Fisher of Men
I was not meeting his
needs all that well, but it was the best I could do, the best my own moral
compass would allow. It was confusing, and I felt torn.
It isn’t that he wasn’t
attractive, he was, although younger than I liked. It was that we had a
relationship in which I knew my role would not allow sex without destroying
the positive value I could provide.
And this boy so needed
someone to love him without using a dick to do it.
On the other hand, I was
not getting the things I most needed in life. No boyfriend, no partner, no
adult companionship. Even more importantly no alone time, no opportunity to
retreat and be by myself, to restore myself.
I began to treasure the
scant time he gave his little friend Jesse, who had finally come over to the
house for a visit. At least I had a few hours in the afternoons alone. I
encouraged him to spend more time with Jesse both because a peer
relationship was something to encourage, and because I enjoyed the time away
He asked me for
permission to sleep over at Jesse’s and I said I’d have to discuss it with
The whole transaction
brought me up short.
We had put two and two
together, realizing that this was the very event that had ended up with his
disappearance the previous time. So though I had a lot of reservations about
it, we both decided to agree, first cautioning him that Jesse should be
treated as a friend, not a sex partner.
But he wasn’t asking his
father, or his mother for that matter. He asked me.
And the conversation the
three of us had about how he should behave, or rather, shouldn’t behave, on
a sleepover threw the warped nature of this boy and the level to which
Eleanor and I had adapted to it right in my face.
How many mothers have to
tell their sons not to suck their friends’ cocks during a sleepover?
“No oral sex, no anal
sex, no sex at all, Will.”
Sleeping over with Jesse
was kind of cool. Kind of strange too. I mean, I had to wear pajamas! Paul
had to take me to buy them and made me take them and we almost forgot to
unwrap them first, so there we were, pulling pins and pieces of cardboard
out so I could stuff them back in my pack. I don’t know when the last time
was I wore pajamas, not since I was eleven for sure. I sleep naked when I
But we had a lot of fun,
we listened to music, his folks had a cool stereo, almost as nice as Kent’s
and lots of records, and didn’t mind letting us use the living room for a
while. His room was dorky, like a little kid’s, he had two twin beds and
checkered bedspreads, like I had when I was young. Posters of JAWS on the
walls, he liked that, and some Rolling Stones shit. Model airplanes, he must
have twenty of them, his dad was Marine pilot. They were all painted up and
looked good, and we played with them some but careful because I didn’t want
to break one.
We went to bed and the
lights were out but we were talking. We talked about school though he went
to regular classes and I didn’t really know what that was like, then we
talked about girls, but I didn’t have much to say, never thought about them
much. Well one guy had got me to have sex with a girl when I was twelve, and
she was maybe fourteen, and it was fun for a while, he watched us and jacked
off but I was pretty sure it wasn’t my thing.
I didn’t tell that story
to Jesse. I didn’t tell him any of my good stories.
Then we talked about TV
and half of me was thinking “Jesse is such a little kid,” and half of me was
thinking it felt kind of good. Then he asked about Paul.
“Who is that guy?”
“Yeah. Is he your uncle?”
“Umm, I dunno. Maybe.” I
wasn’t sure I wanted to talk about Paul to him.
I mean, I never had to
talk to another kid about what my life was like. I wasn’t worried about the
kids at continuation who called me a fag and then had me meet them for BJ’s.
I didn’t care what they thought about me, we weren’t friends. But Jesse was
– well I dunno it was different. I never had a friend before.
“MAYBE he’s your uncle?
You don’t know?”
“Well, no he’s not my
uncle, he’s my friend, but he’s sorta like my uncle.”
“How old is he? Where did
you meet him? Why does he live with your folks?”
“Man, you ask too many
questions, go to sleep.”
Then it was funny because
he fell asleep but I was awake and I can’t figure out why but I was crying,
real quietly. But I was crying, the water was running out of my eyes and
down my cheeks and running onto the pillow for a long time before I turned
onto my side and closed my eyes.
You always had to be on
your toes. You had to look for the changes in this boy, to be ready to
anticipate the next blow up. So I realized right away that something had
happened on the sleepover.
He came home a few days
later with a stack of coloring books, and a model aircraft carrier, locked
himself in his room for hours working on them.
I didn’t know what to
make of that. One afternoon I came home and he was sprawled like a little
boy on the carpet under the dining room table, coloring away. He put them
away and set the table when his mother asked, without comment.
