The Journey of Jacob and Kyle
by Andrew Davis
Chapter 18: This Cold Heart (Cont.)
Time line: Monday
Three hours had gone by since Jacob had abruptly run out of Kyle’s house, making Amanda feel her conversations of words and comfort had come to a forefront that left Kyle finally feeling at ease for the moment. She understood this was a difficult moment for Jacob, and that for Kyle, it was the most vulnerable he had ever managed to feel. Kyle’s emotions were raw, as he was open and honest about all of his experiences in life, sharing not only the deepest of his secrets, but also his fears, his hopes, and most of all, his dreams for the future. It was a liberating and heartfelt experience for Amanda to witness, which gave her the chance to see deeper into the heart that she had learned to love and care about.
By this time, Nicolas’ mother had dropped Matthew off at home, and Nicolas watched attentively as Matthew made his way up the driveway and through the front door. Matthew was excited to be home, and hoped that Jacob and his father wouldn’t be too upset with him for being nearly thirty minutes late. Nevertheless, he wanted to still have the talk that was promised by his father and hoped it wasn’t too late to hear what their father wanted to tell them. But after entering and tripping over his fathers’ shoes, he realized that Jacob was nowhere in sight, only after discovering that his brother’s shoes were absent from the shoe rack. He looked towards the living room and saw his father lying on the couch, with the evening news blaring the nightly events, and a tall bottle resting on top of the coffee table. “Daddy, where’s Jacob? And why is that bottle of wine doing on the table?”
“What? Sorry, buddy, I fell asleep for a little bit,” Bill replied, forcing himself up into a sitting position. “So, how was your day with Nicolas? No wait, don’t answer that; I really don’t want to hear about what you guys did.” Bill winked.
“Oh, you’re a funny one, Daddy. We just hung out. Get it? Hung? HA!” Matthew winked back.
“You’re a silly boy, but you’re my munchkin, Matthew — one of the best. But I get what you meant. I love you so very much. You’re my little boy, well not so little anymore I suppose. But still my son. You’ll always be my son.”
“I love you too, Daddy. So, what’s for dinner?” Matthew asked, his tummy starting to rumble and gurgle.
“Go figure you’re hungry? What else is new!”
“I’m a growing boy after all, isn’t that what Mo—” Matthew’s eyes widened and he looked to his father.
“Yes, that’s what Mommy always says. It’s okay, Matthew, you’re allowed to be angry with her, and it’s okay to cry too. She’ll be back. I’m sure of it. She loves us all very much, she just hasn’t realized it yet.”
Matthew looked further into his father’s eyes. “Do you think so, Daddy? I honestly don’t know what to think right now. How could she be so mean to us? It makes my heart hurt, and I can’t help how I feel about all of this. I mean, she loves us still, right? She should because she’s our mother. I mean why —”
“Come here, Matthew, come sit beside me.” Bill’s hands motioned for Matthew to come closer. Matthew didn’t hesitate, and he quickly kicked off his shoes and jumped into his father’s arms. “Matthew, you’ve done nothing wrong. Please understand that your mother has just lost her senses, her mind, whatever you want to call it, but let me be honest, I think this is only a temporary situation.”
“Do you really think so?” Matthew questioned excitedly as he snuggled in his father’s arms, taking his father’s words at face value.
“I wouldn’t lie to you, little man – never would I do that to you or Jacob.” But Bill wasn’t sure himself. He knew it would be difficult convincing Sarah, but he needed to be Daddy right now and comfort his youngest son. “Hey, Matthew, why don’t you go upstairs and look for Jacob. Maybe he came home earlier without me realizing. I don’t know. I only laid down to rest my eyes for a bit.”
“Well, I didn’t see his shoes, just yours, and I almost tripped over them just so you know.”
“Oh? Sorry about that. But why don’t you just double check for me?”
“Okay, Daddy, I’ll be right back.”
Matthew ran upstairs and checked Jacob’s room, only to find it in the darkness of the night sky, with the only the moonlight shining through the blinds. He quickly turned on the light to see if he was sleeping, but found it as it had been in the morning. Without any clear indication of Jacob’s whereabouts, he ran to the bathroom to look there, and returned to join his father in the living room. “Sorry, Daddy, but I don’t see any sign of him anywhere. So, what do we do now?”
