Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Man from Swift Current Chapter Eleven - Crash and Burn

Chapter Eleven - Crash and Burn
As we pulled into the tree-lined drive that lead up to Uncle Stan and Aunt Sharon’s home, Grandma reached over and patted my arm and said, “I’m glad you and I have had this time to talk and become better acquainted.   I’m very proud to have you as a grandson.   And more importantly, you know how to treat my baby!   She drives pretty good doesn’t she?”
“Yes, Grandma.   Thank you for letting me drive her.   I’m glad we got to talk.   You’re a lot like Mom.   I can talk to Mom about anything.   I feel I can talk to you about anything as well.”
“I feel that way, too.   Don’t forget, I might be your grandmother, but I’m just as young at heart as you are!  I love to race my car.   I love to play hard and I love to work hard.   That’s why I married your grandpa.   He plays hard and works hard.   We have been equal partners since the day we met.  You’ll find you can talk to him, too.   We want you to feel comfortable staying with us, Glenn, and enjoy the break from school.”
“Don’t worry, Grandma.   I’ve already started to relax and enjoy myself.”  I said.   At that moment, we rounded a curve in the lane and Uncle Stan and Aunt Sharon’s home came into view.   I couldn’t believe my eyes.   It looked like a palace sitting there.
“Grandma, this place is huge!!   I didn’t know Uncle Stan and Aunt Sharon had such a big place!”  I said.
“Your Uncle Stan has done very well for himself.  Your Aunt Sharon married well.   I think you will really like them.   Don’t let the big house, or their wealth, blind you to who they really are.  Both of them have hearts of gold and are down to earth people.  Your Aunt Sharon not only is your mom’s twin sister but she has much the same personality and outlook on life as your mother.    Just pull into the garage there.   That’s my baby’s place when I come here.   Your Uncle Stan made sure there was garage space for our cars when we come to visit, which is often.  I plan to race tomorrow at the Southern National racetrack.”
“Really!!  Have you ever won?” I asked, keen to know more about my grandmother.
“You can bet your life on that young man!!”  Grandma replied.  “This isn’t your usual old Southern belle rocking on the porch watching the sunset every day!  I’ve got too many dreams to make come true to sit on the porch watching life pass me by!  I intend to win tomorrow too!!”
“Grandma, you just amaze me!”
“Good, I plan to keep doing that as long as I’m still alive and kicking!   So don’t think you’ve got anything on me kid!  I haven’t seen a grandchild yet I can’t beat at most anything, racing included!”
“How about running?” I asked.
“Well, I’m pretty good at that too.   We’ll just have to try you out at a foot race, won’t we?”  Grandma said, grinning up at me.   “I beat your cousin, Keith, last week.   I hear you beat him as well this morning.”
“Yeah, I did, but just barely.”  I said.
“Well, let’s plan a three way foot race when we get back home shall we?   Just to see if you two boys can pass up this old lady!”
“You’re on Grandma!   You’re so cool!”  I said.
“Not just cool, I believe the term Keith used was “Totally Awesome” so we’ll see if that still holds true after the race!”  Grandma said.
I parked the car and got out, handing the keys back to Grandma.   Uncle Stan and Aunt Sharon came up to us and welcomed Grandma with a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.  Then they turned to me.
“Stan and Sharon, let me introduce you to your nephew, Glenn,” Grandma said.
“Glenn, we are so glad you came to see us,” Aunt Sharon said, as she drew me into an embrace and gave me a kiss on the cheek as well.   She held me at arm’s length and gave me an appraising look.   “You look just like your cousin, Keith.   I guess that shouldn’t surprise me should it!”
“No, it shouldn’t since you look just like my Mom,” I said.   “You even sound just like her when you talk.”
“I think we are going to be the best of friends, my dear, I can just tell.   I’m glad you’re here,” she said.
Uncle Stan gave me a firm handshake and said, “Welcome to our home, Glenn.   I’m happy you are here as well.   I look forward to getting to know you better.”
Uncle Stan is the same height as me, but he has red hair and blue eyes with lots of freckles.   He’s built like a wrestler with broad shoulders and huge arms.   I followed them into the house.   A few minutes later, Grandpa and Keith arrived and joined us in the kitchen.   Aunt Sharon shepherded us into the breakfast nook just off of the kitchen, where she had laid out some light refreshments for us.
