I woke up later in the afternoon in a strange mood. I know it doesn’t sound right, but I felt good about things. So much had happened over the past two weeks that it didn’t feel right to be happy- but I was.
Jason and I were back together and our friendship seemed stronger than it had ever been. When he was having nightmares the night before, I was the one person who was able to comfort him. It made the past twelve years seem like they had all come together for that one night. He needed me, and I was there for him when he was experiencing one of the worst days of his life.
When I was lying by his side holding him, I had a brief dream. I dreamt that we were both old men around seventy. It was strange seeing us with gray hair and wrinkled bodies. Both of us were alone in life, and he was suffering from some old person’s ailment- like rheumatism. When he cried out in pain, I crawled into bed and comforted him.
When I awoke, it was like I had experienced a revelation. Jason and I would always be together throughout our lives. Even though we would travel different paths, we would still be there for one another when we were needed the most.
I read somewhere that a person can count their true friends with the fingers on one hand. I could count mine with just my index finger. No matter who I shared my life with, whether it is Chris or other man who might later come into my life, I know that Jason will always be there for me. When I whispered in his ear the night before that I loved him, I know that I will never mean it more.
Love suddenly had a different meaning to me- it is pure and innocent. I didn’t have to kiss him passionately, or satisfy him sexually to show I loved him. I had reserved a special place in my heart for him, and I know he had done the same for me. I realize that no matter how many times our love is put on trial, it will always endure and be stronger as a result.
I visited him at the hospital later in the afternoon. He had been placed in a private room. He was propped up on a pillow watching television with his mother when I entered. I expected to see him with tubes still running into his body, but he appeared to be looking much better. His face seemed pale, but other than that, it wasn’t immediately apparent that he had been involved in a brutal assault the day before.
“Hey, Asswipe,” he said with a grin when I entered. His mother gave him a dirty look, but she didn’t say anything.
“Up...” I looked over at her and stopped. “I see you’re sitting up,” I said instead. He smiled and patted the side of his bed.
“Please talk to me,” he pleaded. “Have you ever watched hospital television? It sucks. If I see one more video about heart disease, I’m going to scream.”
“Well,” remarked his mother. “Now maybe you’ll eat healthier and never smoke.”
“Watching them made me hungry and want a cigarette,” he joked.
“Suit yourself,” she replied. “But don’t say I didn’t warn you when you’re old and have clogged arteries and emphysema.” She looked over at me and asked, “Taylor, do you plan to be here for awhile?”
“Good,” she replied. “Will you keep Mr. Bundle of Joy occupied while I go home for a little while?”
“Sure, Mrs. Miller,” I responded cheerfully. “I’ll be happy to.” She kissed him goodbye and left the room.
“How are you feeling?” I asked after she left. “You’re looking pretty good.”
“Yeah, well.” He started stroking the side of his face. “Of course I look good.”
“Shut up,” I giggled. “Seriously, how do you feel?”
“Pretty good,” he replied. “I don’t know what drugs they have me on, but I’m not feeling much pain.” He unbuttoned his pajama top and pulled it aside; he then lifted the bandage up, exposing the stab wound.
“Look at this!” he said excitedly. I looked at the wound that appeared to have about 12 stitches. I felt my stomach begin to turn, realizing what he had been through. “The doc says it’s going to take a few weeks to really heal. I guess I won’t be shooting any hoops for a few weeks.”
“I’m just glad you’re all right,” I said. “You had me really worried yesterday.”
“I guess I had everyone worried,” he responded. “I really don’t remember too much after this happened.” He taped the bandage back and then sat quietly. I started to become uncomfortable when Jason kept staring at me without saying anything.
“What?” I finally asked out of frustration.
“What, what?” He asked.
“Why are you staring at me?”
“I’m remembering something, but I don’t know if I dreamt it or it really happened,” he replied. “Everything about yesterday is a blur.”
“What is it you think you remember?”
“Did you kiss me and tell me you loved me?” He was staring intently into my face searching for an answer.
“Yeah, I did.” I responded without hesitating. “You’re my best friend and I love you.”
“Good,” he smiled. “I thought it was a dream.” We sat watching the hospital channel. There was an exciting program on prostate cancer. Jason and I laughed when the moderator started talking about a doctor doing an anal probe to see if a man’s prostate was enlarged.
Jason said laughingly, “Why would a doctor spend so many years going to med school, just to stick his finger into some fat, hairy guy’s ass.” I almost fell out of my chair because I was laughing so hard. After a minute, we sat quietly watching television again.
He looked over, smiled and said, “I do too.”
“You do too, what?” I asked. His statement had nothing to do with the program on television.
“You’re my best friend, and I love you, too.” I felt tears well up in my eyes when he said it. His eyes became misty as well.
