Truths In Departure
by David Heulfryn
That night, when I went to bed, I lay awake for hours; my mind was digesting the new experiences I had seen. I really could not focus all evening; my mother wondered if anything was wrong and I just fobbed her off by saying I was tired. The last time I looked at the clock beside my bed, it read ’01:23′, I must have fallen asleep shortly after that.
As it was Sunday, my mother let me sleep and at eleven fifteen, I drifted awake. My first thoughts were of David. I usually just stayed home Sunday, finished off my homework and do some chores around the house, whatever my parents said needed doing. But David had asked me over again, and I wanted to go.
It did not take long of harassing my mother before she got fed up and allowed me to go. And, after breakfasting and dressing in a clean t-shirt and sweatpants, I made my way round to see David.
I arrived far later than I had planned, it was past twelve o’clock, and I wondered whether or not he would be in.
Approaching the house, I saw no signs of life, no lights, no noise and no movement. Expecting the back door to be locked, I turned the handle and pushed. It opened, and I poked my head through the door, but I still heard nothing.
Something was wrong, even at this time, David would be up and either watching telly or playing computer games. Entering the house, I felt very nervous and crept through the kitchen and into the hallway. The living room door was ajar, and I pushed it open just enough to get my head around. The television was off, and I heard a sniffle.
David, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, was lying on his side on the sofa, his head facing the back so that he could not see into the room. His legs were bent and brought up so that they did not hang off the edge. I could not see his face and was unsure as to whether he was asleep or not. Opening the door fully, I entered the room. Standing at the end of the sofa, I whispered. “David. Are you alright?”
Jerking his head to me, his face began to beam a smile in my direction. His eyes looked red and puffy, he had been crying, but all the tears had since dried.
Jumping off the sofa, he hugged me, very tight. I felt the air leave my lungs as my arms automatically wrapped themselves around David to return the hug, but did not squeeze so hard.
“I thought you weren’t coming,” David spoke into my shoulder.
Releasing me from his grasp, I saw tears were again streaming from his eyes.
“David, what’s wrong? Are you alright?”
He dropped on to the sofa, his head in the palms of his hands. Sobbing for a few moments, he struggled to regain his composure. As I sat next to him, he looked up at me.
“I’ve fucked everything up. My life’s a fucking mess, and I’m losing everything.”
“What do you mean?”
“I thought I’d lost you. When you didn’t come round, I thought I’d lost you. The stunt I pulled yesterday was stupid, but I didn’t know how to tell you, and I’ve got so little time.”
“What do you mean?” I was repeating myself, but he was not making any sense.
“We’re leaving.” He looked away from me, and I sensed him desperately trying to hold back some more tears.
“What do…” I stopped myself repeating myself again. “You can’t be. You’ve not said a word before.”
“We’ve got two weeks left, and then we’re off. In two weeks as of yesterday, we’re leaving. And some bloody tenants are going to living in my house.”
“Manchester. They sat me down about a month ago to tell me.”
I looked at him, open mouthed. He had known for a month had had not told me. I felt a little betrayed like he did not trust me, but I kept my disappointment in him to myself; he was beating himself up over this secret worse than I ever could make him feel.
“I don’t want to go. I explained to them that my life’s here, my friends are here. And you’re here. I put up all sorts of arguments about not going, I even suggested Dad commute, but they just said that they had thought everything through thoroughly and that this was the best option.”
“I’m sorry.” I placed my hand on his shoulder to comfort him. “Why are they moving?”
“It’s Dad’s job. They want him to take over their northern office as it’s not performing very well. I suggested he tell them to shove it and say that he’s happy here, but he won’t.”
“I suppose it’s a promotion, more money.”
“But that’s no fucking good to me when I’m stuck in some god-awful city where I do not know anybody and in a new school where everyone will look at me like I’m an alien just because I’m new.”
Something was not quite right. Kids have relocated in the past without this trauma, and David is not exactly the shy type who will just slip into a corner and hope not to be noticed. He was always quick to make new friends wherever he went. That is why I quickly latched on to him, I was terrible at talking to new people, but with David around, he would make friends, and I would, therefore, be friends through association.
“Look, David. There’s got to be something else. You wouldn’t normally get into such a state just by moving away. What’s really wrong?”
