the short story project


Bird’s on the roof of my Mother’s house…


I spent too many years in a war with myself, but today consider me satisfied; I clearly understand that I am a work in progress.  High school was a mess and I stand in front of this mirror to have this conversation between me, myself and I.  What can I proudly proclaim, where do I what to go, have I learned what matters most, do I love with blinders on?  Woke up in my clothes again this morning, what I thought was a skillful plan to bring me some idea of living another life, so very tired of being predictable, conceded, and even ridged after spending the night looking for shadows in the rain.  There is no deeper love in the world than the one you have for yourself understanding and peace in your own life will help you to grow and to give.  I just know here and now in my present skin that I’m learning to love me more and thus open with the ideas that floot around in this brain of mine.  Why do we do the things we do, why do we love the way we do, as well as eat, sleep or hate.  Over these past five years and more attending to school and work I have met drug dealers and pregnant teenagers people down on their luck or people who need understanding.  I’ve seen some things and the books of higher learning and the hard knocks in and out of the court got me thinking, allows me to take my time to visualize how life is for the other person.  I am wondering about all of this and more as I’m standing in front of the mirror here in my cap and gown, facing my achievements and a house of family and friends awaiting downstairs.  I gaze at the vibrant color of royal blue at it seems to lighten my mood and fill my head like poppy seeds, what about today and what will be tomorrow.


I’ve spent too much time in front of this mirror when my sister is knocking at the door and letting herself inside my somewhat small bedroom.  We talk for a few minutes before she pulls me into the hallway and then down the stairs, let’s go enjoy the party and any thoughts you what to have you will dream them tonight, sweet and knowledgeable that’s my sister.  We partied into the night as only my family can do; we played games and ate way too much food, so when the sun was coming up it was known to be the end of the night.  College had ended and work was pending but my sister was so right while I slept with the heat of the sun rays streaming across my face, I was lead into one dream after another which opened up my world.  My older brother could not be bothered to come home for the intimate celebration, at this point in the year early May the NBA these days are still involved in the playoffs.  Still a rookie and quite frankly still raw from all our ups and downs through the college years, I didn’t what him to come home and bring all the drama of new found fame with him.  There are times that I pleasure in the fact that he has to be so far away and I feel like for the first time Jr. has someone that clearly has a means of control over him.  The coaches for the twins are tough and there are a lot of rules that need to be adhered to, for the first two rookie years with any team, your every step in under the control for the front office.  So Jr. was over in Minnesota, but the buzz of his records and being the first to ever make it to the pros from state college, was largely left behind to blow in the wind.  For my two remaining years at college it was hard for me to make any new friends because so many people just wanted to get close to my brother.  Also there was the attitude that just being born gave me a leg up on everyone else because I was his little brother, he had this way of always wanting to push me away from the things that meant the most to me, straight things, normal things where the call of the day and if he found me locked away at work he was overjoyed.  We lead lives in two totally different directions however when Jr. was sure that we breathe that same air at the same time, he would make it critical to get all information and of course play nice for the cameras.  Here on my graduation day when I should have the time and attention all to myself.  It was my mom and dad that tried to field the onlookers and fans that called Junior’s name as we moved toward our seats in the auditorium.


Knowing the order of the program thanks to my best friend Chris, I entered the ceremony with the loud music of the marching band at the end of the picture montage, which would allow everyone in view to see that Jr. had not come to the university.  Yet and still I knew that he would be mentioned and that his name would be called but with a two year absents I was under a faint impression that it would be far and few in between.  It was just enough for me to deal with and make a mother smile with gleam, but in my head I was running back and forth with the new case that was pending at work and wishing that I could be more involved, slightly worried about the bar exam but knowing that I have given my all to the cause.  In the past two years I had no time for any relationship, can’t lie there was some casual sex along the way, and I have to admit there are one or two people I’ve had my eyes on but where would I find the time, and trying to help someone understand me and the time that I need for my work.  Well I do believe in monogamy and keeping a love thing just between you and me, so it has been hard at times keeping myself safe and yet wanting to be loved, having a famous brother well that puts a whole different wrinkly in my shirt. My mind has been spinning around in circles for the past six months knowing that this thing we call the college years was coming to a crashing end.  We lost so much along the way over the past six years losing two friends to drunken driving, Eddy, Junior’s best friend that was the hardest one to take for the whole college as we all had to wake up to the truth and learn to fright to change the laws, get the community more involved.  Surly Eddy would have been the choice if there was a vote to send someone to the pros, he had a way of making everyone around him feel special, last year would have been his graduation and junior was here to make sure no one forgot him.  There was a sponsored dance party to raise awareness for MADD and Junior the rookie ball player was holding court back on the campus hardwood.  For the ceremony it was Jr, that brought Eddy’s  mom to the college and a though he was one year away from graduation it was with love and attention that Jr, made it clear to the standing room only crowd that he was special and lived on in our memories.  There were pictures and video of unseen proportions to incite the crowd and invite them to always remember to have a designated driver, because you never know who or what is driving in the other car.  Junior worked hard with the faculty and staff of the university to make a presentation that was about the memories of a loved one and push mass information regarding the dangers of drinking and driving.  With this over the top but necessary form that was meant to change lives and scar some straight, I was overjoyed that he had chosen to stay home and not make it to the celebration, it would surely have taken the focus off of my special day. 


Filled with so much emotion from the moment I woke up this morning, even though I have a job to go to on Monday morning, unlike most of my graduating class. Tomorrow was already set in stone and the case work that I had been working on would go to the court in the following month.  That’s part why my mind is continuously spinning to the left or is it the lack of sex, because Chris would have me believe that all my malfunctions are based on the fact that I wouldn’t give anyone the time of day right now.  So when there is someone in the picture giving me just a little of time and space my alter ego toys with the ideas back and forth, and ever allows me to sleep.  When moving in slow motion with this degree in my hand I got so much going on that I’ll have to catch the replay of this  graduation to know if I enjoyed this time, remember who I spoke with and those that I tried to avoid.  The school years where over and with Chris trying to catch my attention every moment I am trying to understand why it is that I always have to rationalize everything, take things to the desk and pull them apart.  I guess at some point in my life some year in the future say when I’m thirty or so will I finally just step out on faith and just do it without the four days of deliberation.  My college years have been a little on the cautious side, only allowing myself simple pleasures that most of my friends are so unaware of and keeping myself to one person at a time.  So I got this new car last year when I was shopping for it, well I took my dad along to help out with all those things that I not sure to pay attention to and well don’t care to watch out for.  That first little number was just enough to get me from point a to point b, that little VW rabbit was of my own doing and dad had to follow up from the moment I drove into the side driveway.  The look on his face when I walked into the kitchen that day was priceless I told him that I got this hunk of metal to keep him busy.  Over the past year or six months he was under the hood more times than I got over to the house for dinner or just to say hello.  Keeping with the theme I wanted to stay with the idea of small and sporty, and found myself looking to many varieties, however when dad met with me at the Volkswagen dealership the cars were not the only good looking things in the building.


