Robby and Ryan Chapter 23

                                            From the Author:

         My dear anonymous friends, I apologize, for leaving you hanging on the last chapter but I needed it to end with that. This chapter will be longer and will span three decades. I have enjoyed the time we have had together; your many emails and comments were far more than I ever expected. This chapter will bring us to present day; today, December 6th 2015, and this will be the last time we meet in this place.


                                Robby and Ryan Chapter 23

He pulled back and said “Rye, why would you ever think that? Home will always be where you are, you dork.”

Days and months turned into a year and just like the blink of an eye; Rob graduated from high school, with honors, and was registered as a freshman at the University of Washington in the fall.

Again we were back at work for the summer and it was better than ever.

We returned to Virginia in late August of 79 before he went back to school and enjoyed the feeling of being home again. Our on-suite had been completed the year before and Bruno surprised me; it cost me, but it was worth every penny.

He had a floor to ceiling stain glass window installed in our bathroom overlooking the willow and the river. It took the artist all of six months to create. It was our tree.

There was a large clear glass oval in the center to see the tree and where the tree branches ended in the clear glass; they were recreated in stain glass on the sides and top making the tree fill the whole window. The river ran from side to side and blended as well as the tree.

We could look out from the glass shower right out the window; the angle was perfect. There were times when the colors on the walls were like a kaleidoscope. I couldn’t have designed it any better myself. He took it to heart when I said I wanted a nice bathroom and I didn’t care what it cost.

Something about being back here, this time, it seemed more invigorating. I could remember more about the past, but still not like Rob; he was so much more in tune here.

I came to terms with what had happened when we were here in April a year ago. I knew in my heart; the guy in the portrait was me, or, at least, Robby did, and the memory of that night didn’t bother me anymore. And as for what had happened a year ago; Rob never told me and acted as if it never happened.

Robby was so much stronger than me; he could remember so much more and he desperately wanted that for me, but only the good. He would show me things that he could recall, but it was always snapshots, never a real memory for me. He never let himself get lost in them, and he never got lost in his own mind when he made love to me, and it was like it used to be.

When we got back to Washington; I went on a quest for a TR and by the time Rob started the UW; a new set of keys had been added to the hook. He understood when I told him they were his; they could go in his pocket, but he always hung them on the hook.

That was Rob’s car of choice and even if we were leaving at the same time, he was sure he made it to the garage first. The top was usually down and he had a collection of sunglasses and even wore a scarf sometimes when it was cold.

Like a blink of an eye, time passed. Rob grew and matured just like I had always envisioned. He grew to a solid 5’9, added another 25 pounds, and looked smoking fucking hot at a buck fifty.

He had been watching me over the years and become a true gentleman, his manners were impeccable. We both remained the unattainable flirts and made up a few stories and covers for those who would ask.

I was so proud of him and he soo wanted to be like me. We dressed similar and acted so much alike, and it was hard to keep coming up with excuses why we were unattached, but we were, it was just to each other.

Rob graduated with an associates’ degree in 81 and I pushed him to continue; what else was he going to do?

He was so smart and just excelled at learning; he loved the U and was well known on campus. He just kept getting better looking, and the way he carried himself made him all the more attractive.

I was still working for John and the Gentleman was doing very well. Rob and I lived very comfortable on what I made. There was never a need to tap a safe deposit box.

We continued to have a party every Christmas and I kept finding new ways to celebrate Rob’s birthdays, and he did the same for me. We had grown so accustom to our lives and Rob loved to keep peeling away the layers of the onion he called me.

 What we had; continued to grow and over the years life was wonderful. We would go to ‘The Willows’ ever spring and fall. We went to Hawaii every Christmas and stayed on all the islands.

The love and bond we shared just kept expanding, bringing us closer than two people could ever be. Our friend’s rarely questioned us any more on our relationship; it was just Robby and Ryan.

In 1981, when Robby was 20, he got diabetes and it almost killed both of us. I felt it before he did and came to the realization that something was very wrong.

My physical connection with him had only intensified over the last few years; it was like my body was an extension of his. I think it had something to do with what happened when Wald died, and the other shit.

When we were in the throws of love making; Rob and I would connect and he could feel what I did, but otherwise, it was just me who had that kind of bond with him.

I had been having, on again, off again, trouble with my heart; something Robby didn’t seem to know about, and I thought something was wrong with me. After getting checked out on the sly; I talked to Rob and found it was him that was sick.

His blood sugars were over 500 when I took him to the doctor and was wreaking havoc on me and it was affecting our eyes. It took a month to get him kind of regulated and 3 months to get into a routine of living like diabetics.

Dust grew on the liquor bottles, exquisite food and fine dining something that was no longer a daily ritual. We had diabetes, and that was the way we lived. If he was sick, I was too.

It was the worst and hardest thing that we had ever dealt with as a couple, including Walt dying. Robby’s blood sugars would go from extremely high to bottoming out at below 50 and he would struggle with me when he was low.

I would have to lean him back against me and hold him; I would feed him OJ with sugar and then put a washcloth over his mouth because the little fucker would spit it out. This happened a lot and he would cry and apologize to me, knowing it made me sick too.

The first year was so hard; it was almost impossible for him to keep it under control and regulated, but Robby accepted it; like it was another punishment for living.

He knew what it did to me; I had to work so hard and had to pull back from him to protect myself from the effects when he wasn’t doing well.

Together we managed; unfortunately, it required another wall, another structure. This one, though, was constructed by both of us; it protected me like he wanted, but it prevented us from enjoying what we had, but it got better. Other than my heart problem, I never tried to hide anything from him or put up walls to keep him out, it was just too hard for me.

Rob still graduated from the UW in 83 with a double bachelor’s degree; purple cord and all. He went to work for an electronics firm, and for a time, life was good.

He loved working; bringing home a paycheck; something he earned and it allowed him to spoil me the way he had always wanted. He would buy me things and it would give him such pleasure to surprise me.

