Monday, February 14, 2011

The Man from Swift Current Chapter Nineteen - Confused, Frustrated and Uncertain!

Chapter Nineteen – Confused, Frustrated, and Uncertain!

“Wake up, Glenn.   It’s almost noon!    Everyone is wondering if you’re sick or something!’ Keith said.   Keith had a big smile on his face and seemed very excited.   “Kerry’s parents are taking us out on their boat today!   Hurry up and get ready to spend the day on the ocean!   Joe says that there are plenty of dolphins to watch and, if we want to do some fishing, Joe is willing to take us out a ways to a good fishing spot.   Bring your swimsuit so we can swim off the back of the boat.”

“Which one should I bring?” I asked.

“Not the one you wore yesterday,” Keith said with a laugh.   “Somehow, I don’t think Katie and Joe would appreciate you wearing your Speedo swimsuit on their boat with their two daughters present!   They seem rather old-fashioned, if you know what I mean.”

“Okay, I’ll get a quick shower and I’ll be down shortly,” I said.

Keith left our room and headed downstairs.   I could hear him telling Joe and Katie I was alright and getting a quick shower.   I dragged myself out of bed and walked into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror.   Boy!   My hair looked like I had stuck my finger in a light socket!   I’m glad no one could see what mess I was.   Even with sleeping in, I still had black circles around my eyes.   I definitely needed to improve my sleeping situation.   This thing of staying awake all night thinking and worrying about stuff needed to stop!   I jumped in the shower and quickly soaped up and rinsed off.   I finished shaving and brushing my teeth in record time.   I picked out a tight-fitting t-shirt and cargo shorts to wear and slipped on my flip-flops.   I threw my swimsuit, my sun glasses, and some sun screen into my backpack and headed downstairs. 

As I entered the kitchen where everyone else was gathered for a light lunch, Joe looked me over and said, “I think you want to wear some deck shoes since we are going out on the boat.   What size shoes do you wear?”

“In American sizes, I wear a size 8 men’s shoe,” I said.

Joe looked a little surprised, “I’m not sure I have shoes that will fit you.   I will be right back.”   Joe left the kitchen and I could hear him going upstairs.   After a few minutes, Joe came back carrying a couple pairs of shoes.   “These are women’s deck shoes.   I’m not sure they will fit you but you could wear your regular tennis shoes or sneakers.”

“I brought some trainers I can wear.   I will just run up and change into those.”  I ran up the stairs, taking two at a time, and changed out of my flip-flops and put on my trainers.  

When I came back into the kitchen, Joe said, “That’s much better.  If everyone has had enough to eat, we need to head over to the marina so we can get the boat out on the water.   The weather promises to be hot and humid today and the seas are calm so we should have a great day on the water.”  I could see Joe was very excited to heading out to sea in his boat.   He had a great smile and his eyes crinkled when he laughed.   He was handsome man and I could see he had been a real “hottie” when he was younger.   Katie was just as good looking as her husband.   They made a perfect couple.

Keith and I followed Joe in the Keith’s car to the Broad Creek Marina where they kept their boat.   Joe had called ahead to let the marina know we would be taking the boat out, so they had topped off the fuel tank and had everything in working order when we arrived.   Joe stepped into the marina office to thank them for getting the boat ready.   We followed Joe down the pier to the waiting vessel.  

We spent a wonderful afternoon on the water.   Joe pointed out the dolphins running just ahead of the bow.   They were amazing.   I’d never seen anything like them before.   I took a number of photos with my digital camera so I could e-mail them to my family back home.   We stopped on Daufuskie Island and took a guided tour.   The tour guide mentioned that this area had been a hideout for many pirates over the centuries as there were so many hidden islands, etc., along this part of the South Carolina coast.   Joe showed us a couple of likely pirate coves as he pilot the boat down the coast towards the Georgia border.   Later, Joe piloted the boat out away from the barrier islands and stopped the engine.

“If you want to swim off the back of the boat, you are welcome to do so,” Joe said.

Katie said, “Just remember to stay close to the boat just in case you run into trouble.”

Katie and Joe sat in the shade of the cabin while the younger set got into our swimsuits and into the water.

Keith and Kerry are very strong swimmers as is Ruth Ann.   We swam around the about and played tag for most of the afternoon.   We rested every so often just to make sure no one got too tired.   After an hour or so, we traded places with Joe and Katie so they could swim while we watched the boat and kept an eye on them just in case of trouble.

As the sun started to go down, Joe and Katie came back aboard and we headed back to the marina.

Ruth Ann said, “How did you like swimming off the boat?”

“I loved it.   I’ve never done anything like it before,” I said, smiling at her.

Katie said, “I’m happy you enjoyed coming out on the boat today.”

“Thank you for taking us,” I said.   “I’ve never seen dolphins race alongside a boat before,” I said, pointing to the dolphins in the water next to us.

Ruth Ann said, “They do that all the time.   I remember them doing that as a little girl.   I loved watching them.   Sometimes there are three or four of them at a time.”

