Window Stories

Chapter 11

Weekends are boring here. All I do is sit up in my bed and watch television. I don’t attend physical therapy since Jason has the weekends off. Most of the regular nurses and aides are replaced by weekend staff. I never know who will come in to tend to me. Most of the time they are rude and impatient. It used to upset me, but I have become used to their bad attitudes.

The laptop is a blessing. I was able to get the password to the Wi-Fi from a young aide who came into my room reading something on her phone. She was hesitant to give it to me until I asked her if she was allowed to use her phone while she is on duty. She rolled her eyes after giving it to me and then stormed out of the room.

I spent the afternoon reading stories on my laptop. Since I can no longer visit a bookstore, it is a wonderful substitute. Before my stroke, I often read stories in bed before going to sleep. Most were gay story sites. A couple of authors I had been following for several years. It is good to be able to catch up with numerous stories I had missed the past few months. Before signing off, I made sure to delete my history. Thefts sometimes occur, and I wouldn’t want someone to find out what I have been reading.

I was so bored by Sunday afternoon, I even let one of the aides help me into my wheelchair and take me to the activity room for Bingo. I had fun for a while, but I soon became bored. Most who attend are older women. They spent most of the time talking about their grandchildren and complaining about their families. When a woman to my right started complaining about her son, I asked to return to my room. After dinner, I read a little, and then I turned out the light and went to sleep.

I was awakened in the morning by Mrs. Sullivan. She smiled as she came over to the bed and propped up my pillow. “Good morning, Phil,” she said as she attempted a smile. She looked like she had aged ten years since I last saw her a week ago.

“Good morning,” I replied. I wanted to ask her about her son, but I didn’t know if she would want to talk about him. I was also afraid that she might burst into tears if I did.

She took my blood pressure without saying a word. I could tell that she was trying to put on a big front. Finally, I asked, “How are things at home?” When I looked into her eyes, she began to cry.

She walked over to the door and closed it. She approached the bed, put her hand on my arm and asked, “Can we talk?” Her eyes were filled with tears.

“Of course, Mrs. Sullivan,” I replied.

She smiled slightly and asked, “Will you start calling me Susan?”

“Of course,” I said. “Susan, it is.”

She started to weep uncontrollably. “Oh, Phil,” she cried, “I don’t know what to do.”

I asked worriedly, “What is wrong? Is Stanley alright?”

She walked over and sat in a chair, looked up and cried, “My son is gay! I don’t know what to do!” She continued to cry for several minutes.

When she stopped crying, I asked, “Do you object to him being gay?”

“Oh, no!” she replied as she walked over to the bed. “Stanley is my son. I love him.”

I gave her a puzzled look and asked, “I’m confused. What is the problem?”

She began crying again. “It’s causing so many problems at home. Are you aware he ran away and got arrested last week?”

“Yes,” I said. I assumed she knew that the staff knew about it and were probably discussing it with others. “I’m aware.”

She began to tell me what happened the past week. Stanley and his father got into a horrible fight. He hit Stanley several times, and he ran from the house. She had to call the police, and her husband was arrested for domestic abuse. No one knew where Stanley was for several days. She said she had heard that another boy had run away with him. They were arrested a few days later stealing items from a store.

She said when she visited Stanley in the juvenile facility, he had changed so much she didn’t know him. He was angry and depressed. One of the counselors told her that Stanley was on suicide watch. She was also told that Stanley was gay, and that the boy he had run away with was his boyfriend. They had been planning to leave town together when they were arrested. Stanley told the staff that he wanted to kill himself. She said that they wouldn’t let him leave the detention center until he received counseling.

I watched as she become inconsolable. I wanted to get up and hug her, but I didn’t. Finally, she stopped crying and then told me what had been happening at her house. She said when her husband returned home after being arrested and they got into a horrible fight. Her husband was aware that Stanley was gay, and he said he didn’t want him to return. She told him that if that was his final decision, then she wanted a divorce. He started to hit her, but she told him that she would call the police if he did. He went upstairs, packed a suitcase and left. She hadn’t heard from him since that night.

“I’ve lost them both,” she wept loudly. I pulled myself to the side of the bed, dropped to the floor and shuffled over to where she was sitting. I held out my arms and she stood and fell against my chest. It was uncomfortable, but I managed to stand for several minutes holding her. Finally, she pulled away and wiped her eyes dry.