We went back home to Virginia in the spring of 84. With both of us working so hard, we hadn’t been able to spend the time together that we had grown so accustom to and I had so much shit going on. I had opened a restaurant, kind of a spin-off to the Gentleman; RJ’s. It was top shelf.

Something seemed off though; Rob and I were both in our twenties now and we spent most of our time reflecting on everything we had been through and how the years were going by too quickly.

When we returned to Washington we both went back to work and I could feel that Rob was starting to hold back even more. More structures were being built. I never gave a thought of him having an affair or anything like that, but something was changing.

We had been together so long the thought of someone else never crossed our minds. It was just us and we both thought that’s the way it would always be. We didn’t need anybody else, we were all the other wanted.

Rob had made some new friends, but they weren’t people he shared with me, and it didn’t take long to figure out why. I could feel he was building, even more, walls and he would slide into deep depressions and deny it when I questioned him, but I could feel it.

He hated what having diabetes did to him and us. We tried so hard to keep him healthy and when he bottomed out and I would help, he would always cry.

Unfortunately; Robby didn’t remember what I told him about cocaine, or chose not to; his new friends were not friends at all and weren’t thinking of him. In his pain and depression, Robby said yes to cocaine.

I never thought that the wedge I spoke of so long ago would come in the form of walls and lies; barriers that would keep me out, so he could keep me from seeing the depression and guilt he suffered and the drugs he was using more and more often.

Robby got hooked and moved out when he was 23, just before our Christmas party in 84. He wouldn’t let me help him anymore and didn’t want me to be disappointed in him for not taking to heart my warning.

He would come back at times when he needed me most when he just couldn’t do it on his own. Those were times I looked forward to because he needed me and he let me help him, but they were times I dreaded because he would be so sick.

After over seven years of living together; sharing everything we had with each other, it ended. It was more than a break up, but the true pain of it; was in the fact that it was love that caused us to part. Love and fucking cocaine.

He just loved me too much to stay, and what it took to keep those walls intact with me around, was too great for him. He had told me that first year in Hawaii that he felt he had always disappointed me and he seemed to fear that the most.

I attended the wedding of Rob’s sister Drew, knowing Rob would be there. My wedding present to them was playing their first song.

I sat at the piano and started singing for them, but I was singing to Robby. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. (You tube if you like.)

The first time ever I saw your face; I thought the sun rose in your eyes, and the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave to my dark and my empty sky

The first time ever I kissed your lips, I felt the earth move in my hands, like the trembling heart of a captive bird that was there at my command, my love.

The first time ever I lay with you, I felt your heart so close to mine and I knew our joy would fill the earth and last till the end of time, my love.

The first time ever I saw your face, your face, your face.

I could hear Robby screaming in my head, asking me why I was doing this to myself, to us. When I finished; I stood, and when I walked past him, I felt his tears roll down my face.

By the time I made it to the door I was in full blown meltdown. I was like that for a month and I didn’t see Robby for months after.

I spent a year just going through the motions of life; our life as we knew it was over. In the beginning, Rob would call me from time to time and we would have shallow conversations but even those became less and less until they rarely happened at all.

Over the next ten years; I put him through treatment 4 times, and held him through the withdrawals more times than I care to remember. Everything in my life came second to Rob.

Then he would leave again; leave again to save me the pain of seeing what he had become, what he was allowing to happen to him.

I bought him cars and rented apartments for him but his addiction and depression just kept getting worse, and it was like watching someone commit slow suicide.

He would get thrown in jail and I would pay his fines or bail him out. He would give me a kiss and walk away or have me drop him somewhere.

I met my wife and married her when I was twenty-six and we had our first child not long after. Rob was my best man and that too, was a sacrifice he made; he let me go in a way.

I know he hoped marriage would bring some happiness to my life again in a way he wished he could have, but that was not the case.

We would still go for weeks or months without seeing each other or even talking. He couldn’t bear to feel what I felt and he didn’t want me to see what he was doing to himself; how he was dealing with all the things that haunted him.

When I was at my lowest point; the day my youngest son was born and the Dr. told me he was Down syndrome, I was devastated.

My wife and son were still in the hospital and I was home, thinking of ending my life.

 I answered the door with the gun in my hand and Robby was standing there; tears running down his face, feeling my pain. He knew, even with the distance between us, he knew.

He held his arms out and told me everything was going to be ok; over and over again, until I crumbled, then he took the gun from my hand. He stayed with me that night. I was in such turmoil as I lay with him; my head on his chest and our hearts and breathing synchronizing automatically.

There was no sex; this was a time for Robby to do what he did best, and that was to love me. By the time I fell asleep he had talked me through everything, comforting me and stroking my face; just loving me.

I knew when I woke up; I lay there for an hour before I reached over and felt the cold empty spot where he should have been. I felt the loss of him before my eyes opened; but I just lay there; not wanting to confirm what I already knew.

He came when he felt I needed him most; he knew he would suffer the loss of me again if he didn’t; I would have done it and he would have had to follow me. My son turned out to be perfectly fine and Rob knew that, he knew it would be ok.

Rob had several unsuccessful relationships; never with men, that was something that we had, and I never took another man other than him. It was a heart thing with us. In spite of the toll drugs took on him he was still drop dead gorgeous and he still took great pride in his appearance. With his addiction, he had even a harder time keeping his diabetes in check. He couldn’t hold a job for long and would find himself in the hospital.

He would live with us on and off over the years, between jobs, when he was broke, and when he was trying to get well. As much as I wanted it he would never sleep in the house, even though there was plenty of room. It was the house we had called home for years and the memories of what we had were painful for both of us.

He said he couldn’t sleep under the same roof without sleeping with me, and neither of us could be trusted, that was a price that we both paid. He would stay in the trailer I had bought years ago; the trailer we used to travel around and see the country.

The love we had for each other never diminished and we would still make love on accessions when the need for each other was too great.

It wasn’t the same as it was; the walls that had been built by Robby made it difficult to share ourselves as we had in the past but it was better than nothing, and would temporarily fill our emptiness.

