If any nice person, nasty person, place, event, happening, thing, or sport, seems familiar,
it is purely coincidental.
Apparently you can find your soulmate at a service station. Yes you can.
We just stayed quiet for a long time, wrapped in each other’s arms like we never wanted to let go. After a minute or two JJ simply whispered, “Please don’t let this be a dream.”
“It’s not a dream, trust me” I replied as I gave him an extra squeeze.
“I’m so falling in love with you Jax. How is that possible so soon?” he asked.
I had heard of love at first sight, but as far as I was concerned it was nothing more than a fairy tale, and we all know fairy tales never come true. But it seems I was wrong, because after JJ asked how it was possible to be falling in love so soon, I told him exactly how I thought it was possible. That led to our first kiss. It wasn’t a long drawn out kiss but it didn’t have to be. It said it all, and even in my wildest dreams, and I’ve had a few of those, I’d never expected to feel this happy.
We also soon learned that it wasn’t like we had a couple of things in common either. It was like we had everything in common. I mean video games, movies, books, soccer, running, hiking, swimming, skateboarding, everything. Well okay, we did sort of disagree on who the best singers and song writers were today. I was totally into Troy Sivan and he was totally into Olly Alexander, but hey, we could get past that.
Oh yeah, and did I mention my boy bought himself the cutest pair of white speedos ever? Well he did. And OMG seeing him wearing them did things to me that made my wearing speedos impossible. And of course if you’ve got new speedos you need to go swimming, right?
So Sunday at West Ed Water Park was a must. We got there about noon and were done our third trip down The Twister and were getting ready to head over to Nessie’s Revenge when all of a sudden JJ stopped dead in his tracks and I walked right into him almost knocking him down. When I got my senses back, he was staring into the eyes of a very cute ginger. I mean if this guy’s hair had been any redder it would have been on fire.
Just as suddenly they were in each other’s arms. I just stood there with a ton of ‘what the fucks?’ running around in my head like crazy. After watching the apparent love exchange going on in front of me for a minute or two, I reached out and put my hand on JJ’s back. He immediately pulled away, his eyes full of tears, and with a mile wide smile, introduced me to his big brother, Michael. I don’t know if I was simply thrilled to meet his big brother or relieved to know it was in fact his big brother. And just as suddenly hitting the slides became secondary to finding a spot to sit and talk.
“What the fuck,” Michael said as soon as we sat down, “I came home and Dad was going ape shit about the goddamned little faggot running away instead of seeking the help he needed. I was scared shitless and I’ve been hunting all over for you ever since. Today’s the first day I’ve sorta taken a break, but even here I was looking and hoping, and then there you were, lookin’ all happy and shit. Where the hell have you been? Like what the fuck?”
“Whoa, whoa, slow down a bit,” JJ said, “I’m sorry but after Dad’s King’s Academy thing I ran for it, and before I knew it I was on the other side of the city.”
“Yeah, but you could of at least got hold of me, or Robbie. Let us know you were okay,” Michael responded.
“Yeah I guess, but knowing how in tune you and Robbie seem to be with Dad, I just kinda figured you’d be right in there condemning the little faggot,” JJ replied.
“In tune with Dad?” Michael questioned, “What the hell ever gave you that idea? We just know how to play the game that’s all. And when did I ever say anything bad about gays?” Michael questioned.
“Never I guess,” JJ said looking kinda guilty all of a sudden.
Then with a bit of a smile, Michael asked, “Why do you think we call Kevin ‘dick weasel’?”
“I don’t know,” JJ replied.
“Cause he’s always hunting for dick, shit head,” He responded with a laugh before asking, “How’d you ever become an honour student man, geez. Oh yeah, and nice speedos by the way.”
That lightened up the conversation big time, and for the next half hour we just chatted, laughed, and JJ caught Michael up on the last few weeks. When he mentioned he’d almost given up when I walked out and handed him the key so he could poop, Michael looked at me, and I’m pretty sure there was a little tear in his eye as he gave me a big smile.