“Well, I’m not going to change your diapers when you’re eighty years old,” I joked. I was trying to make light of the situation because I felt both of us were getting ready to cry.
“What are you talking about?” he asked. I then told him about the dream I had when I was holding him the night before.
“I’d do it for you,” he laughed. “When you’re too old to wipe your own ass, I’ll do it for you, Asswipe.” We both broke out in laughter. I walked over and gave him a hug. It surprised me when he held me tightly. It was as if he didn’t want to let me go.
“Okay,” he said as he gently pushed me away.
“A little too gay?” I grinned and returned to my seat.
“No,” he replied. “I’m going to cry if we keep this shit up.”
We spent the next half hour just talking about old times. I was surprised how much he remembered about all the times we’d spent together. He even remembered things I had forgotten; like the time I gave him the last piece of my birthday cake when I turned eight. I really wanted it, but he had pleaded with me until I relented and let him eat it. He said only a real friend would have done something like that.
Around four o’clock Chris and Cynthia arrived. Chris shyly gave me a kiss on the lips.
“Awwww!” said Jason and Cynthia in unison. “Isn’t young love sweet?” Jason then made kissy noises at us.
“So how are you feeling?” Cynthia walked over and took Jason’s hand and held it. Chris and I looked at each other and nodded.
“Awww!” we laughed. “Isn’t young love sweet?” I started making kissy noises. Cynthia and Jason began to blush. I did notice, though, that she continued to hold his hand.
“Everyone wants to know how you’re doing,” she told Jason. “You really have a lot of good friends.”
Jason looked at me and winked. “But only one best friend.” I smiled and nodded.
“Yeah,” said Chris. “The teachers couldn’t teach because everyone was talking about what happened. Mrs. Cox came over the intercom this morning and gave a big speech about the school not tolerating any form of violence.”
“There were police stationed around the building today,” added Cynthia, “Media people were also outside. We were warned not to talk to them.”
“And you’re the school hero,” Chris said as he stepped over and held my hand. “Guess what happened this afternoon?”
“You mean there’s more?” I was astonished. It seemed there had already been enough happen in one day. I couldn’t figure out why he was calling me a hero.
“Mrs. Shays and Stephanie came to school and met with Mrs. Cox,” Cynthia said excitedly. “She expelled her and her brothers from school. We won’t be seeing them again.” She became quiet after looking over at Jason.
“I’m sorry,” she apologized. We were excited because none of us had ever liked Stephanie or her brothers. I guess we had forgotten that she had been Jason’s girlfriend for two years.
“It’s all right, really,” he replied. “I wanted to drop her last year, but she threatened to turn her brothers on me if I did. I can’t say I’m sorry to see her go.”
“Everyone thinks you’re responsible for finally bringing them down,” Chris said to me.
“They brought themselves down,” I replied quickly. “I had nothing to do with it. You can’t do the shit they did to people and not have it come back on you. Besides, Leon, Jamie, Jeff and Charles have to take some of the credit.” I quickly placed my hand over my mouth when I realized that I had just told them who had beaten up the Shays brothers.
“No, Shit?” Chris exclaimed excitedly. “They‘re the ones who did that to them?”
“Nope,” I protested. “I didn’t say that.” I let a small smile form in the corner of my mouth. They began to laugh at me.
“Nope,” said Jason. “We didn’t hear it from you.” We continued to laugh until Chris grabbed my hand and started to lead me from the room.
He announced, “I want something to drink from the cafeteria.”
“He wants to go to the restroom and make out!” shouted Jason as we left the room.
Jason was right. We walked down the hall and Chris pulled me into a restroom. He locked the door, grabbed me around the waist and kissed me.
“Mmmm,” he moaned as we kissed. “I’ve been dreaming of this all day. I’ve missed you.”
“Me too,” I replied as I reached down and started rubbing his cock. He was quickly becoming erect.
Suddenly, someone started knocking on the door. “Anyone in there?” The voice shouted as he continued to pound on the door.
“We’ll have to wait until later.” I quickly pulled my shirt down to cover my erect cock. “Come home with me, and we’ll try out my new bed.” He gave me a puzzled look as he nodded his head. He hadn’t yet seen my redecorated room.
We opened the door and faced a very angry elderly man. “What were you doing in there?” he exclaimed as he rushed passed us. “Kids!” He slammed the door as we headed back to Jason’s room.
When we entered, Cynthia had pulled a chair beside Jason’s bed. She was holding his hand and rubbing it gently. It appeared that Chris and I weren’t the only ones who had missed each other. I stood beside the bed and looked down at them.
“What?” Jason exclaimed. He looked over at Cynthia and smiled. “I asked her out.”
“It’s about time,” I sighed.
“Well, it will be a few weeks,” he said, “but we’ve talked. How would you guys like to double date?”