So it was a bit awkward to be there in this place with so many handsome guys and rugged dirty car technicians.  I know how to give a quick look and then look away I have a skill to measure a room and not miss a trick.  So when someone goes out of their way to make them self known to me, I acknowledge it but its low and very subtle.  We had been seated in an office that had the best view of the service area, and that was where Josef was standing against a wall with one leg on the floor, waiting for answers or waiting none the less.  He caught my eye as I went on a tour of the room; with many papers in his hand I was not sure if he was an employee or a guy that had every bit of information regarding his car.  It would be the latter, the specialist for the computers systems of your car he was the head of a small team of guys that where clean and dressed nice cause they didn’t go under the hood often.  While I was handling the paper work with my father and had decided on the larger four door passot, he passed the door a few time and was sure to capture my attention once.  That was the meeting day as he was a friend with my sales woman, when he came in an expressed the need for monthly maintenance and keeping your car in good condition.  Josef as it appeared to me was white, although he had a dark complexion with shinny dark brown hair, it was curly and that was the first thing that caught my attention.  As he spoke the voice was lush and the sound of an accent came through, my father was the one to jump in with a question and as he answered the voice was sure to be from another country.


The kid grew up and army brat having lived in a few spots overseas, and just spent some time in the service a marine or something that was now ready to continue as a weekend warrior.  I kept my eyes on the paper and studies the voice as he was speaking, doing my best not to look into his light brown or hazel eyes.  We were not there to long as my credit was in good standing and I offered up my very large down payment, so when I left with my date to come back to pick up my car, I had already my first appointment set up with him.  I wanted the pick up to be uneventful however after hearing about the room full of hunks at Diamond’s VW on the west end Chris made it a point to meet me there.  With a hand full of balloons in every shade of blue I walked into the dealership to find him already there smiling from ear to ear.  Of course Chris had all the women at the desk laughing and full of joy as I walked thru the door, and in his usual style he had surveyed all the guys within 100 yards and had a full review ready for me.  Josef was running late with a client and was seen running to and fro, Chris caught and eye full from his perfect seated position but managed to keep his cool.  I sat with him as I tried not to look to uncomfortable, my best friend had made this day into a young girls wedding day.  I had Chris put all the balloons into the trunk of the brilliant black four door sedan, then asked him to sit with me at a quite whisper as I waited for technician to run through the many electronically options of the new car.  When Josef was ready for me my name was announced over the PA system, as he walked over to walk us to the car.  Inside the car with me in the passenger seat I introduced Chris and he asked where we were off to, a drive along the lakeshore or cruise down country line road to the farmers market.  So we asked where would he go if he could drive out that hanger door right now, of course Chris knows how to do the fishing for me even if there is no interest, it’s a game we play.  So the banter was good and all too many times he had to tell me to pay attention while going over the features, and the back seat driver was no help.  When my sales woman joined us at the end, it was kind of obvious that they shared a special bond and while there were two different languages being spoken it was friends doing what they do.  Both side where picking up on the little things they we where each looking for.


Driving down the long country road that leads into the farm country sections just outside the city, we laughed and cried about many things that have happened over the past year and even looking over the past college years.  When the two friends turn the conversation to past lovers and of course I have had the least, not that I’m so picky but things just have to grab a hold of me, and there is that big factor – not that I would be so rude to turn someone away for being tiny Tim.  We have to be real about what turns us on and make the choices that we can live with, through the past five years I had only one and a half relationships.  Why because men are too easy and also to much work, I don’t like having to many people in my business and by keeping down my numbers I have to believe that I keeping myself safe.  Chris had about four well ok, there was six and I was there for the makeup and break ups, support and lesson learned for me each time he put his heart on the line.  Each time we go head strong into love and the pain that which will eventually come, but it’s better to dance and learn a lesson than never dance.  So Chris was pointing out all the things that he saw in Josef’s eyes when I looked away or pretended not to care.  The boy is fine that I can’t deny and of course my eyes will tell a lie on me if I try.  But I don’t look for the possibility in everyone I meet, for me this was about business and getting a strong car that was something that I really want and not something that has been forced on me.



However, it stands to reason that sometime over the years I had developed a way of sizing up people from the moment I meet them.  For me it’s like a snap of the fingers, something about you has to snap in my mind, I have to feel that something turn on inside of me. I can say only from what I have lived that in each of us there is a place that only some people can reach, and that something turns on when we are in the presents of that certain something be it a boy or a girl.  So we meet and we both making nice with the pleasant salutations of hello, and yes I’ve heard nice things about you.  My mouth is speaking, my eyes politely looking in the right places, but in my mind there is so much chaos as my most inter thoughts and feeling are taking you apart with every word you speak, my sense of fashion is examining your choice in clothes.  That certain something is radar that has come out to search for the signal that you body should be sending.  I found it something, touched a part of my mind that caused me to look strong into your eyes, and then the choice is made; you are put into a box one side or the other, some I would have sex with and the others to never even think about it.  Can’t say much about its just what I do, everyone that I know, encounter has to take place; it’s just how I deal with people.  Maybe its defiance but it shapes the relationships I form and how they grow, once a side has been chosen for you there is no crossing from one side to the other.  More than just a little Josef was into me and did just enough to show me and allow me to take note.


No longer on campus this little place I found would only be mind alone for some nine months and then the other year and 6months with Josef.  It came out of need how we ended up living together, after a few trips to the shop for the routine items needed to get my car at its best, Josef got the nerve to ask me to hang out with a couple of friends a little house party that turned out to be in another part of the building I was living in.  The party was low key and not everyone knew each other that made for an interesting crowd.  Crammed into the nice sized apartment of odd shape, the guest moved from one room to another, hitting on the subject matter on the day.  There was a girl from the Hale house for women, a place I use to voluntary when I never really had time some two years ago.  She was a friend of many to the other girls in tow and the beauty that the guys where wishing she was straight.  There was an invited to a small dinner party she was having in the week to come and she needed me to balance out the angry wannta be lawyer in the room.  So I agreed knowing that meant blowing off a brief visit from brother dearest.  So I focused on Josef for my remaining time as I was trying to make a quick exit within the next 40 minutes, we talked about a few things before he asked if we could go out to dinner, if not today than tomorrow.  Funny and oh so cute I was stuck on the words when he turned to say you know this food a’int about shit, let’s eat.  So that was my out of the party he had invited me to, as he directed to move where he really wanted to go.  When I asked why didn’t you just take me to dinner, he replied that between our two friends he can’t get anything done, and he was certain that Chris would show up to monopolies my time.  A quick get a way to his cousin’s house in the back of a small Italian restaurant, we pulled into my dismay and curiosity.  We sat at this big wooden butcher block table where just minutes before someone had been making fresh yokee, a large rustic kitchen off the main house.  When a lady walks in to her surprise Josef has begun to fix us a salad, she yells at him “whatda ya doin at my table you handsome devil.”  The kisses and hugs are all around when she pushes him back into a chair to get at me, this one sure is nice J, different I can see that, the women said.  Spicy she was, “Mazzella ha, so just tell me all that I need to know.”  She asked if there was another at home like me because she was tired of the old man that runs this bar restaurant.  We sat in her kitchen we laughed and ate so much food, every time she put a dish in front of me I thought I would die.  A few others came and went from the kitchen but not one as loving and open as Olympia, she was the true color of love.  When we had made our good bye’s she was running off to the front some younger kids where pulling for her attention.  With a mouth full of garlic and red wine playfully pushing me for the door, Josef move down to kiss the corner of my month as he brushed against the side of my face, not one word and just outta the blue, I was taken.