“Well, I guess that means we have to pick him up from Kyle’s place. So, if you could please go get your shoes back on, we’ll head out in just a minute, but right now Daddy has to have a quick pee.”
“Sounds like a plan, see you in a few minutes.” Matthew giggled and left his father to get himself in order. Although he mentioned the bottle to his father, even though he was half-asleep at the time, he still wondered if his father was sober enough to drive, or at least wondered how much he had drank. He knew this road; Jacob had told him about their father’s struggles growing up and would share how proud he was of their father, but now that their mother was gone, he wondered, if this would be a recurring thing for his father.
Yet, there was still a large part of him that felt uneasy about hopping in the car with his father, but then again, he figured he would let his better judgement gather what to do if his father was too inebriated to even leave the house. If he was in such bad shape as his mind had imagined it, he would find a way to stop him by threatening to call the cops. But when Bill finally walked out of the house and into the car without stumbling, he concluded that his father must’ve been okay to drive.
Bill backed out of the driveway and drove several blocks before pulling up to Kyle’s house. “Stay here while I get Jacob, I’ll just be a minute.” His father smiled as he removed his seatbelt and exited the vehicle.
He quickly walked up the cobblestone walkway and knocked on the door. Michelle was quick to answer and welcomed Bill inside after figuring he was Jacob’s father since he looked so much like his son. “Well, I’m glad to finally meet you in person and put a face to that voice of yours. I’m Kyle’s mother, Michelle as I’m sure you already know. But, if I may ask, what brings you out here at this time of night?”
“I’m here to pick up Jacob.”
“What? You mean he never came home?” Michelle asked in alarm as her hand shot up to cover her mouth.
“Wait a minute. Are you saying he’s not here?” Bill looked at her in shock, his mind now racing.
“No, he left about an hour ago. He came downstairs, put his shoes on and left without saying a word to me.” Michelle turned her attention towards the staircase. “KYLE! COME DOWN HERE RIGHT AWAY, IT’S IMPORTANT!”
The sound of two sets of feet banged down the stairs as Kyle and Amanda approached. “What’s up?” Kyle asked, not realizing Bill was standing only a few feet away in the front walkway. “Oh, hey, Bill, sorry I didn’t see you there. I thought my mom was calling us for dinner. So, what’s up?”
“Well, Jacob never came home. I came here to pick him up, but if he’s not here, and if he’s not at home…” Bill partly talked to himself. “I mean, why did he leave in the first place, and if he left why isn’t he at home? Can you please help fill me in, Kyle?”
“What the fuck do you mean he never came home!?” Kyle looked to Amanda for some insight. “I mean …”
“You mean what, Kyle? It’s like I said, he never came home. Therefore, if you could tell me why he left without you, that would be really helpful. Because right now, this really isn’t making sense to me.”
“Well, if you really need to know … we sort of had an argument, but not really. He sort of —”
“Sort of what, Kyle?” Bill asked. “I’m sorry, I’m not trying to pressure you or be argumentative, but right now my son is missing, and I need to know where he is. What if somethings happened to him? What if – HOLY FUCKING SHIT –”
“If what, Bill?” Michelle’s voice shook as she spoke.
“What if he’s committed suicide? I’ve heard about this, gay teens. I mean, doing this because of all the rejection in their lives. I don’t know what –”
“DON’T SAY THAT!” Kyle screamed at the thought, looking to Amanda once more as he started to shake uncontrollably.
“You’re right. He wouldn’t do that. He’s too strong.” Bill couldn’t believe his words, yes, Jacob had been strong, but had his resolve faded, and what was this argument, what was it about?
“Listen, Dad, I’ve got this feeling …” Kyle stopped himself from speaking further. He was surprised at calling Bill, Dad. It felt weird, but yet, it was something that felt right; he had never felt closer to another man, or one of whom he considered a father figure. Bill had so far championed for him and Jacob, and it felt like this was something that was all too powerful to overlook, but right now, none of that mattered.
“Listen, he always told me how much he loved watching sunsets, so seeing as the sun went down like forty-five minutes ago, I’d like for us to go driving around to find him. But, I don’t think he would hurt himself, trust me, I really want to come with you. So, let’s start by checking the parks, we’ll look where we think he might go. But I just got this feeling in my gut that he’s at a park right now, so let’s shut the hell up and get going.”