Over the next two weeks
he spent more time with Jesse, brought him home to work on the model with
him. Then he asked if I would take them both to Disneyland. I took the
weekend off, went on a Saturday. They left me on my own most of the day,
having fun running around the place like any other pair of typical
teenagers. Jesse slept over at the Colonel’s house that night because we
didn’t get back until well after midnight.
About three a.m., Will
came in and got in bed with me and pulled my arm around him, snuggling up to
me. As long as it wasn’t sexual, I’d decided I’d let it happen. He fell
The next morning Jesse
asked him where he went, rather deliberately doing it in front of me, I
thought. We were at the breakfast table, Sunday morning, Eleanor had made
pancakes but only three of us were in the kitchen at that moment, Jesse,
Will, and myself.
“Where did you go last
“You ask too many
“You keep too many
I thought back to The
Chosen and realized where the names came from if not how they had been
“I couldn’t sleep, I just
needed to get away from your stinky feet, so I left. And you snore.”
Jesse just looked at him.
“Yeah, but where did you sleep?”
Will had to handle his
own relationships, answer his own questions.
He turned suddenly to
Jesse, spoke too loudly. “You really want to know? Do you? I’ll tell you if
Jesse looked at his
plate, looked at Will, then said, “Open your mouth.”
When Will looked at him
puzzled he repeated it, “Open your mouth, David. And close your eyes.” And
to my surprise Will did it.
Jesse used his fingers to
push half of a pancake into Will’s mouth, got up, and went to the bathroom,
while Will chewed silently, eyes still closed.
Paul asked me to talk
about what was going on with Jesse. Thing is, I didn’t know what was going
on. I mean, nothing was going on.
I wanted to tell Jesse
all about Paul that morning, but I was afraid if I did then Jesse would
leave me and I wouldn’t have a friend anymore.
He told me it was up to
me to figure out what I wanted to tell Jesse, how much he could handle, what
kind of friendship we were going to have. He said the books didn’t cover
this situation, I was an unusual young man, I had to blaze my own trail.
“You’ve grown up way too
fast, it’s going to cause you some difficulties at times. Looks like this is
one of them. Don’t worry too much and don’t let things bother you too much.
I didn’t want to blaze
“I thought you told me
you wanted me to be a kid.”
“Yes, but you didn’t pay
attention, did you?”
That felt kind of crappy.
Halloween came and Will
decided to dress and go out as a hobo. He pressured Jesse into going too.
I’m sure they got a lot of very strange reactions, as they were both at
least two years older than any other kids. Neither Eleanor nor I made any
Will dug into the storage
room, rummaged through boxes all day. When I came home, his bed was covered
with stuffed animals.
He brought a teddy bear
with him when he came to my bed that night, I didn’t say anything, suddenly
it made a lot of sense to me, I saw it as hopeful. Even more hopeful, he
slept in his own bed about once a week.
After a bit it all fell
into place, and I figured a little regression was a great thing; a chance
for him to become a little boy and do it over, better. Of course I didn’t
think going to bed with me was necessarily the completely authentic
experience for a healthy child. But going to bed with a man and not having
sex with him was a step.
I realized then that Will
would never be a completely normal person; he was indeed too abused and
warped to get himself completely back. But we all are the product of our
lives, however they may be, and he could still make his life a lot more
Then of course, we had a
little setback. I had crabs. Not much question about where they came from.
I suppose the surprising
thing was that it had not come to our attention before, happened before.
Perhaps it had, but had been treated without our knowledge. There was a lot
of detail we never knew; a lot of our son’s life we never discovered.
Paul handled it adeptly.
It would have been difficult to explain at the base Clinic, and Paul
suggested that might not be a good place for Will in any event.
I had learned to lessen
my expectations and look at the positives. I had had many opportunities to
He had a friend, he had
Paul, he was safe in his bed at home most of the time. In terms of what I
was capable of reaching for, my expectations by that time, this was as good
as I expected it would get.
After talking with
Eleanor I decided to take him to a free V. D. clinic in town. Of course the
clinic on base knew what to do about it, they had plenty of experience with
V. D. with all those young Marines. As a dependent he could get free
The base clinic just
wasn’t the place for this boy, who had casually told me of getting a doctor
there to blow him during one of his previous exams. And I was afraid there’d
just be a lot questions that would be difficult to answer.
In the meantime she
starting washing all the bedding and towels and all of his clothes and mine.
The clinic I knew
provided anonymous treatment, and catered to the Gay community. You just had
a chart number and a password. Still, we had to wait in line for several
hours, and it was like sitting on the African plains with a load of fresh
raw meat. The flies were buzzing, the buzzards circling. The only thing I
could do was to point out that these people all probably had V. D.