Ruth Ann held my hand as we watched the dolphins.   It wasn’t long before we reached the marina and were on our way back to the beach house.

Upon returning to the beach house, Katie said, “Why don’t we all get freshened up and meet back down here for dinner?   We have steak and shrimp that need to be cooked on the grill while I get the salads ready.”

The younger set (Keith, Kerry, Ruth Ann and I) raced up the stairs to our separate rooms to do as Katie had suggested.

Keith and I dressed alike, again.   Keith really got a kick out of trying to fool Kerry.   Kerry had taken to looking us over carefully before deciding who was who.   Ruth Ann never had any trouble identifying me because she would take each of us by the hand and she would immediately pull me into a hug and say, “Gotcha!   This is Glenn.”   After which, she would kiss me and pull away laughing as the color would rise in my cheeks.

Kerry said, “How do you know who is who, Ruth Ann?”

Keith said, “Please don’t tell her!   I want her to figure it out on her own!   Please, Ruth Ann!”

Keith was so pathetic when he begged!   We all busted up laughing.

Ruth Ann smiled at her sister, “I won’t tell you until tomorrow if you haven’t figured it out by then that is.”

Joe was already grilling the steaks and shrimp on the deck when Keith and I appeared to help him.   Joe said, “Boys, have a seat.   I’ve got it under control here but I’d like to visit with you for minute without the women folk.”

I looked over at Keith who shrugged his shoulders and sat down in one of the deck chairs as did I.   I was wondering what Joe needed to talk to us about.   We didn’t have to wait long.

“Keith, am I to assume you intend to marry my daughter?” Joe asked with a smile.

“Yes, Joe.   I was going to ask your permission to marry Kerry later tonight but you beat me to it,” Keith laughed nervously.

“Well, I thought I would relieve you of the stress by bringing up the subject first.   From what I have seen over the last couple of days, I am certain Kerry’s very much in love with you and you seem to be just as much in love with her.   She has told me of your plans to become an engineer and you have already had an offer of an internship at the BMW plant in Spartanburg.”

“That’s correct.  My Grandpa knows the plant manager who asked me to send him my resume and to give him a call about an internship,” Keith said.

“Good, my concern as a parent, is that my daughter not only have the love of her life but her future husband should be able to provide for his family.   Knowing Kerry the way I do, I am sure that she has chosen well!   I guess, I’m trying to say is, yes, you have my permission to marry my daughter,” Joe said, smiling at Keith’s sigh of relief.

“Thank you, Joe.   I have been worried about how to asking you since I got here,” Keith said

“I know.   Kerry told me you were going to ask for her hand in marriage a few days ago so I’ve had some time to think about my answer.   I am very happy for both of you,” Joe said, turning to me he asked, “So that brings me to you, Glenn.   It seems that Ruth Ann has taken quite a shine to you.”

It was my turn to feel nervous and just a little unsure where this conversation was going.   I just shook my head in the affirmative.

“Relax Glenn!   I’m not going to bite you!   I’m just curious what your feelings are in that regard.   I’ve noticed you seem a little uncomfortable sometimes.”

“Honestly, Joe, I’m not sure how to react to Ruth Ann since we just met,” I said, with just a little trepidation since I wasn’t sure where this was going.

“Ruth Ann is a very sensitive person with a big heart.   She is a good judge of character.   Ruth Ann has always been able to identify people who have a gentle heart like her own.  She tends to gather them to her.   We have learned over the years to trust her judgment with regards to people.   She seems to know if they have an evil, mean streak in them or if they are good, kind-hearted and pure through and through.   I like to think of it as a special gift she has been given.   The fact she has taken to you means you have all of those special qualities she holds most dear.”

After hearing this, I wasn’t sure what to say.   Most of what he said was true, at least at some level in my character, but would they still think that about me if they knew I was gay?  I had seen my own father disown his son because he was gay.   Yes, Dad had recanted but it didn’t change the fact that he initially reacted negatively to Randy and his partner, Shawn.   It made me shudder to think what their reaction would be.  

Joe saw me shudder and interpreted it as fear on my part because he said, “Don’t be frightened.   I’m not trying to scare you.”

“I’m not scared but just a little overwhelmed that’s all,” I said a little too quickly.

Keith looked at me and came to my rescue, “Glenn just got out of bad relationship and isn’t ready to start a new one just yet.”   I looked my thanks and smiled at my cousin.   Keith is a true friend.

“I’m sorry, Glenn.   I know how hard it is to recover from a relationship gone bad.   I had a number of those before I met Katie.   I’m sure you will recover and be able to find someone who will be the right person for you.   Just don’t give up hope.   If you just need someone to be a good friend, Ruth Ann is good one to have on your side but I warn you Glenn, she doesn’t mess around when it comes to telling you are wrong.   She tends to be very direct and honest about things.   So please don’t be offended if she tells you in no uncertain terms that you are wrong and what exactly you need to do to change that.   She is also just as quick to tell you that you are doing great and just as direct about it,” Joe said.   “I think these steaks are done and so are the shrimp.   Let’s go inside and eat!”

