September 12th. 1997
Michael walked down the street towards his home, lost in his own thoughts. He thought about a dream he had had last night; in his dream he had kissed his best friend Tony with great passion. He felt somewhat dirty just thinking about it, it wasn`t normal to want another boy like that, especially your own friend. However, he had thought about Tony for quite a long time; he had wondered how it would feel to kiss him, to touch his naked skin. But how could he ever unveil the truth to anyone? How could he tell his best friend, whom he had known since birth, that he loved him, more than just a friend? It was extremely difficult to hide his true feelings from others.
“Hey Mike, wait up!” A sudden call from behind interrupted his thoughts. Michael turned to the voice.
“Tony!…Why?…I mean what?…” Michael stammered with surprise in his voice.
“Luckily I caught you… I tried shouting so many times, but you didn’t hear and…” Tony explained while catching his breath.
“So, what is it that you wanted?” Michael asked looking at his friend with a warm smile.
“Well, Tom’s birthday party, I assume that you remember?”
“Birthday party? Don’t tell me that it was today?”
“Are you telling me that you have forgotten all about it?” Tony looked amused.
“Um…Well…it’s just…there’s just been so much going on…that I…” Michael tried to explain.
“Honestly Michael, you have known Tom for five years! And we have been talking about this party for ages. What could be so big that it has seized your thoughts so truly?”
“Um…just things, you know…” Michael replied feeling uncomfortable.
“Hmm…Is it about some girl?” Tony asked grinning.
“Well…something like that…”
“So, tell me! Who is it? It’s Jenny, isn’t it?…please Michael.” Tony sounded impatient.
“I tell you some other time, alright Tony?” Michael was hoping that Tony would let it go already.
“Well okay then, but you better tell me that later… Anyway, it starts at 7pm”
“The party, you fool,” Tony laughed.
“Oh, yes…the party…” Michael smiled.
“I just go home to change and then I’ll come to your house, we’ll go there together, alright?”
“Yeah, see you then Tony.” Tony turned around and left. Michael looked after him longingly. Tony seemed to get him more confused each time they met. Michael sighed before he continued to walk towards his home. He couldn’t go on like this, he had to pull himself together, and stop thinking about Tony that way, because he…would never be his to have.
Tony sat on Michael’s bed drinking beer. He looked at his friend who was looking for some nice shirt to wear from his wardrobe. He looked at the naked upper body, the way the muscles moved under the soft and perfect olive toned skin. Michael’s skin always looked slightly tanned. Tony had recently started to notice even more how perfect his best friend looked, how beautiful he was.
Michael was the most beautiful man he had ever seen, and thinking about it was exceedingly confusing. Tony tried to calm him self down. He knew that he wasn’t the only straight man who had noticed Michael’s looks to be strangely captivating.
Michael moved in front of the mirror to look at himself and he pulled a black tank top on.
“Jenny won’t be able to keep her hands to herself when she sees you,” Tony laughed. Michael looked at his friend through the mirror and grinned.
“Does Jenny want me?” he asked, raising one eyebrow and looking very sexy by doing that.
“Michael, everybody wants you,” Tony replied in an amused tone, knowing just how much Michael loved to hear compliments.
Tony lowered his gaze looking down on his friend’s handsome figure. ‘Oh my God…even his arse looks perfect,’ Tony noticed and became even more confused. ‘Oh my, he looks delicious…’
He couldn’t stop looking at him. He felt a sudden urge to touch his arse, to squeeze it hard.
‘Oh fuck…Am I really this drunk that I’m looking at my friend’s…my male friend’s arse?!…Come on Tony, get a hold of yourself!’ Tony thought silently, feeling mortified. ‘Jenny’s large breasts, her beautiful, plump breasts…mmm…’ Tony tried desperately to distract himself unsuccessfully.
Michael squeezed some gel into the palm of his hand and rubbed his hands together, then he ran his fingers through his hair. Even a single thing like that looked sexy to Tony.
Michael remembered that he had promised himself, to not think about Tony as anything but being what he was to him, his friend, but when he noticed the odd look that his friend was giving him, he decided to have a little harmless fun with Tony’s expense.
“You too Tony?” Michael asked with a cunning smile.
“What?…Me too what?” Tony asked before realizing what Michael had meant.
“No! I mean, I’m not gay or anything!” Tony screamed.
“Then why are you looking at my butt so…fascinated?” Michael asked grinning. Tony’s confused expression was worthy of seeing.
“No I wasn’t!” Tony yelled in his defence.
“Yes, you were. I saw you! You looked at my arse really long,” Michael laughed, it was so much fun to tease Tony.
“No!” Tony tried again.
”Yes you were! You want me! You want my arse!” Michael enjoyed seeing his friend blushing.
“No I don’t, shut up!”
“Uh, you want me really bad, you want to fuck me senseless,” Michael continued, teasing Tony. He knew that it would be wise to shut up before Tony would get so mad that might even hit him. Tony was known to be quick-tempered, but he had never harmed him. Come to think of it, the only times Tony had actually hit someone, were times when he was defending Michael. Michael had got himself in to trouble countless of times, especially at times when he couldn’t keep his mouth shut, when it would have been wise, just like now.