When he came to me in September of 95; he was strung out and the condition he was in broke my heart; his welcome at Deb’s coming to an end again. When he passed out; when his strength failed him; I betrayed his trust.

I went where he didn’t want me to go alone and I saw the things he tried so hard to keep from me. I had to see it for myself. In his unconscious state the structures were gone; I saw everything he had been hiding from me for almost half his life.

I found him; under that old bridge where he found the first clue. His pain consuming him; eating away at him from the inside; I watched him there, the tears never stopping.

That was where he sequestered himself with his pain and guilt; far from where I could go; his living hell, his purgatory. I sat behind him; my arms crossed around his chest, but no acknowledgment I was there.

I walked through his field, alone; Robby unable to share it with me anymore; huge bare patches, the stalks having been picked; new ones never planted to replenish them. I took in the sight of what had grown behind the structures Robby had built. Tall, angry looking stalks, seeming to dare me to pick them, they had grown so big.

I cultivated that soil; I killed everything that grew within, but not before holding each one first. Then I took memories from my field and sowed them for him.

We could have done this years ago, could have done it together, but he refused to do that; those structures had been built to protect me. He showed me so much, but he sheltered me from more.

I took in the horror of what had happened years ago when he saw the sculpture at ‘The Willows’ held by the centuries. The shallow minds of the men that had found us; disgusted by our love; what we had, and what we were doing.

They tore us from each other; beat and raped us almost to death, or maybe they had succeeded, I don’t know. I saw what he did that night as he was dragged behind a horse; the iron sculpture as it flew past his eyes and the branches of the Willows hanging down as the rocks and dirt ripped at his flesh.

We were deposited in the darkness at the steps of what was our home. I felt his pain as his head rolled to the side and he saw me. My body was broken and bloody; the colors around me all but gone. His pain was not from what had been done to him, but what had been done to me.

I purged that stalk from the field; from his mind and mine, but some things just won’t stay dead. He never wanted me to see this; why he felt the need to bare it alone; I will never know, but I understand. I would have hidden it from him too. We both didn’t need to remember.

He knew when he woke up what I had done; I had never seen him so mad, mad at me for breaking the trust, and for helping him again, but how could I not. “You promised me Ryan. You fuckin promised me you wouldn’t do that again.” With tears running down his face; he told me, if I did that again, it would be the last time I would ever see him. “I never promised Robby. And there isn’t enough to do it again.”

I opened my arms knowing that even though he was screaming at me, he needed me; needed me to hold him. He missed what we had in this life as much as I did and thought, our loss; the loss of each other, was his fault. That to he carried with him.

He cried on me and just kept asking why I did that again and I cried and told him “because your tears still fall from my eyes too Robby” I kept him from leaving that night and did my best to get him put back together and that is how we got to December 5th 1995.


                                         From the Author:

The original story I wrote a year ago was only intended to be 5000 words or so and was about two days in our life, but as I wrote, I realized there was so much more that needed to be shared.


                                   December 5th, 1995

It started as most days had for the last few months. I woke up about 8:30 and felt the empty spot next to me. I crawled out of bed, stretching and rubbing my face; put on my robe, and heading to the bathroom for a nice long piss.

I made my way to the kitchen to fix my favorite coffee; Espresso with amaretto cream. I was standing in front of the kitchen window enjoying the sun shining on me; warming my skin.

I heard Robby walk in but I didn’t turn around as he walked up behind me; wrapping his arms around my waist hugging me from behind. I leaned my head back as his lips found that spot on my neck, just below my ear.

He backed away and asked, “One of those for me?” “Morning to you too.” I said, as I picked up the coffee I had made and turned around to face him.

His shoulder length honey colored hair all messy from a long night of tossing and turning; little blanket creases on his skin, but he still looked so fucking hot. He was wearing his blue sleep pants along with what looked like one of my tee shirts.

Robby was my true soul mate, my best friend, and the love of my life. I looked at him and smiled. I said, “Here! Not sleep well again?” “No!” He replied. I handed him his cup with just the right amount of sugar-free vanilla creamer.

I smiled as he took it, and I waited. He blew on it a few times, closed his eyes and took his first sip. His eyes opened and looked at me, a big smile on his face now, and said, “mm mm, thanks Ryan, you make me the best coffee.”

That’s what I was waiting for; that smile that would just; well, it just made me feel good all over and warmed me more than the sun.

“A shower will make you feel better, but first I think we need a wake and bake on the deck.” I said, turning back around. He smiled at me as I reached up on top of the cupboard over the bar grabbing my Frisbee; containing a big bud we had been smoking on for a few days, a grinder, and some rolling papers.

Rob opened the sliding glass door to the deck and said “after you.” as he lowers his head and waved his hand out the door. I laughed as I pasted him. I walking out to the deck and started the patio heater as he pulled out the cushions and put them on the rocker.

It was December and a little cold, but the sun and the patio heater made it very comfortable. As we sat down on the reclining rocker built for two I asked, “Do you want to do the honors?” “Ryan, you know you roll better than me, besides, my fingers hurt from having to check my blood sugars all the fucking time.” he said, getting that pouty look on his face.

“What were they when you got up?” I asked. “130.” he replied, as he slowly turned away so I couldn’t see his face as I turned to look at him. Still rolling the joint and not taking my eyes off him, I said “Really?” with a raised eye brow and a questioning tone in my voice.

“So if I went and checked your meter, it would say 130, Right?” I asked with even a more questioning tone in my voice. “Ok, Ok, 160.” he said, looking at me as I licked the rolling paper, and giving it the final twist; still never taking my eyes off him.

“See!” he said, looking at the master piece I had just rolled. “You can do that shit with your eyes closed, I swear!” “Don’t try and change the subject by flattering my masterful rolling technique Rob.” I said, as I put my Zippo to the herbal creation, inhaling deeply, still not taking my eyes off him.

With a little cough, I blew the thick blue smoke up towards the patio heater and said, “Robby, why do you fuck with me like this? You know I can feel it, now what were your fucking blood sugars?” “FINE!” he snapped, with a little to much attitude for my taste, like a child caught in a lie.