“Thank you, Phil,” she smiled appreciatively. “I’ve been holding this in for days. I’m sorry you had to hear it.”

I replied, “It’s okay, Susan. I don’t mind. I’ve heard worse stories.”

“That’s right,” she said as her eyes lit up. “You’re a retired counselor. Perhaps you can help Stanley.”

“I would be more than happy to,” I replied, “but I don’t know how that is going to be possible. You said they won’t let him leave juvenile detention. And, as you can see, I can’t visit him.”

“You’re right,” she said as tears welled up in her eyes.

“I have an idea,” I suggested. “Do you remember Colin, the young man who is visiting me regularly?” Susan nodded her head. “He’s a trained counselor. I don’t know how these things work, but I’ll ask him if he can help. The agency he works for may object. But if they don’t, I’m sure he will agree to talk to Stanley.

“Oh, Phil,” cried Susan as she hugged me again. “That would be wonderful.”

“I’ll talk to him when he visits later,” I replied. “Drop in before you leave.”

She hugged me again and helped me into bed. As she was leaving the room, she stopped suddenly and turned. “I almost forget to get your breakfast order.”

I smiled and said, “Surprise me.” She turned and left. Twenty minutes later, an aide brought my breakfast. She gave me a puzzled look when she placed it on the table beside me. On it was a breakfast for at least three people. It was loaded with extra bacon, toast and eggs. Instead of one cup of coffee, the tray contained a pitcher of coffee. After eating most of it, I moaned and rubbed my stomach. When I looked over at the window, I saw a young boy looking at me as he wiped tears from his face.

About an hour later, Jason entered the room with a big smile on his face. “Rise and shine!” He laughed as he approached the bed.

“Someone’s in a good mood,” I remarked as I sat on the edge of the bed. “I take it all went well with your date?”

He acted innocent and asked, “What date?”

“You know,” I played along. “The one you had with Sasquatch.”

Jason laughed and slapped me playfully on the arm. “For your information,” he laughed. “He doesn’t have a hair on his chest.”

“Oh,” I laughed. “I want to hear all about it.”

As he helped me into my wheelchair, he said, “A good girl doesn’t kiss and tell.”

“No,” I shot back, “But a bad boy better.” Jason laughed as he wheeled me toward the exercise room.

As I sat and did my stretching exercises, I asked, “Seriously, how did your date with Colin go?”

He smiled and replied, “Better than I thought it would. We had a wonderful dinner at the Empire Steak House.”

“Empire Steak House,” I said excitedly. “That’s one of the most expensive restaurants in town.”

“I was embarrassed,” replied Jason. “The fanciest place I’ve ever eaten is at Olive Garden.”

“I know what you mean,” I laughed. “On a teacher’s salary, even Burger King was out of my price range.”

“I bet,” responded Jason as he tapped me on my shoulder. “Colin told me what you said at the phone center.”

“Okay,” I laughed, “But still, even the Empire Steak House was a little pricey. Did you enjoy your meal?”

“Colin ordered for me,” he replied. “Everything on the menu was so expensive, I was afraid to order. Even the appetizers were high.”

“What did you end up eating?”

“Colin ordered us both prime rib,” he replied. “I’ve never eaten anything like it. Colin complained that it was a little tough.”

“Bougie Boys do that,” I laughed.

He said, “I now see why you call him a Bougie Boy. I was uncomfortable all night. I felt I was out of my league.”

I gave him a puzzled look. “I’m not picking that up. You seem to have enjoyed yourself.”

“I did,” replied Jason excitedly. “One of the best nights of my life.”

“Nights?” I asked. “It wasn’t just a date?”

Jason’s face seemed to turn a darker color. “I meant date, Phil. Date.”

Jason had me stand and walk while he held me from behind. “Spill it,” I laughed as I took several steps. “Did you spend the night with Colin?”

“Phil!” He started to protest.

“I know,” I laughed. “A good girl doesn’t kiss and tell.” I turned and looked Jason in the face. “But a bad boy does. Now tell me.”

He held me tightly as we walked. “It was wonderful. We went back to his place after the movie. I wasn’t planning on staying, but things began to happen.”

“Mmmm,” I laughed. “Tell me more.”

Jason looked around and said softly, “I think I’m in love with Colin.”

