The Journey of Jacob and Kyle
by Andrew Davis
Chapter 13: This Cold Heart (Cont.)
Time line: Monday
The boy’s washroom was poorly lit and in great need of some updating and general maintenance. It had old frosted windows, with an extra layer of dust covering over the tinted glass, which always hindered the sunshine from shining through at all hours of the day. If Jacob’s mother had ever seen the filth in which this washroom resided, she would’ve screamed bloody murder, but that was another matter all in and of itself.
No one really understood why the bathrooms had always been left in such disrepair, especially if you were to consider that there was a janitor whose responsibility was to clean the entire school. Though Jacob didn’t fret because at the very least, the toilets were always cleaned, and everything from toilet paper to paper towel was stocked on a daily basis. There were also three sinks upon a marble countertop with mirrors above each one. Above all, there were four urinals, and five toilet stalls that had scratches and remnants of old permanent marker scribbled across the surfaces of the doors. Jacob always read one of the stall doors in particular, as it declared, loud and clear, that he and Kyle weren’t alone in their sexuality, ‘William loves Jacob 1981’.
Jacob constantly wondered who the other boy was that shared his name, but he always found solace when he read this declaration of love, for it brought comfort to his heart and reassured him that they weren’t the only gay kids to ever grace these halls. Reading this declaration always left him wondering how it had been for these boys back in their day, especially if they’d ever come out of the closet publicly for all to see.
After reading the stall door, Jacob and Kyle placed their new pink t-shirts into their back pockets and walked towards the urinals. They were quick to unzip their pants and unleash their hot fury of piss into the awaiting drains, and as they released the bulging tension from their bladders, their eyes went astray and wandered down towards each other’s most intimate of parts. These special glances weren’t abnormal in their eyes and had since become some sort of routine as time had come to show.
It didn’t take them long to realize that not only were they looking at each other again, but actually had finished peeing altogether. They smiled nervously towards each other and in that moment, Kyle gazed deep into Jacob’s hazel eyes and for that split second in time, he saw a glimmer of happiness return to his beloved’s eyes. Kyle was relieved to see such a sign, any sign from Jacob, for in these past twenty-four hours all he’d managed to see from within was heartache and despair, and even a little anger mixed in, as today obviously came to show.
They then gave their boyhoods a good one-two shake, carefully zipped up, and went to wash with soap and water. Once their hands had firmly been dried, Jacob cheerfully removed the proudly pink t-shirt from his back pocket. “I think now’s a good time as any,” he suggested, holding it up in front of Kyle’s face. “What do you think?”
“I don’t think I could agree with you more my love,” Kyle replied cheerfully, removing his new shirt from his back pocket. “And to be honest with you, I don’t think I could be more happy to be wearing these, I mean, now that we’re finally out of the closet and all, so why not, right?”
With the conclusion of those words, they began stripping off their normal shirts and replacing them with these proudly pink t-shirts over their boyish frames. “How do I look? It doesn’t make me look too boyish does it?” Kyle questioned, flaunting his body around the boys washroom. “Well do I?”
Kyle had never been the type to be flamboyant and all in all out there, but a deep yearning inside of him wanted to see that glint of happiness return to Jacob’s eyes once again. It tugged at his heartstrings, and he soon came to realize that if he was going to get the reaction he wanted, then it was going to require action rather than the thoughts floating in his head.
He then gracefully began prancing about, flinging his hands to and fro, trying to garner any sort of excitement from Jacob. Even while doing this, Kyle felt that this was a shot in the dark, but one worth his efforts to fill the longing for a prompt and just response. Though, he didn’t need to wait very long before a smile slowly crept across Jacob’s face. ‘This is working better than I expected,’ he thought as he continued to act silly, walking circles around Jacob.
Jacob’s smile was intoxicating, so much so that even Kyle couldn’t stop himself from smiling right back. Soon their smiles turned to giggles, and then to all out laughter; it was a special moment between them, and one where nobody could interfere and judge them for what they shared. In the midst of their joyfulness, Kyle could see this cheerful laughter letting light penetrate deep into the eternal abyss and allowing him to see more of what he sought out to find.
