vowed I’d never be like
those assholes. So now I pick my friends carefully.”
“Is that why you came up to me in the cafeteria?”
Donnie explained, “I passed you in the hall after that picture came out of you and
Brad. I saw the hurt in your eyes. I knew you needed a friend.”
Kyle blinked away tears. “Thanks,” he replied. “I did.”
Donnie laughed and jumped off the bed. “This shit is getting too deep.” He
walked over to his computer, turned it on and grabbed a video game. He held it
up to Kyle. “Wanna play?”
“Sure,” replied Kyle enthusiastically. “I have to warn you, I’m pretty good.”
“Bring it on!” shouted Donnie as he pulled up a chair for Kyle. An hour later, a
lasting friendship had been formed.
* * * * * *
Andre was surprised to see Buddy sitting in a chair when he entered his room the
next afternoon. Buddy looked up and smiled broadly when he noticed his friend.
“Hey!” he said cheerfully. “It’s about time you got your ass here.”
Andre remarked, “You seem happy today.” He sat on the bed and looked down at
“God, Andre,” cooed Buddy. “He’s a dream!”
“See,” laughed Andre. “I told you if you talked to him, you’d like him.”
Buddy gave his friend a puzzled look. “I’ve never talked to him before. I only met
him last night.”
Andre gave Buddy a puzzled look. “Who?” He thought he was talking about Kyle.
Buddy looked up dreamily and said, “Donnie.”
Go to Chapter 14