Chapter One Hundred Four – Meet the Damasiewicz’
Joey woke up in Tyler’s arms. It felt good to be held by someone who loved him, after so many months of sleeping alone. After spending the night with Tyler, Joey didn’t want Tyler to leave him again. Tyler made him feel so alive, and most of all, happy! Joey wanted to join Tyler in Spain; but he just couldn’t see how it was going to work out, despite Tyler’s reassurances that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Maybe he was just being too paranoid about losing custody of his girls. He had heard of more than one horror story about judges awarding sole custody to the mother without regard to the father’s parental rights, especially when the father is gay.
He looked into his lover’s face and couldn’t help thinking how wonderful Tyler was. From the very beginning of their relationship, Tyler had always been concerned about Joey, and did everything possible to make him happy. Tyler was so unselfish and loving. Just being with Tyler made him happy! Last night, Tyler had told him his goal was to make Joey forget his sorrows and be happy. Thinking about being happy, Joey wanted in the worst way to make Tyler happy by going with him to Spain.
He thought about how different Tyler was than Kathy. Not just the anatomical differences, but the personality traits. Where Tyler had a sunny disposition, Kathy was so negative and pessimistic. With Kathy, it had always been about her and her happiness. He hadn’t realized how self-centered she was, until he met Tyler. He couldn’t remember a single time Kathy had done something to make him happy. He knew his bitterness toward her was coloring his memories of her; however, he also knew Kathy expected everyone to be concerned about her and her needs. She rarely did anything that didn’t benefit herself.
Joey had been blinded by her beautiful face, and her determination to marry him. He had been flattered such a beautiful girl would want to marry a country guy like him. His mother had tried to warn him Kathy wasn’t good for him; but he hadn’t listened. He had ignored the warning signs things weren’t going well, such fighting constantly over little things. Nothing he did was ever good enough for her.
Joey’s ruminations were interrupted, as Tyler stirred and awoke. He looked into Joey’s eyes and smiled. Joey loved how Tyler’s whole face shone, when he smiled. Joey couldn’t help feeling Tyler was the sun that nourished him and kept him warm. He kissed Tyler and said, “Good morning, Mr. Sunshine.”
Tyler grinned. “I like it when you call me that. It makes me feel special.”
“That’s because you are special; particularly to me,” Joey said, caressing Tyler’s cheek with his fingertips. He liked the rough feel of Tyler’s whiskers. As he looked deeply into Tyler’s eyes, he decided he was going to make Tyler happy. “I’m going with you to Spain.”
Tyler grinned, and said, “I knew you would choose to go to Spain with me.”
Joey raised his eyebrows and asked, “How could you be so certain?”
“I knew you would move to Spain with me because you love me,” Tyler said, simply.
“I do love you; but I didn’t even know myself I was going, until a few minutes ago,” he said.
Tyler rubbed noses with Joey and said, “I asked my Dad if I should ask you to move to Spain; and he said if you loved me, you would move to Spain with me. I told him I knew you loved me very much. So I asked you, and you said yes.”
Tyler’s love and child-like trust shone in his eyes. His innocence and his faith in Joey’s love for him made Joey resolve to never do anything to ever hurt, or damage Tyler in any way.
Tyler asked, “What are you thinking about?”
“I was just thinking how lucky I am to have met you. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Joey said. He kissed Tyler gently on the lips, then whispered in his ear, “I love you.”
“I love you,” Tyler responded, his fingertips caressing Joey’s cheek.
Joey asked, “When do I get to meet your parents?”
“Tonight,” Tyler said, smiling. “Mom is making us dinner, and we’ll be spending the night at my house.”
Joey’s eyes went wide with surprise. “Do you mean to say, they agreed to let me sleep with you in your room, or do I have to sleep in a separate bed?”
Tyler laughed. “They already know we’re lovers. I made it very clear we’re together in every way.”
Joey shook his head in disbelief. “It seems like a miracle to me, Tyler. I never thought they would be so accepting of us.”
“I didn’t either,” Tyler said. “Dad is really cool about it; but Mom insists she still has to approve of my choice of a life partner.”
“Do you think she will approve of me?” Joey asked, giving Tyler a worried look. “I know some people don’t approve of second marriages. They don’t want to inherit someone else’s problems or deal with custody battles and child support.”
Tyler looked thoughtful, as he answered Joey. “I haven’t told them you are still married. It might not be a good idea to tell them your divorce isn’t final.”
“How can they help me win custody of my girls, if they don’t know I’m in the middle of a divorce?” Joey asked.
“Good point,” Tyler admitted. “I guess we’ll just have to tell them everything and hope it all works out for the best.”
They heard a knock on their door, and Joey called out, “Come in!”