Jacob soon stopped laughing and grabbed for Kyle’s hand. “Kyle, thank you, I really needed to let loose like that. And I don’t know how you do it, but you always seem to know just what to say and do, and I love you more every single day,” Jacob breathed out, squeezing Kyle’s hand harder. “And might I add, you look very cute, and absolutely amazing in that tight t-shirt, baby.”
In the moments that passed by, their lips hungered for contact and began moving ever closer, inch by inch, until they caressed and shared in a lip-lock of greater proportions. However, their intimate kiss didn’t last long as they were soon interrupted when the bathroom door creaked open, and it echoed throughout.
When Jacob looked towards the door, he saw Thomas enter, and after realizing who it was, he didn’t hold himself back. “Listen, if you’re here looking to fight again then go ahead, cause it’ll be worth seeing you get expelled. And believe me, I’d love to take another swing at you.”
“I’m not interested in fighting you,” Thomas said in a low voice that was barely audible. “Sorry … I don’t want to fight; I don’t have the willpower to do so, nor do I want to do that. Listen, I’m … I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said those things, I just –”
“Just? Just what? That you’re some conniving little shit who stomps on anyone who doesn’t see things the same way that you do?” Jacob didn’t try to hide his anger; he wasn’t going to be so easily fooled by this whole barely-able-to-talk routine. “Well? I’m waiting … or are you somehow trying to think of some idea to convince me otherwise? I’m sorry, but I won’t fall for your little small-minded tricks.”
Thomas exhaled slowly, almost at the brink of tears, fighting desperately not to cry. “I only wanted to tell you that I’m sorry, and that I have something important to show you,” Thomas replied with more conviction in his voice, while struggling to remove his backpack. He then pulled out a bright neon pink t-shirt and showed it to Jacob and Kyle. “I only wanted you to know that I bought one of these.”
Jacob and Kyle gazed towards Thomas. This was an unexpected turn of events, especially coming from him, who had no more than a few hours ago called any and all gay people ‘defective fuckers’. In their surprise, they looked at each other in astonishment, and their eyebrows rose. Jacob wasn’t about to be so easily fooled; he wasn’t going to buy into Thomas’ lie, not for a second. Even if his intuition was wrong, he would stand by this conviction wholeheartedly and would only change his mind with proof.
“I don’t know what you’re trying to get at here, but I’m not in the mood for playing games,” Jacob belted out. “But, and this is a huge one, but if I see you put that shirt on then I just might believe you for a second. Especially after all the things I’ve had happen to me today, I find it hard to believe that you’re truly being genuine.”
“I can’t do that right now,” Thomas whimpered, looking down towards the floor.
“Well, now’s better than later. What could you be so afraid of? That I will see you with your shirt off?” Jacob questioned.
“A little, yeah, but not because I think you’ll get turned on or anything … no, really!”
“Okay, well I don’t believe you then. So I’m just going to go tell Mr. Matthews that you’re not genuine. No, really!” Jacob commented back bitterly.
Jacob’s own bias made him blind to Thomas’ gentle tone in which he spoke. Thomas had been genuine, and yet, Jacob didn’t want to give him the chance to spill more filth from his mouth, and thus he allowed his actions to speak louder than words. He then started heading towards the door, and pushed Thomas to the side to make his way to Mr. Matthews’ office, but before he could leave, Thomas grabbed his wrist and stopped him in his tracks.
“No, I beg you, please don’t go and do that,” Thomas said softly, “I’ll do it.” Thomas slowly released Jacob’s wrist and began removing his t-shirt with great displeasure. As he struggled in removing his clothing, he sucked his teeth; it was as if this caused him great pain and discomfort. Once Thomas’ shirt had fully been removed, he threw it towards the floor, and Jacob’s eyes instantly became wide with fear.
“OH MY GOD! I didn’t do that to you did I?” Jacob asked when he saw the huge black and blue bruise upon Thomas’ back. “Holy shit! Kyle, come over here and take a look at this. I’m so sorry if I did that, shit that looks like it hurts.”
Thomas shifted his eyes. “Unfortunately, no, you didn’t do this to me. It sure hurt like hell when you pushed me up against the blackboard though,” Thomas explained.