His checkup wasn’t all
that promising either, he had an inflammation in his throat, which a call a
few days later confirmed was gonorrhea. Amazingly the anal swabs showed
nothing, but they had given him sufficient antibiotics on this visit,
anticipating the results of the swabs, to handle things; along with
instructions on how to beat the crabs.
He tried to tell me we
should shower together when I used the pediculicide shampoo from the
drugstore. When I rejected that he suggested I shave him as an effective way
to eliminate all the eggs.
None of this seemed to
phase him at all, but when I had a repeat bout of crabs a week later, I was
pretty angry. Told him that was not adult behavior, and if he was going to
have sex with adults at least he could take care not to go back to a person
who he knows is infested.
He disappeared for two
Bend, Paul. Bend like a
I was sitting at the desk
in my room, Tom’s room, paying my bills. I heard the door open, turned
around and saw him there, disheveled, wearing the same clothes he had worn
when he left. He was looking at me sheepishly, sadly.
I observed him closely
for the first time in weeks. He’d grown, he was taller, filled out since the
drugs, and added some new muscle too. He was probably up to 175 pounds now;
he looked, if not a man, like he was getting close.
He was pleading with his
I spoke first. “Will, I
am sorry that I lost my temper. I apologize.”
He looked at me
miserably, “You were right to get mad at me. It sucked what I did.”
“OK, well, we were both
wrong. So I won’t give you a lecture, but I want to understand what your
thinking is now about this.”
“What do you mean?”
“What did you do, what
should you have done, what will you do – any of those things.”
“Do you know who gave you
“Yes.” Well, that was
good. It meant he didn’t have so many sex partners he couldn’t figure out
who did it.
“Have you talked to him?”
“Yeah. I did that after
the second time. I told him. And I won’t have sex with him again until he
gets rid of them.”
“OK, what about running
“I didn’t run away! I
just needed some time alone, to think about things.”
“Where did you go?”
“Nowhere. I slept in
Jesse’s garage, he didn’t know it, and I got out before his dad got up in
the mornings. I slept on a table some in the picnic area. I washed in the
head at the Bowling Alley. I stayed the day in the base library.”
“Better than before,
Will. But – “ I paused.
“I know,” he looked down
at his feet, started to tear up. “I let you down by not telling you what I
“Yes, it scared me and
your parents. Please promise me you won’t run away again, Will. If you need
a place to run to, to get away for a little bit, we’ll see if there isn’t
someone or someplace you can go where you’ll be safe.”
“And I am not going to
tell you to stop, because you won’t, but you are still out having sex with
men, and it’s wrong and dangerous.”
“I’m sorry, I am sorry.”
A long pause. “I won’t promise, but I promise I’ll try not to do that again.
But I need to ask you something.”
“If you won’t have sex
with me and I’m not supposed to find other men for sex, what am I supposed
“Well, it’s another one
of those things, Will, where your situation doesn’t match the usual answers.
For another fifteen year old, I’d have an answer, but what would work for
most teens just doesn’t fit you.”
“I don’t know what to
say, maybe the right answer is that you need to think harder about what kind
of person to be, and what kind of person would be at least safe as a sex
partner. Most teenagers don’t have sex, and if they do it’s with other
teens. But that isn’t what you are looking for.”
“So, you think about that
and talk to me about what thoughts you get. In the meantime, I would like
you to think about promising you won’t run away again. And how you are going
to make it up to your mother for scaring her.”
He cried, and I consoled
him for a while.
“Now go into the bathroom
and clean up, use the special shampoo to get rid of the crabs, and put your
clothes in a plastic bag so your mom can wash them. Your room is clean at
least, she washed everything again yesterday.
I just don’t know what’s
happening to me. I don’t know who I am, how to act, what to do.
Paul says it’s normal.
Teenagers are half kids, half adults and it’s confusing because sometimes
you’re one and sometimes the other but never know which one is going to pop
I dumped that Marine, and
for a while I was just doing one or two of the older guys at continuation.
I went almost a week
without getting fucked. It felt sort of good.
Thanksgiving was fast
approaching and I made plans to visit my family in Chicago. Will woke me up
at five a.m. one morning and asked if he could come along.
I surprised myself by
The Colonel wasn’t too
pleased, and Eleanor was a little sad, Thanksgiving with an empty nest, but
they made plans for a weekend away.