“I thought I would have more time. I’ve been trying to build up the courage to stop this casual thing with Perry and have a proper relationship. But it scared me, the thought of ruining everything we had. I always thought I had the time, but I don’t, at least not now.”
“Did you ever tell Perry you wanted something more from him.”
David began laughing, and I just stared at him, confused by his reaction.
“No, not Perry, you obtuse boy. You.”
It came out so quickly that I almost missed it. When it finally registered, I was stunned and just stared at David, who smiled back at me, his eyes still red.
“I don’t know what love feels like, but what I feel for you is different from how I have ever felt before. I wanted to see what that meant.” His gaze broke from mine as he looked at his feet. “But now I don’t have the time to find out. I don’t even know how you feel towards me. I’ve seen the way you look at me, but I don’t know if it’s just infatuation or what.”
“I don’t know either, but I don’t think an infatuation can last four years. Can it?”
The seed had been sown, and we now had to decide what we should do about our feeling for the next two weeks. I had no idea that David felt this way towards me, and so I always kept my obsession with him to myself. I asked him when he first started to feel differently about me.
Since meeting at secondary school and becoming friends within the first week, he had noticed that I was different from his other friends. I seemed to listen to him when he spoke and take an interest in what he did, the others just talked, not really taking much in. It always made my attention feel special to him, but he just thought I was a better friend than the others. As the years went on and we grew up together, the talk between his mates would often turn to sex and girls and the adolescent bragging that often ensued. I would never take part and always remained silent, on the sidelines but listening to what they said. David said he knew from the look in my eyes that I realised all the talk was bullshit.
It was nearly three years after becoming friends that he noticed me watching him in the showers after P.E. He thought nothing of it at first, figuring that all the boys checked the others out to see how their bodies had changed. David even admitted to checking out the others to compare and make sure he was not lagging behind in development. But the others would only check out the others occasionally, he noticed I would watch him every P.E. lesson and that I would rarely watch anybody else. David said that he enjoyed my attention; it made him feel sexy and desirable. Soon, as the novelty wore off, he began to think about me differently. He replayed our time together at school and sensed that my feelings for him went deeper than friendship. Knowing that someone felt deeply for him, he slowly began to realise and treated me differently to his other mates; he treated me better and with more respect as he knew I was different. Over the next year, his feelings grew from the strong bond of friendship to something he could not describe. He had spent the last six months trying to do something about how he felt; instead of being honest with me, he channelled his frustration in fucking Perry.
Now we were in the position of knowing how we felt about each other but with only two weeks left to explore them. I wondered whether the effort and pain when he left, would be worth it. Part of me wanted him to leave without us exploring the possibilities so that I could be left with my perfect memory of a boy whom I loved and who loved me. The relationship would be played out in my head without the prospect of pain when he left. But, although this would satisfy me in the short term, I knew that I would be forever plagued by the bitter regret of not having the courage to love openly and become genuinely vulnerable to another.
David must have felt the same way. Although he would be leaving, he had risked too much already in telling me this.
He placed a gentle kiss on my lips and drew me up to him so that he could cuddle me. I slid my arm around his back as my head rested on his chest, my other arm went around his abdomen, and I gently squeezed him as he gently pressed me into his chest. Silently, we felt each other breathing.
After ten minutes of being held, David spoke. “Greg, will you go out with me?”
My eyes were not looking at him, but the words made me cry, cementing my feeling for him, I knew it was now too late not to get hurt.
I twisted my head to look up at him. “Yes.” He saw the tears rolling down my cheeks and wiped them with his finger, he gently kissed me again.
Moving my head back to a more comfortable position, I needed to know something. “What about Perry?”
“I’ll let him know that it’s over. I’ll tell him first thing Monday that I’ll be busy for the next two weeks. He won’t know that I’m leaving and I’ll never see him again outside school.”
“Does anybody else know you’re leaving?”
“No, just you. But I suppose my parents have told the school so that they can send up my reports and things.”
We cuddled in silence. We had two weeks in which to explore our love, and neither of us felt it should be rushed but must be allowed to develop in its own way.