“I totally agree, let’s go,” Bill said, but stopped short. “Oh, sorry, Michelle. Would it be okay if Kyle and Amanda came with Matthew and me to look for Jacob? I don’t want to keep him out too late.”
“Oh, I wish I could come, but it’s already getting late,” Amanda interjected. “I mean, I’d love to come, truly I would. But I don’t think my parents would allow me to be out past curfew. I could always call and ask if you’d like.”
“Oh no, Amanda, I think we got this. Thank you for offering though, honey,” Bill replied, placing his hand upon her shoulder, reassuring her. “But thanks for the kind gesture and being so thoughtful.”
“No, by all means, Bill, please give Kyle the chance to help.” Michelle noticed the deep concern in Kyle’s eyes. She knew what this would mean to him, to be able to help. Although she didn’t quite understand this so-called feeling, but she felt that if anyone could find Jacob, it would be Kyle. “I love you, baby, find him and make up, okay?”
“I will. I promise. Bye, Amanda, see you tomorrow,” Kyle said, grabbing for his shoes and darting towards Bill’s car.
“I’ll try to have him back as soon as possible, I promise. I’m sorry to have inconvenienced you tonight.”
“Oh no, I understand, your son’s missing, you know this now. Go get him, tiger. Also, before you leave, do you want me to call the police? Would that help?”
“I don’t think it’s that serious yet, just give us the chance to look first. But, thank you so much for all your help.”
“Good luck, Bill,” Michelle said before kissing Bill on the cheek. “And let’s hope it’s not too serious. I’ll give you my best that it’ll all work out. And don’t worry about Amanda, I’ll give her a ride home.”
“Thanks. But we should get going now.”
Sarah had finished watching `Prayers for Bobby’ several hours ago, yet she hadn’t moved an inch since then. She had watched the film in full, watched as the credits had rolled across the screen and sat deep within her own thoughts.
There were instances within the film that she had come to realize, just like the character played by Sigourney Weaver had. She was wrong in every aspect of the word and had been caught up by her own prejudices. `Maybe this is what Bill was planning all along,’ she thought.
Maybe it was because of her own upbringing, or her own hatred for those who were different than her, or quite possibly, a compound of the two that had somehow influenced her actions. But, was this somehow a justification, a means to place blame? Even she didn’t hold the answers to such a quandary. But, nevertheless, those thoughts came to her like a whirlwind of fire that engulfed her mind like a hot poker. She knew Bill was right and that she could never return to the way things had been before. The work set out in front of her, the re-establishing of trust, love, and honesty, was far beyond her scope of reasoning or understanding that she eventually concluded she would be unable to repair the things that needed her utmost attention.
What was she to do now?
“Bill, please turn left on the next street, I don’t have any idea why, but please just do it.”
Bill looked over at Kyle, saw the faith in his words and swiftly responded. “Okay, you got it, buddy. Now where? It’s a dead end.”
It was unusually dark with no source of light coming from any of the street lamps down the road, which made it difficult to see with one’s naked eye. A set of twin trunked trees resting atop of a hill thirty meters away, rustled as their leaves danced within a fresh gust of a wind. In a moment of pure luck, the clouds broke and the moonlight shone through the clouds, allowing a silhouette to present itself to Kyle. Kyle’s eyes darted everywhere, searching, and praying for the one whom he loved. Soon, a figure, an outline of a boy, presented itself through the shadows, and Kyle knew he had found Jacob.
“Jesus, I think that’s him up there,” Kyle yelled with uncertainty in his voice, pointing towards the hill. He knew this had to be Jacob, but if he was somehow wrong, he didn’t want to be thought of as some sort of telepath, or a physic, so he chose his next words carefully. “Should we go see if it’s him?”
Bill agreed. “The outline looks to be about the right size and shape, I think we should check it out. As for you, Matthew, just stay here with the car while we take a gander.”
“Good, Bill, I’m glad you agree. But as for me, I don’t want to wait in the car any longer to find out if it’s him or not,” Kyle said in a rush, all the while forcing the passenger door open and bursting off into a sprint up to the summit of the hill.
Several seconds later, Kyle reached the silhouette and found that it was indeed Jacob, who was sound asleep under the glow of the moonlight. “Baby? What are you doing here?” he asked, shaking Jacob’s shoulders and then his knees. “Jacob, please answer me.”