I pointed to a bench and told Jason to sit down. “Love? After one date?”

“Yes,” he smiled as tears filled his eyes. “I spent Sunday with him too. We talked all day. Colin is one of the nicest, most caring people I’ve ever met. He may come from a rich background, but he’s the most down to earth person. He’s real.”

“That’s wonderful,” I smiled as I gripped his hand. “I told you that you had nothing to worry about.” He nodded, and I gave him a wicked grin. “Now, tell me about the good stuff.”

He stood and helped me to my feet. “A good girl doesn’t kiss and tell.”

“That’s okay,” I replied as he helped me into my wheelchair. “I’ll ask the bad boy when he arrives.”

Jason laughed and said, “He won’t tell you, either.”

“What makes you so sure?”

“We agreed it would be more fun to keep you in suspense,” he replied.

“Bitch,” I mumbled as he laughed and wheeled me back to my room.

After he helped me into bed, I reached out and grabbed his hand. “Seriously, Jason. I am so happy for you and Colin. You are both great guys, and you deserve each other.”

He gripped my hand and said appreciatively, “Thanks, Phil. I’ll always love you for bringing us together.” He turned and left as tears filled his eyes.

I had been resting for about an hour when my new phone rang. I had only one contact, so I knew who it was before I even looked. When I answered, Colin said jokingly, “I was checking to see if you remembered how to use a cell phone.” He laughed loudly and added, “I know how different it is from the rotary dial phones you are used to using.”

“Wise ass,” I laughed. “I’ll have you know this is my third cell phone. My generation invented them, not yours. You’re just reaping the benefits.”

He replied, “I’m on my way in.”

“I’ll be ready,” I shot back.

A few minutes later, a grinning Colin walked into the room. “You look happy,” I remarked. “Couldn’t be because if that hot date you had this weekend.”

He laughed and replied, “I already talked to Jason. I’m a good girl who doesn’t kiss and tell.”

I frowned and said, “You know I hate you two. How else is an old man going to get his thrills? I’m living vicariously through your lives.”

Colin sat and said, “And I’m enjoying hearing about your life.”

I made a pouty face and grumbled, “I shared some of my earlier experiences. Fair is fair.”

“Phil,” he replied laughingly. “I don’t mind sharing my experiences. I just don’t want to go into detail inch by inch.”

I gave him and evil grin and asked, “Seven?”

Colin’s face reddened as he responded, “More like eight.”

“Damn!” I laughed. “You lucky beast.”

“I know,” he said as he sat back. “I can’t believe it. We just seem to fit. You know?”

“Yes,” I smiled. “I know. Dwight and I felt that way when we met.”

“Dwight is the guy you were with for a long time, right?”

“Yeah,” I replied. I looked at the window and saw a handsome man smiling at me. He was exceedingly handsome with dark brown hair and a goatee. I always told him he could have been a Calvin Klein model.

When we first met, I felt like Jason did towards Colin. Dwight was too handsome for just one man. I wasn’t unattractive, but I wasn’t in the same league as Dwight. Whenever we entered a club, men would stare at him. They would even approach him and ask for a dance knowing that he was with me. We were together for twenty-seven years, and I lived every day afraid that he would meet someone else and leave me.

“How did you meet?” asked Colin, awakening me from my thoughts.

I asked, “I told you about Larry, didn’t I?” He nodded his head.

“Larry and I had this thing going for about two years. I was teaching at the time at a high school, and he was an attorney’s assistant. We never lived together, though. I had my place, and he had his. One day he met this young guy in a club, and our relationship stopped. I can’t say I regretted it. It was fun while it lasted.”

“Is that when you met Dwight?”

“No,” I replied. “Dwight didn’t come into my life for about two years. I was teaching during the day, and then I would attend classes at night to get my master’s degree in education administration. I wanted to be a principal. I didn’t have time for a social life.”

“I know what you mean,” he responded. “I want to go back and get a doctorate in psychology. I don’t know if I have the time.”

I smiled and said, “Especially now that you have this eight-inch hunk in your life.” Colin’s face turned a bright red, but he didn’t say anything.

“Tell me more about how you met Dwight,” he insisted as he looked away.

I again looked out the window. Dwight was looking at me. His brown hair flowed down to his shoulders, and he was wearing a long-sleeved paisley shirt. I couldn’t see his pants, but I was sure they were white bell-bottoms.