”Shut up Michael, or I’ll…” Tony shouted face as red as a tomato.
“Uh…Tony is mad. Well, why don’t you come and shut me up then!” Michael turned his face to meet his friend and grinned.
“Bloody hell Michael! You can be so annoying at times!” Tony sighed.
Michael turned back to face the mirror. “But you like me anyway?”
“But I like you anyway,” Tony repeated.
“And you want me because of it,” Michael pointed out, knowing that he probably was crossing the line.
“And I wan…” Tony started, but stopped before ending his sentence. He looked at Michael with an angry expression on his face.
“No I don’t! Not in that way!”
Michael looked at him, then at himself through the mirror and smiled. ‘I really should stop already. I’m asking for trouble if I continue. Oh, but this is just way too much fun!’ he thought.
“Yes you do,” he said then with a self-confident voice, still looking at the mirror. At that point Tony rose quickly from the bed and walked towards him looking threatening.
“I warned you!” he hissed.
For a brief moment Michael thought that Tony would actually hit him, but never could he have foreseen what was really coming. Tony seized him with force, turned him to face himself and then kissed him with passion. Michael felt Tony’s hands on his arse. When Michael came to the realization of what was happening, he responded to the kiss with the same force. He had dreamed of this moment for so long.
Tony hardly realized what he was doing, he was kissing his friend, his male-friend, and he was kissing him back! ‘Oh God, I’m kissing another guy!’ Tony thought with panic striking.
He immediately pushed Michael off him and took few groping steps back.
“Oh fuck…fuck…I didn’t…but you’re so…oh fuck…!” Tony spluttered and left the room quickly. Michael looked after his friend in shock. ‘What just happened? Tony kissed me…He really kissed me!’ Michael thought to himself breathing fast, feeling confused, enthusiastic and happy all at the same time. Only then, he realised how fast Tony had left the room, he knew they had to talk, he knew he had to tell Tony everything he was feeling for him.
Michael arrived to Tom’s party by himself, hoping that he would find Tony there. Instead met Jenny at the hallway.
“Hello Michael, I was hoping that you would come,” she smiled.
“Hey Jenny,” Michael replied taking his coat off and hanging it up in the coat rack. Jenny took his hand and led him to the living room.
“Come, let’s get you something to drink,” Jenny said with a warm smile on her face.
Other boys looked with envy, how the prettiest girl in their school leaned so close to Michael. No one could have blamed her, as Michael was the most gorgeous guy in school. His grandmother was Spanish and he had inherited the most flattering features from her. He had olive tanned skin, chocolate brown eyes and dark brown hair. He was 180cm tall and he had a beautiful, slim muscular figure. Every boy in school was jealous for his looks and every girl wanted him.
Michael took the glass that Jenny was offering to him.
“Listen Jen, is Tony here?” Michael asked finally.
“Yes, he’s outside…I think. Funny, I thought that you two would arrive here together,” Jenny replied, slightly bending her head to the side.
“Well, I think I’ll go to talk with him,” Michael said looking through the window.
“Well, as long as you hurry back. I would love to talk with you as well,” Jenny smiled. Michael smiled at her back quickly before leaving to the backyard.
He found Tony sitting at the porch. Michael sat beside him, trying to catch with Tony’s eyes.
“Tony?” Michael spoke softly. Tony lifted his head up and took a gulp from his beer.
“What is it?” Tony asked with an indifferent voice.
“You left so sudden, don’t you think that we should talk?” Michael asked while examining his friend’s face.
“You know…I didn’t just imagine what happened,” Michael replied, but Tony kept silent. Michael sighed, collecting all his courage to say what he had thought about for such a long time.
“Tony, that kiss… You don’t know how long I have dreamed about it…I…I love you…You know?…I really love you, I mean, that I’m in love with you…” Michael related and took a tender hold on Tony’s hand.
Tony looked at him in confusion and pulled his hand free.
“You what!” Tony cried out, looking at him with contradictory feelings.
“That kiss, was a mistake, do you understand!” Tony shouted. ‘That kiss was the best that I’ve ever had,’ his mind tried to tell him, but he ignored it.
“You kissed me Tony! And I know what I felt, you wanted me, you enjoyed that kiss just as much as I did!” Michael shouted back at him, disappointed of Tony’s reaction.
“Honestly Michael, it’s sickening, I’m not gay and I don’t want you, not in that way!” Tony screamed and stood up. He looked once more at his friend, that beautiful face, into those beautiful eyes and saw the disappointment in them. ‘I would love to kiss those lips again and…’ He quickly shook his head trying to get rid of those thoughts. He didn’t want to feel what he felt, it just wasn’t right. Or was it?
Michael slept uneasy the whole night trough. He felt restless and was tossing and turning as he was trying to fall asleep. He was beginning to regret more and more the fact that he had told Tony the truth. ‘It was so stupid of me!’ He thought while going down the stairs towars the kitchen. His mother was already awake and was making breakfast.
“Good morning love, did you have a nice time yesterday?” his mom asked.
“Mmm…it was okay,” Michael answered with a tired voice as he leaned towards the table with his head resting against his arms.