Greg and Cory entered the room. Greg smiled and said, “It’s about time you two were awake!”
“We needed our beauty sleep,” Tyler responded, with a grin.
“Yes, we know,” Cory said. “You kept us up all night with your moaning and screaming!”
Tyler blushed, and asked, “We weren’t that loud, were we?”
Greg nodded his head. “You were, but it’s okay. We had to tease you about it, though.”
Joey was also blushing. “I’m sorry, guys. I didn’t realize we were keeping you guys awake.”
Cory laughed and said, “Don’t let us give you such a hard time, Joey. You know how loud Greg gets, when I fuck him!”
Joey nodded his head and said, “Yes, I do remember how loud Greg gets when you’re pleasuring him!”
This time it was Greg’s turn to blush. “Okay! I’ll stop teasing you!”
Joey laughed, and said, “I think this is the first time I’ve seen you blush, Greg.”
Greg sat down on the foot of the bed, meeting Joey’s gaze. “I hope it’s the last time.”
Tyler looked at Cory and Greg, and asked, “What are our plans for today?”
Cory replied, “We were going to ask you the same thing.”
“Let’s go over to the recreation center and work out,” Greg suggested.
Joey said, “I’m up for that, as long as we go swimming afterwards.”
“I think that can be arranged,” Greg said.
Cory said, “I’m okay with that as long as you take me out on a date tonight.”
Greg pulled Cory onto his lap. He kissed him and said, “Of course, I’ll take you on a date tonight.”
“We’re going out to dinner with my parents, then we’ll stay at my house for the night,” Tyler said.
Greg said, “I’m glad your parents have accepted you for who you are, Tyler.”
“Me, too,” Tyler agreed, as he leaned over and kissed Joey.
Cory said, “We’ll leave you two to get dressed.” He stood up and turned around to give Greg a hand up.
Greg said, “We’ll wait for you guys downstairs.” They were holding hands as they left the room, closing the door behind them.
Tyler watched the two younger guys leave their room. “I really have to admire those two.”
Joey said, “I know what you mean. They have bounced back from the horrible injuries, my soon to be ex-father-in-law, inflicted on them.”
“I agree with you about that part. I’m not sure how I would have handled being beat to a pulp by my father, because he found out I was gay. However, what I really admire about them is how they treat each other. You can tell how much they love each other,” Tyler said.
Joey looked into Tyler’s eyes and said, “I promise you I’ll work hard to make sure we have the same kind of relationship.”
Tyler said, “We already do.” Tyler kissed Joey, then said, “We need to get up.”
They showered and dressed for the gym. They made their way downstairs to the kitchen. Darla and Ray were seated at the table with Cory and Greg. Darla smiled at them, and said, “Please have a seat. There’s plenty of food.”
They took a seat at the table and served themselves. Cory said, “Thanks, Mom. The food is delicious.”
Darla said, “You’re welcome son. I understand you have already made plans for the day.”
Cory nodded his head and said, “Yes, we’re going to the gym to work out on the weights, before we go swimming.”
“Then, we will be spending the rest of the day with my parents,” Tyler said.
Greg said, “We’ll come back here for the afternoon. I promised to take Cory out on a date tonight; but we haven’t decided what we want to do, other than where we want to eat.”
“There are a couple of new movies out,” Darla said. “You could go see one of them.”
Cory said, “We’ll have to see. I’m not sure I want to go to the movies.”
They finished eating breakfast, and helped clear the table. Cory hugged his mother, and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “You’re the best, Mom.”
Darla smiled up at her son, “Thank you, dear.”
Ray asked, “Don’t I get a hug and kiss?”
Cory laughed. “Yes, Dad, you get a hug and kiss, as well.” He walked over to his dad, giving him a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Ray said, “Have a good time at the gym.”
“We will,” Greg said.
The four of them left the kitchen, and grabbed their jackets, as they headed out the door. They drove to the recreation center and parked. They paid their entry fee and walked into the locker room to change. They made their way into the weight room.
Greg was working on the bench press, when he heard a voice say, “Well, if it isn’t the faggot who refused to die.” Greg raised the weights to their stand and sat up to see who was talking. He looked up and saw Mark, a member of his former Boy Scout troop.
Greg frowned and said, “Hello, Mark. It’s seems you haven’t changed since I last saw you.”
“No, I still hate fags, like you. You should have died the day your father beat you. It’s too bad your Dad’s in jail for doing the right thing,” Mark said. Cory walked over to stand by Greg. “I see you still have your bitch with you.”
Cory put his hand on Greg arm, “Mark, I think you’ve said enough.”
“No, I’m not finished. I think everyone here needs to know the kind of sinners you are,” Mark said.