At that point we decided that the slides looked lonely and for the next couple of hours or more we defied death on every one of them. Of course snacks and drinks were slipped into our afternoon schedule too.
As we were getting ready to leave, Michael mentioned that he had a bunch of mail for JJ. Apparently his dad had thrown every letter for JJ in the garbage. He’d retrieved them and hidden them in his sock drawer for when he finally found JJ, and come hell or high water, he was going to find him.
JJ gave him our address and he said he’d be over the next day with all of it, and with Robbie, who was also going crazy wondering where the hell JJ was.
I definitely had a happy camper on the way home. He had his brothers back, not that he’d actually lost them, but as he said, they played the game real well as they seemed to be totally in tune with their dad on nearly everything.
Of course the question of how he ended up having a pale white, well pale white between the freckles, ginger as a brother had to come up. And of course I learned something new about my boy. He was adopted, go figure JJ that is. Apparently his mom and dad had gone on a mission to the Sudan with some church group. His mom had seen him in an orphanage, and within a few months he was on his way to Canada.
When we were curled up in bed that night, I questioned why he hadn’t mentioned it since it seemed like kind of a big deal. He simply said they hadn’t done it because they actually cared about him or wanted to save the poor little pygmy. He had never been shown affection of any kind, never a hug, never a cuddle, nothing. The only reason they’d done it was to win brownie points with the church and their friends. And apparently that ended as soon as they figured out their token pygmy was a faggot. Although he figured they probably scored bonus points for trying and save his faggot ass, so fuck them.
I gave him an extra tight squeeze and that kiss on the forehead he so loves, and with that we drifted off to sleep.
Bright and early the next morning, and I do mean bright and early, there was a knock on our bedroom door. And yeah, “our bedroom” was totally cool with my totally cool mom and dad. I called, “Come in,” and the next thing I knew another very cute ginger was on top of us. Actually he was kinda pushing me to the side so he could get a good hug going with JJ. And yeah, it was Robbie.
After a few tears and several I love yous, followed by, “You wearing anything under there?” all was good.
Michael plunked several letters on the night stand, glanced at me trying not to fall off the bed, and just grinned.
They did turn their backs to let JJ and I get out of bed and get dressed. Well there might have been one glance as Robbie poked Michael and said, “I knew it,” followed by a combined laugh.
We made our way upstairs and started to put breakfast together. Apparently it was going to be breakfast for four, since Robbie had no intention of wasting time eating before they drove over. And as we were eating, Robbie mentioned he felt a need to see a certain pair of white speedos.
Since we couldn’t afford another trip to West Ed, a drive to the local outdoor pool was in order. And since they’d also brought their boards, a trip to the skateboard park was in order too, and a trip to The Burger Joint, Burger Baron, and oh yeah, A&W. I gotta say we had a fantastic day, and most importantly JJ had two of the most important people in his life back, his big brother and his little brother.
I must say we slept very well that night and when we did finally get up the next morning, JJ decided to check his mail. Fifteen minutes later I had a very excited guy on my hands. He had won a full tuition scholarship and had been accepted into the Faculty of Science at the U of A. He had also won a $2500 scholarship from Alexander Rutherford Scholarships for having an overall average higher than 80% in grade 10, 11, and 12. And as if that wasn’t enough, he had won and extra $2500 for being one of the top ten Alberta students who had received a Rutherford Scholarship. My boy was now recognized as a Rutherford Scholar. I was like, whoa, damn, and I thought I’d done pretty well in the scholarship department. So yeah, as far as university was concerned, we were set and ready to go. Well okay, not for another month and a half.
It was a few days later that we got a call from Michael. It seems a week long camping trip into Kananaskis country had been in the works for a while. I had never been there, but I knew there were hiking trails ‘till hell wouldn’t have ‘em’ up there. Up mountains, around mountains, actually everything but through mountains. There would be eight guys going, well ten if JJ and I were joining the group. And of course we were, no question. So there would be Michael, Robbie, Jeff, Cale, Ian, Jamie, Kevin, and yes he’d found a dick he liked, Dallas’s, and now JJ and me. It would be a whole new group to me. JJ on the other hand, knew all of them. Well except for Dallas.