The Colonel had indeed
learned to bend. I certainly had mixed feelings about all this, but I took
the tack that we had to face facts, and that was talking the Colonel’s
“Thomas, I’m sorry, but
he isn’t our boy any more.”
He bristled. I know he
knew it already, but it’s different when it’s spoken aloud.
“How can you say that?”
“He’s Paul’s. We must
face the facts. We cannot parent him, we don’t; he will not allow it. Paul
is able to, he does. And it’s better that he has one good parent than no
parents at all.”
I may have only imagined
that his voice broke just a tiny bit.
“You may have a point.”
Of all the things God has
blessed me with, my family is at the very top of the list.
I grew up in East Dundee,
Illinois, a little town about fifty miles out of Chicago, a typical nice
Midwest small town. The biggest thing around East Dundee was Santa’s
Village, now I think it’s a year-round thing, an amusement park in summers.
Then it was seasonal only. It was a backwater, too far out to even be a
bedroom community in my youth.
Dad owned a grocery and
gas station on the state highway, but when the interstate came he closed it
up and retired. He could probably have run it still and made some money, but
it would have been much more a struggle, and mother had worked, she taught
Art in the junior high. They’d saved and invested well, and retirement was a
just reward for a lifetime of labor and love.
I never doubted that
love, though I was acutely, painfully aware at points in growing up that I
was going to disappoint them.
We all worked in the
store or the station as we grew up. Even today, just filling the car up
reminds me of Dad; the pungent sharp smell of gasoline is sweet to me. I
suppose most kids would not think so fondly of those hot, muggy summer days
or the hours spent cleaning windshields, pumping gas, checking the oil,
handing out green stamps, but sometimes I think those were the very best
parts of my life. I suppose you filter out the bad parts as you grow. It was
expected of us but also we expected to do it, it was right. Then I felt
protected, close to my folks and Dad in particular, contributing to the
All the things that Will
didn’t seem to ever feel.
My older sister Kate,
ambitious and smart, ended up going to Cornell Law. She had a rivalry going
with me and Danny for many years, but never realized that I wasn’t
competing. Not until she was much older, anyway. Even so I had never doubted
her love either, I knew I could count on Kate. The last time she let me down
I was seven and she lied to me about how deep the water was in the community
pool. It took a long time to forgive her, but she really took the experience
to heart and never did anything like that again.
Danny came along four
years after me. He was the apple of everyone’s eye. Even mine. You hear
about families where the youngest is spoiled or resented, but Danny was such
a sweet, easygoing, likeable child, you could not resent him. Kate got her
hooks in him. He ended up in law school too.
I was a middle child, and
I had that middle child talent for hiding in plain sight, able to melt into
my surroundings. Still, my sister and brother never overlooked me; and it
was to them that I had first come out, just three years earlier.
I knew in those difficult
days that my parents would eventually come to terms with me and we would be
a family. But I dreaded it. And when I talked to my siblings I shared my
dread. It was Danny who solved the problem for me.
“Paul, you don’t have to
tell them. We can do it. Kate and I can do it.”
At first I thought it was
impossible to allow them to, a blatant caving in to my own cowardice. But as
I thought it through, I saw real positives. Many of my friends had shared
their parents’ reactions with me, and I knew that first reactions were often
extreme, and not representative of where things eventually stood. And I
thought about the prospects that one of them might say something to me that
we would both regret, even if it was only a spontaneous, first reaction.
Or maybe I really was a
But within six months my
parents were able to see their child in me, and the reserve, the wall of
alien-ness that so many gay people experience in their families was gone.
God had blessed me to give me these people.
I said that to mom, and
her reply was “God blessed us with you, Paul, and don’t you ever forget it.”
High school was not the
torture for me that it is for many gay kids, because in the early sixties
you didn’t have any expectation of acceptance at all. It was simply never
spoken of, I never even considered coming out. For myself, I did struggle a
bit, but never really to question who I was. I knew who I was, I didn’t know
what to do abut it, and the only fear I recall was of how it would affect my
I was a good but not
stellar student and was in the Band and Drama. And of course, later at my
reunion people professed to be surprised to learn that I was gay. The
reception was cool, but not hostile
I graduated from high
school in 1964 and promptly enlisted in the Navy. It was an expectation,
since I had decided I was not inclined to go to college just yet. It was the
first disappointment I handed my parents, but this one I could pose as
patriotism. And that was an acceptable motive in my family.
In the Navy I got the
training I needed for my job, and when my enlistment ended I had a ready
position with the equipment manufacturer. I liked the work, it was technical
and it felt important.