Joey looked over from where he was lifting weights and saw Greg’s angry expression. He turned to Tyler and said, “I think we need to stop whatever is going on over there.” He nodded toward Greg and Cory.
Tyler said, “Okay, let’s go.”
The two men walked over to Greg and Cory. Joey asked, “Is there a problem here?”
Mark’s head snapped around at the sound of Joey’s voice. “Yes, there is a problem here. These two faggots need to leave.”
Joey said, “It sounds like you are the one with the problem. Do you need to be escorted out of the building for harassing the patrons of this facility?”
Mark said, “You can’t touch me!”
“No, I can’t; but I can get the cops to remove you,” Joey said.
Mark glared at Joey. “You can’t make me leave and I won’t tolerate faggots working out in this gym. They don’t belong here.”
Tyler said, “I think you’ve been warned to stop your harassment of these gentlemen.” Tyler stepped out in to the corridor and flagged down a security guard. “Sir, we have a gentleman who won’t stop harassing a couple of the patrons. Would you mind escorting him out of the building?”
The security officer nodded his head. “I’ll have to give him a warning first; and then if it continues, I’ll escort him off the property.”
Tyler and the security officer entered the weight room. Mark was shouting obscenities at Greg and Cory. The security officer said, “Sir, if you don’t stop the cursing and swearing, you will have to leave.”
Mark turned on the security officer and swung a fist at him. The guard caught his arm mid-swing and twisted Mark’s arm behind his back. He put Mark in handcuffs and said, “Come with me, sir.” He escorted Mark out of the room.
Tyler looked over at Greg and asked, “Who was that?”
“That was Mark. He was in our Boy Scout troop,” Greg answered.
“He certainly is prejudiced against gays,” Tyler said, shaking his head in disbelief.
“Yes, he is; as are his parents. They attend the same church as my father,” Greg said.
Cory said, “Mark’s parents are even worse than he is. When Mark’s dad found out we were gay, he said he would finish the job Greg’s dad started, and kill us on sight, if we ever crossed his path.”
Joey said, “Mark and his parents are the kind of people giving Christians a bad name.”
Greg said, “Yes they are; just like Rick’s parents. Their brand of Christianity is one of hatred and persecution. They are the kind of people who would crucify Jesus Christ for associating with sinners and tax collectors. It really makes me wonder if they can be called Christians.”
Cory nodded his head in agreement. “There are too many people who subscribe to religious creeds denying others their religious freedom; as well as breeding intolerance and hate.”
Tyler said, “Let’s finish our work out. I’m feeling the need to relieve some stress.”
Joey said, “I second that motion.”
They returned to their work out with renewed determination. Greg, particularly, hit the weights with a vengeance. Afterward, they went back to the locker room and quickly showered off, before putting on their swim suits. When Greg and Cory walked out in their Speedo’s, Joey whistled. “Wow! You guys look good!”
Greg grinned and said, “I’m glad to see you know how to appreciate good looking guys when you see them.”
Joey said, “So am I. Otherwise, I never would have found Tyler.”
Tyler said, “That’s true, Babe.”
Cory said, “You guys look pretty good yourselves.”
“Thanks,” Tyler responded with a wide grin. “Let’s see how good you guys are in the pool.”
They jumped in and raced each other across the pool. Tyler beat them soundly. Greg swam up alongside Tyler and asked, “Where did you learn how to swim like that?”
“I’ve been on our local swim team since I was 4 years old,” replied Tyler. “My parents said I needed to learn to swim, because of all the bodies of water in the area. I was also on my high school swim and dive team.”
“No wonder you look so good,” Cory said.
Joey was the last one to catch up to them. Tyler teased his lover, “I’m going to have to teach you how to swim!”
Joey grinned and said, “As long as I get one on one lessons!”
Tyler smiled. “I think I can arrange that.”
They continued swimming laps for a while. They raced with Tyler a couple of more times; but, he always beat them. Tyler swam a few more laps, while Joey, Greg and Cory watched him from the pool deck.
Greg said, “Joey, you sure picked a looker for your life partner.”
Joey nodded his head and said, “I know. He’s almost too good looking.”
Cory laughed. “There is no such thing as a guy who is too good looking!”
“Particularly if he is engaged to be married to you,” Greg said.
Joey smiled. “We only have a few more months to wait. Our year will be up at the end of April and the divorce will be final. Tyler wants to be married the day after I’m free of Kathy.”
“Where are you going to be married?” Cory asked.
“We don’t know, yet. We have thought about getting married somewhere in Canada,” Joey said.
“You could get married in Thunder Bay like we did,” Greg said.
“Or you could get married in Vancouver,” Cory said. “Glenn wants to be married in St. Catharines when Rick gets out of the military.”