We spent a week planning and getting all our stuff ready. Compact and easy to carry being the order of the day. We got to our first campsite about 6:00 o’clock Monday evening. Tuesday morning would be our first hike. Of course it also had to be the most difficult, Centennial Ridge, distance 13.8km, elevation gain 1350 m, estimated time 9h. However it was supposed to have some of the most amazing views you could ever find. And oh wow it did ever. As for the 9 hours, how about 14?
And then there was Ribbon Falls which I’m sorry wasn’t, in my opinion, any easier. Distance 16.5km, elevation gain 300m, estimated time 7h … yeah right. The trail followed along Ribbon Creek up a narrow valley to an awesome view of Ribbon Falls. The grade wasn’t all that scary though, and the several waterfalls made it pretty cool. Carrying on to Ribbon Lake apparently was a bonus cause it had a campground. And let’s just say the 3 chains we had to use to haul ourselves up a cliff made it even more fun I think. Not surprisingly, it took us all about ten seconds to fall asleep once we got out tents set up.
Day three we decided would be a day of rest, that is after we made it back to our cars from Ribbon Lake. And yeah, that was fun. We did manage Buller Pass and Prairie View before the week was up. The whole week was totally amazing. I made some great new friends and enjoyed some of the best trails and views on the planet. But, I must admit I had no intention of walking uphill for any reason to anywhere anytime soon.
We were quite surprised a week later when we got a call from Kevin. He and Dallas were going clubbing and he wondered if we wanted to join then. We would have loved to, but there was one small problem. We were still just seventeen. It was just another month for me, but three for JJ. We told them we might be ready to dance all night, but since we wouldn’t be getting into any of the clubs anytime soon, give us a call in a few months.
We did get to spend a lot of time with Michael and the guys though, and even more with Robbie. He and his buds came over often. Of course never without their boards and seldom without their swim trunks. My best buds, Micky, Sheldon, and Nick were with us most of the time too. A few times we pretty much owned the skate park. It was kinda funny too because Robbie’s best bud, Jamie, who was always with him, seemed to take a real interest in Nick, not that we gave it much thought at the time.
One Friday, after a great skate, a bunch of us were sitting around BSing about whatever, including the fact that it was going to be cold and raining tomorrow. Nick mentioned we should get together after lunch and hang out in his folks hot tub in the rain. Most of the guys, including Michael and Robbie, had other stuff going on, or just didn’t want to sit in the rain. I think maybe there were five of us into it.
Jamie hadn’t said anything, however about noon the next day he showed up on his own. We hung out, had lunch, and then went over to Nick’s to relax and hang in the hot tub. As each person arrived, I noticed that Jamie seemed make sure that when we shifted around, he was always sitting next to Nick. I’m pretty sure Nick noticed too, cause he ‘accidentally’ bumped Jamie with the back of his hand and grinned at me. All I’m going to say is it might have been embarrassing for Jamie if he’d had to get out of the tub. Then a week or so later Nick mentioned that he and Jamie were going camping on his granddad’s farm for the weekend.
That same weekend Michael, Robbie, and a bunch of the guys decided it was time for another trip to West Ed. We did the whole waterslide thing until we were totally exhausted, then the wave pool, and then snacks. As we were sitting back with a nice cold drink, Robbie gave me a real questioning look.
“What?” I asked.
“You got gaydar, right?” he questioned.
I just laughed and replied, “I don’t think such a thing exists, man. Like seriously. Besides, why you asking?”
“Well I dunno,” he replied, “I think maybe I got it.”
“Oh,” I said kinda questioningly.
“Yeah, I been seein’ stuff with Jamie for a while now,” he said.
“Oh,” I said again.
“Yeah, like he sometimes gets a boner when I’m changing in my room, or when we’re changing into our trunks at the pool. He tries to hide it, but like come on,” he said.