The rest of the day was strange as we did not do what we usually do; it was as if we had only just met and were eager to find things out about each other. We talked about aspirations and goals, something we never did. Although we already knew much about each other, we wanted to know more. David asked me what drew to him, and I said that the first thing I remembered when I met him for the first time was his eyes. He had these deep blue eyes which immediately caught my gaze, they were kind and inviting, from the moment I looked into his eyes. I felt I could trust him. That first day of school I was very nervous as none of my friends from primary school was attending the school. I felt alone, but out of the crowd of young boys, I saw David. His light coloured hair and his blue eyes just seemed to stand out from the crowd, looking back, I suppose being a few inches taller than most must have helped but it was not his height I remembered. I felt relieved when he spoke to me. David mentioned that when he saw me, I looked terrified. He just came over to try and make the first day a little better, less daunting. At that time we had no idea we would be in the same tutor group and classes, but it was very fortunate for me as I do not think I spoke to anyone else the first week unless David talked to them first.
Neither of us had eaten lunch, and by three o’clock we were famished. David made us both a sandwich, and we talked about how we would spend the next few weeks.
“Well, if this was a normal relationship,” David quipped, “we would spend every evening after school in either my bedroom or yours snogging, with me trying to get my hand down your blouse to feel your bra.”
“Very funny. And why do I get to be the girl? Why can’t I be trying to feel your bra?” I said between mouthfuls of my ham sandwich.
“Because you’re a gentleman.” David smiled at me, and I almost swooned.
Never having had a girlfriend, just hanging out and snogging seemed to be the furthest I was comfortable with. I knew that David had done just about everything, but I was still new to this and was very unsure about sex.
So that is what we did more the rest of the week, we would meet up around each other’s house and talk and, with our parents downstairs, snog in each others bedroom. I must admit that snogging David with my parents just a few metres away, and thinking that they could catch us any moment, gave me a buzz. David always took his cue from me. He never pushed for anything more and waited until I was comfortable. After a few days, I began to get more adventurous and began to feel David’s body through his clothes. When I felt his groin and his stiff dick through his cotton trousers, I was shocked. It felt electric to feel his hard cock even through two layers of fabric. David responded and rubbed my groin, almost masturbating me to orgasm until I pulled away.
Monday morning, I watched David as he spoke to Perry. The chat was very brief, and Perry seemed very unmoved by the cancellation of their sex sessions. From what David had told me he would say, I supposed Perry was used to these periods where David could not spare the time. I knew that when he had left, it would be me that Perry would seek out and ask where he had gone, and why.
While at school it was difficult for us to keep our hands off each other. We wanted to go to each class holding hands and spend each break in some quiet corner snogging, but we could not. So we just had to carry on as normal. Despite this, we did manage the occasional meeting in the boys’ toilets during lessons, one of us claiming we were bursting shortly after the other.
Next Saturday would be our last chance for the day together; David wanted us to spend the entire day together, and I had to arrange for my parents to allow me to sleep over Friday and Saturday night so that we could enjoy the whole day. My parents were always reluctant to allow me to sleepovers, figuring all the trouble they got up to when they had sleepovers in their youth. But once I told them that David was leaving they relented, realising I would soon lose my best friend. David’s parents insisted that I go on Sunday morning unless I help David pack up his room. I agreed, but they stipulated that if I was a distraction and nothing was getting done, then they would throw me out. Even if it meant packing up the house, I would have done so just so that I could spend a few more hours with him.
When Friday came, I was so excited I could not concentrate on any of my lessons. I cannot remember a word the teachers said, and the notes I had made in my books were very garbled and disjointed. I figured that missing just one day would not matter and the teachers always would recap the next lesson.
The bell rang for us to get to our final lesson. It was Games, and we were still playing Rugby. As usual, we changed next to each other and, after the teacher had taken the register, we jogged out onto the pitch after picking up a ball. The first half of the lesson we practised our skills, passing the ball, tackling, scrums and kicking, the last half we played a short game.
Today was the first time for some time that I did not watch David as he showered and changed. Now he was my boyfriend if only for another week, I felt I did not need to steal glimpses of his body.
I had left my overnight bag at home, being too heavy to carry along with my school books and Games kit. After changing, we walked back to my house. I dropped off my dirty Games kit, changed out of my uniform and picked up my overnight bag.
Despite an offer from my mother to drive us, we walked over to David’s house. His mother was not yet home from work; David unlocked the front door, and we were finally alone.
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