Tyler got out of the pool, and joined the guys. “Are we ready to go?”
“Yes, I’m starving,” Greg said.
Tyler nodded his head in agreement. “I could go for some pasta, or something with a lot of carbohydrates.”
The guys returned to the locker room to shower and get dressed. As they walked out to their cars, Joey suggested, “How about the Olive Garden?”
“Sounds good to me,” Tyler said. “That okay with you guys?”
“Yes, let’s go,” Greg said.
They jumped in their cars and Greg followed Joey to the nearest Olive Garden restaurant. They enjoyed their lunch, then parted ways; with Greg and Cory heading back to the Stetsons, and Tyler and Joey drove to Tyler’s parents’ home.
Joey said, “Tyler, I’m really nervous about meeting your parents.”
“Don’t be,” Tyler said. “I’m sure they will love you as much as I do.”
Joey said, “But your Dad is retired from the military. Won’t he disapprove of me?”
“Joey, relax! Just ask Dad to tell you about his time overseas and he’ll do all the talking,” Tyler said. He reached over and squeezed Joey’s leg. “Stop worrying.”
Tyler pulled into a townhome community, and parked in front of an end unit. He turned off the ignition, then turned to Joey. “I love you, Joey.” He leaned over and kissed him.
“I love you, too,” Joey said, as their lips parted.
Tyler got out of the car and walked around the car, taking Joey by the hand. He led him up the front steps and into the townhouse. They walked down the stairs to the family room. Tyler’s parents were seated on the sofa. Tyler’s parents stood up. Tyler said, “Mom and Dad, I want you to meet my fiancé, Joey Malone.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. and Mrs. Damasiewicz,” Joey said, reaching out to shake their hands.
“It’s nice to meet you, Joey. Please call us Harry and Louise, or even better, just call us Mom and Dad,” Harry said.
“Okay, Mom and Dad,” Joey said, smiling. He was still a little nervous, despite their welcoming expressions.
Louise said, “Please sit down. We are very happy Tyler brought you home to meet us.”
Tyler and Joey sat down together on the loveseat, as Tyler’s parents returned to their places on the sofa. Harry smiled and said, “Please be at ease, Joey. When Tyler announced to us he was gay and engaged to be married, we weren’t surprised. We’ve known Tyler was gay since he was a toddler.”
Joey looked over at Tyler in surprise. “Have you always known you were gay?”
Tyler nodded his head. “Yes, but I didn’t dare tell anyone.”
Louise said, “Tyler’s interest in boys sometimes caused him trouble; but, luckily for him, we moved around a lot. It meant he was able to start over in a new school every couple of years.”
“It kept me from being bullied all the time,” Tyler said.
“I found his first love note in his room, when he was in the 1st grade,” Louise said. “It was written to a boy named Billy.”
Tyler blushed. He protested, “Mom!”
Louise smiled at her son. “I get to tell Joey all about you. I’ve waited a long time for you to decide to finally acknowledge to us you’re gay; and to find yourself a life partner.”
“But, you don’t have to embarrass me,” Tyler continued to protest.
Joey relaxed as he realized Tyler’s parents did, indeed, accept their son’s sexuality. “Tyler, let your Mom tell me about you. I want to know all about your childhood and what you did in high school.”
“But I’ve already told you about those things,” Tyler said.
“But he hasn’t heard my point of view,” Louise said. “I have photos of you I want to share with Joey.”
Tyler groaned. “No, Mom.”
Louise stood up and walked over to retrieve a photo album off the bookshelf. She opened it and showed Joey a photo of Tyler.
The caption under the photo read, “Tyler – age 18 months wearing a tutu.”
Tyler hid his face in Joey’s shoulder. “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me.”
Joey took Tyler’s hand in his, and said, “Tyler, it’s okay. I think it’s cute.”
Louise said, “Our neighbor taught ballet, and she had three little girls. Tyler loved to play with them. He insisted he had to be a ballerina, just like them when they were practicing their ballet moves with their mother. She snapped this photo one day, when they were dancing. I’ve always loved this photo of my boy.”
“When Louise showed the photo to me, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh, or cry,” Harry said. “I thought it was very cute, and I loved the photo because Tyler is so cute; however, I knew then, Tyler was gay. Louise and I talked about it and decided we would always be there to support Tyler and to love him for who he is rather than to try to change him.”
Tyler said, “You never told me that. I have always been so embarrassed by this photo.”
Louise looked at her son. “I know you don’t like it, and I’ve had to hide it to keep you from destroying it.”
Joey said, “I think it’s a cute photo of you, Babe.” He leaned over and gave Tyler a quick kiss.”