“You have such a beautiful home here,” I said to Uncle Stan.
“Yes, we really like it.   We had a few challenges getting it built though.   As we started digging the foundation, we found an Indian burial ground.  We had to postpone construction while the state archaeology people unearthed all of the Indian graves and transferred them to the state archaeological museum.   Then we had other delays.   It seemed like forever.   We lived in Raleigh, until a couple of years ago.   We decided to move to the country to retire and get away from the big city,” Uncle Stan said.
“Yeah, Mom raises chickens and sells their eggs,” Keith said.   “We even have a couple cows, so we have fresh milk every day!”
I looked over at Aunt Sharon, “Is that true?” I said.
“Sure is!   And I love to garden.   I have a huge garden where I grow just about every vegetable you can imagine.   I take my produce and the eggs to the farmer’s market to sell.   I also have a few regular customers who drive over daily to visit and pick up eggs, milk and a few fresh veggies.”
“Sharon has even won a prize at the county fair for her produce,” Uncle Stan said, with a big smile.   It was obvious he was very proud of his wife’s accomplishments with her farming endeavors.
“That’s true, but I don’t like to brag about it,” Aunt Sharon said.
“I’m not bragging, dear, just stating facts!” Uncle Stan responded.
“Well, it may be true, but I don’t let that get in the way of just being the best person I can be.   No pretenses or putting on airs for me!”  she replied.
“Oh, Mom, don’t worry about that.  You’ve got me to help keep you humble!” Keith exclaimed, with a big mischievous grin.
“Now, don’t you get any ideas young man.  I’m still your mother you know!”  Aunt Sharon said.
At that moment, Roger, Keith’s twin brother, walked into the kitchen.   “What’s all this?” Roger asked.
“Come in and sit down Roger.   I’d like you to meet your cousin, Glenn.   He staying with us for the summer before going to college,” Grandma said.
He reached over and shook my hand, “Glad to have you here with us.   I hope Mom and Dad haven’t been telling you stories about me, though.”  He said, as he grinned at his parents as he took a seat at the table and dug into the food his mother handed to him.
“Keith, why don’t you show Glenn where his room is and take everyone’s things up to their rooms?” asked Aunt Sharon.
“Sure, let’s go cuz’” Keith said.   I followed him out to the garage where we retrieved the overnight bags from the two race cars.   Keith showed me the guest room where I’d be staying.
“Why don’t you put your things away while I take care of Grandma and Grandpa’s things.   Then we can take the guided tour of the house.” Keith said.
“Okay,” I said.
I quickly put my things away and pulled out my cell phone.   There wasn’t a single text message or missed call.   I punched in a text message to Ian, “Why don’t you call me?” and pushed the send button.   I looked at my watch to make sure it wasn’t too late in London for Ian to call me back.   As I stood there, my cell phone rang.   It was Ian!!
I flicked it open and said, “It’s about time you called me!”  The voice on the phone came back to as a shock….it was a woman’s voice.
“I’m not Ian.   This is Ian’s mom.  I heard Ian’s cell phone ring and picked it up.  Ian’s gone to Spain with his girlfriend for the week.   I guess he forgot to take his cell phone.”
I stood there totally stunned.   Ian’s girlfriend?   What girlfriend?   I never heard of a girlfriend!!!
Since I didn’t respond, Ian’s mother continued, “I must apologize for my son.  He’s usually very good about returning calls and messages.   I think Ian’s been pretty overwhelmed the last day or so since he proposed to Sonja and all the excitement around here about planning their wedding.   I’m sure he must have talked to you about his extended relationship with Sonja.   I know that she called him at least once a day the entire school year!  They have been dating for a couple of years now and we sent him out to Swift Current to give him time to think about their future together, without Sonja’s influence.   We wanted to make sure it wasn’t all about sex and was a relationship that would last.   He called her as soon as we got home and they haven’t been apart since.   Glenn, are you still there?”
Finally, I managed to croak, “Yeah, I’m still here.”
