The Sailor's Stories

1006 Chapter six – The Sailor’s Awakening.

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I’ve never liked being alone, that cannot be denied. Oh I don’t just mean as in relationship status, I mean in general. Being alone, without the stimulus that company can provide, affords the mind to much free rein. As it wanders the mind can quite often become its own enemy. It makes you over think things. I have seen to many times what this can do to a person. As part of the training of my former life, we were made to be alone, so that we could experience its effects, and learn ways to counteract it. To tell you the truth…, I never want to do that kind of thing again. Though to a certain extent, I do it every morning.

I had woken early as usual, slipped on a pair of shorts and t-shirt, slid my ipod into my pocket, and was out the door before the sun was even up. All this I did without thinking, in fact, I didn’t even come to full awareness until I was three miles into my morning jog. Such are the perils of routine. A routine so ingrained in me, after all I had been doing the same thing since before high school. I was too short for basketball, too skinny for football. Martial arts, swimming and baseball, those were my sports. In High School I was pretty popular, one of the “In Crowd” if you will. I had money, but was not pretentious or arrogant about it. I dressed well, and was quite a “looker”, or so I was told, with sandy blond hair and blue eyes. An average height and an athletic build, one that I maintain rigorously.

I used to enjoy these moments of solitude. Though as I grew older, the things I had seen and done had started to play heavily on my mind. This morning was no different, my fears and worries invaded my thoughts like marines storming a beach. My hearts pounding, adding further credence, to that analogy, like the impacts of artillery in my ears. I pushed my feet a little faster, but still letting them lead me through the wooded streets of my home town. With the dark nuances of some Nine Inch Nails blaring in my ears, I thought of the old t-shirt that Dale loved so much, which lead me to him…, funny how the mind works.

After our talk last night Dale and I had gone through the phone book, in search of Carl’s number. There were five numbers for the last name Sommers, so starting at the top, he worked his way down. It only took two attempts. I busied myself cleaning up the kitchen, as the two boys talked for a few minutes…

“…you can? Cool! Uncle Cam says we’ll be having a barbecue. You should bring some trunks too, because he says we can use the hot tub…., ok well.., sweet, then I’ll see you tomorrow…, ok bye.”

“Cool under pressure.” I said to him holding out my fist, he pressed his to mine with a smile. “But I think you need to have a talk with Corey in case things get serious between you two.”

“I know Uncle Cam…, but, I’m scared…, how do you think he’ll take it?” he said with a pleading look on his face.

“To be honest I’m not sure, but I know he loves you, he may be a little upset, but you have to give him a chance.”

“I’ll think about it.”

We ordered pizza for dinner, as none us had much energy left after the day. We were all in bed soon thereafter. Once again dreams plagued my sleep, but we were back to the normal nightmares of a man who has seen too much.

My feet in their infinite wisdom led me back through streets still warming up to the day, past Mark’s old house. When Mark had died, his parents deciding that there was nothing left for them in this town had moved south to Florida. That had been the year the boys arrived. The house was still pretty much the same as it had been, though the gardens looked richer somehow, more full of life. Jacob Tenaka and his wife Emuri were excellent gardeners.

But that house, no matter who lived in it, would always hold a special place in my heart. I had so many memories there, it was almost hard to look at the place sometimes. I stopped suddenly as I realized something was missing. I looked at Mark’s old house and it suddenly felt naked…, why? I shivered and thought how much I would like to climb the old elm to get into…, that was it, the tree was gone! When the hell had that happened?

Outside Mark’s window, had been an old elm tree that had been there forever. That had always been my access into Mark’s house late at night. I would climb that tree, and slip quietly in through his window, and into his open arms. I just couldn’t believe it was gone, Where the fuck had my childhood gone? I felt like that tree and I were linked somehow…, maybe a piece of me went with that tree. Maybe that was why I was so broken.

As I approached home I checked my watch…, 0749. I had been jogging for well over an hour! I usually only did about forty minutes to an hour. With my feet guiding me home I looked over at Reggie’s house and saw that the kitchen window was open. Chancing it, I turned that way. As I got closer, I could smell freshly brewed coffee, and the unmistakable aroma of fresh toast. My stomach rumbled as I lifted my arm to knock on the door…, that opened as I approached….

“Cameran…, good morning…., coffee?”

“Love some.” I said, with a heartfelt smile.

Reggie and I talked for over an hour. She told me about her conversation with Dale, she went into some things I felt sure she wouldn’t have mentioned to him. Including asking a few leading questions about my own past. I managed to dodge them fairly well, or so I thought, but I wouldn’t find that out until later. By that stage it was going on 1000, so I said my goodbyes and headed home.

Stepping through the back door, the place was as quiet as when I’d left it. I went upstairs and showered quickly, then pulled on some clean shorts and a polo and went back downstairs. I had timed it pretty well actually; the boys came in just as I was pouring the first of the pancake batter into the pan. Corey was first of course, striding shamelessly into the kitchen wearing nothing but a pair of boxers. I swear that boy was never late to a meal. Dale arrived about five minutes later, dressed slightly more appropriately in a t-shirt and boxers, just in time for the second batch. I couldn’t help but notice that Corey’s plate was empty. The look on his face, of slight irritation that his brother would get between food and his stomach, really was priceless. I had put out orange juice and tea on the table, and then carried over a plate full of bacon and toast. Sundays had always belonged to us, and I kinda went all out.

“Sleep well boys?” I said as I sat down.

“Yeah…” They said in almost unison, before they looked at each other and smiled.

Dale broke the contact first though, barely a second later. I looked over at Corey he was still looking at his brother, though this time, with a look of sadness and confusion. Thinking fast I said…

“So Corey, Dale’s having a friend over this afternoon who’s going to stay for dinner. Is there anyone you would like to ask over?”

“What’re we having?” He said.

“Is food all you think about?” I replied, with a mocking smile.

“No I think about sports…, and girls!” He replied rather indignantly.

We both turned to Dale, as the crash of his fork hitting his plate echoed through the kitchen…

“What the fuck dude, it’s too early for that kinda noise!”

“Sorry…” He said, instantly embarrassed.

“What’s with you lately man…, why don’t you talk to me anymore?”

I guess Corey had had enough of the situation.

“Corey leave your brother alo…”

“No it’s all right Uncle Cam.” Dale said to me, then turning to Corey, “Dude I have something to tell you…, I’m…”

“Holey shit…., are you coming out to me?”

“Umm…, Yeah…”

“Shit!” I could see he was struggling with his thoughts as it seemed his plate of half eaten bacon, and pancakes were forgotten, until he dug his fork in and shovelled more food into his mouth.

“What’re you thinking…, do you…, hate me?”

A subtle hint of fear creeping into Dale’s voice at that moment.

Between a mouthful of bacon, Corey said, “Huh? … Nah man I don’t…, hate you, I just don’t think I understand you anymore.”

“What do you mean?”

“Look dude, you’re my brother…, I love you. I may dislike you at times, but I’ll always love you…, and be there for you when you need me, nothings changed there…, I just don’t know if I can accept this gay thing…, at the moment…”

He stood up, and turned to leave and when Dale got up to follow…,

“Just leave me alone for a bit and…, let me think.” He said, as he walked out.

We both looked at each other as Dale crashed back into his chair. We listened as Corey made his way up the stairs…, then we heard his door close. Such was the silence of the moment. The young man that had been so upbeat last night, looked as though he was back to the scared little boy that had cried out his fears to me the other day. He looked heartbroken…, shattered even, as if what his brother had said, had crushed all the happiness right of him…, I had to step up and say something or risk some serious regression…

“That could’ve been a lot worse…, at least he still loves you…, right?” I said to Dale as he looked sadly down at his plate. “It’ll be ok kiddo…, I promise.”

“How? … How can it be ok? … You saw his face! You heard what he said! … How can it ever be ok again.” He said, with defeat as clear as day, in his voice.

“Calm down ‘Short Stack’…, it’s not that bad…. He took a pretty big hit there, you know…, but he’ll pull around, like he said himself he loves you…. What you two share can’t be broken.”

“Yeah maybe…” He said as he too got up and went up to his room. Tears threatening to overwhelm him.

I sat at the table for a moment longer, while I finished my tea. It really is the best breakfast drink. As I took my last slurp, I got up and started to clear the table. I was used to this on the weekends; the boys usually did it during the week. Wiping down the last of the surfaces, I closed the door on the dishwasher and turned it on, all the while wondering what was to become of my boys, and desperately hoping for Dale’s sake that his brother could get past it.

I spent most of the day outside preparing the BBQ, we had quite an elaborate brick affair. It had been a charcoal burner when dad had built it originally, but two years ago I’d replaced that with a propane hotplate, it was just easier. Sometime just before lunch, I saw Corey come out the backdoor. He waved to me, as he collected his bike, and was gone before I could say anything. A couple of hours and a trip to the gas station later, I found that Carl had arrived. I didn’t want to disturb the boys, so I left them to it. I did keep a close eye on them though.

The Rhode Island early summer afternoon really excelled itself, with the warm sun, and the light breeze caressing the trees in the backyard. I could smell a freshly mown lawn somewhere, with that slight hint of soft mint on the air. Dale and Carl had spent a good few hours together just talking, as they sat on some lawn chairs that I had put out for the occasion. About an hour before dark, with the first lot of burgers sizzling happily away on the grill, Corey came home. I wrapped a bun around a patty, and held it out to him…

“So what did you get up to today?” I said as he took the burger.

“Just rode around…, thinking.”

“If you want to talk about it, I’m always here.”

“I dunno…, I still don’t get it…, I know he has that dark brooding thing going on, but he still has all the girls after him. How can he be gay?”

“Sometimes these things just happen Corey. I don’t know why he’s gay, but he is, and he needs our love and support.”

“I know…, I meant what I said at breakfast. I don’t hate him.”

“I know you don’t, I think you should go and tell him though…, don’t ya think?”

“Yeah.”

“Why don’t you go and ask Carl to come and get something to eat?”

“You want to have a word huh?” He grinned, a little trickle of juice from the burger sliding down his chin. With the back of his hand, he wiped his mouth as he walked off…

“Corey McTiernan! I taught you better than that…, get a napkin!” I heard Reggie yell through the kitchen window.

“Sorry Reggie.” He said rather sheepishly I thought, with a chuckle of my own.

I looked over at the boys as Corey stepped up to them. I smiled a little darkly as Carl’s head snapped in my direction. He then turned to Dale, I couldn’t quite make out what he was saying, but his look said something like Can’t you go? I couldn’t help myself, I laughed darkly as Corey turned his head back in my direction. I couldn’t make that out either, but Carl got up and started walking towards the BBQ. I watched him and the boys, Corey sat down next to his brother, and they looked like they were deep in conversation. That didn’t last to long, as before Carl made it to me, I saw Corey wrap Dale in a heartfelt hug…

“Smells really good Mr. Trevallian…” I could sense the fear in the slight shake of his voice.

I handed him a burger, “I was thinking about playing the protective parent this afternoon Carl. But then I thought better of it, I don’t think I trust you right now, but you make him happy.” I eyed him as he quietly munched on the burger, “As long as you continue to do so you and I will get along fine…, do we understand each other?”

“Yes sir…, umm…, can I have another one of those for Dale?”

I handed him another and he took off back to the twins. The rest of the evening was very pleasant. Reggie had worked her magic again and within no time the table was filled with salads and drinks. We all sat down and I watched as Reggie grilled Carl, the way only a woman knows how. I almost felt sorry for the poor boy…., almost. After dinner the boys went upstairs to change, as I took the cover off of the hot tub. They all came down together wearing only their boardies and carrying towels. The yard was soon filled with laughter as the boys splashed each other and relaxed in the tub. I watched from the kitchen window as I helped Reggie with the washing up.

Written by bigct/Octavius

November 10, 2009 at 15:28

One Response

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  1. 🙂

    Beach

    May 4, 2012 at 13:01


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