Tyler looked up to see his mother’s reaction to Joey’s kiss. He still wasn’t really sure they meant it when they said they accepted him as a gay man. Louise was smiling and she laughed, when she saw Tyler’s worried expression.
“Tyler, when are you going to believe us? We really do support you and love you as the handsome gay man you are,” Louise said, ruffling his hair. She left the photo album in Joey’s hands, and returned to sit next to Harry on the sofa.
Tyler looked sheepish and said, “I guess I’m still in shock. I fully expected you to reject me like the parents of so many of my gay friends. Almost all of them have horror stories to tell about the nasty things that have happened to them. I just feel so blessed.”
Harry said, “You should know us better than that, Tyler. We have always been very careful not to say anything negative about gays, and have encouraged you to treat everyone with respect. Your grandfather taught me everyone is worthy of respect, until they prove otherwise.”
“But he was treated so poorly when he came to this country from Poland,” Tyler said.
“True; however, he didn’t let the actions of others determine how he would treat other people. He taught me to think for myself, and never let others dictate to me what I was to do or say,” Harry said.
Joey said, “Tyler, you are extremely fortunate your parents love you so unconditionally. I haven’t told my family I’m gay. I’m afraid they would try to kill me.”
Harry gave Joey a shocked look. “I can’t believe anyone would be so evil as to turn on their own child.”
“I’m afraid they belong to a Christian church that advocates murdering gays. My soon to be ex-wife and her family belong to a Christian church here that advocates the same kind of violence against gays. In fact, it hasn’t even been a year yet; since my soon to be ex-father-in-law nearly succeeded in murdering his own son and his boyfriend. He’s in jail for attempted murder.”
“I remember reading about it in the newspaper,” Louise said.
Harry still had a shocked look on his face; however, this time it was because of the news Joey was married. “Joey, do you mean to tell me you’re married?”
“Yes, I’m married. When my father-in-law tried to kill his son and his boyfriend, my wife went totally crazy with hatred toward gays. We filed for divorce shortly after that. Our divorce will be final in April. I have two little girls; Rachel is two and Sarah who is almost a year old.”
“Joey wants sole custody of the girls; but until I’m finished with school, we will try to set up an arrangement where the girls will visit us during the summer,” Tyler said.
Harry said, “When do you plan to be married?”
“We want to be married the day after Joey’s divorce is final,” Tyler said.
“Where are you going to be married?” Louise asked.
“We haven’t decided,” Tyler said.
“We’ve thought about going to Canada. My brother-in-law, Greg, married his boyfriend in Thunder Bay a few months ago. Greg wants us to go there. Greg and his husband are going to school in Minneapolis,” Joey said.
“Where will you live after you’re married?” Louise asked.
Tyler said, “Joey will live with me in Spain. He’s going to fly out with me next week, and we’ll come back for the court date in April.”
“What about your girls, Joey?” Louise asked.
“They will live with me every summer. Until Tyler finishes school, that means they will come to live with us in Spain; and after that, Chile,” Joey said.
“Has your wife agreed to that arrangement?” Harry asked.
Joey shook his head. “No, we haven’t proposed anything to her lawyer, yet. I didn’t decide to go with Tyler to Spain, until this morning. Right now, we have joint custody. The girls spend every other weekend with me.”
Louise smiled and said, “I’m glad Tyler found you, Joey. We thought we would never have grandchildren. Since you already have two children means we’ll inherit two granddaughters, when you get married.”
Harry asked, “When do we get to meet our future granddaughters?”
Joey replied, “I will have the girls this coming weekend.”
“You will have to bring them over to meet us. I want to begin spoiling them as soon as possible,” Harry said. Seeing Tyler’s expression of astonishment, Harry said, “What’s wrong with wanting to spoil my granddaughters?”
Tyler said, “Nothing is wrong with it, Dad. I’m just still so amazed you and Mom are so incredibly wonderful. I never dreamed you would be so happy for me.”
“We are happy you found a wonderful man to be your husband. I’m sure he will treat you right,” Louise said.
Joey’s head was reeling. He was just as overwhelmed as Tyler at the acceptance he saw in the faces of his future in-laws. They were genuinely happy for their son, and were very excited to become step-grandparents to his daughters. He was feeling exhilarated by the happiness he felt; because he and Tyler would be able to start out their marriage with the love and support of Tyler’s family.
Louise said, “Tyler, show Joey the rest of those photos, while I go upstairs to finish dinner.”
Tyler replied, “Yes, Mom.”
She laughed. “That’s much better.” She climbed the stairs to the kitchen, leaving the guys to look at Tyler’s photos.
Joey pointed to a photograph of Tyler wearing his Speedo swimsuit. “How old were you in this photo?”
“I was 12 years old. I was getting ready to race, when that photo was taken,” Tyler said.