“Wow. That looks really bad dude! Did you have the school nurse look at that yet? And if Jacob didn’t do this to you, who the hell did?” Kyle inquired; he was concerned and had never seen an injury to this extent before. The bruise was almost the entire length of Thomas’ back with intermediate shades of black, blue, and green.
Thomas didn’t need reminding of what lay upon his back as he’d already seen the reflection of it from his bedroom mirror just the night before, and had taken a good amount of time to examine it in all of its gruesomeness. Even though he didn’t expect to find it any different than what he could remember, he craned his neck around and attempted to look at what Jacob and Kyle had found as horrific.
In his struggle to take a second look, he felt sharp pains radiate down his spine and rather than stopping, he continued to push further until he managed to see a glimpse of his deeply discolored skin. What he found didn’t surprise him, but he soon discovered that the bruising had grown dramatically and discolored even more so than before. Ultimately, he knew where these marks had come from; the memory was vivid and etched deep within his mind, as if a tape playing on repeat.
Once he got a good hard look, he returned his gaze to Jacob and Kyle and began shifting his feet. In those fleeting moments, no one attempted to say a word as they eyed one another; it was almost like some rule, something left unspoken, a question, an inquiry that begged to be asked, and yet no one dared to make the move.
This silence made Thomas feel out of place, almost like a mist that could blow away at any moment with the slightest hint of wind. He didn’t much like standing there, being an object in Jacob’s warpath to be made fun of – had Jacob wanted to – nor did he want to be thought of as a freak for not wanting to take his shirt off. Thus with these thoughts deep in his mind, he tried to explain, but as he did so, his vocal cords abandoned him and nothing came out, and in his defeat, he closed his mouth and wallowed deep in thought. It was as if something was holding his tongue, making his feeble attempts to speak almost impossible.
His head drooped forward and looked at the floor, his emotions quickly took over and his eyes welled up like Niagara Falls. Thomas’ skin then became pale and clammy, and he soon collapsed to the floor; his legs now too weak to stand.
There was an awkward silence as Thomas sobbed away; his tears forming a puddle on the floor in front of him, causing Jacob and Kyle to look at one another with a look of bewilderment across their faces. They were at a loss for words, and this caused Jacob to mouth, ‘What should we do?’ Kyle didn’t know either, and merely shrugged his shoulders in disbelief at what was happening before their eyes.
“Thomas? Are you okay man?” Kyle questioned.
“No, I’m not … please, just leave me alone,” Thomas cried through the heaving of his chest. “This is why I didn’t want you to see me with my shirt off. You’ve got what you wanted. Now please go.”
“I didn’t wish this for you Thomas; never would I wish this upon anyone!” Jacob explained. “Now who did this to you? We can do our best to help you.”
“Well if you must know I fell off my skateboard.”
“That’s not true, now is it Thomas?” Kyle questioned further, standing directly over Thomas.
“Okay, well, no, it’s not, but you see … I’m a klutz and I fell down the stairs, so please don’t tell anyone okay?” Thomas replied more confidently.
“Thomas, look at me,” Kyle instructed. “Tell me the truth, because you and I both know that you wouldn’t be crying if you hurt yourself.” Thomas looked up from the floor with tears still rolling down his cheeks.
Kyle could see the pain in his eyes, the hurt, the need to be loved; he understood this entirely, he knew this face and understood where it had come from, and he wanted to help. Kyle felt that he should at least try to comfort him, help him ease back into normalcy, and thus extended his hand to Thomas’ shoulder, but when Thomas’ winced in pain, he quickly removed his hand.
“Sorry about that,” Kyle apologized. “So was it a kid from school or something? You can tell me you know. I’m not here to judge you, just to help if you need it.”
“No! Now would you please just leave me alone,” Thomas protested. In his heart this all made sense, but in his mind, he didn’t want to be left alone.
Kyle read deeper into Thomas’ words; he could see by the look in Thomas’ eyes that he didn’t really want them to leave. “Well I’m not going to say I’m a doctor, but let me see your back again for a second.” Kyle helped Thomas to his feet, and began inspecting the bruising. Upon inspection he could swear he saw a hand mark, a fist, and numerous welts as if coming from a whip or a belt. “Did someone hit you?” His voice rose as he began to touch the wounds.