But to his dismay, nothing happened, there was no rouse from the boy he loved. “Jacob? Please talk to me. I know you’re angry with me, and I understand why, but please let me know that you’re okay.”
Jacob opened his eyes to see an outline of a boy and a grown man halfway down the hill. “Yes? What is it I can do for you, sir?”
“Jacob, you scared me, what the fuck is wrong with you? Why didn’t you go home?”
“Oh, it’s you. Fuck off would you. I don’t want to speak to you right now.”
“Is that how you truly feel?” Kyle asked, feeling as if his heart was being ripped out of his chest.
“It is. Now please just go away,” Jacob said, as his hands gestured for him to leave.
Kyle’s eyes swelled and then the tears came. “I’m sorry you feel that way, and just so you know, I’m not going to give up on you so easily, but because you’re angry with me, I’ll give you tonight to think of me in a better light. Anyway, I see that your dad’s getting closer, so I think I’ll just walk home so he doesn’t suspect anything is wrong. I love you, Jacob, I’m sorry.”
Moments later, Bill had reached the plateau of the hill and approached his son. “Where’s he off to, Jacob?”
“Nowhere I suppose, he just said he was glad he found me and said he’d walk home from here.”
Bill was suspicious of this. “And why would he just walk home when I could easily drive him home?”
“I don’t know Dad. I’m not him. So, I can’t answer that.”
“Is this because you had a fight?”
“We had a fight?”
“Don’t play coy with me, Jacob. I know you better than that.”
“So, what if we did? He chose to walk home, he can do whatever he wants. I said my peace, and he said his. NOW, CAN YOU PLEASE JUST LET IT GO!?”
“Excuse me? Who the hell do you think you’re speaking to? First and foremost, I’m your father and I expect to be treated as such. I’m not your friend, or your buddy, I’m your parent and I will not accept that tone of voice from you, young man, so I expect an apology. Not later, but now!”
“I … you’re right. It’s not your fault, I’m just …”
“Just what? Angry? What could you possibly be angry about now?”
“I don’t want to talk about it. I’m sorry, okay?”
“Okay, have it your way, but we’ll be talking about this later. I love you, Jacob, and I just want to see you happy, but you better not disrespect me like that again. I don’t deserve that sort of treatment; I would never treat you like that, and thus I expect the same.”
“I understand. I promise, it will never happen again. I’m just really upset right now, and I’m sorry if I made you worry, that was never my intention. I just came up here to let off some steam and watch the sunset, and I must have fallen asleep.”
“It’s all good, Jacob, now go get in the back seat of the car with your brother, and I don’t care what you say, I’m going to take Kyle home too. Just give me a second to catch up to him so I can have a talk with him.”
Bill watched as Jacob walked down the hill to the car before he gave chase towards Kyle. “Hey, wait a minute, buddy. KYLE! Wait a moment, I really need to talk to you.”
“Bill, I can’t talk to you right now. I’m fine, just give me some space. I’ll be okay. Please just leave me be,” Kyle yelled back, hoping Bill wouldn’t come closer and see the tears that flowed out from his eyes, or hear the pain in his voice — a sound of absolute brokenness.
“Kyle, no, wait. I need to talk to you for a minute.”
Kyle stopped and turned around. “I’m sorry, I’m a mess; I don’t want you seeing me like this. I’m sorry. I’m sure he’ll tell you, then you’ll hate me too. So, give me some space and don’t look at me, please.” He begged and pleaded, but Bill didn’t stop in his pursuit and continued forward like a man obsessed.
Kyle saw that Bill wasn’t stopping, and in a panic started to run away from him, but Bill was already too close and had stopped him from going any further. “Please let me go,” Kyle pleaded.
Bill turned Kyle around to face him. “Kyle, it’s okay, tell me. No matter what you say, I promise I won’t be angry, just tell me what’s going on.”
“Do you promise, Bill? Promise me with everything that you are, promise you won’t tell anyone, not even my mother. Promise me.”
“I’m sorry, Kyle, but I can’t promise you anything. For instance, if you’re being abused, then I’ll do all that I can to protect you. So, please tell me. I’m not your enemy, after all, I’m your future father-in-law.”
“I doubt that.”
“Why would you say that?”