His dad also came to the kitchen and sat on the seat opposite from his. He was scanning through the morning paper.
“Well, you seem to have partied long last night from the looks of you,” his father laughed and lighted his pipe. His mother poured them each a cup of tea.
“You shouldn’t smoke that while we are eating dear, how many times I have to tell you about that?” his mom said with a sharp look towards her husband.
“Isn’t man allowed to do as he pleases in his own home? Oh well alright then, I’ll smoke this later. It’s sometimes best to please the womenfolk, don’t you agree son?” his father said and looked at him.
“Yes, quite right…” Michael answered lazily and spun his spoon in his tea-cup.
“Is something bothering you dear? You look so thoughtful. Is it about some girl?” his mother asked smiling.
“Oh, indeed Michael, when are you going to introduce us to your girlfriend?” his father then asked, lifting his gaze from the paper he was reading.
”There is no girl! For God’s sake, can`t I have a bloody breakfast without these bloody cross-examinations!” he snapped.
“We didn’t mean anything by it dear, we are just curious. You don’t talk to us like you used to do,” his mother answered with a confused voice. Michael stood up from the table.
“Aren’t you going to eat anything?” his mother asked as he was walking away from the kitchen.
“I’m not hungry,” Michael said with a dull voice.
“Do you think everything is alright with Michael?”
“Leave the boy be Evelyn, he’s a teenager with razing hormones, that is all,” Michael heard his parents talk.
Monday morning arrived. Michael was scared thinking of what would happen. Would everyone know? He had to face Tony and all the others. He didn’t have a good feeling about it. He came to school, later than usual and could sense right away that everyone was looking at him, differently than before. Other students were whispering as he walked by.
Then he saw Tony, he was standing by the lockers with all their friends. They started to walk in his direction and Michael could feel his heart starting to beat faster and faster. He thought he saw insecurity and guilt in Tony’s eyes while they looked at one another for a brief moment. Tom poked him as he walked past him.
“Watch were you’re walking you fag!” Tom shouted and looked at him with mockery in his eyes, others laughed slightly, even Tony. Michael looked after them with disappointment. Could many years of friendship be forgotten so easily? He and Tony had known each other all their life and now, Tony acted like they had never known each other at all.
Michael went to his locker to get his books. He heard footsteps coming from behind.
“Hey Michael,” a soft voice called. He turned around to face the person. “Is it…true, what everyone is talking?” Jenny asked in a confused tone.
“What are they saying then?” Michael asked, although he had a pretty good idea.
“They say that you are…that you…That you are gay?” Jenny was finally able to say.
Michael stood quietly for a moment, looking at all the other students in the hallway. Jenny’s friends who stood just a little farther away from them, looking at their direction and whispering to themselves. For a moment he thought about denying everything, maybe it would be easier, to live a lie but on the other hand, now that the truth had finally come out, perhaps it would be best to go along with it.
“Yes, it is true,” Michael admitted. Jenny’s face showed her disappointment, as all of her hopes and dreams had just died.
“Well, I guess it’s true then what they all say…all the best men are either taken or…” Jenny spoke quietly.
“Look, Jen…I would really appreciate if we could still be friends despite it.” Michael looked at the girl hope burning in his eyes.
“Friends? Yes of course Michael,” Jenny answered thoughtfully. “Well, I better go so that I won’t be late from my classes,” she said, turning to face her friends and leaving him alone.
He felt that the day would never end. He had wanted to leave home early but then, decided to stay and take it all. There were constant remarks made in his direction and some shoved him when he walked by. There were few who looked at him with sympathy and few who might have wanted to come to him and offer their friendship, but none of them were brave enough. He was left depressed and alone.
He came home and went straight to his room. He lay on his bed for a long time. He had never felt so alone. His thoughts were interrupted by the knocking on his door.
“Yes?” he asked. His mother came in walked over to his bed and sat beside him.
“Is everything alright dear? You seem so depressed,” she asked and stroked his hair gently. Michael rose to sit.
“I don’t know…. Well not quite,” Michael answered quietly. His mom looked at him with worry.
“Has something happened then?” Michael thought for a moment, should he tell his mom the truth? But he knew that they would find out anyway.
“I told Tony that I love him,” he said. His mother looked confused.
“What do you mean? You don’t mean that?”
“Yes. I’m in love with Tony. I’m gay,” Michael said staring at his feet. His mother gasped for air.
“No, that cannot be true,” she spoke. Michael looked at her with disappointment. He got up from his bed and walked over by the window.
“If you also think that I`m disgusting then please leave,” Michael said and stared outside, tears had begun to form in his eyes.
“Michael, I`m not saying that, it’s just…Well that just must be some phase that you are going through. I’m sure that when you meet the right girl and…”
“No mum! This is who I am! This is what I have always been, and I`m sorry if you cannot accept it.” Michael had turned around to face his mother.
“This is huge news to be heard so suddenly…I…I just cannot believe that…Michael come to your senses!…What will your father say…” His mother struggled not knowing exactly what to say.
“Come to my senses? What will father say? Is that what is important here?” Michael shouted. His mother got up from the bed.