“I’m sorry Ian hasn’t returned your calls.   I thought he had taken his cell phone with him when they left for Spain.   Glenn, thank you for being Ian’s friend.   He has told us many times you made him feel welcome in Swift Current.  I'm especially grateful to you and your family for helping him so he wasn't homesick all of the time.   I will tell Ian you called.   Have a good night, Glenn”
“Good night,” I said.
My whole world came crashing down around me at that moment.   I just let my cell hit the floor as I crumpled onto the bed and started sobbing.   How could Ian do this to me?   He didn’t even have the decency to tell me he had a girlfriend.   I feel so used, like an old dish rag.   How could I have been so stupid not to see through Ian’s charming ways.  All he wanted me for was sex, sex and more sex.   He didn’t care about me or my feelings.   I was just a sex toy to help him get off.   Yes, I feel very angry, hurt, abused and most of all very, very alone.   With tears still rolling down my face, I started pounding the pillows in pure frustration.   At the height of my frenzied mauling of the bed clothes, Keith tapped on the door and stepped into the room.  He saw me on the bed and stopped dead in his tracks.  I’m sure he must have thought I had gone completely mad.
“Are you okay,” he asked.
“No, I’m not,” I replied, trying not to cry.
“Do you want to talk about it?” he said, as he crossed the room and sat on the edge of the bed.
I sat up on the bed and looked him in the eye, “Have you ever been dumped by your girlfriend for another guy?”
“Yeah, a couple of times, why?” he asked, curiosity in his voice.
“Well, that’s what just happened to me,” I said with a tremor in my voice and the tears bright in my eyes.   I was fighting hard to get myself back under control.  Changing the subject in attempt to redirect Keith’s attention to something besides my tear-stained face, I asked, “How about that tour of the house you mentioned?”
“Are you sure you are up to it?  I’m sorry to hear you got dumped.   I know it really hurts.  Do you need some time alone?” Keith asked.
“No, I’d rather do the house tour.   It’s better than sitting here being angry and mad about it,” I said.  I stood up and tried to make myself presentable.  “Let’s go.”
Keith didn’t ask me any more questions as he showed me the rest of the house.   The house was huge!!   There was small movie theater, indoor swimming pool, a spa, a game room complete with billards and a dart board, a bowling alley, an arcade room, weight room, tennis courts, basketball courts, a ballroom, not to mention the huge garage and other out buildings surrounding the house.   There were 15 bedrooms, all of them with their own sitting room and bathroom.   It wore me out just walking around the place.  Of course, every room was well appointed with original paintings on the walls and museum quality collectors' items strategically placed in hallways, etc., the furniture was obviously of high quality and there were fresh cut flowers in every bedroom.  We ended up back in the kitchen where Roger was just finishing up his meal.
“When is Tina coming over with her family?” asked Roger.
Aunt Sharon replied, “She will be driving down from Virginia tomorrow, in time to see Grandma’s race.”
“Cool!  I want to see my little nieces!” Roger said. “And I know they’ll love to see Grandma win, again!  You are going to win, aren’t you Grandma?”
“You’d better believe it!  I’ve got keep up the winning tradition we’ve had since we started racing!” Grandma exclaimed with great enthusiasm.
Grandpa stood up from the table and said, “Come, dear, we need to get ourselves ready for bed.   We’ve had a long day and we’ve got a long day planned for tomorrow.”
Grandma nodded her agreement and followed Grandpa out of the room.
“Are they really going to bed this early?” I asked.
Aunt Sharon said, “No, they just like to have time to wind down a bit and enjoy each other’s company.   They usually go to bed after watching the news.   They have their own TV in their room as well as a little kitchen.   We call it the grandparents’ suite since it has everything they need:  sitting room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and two walk-in closets.  It’s here on the ground floor so they don’t have to climb stairs and we made it handicapped accessible just in case one or both of them end up in a wheelchair at some point.   We want them to feel comfortable being with us no matter what their state of health may be in the future.  I’ll finish cleaning up here if you boys want to play some video games or watch a movie.”
“Thanks Mom,” the twins said in unison, “we love you.”  They both gave their mom a hug and quick kiss on the cheek.
Roger said, “I’m not up to playing video games tonight.   How about watching a movie?”