Knowing I could feel it he finally said, “240.” taking the joint from my fingers. “Happy now?” he asked, loosing some of the attitude in his voice. He watched me as he took a long draw off our morning blunt and blew the smoke in my face as I started shaking my head back and forth.

“I took a shot before I came in, were going to have to do breakfast before we take that shower.” He stated handing the joint back to me. “I don’t suppose those Twinkies from last night had anything to do with that?” I asked, taking the fatty from his fingers. I set the joint down in the Frisbee as I felt him starting to get up.

I pulled him back down next to me putting my left arm around his neck and slid my right hand up under his shirt. I rested it over his heart, and laid my head on his shoulder. He tilted his head over and rested his cheek on the top of my head.

“You have no fucking idea how hard it is. I hate this fucking disease! Sometimes, I think I should just take a huge shot, go to sleep, and die.” he admitted, as silent tears started to fall from his eyes, rolling down his cheeks, dropping on my face.

We had been down this road so many times over the years. Then he said “the only reason I don’t, is you Rye!” He raised his head to wipe the tears from his face and I took the chance to wipe away his tears that had fallen on my cheeks and I pulled his head onto my shoulder.

He had no idea how it made me feel when he called me Rye. Well, yes he did. It made my heart swell and melt at the same time. It was a nick name he gave me years ago, a term of endearment, and he didn’t use it very often anymore. It was something we never shared with others, something that was just between us.

“I know Robby.” I said, as the tears spilled from my own eyes and down my cheeks. “Things are getting better though. You’ve been off the hard drugs for a while and you’re working again. Now we just need to get this blood sugar roller coaster thing under control.” He lifted his head up off my shoulder and looked at me.

At the same time, we each raised our hands to wipe the tears from each others faces and I kissed his temple. “Please Ryan, don’t! It breaks my heart when you cry.”

“I know Robby, I can’t help it sometimes, I just love you to much.” I said, looking into those beautiful eyes of his. “How can you not?” he stated, unable to keep from smiling at his standard reply when ever I professed my love for him. “You are such a dick!” I chided.

He smiled at me and reached up to wipe a stray tear from my face he had missed. We both stood, and I said, “Now, let’s go fix some breakfast.”

We moved back into the kitchen, each doing our part to cook breakfast. Eggs, sausage, hash browns, and toast with each of us having large glasses of milk.

We ate our feast in silence, not really needing to speak out loud then cleared the table, putting our dishes into the dishwasher. “I’ll fix us another cup of coffee, you go check your sugars again, and I want to see the meter.” I said, smiling. “How about we poke your fucking finger and see what your sugars are” he joked. “Nice try Jr., now off with you.” I said, with a slap to his hard little ass.

 I had shortened Robby’s name to Rob years ago when we first met, even though most of his family, his friends and mine, even my mother still called him Robby; mostly because of his smaller build and youthful appearance.

To me he was Rob or Junior, though in my mind, when I would think of him, or wanted to express the love I had for him, I would call him Robby, remembering his sweet boyish looks when he was fifteen.

Just as I finished our coffees, he came back into the kitchen; meter in hand. He flashed it at me and said, “140! I think I’m good to go.” “Good boy! Now, I’m going to start the shower” I said, and asked, “you coming?” “Yea, I’ll be there in a minute” he replied, looking down and blowing on his coffee.

I walked out of the kitchen, taking my coffee with me, and headed down the hall to the bathroom. I took off my robe, kicked off my slippers, and looked at myself in the large mirror above the sink. I liked what I saw; my brown hair was a mess, but I looked past my hair to the rest of my body.

I stood a firm six feet tall, about 3 inches taller than Rob. I weighed a buck seventy five, about twenty pounds heaver than him. I ran my hands over my chest that was covered with a modest dusting of brown hair and a nice treasure trail leading down to my four inch, soft, cut muscle.

My six pack abs weren’t what they used to be when we were younger. I still had nice broad shoulders, and defined pecks, and I still looked dam good shirtless for a man of thirty five.

Morning had become my favorite time of the day because of our showers together. It was our time, or my time, to be close with my soul mate, the boy, the man that I had been in love with for over half our lives.

I climbed into the shower, which was starting to steam up the room and I heard Rob come in. As he was getting undressed, I asked him “will you turn the fan on?”

I stepped under the spray of the hot water and heard the shower door open and then close and I ran my hands over my face and head to get my wet hair and the water out of my eyes.

When I opened my eyes, he was standing in front of me; in all his glory. My eyes drank him in. From his still beautiful but older face; down over his chest to his fading, but still defined six pack abs, minus the v cut he had as a young teenager. Then I traveled further down that blond treasure trail to his perfect muscle; my favorite toy.

His was about the same size as mine, but a little thicker at the base, and hung straight down over his larger than average sized balls. As I moved my eyes back up the body I knew so well, I couldn’t help but smile. “What?” he asked, starting to smile him self.

He reached around me to the caddy over the shower head and grabbed the shampoo, he again asked, “Ryan, what is that shit eating grin all about?”

“You are still so fucking hot.” I said, looking him in the eyes. “Shut up, and turn your ass around so I can wash your hair.” I did as he told me and turned around.

 He put some shampoo in his hands and started messaging my scalp. Having my hair washed by someone else had always been a favorite of mine. After a minute of his fingers dancing over my head, I rinsed my hair and again ran my hands over my face and head so I could open my eyes. Rob picked up the soap and washcloth as I moved out from under the shower head and traded places with him so he was now under the water and I had my back to him.

He slowly started washing my back; over my shoulders, down my arms, across my ass, down my legs then back up between my ass cheeks, giving my tight hole a few good rubs up and down just for good measure.

He moved his hands so slow over my body, he was teasing me and he knew it. He pulled me a little closer and I raised my arms up from my sides as he reached and washed under them. He continued moving his hands slowly around to my chest. I had closed my eyes and was enjoying the intoxicating feel of his hands on my body.