We joined the women in the dining room where they had set the table and were talking as we entered the room.   Naturally, Ruth Ann beckoned to me to take the chair next to her.  

After we said grace over the meal, Joe said, “Well, I guess we have a wedding to plan in the near future.” Kerry and Ruth Ann both shouted, “Woo hoo!”

Katie smiled at their excitement and said, “Okay, daughters, let’s behave like ladies at the dinner table.   This isn’t the football field where you can cheer for your favorite team!”

Both of them immediately apologized for their outburst.   “We are just so excited, Mom.” Kerry said.

“I know but that doesn’t mean we forget our manners, dear.   So have you and Keith decided on a date for the wedding?” Katie asked.

Kerry responded, “We have some thoughts about it but wanted to get input from both sets of parents first.   We would like to get married before school starts again in the fall.   My classes will end the second week of August.   So it would have to be after that.”

Joe asked, “Where would you like to have this wedding?”

Keith spoke up, “We’d like to have it here at the beach house if we could.”

Katie and Joe looked at each other and glanced back at Keith and Kerry.   Katie said, “Why not have the wedding in Clemson where all of the family could attend?”

Kerry looked at Keith with a “I told you so” look before she spoke, “I’m okay with that Mom but Keith wanted to have a wedding on the beach.”

Joe came to Keith’s rescue and spoke up, “Well, we could do both you know.   We could have a wedding ceremony in Clemson and invite the whole extended family and then have a ring ceremony down here at the beach for close family and friends.”

Keith said, “That would work.   What do you think, Kerry?”

“I’m okay with that as well.   Thanks Mom and Dad.   We can work out the details later,” Kerry said, smiling and holding Keith’s hand.   She was so happy she practically levitated off the chair.

Joe said, “So Keith, have you given the honeymoon any thought?”

“I have but I would like to keep it a secret from Kerry until we are on our way.   I will talk to you about it later so you will have all the details and can give me any suggestions,” Keith said.

We finished our meal while we continued discussing the wedding plans for the happy couple.   Ruth Ann kept looking at me and from time to time she would hold my hand.   We cleared the table and helped with the dishes before retiring to the family room.  

Ruth Ann said, “Glenn, you told me yesterday you played the piano.   Would you play for us tonight?”

I nodded my head and went over to the electronic keyboard and sat down.   Ruth Ann followed me and pushed the power button.   “Have you played on one of these before?” she asked.

“Yes, but not one as fancy as this one,” I said, as I looked over all of the buttons and controls reading the labels under each one.   I made some adjustments to the settings and soon started playing some of my old recital pieces I still had memorized.

When I finished, I turned to Ruth Ann and said, “Why don’t you play for us as well?”

She responded, “Okay, but don’t laugh when I make mistakes.   I play pretty well when I’m alone but I get really nervous when I play in front of other people.”

We spent the rest of the evening talking and laughing.   Joe and Katie retired for the evening, telling us not to stay up too late.   It wasn’t long before we followed them upstairs and went to bed ourselves.

I was startled awake when someone climbed into bed with me.   I immediately sat up in alarm when I felt a small hand on my chest and heard Ruth Ann whisper to me, “Shhh!! Don’t make any noise.   Keith and Kerry just left to go down on the beach to take a walk in the moonlight.   They won’t be back for awhile.”

“What are you doing Ruth Ann?” I asked in a low whisper.

“I want to help you.   You are in a lot of pain, Glenn.   You shouldn’t try to hide it.   It’s not healthy,” she said.

“But Ruth Ann, you shouldn’t be here in my bed with me.   What will your parents think?”  I asked.  I was getting just a little uncomfortable.   I wasn’t in full panic mode, yet, but I was getting close.

Ruth Ann began caressing my chest and said, “I know what I want and I know you want it too.”   She pushed me back down on the bed and kissed me deeply.  

**** ***

A little while later, I lay exhausted next to Ruth Ann thinking about what had just happened.   My mind was still reeling from the impact of the whole situation.   It really brought home to me the realization that maybe things weren’t as well defined in my mind as I thought they were.   Could I fall in love with a woman?   What would life be like if that happened?   Would I always be thinking of being with a guy while I had sex with a girl?   I didn’t have much time to ruminate as I heard Kerry and Keith enter the house.  

I whispered to Ruth Ann, “They’re back!”

Ruth Ann kissed me and said, “I love you Glenn.”   She quickly left the room and return to her own.   I rolled over and pretended to be asleep as Keith stealthily crossed the room and climbed into his bed.   It was a long time before I went back to sleep.   Ruth Ann had given me a lot to think about!  Could I be bisexual? I'd never heard of anyone being attracted to both sexes. I'd just like to be able to decide just who am I? My mind was having problems with all the labels: straight, gay, bisexual. Why do we need labels to define who we are? Can't I just be me? Is there a place somewhere in between all these labels where I fit?

Author’s Note:   Dolphins racing alongside boat -

No comments: