Miles of Smiles
Miles came to visit every day from then onwards, sometimes only for half an hour, other times for longer: it was as if the day wasn’t complete without our meeting if only to check that we were OK. It was soon accepted by his parents that he would also be at my place from Fridays until Sundays which they appeared to accept without any problem. In fact, once they’d got used to the routine, Sheila even stopped checking the flat out every time she visited. It might have helped when she saw Miles had decorated ‘his’ room with a few posters and pictures, deposited a few CDs in the room and generally made it his own. Not that he used it a great deal of course, but it was good knowing it was there.
At my insistence, I also tried to make sure that Miles didn’t miss out on his social life. He would have quite happily spent all his free time at my place or at home, but for his own benefit he had to have friends of his own age. Once in a while he would bring them round to visit us, or one or other would call on him. There didn’t seem anyone in particular he was friendly with but he seemed popular enough and I was content with that.
For some reason I was thinking about this sort of thing when I suddenly remembered his one-time best friend Michael: he hadn’t been mentioned in quite a while. When I asked about him, Miles said that they were still friends, but with one thing and another, they hadn’t seen each other for ages.
“He’s been round my house a couple of times,” he said, “But I’ve never been there.”
“Why don’t you bring him round here?” I asked.
“Dunno,” Miles said. “Never really thought about it.”
I looked at him questioningly: I doubted very much that this was true.
“He knows about us?” I asked.
“I haven’t told him. Haven’t told anyone.” Miles said. “I’ve always been here when he called, but mum and dad never told him where I was.”
“You aught to invite him. You’ve been friends for years, it’d be a shame to break up now. Don’t you miss him?”
“Yeah, but I don ‘t know what he’d think if he knew …”
“I don’t want to state the obvious,” I went on, “But if he doesn’t wanna be a mate after he knows, then …”
“Yeah, yeah. You’re right. He’s gotta know sometime or other.”
I thought little about it for a week or two, until, that is, Miles informed me that Michael was gonna pay us a visit the following Saturday. After I’d expressed my surprise and delight for him, he told me that he hadn’t quite found the courage to talk to him on the ‘phone, but had sent him an email telling him where he’d been all the time and asking if he wanted to come here. Hence the visit.
“You going to make yourself scarce for a bit, yeah?” Miles said as we had breakfast the morning he was due.
“Of course, if you want. I don’t mind being thrown out of my own house.”
Miles didn’t even smile back – he was obviously very apprehensive.
“Not for too long though. I might need rescuing! Michael has quite a temper if he’s pissed off.”
It was mid-morning when the strident tones of the door bell attracted our attention. We looked at each other for a second before Miles asked me if I would get it.
Michael had changed quite a lot since I’d last seen him. He’d got taller and heavier of course, but he wasn’t a child anymore. Like many teachers I suppose, you remember the kids you taught at the age you knew them, not as they are now. We recognised each other though and it was a slightly nervous young man who stretched out a hand.
“Hello, Sir. Nice to meet you again. Is Miles here?”
“Yes, of course. Come in. It’s nice to see you again, you keeping well?”
I led him through to the living room where Miles was stood waiting.
“Hiya!” he said, looking at him “Good to see you, mate.”
“Me too,” Michael replied flatly.
There was a nervous tension in the air and I assumed I was part of it, so doing as I’d promised I made myself scarce, letting them know that I’d be back in about an hour.
I’d bought some pizzas and a few tins of lager for us on my walk-about, but was surprised to find the flat empty when I got home. It took me a minute of so to find the scrawled note on the dining table which said that they’d gone swimming. As a sort of p.s., Miles had added that ‘everything was cool’.
Dumping the pizzas in the freezer, I opened a tin and turned the TV on.
Miles re-appeared, alone, in the middle of the afternoon. He was back to his old, cheerful self thank goodness and plonked himself on my knees, giving me a welcome kiss.
“Things OK, then?” I asked, relieved to see him so cheerful.
“Yeah. He’s OK.”
He went on to tell me that one of the reasons that Michael was upset with him was because he thought they’d fallen out over Michael’s unwillingness to ‘mess about’ together as much as Miles wanted. “The thing was that he thought I was deliberately avoiding him, especially when my mum wouldn’t tell him where I was.”
“So he’s OK now?” I checked.
“Yeah. Threw him a bit though when he knew I was spending most of the time here. Especially night-times,” Miles giggled.
“You didn’t tell him!” I asked, surprised.
“No. He guessed it. Mind you, didn’t take a lot of working out, what with my dirty clothes in my room and the KY in your bedroom!”
“Oh shit!” I sighed. “Sorry about that, I forgot it was there!”
“Don’t panic,” he replied. “He’s cool with that, just surprised you and me were, well, doing that sort of stuff. He’d guessed I was gay anyway, it was just that it was with you. After all, you were our teacher.”
“And he isn’t going to tell anyone else?” I asked, just a bit worried.
“Naah, don’t think so. But I don’t really care if he does, not any more. He made me think about you and me, and if he worked it out, then others will as well, so I guess we’d better get used to it.”
I received this revelation with some shock. It was true of course: the problem was that I’d ignored the likelihood. It was obvious that his parents would find out, as they did, but the chances of anyone else discovering our secret I’d totally blanked. Now I thought about it, I found that I didn’t care that much either. It would be better if they didn’t, naturally, but if they did, what the fuck.
Well, I suppose that was almost the final bridge that Miles and I had to cross. Once we’d accepted the fact that we’d been ‘outed’, at least partially anyway, we became even closer if that were possible. Being seen out and about in town together was no longer a problem and both our social lives improved as a consequence. Life was good, and getting better.
The only thing left to do now was to tell Sheila and John that Miles intended to move in permanently this summer, after all he would be 16 by then and no one could complain. As to how we would inform them, I had no worries on that score: Miles would no doubt get his own way somehow or other, if only by flashing his winning smile.
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