I moved back just far enough to feel his soft cock come to rest at the bottom of my ass cheeks and I wondered to myself if it felt just a little thick. As he started to move his soapy hands down over my hard nipples I leaned my head back and rested it next to his cheek.

I put my hands over his and started washing my body with his hands. I moved them down over my stomach and kept going down till I reached my now heavier tool. I spent just enough time to clean it well and for him to feel it grow a little, but not make it hard.

My eyes had been closed the whole time, I was relishing in the closeness we shared. I started moving his hands back up my body. I opened my eyes as I moved away just far enough to turn around to face him.

I looked at him, into his beautiful blue eyes, I could see into his heart and soul; I could feel the pain, the hurt, the fading sparkle that was once so bright, and I could see and feel the love.

We looked into each others eyes and in those few brief seconds, I could feel it all again; everything, and he saw it in my eyes. “Stop looking at me like that!” he said, seeing a sad look on my face. I took a breath and then said something he had heard before, “your tears I wipe from my eyes also.” “I know.” he said as he looked down my body.

I knew he didn’t like this situation any better than I did. I leaned my head forward as he raised his and I rested my forehead on his. This was a very tender act for us and it meant more than a kiss. “I don’t know how things got so fucked up, Robby” I said, still resting my forehead on his.


                      Robby and Ryan: Chapter 1b, December 5th 1995

 He pulled his head back a little and looked into my brown eyes and said, “You married HER that’s how” My eyes flew open at his statement and it felt like a knife in my heart. I knew he hurt too; but this was over the top.

“That is so fucking unfair Robby; I said harshly, my body stiffening, my bottom lip starting to quiver, the tears spilling from my eyes at his hurtful proclamation.

He realized he had crossed a line and struck a nerve once he said it and saw my reaction. “One word, just one fucking word or one little sign, anything, but no, you didn’t do a fucking thing.

You know we are stronger together; we could have fixed it, you knew how much I loved you and you did nothing. You could have stopped it and you know it, you were my best man for Christ sakes and.”

He raised his fingers to my lips and I stopped talking. “I know, I’m sorry Ryan, I really am, I’m sorry for everything, honest. I shouldn’t have said that.” I stood looking at him; the tears rolling down my cheeks for the second time today, and I had only been up barely two hours.

“Come on; stop, please stop” he pleaded, raising his fingers to wipe my falling tears. “Don’t be mad at me Skate, please.” He asked again. I knew he was trying to lighten the mood by calling me Skate.

He would only call me that anymore when he was trying to get his way. It was a nick name I was given by coworkers when we first met, he didn’t even know my real name until a few months after we started working together.

He leaned his head forward and I couldn’t help but do the same and our foreheads came together once again. “We good?” he asked, with question in his tone as he reached up and put his arms around my neck?

I brought my arms up and wrapped them around his waist, pulling him a little closer so our bodies were making full contact. “You bastard,” I said, “you could cut the rest of my heart out and I would still love you, and you know it.”

I started to smile and said, “Don’t you even say it.” He pulled back a little so he could see my face and the look in my eyes.

I saw the smile tugging at his lips and he said, “How could you not love this face?” trying to stick out his bottom lip like he was pouting. “Fucker” I said, pulling away from him. He was so right, how could I not.

“Now trade me spots or your part of the shower is going to get a little cold.”

We switched places and I picked up the shampoo. I put a dab

in my hand, rubbed them together, and started into Robby’s hair.

“Harder.” he said.

“Oh, you think I don’t know how you like your head scrubbed?” I said sarcastically as I dropped my hands down over his shoulders and grabbed both his small hard nipples and started to pinch.

“Oh, no, no stop,” he started to ramble, “you are the most awesome, the best ever hair washer.” I eased up a bit, but still had a firm grip on both his nipples and started teasing, asking “who do you love?” “You, you” he squealed. “How much do you love me?” “Shitloads, honest.” he said, starting to squirm.

I released his little nubs and said, “You going to shut up and stop telling me how to do my job?” He nodded his head up and down while moving his hands up to sooth his now red nips.

I returned to the task at hand and washed his hair, hard, just the way I knew he liked it. “Ok Switch,” I said and we spun around and he rinsed his hair.

I reached for the soap and washcloth as he rinsed the last of the shampoo, backing up a little, out of the spray to wipe the water out of his eyes. I kept the soap in my left hand and the washcloth in my right.

I started by soaping up his back and shoulders and then put the soap back in the caddy knowing I had more than enough to do the job. Rob backed up a little more to keep the spray out of his face and I went to work on his body.

I ran the washcloth across his shoulders, back and forth, using my other hand to rub over the other parts. This was heaven for me; I really was dying inside, the feel of his body, his soft skin, and his head so close to my nose I could smell his hair.

I was so afraid I was going to get hard, and I was still only washing his back. We turned again and I was now under the water, Robby still with his back to me.

He raised his arms enough so I could slide my arms between his and reach the front of his body. I moved a little closer as he moved back a little giving me full access as I rested my chin on his shoulder and closed my eyes again.

This was something we had done every day for seven years but that was a decade ago; things were so different now.

I pulled him closer so our body’s could make full contact and hugged him a little before starting to move my hands around the front of his firm body, my soft but heavy unit hanging heavy over my swelling balls resting high between his ass checks.

My chin still resting on his shoulder, eyes still closed, I softly kissed his ear and whispered, “You have no fucking idea how much I love this, you feel so good.” It felt like he was pushing back just a little, pushing his tight little ass back against my now thickening cock. “You know I do Ryan” he said as we started to sway back and forth a little.

After what had happened in the shower yesterday and the way it made him feel, I really didn’t want to get a full on erection and make things uncomfortable.

With my eyes still closed I continued rubbing my hands over the front of his body, over his stomach, down that marvelous trail leading to the piece of meat that had given my body so much pleasure over the years.

I ran my fingers around in his pubes then down to what was still my favorite toy and his balls, and just lingered there, massaging them and thinking back to yesterday, until I couldn’t take it anymore.