Silent for most of the ride he watch me as I tried to formulate the things I wanted to say, every time I turn I could see the smirk on his face knowing that he had put me in this place.  He moved to exit the car quick after parking, with his hand on the door knob I pulled him back, Oh I got a few things to say an a bunch of questions about your plan for action.  Letting go he falls against the suede seat covers and moves the car seat to recline, piercing over at me with soft light brown to yellow eyes.  So you got so much information out of me tonight, now tell me something about you, I wanted know not only where you’re from but mostly where you’re trying to go.  Smiling he said as you know my family is mostly Italian, low country the south part of the boot, Fresno small country family that lives by the sea, my mom with her big heart married a Jewish man straight from the heart of Israel dark like a fig, hung like a horse. It was in my interest to say just a bit and return to my battery of questions, so I say to him lets go inside as I want to understand you.  So is this your families’ first generation in America.  Well no and if it’s the odd nature of me that has you at question, let me try to explain, my grandma was the wild child moving back and forth.  This is how you get the verity of thoughts and nationalities that make up my family different parts of Italy give way to different schools of thought.  I have to admit I got stubbed by you when I saw your name, and when I was over my uncle’s who has a great understanding of family names I asked about yours.


However just to know that you had this last name was enough to intrigue me, and I did something to make sure that I would get the chance to do the same to you.  I can see that we have one thing in common, coming from too different backgrounds, will I guess that would be two – cause we both have crazy friends that would seem to do anything for us.  I was looking around my small apartment, and taking in a full view of him because for the first time I didn’t have someone else in the room wondering and making their own assessment of just what I was thinking. So he sat at my odd looking bar for a kitchen set up and just smiled at me as I was formulating my next question.  He stood a little taller than me at six three and he was all legs, they seem to start and end with tone lean muscle.  I watched as he played with his foot tapping back and forth.  So you got a few sisters and brothers, do you come from the big family thing cause back at the restaurant there was a lot of little people running to and fro.  Yeah, you know you got a way with words, me I got two beauties and a beast, so that makes four of us in total and you.  Just one sister and older brother that’s an all day pain in my ass, so why call you brother a beast so you have the same problems I got.  Not at all I love him as if I gave him life, he’s the good looking one, that hair that body, he can go outside dirty and greasy from being under a car all day and women just fall at his feet.  But as for me I can’t get one muscle to grow on this body I try to work out with him and just got tired of no results, he got bigger and stronger and way more attention.  Well I think you look just fine, yeah I stay so thin because of the soccer, I play on a team and I just can’t get enough of it.  Now I have an even more menacing look on my face, because after all soccer is such a long hard sport to play.  It was getting close to 12:30 late in the night and although I wanted to get into my questions, I had some fear because he still had not told me where he wanted to go and I was not into asking the question again.  His smiles where melting me down like candle wax and I would soon find myself in bed lock in positions that I never knew.  If this was going to be one night I was trying to make the best of  it and go places that I had only heard about, I was keeping my head in the right place and only thinking of this act for what it was a one night stand and a dam good one.  In the early morning he stood over me at the side on my full size Murphy bed, with the sun hitting me right in the face if he moved just an inch to the left.


Swaying in the light of the sunbeam he said nothing until my eyes took hold of his perfect shape that dangled in front of me.  Long and lean just like him, it had me questioning were did that come from and is he the same person that was here with me last night, it hung so low.  That’s when he said to me now that I have intrigued you in return, I want you to know that I don’t give this to just anybody and this is my deepest secret , the very reason why I wanted you in complete darkness.  I thought that he seem to be just a bit weird about this gift that God had given him, and then also I guess if I had something that every man would envy and every women would be jealous of  I have to admit that I would have my own set of rules and regulations as well.  As I was looking up at him and having so many racing thoughts, he looked as though he was about to proclaim something.  But he simply asked if I would hold that secret as if it where my own, were going somewhere, said with a smile, this early morning tryst was only the first step.  So it all happen like a one night stand, only he would prove to be more and allowing me deeper inside of the man.  Week after day after hour there was always a new revelation this was the kind of guy with so many layers. We had been kicking it just short of a summer fling and I had been living in this place close to ten months, when a water main break and electrical fire caused his building to be evacuated, what was I to do? Knowing that staying with his mom would put him so far away from me and his work.  I asked if I could be of some help and given the fact that he stayed with me sometimes three times a week.  Most things were going good for that first three months and the numerous calls that he would get from him ex girlfriend  went unnoticed to me, where was she and how did she fit into the picture. Well I would find out in a huff one night as he got out of his warm bed to rescue her late in the early morning.  When he returned I was in the shower to process myself for the working day, he sat on the toilet bowl in complete quiet as he listen to my questions of this unpredictable situation, between the singing I was doing the radio that was playing.  I pulled the shower curtain back slow as I could feel in the room breathing and a cold breeze coming from the crack in the door.  When he looked up at me, his eyes where wet, red and sleepy, he said to me that I know I have to tell you about my ex girlfriend.  So I was joking that I was all ears and couldn’t leave if I try because I’m naked, no response to laughter.  We where together for two years umm, umm when she had just moved here with her family, well you sound so sad like she is from Russia or something.


Know nothing like that, they moved down running away from an abusive father who would come home nights and take out his frustrations on the whole family.  She has a little brother who moves a little slower maybe cause of the past beatings, it’s just the three of them and I have a real affection for the kid umm, umm he’s like a little bro to me.  I just spent the past five hours moving them to a new location because once again this asshole has found them and want nothing more than to fight.  Everything was so good for the past 4 maybe 5 months; she would take the bus upstate to let the boy visit with the father for the day.  Cool no drama, but this last trip he just snapped he didn’t want them to leave and ran off with the boy causing a big scene with the police and neighbors and all.  So if she’s not calling me than her mother is, so with this strange look on my face I was about to say ooh no ask a question… but hold on it was all interrupted from the small high pitched voice of a eight year old boy coming from my bedroom, my strange look had just become insane.  Josef pushed open the door to revel this kid standing and rocking with his hands holding tight to his pants “I have to pee, I have to pee.”  I quickly moved out of the way without a word, water still running down my back, I took a seat on the bed and then raced to the other side to find some underwear.  I was moving with lighting speed around my modest apartment because my usual morning had just become a crazy night mare and I thought a million times how do I wake up.  I was standing with my back to everything when his voice came over me low and slowly, I know this is all kinds of craziness first thing in the morning, but I need your understanding as well as I need you to know what has taken place.  Yeah I can see that this is a big moment so I’m going to let you do what you have to do and I’ll just see you after work sometime late tonight.


I have a no drama clause on my life and especially at my home, it has to be that place I go to where I can close the door and simply turn off the rest of the world if that’s what I choose.  No orange juice just out the door, driving with my mind in another place my car was driving on auto pilot and before I knew it I was having coffee with my old man on the back car port.  Small uninvited moments that’s my specialty when it comes to the family, so when mom joined us with her six million questions all at once, she has the best coffee cake in town in her hand and was standing ready to cook a nice breakfast.  I was putting on a good show because I had not even thought of a way to say that I was living with another man, the two times that they had just cause to visit was enough for me as I knew just how to demonstrate how busy the court house was keeping me.  We spent a good half hour together before I had to put on act 2 of my best performance, me late for work and forgetting that there was a witness that had to be picked up for court.  Throughout the day I was alone with my thoughts one too many times as the phone rang, it was Josef, he just called to tell me a little something, he asked if I was free and paying close attention, I said yeah.  That’s when he said “love me, just be with me” and then it was silence for a brief moment, giving just the right amount of phase before he would start again, “that’s all I want from you, I love what we have right now, this is new and this is ours so let’s keep it that way.”  I did not phase one bit, I stepped in with a simply you will always have my understanding, so hopefully I will see you tonight “you will” then I’ll be in just before 8.  Walking thru my door one step after another in a funeral pace, my uncertainty was riding high, as I could then smell the scent of vanilla candles burning in stacks of three, and see the clean and perfect order of my living room.  Passing the kitchen and leaning to the right I could see him at the edge of the bed with this warm smile on his face, when I moved closer he reached for me grabbed me around the waist hugging me so tight from his seated position, “thank you for letting me be me.”


I stood in silence as he slowly pulled up my shirt to place his face against my bare skin, we rocked just like that for the length of a song and then he said, for your inconvenience and your wonderful understanding I give you the best of your world. He moved me into the bath room where he finished filling the tub with hot water and warm coco butter soap.  It was so comfortable the flame of the candles helped to keep the room at a warm temperature, when he walked in with a tray that fit the tub, with a small portion of baked lasagna; he sat back as I lay in heaven and began to explain everything in regards to the family he is so attached to.  It would take the rest of the night but I didn’t seem to care as I was warm and comfortable in my bed after an amazing bath, I did ask questions here and there but he finally got to the end, which was the beginning fixing there broke down car on the side of the highway.  Josef had many skills I would find out and turning an awkward moment around was one of them, he would have to deal with some crazy calls for another week or two as things settled back into place.  By the time late summer had ended and Thanksgiving was just around the corner I began to question what we would do over the holiday, maybe we could spend some time with his favorite godmother over the weekend, as I would be with my family for dinner on that day.  Yeah I guess it something to think about, doing the family thing I gotta see mind and you, well it was then with this boy that wasn’t sure of what his was doing only sure that he enjoyed me taking good care of him tried to tell me something.  He wanted to tell me that he loved me; he wanted to convey that I was close and truly apart of his life.  But he stopped short of using the word love and took his time to define what I meant to him and how that feeling affects his life, affects his day.  I was there when he needed a friend when he needed someone to stand in and help, so in my head he was reliving all that I had done for him and trying to show that he was really appreciative. He walked into this home this relationship with me holding on to something that he had in mine and knowing that this experience was something that he wanted to take with me, but how much was he ready to live and love another man when he had never been in the situation before. 


Furthermore neither one of us had taking the time to give each other the understanding that we needed.  I had so many thoughts and feelings racing inside of me as these days where passing by, so I sat inside of myself and allowed his to just talk and be heard, not asking too many questions or allowing veering off into another direction.  Continuing to speak he expressed that he is a helpful person that he doesn’t need the praise or the “thank you” when people are in need something in him gives him courage to want to fight for the underdog.  This was all about expressions of the person lying next to me, letting me know that who he was and the kind of life he was expecting to life for himself.  He made proclamations and even told me of his personal motto.  The evening was slow and easy it had a warm and very comfortable sense to it, as I began to wait for the other shoe to drop, he was letting me in so far that I felt stirring in my sprit that something must be wrong or had he not forgotten about this girl and what have you.  Never the less it became a much needed conversation long overdue and the interest had to be shared my both of us, so after listening for so long I involved myself in the emotional tennis match.  Allowing the other a chance to understand why we say and do some of the things that we do, so the question still remained in my head did I have a straight man with me who was here on short crazy vacation, or had he intention in his mind all the time and carefully involved himself in my life just the way he wanted to?  After all we never had conversations about sexuality, only the need to not be labeled by anyone for any reason.  As the night was getting into after midnight he disrobed and got into the bed next to me very tight, wrapping himself around me as we continued to talk and the candles filled the room with dim but imaginative light.  He got goofy for a moment playing with the shadows of light against the wall and then standing in the bed to permit his image to case him as a super sized giant against the wall.  So without asking him, I was asking myself if this moment in time was meant to heal my miss understanding or to allow his ego to flourish.  We awoke the next morning to the defining sound of silence all around us, still intertwined, his long hair softly against my chest as I played with it he came alive.  We spent that whole Saturday in bed as we took a day for ourselves flowing still in the indulgent of learning one another; we watched his favorite movies and explored the reasoning in each.  We found our way to the kitchen and back again one too many times during the day, and as the sun was beaming light through the kitchen window for the end of the day, on this trip he made the cold hard floor a place for more than tossing salad.  It turned out to be a really nice weekend and we took the time to plan the holidays as we both knew that family would take on the priority roll.


Well it was that time of the year and as the signs on the side of the bus read it’s a time when most people really get depressed and sad, missing loved ones past or just not being able to get home to be with family.  The pictures where so real in my head that all I could do was see Josef trying to keep this mad man from his family at Christmas, and just how hard would this guy go to find them once again.  At home many times I never seem to mention it, always in the back of my mind I was just glad that the phone had stopped ringing and it had been weeks without contact for my knowledge.  Now I would be a fool to think that this kid was not going to see Josef over the long weekend, but I was scared for the things that could happen.  Late night on the 23rd we were at his godmother’s restaurant as the night tuned into Christmas Eve everyone of his family was singing in the other big room about being happy and being together, we stayed to the kitchen mostly as always and Olympia was at her best as she ran back and forth.  He leaned in to look close at me and gain my attention, then jingling car keys in his coat pocket to pull out a tiny gold band that looked like lines of copper, Merry Christmas with his hand open wide.  I took the ring as I could see it was to small as he said it’s for your pinky and you know I don’t like to wear to many things so I got this around my neck.  It was there hanging around his neck when he opened his shirt that I could see a matching large man size ring on this small thin chain.  Unexpected, time and place kept me in a quite still as I wanted to question, but in all just showed how much I loved it and say a very big thank you.  He moved to the other room and spent a few minutes with his mom before leaving, in the car he said I hope it’s not too serious but I knew that it would look so good on your small hands.  Come what may I what this to be a reminder that we were a team once and for the time we spent together we found our way.  Taking the words out of my mouth from the weekend we spent together on the kitchen floor, this was proof that what I was living was on borrowed time from that moment it was going to be my challenge to not fall in love but to use this momentum to keep us strong and enjoy this moment and this time.  Here was a man that was finding himself and  for the most part so was I, a first for both of us, I just wanted to be happy, I just wanted a reason not to run the streets, I want a chance to let my career develop without leaving a list of skeletons in the closet.



We will have lives past this day I for sure can’t have mine held up for ransom by something I did today fifteen years from now.  I can’t say that my friend Chris gets that, running the streets and the internet, this life as we know it is hard enough without putting too much information out there, and trying to befriend everyone.  I like a quiet life and I can say that this need to only have a small group of friends will payoff to my advantage someday.  This is my first go round on this coaster called love and chance, with someone (from the outside) who nobody really knows, he has his life and for the most part its normal he has a small family; body shop and repair, a good job for a international company this man is nice and for now this man is mine.  The best part is that I don’t have people in my business; we do value privacy, so control is ours to keep.  Six months seven if you recall all the time it took me to find the car I was sure of, not sure if there is another 9 or 6 more to come but I like what I’m doing and for the most part we maintain.  Just a simply joy as we sat in the bed nesting with a nice size cup of  hot chocolate floating with whipped cream, so many times I was caught just looking at him and wondering in my own head, no need for questions I was just looking at where I was and where I could be.  When  I woke in the morning he was already gone, the long red ribbon of lace ran through the apartment to the front door where I found my Christmas card hanging at the door knob a small golden box of truffles on the tea table…”have a sweet day.”  I would not see him again until 3 in the morning of the 26th of December, slipping into my bed but the head was still heavy with alcohol so he fell hard into the pillow.  I laughed a bit than returned to my rest; it was morning for me watching him sleep than seeing the card from his little brother the kid so happy to be in a safe place.  There was nothing to be said about his long stay over the passing hours of the Christmas holiday, I had this need not to press any drama or become unwelcoming as I look for understanding in what had taken place.  So I focused on my family and most of all my brothers’ new found ability to overwhelm my mother with joy, in an odd but not to disrespectful way.   Josef was not a big sports fan and haven learn that he was into soccer I thought I could let him know that my brother was this new NBA freshman that everyone is so excited over.