I looked over at Chris and he had an excited look on his face. “I think that’s a yes,” I laughed.
“Good,” said Cynthia. “We’ll let Taylor pay.” They began to laugh at the surprised look on my face.
“That will take my allowance for the next two months,” I moaned.
“It will take your allowance for the next year,” responded Jason. I looked at him as his mouth began to curl into a wide grin. “I’m going to ask Bernie if you can rent his limousine for the night.” They laughed even harder when I started groaning.
I picked Chris up for school the next day. It seemed strange not to have Jason with us. His doctors told him it would probably be about a week before he could return. Until then, I was going to pick up his assignments and take them to him after school each day.
When I pulled up to Chris’s house, he came out on the porch and motioned for me to come in. He met me at the door and gave me a brief kiss before entering. I was surprised to see his father standing behind us. He extended his hand for me to shake.
“Good morning, Taylor,” he said cheerfully. “Come in and have some breakfast with us.” He put his hand on my back and ushered me into the kitchen. Chris looked over and shrugged his shoulders.
I couldn’t believe the change in his father. He seemed to really be enjoying his family. He pulled out his wife’s chair when she sat down and kissed her on the cheek. He reached over and, much to his displeasure, ruffled Chris’s hair.
“Dad,” moaned Chris. “Now I have to go comb it again.”
“Well, I don’t think Taylor will mind too much if your hair is out of place.” He looked at me and winked. “Will you, Taylor?”
“No, Sir,” I responded shyly. I looked at Chris and gave him a questioning look. He just smiled at me.
“What was that all about?” I asked Chris on the way to school. “Your dad has gone from Mr. Jekyll to Dr. Hyde.”
“I know,” he said. “It’s really weird. A nice weird, but still weird.” He went on to explain how his father had changed. He said he even took him to the country club where he plays golf and introduced him to all his golf buddies. He wanted Chris to ask me if I would go with them next week.
“Sure,” I agreed. “If you think it’s all right.”
“It will be,” he assured me. “He told me last night he really likes you. He thinks we make a cute couple.”
“We do.” I reached over, grabbed his hand, brought it to my mouth and kissed it. We held hands the rest of the way to school.
Cynthia was right. When I walked into the building, people were treating me differently. They weren’t exactly walking up and slapping me on the back, but they would look at me and smile. It certainly different from the way I had been greeted just a week earlier.
Chris was walking proudly beside me. I didn’t have to look over to know that he had a huge grin on his face. I could just sense it. I don’t know if it had to do with me, or the fact that he didn’t have to hide himself from others. He could now have friends without worrying about how his father would react. I think it was probably a little bit of both.
We went to Mrs. Mason’s room to get my books from the file cabinet. After chatting a minute with her, I took my books back to my former locker. Cynthia was waiting for us when we arrived.
She opened it, and I piled my books inside. I was surprised when Chris put his books in as well. He looked over at me and smiled. I guess I would be sharing my locker with him from now on.
On the way to first period, Chris again pulled me into the restroom and gave me a kiss. As we were getting ready to leave, the two boys we had encountered earlier, walked in. They smiled and once again began to kiss. I looked at Chris, shrugged my shoulders, and kissed him.
As we were leaving, one of the boys extended his hand. “I’m Jerry. This is Tommy.”
“I’m Taylor,” I replied. “This is Chris.”
“We know who you are, Taylor,” he said admiringly. “Every gay boy in this school owes you. Ernest used to torment us all the time. Thanks.” They again shook my hand and, after another brief kiss, left.
“See,” said Chris as he gave me a quick kiss. “You are a hero.”
“Yeah, right.” I laughed. I didn’t consider myself a hero at all. I was just a gay boy who had to learn to cope. After going through hell and back, I considered myself a survivor, not a hero.
We were walking down the hall heading to class, when Leon and Jamie approached.
“Hey, Taylor.” Leon grinned evilly. He then grabbed me and lifted me over his head.
“One.” I started squealing as he continued to lift me.
“Two.” Students gathered around and started laughing as they watched him lifting me as if I were a set of barbells. Jamie stood aside and counted.
“Twenty-five.” He breathlessly put me down. Jamie took a ten dollar bill out of his pocket and handed it to Leon. The hallway erupted into laughter and applause. After everyone dispersed and headed off, I walked beside Leon to class. Before arriving, I reached out, grabbed his thick arm and stopped him.
“Thanks, Leon.” I said. He looked down and smiled. “When everyone turned their back on me, you were there. I’ll never forget what you did.”
“Don’t worry about it, Taylor,” he replied. “That’s what friends do. You helped me out when I was in trouble, so I was there for you when you needed help.”
We turned and headed to class. He put his arm around my shoulder as we walked down the hall. I wrapped my arm around my friend’s back and smiled.