With a small exhale I released his manhood and started the journey back up his torso, the water starting to cool. “I’m sorry about yesterday,” he whispered, “It’s not, I just wish, I mean.” and he just drifted back to silence and started shaking his head.

The drugs and diabetes had taken more of a toll on him than a young man of 34 deserved. His ability to get or keep an erection was all but gone and took a huge emotional toll on him, like it would any guy.

“Sex isn’t everything Jr., I said. It’s really not even about that. It’s just natural to want to show love in a physical way, it’s alright.”

“Ok, I’m not going to stand in this cold water while you rinse off, your on your own, I’m out of here.” I said, turning and walking out of the shower. He hugged me tight from behind, kissed my back and said “Fine.”

I got out of the shower and dried off and then grabbed his towel and held it over the heater to warm it a little before he got out. I ran a pick through my now curly hair as Rob came out of the shower and dried him self off.

“Thanks for warming it up for Me.” he said. We traded places and he pulled the shaving cream and razor out of the top drawer and lathered up his face and ran the razor under the running water.

He put the razor to his face and started to shave off the soft five o’clock. I came up behind him to just admire his still handsome features in the mirror.

I started to smile at his reflection and moved my hands down to his firm ass and cupped it in my hands. “Can you still shave with distractions?” I asked.

He started to smile as I moved my hands around to his chest, then his stomach, and then down to his perfect cock. I started to roll his balls around in one hand and lightly fondle his shaft with the other. His reflection smiling back at me and he said, “You’re going to make me cut myself if you keep that up.” “So that’s a no,” I asked?

He leaned over the sink to rinse off what was left of the shaving cream and wiped his face on the towel. I rested my chin on his shoulder with our cheeks touching.

I said, “You really did grow into a handsome man, you really are the whole package.” I started to move my hands around his body, “these arms, your chest and everything below is just icing on the cake.” I put a hand over his heart and said, “but this is what I fell in love with.” patting his heart with my hand.

I looked at our reflections and said, “This reminds me of the pictures we had done for your graduation, the one we gave to mom.” He looked at us in the mirror and retorted, “we had clothes on in those pictures, and your hair was straight. Are you going to see her today?” He asked.

I was looking at our reflection in the mirror thinking about the pictures and the day we went back to the photographer to see the proofs.

The morning of the photo shoot we had gotten our hair cut, both about collar length, parted in the middle, and feathered on the sides, we both looked real good.

We had brought a few changes of cloths and even though we were there for Rob’s graduation pictures, my present to him, we both had planned to have some pictures taken of us together.

The day we went back to see the proofs we couldn’t believe how good all the pictures had turned out. We looked like a couple of very hot models.

The photographer was a little excited, much like the day he took them. He had them all laid out and then he pulled out one of the both of us that he had blown up to a 16 x 20.

It looked awesome. Rob was sitting and I was standing behind and to the side with my hands on his shoulders. “These are just great,” I said.

He told us “here is the deal guys; If you let me put this big photo in a nice frame and hang it in the studio out front, I will give you a hell of a deal on a package, and I will throw in this big one for free, after three months.”

Then he pulled out an 8x10; it was of both of us, I had my chin resting on his shoulder with our cheeks touching. My arms were crossed over his shoulders and my hands resting on his chest and we were both smiling.

“This one almost makes me cry; I think it’s the best picture I have ever taken.” he said. He wanted to say more but didn’t. If a picture can say a thousand words, this one totally gave us away.

You could see the love written all over our faces and could read our story by looking at it.

The link we had was so powerful; it had been almost two years and we had grown very comfortable with it.

We looked at each other and smiled; knowing that the pictures showed the intimacy that we felt for each other.

“Ryan, Ryan” I pulled out of my trance and looked back into the mirror and saw Rob looking at me.

“I’ve said your name like three times.” he stated. “Sorry,” I said, “just remembering.” my hand still on his heart. “I sure would like it if you would come and lie down with me for a little while.” I said. He smiled and said “k”

I walked down the hall past my boys’ bedroom and stood in the doorway of my bedroom, our bedroom, my wife’s and mine. I wished I felt guilty, or ashamed, or anything.

I loved my wife, but I was in love with Rob and had been forever, and in the back of her mind I think she knew it too.

I crawled into the middle of the bed as Rob came in behind me. I held the covers up as he slid his naked body into bed and I threw the blankets over us.

I moved down enough so I could drape a leg over his and rest my head on the right side of his chest, he put his right arm around me as my right hand came to rest over his heart and I melted into his warm body.

Quietly we lay there, feeling each other breathe when Robby picked up my hand and kissed my palm, something he had done for years. Returning my hand to his chest he said my name.

“Rye, look at me” I moved my head so I could see his eyes; “you do know how much I love you, don’t you?” Before I could respond; he leaned down and kissed me on the lips.

It was a long kiss, not ruff or sloppy, it was so soft and tender and was so unlike him anymore, afraid we wouldn’t be able to stop.

 He slowly pulled back and I looked in his eyes and asked “What was that for?” “Because, I really do love you Rye, more than anything, I would be dead if not for you and I should tell you more often.” he said.

I rested my head back down on his chest and tears started to fill my eyes. I told him “that is the only thing you let me see anymore Robby.”

“Please don’t be like this Rye; you no why it has to be this way, I know what you would do, and I’m not going to let that happen again.” he said.

“I miss you so much Rob; I have for so long now.” I said, tears again flowing for the third time today. I knew the difference; these tears, were ours.

I had to look up for conformation and sure enough; he was crying too.

The deer was the first wall that went up years ago; his pain and guilt, his fear of disappointing me and the drugs required him to keep building them. He knew I would help him; but he loved me to much to let that happen again, he felt I had done too much already.

The only thing I could feel from him anymore was the love he had for me; the only thing he never tried to hide. Everything else was blank; his mind was a maze of walls and dead ends. He had been shutting me out for so long, I don’t think he could have consciously broken them down, even if he wanted, but I wish he would have tried.

He was still quite capable of reading me like a book; he felt my sadness, my love for him and how I missed what we used to have. That too was part of his punishment, his punishment for living.

