The Sailor's Stories

1013 Chapter thirteen – The Sailor’s Awakening.

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Bolting upright in bed, sweat streaming off of me, I came to full awake. I looked at my outstretched arm, and was astonished, not to mention a little alarmed to find a cocked .45 in my hand. I had had it close, ever since that afternoon with Carl’s dad, you never know right. Quickly placing it back under my pillow, I remembered what had caused my fear. I had been dreaming again, they were getting worse. This time Jaime was there…, my dead friends seemed to be haunting my sleep. I was lucky this time, as no one was there to see what I had done, or get hurt without me realizing what I was doing.

I’m losing the fuckin plot! I thought to myself getting up. I made a decision, and put the pistol back into the lock box, in my closet. I didn’t need it at home, and I was stupid to have even taken it out. Walking into my private bathroom and switching on the light, I saw my face in the mirror. I was still covered in sweat, and I had a deathly pallor. Turning the tap, I let some water trickle through my fingers then cupped my hand bringing it up to my face. The cool touch of the water, was almost orgasmic, as it washed away the horrors of the night. I couldn’t help but feel that there was a purpose to these dreams, but what that purpose was I simply had no clue. They certainly weren’t getting any better.

I pulled a fresh towel from the rack and wiped my face, some of the colour had returned, but I could still see the fear behind my eyes. I had never felt this level of fear, not even in the heat of battle, had that foul temptress had this affect on me. I was going to have to bite the bullet, and talk to a someone about it. Stepping out of the bathroom, I switched off the light. The light from my digital clock, was stark against the darkness, and as it came view, I read 0500. I slipped on some fresh shorts from the drawer, and threw on a t-shirt. Picking up some sneakers, I tip toed down the hall.

As I neared the stairs, I could smell the unmistakable, and pungent aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Taking the stairs, on the side, to avoid the several creaks and groans, I made my way down. I found Doug in the living room, staring at the picture of Mark…

“Sleep well?”

I said to him, as I crept as silent as death, up behind him. To his credit, only a trained behavioral specialist, would have seen his reaction.

“Jesus! You’ve still got it Cam…, you scared the shit out of me!”

“Nah, you were just to engrossed in that picture.” I chuckled.

“Who is it, he seems really familiar…, a brother I don’t know about?”

“Nope…, he was…., a very close friend…, the best part of me, to tell you the truth. You met him once…, outside Basra, remember?”

“Oh yeah…, Ranger right? What did you mean the best part of you…., how close were you?”

My heart stopped for the briefest of moments at that question. I guess the morning I had had so far, had left me a little more open and vulnerable than I cared to admit. I was hesitating, and he knew it…, he was staring at me. Even when he lifted his mug to his lips, his eyes never left mine. It was something he did, and something I knew I was not able to escape. His patience was the best, and most effective tool he had ever employed in an interrogation. I never once thought, he would use it on me…

“Pret…, pretty close…” I stuttered.

“What do you mean ‘Pretty’ close?”

“He was my best friend…, he was the closest man to me, apart from my dad…, we shared everything.”

“Uh huh…, please tell me this is not going to be one of those ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ moments.”

Externally I was even, calm, tempered…, but on the inside, oh Jesus I was anything but! The turmoil of the moment was threatening to explode within me. Could I tell this man that had been my friend for the better part of a decade, or do I lie? Do I throw away one of my last remaining friends…, or my career, over the past. I couldn’t sort it out in my head fast enough, and the heat of anger was rising. Like the morning tide, it flowed up my body, matching the heavy drumbeat of my pounding heart. I had to act quickly, before I did something I could never take back…

“Are you asking as my friend…, or a superior officer?”

“Cameran…, FUCK!  Of course I am asking as your friend…, I would have thought you would’ve known me better than that!”

The relief at that statement, was overpowering, washing away the heat in a conflicting tide of it’s own. I was still in shock however, as I staggered backwards and sank into the sofa. I couldn’t hold it anymore, as my head dropped into my hands. I didn’t know what to do…, or what to say. In my reverie, I heard the cabinet, in the corner, open and the clink of two tumblers as they came to rest on the improvised shelf. When I looked up, I saw Doug cracking the neck of a ten year old Laphroaig. With a double measure poured, he stepped over and sat on the sofa next to me. He handed me one, and I caught the scent, with it’s smoky afterthought. I lifted the glass to my lips, and savoured the peaty, bacony aftertaste.


“Why are you thanking me…, it’s your whiskey.”

I looked up and he was smiling, but I could see the concern in his eyes. He knew…, I may as well have had ‘Homo’ tattooed on my forehead, at that point. Denying it was useless at this point, even to myself…, but I did it anyway…

“I’m not gay Doug…” The relief on his face was palpable, ”But…, I’m not straight either…, I don’t know how far it goes, but that is the best I can do.”

He put his arm around my shoulder and gave me a quick gentle squeeze, then stood up and put on his jacket.

“If you say you aren’t gay, then that’s good enough for me. The rest is kinda irrelevant anyways, but if anyone asks…, we never had this conversation.”

“Thanks Doug.”

“There is a slot open for a trainer at the school…, I was going to offer it to you, that’s why I’m here. Under the circumstances though, I think it might be better if you stay here. But it’s still yours if you want it…, have a think and let me know.” He said, as he walked to the door, he opened it stopped then turned to face me, “I meant what I said…, I won’t tell anyone…, you have my word on that. I have been and always shall be your friend…, nothing has changed, remember that.”