“Because … Jacob –”
“Because he’s angry with you? You must understand he’s a very compulsive boy. He’s easily angered, but he’s quick to forgive. I’m sure you already know that. Believe me, I’ve watched him grow up, this is only temporary. Trust me.”
“I hope you’re right, Dad.”
“Did you just call me Dad?” Bill questioned, as if he hadn’t realized the first time it was said.
“I think I did. Is that okay?”
“You’ll have me for as long as you need, and of course it’s okay. Maybe in due time Jacob will tell you a story and you’ll understand.”
“What do you mean?”
“I can’t tell you just yet, you will need to wait for Jacob to tell you.”
“You mean if he ever does, or if he ever talks to me again.”
“He will, don’t worry. Now tell me what happened tonight.”
Kyle tried to pull himself together and explain to the best of his knowledge what he saw and heard. He started by telling Bill about how they were looking for a video when Jacob had come across his diary, read it and found his most private thoughts and then when Jacob found a certain entry, Jacob had lost the power to control his emotions.
“What was in this part of your diary, Kyle? Please tell me, but I won’t force you tell me. Just keep me in the loop so I know how to help you and Jacob.”
Kyle then allowed himself to continue and explain how his father’s tie had been propped up in his closet on a pole that held his clothes and how he had formed it into a noose.
“Kyle? You can’t be serious right now.”
“Yes, unfortunately, I’m just being honest.”
Bill grabbed Kyle and embraced him in the tightest hug he’d ever given “There’s hope, never lose that hope. This isn’t some sort of death sentence; it’s a blessing from God, but let me remind you not everyone believes this as I do.”
Kyle knew Bill meant what he said, he could see it through the darkness and the glare in his eyes. “I believe you, and thank you for trying to encourage me.”
“Well, I’m just glad you have faith in my words. Now why don’t we go back to my car and I’ll drive you home.”
“Jacob won’t complain about me drinking. Err, I mean driving you home.”
“Wait, did you say drinking? What do you mean by that?”
“I didn’t say drinking, did I?”
“Yes, you did say drinking.”
“Okay, maybe I did. I will admit I drank a little tonight, but I’m fine, I assure you.”
“How can I be sure? Can you walk in a straight line?”
“What is this, a police ride program? After all, you already rode in my car with me to get here. I’m fine, you know that.”
“Are you being serious? Had I even known I would’ve questioned it earlier, but you’re right in that I did come here with you. But my mother told me to never get in a car with someone who had drank alcohol. Should I be so sure? Yes, I must. Do I need to worry? Absolutely. So, please do me this one favor and walk a straight line.”
“Must I –”
“You must if you expect me to get in your car, otherwise I’m going to walk my ass home, safe and sound. So, what would you prefer?”
Bill put his arms out and walked in front of Kyle. “Fingers to your nose, mister.”
“So, you do think this is a ride program.” Bill laughed.
“I do, now do it, Daddy dearest. Or I’ll be forced to call you in for drunk driving.”
“For crying out loud, I’m not drunk!”
“I don’t care. Do it!”
Bill complied and put his finger to his nose and walked the line, and as far as Kyle could see, Bill was telling the truth. “Well, all right. I guess it’s okay for you take me home then.”
“Good, let’s go shall we,” Bill said.
Bill and Kyle walked back to the car, only to find Jacob and Matthew in a brotherly embrace in the backseat. As they fastened their seatbelts, neither Kyle nor Bill questioned why they were hugging. “All right boys, I hope you got your belts on cause here we go.”
After a near silent car ride, Bill dropped Kyle off at home, gave him a firm hand shake and mouthed a thank you for all of his help. Kyle nodded and hopped out of the car without so much as a word towards Jacob. But, after Kyle had entered his house, Bill redirected his attention to his boys. “All right, guys, you can give up the charade of ignoring Kyle, if that’s what you’re supposedly doing. But if it’s not, why were you guys hugging all this time?”
“Sorry, Dad, I wasn’t trying to ignore him, I just needed a hug from my brother and to know that no matter what, he loves me like I love him. Unlike Mom. Matthew loves me as I am, you love me as I am. Even …” Jacob said through a sound of whimper.
“Kyle.” Bill added.
“Yes. But I can’t talk to him right now. I can’t open up to him right now, that’s why I can tell Matthew anything and he can know how I’m feeling. I told him quickly what happened today while you were talking to Kyle. He understood and he threw his arms around me.”