“Ryan will you take me back to the first time.” he asked? We hadn’t done that in years; it was always him taking me or us going together, but that was before all the walls.

He couldn’t take me, or even go with me, not without everything coming down; he would have had to let me in. I closed my eyes and just talked us through it. “It was a warm day and we were under our willow; you were standing by the river and I threw us in. You swam up to me and put your forehead on mine.”

“I can remember it all Rye; just like it was yesterday, I never saw myself as you did, I wish I could,” he said.

“Robby, I can’t do it like this anymore, I need to go to sleep like this and wake up like this, even for a weekend, It’s been so long; showers and a few minutes like this aren’t enough, you have to give me that Robby.” I begged him.

We agreed that we would slip away this weekend; I had had enough and I needed him back in my life; even if it meant leaving my wife and boys.

Rob saw the clock and squeezed me tight, he said “I have to get ready to go; he kissed me again and got out of bed and told me he would see me in the morning.

I made arrangements for us to go to a friend’s cabin up in the mountains for the weekend. For years I had wanted to make this change; go back to how it used to be, Robby and me going to bed and waking up together. If I could get him off the drugs we could have it.

Deep down I knew it could never go back to how it was but I was willing to settle for what ever we could make of it. I spent the day going over the last eighteen years; the love that showered us and the best of times, better than a person deserves. But I knew that was half a lifetime ago.

Before I went to bed that night; I stood in the doorway to the room where my boys slept. I wondered if they would ever forgive me, would they ever be able to understand, or even comprehend what their uncle Rob and I shared, would we ever try and explain it to them.

I walked to my bedroom; the room that used to be mine and Robby’s, but it hadn’t been that for years. I looked at my sleeping wife; knowing she would never forgive me, even though she knew I wasn’t happy. I got into bed and fell asleep; thinking of how it used to be.

When I woke up in the morning, something was different; I could feel it, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I felt different; something had changed. Maybe it was the fact that I had come to a decision and had accepted it, finally, after all this time.

Rob didn’t come in like he always did; he hadn’t come home. That wasn’t unusual; but, I thought it a little strange. I called home about 4 in the afternoon to check on my boys and my oldest son answered the phone, in tears.

After calming him down, he broke the news to me; Robby was dead. I fell to my knees; the phone falling from my hand. I realized in that moment what I felt; it was what I had given Robby over all these years. In death; he had given it back.

Robby died alone, in the early morning hours on December 6th, 1995; sitting in a friends car with an empty needle in his arm. I think he knew what I was going to do, and he wouldn’t allow himself to be part of that, he wouldn’t let me sacrifice my family for him, but I will never really know.

I will never know if he did it on purpose or whether it was just another attempt to ease the pain of everything he bottled up inside of him. Shit he just wouldn’t let go of.

The fear of his death had haunted me for years; since the first time he overdosed; the first of many times. The drugs became his escape, he had never let go of anything, the deer, Walt dying, my sacrifice for him and the pain he caused me by putting up all those walls to keep me from seeing, from helping. I wondered if it was the only way he knew to protect me from myself; from doing what he knew I would do, but how could I not.

My life was forever changed; my grief was uncontainable, my loss couldn’t be measured; the part he returned to me was just a big void now.

A few days later, in my grief, I flew back to Virginia; where it all started.

I went to the bridge in hopes of finding him still there; but he wasn’t. I sat in front of the fireplace, hoping and praying he would come, but that didn’t happen.

I walked through the house crying and calling for him, but I couldn’t find him anywhere. I stood in the attic and looked out the little window and remembered the first time he showed me.

I could still see the tree; smaller, and ice on the river. I even tried to drown myself that day, but it was a failed attempt. I guess I was meant to live, to suffer with his loss.

I crawled back to shore; freezing, and sat under our tree crying until I fell asleep. I think I was asleep.

That’s when he found me. Robby came to me; he put his hand on my heart; and like he had done so many years before; he took my sorrow and pain, but the emptiness and loneliness remained.

He took my hand and put it on his heart and asked if I remembered: “feel it Rye, and never forget how much I love you.” I woke up still crying and left the place we called home; for the last time.

I returned to Washington, planned his funeral, and eulogized him in front of a hundred or so people. Where I found the strength, I will never know. For those who didn’t know about us, I think it became clear.

I finished by playing Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton, it was the hardest thing I had ever done, saying goodbye to my sole mate; my only true love of this life. It was the last time I ever played in front of anyone but my boys.

I wasn’t able to look at his lifeless body; Deb identified him. I needed to hold on to the hope that it wasn’t real; that it was just the worst dream.

I had him cremated and sent some of his ashes to Fredericksburg where Bruno was kind enough to spread them in the river and under our willow tree.

The rest, I poured over the cliff; the place that Robby felt he should have died all those years ago. We had only come here once together; I wouldn't do it again after the first time but I could always tell when he had been here. I sat and wondered what my life would have been like had he never shot that deer; if he would have died that day like Walt.

I went through all of Rob’s stuff; even with his drug problem, he still had everything I had ever given him. For months, I would go out to the trailer; I would sit and look at the things he cherished most, I would bury my face in his pillow and smell him, and then I would cry for hours.

I found his journal and what I read was heart wrenching and heart warming. I had never looked at them; had not invaded his privacy to see what he spent so much time on.

It wasn’t because he wouldn’t have let me; but because I knew it was how he dealt with things. He never let anything go; he buried it all so deep. He started them when we were in Virginia the first time.

There were pages of him telling how much he loved me and how sorry he was for not being strong enough; for not saying no that first time he was offered coke. He apologized for breaking his promise to me, the promise that I would never feel lonely again, it broke his heart.

In hind sight; it is all so clear now. The trauma of shooting that deer gave him PTSD; something that today could be identified and treated. I believe he did feel that deer die.

Add to that; the twist of fait; him not being with Walt when he died manifested in survivors’ guilt, and it ate away at him. The ability for him to remember our lives and deaths created even more. I found out that Sylvia had been helping him remember and I never knew. I hated her for a long time after.