“Okay,” Keith said, “but Glenn gets to choose the movie.   Is that alright with you, Glenn?”
“Sure thing.   Let’s go,” I said.
I followed the twins into the theater where Keith opened the door to the movie room which housed the largest DVD collection I have ever seen.
Keith laughed when he saw my expression, “it’s quite impressive isn’t it?”
“You could say that, again!   I’ve never seen so many movies in one place not even at the video store,” I said.
“Well, they are organized by type of movie just like the video stores do it,” Roger said.
I wandered around a bit and decided to play it safe by picking a couple of Star Wars movies. When Roger saw my choices he said, “Good! I’ve always liked watching those movies even though I’ve seen them many times!”
Roger took them from me and loaded them into the DVD player and pushed the play button.   We went back into the theater room and took our seats as the lights dimmed and the movie started.   I just sat there, numb inside, thinking about the phone call from Ian’s mom.   I don’t know how I made through the movies.   I just remember Keith turning on the lights.
“Glenn, let’s get to bed.   I know you’re tired and so am I,”  Keith said.
I followed him and Roger back upstairs to our rooms.  “Good night, Glenn.   We’ll see you in the morning,” Roger said, as I opened my bedroom door.   I stripped off my clothes and fell into bed.   I finally switched off the light but sleep didn’t come to me.   I just lay there with my mind racing and my emotions taking complete control of me.   One moment I was angry, the next I was crying my eyes out.
Why didn’t I listen to Uncle Dave?    My mind kept going back to the heart-to-heart talk we had on our way to Saskatoon in his plane a few days after my first time making out with Ian.
 “You’ve given me a lot to think about, Uncle Dave.  But it still doesn’t help me with my situation with Ian,” I said.
“Okay, let’s talk about Ian.   Is he Mr. Right?   Is he going to be the one who will always be there for you?   Has he shared with you his feelings about a long-term relationship?   Have you talked to him about your feelings and what your dreams are for the future?   And does he share the same hopes and aspirations?   Does Ian have a commitment to you and your relationship?”
“I don’t know the answers to those questions, Uncle Dave.   I’m afraid to ask those questions even of myself right now.” I said.
“Then I suggest you put the physical relationship on hold until you have some answers to those questions.   One of the most precious gifts you can give to your life partner (wife or significant other) is the gift of yourself and that includes the sexual side of the relationship.   In a loving, stable relationship, sex deepens the love you have for each other and should be reserved for after you are married.   Having casual sex cheapens it and demeans both individuals instead of edifying, uplifting and strengthening them,” Uncle Dave explained.
“I will give it some thought.   I will let you know when I’ve talked to Ian about some of those questions,” I said.
“Good, remember, Glenn, your Aunt Mary and I love you very much and we are here for you whenever you need us,” he said.
We continued to talk about many other things during that flight but I don’t remember what they were.   I wish I had listened to Uncle Dave and had taken the time to talk to Ian about us and our relationship.   I chose to ignore his advice because of the physical attraction I felt for Ian.   I thought things would work out by themselves as long as Ian and I were physically attracted to each other.   I was too scared to talk to Ian for fear of losing him.   I wanted so much to be loved and wanted.   Yes, I know my family loves me but I so desperately needed someone to love me and be with me for the rest of my life.   I wanted that someone to be Ian.   I wanted it so badly I had convinced myself that Ian loved me as much as I loved him.   I loved everything about him, especially the way he took away the loneliness I have always felt even when I was in a room full of people.
And now, Ian wounded me deeply and he wasn’t even here to see the heartache written all over my face, in my eyes and in my voice.  How can I still love him after what he’s done?    How can I live in a world without Ian by my side?  My pillow was wet with my tears.   I had been crying for who knows how long.   My brain felt like it was on fire with the misery I felt.   The self-hatred burned deep in my heart for letting myself get into this situation.   I was so stupid for following my emotions and hormones-- thinking with my dick instead of my head.  I just kept going over and over all of the little tell-tale signs that Ian’s desire for me was purely physical and that I didn’t mean anything to him other than someone he could fuck whenever he wanted to get off.   I must have fallen asleep from pure exhaustion because I awoke the next morning with the sun shining on my face.

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