“Michael, please calm down, and don’t shout at me…I’m just trying to…”
“Leave it mum. If you don’t have anything better to say, then leave! I want to be left alone!” Michael screamed. His mother shook her head not knowing what else to do, left and closed the door after her.
His father also found out about it soon. They sat in the living room when his father started to tell about a rumor that he had heard. He was really skeptic about it and swore that who ever had spread so groundless and ridiculous accusations about his son, would be put in responsibility. Then he looked at his wife, whose expression told a lot and his son, who didn’t look as shocked about the rumor as he was. He took a moment in silence holding his pipe in his hand and putting the pieces together.
“So it is true what they say?” he asked and looked at his son with small hope burning that he would still say that it would just be a disgusting lie.
”Well yes, it is true,” Michael confirmed with quiet voice. His father rose from his seat.
“No, no, no! Not my son!” he yelled in despair and anger. Michael stood up and looked at him with fear.
“It is dirty and sinful!” his dad said with strict voice. ”You will go somewhere to get treatment, to see a psychologist; they will get you back to normal again.”
“You cannot be serious dad! What year are you living in?! I’m not sick!” Michael was getting irritated.
“I will never accept it! You are not my son, if you continue to be like that,” his father shouted.
“Whatever you wish father, but I can’t change myself to please you!” Michael squeezed his hands in to a fist, his dad looked like he was about to hit him. “Go on, hit me then, that is what you want to do, isn’t it?!” Michael dared him. At that moment his mother started to cry.
“Please stop, don’t shout anymore please!” his mother prayed.
“Now look what you have done.” His dad looked at him in anger. “Go to your room, I can’t stand the sight of you,” he added and then went to comfort his wife.
He had chosen the place beforehand; he knew that he could get in even though he was under-aged. He came to the city by bus and walked toward the place feeling enthusiastic although slightly nervous. He could hear the music from a far distance; he put his head high and shoulders back, trying to look as confident as he could.
He could feel the other men looking at him, at his young, beautiful figure. It felt slightly odd, so many men focusing on him, looking at him with pure lust. He went to the bar and ordered himself a drink and for a while he just stood there, looking around the place starting to get used to the looks he was receiving. He looked good and he knew it. Finally he moved to sit in front of a free table.
He noticed a man from the other side of the bar, who kept on looking at his direction and smiling at him every time their eyes met. The man stood up and approached him. He was older, tall, muscular man, with brown hair and dark eyes.
“Hey, is this seat taken?” The man asked as he had gotten close.
Michael smiled. ”No, it’s free”.
“My name is Ricky, what’s yours?” he asked.
“I’m Michael,” he replied. They talked for awhile. Ricky told he was from New York and was on a business trip in England.
“How old are you by the way?” the man asked.
“I`m 25,” Michael lied in a fear that the man would loose his interest if he would hear his true age. Ricky raised his eyebrow. “Are you really? I would have guessed that you are twenty.”
Michael laughed, looked straight into the man’s eyes and whispered, “I’m really just 17-years-old, is that bad?”
The man smiled at him. “No, not at all, I like younger men”
Michael laughed again. “Good,” he said, with slight flirt in his voice.
“Have you ever been in a place like this before?” Ricky asked.
“Nope, this is the first time.”
Ricky moved his hand to his thigh and at first Michael jerked from the sudden touch. He felt slightly confused as he looked at the hand on his thigh and then at the man who kept smiling at him.
“Just relax,” the man said still keeping his eyes on his. Michael smiled, trying to do just as the man had told him. He put his own hand behind Ricky’s lower back and moved it up slowly. Their lips soon met with a passionate kiss.
Michael felt slight triumph when he noticed how much the older man wanted him. He wanted to test more of his charming power, to forget about Tony and all the others.
“I have to go,” he whispered between the kisses. Ricky looked at him.
“Please, don’t go yet. Let me buy you another drink,” he pleaded and Michael smiled at him without promising a thing. When Ricky had reached the bar-counter, Michael looked at him and stood up, making sure the man noticed his leaving. He smiled at him with a hint as he stepped outside in the cold autumn weather. Ricky had looked at him the whole time with interest and he had a surprised smile on his face.
Michael walked slowly down the street and waited for the man to follow him.
“Hello handsome, where are you going?” he heard a drunken voice asking somewhere near him. He turned his head to the voice and looked at the ugly, middle-aged British man who leaned his back against the side of his car.
“That’s not your business to know,” he answered with a rude tone in his voice.
“Come with me, I have a big place and something else that is big,” the man laughed and gripped his own groin. Michael felt ill.
“No, indeed I will not,” he said sharply, not hiding his disgust. He continued walking forward but the man kept following him.
“Will you come, if I give you these?” yhe man asked stopping him. He had a large amount of cash in his left hand.
“Look, there is nothing that you could offer me, I would never go anywhere with you.” Michael answered in a deep disgust. How could that horrid man even suggest anything like that to him?
“Why not?” yhe stupid and ugly man asked.
“Because you are so damn ugly and disgusting!” Michael snapped.
“You stupid arrogant whore!” the man screamed, and almost laid his hands on him. Michael looked at him with fear. He thought that the man would hit him.
Ricky came to the scene just in time. He grasped the other man from his shirt collar.
“You leave this boy alone and never come near him again! Is this understood?” he threatened him and the other man nodded his head slightly.
“Yes…I…I understand. Just take it easy,” he stammered.
“Good,” Ricky said and released his grasp, the man quickly left from the spot.
“My hero,” Michael smiled looking at him. Ricky pulled him closer and kissed him.
“I want to see you again,” he said.
“And you shall,” Michael said still smiling. He couldn’t believe his luck. He had found a perfect, handsome, older man and he could get him to worship the ground beneath him. He was sure that he could.
It was very late when he finally came back home. His mother was sitting in the kitchen; she stroked her teacup with her fingers.
“Where have you been?” She asked looking up to her son.
“Outside,” he answered and took a juice can from the fridge.
“It’s not your business,” Michael snapped.
”Yes it is! I’m still your mother and I want to know where my child is at night!” his mother said with anger in her voice. She had gotten up from her seat.
“Alright, I was in a bar. You know the kind in which only men go to,” Michael answered knowing that it would upset her.
“Michael…Do you think that we don’t try? We try very hard to adjust in this situation,” she said and looked at him with serious _expression on her face.
“Oh, this situation? Well you’re doing a brilliant job at it. Especially dad’s adjustment has been excellent.” Michael was being sarcastic.
Evelyn looked at his son feeling helpless and tired. She tried the best she could. She tried making things better between her husband and her son and at the same time to accept the fact that she would never see her son getting married or having children. However, the cleft between them seemed to be getting wider and wider. She sighed deeply, not really knowing what to do or say. “Try seeing this from our point of view, it’s not easy for us.”
Michael shook his head. “And you think that this is easy for me?” His mum really didn’t seem to get it
Michael had had enough, the next day he packed some of his things and moved to his grandmothers house. His grandmother was waiting for him at the porch, when his taxi drove to the driveway. Michael payed to the driver and hurried to give her a hug. “Oh, my dear child, so nice to see you,” she said and gave him a warm smile.
“Thank you for having me,” Michael whispered.
“Well, come on then, let’s go in.”
She boiled a cup of tea for both of them and they sat in the living room.
“So things turned bad at home?” she asked, tasting her tea.
“I just can’t stand being there, I can’t stand the way they look at me, the way they all look at me… It is as if they wouldn’t see me being myself anymore. I mean, I can`t even go to play football anymore, because everyone would practically have themselves a heart attack, if I even dared to step my foot into the locker room, as if I would want to sleep with every male in sight,” Michael laughed darkly.
“I know that things may seem difficult for now, but believe me, your parents love you and sooner or later they will learn to accept you just as you are. Just like everyone else, well, maybe not everyone, but some, you just need to give them some time,” his grandmother said and gave him an encouraging smile.
“It’s a bit funny, that you and my mom should be so different, that you of all people accept me,” Michael said and the old woman smiled at him.
“I have lived a long life. I have seen a lot, so many different persons…I have grown bored of all the prejudice existing in this world. Difference in peoples is only a richness…I don’t think you know what kind of a wild child I was back in my own youth, I did lots of things that was considered bad in those days,” she laughed softly. “But then I met your grandfather, a handsome Englishman who stole my heart straight away. He wasn’t a Catholic like my family and they couldn’t stand the idea of us getting married. In the end it is best to follow your own heart and not care what the others might think of it. We only live once,” his grandmother said looking longingly at her late husband’s picture on the bureau.
“You must miss him a lot,” Michael said looking also at the picture.
“Yes, I miss him every day. Although it has been years since his death, I have never stopped missing him. He truly was the love of my life.”
”I remember him being tall, very tall. I remember how he smiled, and that I sometimes went fishing with him,” Michael said smiling to the memory of his grandfather. He had died when he was only 6 years old.
“He loved you. He said that you reminded him of me, that there were so much common between us. You always made him laugh like no other.”
“Well then, let’s talk abut you, how’s your love life?” his grandmother asked.
“Um…well, I did meet someone interesting last night… Oh god! It feels so weird talking to you about this,” Michael laughed.
“Well, you need to talk to someone, and I would love to hear. How old is this man?”
“Well… I think that you’re not going to like this. He’s 40,” Michael said nipping his bottom lip slightly. His grandmother looked thoughtful.
“That is a big age difference. He’s old enough to be your father. What does he do for living? Where is he from? And are you going to see him again?” she asked.
“He’s here in some business trip, he’s from New York. We agreed that we would meet today,” Michael answered.
“Oh, he’s an American. Do you know what he does for a living?”
“No, not yet.”
“Michael dear, I advice you to be careful. You’re still so young and…well, just look at yourself; you are a good looking, beautiful boy, you shouldn’t settle for the first one to come along.”
“Who says that I’m settling for anyone?” Michael laughed.
A few hours later Michael was getting ready for his date with Ricky. He was coming to pick him up and they would be heading somewhere for coffee. The old woman was looking at her grandson. “Promise that you’ll come back early and that you’ll be careful.” She spoke with slight worry in her voice.
“I won’t be late and I’ll be careful, I promise,” Michael said smiling to her and gave her a small kiss on her cheek. She went to the kitchen and looked out through the window. She saw the man standing there, next to his car. Michael came to him; they kissed and soon drove away.
Michael came back home a few hours later. He found his grandmother sitting in front of the TV. Michael sat on the couch next to her. ”Did you have a nice time?” she asked looking at him.
“Yes, I have never met someone so interesting. He’s handsome and he’s rich, and…” Michael explained and sighed happily.
“I hope that you do realize that money and good looks are not the only things that matter,” she spoke then.
“Well, of course I do, but they never hurt, now do they?” Michael laughed.
“He has a big apartment in New York, he has travelled a lot, seen the world… Can you imagine what it would be like? To be able to go anywhere you please, not having to worry about the money… If I were rich, I would travel to Spain. I’m dying to see the country where you came from, where my roots come from.” Michael lay back on the couch and dreamed. “And you know something else? Ricky said that I could go with him, that I could work at his company. Something small at first, but anyways I could live with him,” Michael sounded eager, he had risen to sit.
The old woman looked at his grandson with worry. “Michael, you have just met with this man. Are you really considering leaving?” she asked.
“Well…Why not? You have to take chances in life and I can always come back if it doesn’t work out with him.”
“I know that I sound dull for saying this, but you are so young. You should finish your school here, please don’t rush into anything. I beg you to consider this properly,” she asked him.
“I know that I’m still young and all that, but why wait? I mean one should live in this moment and take all the possibilities offered. As you said we only live once,” Michael sighed.
“I do see a lot of myself in you, my younger self. I can not keep you from doing what you want; I can only ask you to think this through before you do anything that you might grow to regret later.” She kept her eyes on him waiting for him to answer.
“Alright, I promise. I will think this through properly, because you asked me.” Michael smiled gently, rose from his seat and walked over to her. He placed a small kiss on her forehead. “Good night, we can talk more in the morning.”
“Good night dear.”
His grandmother was eager to see the man that his grandson was so fond with. Michael had talked to Ricky and persuaded him in seeing her. At first the man had not liked the idea, but as he had seen the disappointment in the boy’s face, he had finally agreed.
The man arrived with large bundle of roses. “Good evening Mrs. Harris, these are for you,” the man said with a polite smile.
“Thank you, these are very beautiful,” The old woman smiled him back and took the roses.
“Ricky Matthews, nice to meet you.”
“Isabella Harris, nice to meet you too.” They shook hands together.
“Do come in, would you like a coup of tea? Or perhaps you prefer coffee?”
“Thank you, tea will be fine,” the man smiled. “You have a very lovely home Mrs. Harris,” Ricky continued with the polite manner.
“Thank you. You may call me Isabella.”
“Michael, would you be so kind as to boil us each a cup of tea?” Isabella asked, smiling gently to her grandson.
“Of course,” Michael replied and went into the kitchen. He felt slightly nervous as he thought about how his grandmother would get along with Ricky. The beginning had started out fine at least.
They sat into the living room together. “Please, tell me Mr. Matthews, forgive me my straight forwardness, but what are your intentions towards my grandson?” she asked.
”You can call me Ricky,” the man corrected with a smile and continued.
“I do understand that you are worried, but I can assure you that I will treat Michael the best I can, I only want the best for him. He’s still young and I do understand that, but I believe that I can offer him a lot. I assume that Michael has told you that I have invited him to stay with me in New York?”
“Yes, he did talk about it,” Isabella said, still feeling slightly insecure about all of it.
“I understand, if it worries you. I haven’t met someone like your grandson in a long time and he truly is a treasure. He would receive a good job from my company and if he would like to, he could always finish his school in the States.”
“What do you do for living then?”
“I’m an owner of a large advertising agency.”
”Tea is ready,” Michael said when coming into the living room. He placed the tray on the living room table and sat beside Ricky. He looked both of them back and forth. “So, how are you two getting along?” he asked smiling.
“We are getting along just fine dear,” she said and took a hold of her tea cup.
They continued chatting. Isabella kept a close eye on the man, who spoke very politely and smiled often enough. There was something in him though, something that bothered her, and she wasn’t really sure what it was. Perhaps it was the way he looked at Michael or perhaps the little too polite manner in his speech and in his act.
The evening went by quickly and Ricky started to make his leave. “Thank you for inviting me Mrs. Harris, I mean Isabella; this was a really pleasant evening. I hope we will meet again soon.”
“Thank you, it was nice to meet you too,” she smiled at him.
“Wait, I’ll accompany you to the door,” Michael said then and they walked to the hall together.
When Michael got back, he looked at his grandmother in an eager and impatient manner. “So what did you think of him?” he asked.
“Well, he was very polite and cultured man…” she began.
“But?” Michael asked noticing that she hesitated.
“But…There was something in that man that bothers me. I’m worried about you. People aren’t always what they seem to be.”
Michael sighed. “Or could this just be that you think that no one is good enough to your grandchild?” he asked smiling tenderly to her.
“Well… I don’t know. I guess that could be it,” she smiled back at him.
She was quiet for a moment, but as Michael was leaving, she clutched on to his arm. “But promise me; promise me once more, that you’ll consider this that you’ll think before you leave with him,” she begged him and Michael looked at her surprised of how distressed she sounded.
“Didn’t I promise you that already? But if it eases you, then I’ll promise it again,” he said and tried to give her a convincing smile.
“Good,” she said, sounding slightly eased by this.
It had been an unusually warm and sunny day for that time of the year. Afterwards the beauty of it seemed like a slap on the face, the great irony of life. If only he would have known, if only he would have come home a moment earlier, if only…
Michael sat in the hospital’s waiting room, he leaned forward, hiding his face in his hands. He repeated the moment over and over in his head. The moment that he had come home, called her name, but there was no answer. Then he had seen her, she had lain on the floor, her left arm on her chest, and her face had an expression of agony.
He had hurried to her, checked her pulse, and called her name over and over again. She had tried to say something to him, but the words didn’t come out of her mouth. He had seen the phone next to her on the floor and had reached for it to call an ambulance. Everything seemed like an awful and weird dream in his head.
When they came to the hospital, they had rushed her to the intensive care unit. Michael didn’t even remember how long he had sat there. He prayed silently for her and he hadn’t prayed for a long time. The thought that she might die was just too awful.
Finally his parents came to the hospital, his mother seemed like she could fall into pieces, at any moment. She came to him, tears in her eyes, as she looked at him. ”What happened? Is she alright?” she asked with a child like voice.
”She is in intensive care, a heart attack,” he managed to say.
Only his dad kept himself steady. He still looked at him like he was a stranger, with despise in his eyes. If everything would have been like before, if they hadn’t found out the truth about him, his mother would sit beside him, she would give him a hug and they would cry together. His father would try to comfort them the best that he could. Perhaps he would place his hand on his shoulder and say something simple, but something that would be right for the situation. But now, they were all like strangers to each other, mourning and fearing in their own space.
When the doctor came in and told them that she had died, it had felt like all the walls had collapsed around him. It felt weird that a person, who he had just talked with that same morning, was now gone forever. Nothing had warned him about what was to come. In his eyes, his grandmother had seemed healthy and lively. How could he have seen that she was hiding her true health? The condition of her weakening heart.
They drove home in silent, all lost in their own thoughts. On the way they stopped to collect Michael’s clothes and things from his grandmother’s house. He felt the lump in his throat as he walked into the house. He tried to keep the tears from falling. He wanted to scream from the agony in his chest but somehow managed to keep himself together. The packing was fast; after all he had only spent two weeks with her.
Before he returned to the car, he went into the living room and walked over to the bureau. He took a hold of the framed picture on top of it. In the picture were his grandparents when they were young, sitting outside of a house, on its steps. They were smiling and looking very happy. His grandmother had been such a beautiful woman. ”You’re with him now,” Michael whispered and managed a weak smile. He placed the picture among the rest of his things and left the house.
Nothing had changed between him and his parents. It felt pressing to be there with them, the atmosphere in the house was so cold. He wanted to leave, to go somewhere, anywhere but to stay there. The agony of loosing his grandmother made him want to rebel even more to the state of things in his home. He had promised to his grandmother that he would think wisely about his leaving with Ricky. And he had thought about it; he had thought that perhaps it would be wiser to stay, than to leave to a foreign country, with a man he hardly even knew. But now, the more he thought about it, the more he wanted to leave with him.
The following weeks felt like he was walking in his sleep. The funeral didn’t seem real; he still had a hard time accepting that she truly was gone. He dated Ricky and tried to go to school like normally. But Ricky started to pressure him with his decision; he would have to return soon to the States. Michael had almost made his mind.
Michael sat in the school’s library. He was reading his history book and making notes to the test that was coming soon, although he doubted that he wouldn’t be there long enough to take the test. Tony was also in the library and all his former friends. Michael had decided not to pay any attention to them and to the whispers that were obviously about him. He could manage on his own and he didn’t need any of them. The others soon left to hurry to their next class. Tony however stopped beside his table.
”Aren’t you coming? You’ll be late,” Tony said.
”What is it to you if I’m gong to be late?” Michael asked not lifting his gaze from his book. Tony sat on the seat opposite from his. ”I heard that Isabella died, how are you doing?” Tony asked after he had been quiet for a moment.
”Well how do you think I’m doing!?” Michael snapped still not looking at him.
”I’m sorry about it, I really am. I cared for her too, you know,” Tony said and sounded sincere.
”Yeah right, that’s why I saw you at the funeral.” Michael was being sarcastic.
”I wanted to come, I just…I couldn’t,” Tony tried to explain. Michael decided not to say anything to this. They both were silent for a moment ”Um…I saw you with some man the other day…who was he?” Tony then asked. Michael lifted his gaze and had satisfied smile on his lips.
”My boyfriend, why?”
”Well…he is so much older that you…” Tony hesitated. Michael didn’t say anything. He tried to look as if he didn’t care at all what Tony was saying when in reality he wanted to hear it all so badly. ”Have you two…?” Tony begun not knowing how to ask this question or would he dare to ask it at all. Michael smiled feeling even more satisfied.
”Have we two what?” he asked.
”Well…Have you already…um…well you know…” Tony stammered.
”You want to ask if we have been in bed together. If we have had sex. Am I right?” Michael asked with a self confident voice.