“What would make you think that?” Thomas’ voice broke midsentence and his body began tumbling towards the floor; his feet gave out from under him and Kyle with his cat like reflexes caught him before he made a thud onto the floor. “OWWWW!”
Jacob quickly helped Kyle bring Thomas back to his feet. “Sorry, I didn’t want you to hurt yourself anymore. What happened just now? Did you just faint or something?” Kyle questioned.
“I don’t know. I felt kind of dizzy with you prodding around my back; it just hurts so much. Now will you please just leave me alone; I don’t want to be falling on the floor all afternoon from your constant prodding.”
“Okay, no problem. Just let me help you get that new shirt on at the very least. So will you raise your arms up in the air for me?”
Thomas simply complied with Kyle’s simple request. In his mind, he thought it would be the easiest choice of all, since he was sure it would be difficult getting his t-shirt back on. Even if he could, and he wasn’t sure that he could, it would simply take too long. He simply raised his arms to the ceiling and allowed Kyle to help.
Kyle smiled and was glad that Thomas was going to allow him to help. This was the first step towards coming to an understanding, one of support and friendship, or so Kyle hoped was in the cards. Kyle then grabbed Thomas’ pink t-shirt from off the floor and slipped it over Thomas’ arms and down to his waistline. After Kyle had flattened the creases out of Thomas’ shirt, he took a few steps backwards and looked at Thomas, who had finally stopped crying long enough for him to be able to speak once again.
“You look good in pink,” Jacob announced with a smile. “Listen, I’m really sorry about earlier. I can see now that you were being genuine in your apology. Maybe we can end up being friends, but I don’t know about that just yet, and that’s if I’m being honest. Let’s just take this a step at one time.”
“Okay Jacob, no problem, I can understand that, after all, I was a total jerk earlier. And let me say that I’m thankful for you helping me, I appreciate it.”
“No problem, it was my pleasure; I’m just glad that I was of service,” Kyle said, “But I want to ask you this one final time, I won’t be asking again, but who did this to you?”
“Why do you care so much?” Thomas questioned more sternly, feeling fed up with being asked time and time again. “It’s not like you can stop my fa–” Thomas’ eyes began scanning between Jacob and Kyle as he thought if he should complete his sentence. Did he really want to open this can of worms? “–ther.” He ended up completing before he could stop his lips.
“Are you telling me that your father did this to you?” Jacob questioned hastily. “Cause if so, then we need to take you to speak with Mr. Matthews THIS VERY SECOND!”
“No … please, I beg of you … I don’t want him to get in trouble, he’s trying to help me –” Thomas said sheepishly.
“Is that what you keep telling yourself?” Kyle broke in. “Like seriously, what the fuck could he be trying to help you with. Your father shouldn’t EVER lay a hand on you.”
“You just wouldn’t understand. He’s trying to teach me the ways of life. You know, all about the hardships, goodness, peace, and serenity; or so he says. I deserve this, I really do, and if I could tell you the reason why, I wouldn’t because this is what’s required of me and it’ll help me become a better man.”
“I won’t understand … really? Well, let me show you what I understand!” Jacob declared, grabbing for Thomas’ shoulder and forcing his back to face the mirror. “I see black, blue, green, pain, discomfort, anger, unhappiness, and tears. So please tell me what I don’t understand, or what I should see. Explain it all to me so that I can see how you see it, because what I see right here is a father who uses his son as some sort of punching bag whenever the fuck he feels like having a good time. I would also suspect that your father is some sort of a lousy drunk, or something like that, and if he’s not then I apologize for that comment, but this is fucked up.”
“Please, just drop the subject. I don’t want you to know all the details, just forget that I said anything, okay?” Thomas suggested, hoping that this would just fall away and become a non-issue. “Now is there anything that I could do to make you forget what you’ve seen and what I’ve happened to say? I’ll do anything that you want, I swear, but please don’t tell anyone, I can’t let my dad find out; he will kill me! So just name your price, a blowjob, a kiss, something, anything, please just tell me! Also, how did you know my father is an alcoholic?”
“Like … he’d literally kill you? Holy shit dude we need to get you help this instant,” Kyle questioned, his voice spiking upwards in a panic. “And as to our price, we don’t have one. Jacob and I are dedicated to each other, and no one will EVER come in between us, including you. As to your father drinking, I’d say this was a lucky guess.”