Although we woke up with this funny story about his cousin at the airport to pick up a friend, it was known that celebrities like to fly in late night.  Coming prepare to the airport with the jersey of my brother Jr’s, who they had now named “flyguy”  running from one gate to another when another plane would land, finally he was one of the last off the plane and emerged to a small hand full of people and made a disappointing remark about why the crowd was so small.  However most still called for his autograph, when he signed the jersey they asked to make it out to his mom and player asked why she didn’t come out and he tells the guy because it’s so cold and snowing “well I’ll do it for her when I see her.” Man can you believe this shit after the waiting and all the running he got nothing… yeah that sounds like by brother!  Scratching his head with a crazed look on his face, he asked what you mean, like if you where a big star you would brush people off like that, or just be so stupid.  No I mean just that my brother is a bit of an asshole, so look at the irony of this we have the opportunity to teach Junior a lesson.  Your brother!  Yes this twenty something fool with a hole in his head,  Junior Williams all state point guard of Lincoln high school is my brother, but you never…(and I never will) can’t you see how different we are.  He has a different father I am the youngest and we have an older sister Leeza, we still live in the same house on State St. where the north meets the south side, near Brighton hill.  Josef was in disbelief after telling his little story to find out that I had a story or two of my own and that I love to show my brother a life lesson, my mother didn’t raise us to have such a attitude, I really don’t know where he gets it, my mother is the sweeties person in the world believe me I know how to fix Jr.  Wait till my mom hears about this, she is always checking him on his attitude the way he is seen and the comments that he makes in the papers, if he plans a career with the “Tim’s” I know that he’s going to have to kept it quite for a couple of years and try being the bad boy latter on. 


When you go over to state college you’ll see that people have a love hate relationship with him, it’s a take it or leave it kinda thing.  Wow so is that why you kept this little secret to yourself he asked more about Jr. and how we got along as kids, this helped to keep my mind out the questions in my head about here he had been running around for the last forty plus hours.  So I allowed him to lead this late morning wake up conversation, we went on taking about my family and of course the many hard times between the two brothers.  Well brother was home for the holiday which meant that he was ready to run in and out the house commanding the attention of the whole neighborhood.  This three day visit of his was not without some eyebrow raising moments at the house, like when he pulled the present out for mom, fully knowing that we always worked on the gifts for the parents together.  My sister was the first to make herself know clearing her throat and standing to disapproval as she passed him by with a slap to the head.  She was standing in the kitchen waiting for Junior who was to afraid to move from him comfortable seat next to mom.  Who was still holding on to the full color catalog for the new living room makeover that she was given?  Leeza stayed in the kitchen with her Latin lover in complete protest, you could hear her voice as she wanted her little brother to dare come into the kitchen.  This was not the first time for Jr. to pull one of his usually tricks but after the first and second time we sat down and it was decided that we as kids would always look out for the parents together when it came to Christmas and birthdays.  Just after the draft it was his first big surprise when he got the new car for mom, assuring everyone that it wasn’t just for her but that the two of them needed another vehicle.  Of course he was going to do things for his mom, this is the woman who gave him life, the one who made the time to attend every home game and include herself in the team as a family member loved by the team for her support.  It was mom that gave him the most understanding, teaching him that money and friendship don’t often go hand in hand, remain the person you are today and don’t let the money you have talk for you, keep in mind that your sister and brother have normal jobs.  Well it was the second Christmas has a rising basketball star and I had hopes that he would not put on some kind of show, I really held out hope that he heard what we were trying to convey over the past months, but to many phone calls went unanswered we didn’t even know if he was going to make it home. (a day to two late)


But as he did getting in just after midnight for a early morning arrival knowing that everyone would be at the house, as we always did on Christmas eve.  Dinner was nice and a few family friends where over for the night’s activities, we had games and spent the night until late in the morning.  For the day I spent most of my time running the kitchen and spending my time in the ear of tia Iluminada, she was quiet for the most part but aloud in Spanish every now and again.  Junior took every opportunity to run out the house and avoid Leeza, but with every trip to the store more people would ring the door bell.  I didn’t say much and just let it be as I know with the two of us it would only get bigger and louder.  On a trip to church that Sunday Junior had asked Eddy’s mom and younger sister to join use as he wanted to take us out for brunch later in the day.  It was a nice jester and one of those things that left you wondering about him, but we all know just how close Eddy was to Jr.  I’m sure that he made a promise to Ed feeling for him like a brother as he did.  It was only for three days and too many things happened all at once as we played a part in Junior’s two act play, he was a bit different and knowing we have our distance, it was our sister that felt like the unanswered phone calls left us in the dark about the holidays.  She tried to talk with him before he got away that late Sunday night but he left little explanation and made mention that when you are a freshman in the league you don’t have any privileges there are rules for you that are to be followed if you plan to be a part of the team in the coming season.  He was pressed for time but did apologies for the lack of communication. She is an old softie when it comes to her little brothers and well we can get away with murder most of the time, the one things she looks for in us is understanding if you just let her know about what you’re going through she will be there for you.  It’s hard to stay mad at someone or even misinterpret when you know that they are going away from you for some time be it long or short, we can never know what lies around the corner so we must save face a be real about our thoughts and feelings to reach for that middle ground.


As brothers we had put Leeza through that many times when we would fight and argue hard about our differences, to be the bigger one and knowing me the way she does, it was always me she would look inside to take the high road or a small lost just to keep the peace.  Over the years I have had to take this lesson to heart, better yet it was a necessary tool that I learned when it came to dealing with my older brother.  Understanding him and whatever faults I knew helped me to shoulder the pain that his lack of good judgment put me through on a regular basis.  So many times I would just roll my eyes to the misunderstood nonsense that would spill from his mouth at times.  So many times I had such pain in my heart wondering how we all came from the same mother, a nurturing woman who cares for a community with the same love she has for her family.  Involved with church and nonsocial groups just the same, when the call goes out for a need always one of the first to join in the cause.  My mom does not curse and angry emotions never, she belongs to the school of thought, “let’s sit down and talk about it”.  Where and how did Junior get this chip on his shoulder this vial concept of me first or angry black man that has had to work hard to overcome so many obstacles?  The only things we had to deal with growing up was who to play with on what day, with two parents at home we were not the norm for the neiborhood to the south of us.  Living on this street where social classes came together, ours was one of only three mixed race families.  When I think of the other kids in our situation faced with the rumors and the name calling, they still grew with a contrite sprite and sympathetic heart for the most part.  Somewhere along the line my brother just don’t like people, or is it that he has a character that no man can put a label on.  There is just too many layers to my brother and I guess in some ways that might be to his advantage, he has a skill, a good ball player but the only person that can express to him that it comes with some responsibility is my mother.  Now that Junior had come with all his good intentions and misunderstanding his fifth teen minutes in the spot light where over and he was back on the TV, where I could say anything to him and he would have to listen.


