The Sailor's Stories

1008 Chapter eight – The Sailor’s Awakening.

with 3 comments

After the boys had gone to sleep, I switched on my laptop. I needed to find some resources, some Intel on how to better handle this situation. I now had three kids to raise and I had no idea what I was doing anymore. The boys had certainly thrown me a few curves over the years, but this new twist had me bogged down and floundering. Surfing the web was very enlightening, but everything I found, just led to more questions…, maybe I needed a shrink? That thought made me laugh, as the only one I knew was the headshrinker on the base, I certainly couldn’t go to him. I did see this one thing called PFLAG, which looked interesting; I thought I would check that out. Giving up finally at around 0100 I made my way upstairs and crawled into bed.

It was Tuesday, and I was pushing myself hard again. Running slowly through the centre of town, I could see my youth in every corner. I had so many cherished memories here…, the diner that my parents would take me to for breakfast every Sunday morning, the picture theatre I would take my dates to, everywhere a happy memory. Yes even there, I thought as I ran past the high school. Yet at the same time, everywhere I turned I saw things that reminded me of him. The stores we would hang out in, or around. New Town Records, the music store where he’d helped me pick out my first guitar. Old Worlds Bookstore, he loved that place so much, and would spend hours there just roaming the shelves. Joey’s, the ice cream parlour, which still, made the best milkshakes in the world.

Everywhere I looked, there he was. I couldn’t shake him…, or at least the feeling of him, and quite frankly, right then I didn’t really want to. I could almost feel him running along side me…, If I just turned my head, could I  do it fast enough…, would I see that smile? I know you’re there… It felt like old times, we had run this route so many times we could do it in our sleep. In fact I think we did on more than one occasion. Every morning for everyday at high school…, what the fuck is happening to me?

I’d been dreaming again last night, the dreams started off pretty well…, in the happy times, I even got to repeat that first time away at state finals, but all too soon I was cradling my dead friend in my lap. I just couldn’t shake that horrific image. I had managed to get back to sleep…, after a bit of “self manipulation”. But I was soon bolting upright again, sweat streaming off my body. Time to get up anyway, I thought as I looked over to the clock on my nightstand. It was 0543. I crawled out of bed, shook the covers flat, and threw on an old t-shirt, pair of shorts and some good running shoes.

My legs were hurting…; I really was pushing far too hard. I looked around and found myself standing at the top of Park Hill, looking out at the rising sun… The beauty was staggering. The sky over the small tree covered mountain range of the park, reaching out to grasp the new day in its loving embrace. The deep oranges and strong yellows of the sun were like fire, cascading over the evergreens. Absorbing and assimilating their colours. I hadn’t been here in so long…, in fact…, wait a minute…, yes there it is…, the hugging tree, the bench, the cobbled path…, Now I know why you brought me here

“Come on Asshole…, why’ve you stopped, we still have a few miles left…” I said as I jogged back to Mark, who had stopped in the middle of our run.

“Fuck you dickhead, how could you just run past and miss this.” He replied spreading his arms, to take in the beautiful sunrise over the park.

As I jogged up to him, he took a few steps off the cobbled path, and sat down on the grass. I knew there would be no changing his mind now, so I walked over and sat next to him. We said nothing, and everything in that moment, we just sat and stared at the sun as it rose over the peaks. After about a minute I felt his hand brush the top of mine. I looked around but there was no one to see, so as not to let his slip, I turned my hand over to let his fingers slide between mine.

It was the end of summer…, I was leaving for college that afternoon. It would be our last day together for some time. His semester started the following week. He was off to WestPoint and I was off to Annapolis. Our grand patriotic adventure. I was really worried about him though, in the past year he’d made several slips about his choice of partner. Nothing overt, just little things…, things like he was doing to my hand now. To be honest I wasn’t even sure if he was consciously doing it. Mark had always been affectionate with his friends, especially me. Even occasionally to the point of getting beaten at school, luckily I’d never been too far away when that happened.

“You know I love you right?” I said to him.

“I know, I love you too…, but you need to learn to shut up and just enjoy the moment.”

“I’m scared…”

“Fine! What are you scared of?”

“You…”

“What!?”

“Honestly dude you scare the shit of me…”

I looked at him then, and was horrified to see him tear up…, I reached over, placing my hand on his cheek and gently wiping his tears with my thumb. His skin was so soft, it was always soft. I loved the feel of his skin, especially his face. Something else did too, and it was making its presence known quite uncomfortably.