Then he was gone. After a few minutes I got up and went to the cabinet, poured another double measure, and slugged it back. I took the glasses into the kitchen and rinsed them, not wanting the boys to know that I had been drinking so early in the morning. After replacing them in the cabinet, I left the house and pounded my way down the street. I was belting out Porcupine Tree, on the ipod, at high volume, trying to drown out my thoughts. When I came back to reality, I was again at that spot. The grass by the cobbled path was a little damp, but I sat anyway.

I missed the warmth of the boy beside me…, god how I missed that warmth. I looked out over the park, trying to collect myself, when I spotted a couple of kids, boys not much older than fifteen or sixteen, jogging together down by the river. They were obviously joking around with one another, and were even more obviously close. I watched as they stopped, they hadn’t noticed me, though they had both looked around, to see if there was anyone nearby. I was still watching when they embraced, and their lips met. I smiled, knowing  the secret they shared, then just as quickly I broke down, knowing what I had lost. I was still shaking, when one of the boys saw me. I saw a flash of fear wash over his face. Then out of some form of defiance…, or pity, he made his way up the hill towards where I was sitting.

“Are you ok mister?”

“Sorry…,” I said, as I stood. “I didn’t mean to stare…, or scare you.”

“Nah it’s ok…, but are you alright?”

“Yeah I’m fine…, it’s just seeing you two together, made me remember someone very dear to me.”

I was about to leave, when in a moment of self realization…, or stupidity…, I turned back and took them both in…

“Look it’s none of my business, but if you are what I think you are, then I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with it. And if you two are together, then hold each other tight, and never let go. God knows, life is so short, and in an instant you can lose something that you will regret for the rest of your life…, trust me on that one…, don’t ever give up, don’t ever let go, and fight to your last breath to protect each other.”

They both looked at each other, then back at me, astonished and embarrassed. I didn’t wait for a reply, I just turned and continued my run. My lungs were burning as I tore through the streets. Even ‘Blackest eyes’ couldn’t completely drown out my thoughts this time.

“…I got wiring loose inside my head
I got books that I never, ever read
I got secrets in my garden shed
I got a scar where all my urges bled
I got people underneath my bed
I got a place where all my dreams are dead
Swim with me into your blackest eyes…”

I’ve got a scar where all my urges bled, I held onto that line, as I turned onto my street. Thinking about it, that was kinda how I felt, almost like some of the poison from my soul had been lanced by the events of the morning. I knew that I could trust Doug, and I was seriously considering his offer, but at the end of the day, it was up to the boys. When I got home, I went  straight to my room. As I climbed out of the shower, I almost felt like a new man.

Almost an hour later, pancakes cooking on the hotplate, and bacon going nice and crispy in the pan, the boys came down to breakfast. Regardless of the kind of week I had, I always enjoyed Sundays. Especially our morning ritual. As always, Corey was first in, and as usual he was uncouth in his appearance. I heard him coming and without looking, I held out a plate, piled high.

“I’ve always liked you…” He said, as he sat down.

“Huh! Me or the pancakes?”

“Ummm…, both.” He said, as he let loose with the maple syrup.

His smile was genuine and infectious, before he spoiled it by stuffing his mouth full of bacon wrapped pancake. Dale and Carl arrived shortly after, already dressed. I couldn’t help noticing the wet hair, their skin still pink and slightly damp.

“Already showered I see?”

As I put a plate in front of each of them. I looked down at the boys, Dales face was all smiles, a mix of mirth and conspiracy. Carl’s was all guilt and embarrassment, his face reddening further. I squeezed his shoulder gently, as I chuckled heartily. Taking my own plate, I sat at the table.

“Well gotta look good, I have a reputation to maintain!”

“Shut up and eat your breakfast…, smart arse.”

I winked at him, and he winked back. Corey, so engrossed in his plate, was oblivious to the exchange.

“So you guys know I am on leave for two weeks, what do you want to do?”

“Oooo camping…, you said last year that we could go.”

Corey looked up from his now empty plate, and rejoined the conversation…

“Yeah Uncle Cam, you did say that you would take us.”

“Carl? What do you say, you have an equal part in this.”

“Camping sounds good Cam…, but I don’t have any gear.”

“Like that matters…, so what’s it to be…, camping?”

They all looked at me with affirmative nods. With Carl along, we were going to need a bigger tent, so meant another trip to the mall. After breakfast, Corey went get showered and dressed, while Carl and Dale cleaned up. I just sat there watching them, they were like an old married couple…, no they were like newly weds. It really was quite pleasant to watch.

As it turned out all the boys needed new gear, the twins had grown out of all there camp-like attire. Corey decided that he wanted camo gear, and Dale quickly jumped on that band wagon, so we headed out to the Army Surplus store. We picked up three sets of new fatigues for each of them, as well as boots. Carl had no other gear, so we also bought him a pack, a hunting knife, and a belt rig with canteen. He had that same overwhelmed appreciative look on his face, I kinda got the feeling that he had never gotten anything new at his dad’s house. We stopped at Burger King, on the way home for lunch.

It was a thoroughly pleasant afternoon, the boys were excited, so was I for that matter. We were going to leave early the next day. When we got home we planned out the route and location. They had chosen a good spot, but a difficult one to get to, it was going to be at least a three hour hike. Didn’t faze me any, and I had no worries with their fitness, but I was concerned slightly for their stamina. After all, they were still young. Oh well…, I would just have to wait and see.


Written by bigct/Octavius

November 28, 2009 at 16:18

2 Responses

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  1. Great chapter. It brings back several “been there “moments in my life.


    November 29, 2009 at 00:40

  2. Loved it!  Cam’s raw on the edge of breaking him apart emotions, has him on the ropes. He is wavering at the doorway of in control and shattering. How long is he going to be able to hang onto his pieces?

    Fabulous chapter!  Best yet!


    November 29, 2009 at 14:24

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