“Yeah, Daddy. It’s so sad, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it can be sad, but everything is going to be okay. Jacob and Kyle will make up I’m sure, however, that may take some time. Who knows, only Jacob does, and all of that is up to him. Know that I’ll support you no matter what, Jacob, but you must also know, Kyle will support you too; you just need to let him in and share how you’re feeling. That’s the only advice I can give you. No relationship is always butterflies and roses. It’s what you choose to fight for that matters. Letting the little things go by the wayside, and picking your battles carefully will make for the longevity of a relationship. Okay, I think I’m starting to drone on. So, let’s get home and have something to eat, shall we? Should we order out? Or should I make something?”
“Can we order pizza? I just want to go home and listen to you talk about what you’d promised us.”
“Oh, yeah. I forgot about that. Maybe we should postpone that for another night. Would that be okay?”
“Uh, no, that wouldn’t be okay, Daddy, I’ve been waiting for this all day!” Matthew informed his father.
“Me too! Well, sort of. I mean, after all that’s happened today, I was a bit distracted from that to remember. But I would like to hear what you have to say as well. So, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go get pizza and then you’re going to tell us whatever it is you have to say.”
“I didn’t know there would be a list of demands, Jacob. Jeez. HA! Okay, boys you win, pizza it is.”
Sarah was at a total loss. She pondered over the last few hours, trying to formulate a plan within her mind, while rummaging through her thoughts for the words to say, and how to express them into an apology. But in all of the scenarios going through her mind she couldn’t find reason within her brain, she didn’t know what more could be done to repair things. For all the solutions there had to be only one, one of resolution, and not one of the thousand other scenarios she had already played out in her mind. They all had ended in disaster. She truly desired to be reunited with her children and her husband, but her own reservations still bombarded her mind.
For the most part, she felt divided. On one side, there was her strength in knowing what she wanted for her boys, for them to be normal. On the other side, she only wanted her family back, whatever that might mean, or how it may look. Maybe there would be a common denominator, one of which she could accept as a middle ground. Possibly in her want, she made her wants more important than the needs of her own kids. This really made her think on how to approach the subject, to somehow break out of her mindset, and how to make a breakthrough with her boys, to heal the wounds she had deliberately caused.
`I need to shower again. I need to think, to feel the hot water wash away my anger, my desires. I need to feel clean.’ Sarah thought as she finally got up from the couch, leaving an indent in the cushion, and headed towards her sister’s bathroom.
“Daddy, this pizza is so good! I’m so happy you got mushrooms on it. I know Jacob doesn’t like them very much. But they’re my favorite. I love it so, so much. Pepperoni, mushrooms, and green peppers. Omg.” Matthew took another bite of his pizza, as they all sat around the coffee table in the living room. “Can I have some more soda please?”
“Of course, you can, Matthew, why wouldn’t I allow you to have more?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because it has that stuff in it that keeps me awake? Ha! Ha! Okay, I think I’m getting a little hyper. SUGAR RUSH!”
“Is that like candy crush? Ha! See, you’re not the only one that can be funny, Matthew. And it’s not like I hate mushrooms, it’s just they feel weird. Just like they’re slimy slugs going down my throat. I don’t know how else to explain it.”
“And mushrooms are different from,” Matthew looked at his father before he continued. “Cum going down your throat? You never minded that —”
“Who asked you, Matthew!”
“Enough, not something I want to hear right now. But I think it’s time to tell you a story.”
“A story?” Jacob questioned.
“What kind of story?” Matthew asked, looking at Jacob, confused.
“Yes, a story. I want to tell you about a boy named Jacob Matthews. This is how you both got your names.”
The boys’ hair stood on end, giving them goosebumps over their entire bodies. They didn’t know where their father was going with this. But in the silence of stares towards their father, time stood still, as if the temperature had suddenly dropped by thirty degrees. Bill was nervous in telling the boys his story of truth, and it made him shiver as if he were in a walk-in freezer.
“Well …” Bill said, taking a deep inhale of breath. “I’m like you, or I was. It’s odd isn’t it, that you, my two beautiful boys, would be like what I used to be, before I decided that what I truly wanted was a family. So, what I’m saying is that I’m bisexual. So, in a way, I’m like you, and yet I’m not. I once had a boyfriend too. I’ve already told you his name. We went to the same high school that you go to, Jacob, and we were happy for a time, before his family moved away. We even etched our names into the boy’s bathroom stall. Funny. I wonder if they’re still there.”