Joey put his arm around Tyler’s waist. “You were pretty well endowed for a boy your age.”
Tyler laughed, “I’m still that way.”
Harry smiled and said, “Too much information for me. I’ll leave you guys to yourselves.” He stood up and climbed the stairs to join his wife.
Tyler laughed and said, “I guess Dad wasn’t ready to hear that.”
“No, he wasn’t,” Joey replied, giving Tyler a lecherous grin. “I want to see all of your swim team photos.”
Tyler gave Joey a jab in his ribs. “You only want to lust after my younger self!”
“Yes and no,” Joey responded. “Yes, I want to see you in your cute little Speedos; but I also want to know all about you. You can’t just breeze through the photos and not tell me when it was taken and why.”
They continued looking through Tyler’s old photos, until dinner time. Louise called down the stairs, “Dinner’s ready boys!”
Tyler responded, “We’ll be right up!”
He closed the photo album and set it on the floor, next to the other 6 photo albums they had gone through. He stood up and said, “Dad built a special case for all of my swim trophies.” He took Joey’s hand and pulled him to his feet.
Joey took advantage of being so close to his lover and pulled him into his embrace. He looked deeply into Tyler’s eyes and said, “Thank you for sharing your life with me.” He kissed Tyler. It started out as a gentle, chaste kiss; meant to show his love for Tyler. It quickly turned into a much more passionate one, as Joey responded to Tyler’s caresses. When they came up for air, Joey said, “You sure know how to take my breath away.”
Tyler smiled, happily, and said, “It’s my pleasure.” Tyler took Joey by the hand and led him down the hallway from the family room, and opened the door to the study.
Joey entered and gasped. “Wow! It’s like your parents have built a shrine to you.”
All four walls were lined with glass cases displaying the vast array of trophies and awards Tyler had won over the years. Behind each of them was a photo of Tyler, and a write up about the trophy and Tyler’s triumph. Joey walked around the room, going from one display case to the next. There were many newspaper articles and other paraphernalia from the many swim meets and competitions Tyler had participated in. There were photos of his high school swim and dive team. Joey finally turned to Tyler, and said, “This is simply amazing! When you said you loved to swim, you really meant it!”
Tyler laughed and responded, “I told you and you didn’t believe me.”
Joey shook his head in wonder. He knew Tyler was a wonderful person and a great guy to be around; but this really opened his eyes to another dimension of Tyler’s life.
Louise called down the stairs, again, “Boys, did you forget dinner is ready?”
Tyler said, “We had better go before Mom comes down and hauls us up the stairs by our ears.”
Joey nodded and said, “Thank you for showing me this room.”
Tyler smiled and said, “You’re welcome, Babe.” He followed Joey out of the room and closed the door behind him. They climbed the stairs and entered the dining room. They took seats on opposite sides of the table, with Tyler’s parents sitting on both ends.
Harry said, “I’ll say grace.” They held hands around the table and listened as Harry prayed.
Afterward, Louise said, “I hope you like roast beef.”
Joey said, “I love roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy.”
“Well, there is plenty of both,” Louise said.
The meal was simple, but very delicious. Joey and Tyler helped clear the table and did the dishes. Tyler washed, while Joey dried them. Joey said, “I never thought I would like doing dishes; but I could get used to helping you do them.” He came up behind Tyler and wrapped his arms around his waist. He leaned down and nipped gently at Tyler’s neck.
Tyler leaned back against Joey’s chest. He suppressed a moan of pleasure, remembering his parents were sitting in the adjoining room. “You had better stop that, or we will really embarrass my parents; because I won’t be able to control myself,” Tyler said.
Joey nibbled on Tyler’s ear and whispered, “I love you.”
Hearing those words sent a thrill through Tyler’s body. He said, “I love you, too. Now, dry these off and we’ll put everything away.” He handed Joey a couple of plates.
Joey obediently dried them off and placed them on the counter. They made quick work of putting things away. Tyler said, “I want you to see my room.” Tyler led Joey out of the kitchen, and up the stairs to the top level of the townhome. He opened the door to his room.
Joey entered and whistled. “I like your posters.”
Tyler grinned. He had huge posters of his favorite swim stars, all men, of course. Every one of them was a gay guy’s wet dream. “I thought you might like my room. All I need to make it complete is a poster of you in your swimsuit.”
“Can we make it one in my birthday suit?” Joey said, mischievously.
“No, but you can show me your birthday suit in person,” Tyler said. He closed the bedroom door and locked it. He walked over to Joey and put his arms around his lover and kissed him. There was, indeed, a hands-on viewing of Joey’s birthday suit!