Things seem to settle after the holidays as we eased in January, there was only the occasional question about Jr. and why don’t we go to a sports bar to enjoy the game.  Josef and I both had our little secrets now, that one thing that we talked about when and if we were ready; something in the moment would have to bring us to express why we were involved at the time.  Things got quite with his family for a while until I learned that his Aunt and his little buddy shared the same birthday in the end of February, the coldest month on the calendar for the windy city.  I could only guess how he planned to divide his time was the small problem clouding his mind, but he managed to drag me to a shopping plaza one afternoon that we both had off.  The wind was blowing a lot so the snow that was already on the ground was flying up and around, there was no coverage as we went from one store to another, but he mentioned time and again that he didn’t like malls that too many people hang out there for the wrong reasons.  Not one for the big crowds of young girls running back and forth, I had to suffer this cold afternoon as he looked for these few and special star wars collectables for the young kid.  For me spending time with Josef in the light of day was always intensely interesting, as I would carefully watch for the things that he would look that, try to get a feel for what is on his mind as we moved from one place to another.  Secure and happy within myself regardless of where my life is headed, I would try to engage someone at every stop, the more interaction the more reaction.  How with his good looks it wasn’t hard to get a women’s attention, I could see the raised eyebrow or the slight smile form as he came into a room.  Always aware in my head that he was just on loan to me, how and why we got into the love situation was all by happenstance, wondering more often than I ever wanted to believe that I was the first for a true romance of any kind, and knowing that how far we had come was because of the instance circumstance that life had pushed us into all at once.


He shared about his lustful first time with me, as it played in my head like a scene from a B movie, horny and drunk as he put it the idea was always in his head because boys always show him so much attention.  It was only a short scene from the front seat of his old beat up mustang, parked in some ally way or bridge underpass, he had the urge to answer the call, it would only take a few minutes.  His girlfriend at the time was a visiting black girl from Florida, whose family was from Panama, a very dark skinned girl whose smile and skin seem to always shine.  From a close loving family she would not be in the way as Josef tested the waters, after all they too had to sneak around to have a summertime love affair.  For the most part there was a woman by his side and although I had not been bold enough to ask which can first chicken or the egg, it was my personal involvement that help me to stay rooted in discovery.  Trying to be aware and stand at ready for the day when he has to return to the other side of the fence.  Playfully I would push woman at him and like a dough boy he would fall into it time and again.  We made a lot of new friends that way, and at times his was so attentive to me that the girl would know that we where together and yet it never seem to bother him.  Josef always remained a mystery to me the one reason why I would return, needing to see what would happen next, while hiding me away from his family and carefully brooding over me whenever we hit the outskirts of town.  However I guess that was just it, there was an alarm that woke up this super affectionate boy inside, once we were out of the city and into the places that we don’t live and don’t frequent he became someone else.  A slight change that it took me so many months to see, but I came to love the little outta the way spots in the country side or the next small town, it was built into me from the moment I drove my new car off the lot.  Well for the most part I’m trying to stay positive and know that my time is special, so enjoy the time I have because if this was any other man or woman the outcome would be the same, together in love today, some bad drama will enter someday, conclude in good or bad way hopefully without any one getting hurt.


For me this kid is living in my house so that makes my participation ooh so different, I have to be careful not to end up a statistic.  Seating in this big apartment one day wondering how I let everything get so carried away, (or was it) he is gone and I got nothing but bills and bad memories to remember, how I wish I could stop myself from putting so much into this, but I can’t see the future and surly I don’t know when this will come to an end.  Right now it quite so inside I tell myself to just enjoy this moment.  Olympia is a Pisces now that is the reason why we have so much love for her, as we walked in and out of the cold I was offering some nice ideas for his aunt.  Sometimes we drive as far out of town as Evanston and the north is just so lush and beautiful, so I thought of an overnight spa package at the Morton Grove Inn, in fact we could all go and make a weekend of it.  Shot down so quick she is not the type for this or that, said Josef with something of an attitude to his voice.  Well with the feeling that he was given me I just let all ideas fall to the way side, I tagged along as the guy who was there to hold his bags.  Let a man do what a man is going to do, there was times that I had to take the woman’s roll, just stay low and quite.  As long as he thinks he was leading the way, everything would run smooth and for the most part he was always smooth and didn’t like too much mess.  So I never asked now he planned to visit both of his favorite people on the same day, I knew for him this was something that was going to be on his mind until the day came.  When he needed my help I was there to give it and just helped keep my house in order, because work was harder and there was a case for me that was hitting the news media every day.  I was busy with this case regarding underage pregnancy; it was getting a lot of air play in the community because of the man involved being a community activist (the man with 2 faces).  This man was a group leader for the gay community on one side on town and living his life as a straight man on the other.  It was an old to familiar scene to me as I had been involved in a family court case that was so similar just three short years ago when I first started with Braxtion & Mailitchnio.  Young girl in junior high school and grown men twice their age at 35 and 39 years old, why did these older men convince and stalk little girls.  With work pulling me more and more from both directions it was easy to see how time had flown by and I had no time to be jealous about how he spent his time.  We kinda missed each other over the next two months and with the fast pace of the office, Josef on the road for VW learning some new technologies while the new cars and suv’s where coming to market.  There was just a lot of coming and going, the phone was quiet as his little family seems to be in a good place, no drama.  When things slowed down it was just the second week of April and spring was knocking at the door and trying to shine through, but after the rain something new always come to the bright light.


The secret life of Josef had come to light as a late nite call in the morning woke me more than once.  I was hopeful that there wasn’t trouble brewing with his little brother, but on a few occasion he had to take the conversation into the next room.  Although the father had not found their new location, it was clear that he would be putting up a fight for the young boy, is only son.  With the sister she was old enough to talk back and have an opinion of her own, reaching nineteen within the year she would not have to be under the thumb of either parent.  That wasn’t something that I’m sure he understood or knew would be on my mind once I learned of the fathers intents.  What would she want, did she have plans to move away on her own, could she up and leave all the drama behind her.  The visitations went presently on for the most part, but once again I let my voice be heard as I told Josef on too many occasions that this was not his family or his problem.  That short and quick response from my mouth always got me into trouble or at least we would have one or two days of silence.  So in the coming month the family court appearance that was coming up I couldn’t help but wonder each night just what would happen, and/or what surprises lie in wait for everyone.  To my own dismay there was a huge and unforeseen shock just waiting for me in a stack of old mail, it wasn’t mine-however had been a thorn in my side from the day the water pipes brought this tall gorgeous man into my life and my home.  It was all plied into one of those dark green army bags, although rough and water proof it was not smell proof and I wanted something done with this mess.  So with him off on one of his many visit to the family overnight, I thought with the weather nice, I took this sunny afternoon to open the bag and lay out the contents to dry.  I took the bag to the wash with the rest of the color clothes of the week.  Mostly papers in bags of plastic, (old news tucked away) but when I returned from the laundry room I found a green ball with a zipper.  Making room on the floor and laying out the papers face down, as not to appear that I was trying to be intrusive.  The green ball had an odor that I could not shake, so I took a hold of the zipper turning it to open the firmly packed ball.  As I did this the material inside began to spill over, reviling that it was a jacket of some kind, and wrapped on the innermost side of the ball was a tank top dirty and sweat stained with the family name of Josef printed on it.