Jacob thought for a moment about an earlier visit to the boys’ bathroom. “Do you mean, `William loves Jacob 1981′, cause I’ve seen that there, but your name isn’t William.”
“Shit, are you serious? It’s still there? And yes, my name is William. Bill is a short form of William, it even says it on my birth certificate, but not on my driver’s license. So, I guess I see how you could be confused by that. But, did you happen to realize that my name is in my handwriting, well, I mean, a razors version of it, and Jacob’s writing is different than my own? I wrote my name, and he wrote his.”
“So, you’re telling us you’re gay, Daddy, just like us?” Matthew was confused, he didn’t quite understand the term bisexual; it was foreign term in his mind.
“No, it means that I like men and women. But your mother and I started dating shortly after, and the following year I chose to be only with her. She was brought up a devout Catholic, and I never knew what to believe until you two were born. But, after a few months of dating, I knew she was the one for me, and I haven’t looked back since. I’m not saying that I still don’t look at men from time to time, but I’m very happy with who I married and got the chance to be a father to you wonderful boys.”
“Does Mommy know that you had a boyfriend?” Matthew looked into his father’s eyes, and understood why his father had always been so supportive and guiding.
“No, she never knew and still doesn’t. I honestly don’t think she would care now, but after all that’s happened, I just don’t know.”
“So, if Mom never comes back, does that mean you’ll try to get a boyfriend, then?” Jacob inquired, his senses piquing with interest.
“No, I’m afraid not. I left that part behind me long ago. I’m more attracted to women, but he was someone special in my life and I don’t have any regrets. It’s just that I doubt it will ever happen again. Understand what I mean?”
“Oh, well Jacob likes Amanda, does that mean he’s bisexual too?”
“Well, unless he has more than `like’ feelings, it just means they’re close friends. Does that make sense, Matthew? Here let me rephrase: there are many different types of love. Like the love of a father and mother for their children. The love for a pet for example, and the love for a family member. And although all those things are love, they are all absolutely different in meaning and in sense.”
“I suppose you’re right. I think I understand, Daddy.”
“Good, now do you have any questions for me?”
“Well, since you said you don’t regret it, do you at least miss being with a guy? And do you think that if I don’t talk to Kyle again, then maybe I’ll start liking girls? I mean, in his diary he desperately wanted to like girls, but he couldn’t, and I don’t think I could ever like a girl like I … I love, Kyle. I’ve never had interest in girls really.”
“Okay, I think this is a good question, because not only are you opening up right now, which you rarely do with me, but you’re also sharing about how you feel and what you read in Kyle’s journal. And not only that, you’re also coming to understand that you can’t change who you like or who you love, or will love in the future. This is something that just happens, it’s wired in the very nature of who you are. It’s who you were made to be, to be with the one you desire regardless of that person’s sex. So, no, I don’t think your heart can change to try to be someone different. You can never change who you are, Jacob. But to finally answer your question, no I don’t miss it.”
“Why not, Daddy?” Matthew still didn’t understand, he thought if you liked boys before, that you would always like boys.
“Well, because it might have just been a phase of experimentation, and maybe this too is a phase for you, but Matthew, you’re very young to be in a phase of experimentation. At least, I think you are, but I could be wrong.”
“I’m not an experiment, Daddy.”
“Oh my gosh, I never said you were. I said experimentation, not experiment. While it kind of means the same thing, an experiment is done in a laboratory, like in your science class at school. Experimentation means you try new and different things to find out where you belong in the world of sorts. It just means you played the field to find where you belong, most boys and girls go through this type of phase. It’s about finding what you like and don’t like, and even while most straight people have fooled around with the same sex, it doesn’t mean they’re gay, or bisexual. Does that help you understand, Matthew?”
“Maybe. I think I got it. Thanks for helping me understand,” Matthew said, thankful to have a father that put it into words he could easily understand.
“You’re so silly, Matthew. But, I love you just the same, little bro.” Jacob leaned over and gave his brother a hug, while planting a kiss on his forehead. “So, anything else you’d like to tell us, old man? I mean, some of this is a surprise to me, but thank you for telling us. I think I understand why you’ve been trying so hard to help us. I guess it just means that you were only kind because you’re like us. I bet if you weren’t like us you’d be the same as Mom.”