“That’s not exactly gaydar,” I replied, “That’s just kinda noticing the obvious.”
“Yeah I guess,” he responded, before adding with a chuckle, “And I noticed too he kinda looks at Nick like he’s gonna start drooling.”
It was all I could do not to burst out laughing before saying, “Oh yeah?”
“Yeah, and they went camping this weekend, just the two of them,” he stated.
“Yeah I know,” I said.
“I bet if they end up rubbing two sticks together it isn’t going to be to start a fire,” he said before bursting into laughter.
“Ya think?” I said, definitely laughing at this point.
“Well yeah duh. But the only thing I’m rubbing my stick with is this,” he said holding up his right hand.
“Oh, geez,” I said okay, if this conversation was going any further, I was going to pee I was laughing so hard.
“So that doesn’t bother you?” I managed to ask, more in an attempt to move the conversation on than anything else.
“Of course not,” he replied, “Except I’m gonna miss hanging out with him if he’s always gonna be with Nick.”
“Yeah true,” I said, “But you’ve been best buds since forever so I’m pretty sure he’ll always be there for you.”
“Yeah I hope so,” he said.
At that point it was apparently time to hit the water slides again. And hit them we did.
After the weekend at West Ed the next couple of weeks were kinda quiet, and the next thing we knew, it was time to start university. Day one was orientation. We spent part of the day touring and getting to know the campus. Then we picked up our student handbooks at one of the info tents and were able to check out the clubs fair to see what the many student groups had to offer. During that first week the free pancake breakfasts were a bonus. The food at the daily BBQ’s was great too, and we got to finish off our first week of classes at a Mainstage event in the Quad on Saturday.
Sunday though meant rest and relaxation. Well kinda. It was a skate morning and a pool afternoon. Eight of the guys showed up at the skate park and even though it was like 30C, we had an awesome time. A seriously sweaty time, but yeah, awesome. Considering what a hot day it was, and how sweaty we all were, I was surprised that only six of us made it to the pool after lunch. There was just JJ, me, Nick, Robbie, Jamie, and Micky, and I gotta tell you, the water felt awesome. It was also hard to miss Jamie and Nick’s antics, and after a while when JJ and I decided to stretch out poolside, it only took about two minutes for Robbie to plunk down beside us.
“Can I ask you guys something”? he questioned.
“Yeah sure,” I replied.
“Is it okay if I think Jamie and Nick make a cute couple? I mean, like, should a straight guy think stuff like that?” he asked.
“Yes, Robbie,” JJ responded with a laugh, “Straight guys can think stuff like that.”
“Good,” he stated, “Cause I think they’re cute together. I mean watching them kiss is like kinda totally weird, but cute.”
“So you’re not feeling left out?” I asked him.
“Hell no. He still calls me every day, and I’m at his place pretty much all the time like before,” he replied, before adding with a chuckle, “He’s just not home alone most of the time.”
“Very cool. I’m glad you guys are still close,” I told him.
“Actually next Friday we’re going on a double date to the movies. Those two clowns and me ‘n Amy,” he said with a big smile.
He’d no sooner said that and Jamie and Nick were dragging him back into the pool. That was our cue to get back into the pool before we got dragged across the pool deck too. JJ’s speedo might not have survived.
A few hours later it was BBQ time. Well okay, Micky was cooking wieners on the BBQ. A couple of hotdogs later and it was time to stretch out and actually relax on the lawn in Micky’s backyard. As per usual though, before we knew it, it was nearly midnight and if JJ and I were going to make it to our 8:00 o’clock classes in the morning, bedtime was in order.
Later as we were laying there all cuddled up waiting for sleep to take over, I couldn’t help but think about the last few weeks and how great it would be if the rest of the world clued in to what our friends already knew. It doesn’t matter how tall or short you are, how fat or skinny you are, how serious or goofy you are, what colour you are, what gender you are, what orientation you are, or what whatever you are, it’s not all that hard to accept one another, love one another, and get along with one another.
Thanks to Colin for editing, prepping, and posting this story for me.
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