During the time since we had left the farm, Mom had filed the divorce papers and had them delivered to my father. She stayed at Uncle Dave and Aunt Mary’s house, until she could move into her new apartment. The rest of my siblings had stopped in to see Mom at one time or another over the span of the two days after she left my Dad.
When my older brothers arrived at Uncle Dave and Aunt Mary’s house, they greeted my mother with a hug and a kiss. Mom and Aunt Mary were in the kitchen, when Gary and Eric confronted us about our role in our parent’s breakup.
Gary stood up and glared around the room at Shawn, Randy, Rick and I and said, “It’s your fault our parents have split up.” I could see he was barely managing to contain his anger.
Eric added, “If you hadn’t made such a big deal about Dad’s attempts to get you to go straight, Mom would have stayed with Dad.”
“I don’t think that’s true,” Randy said. “You haven’t talked to Mom. You’ve only heard Dad’s side of the story. He’s blaming us for his own problems.”
Gary blew up! “How can you sit there and put the blame on Dad? What harm was Dad doing to you?”
“He was trying break up my marriage, Gary. Think about it, Gary. If he tried to get Jessica to leave you, would you stand by and let her leave you, or would you tell him to stay out of your relationship?”
Gary said, “I wouldn’t stand for it; but it doesn’t change the fact you dragged Mom into it.”
Mom walked into the front room, and said, “Gary, sit down, please.”
Gary turned around, and looked at Mom. “Why should I?”
“Because I’m your mother, that’s why. I need you to sit down and I will tell you why I left your Dad,” she said. She explained all the factors leading to her decision. As she narrated the many things she had endured, Gary and Eric hung their heads in shame. “So, you see Randy and Glenn were not the reason I decided to leave your father.”
Eric said, “I’m sorry, Mom.”
Gary said, “We have been so wrapped up in our own lives; we never noticed how poorly Dad treated you. Jessica mentioned things to me she felt weren’t right; but, I just shrugged it off. I’m sorry I never said anything to Dad about it.”
“He wouldn’t have listened to you, Gary. He won’t listen to anyone. That is why I had to leave him. He won’t change,” she said. She looked around the room at all of us and said, “I want you to continue to love and respect your father. Just because I have left him, doesn’t mean you get to treat him poorly. I won’t have you being disrespectful to him; any more than I will tolerate you treating me that way.”
Gary looked over at us and said, “I’m sorry I blamed you for Dad’s problems. Can you guys forgive me?”
Randy said, “Yes, but don’t expect us to show up at the farm any time soon.”
Gary said, “I understand.”
Eric said, “I’m sorry, too. I believed everything Dad told us. I didn’t think about all of the other things going on between Mom and Dad.”
Randy said, “Just remember this is the second time I’ve been subjected to Dad’s prejudice against gays.”
Eric met Randy’s gaze, and said, “I remember.”
“We all have suffered, because of your Dad’s inability to deal with reality,” Mom said.
We celebrated the New Year with Uncle Dave and Aunt Mary. It was a muted affair, and we went to bed shortly after ringing in the New Year. The next day, we helped Mom get settled into her new apartment. Randy and I enjoyed helping her decorate her apartment. The day before we left for Toronto, Mom invited everyone over for lunch. After we ate, we sat in her front room to visit, and discuss the events of the last week. Mom sat across from us. She had a bright smile on her face; but it didn’t reach her eyes. I could tell she was really sad. This wasn’t what she wanted, I could tell. As I watched her talking to Uncle Dave and Aunt Mary, the reality of what was happening between my parents was just starting to sink in.
Uncle Dave said, “This is a nice apartment, Eva. It’s close enough to our place we can walk over any time we want to visit.”
Mom smiled, “I hope you’ll come often. I just can’t imagine being here all alone day in and day out.”
“When will you and Don begin the mediation sessions?” Aunt Mary asked.
“I don’t know. I’m not even sure Don will show up,” Mom responded.
Uncle Dave’s expression changed to one of anger. “Don’t you worry about that, Eva. Don will be there.”
Mom smiled, and said, “I know he will if you have anything to do with it.”
“You’ve got that right,” Uncle Dave said. “I love my brother very much; but I also know his weaknesses.”
Mom nodded her head, and said, “As do I.”
Randy asked, “Do you need us to move to Swift Current to help you, Mom?”
Mom’s smile reached her eyes this time. “No, son, I don’t want you and your husband to uproot yourselves and move here to take care of me. I’m a grown woman, and I’m quite perfectly capable of taking care of myself. As for your father, he may need some help on the farm; but I’m not suggesting you move back home to help him.”
Randy said, “We wouldn’t even offer, let alone think of moving in with my father.” His voice carried with it the sound of the deep and profound bitterness he felt toward his father.