“… Aw shit dude don’t do that, I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Then how did you mean it?” I could hear a hint of anger and hurt enter his voice.

“Look…, where we are going…, both of us…, well they don’t look kindly on the things we do with each other. I’m scared that you’ll do something without realising and get hurt.”

“I’m not stupid Cam.” He replied, as he tried to pull his hand out of mine, but I held firm and continued.

“I know you’re not, I am not saying that! But you are very…, affectionate, it’s just how you are, it’s one of the many things I love about you.” I could see his smile returning, plus a small hint of red, that had nothing to do with the run. “I just don’t want you to get hurt…”

“I’m getting into the wrong business then…, don’tcha think?” The wink and the impish grin that followed that statement, made me melt.

“Don’t be an asshole, you know what I mean…, they, don’t like gays in the military…”

“Who says I’m gay?”

“Jesus Mark!” I near yelled.

“Alright, alright…, god’s sake keep your voice down! Fuck…, those shorts to tight or something…, what’s come over you?”

The heat of embarrassment near consumed me, as I thought he’d noticed the activity in my shorts. It took me a moment to realise that he was, in fact, talking metaphorically…

“Are you ok? You’ve gone all red.”

“I’m…, fine.”

“Ok…,  so if I’m gay, what does that make you stud?”

The fire in my cheeks reignited, though I knew he meant it with love…

“To be honest…, I don’t know…”

“Well if you aren’t…, then you’re the gayest straight boy I have ever known. I can still feel you from last night!”

He gently nudged his shoulder against mine. The touch of his skin was electric and my mind flooded with the thoughts, feelings and images of what we had gotten up to the night before. Mark had stayed over at my place last night…, so we could properly say good bye.

What I did next I did out of love, and I didn’t care who saw us. I let go of his hand, and slid my arm around his shoulders…., as I pulled him close, he rested his head on my shoulder. I turned my own and kissed him gently on the top of his sweaty matted hair.

“Like I said…, I don’t know, but if I am then I’m only gay for you. You’re the only boy I’ve ever had these feelings for.”

“Trust me…, that’ll change.” He said, drawing lazy circles on my chest.

“I hope not…, you are my love, my lover, and my best friend. I never want to lose you.”

“Oooo…, you really know how to make a guy moist, don’tcha big fella?”

“Hey!” I said, as I slapped him on the arm. I should have known better as he retaliated by gripping firmly to my nipple. “FUCK that HURT! … I pour my heart out to you and that’s the best you can come up with?”

“Don’t slap me then bitch!” He said with rather too much camp in his voice.

“Please don’t do that Mark. You know I hate it when you talk like that.”

“I know, I’m sorry…, but, you aren’t gonna lose me Cam, I’ll always be with you. I love you so much it hurts sometimes.” He slid his arm around me, and we held each other for a few moments, “Promise me something?”

“Anything I can, I will…, you know that.”

He looked up into my eyes, and held me with his stare. I had no idea how he could do that…, it wasn’t like he was looking at me , it was like he was looking inside me, like he was inside me.

“If you can’t be honest with me…, at least be honest with yourself…, ok?”

I smiled at him, but inside I was shaking with fear…, what if he was right? I didn’t think he was…, but what if?

“Come on…” I said, as I stood up, “I’m getting cold, and starting to cramp up…, besides, mom’s making breakfast for us.”

“You’re right let’s get going.”

By the time we made it home, to my place, we were famished. Salivating at the thought of the spread my mom always put on, we burst through the door. Breakfast was sausage eggs bacon and toast, with fresh oj and coffee. My mom had once again excelled herself. After we’d had our fill, Mark and I went upstairs to shower and change. We talked about the small things, while I packed the last of my stuff, and he helped me take it out to the jeep, that my dad had bought for me, brand new last year. When I was packed and ready, I hugged my mom and dad…, then Mark. I saw him still waving from the rear view mirror as I turned the corner at the end of the street.

“You always knew, didn’t you buddy…., oh god! I wish you were still here.” I said, to the morning sun, “I have so much still to say to you…, why did you have to be so brave! Why couldn’t you have just kept your fucking head down!”

I was angry, that much was clear, but I had stopped being angry at him a long time ago. I couldn’t change him when we were kids, and I certainly couldn’t change him now. I think I could finally get past his death, it was selfish and foolish of me, to think that he could just hide and protect himself.  He could no longer leave his men to die, than I could. I just hoped that in the reverse, he would feel the same way that I do.

After a while I was starting to get that familiar chill and cramping feeling, and like that day so many years ago, I got up and headed for home. After about a mile, I realised that mom wouldn’t be putting a spread out like last time. Now I was the parent and it was up to me. I looked at my watch…, 0950…, the boys would be up soon. When I got home, I ran up the stairs, showered and changed into an old, but comfortable pair of jeans, and a nice polo. I then went down to the kitchen to do some recon in the freezer.

I found some sausages, and some bacon, and set about trying to recreate my moms spread. Half an hour later, I was almost ready, and was about to call the boys down when Carl walked into the kitchen. It was funny how so unlike my two he was, yet at the same time so similar. As he walked in, he was wearing a pair of red flannel PJ’s, with footballs on them. While he came into the kitchen he was rubbing at his eyes, with a balled up fist…

“Hey little man…, sleep well?”

“Yes thanks…, mmmm, is that for breakfast?” He said as he sat down.

“Well no actually…, I thought we could all just come down and stare at it for a while till it got cold.” I said as I put a plate of food in front of him,

“Of course it’s for breakfast dopey, you better dig in quick though…, because there won’t be much left when…, well speak of the demon and he arises!”

Corey had chosen that exact moment to walk in, again just in his boxers…

“You do know we have guests right?” I said to him as I put a plate in front of him, and Dale who had followed his brother in.

“Nah Uncle Cam…, he lives here…” Corey started to shovel food into his mouth as he spoke, “He has to get used to it sooner or later.” He said, as he smiled at Carl.

Once we were all seated, and I was working through my second tea of the morning…

“Guys, there’s something I want to tell you…, and I want you to just let me get it out before you ask any questions, ok?”

I looked at the three boys, and each nodded his head.

“You know the picture you always ask me about, on the mantle?”

I looked at the twins and they nodded, I looked at Carl, and he just looked back with visible relief…, I think he thought I may have changed my mind about him. I couldn’t think about that, I needed to get this out…

“His name is Mark…, was Mark and he and I…”

I laid it all out on the table. I told them everything from the day we met, to the day he died. When I was finished my eyes were red and puffy, but I had stopped crying long ago. Dale however had started crying for me…, or for himself.., who could tell? He was too sensitive for his own good sometimes, but I loved him for it. Corey was speechless, I think he may have been in shock. Carl just sat at the far end of the table with a knowing, and understanding look on his face.

Dale was the first to react, realising I had finished. He got up and walked over to me,  wrapping his arms around my neck and resting his tear wet face on my shoulder…, soon after, Corey joined him on the other side, and then even Carl was in on the act. I was overwhelmed by the love shown to me by my boys at that moment.

“So are you gay as well…., is that why you’ve never had a girlfriend?” Corey could never stay quiet for long.

“I…, to be honest I don’t know…, I know I loved him, I still do…, I’ve never felt anything even close to that love with anyone else.” I was quiet for a moment, “I don’t think I can anymore, there’s no one out there like him, the bond we had was so strong.”

“I know it’s not really my place to say Mr Trevellian…, but you are still young, and…, hot…, you still have time to find someone.”

What Carl said was bold, and I had to respect the risk he took in saying it.

“Carl’s right Uncle Cam…, you deserve to be happy, I think that Mark would want that.” Said Dale.

I stood up and started clearing the table.

“If you want to, we can talk about this later. Right now, I want you all to go upstairs…, showers and dressed, we have a date with my bank account this afternoon.”

Written by bigct/Octavius

November 17, 2009 at 16:06

3 Responses

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  1. Great story,Just found this site and I am enjoying this story,I too had a friend when I was younger and I had to move away,would visit when I could get up north to visit other family members but after a while loss track of him , after several years I found him again married but due to a heart attack and due to no oxygen for so long he is in a veg. shape and knows nobody,can not talk or walk or eat,I broke down when I seen him,So I know what Cam is talking about

    Arnold

    November 30, 2009 at 06:20

    • Aww dude, that’s really sad. I am so sorry for you.

      I am glad you like my story, and thanks for commenting.

      CT.

      bigct

      November 30, 2009 at 06:23

  2. Bombshells goin’ off all over the place…..and some “ballsy” narrative. Exciting read! Vern

    Vern

    July 8, 2011 at 14:00


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