I began, “Dwight and I met in a gay bar across town.”

“Which one?” asked Colin.

“It’s not there now,” I told him. “They tore it down years ago and turned the site into an apartment complex. It was called the Disco 69 Lounge.”

“That’s funny,” he laughed. “They had the nerve to call it 69?”

I laughed and replied, “A lot more went on there than that. If those bathroom stalls could talk.”

His eyes widened, “You mean you did things inside the club?”

“It was a wild time,” I said. “You could go into any club and find anything you wanted.”

“Is that how you met Dwight?”

“It sounds bad now that I’m telling it,” I laughed. “However, it is how guys met back then. We didn’t have internet dating apps like you young guys have today.”

His face reddened as he asked, “You mean like Grindr?”

“Grindr?” I laughed. “And you think Disco 69 was dirty. Besides, how would you know what this Grindr site is?”

“” he stammered nervously.

“It’s alright,” I laughed. “If I was a young buck like you, I would be on that Grindr site all day.”

He replied adamantly, “I’m not on that Grindr site. I just happened to read about it in an article.”

“If you say so,” I smiled. His face reddened brightly.

“Anyway,” I said. “Back to my story.” Colin nodded his head and let out a sigh of relief.  

“I met Dwight on a hot August night in 1978. As I told you earlier, we met at the Disco 69 Lounge.” Colin giggled, but he didn’t say anything. “Everyone was dancing to the Bee Gees and Donna Summer that year. I got to the club around eleven and sat at the bar watching people on the dance floor. I kept watching this one guy dance. He was tall with a nice body. He had long, brown wavy hair like Barry Gibbs.” I waited while Colin googled his picture.

“He was hot!” he exclaimed. “When I go home, I’m going to listen to the Bee Gees on YouTube.”

“Everyone had a crush on the Bee Gees back then,” I informed him. “Anyway, I was sitting at the bar watching this one guy. He had on a tight flowered shirt and the tightest white bell bottom pants.” I laughed and added, “They didn’t leave anything to the imagination.” Colin blushed when I said, “It’s about what Jason would look like if he had on skinny jeans.”

“As luck would have it, he noticed me sitting at the dance bar and came over and sat down beside me. I was nervous as hell. It had been a while since I had been with a man. I was spending all my time at school and night classes. He told me his name was Dwight. We talked for a while, but I was so nervous I don’t even remember what we talked about. It just seemed like we were hitting it off. When the DJ played Macho Man by the Village People, Dwight pulled me onto the dance floor.”

“Could you dance?” asked Colin.

“I was pretty good,” I told him. “Larry and I went to the clubs many weekends. It’s what gay guys did back then. It was about the only place we felt safe.” Colin sadly shook his head. “Dwight and I were naturals on the dance floor. A few people even stopped dancing to watch us. When the song was over, Dwight said he had to go to the bathroom. He grabbed my hand and pulled me into the men’s room.”

Colin leaned forward and said, “This is going to be good.”

“It was,” I laughed. “We went into a stall and made out for a few minutes. I’ll just say that those tight bell bottoms couldn’t hold what he had inside them.” I smiled when Colin’s face reddened. “We left when guys started banging on the door and looking over the top to see what we were doing.”

“Damn,” grinned Colin. “You were a horn dog.”

“Yeah,” I laughed loudly. “Probably like you were with Jason this past weekend.” I roared when his face turned a bright red.

He looked at his watch and said he had to go. “I have another patient to see before I head back to the office. Can you finish this story tomorrow?”

“Yeah, sure,” I replied. “No problem.” I looked out the window and saw a teen boy peering inside. He is the same boy I saw after talking to Susan earlier.

“Colin,” I said. “I have something I need to talk to you about before you leave.”

“What is it?”

“Do you remember us talking about Stanley, the boy who ran away from his home last week?”

“The nurse’s son?” he asked. “I remember. Why?”

“His mother is my nurse in the morning,” I informed him. “She asked me if we, you and I, may be able to talk to him.”

He looked at his watch and asked, “Can this wait until morning? I really must go now.”

“Do you know what time you’ll be here? I’ll arrange to have his mother stop in to talk to you.”

He looked at his watch again. “How about ten?”

“Fine,” I replied as he rose and left the room. I looked over, and the boy smiled and nodded his head.