Shawn said, “We will visit you every couple of weeks for next little while; until we feel comfortable you’re settled.”
Mom smiled at Shawn, and said, “I appreciate your concern for me; but it really isn’t necessary. Please give me a call ahead of time; so I can make sure I’m home, when you get here.”
“We will,” Randy said.
Mom looked over at me, and said, “Glenn, please don’t worry about me. I will be fine. You are my worrier, and I don’t need you worrying about me.”
I ducked my head. She knew me too well. I had been worried about how she would manage on her own. I raised my eyes to hers, and said, “I’ll try not to worry; but you have to promise to call me every night.”
Mom laughed and said, “I don’t think I need to call you every night, Glenn. I will make an effort to send you a text message every day, now that you have taught me how to send text messages.”
We had purchased Mom a new cell phone, and had carefully gone over the instructions for its use. The memory of Mom’s excitement about the little gizmo brought a smile to my face. “Just don’t forget to send it, or to send empty text messages.”
Mom said, “I think I’ve got it figured out. Just be patient with my spelling.”
Uncle Dave asked, “What time are you leaving in the morning?”
“We need to be on the road by 6 AM,” Shawn said.
Mom said, “It’s worth getting up early, because it will be good to see my family.”
“I’m excited to see Uncle Corey and Uncle Bob get married,” I said.
Mom asked, “What do you think of their fiancés?”
“Dylan is younger than Uncle Corey; but he’s a perfect match for Uncle Corey. I think you’ll like Dylan, Mom,” I said. “Uncle Bob’s fiancé, Jasper, is a former Marine, like Rick. I think they are good for each other.”
Rick agreed. “Both of them have found someone who complements them. I’m sure they will have to learn to live together, like any other newlywed couple.”
Mom smiled and said, “I’m sure my brothers will have a lot of adjusting to do; since they have been single for so long.”
“I agree that Uncle Bob may have a lot of adjusting to do; but Uncle Corey and Dylan are already living together,” I said.
Mom’s eyebrows raised in surprise. “I can’t believe it. They have always been so straight laced. They were always lecturing your Aunt Sharon and me about remaining pure and chaste.”
Rick laughed and said, “I can just see Uncle Bob doing that; but he’s no virgin either.”
Mom’s eyes widened in astonishment as she asked, “How do you know that?”
“Jasper told me,” Rick said, with a grin. “Do want to know the details?”
She quickly shook her head. “I don’t need to know, thank you very much!”
We all laughed. Uncle Dave said, “I think your brothers have finally been able to be themselves, instead of who your parents wanted them to be, or what they thought society expected of them.”
“I think you’re right, Dave,” Mom said. “I’m just glad Randy and Glenn have discovered who they are, and have been able to find good men as their life mates.”
Randy squeezed Shawn’s arm and said, “I know I found the best man in the world to be my husband.”
I put my arm around Rick’s shoulders and said, “I beg to differ with you, Randy. I’m the one who found the best guy in the world.”
Mom intervened, “You both have found wonderful men who are perfect for you.”
Aunt Mary chimed in, “And two of the handsomest young men I’ve ever met, I might add.”
Nancy said, “I wish I could find a handsome guy like my brothers have.”
“You will, in time, Nancy,” Mom said. “You don’t have to rush things. When the time is right, you will find Mr. Right.”
Cynthia said, “I’ve been dating a pretty nice guy since Thanksgiving. His name is Kevin.”
Aunt Mary asked, “Is this the guy you’ve been telling us about?”
“Yes,” she answered. “He is from Reno, Nevada, and he’s going into nursing, just like I am.”
“Do you have photos of him,” I asked.
Cynthia said, “Yes, I do.” She pulled out her cell phone. She pulled up the photos of her boyfriend onto the screen and handed the phone to me. It was a photo of Cynthia and Kevin. The photos showed a guy of medium height. He appeared to be a couple of inches taller than Cynthia. He had short dark brown hair and matching dark brown eyes. His hawk-like nose was emphasized by the bushy mustache underneath it. He was smiling, flashing perfectly white even teeth. Of course, I noticed he looked like he lifted weights and had a nice package!
“How good of a kisser is he?” I asked. “Doesn’t the mustache tickle?”
Cynthia blushed, but she answered my question, “He’s a good kisser, and, yes, the mustache tickles. I want him to shave it off; but he really likes it, because he says it makes him look older.”
I passed her cell phone along to Rick. The phone made it around the room and back to Cynthia. Mom asked, “When do we get to meet your boyfriend?”
“We are thinking of coming home for spring break,” Cynthia responded.
The conversation moved back to my uncles’ upcoming wedding and our plans for celebrating with them. About an hour later, we left Mom’s place, with a promise to pick her up early in the morning.