Not sure what to do and certainly not sure what to think, my first impression was to put the thing in the trash because after all it had been inside this bag for well over eight months.  So decidedly I was sure that I should wash it that way it would be consistent with my story as to why I was invading his personal space.  As I made another trip to the lower level of my building, this cutie got on the elevator on the first floor mentioning that she could have taken the stairs to the laundry.  That she was not like me, because when you’re in the army you do more before 6am than before I think to get out of bad.  Well I smiled and told her that I just graduated from state college last year and I never get out the bed early either if I can help it – ooh she said so you have to be one of those weekend warriors, grabbing at the tank top as the doors opened to the floor.  With the sexy smile of intent she held on and led me through the door, “sure you are loffcoast.”  So now that question remained was this his or maybe it belonged to his father, there was one of a hundred questions rolling around in my head, but in front of me I had this really cutie brown haired girl showing me so much attention.  Right then I knew I could use this chance to my advantage, turning my devious mind to her needs, we made fast friends and she would come over for dinner this Sunday but today let’s break the monotony of Friday and play hooky at the movies.  She fell for it all hook, line and sinker; I knew that if she was too easy not to have sex with her, answering to my own principals that she was the here and now.  When I returned home late in the evening there was a phone call, so I took that time to start any discord over that phone by telling him that I wash the green bag that was in the outside closet.  Major silence for what seem like a full two minutes, I did not interrupt his trained thoughts, he simply asked if I was OK and not to spend my whole weekend cleaning up after him.  No just one trip to the laundry, well maybe two cause I met a girl… Once again there was a space, but I quickly told him all about her and the trip to the movies how I made my first real friend in the building after all this time, so sweet.  Well he affirmed that he would be home in the late evening Sunday by dinner time, but I left out the fact that we would be having a guest.


For dinner I planned a small but big dinner as it was my day for fan fair, I had the crock-pot slow roasting my beef tips and the oven baking my signature 7up pound cake.  I had laundry girl come over early so she could see that a real man knows how to cook, she was just a nice as the first day but a bit nosy too and I like that.  Before he turned the key to the apartment we shared, she was asking about my roommate and the way I explained it was helping out a friend for a while.  I knew that being a bit vague would cause her to lead the conversations during dinner.  So when Josef arrived the two of us where sitting at the kitchen bar laughing over a glass a wine, she was touching and the flirting was in high demand.  We got right to dinner, I moved us all to the couch surrounding my large wooded coffee table, putting laundry girl in the middle of us, Josef on the big chair and we sat on the love seat.  She had no choice but to face Josef due to the way the furniture had been moved, because I need the space on the floor for his many papers that was drying and lay out along the wall.  She got right to the point after loving the food so much she asked, so are you in the army of something like that.  With a mouth full he pushed even more inside, as the look on his face all about fear.  Taking his time to answer, playing with the wine glass and then finding a way to play with her, he picks up her hand and asked do you like a strong man.  He went on with so many other adjectives that she began to laugh and smile, she had fallen like a snow flake to the warm ground.  Yes, but she was so good, retuning to him a telling how we met in the elevator, I thought he was rough and smelly just finishing a workout but it was only this sweaty tank top that he was holding.   Turns out the shirt is yours, but it didn’t stop me from trying to have a quickie at the movies that afternoon… yea still high from the night before I tried.  Now not given Josef a chance to answer she went on, so which is it Army or Marines cause my roomie has a fetish.   So after going after him from two different angles he took the time to answer, well it was only a thing we did in college, you know you get lots of extra credit and a lot of female worship.  Well from where I’m setting you are the two new hot guys  on this side of the building, well have to do this more often  cause when I go back to my apartment she might not let me in unless she knows that we’ll all party together real soon.  For the record a few girls have seen you around the building and its all good, but always with that phone to your ear with some girl named Deb.  Wow I said, I wasn’t sure that I had a fan club as Josef, chimes in “oh and his little girlfriend just might be pregnant.”


Turning to me with all excitement, hands in the air “WHAT”  he is laughing is ass off in the side chair and giving a daring gleam at me, as I feel he has just caught on to the scene.  She is hitting me and one question after another, wait- wait he’s talking about my childhood best friend Debra and yes it was confirmed today she is pregnant.  A moment I was so proud to proclaim, soon to be married to a nice man this time she did everything right.  In my mind I was singing a happy song every time I thought about how I was going to be and uncle, that my best friend had got over the depth of pain that came with her first wantabe engagement and the hard choices that it ended with.  As laundry girl continued to dig the more Josef’s mouth fell open and gave way to the fact that yes he had fulfilled his obligation to the Army, learning advanced electronics and computer modules.  I knew at that moment that there was nothing that I could ever hind from him, my life was in my computer and it did not contain a lock.  I looked around almost scared of the possibilities of who he really is, if he had kept this all too important fact what else was hiding in the wings.  Well I did my best to change that mood and the subject, for one it was causing me to sit in almost silence as my mind began to race.  So more wine for everyone, asking if I had chosen the perfect match for the beef tips that where melt in your mouth moist.  I got the cake from the other side of the room, forgetting that we always have it with fresh cream that I left still chilling in the very cold freezer.  As Josef looked at his cake she asked what is that pieces to small for you or something, yeah it missing the best part.  So he leapt to his feet and was in the kitchen all at once, letting out a sigh he had found a ice cold bowl of fresh sweet whipped cream a little on the frozen side but ready.  Now as we waited for the cream to sweat to the perfect smoothness, laundry girl was nibbling at her cake and the questions began to flow.  You know she said I came in when you where mixing this cake so there could be a box of Betty Croker in the trash, but there was way too many things on the counter like when its Christmas and my mom tries to bake a cheesecake.  If you really did this its way to good, hot to worry I said I got it from a friend and it only looked as though I had something to do with it and there is already a big pieces wrapped for your jealous roommate.  That’s going to get you in so much trouble when I see the two of you together, ooh don’t worry when you see her you’ll understand.


So the evening ended with her questions and the late night began with his, I was in the bedroom folding and paring socks for the drawer when he slowly moved to me.  His hot breath hit the back of my neck, “don’t think for a minute that play time is over.”  When I turned to answer his query he was removing his shirt and slowly said come and take a shower with me.  I thought about it for a minute just before him and watching him disrobe one piece of clothes at a time, he was wearing a new pair of jeans that I had not seen before.  The water was pouring down in the bathroom and the wet heat flowing out the small space, “well are you coming or are you still standing in the same spot.”  I came into the toasty bathroom as he knows I don’t like a chilly shower he had turned on the small heater in the corner and it was like a steamer inside, “well do I look like someone else.”  I just smiled and enjoy the treatment as he lifted my arms and washed my body from head to toe.  In the warm bed beneath the warm flannel sheets that still kept my bed in almost May he said, I’m just a bit jealous a cute girl and she really likes you.  Sleeping so warm and so comfortable I didn’t need to try and hold the conversation with a man that was so tried.  So now that it was Friday yet again and the weekend would bring a new month, after working all day we would spend this Saturday looking at each other with burning question screaming to get out, but neither one of us reaching for the door.  Finally as I cleaned every room in my small apartment but the mess on the floor from his drying past, I watched as he sat in the corner chair and reach for the papers.  Well I put myself into this situation so I had to wait to hear from him, as to what this it, in the kitchen I put some water in my tea pot “can I have some green tea cause I need to tell you something’s.”  I sat on the big love seat, he had poured out many things along the end table and parts of the floor.  There was what looked like evaluations and or test results, training materials; the one that really hit my eye was the college transcript.