Tony blushed. ”Well yes,” he admitted.
Michael looked at him and then back to his books. ”No, we haven’t,” he answered.
”And why not?” Tony sounded strangely happy about this.
”Because…this…it’s not your business!” Michael snapped.
”Because you don’t really want to be with that man!” Tony said. Michael started to get angry.
”What makes you think that you know what I want and what I don’t want!?”
”Because I have known you since birth,” Tony said calmly. Michael shook his head.
”You can’t be serious. You’re the one who doesn’t know what you want! You want me more than just as your friend, but you can’t admit it.” Michael rose and collected his books into his back-pack.
”Don’t worry Tony, I’m leaving soon. I’m leaving this place.”
”Where?” Tony asked with worry.
”Away…away with him. He can give me everything I want and more!”
”With that man? Don’t be stupid Mikey, that’s just damn childish!” Tony grasped his arm as he stood up.
”I know you Michael, you’re not that tough that every one thinks you are…please, don’t go.” Tony spluttered his face next to his. But Michael was too proud, too stubborn to listen to his friend who had betrayed his trust. He pulled his arm free from Tony’s grasp and went to the door. ”Michael Benjamin Wills, wait! God dammit listen to me!” Tony shouted to him. Michael turned to look at him with an icy, cold stare.
”You come out from your own closet first, before you come and tell me what to do!” Michael said, then turned and left. Tony looked his friend leave.
”I’m afraid that you’ll get hurt. I fear for you when I’m not there to protect you…” he whispered weakly, leaning against the wall. It was the last time they had seen each other.
When he got home he called Ricky. ”Hey, does your offer still stand?” Michael asked him.
”Of course, I thought that you would come to the right decision eventually,” the man replied with satisfaction.
”Good, so when are we leaving?” Michael asked with a firm voice.
”The plain leaves the day after tomorrow, at nine o’clock in the evening. We have to change flight in Heathrow. I will buy you a ticket and make all the necesary arrangements. It is best that you don’t tell anyone that you’re leaving, I don’t want any trouble,” he said.
”Of course I won’t.”
”Great. I’ll see you tomorrow and we can talk more about this.”
The next evening they met, they went for a coffee and a walk in the park. Ricky told him about their future in New York and made it all sound so great, it relaxed Michael. Ricky told him about getting a residence visa and a working permit and he told him that they were all taken care of. Michael trusted him with this. He was tired as he thought about the moving and what exactly was going to happen, what kind of job would he be doing and where would they live. He was still in a slight haze after his grandmother’s death. It all happened in a moment that the world had momentarily lost its meaning.
Later that night, his mother had seen him through the window coming back home with an older man, who then left. She ran to her son the moment he had come in. ”Who was that?” she asked with an irritated voice. Michael sighed and looked at her, feeling tired.
”He is my boyfriend, so what?” he said still looking at his mother.
”For God’s sake Michael, he is old enough to be your father,” she screamed.
”I can date whom ever I want!” Micheal yelled back. His father came to the hallway.
”Don’t you raise your voice to your mother!”
“You’ll never see that man again,” his mother told him.
”You can’t control me!”
”As long as you live under our roof, you’ll do as we tell you to do.” His father said the familiar threat. Michael held back the rage he felt boiling inside him. ‘Just calm down, tomorrow I’ll be gone,’ he told himself.
The next day he packed his things as his parents thought that he was going to school. He looked at his room, feeling slightly sad. He remembered all the good and happy moments of his childhood, when everything had been different. He looked at the picture that had been taken two years earlier. In the picture he sat in the garden with his mother and father and Isabella. He knew he would miss them greatly. In spite all the difficulties between them, he still loved them. Perhaps someday, when he would have been gone for long, they would realize that him being gay really didn’t count to whom he was inside. Maybe then, he would come back home. But now, everything was still so difficult, it felt easier to just leave rather than stay.
Michael took a pen and wrote a note to his parents. ”Dear mom and dad, I’m sorry for leaving like this, but I think that it’s for the best. It has been difficult for all of us especially now that grandmother is gone. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I know we will meet again someday and it will all be better then. I love you!
He placed the note to his table where his parents would find it the next day, when they would start to wonder where he was.
He threw his bags from his window to the ground below. He came downstairs to the living room where his parents were watching the TV. His mother seemed to stare at it, but not really looking. Michael guessed that she was also a little bit confused about the death of her mother. Michael looked at them for a while, trying to store everything about them in his memory. ”I’ll go out for a while and perhaps I’ll stop by to see one of my friends,” he said then.
”Alright, have fun dear,” his mother said sounding a little absent-minded, she didn’t look at him just continued stare at the TV with empty eyes. His father didn’t even say a word.
”Good bye,” he whispered and turned to leave.
Ricky was waiting him in the taxi outside. Michael hopped in and kissed Ricky to say hello to him. He noticed how the taxi driver gave an odd look to them but didn’t really care. He wouldn’t hide the way he was anymore.
Ricky couldn’t draw his eyes away from the boy. He was so beautiful, so incredible sexy. Oh, how he wanted him. But he would wait like he already had, wait until they would arrive to his home in New York, there the boy would truly be his. The mere thought of it aroused him greatly…