 For a year I went to sleep every night saying a prayer and pleading; asking the invisible man in the sky to let me dream of him, or just let me die, so I can be with him again, but that hasn’t happened.

There was only one time; it was a half dozen or so years later. I dreamt I walked into a room that was unfamiliar to me; it only had a couch, and on it sat Robby.

It was just the shell of the boy; the man that I loved. I knew I was dreaming, but I didn’t care. I wanted; I needed desperately to feel him one more time.

I hugged him and sobbing; I tried to get him to come with me; but he shook his head no. He smiled at me, his beautiful smile and told me, it was ok; he was waiting; just like he said he would.

 I woke up; my pillow was wet from my tears. I felt guilty for not letting him go on without me; for letting him continue to wait for me, so we could go into heaven together, or start a new life that would bring us together again, just like he wanted, like it had always been.

I stayed with my wife after Robby died, or she let me stay with her. She got MS in her mid thirties and I took care of her and watched her slowly decline, just like I did with Rob.

Just before she died in 2005 I apologized to her. I could have, I should have been more to her. By then I think she understood all too well why I couldn’t; having watched me greave over Robby for a decade. I too am just a shell, the biggest part of me, gone.

I never told her that I was going to leave her that day; she never knew about what Robby and I had, no one did, except Sylvia. We had never told anyone.

In my selfishness; instead of telling her how much I loved her, what I should have done, and what I knew she wanted to hear from me, but I didn’t.

As she was taking her last breaths, I asked her if she saw Robby; to please, please, take him with her and tell him he never ever disappointed me. I deserve to burn in hell for that.

Now it’s been ten years sense she passed, and today marks twenty years sense Robby left me. My boys are grown, I am a grandfather, and I live alone. I have never afforded myself the luxury to share myself with anyone else, how could I.

I still have ‘The Willows’, but I have never been back, what would be the point. I have sat at the airport in Seattle and have even flown to Virginia, only to just fly back home.

Robby isn’t there anymore. He lives in the wheat fields of my mind. I sometimes pick that stalk; I pull all the kernels off in one pull and throw them in the air. And the memories rain down on me; when he was with me there.

When I’m gone, Parker will give my boys the video I have for them and he will tell them of the love that Robby and I shared.

 It is my choice who and how I love; and in this life, that would only happened once, with one person, and that was my Robby.

 I wake in the mornings and look at the scroll he made for me that first Christmas, my next best thing to seeing him. It hangs again in our room, where it hung for years.

I relive the day he gave it to me and the way we felt. My house is full of pictures of us; Trips we took; Christmas’s and the time we spent at ‘The Willows’ where we found each other.

When I wake up in the mornings and open my eyes and see that scroll, for that split second, I forget he’s gone and I reach to feel the cold empty spot next to me, and it all comes back. It is so fucked up.

I must have known all those years ago when I memorized everything about him; the color of his eyes, the feel of his skin and hair on my body, the smell and taste of his lips, and how he loved me.

The wheat field can be a savior and a curse, I remember everything; and I remember everything as he did and it makes me smile and cry, but more often its tears. I still visit from time to time; like sharing with you my friends. I look out over my wheat, but I don’t pick it anymore. The field that mingled with mine is just dirt now for as far as the eye can see. Nothing grows there.

The things from my past have faded, I sometimes wonder if I ever remembered or if it was Rob trying to help me because he so desperately wanted me to.

I think back to all the things Sylvia told us; live for today, and enjoy what you have now, He is the fragile one, you are stronger together, and you are Ryan’s only weakness.

She knew I would have done anything for him; I would have died for him and Robby knew that too. He was fragile but weak he was not. The weight he carried would have crippled a lesser person.

With great love comes even greater pain; how could this have been the master plan? How could we be given something that most people never have, just to have it taken from us and for me to be left alone? How in the fuck could that have been the master plan?

What story would I be sharing with you now? If Robby would have said no, if he could have loved himself enough to not hold on to everything that caused him so much pain?

I wish with all my heart that I could write about us growing old together; still living and loving as we did as teenagers; but that would be fiction.

I have shared with you the sad truth my anonymous friends; something I so wish I could share with my boys, with anyone who knew us, anyone who could understand and appreciated what we had; someone I could commiserate with; and that’s where you all came in. Thank you.

 I still say my prayer tonight, and will still miss Robby with every breath I take. He cleansed me that day but the feeling of being incomplete, remains; that’s my purgatory. I don’t know what death will bring for me; but I hold on to the heart felt promise Robby made me so long ago; that he is still waiting for me, and together we will walk through the pearly gates, hand in hand, or start the search for each other in our next life.

                                        From the author:

This will be the last time I use this venue, my friends. This was our life. Our connection; the bond we shared, it was real. As I read it back to myself; I know it will be hard for anyone to believe, but it was.

I hope you have found some enjoyment and feel privileged to hear my confession that I have never shared with anyone. I hope you believe, like I do, that everything happens for a reason, even though we may never know what that fucking reason is.

My goal when I started was fed by my need to share Robby and make him relevant again, to effect people's lives even in death, and I hope I have been successful.

You my friends have been affected by Robby too. How has what you have been reading changed your lives? If you had not been reading; what would you have been doing? Would you have slipped on a bar of soap in the tub? Possibly been in the wrong place at the wrong time and something terrible would have happened.

Maybe because you were here with me, it put you in a different space and time; causing you to maybe make that first move; talk to that special someone, or allow you to help another. Think about all the things that had to happen to have you sitting and reading this right now. That is life my dear, dear, anonymous friends.

Knowing what I know now; even with the pain of his loss; I would do it all again in a heartbeat; just to feel for a minute; even a second; what we had and how we shared ourselves with each other; to not feel less than whole.

This is the only story I have in me and I thank you very much for your comments and I wish you all, love, good health, and happiness. May the wheat in your field grow tall and strong and provide you comfort when you visit and pick the stalks that are your life.

                                             The End

 

Skate

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