“Whoa, take a step back just a minute, Jacob. Are you judging me on my character or that you think I’d be malicious just like Sarah, err, Mom. Because that has absolutely nothing to do with it. I would be the same as I have always been. I honestly don’t care what you are or who you are, only that you’re my sons, that you’re happy, and hopefully end up being prosperous in life. That’s all that’s important to me. So, I think we should do something Jacob, we need a code word so you can realize when you’re going off on a tangent. Thus, if that happens I’ll say, did you have peanut butter today?”
“No, I guess you’re right. That was wrong of me, I think I’m just a little angry still. Sorry, Dad. And yeah, I think that’s a great idea. That just might help me control this thing that’s inside of me, my dark stranger.”
“It’s okay, Jacob. I understand where it’s coming from, but like I’ve said so many times before, my love will never change for you or Matthew. But, now it’s time for you to man up and start acting like a high school boy should. What I think you need to do tomorrow is talk to Kyle and explain how you’re feeling; if you can communicate with one another in a constructive manner, it will help you both grow closer. But if you’re not ready, as I know you’re probably not, then you should make plans to talk over the next few days. No matter how much it hurts, or how vulnerable it may make you feel, you need to let it happen.”
“I’ll do my best, I mean I’ll try to if I can. I just don’t feel ready to. I have too many thoughts going through my head that I don’t know what to believe.”
“And that’s okay. We don’t hold all the answers; we’re not all fortune tellers who can predict the future, that’s why, in life, taking risks is sometimes necessary and worthy of our time.”
“I don’t understand everything you’re saying, Daddy, I have a question. Do you think there are others like us? I mean, like mommies or daddies being mean like our mom has? And do you think there are other gay people that we don’t know about?”
“Well, I’m sure there are others in worse situations than ours, as sad as that may sound. Like, some people are hurt or abused, or even killed for the way they live or even because of their lifestyles; in other countries around the world for example. But here in Naples, the good old U.S. of A, I don’t know. But, I’m sure there are others, but not everyone in this world is LGBT, Matthew. There are people who hide who they truly are, and aren’t even comfortable in their own skin. But the fact of the matter is, yes, there could be friends of yours, or Jacob’s who are gay too and you don’t even know it. Not everyone is an open book, so you must look at people at face value and love them unconditionally no matter what, that’s my motto.”
“What is LGBT?” Matthew questioned, now even more confused by such an acronym.
“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgendered, but sometimes it can be called LGBTQQ. The two Q’s mean, questioning, or queer. Questioning just means they don’t know what orientation they are, and queer, just means gay or that they’re gender-queer. One of the many definitions of not being straight.”
“Oh, okay. I think I understand now.”
Jacob’s mind began to wander as he thought about Thomas. He remembered being kissed forcefully by him. Was this somehow an experimentation? Or was he gay?
“Anyway, are there anymore questions? Otherwise, I think we should wrap this up and finish eating. It’s a school night and it’s starting to get late. So, let’s clear off our plates and watch a little television before bed. How does that sound?”
“I have one more question. So, let me tell you a story. There was a boy just like Kyle and me and this boy bullied a friend of his,” Jacob lied, knowing full well he was talking about himself. “And this boy so happened to seek him out in the changing room one day, and he kind of kissed him on the lips. But my friend didn’t want this. And now he’s kind of worried. Do you think he’s gay too or maybe just experimenting?”
“Well, I can’t answer that because I don’t know your friend. But I can say it could go either way. I don’t believe in this whole gaydar kind of thing, maybe it’s a thing, maybe it’s not. Maybe you should ask your friend?”
“Oh, okay. I think I’ll try that, sounds good, Dad. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us tonight and tell us your secret. But may I ask if this needs to be kept a secret?”
“Well, it’s our secret, but you can tell Kyle one day, and you, Matthew, can tell Nicolas if you want. But I leave that up to you. Now let’s finish eating if there are no more questions.”
After ten minutes of finishing off the rest of their plates, they turned the trusty television on to a family movie running on the Hallmark channel, soon thereafter they all fell asleep on the couch, snuggled together in an embrace of safety and trust. Tomorrow held the world, but was it the means to a new beginning or an end?
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