Northeastern I had a smart one and it would seem that he was also four years older than me.  Well in my mind I was trying to make excuses for the things I didn’t understand, and say just how well did I need to know him anyway?  This was all on me from the start, I’m the one that gave him a place to stay, and I went out on the limb taking in more than I knew about, so was I so surprised to find secrets and hidden life waiting behind that dangerous white smile.  The time and space that I was in at the moment may have a lot to with it, but it was only me that gave him a key to my kingdom.  So what do you what to show me, what’s on your mind, come on Anthony you have uncovered something here and here and now I should excluded you as well as thank you.  He went for the high school soccer jersey and took a trip down memory lane, spent his high school years at the states number one school for academics, and went on to Northeastern where he was in the r.o.t.c..  So you had a life before I try to hold you down, it’s just that you came along and you were something new, a different way of talking and most of all a different look that one has never seen before.  We both had said on many occasions that this is strange… right, so here we are looking at all the things that I ever took the time to tell you.  Can’t blame it on some kind of feeling that I was having, but for me just like that fact that I had a girlfriend once, it’s not important; only what I do to you and for you while I’m with you,( I can say no hurt no harm).  I was looking at him so crazy, so he took a moment to go a little deeper, you got this look on your face – nothing I did up till now has hurt you, you are still in good health and in control the person you where when I met you.  Think about that, and none of this miss information harms you in any way, does it change your life in any way to know that I went to one of the best schools in the whole country.  No hurt no harm, I never hit you we don’t fight, so you don’t have any cuts or brushes to say this or that, if I leave here at this moment you will still be that person you where over a year ago when you got your new car.  It makes you question did you really know the person that your sleeping with, sometimes you gotta ask yourself “are you the one, is this right for me, is this going to be the real thing.”  You know oddly that makes so much sense, but I keep interrupting maybe there is something else you what to tell me.   Hey can you tell me how come you picked me for you gay experiment, no it wasn’t nothing like that, I guess I’m a big mystery to most and I just do things differently.  Ooh I wanted you, and I did a few things to make sure you would have to come to me.  You have to know I grew up and army brat as they call it, with my father being involved with the military as he was we move around a lot, and I got a good look at a multitude of people and other races of the years.  We truly learn a lot when you grow in the circumstances that I did, it’s the biggest reason why if I think keeping something to myself is best I just do it, it’s not about hurting the other person or being deceitful, something just don’t matter, life is short and the time we have will never come down to hurt and pain.  Again I was looking a Josef with this scary look on my face, like how can he sit across from me at tell me how I feel.  But was that what he was doing? No it wasn’t he was just expressing the safeguards, and how the things that we did together were real, no hurt no harm, it’s now making so much sense to me.  Nothing he did was really any of my business, so I don’t know where he went to high school and how old he is, those things don’t bring pain – but he’s not talking about sex and that ex-girlfriend of his.  So I spoke out instead of having this conversation in my head I asked, so where does your old girlfriend fit into this whole little world of yours.


You know I’m starting to understanding; you haven’t done anything that can hurt me right?  Well no that’s what I’ve been saying I’m telling you, giving you full disclosure but what do you gain other that my age and birth date.  So we sat just looking at each other again for long moments at a time, so about the girl and her family from Racine, we went to school together she’s a little younger and they lived next door to us.  I was the one who kept my older brother from killing the father.  We had to move they had to relocate it was a big mess that we all had to go trough for over two years, court battles, fines and even fights, but through it all it was well understood who caused use all so much pain.  We only got together over on the West side when they were here in Chicago; it all just fell into place.  So as you know things have been good for them over the past months since the holidays, but now this family court thing is coming up around the little brother.  This whole thing with you, I’m not gonna lie to you and say it’s the first time like I did so many times in the past, well it’s not the whole truth.  Not the first boy, you know I had to find my way, that happened when we lived in California, but living with someone, a man, yea you are the one and only first time.  This may have come across like I was walking in the dark but now I know what I was doing and I just kept moving remaining myself and not asking you to change.  The accident at my building just came right on time; it kinda forced us to see where we were going to go.  I could see that you where different, and that slow and easy approach that you have to most things, showed me that you can be trusted and that you’re not in and out of the bars.  I got this thought in my head so I had to interrupt his rather long monolog into the next segment, hold on kid your running a little too fast for me.  You are all over the place, are you saying that you where looking for someone like me, the type that sits in a coffee shop head in the newspaper, quiet and unassuming, someone that you could play your man sex with on occasions without ever bringing the storm to your front door.  I’m just not sure if your calling me some kind of bookworm or making it sounds as if you were looking for me and taking your time to approach.  No… no Anthony it’s just not like that, maybe my words aren’t coming out just right but I’m just trying to say that you’re different and I like that.  I’m not trying to win something here, but this moment is about disclosure and why all of this has you questioning me, well looking for me to say something.  This is mine (holding the tanktop in his hand) and for a little over two years while I got some college credit I was in the army, and the truth is that it has helped me in some ways.  I passed the test for the DEA and now it just a matter of the limited invitations that they send to those who score in the top ten percentile.  You know I have learned over the years that, I don’t share my dreams not even my hopes with too many people, I know that is silly and it’s a hard habit to break but it mine and when you don’t share them it remain yours.   It’s an awkward lesson that I learned but it’s a safeguard I don’t have to worry about someone stepping on my dream or constantly bringing it up in my face every time.  You just got to understand that I watched this happen to Ms. P over the years that we lived next door, every time she came up with an idea or a dream, her bastard husband would crush it with his negative words and placing obstacles in her way, and we as people do this to one another all the time when jealousy enters the picture.  I could relate to the picture that Josef had just drawn for me because after all it sound so much like that backwards ideology that my brother would place in my mind every time we would fight over my life and my sexuality.  Always negative and never anything to say about the possibilities that I could bring forth just because the world would always see me as gay first and black second, so many time he would fight with me strong to let me know that the road ahead was going to be so hard for me to travel on.  This conversation that we had been having was so real and yet he was leaving out a few elements that would come out in the wash later, but how could I blame him for the protection that he had placed on his life, truth is he had done me no harm.  We went on from that moment in time heart felt that is was to midsummer when it all came to a crashing end.  Although we never came face to face for Josef’s last two months with me and his first months with the DEA, he was burning both sides of the candle sex with that little girl and showing her around as the soon to be miss, and me his dirty little secret.  For him it had become the perfect storm, he would now be back and forth out of town at a training facility high up north, but only a short drive to keep his little family in the loop.


She was there enough for the guys to know and understand that this new recruit had the A typical life with a girl he has known for years and plans to look forward in the future.  I came up only the one time for some intramural soccer game that the boys had put together, forcing one house against another, the comments about his girls where all too real and looking around one would have thought that she was there also, but the trash talking continued and I took good note.  So when the officer showed up that last weekend in early August, I had most of his remaining stuff packed, as he made it a point to take more and more stuff out on every visit… there was no drama! Just the simple question of why not leave all at once? I thought only to remind claim all the pieces had fallen into place and there I was living in the middle of a tryst, but because of his arrogance I had no knowledge of the facts and that put all three of use in danger, so as I sat quietly on my bar stroll in the kitchen, I watched as he came through the door, took notice of my mood and my question – but said nothing to give me understanding.  If I had been a fool to this point what was the girlfriend going through and how much more would she have to endure.  Time and again I thought of the few times Deb had to sit and listen to all my mess regarding this man and it was her voice and advise that was keeping me grounded, I was so focused on where life was about to take me that I didn’t have time for the ache, I was becoming a godfather in a couple of weeks, there where names to pick out and plans for everything, no time for nonsense, remember kid that this boy was trade.  Montana came in September and for the next year she was a lot of work and I was willing to learn, spending all my time with her and Deb because I’d soon be off to California. 

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