“Well, no not exactly, but you know what I mean, like he’ll be angry with me, he will beat … me?” Thomas utterance struck him like lightning and the tears that had since subsided came with a new ferocity.
Thomas’ newfound realization was like a smack to the head, and one that hurt like a thousand knives to the chest. He never once thought of his father as one who was the vindictive type, but now he understood; what his father was doing was wrong in more ways than one, and with the help of Jacob and Kyle pointing this out, he needed a way of escape.
Even with all these things being presented and brought to the forefront, his mind tried to rationalize his punishment, which he wasn’t going to be telling Jacob or Kyle as to the reasons why, but he could clearly see now, that no one should be hit like he was, no matter how bad they were. This was a secret he’d take to his grave, and to some degree he finally understood what it felt like to hold onto a secret so deep that if anyone happened to find out it would obliterate his life to a point of no return.
“Listen Thomas, we’re already late for class as I’m sure you already know and I don’t want to force you into telling us the details, but please just know that WE are here for you if you need someone to talk to,” Kyle said, trying to muster a last ditch effort in making Thomas spill his guts. “And don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone about you crying, or your bruises. I just hope that one day you’ll learn to trust us so that we can try to help you. Oh, and one more thing; I think Jacob feels the same way too … am I right, baby?”
“Oh, most definitely, I’ll stand by you just like Amanda and her friends have stood by me. I learnt so much today about acceptance and understanding, so I’ll extend you that same kindness and be the friend that you don’t really want, but absolutely need,” Jacob announced. “So with me saying that; we’ve got your back if you ever need it.”
Thomas looked deep into Jacob’s eyes with a sense of sincerity within them; it was genuine and was an unforced moment of true appreciation. Jacob and Kyle noticed this deep gaze, it was odd to say the least, but they did see a glimmer of something more, something they just couldn’t pin, or figure out as to what it was.
Soon after, Thomas lunged for Kyle and wrapped his slender arms around him. “Thank you so, so, so, much Kyle,” he breathed before kissing him on the neck and then gunning for Jacob like some ravenous fox. He followed with the same things he’d done to Kyle and then backed away.
Jacob and Kyle looked at one another after Thomas had let them go from his kung fu grip. They somehow pondered between themselves, and wondered what the hell was up with Thomas; it was weird to say the least, and one that left them with many unanswered questions. Though they quickly realized that this was something new and had been a one hundred and eighty degree turn from what had happened only this morning; this left them puzzled and without words.
“Well like I said Thomas, we’re already late for class, so I think it’s best if you got to class too. Please try to have a good day,” Kyle said, making his way towards the bathroom exit.
“Yeah, uh, well, um, I guess we’ll see you around, I guess,” Jacob said awkwardly, following Kyle towards the door.
Once they were in the hall, they walked at a fast pace towards their third period class, but before they got there, Jacob commented about Thomas’ weird behavior. “So what the hell do you think that was all about?”
“Shit, I was just thinking the exact same thing,” Kyle commented. “Something is definitely wrong in his life I can say that much for sure, and I think we need to figure out a way to help him if he wants it. There’s absolutely no way he goes from being a smart ass kid to a wimpy kid in a matter of hours. And did you happen to see the look he gave us? What the hell do you make of that?”
“If I were psychic I would tell you, but since I’m not, I have no freaking clue whatsoever,” Jacob said, stopping dead in his tracks to think; but no other solution came to mind. “But we can only hope he’ll speak to someone right? At least, personally I hope he will. After all, those bruises looked pretty bad, and do you think he’d hate us if we talked to Mr. Matthews about what we saw? I think we should tell somebody, anybody, because what his father’s doing is wrong, dead wrong.”
“I know where you’re coming from Jacob, but baby? It’s his secret to keep and if we have any hope of helping him, then we need to just be his friend and support him, and like you said with Amanda, we need to be that friend for him no matter what. But with all things aside, do you think we’re going to be in shit for being late?”
“Hell if I know,” Jacob commented, placing his hand upon the classroom doorknob. “I guess we’ll soon find out, now won’t we?”
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