Thanksgiving was at my
sister’s place in Chicago. It would have been a lot more complicated had we
gone to Mom and Dad’s. It was still pretty complicated to explain to Kate
what to expect. And while she knew she could trust me I could tell she was a
little shocked when I told her what the sleeping arrangements would be. But
I didn’t see that it made any sense to inconvenience everyone with separate
quarters when space would be tight, and then have to deal with the
awkwardness anyway when he ended up in my bed.
It went pretty well, he
was taken by Danny, who is a very funny guy, formed an amazingly fierce
attachment to Danny’s girlfriend. Mom and Dad came over Thanksgiving day,
met him as my “foster son.”
I had explained it as
best I could in advance, and my parents trust me a lot too; still I had been
But as soon as she saw
Will, the instincts kicked in and Mom decided to be a mother. Soon Will was
eating up her attention and care, sitting in the kitchen cutting up
vegetables with my sister under Mom’s watchful eye. He was at that moment at
least, a kid again. Mom gave me some grief when Will wasn’t around, telling
me I’d picked up another stray, and better be careful I didn’t get stuck
with him. But she didn’t mean anything by it, just concerned. I could tell
she liked Will, though of course I had not really shared the background with
her; she didn’t know about all the other men in his life, and I had felt
compelled to be really clear with her about what his relationship was with
me. Or at least what it wasn’t.
You probably couldn’t
find a greater contrast between my dad’s casual affection and relaxed ways
and the Colonel. Dad could always be counted on to be a Dad, and Will
watched the two of us in amazement. We’ve not been one of the more touchy
families I’ve ever seen, but we weren’t distant. Dad hugged me fiercely,
slapped me on the back and started asking me when I was going to get back to
college, and get a real career. It was an old tune and he knew he couldn’t
budge me, so it was more an in joke than anything else. Dad knew I was at
ease with my career choices, he accepted them, he needled me with it now and
then. Will caught on.
Dad and Danny and I spent
a few hours catching up on man talk, Will sat with us soaking it up, not
speaking even when Dad tried to draw him out. But he looked at Dad with an
intensity that made me feel a little alarm. Then I decided simply not to
worry. The boy would get nowhere with Dad if that was where he was headed,
and we’d deal with the aftermath if need be.
The weather was warmer
than usual, so the four men went out to the basketball court and we had a
two on two in which Will and Danny beat the crap out of Dad and me.
“No respect of age,” I
told him. He laughed.
Friday I drove him out to
the folks’ place, and we drove around and then walked around. I showed him
the schools I’d gone to, the places I’d played as a boy. He was very quiet
and thoughtful, almost pensive.
That night in bed he
whispered into my ear, “Thank you for bringing me here.” And he kissed my
cheek, then grabbed me in a hug and wouldn’t let go.
It was the best in
His dad talked to me,
didn’t seem too freaked out by me, put his arm around my shoulders and then
squeezed. Ann, his brother’s girlfriend was so cool. Well, everyone was.
I remembered why I was in
love with him during this visit. He had everything I needed.
Someday he’ll make love
to me, too. We’ll go back there for our honeymoon.
I went for a walk with
Danny on Friday, he lives in New York, which is cool.
“What was Paul like when
he was a kid?”
“Hmm, well I could tell
you he was a jerk of an older brother.”
“He was? I don’t think
he’s a jerk”
“Well, I could tell you
that, but it’s not really true, he was once in a while but usually he was
just the opposite.”
“In fact, my brother was
– well is – one of the nicest people I’ve ever known. Do you know about his
“Pets? Huh uh. He doesn’t
have any pets.”
“Yes, he said with his
schedule it wouldn’t work. But when he was a kid, younger than you, he used
to pick up every stray cat and dog in town. He must have had at least five
of them, and rabbits and now and then some bird that had been injured. My
mom used to swear she’d disown him if he brought another one home, but he’d
do it and she would just sigh and help him. I always expected him to be a
veterinarian or something.”
“It’s just his nature, he
takes after Dad a lot. Dad was in training to be a minister when he was
young, decided to go into business later. Very soft-hearted, both of them.”
I thought about that, and
wondered if Paul thought I was a stray like that.
When we got back, Jesse
was being a pain in the ass. I thought he’d grow up some but he was still
like a little kid, though he claimed it was the other way around.
Next time we had a
sleepover at his place, he started in asking about Paul again. I guess
because he knew I went to Chicago with him.
“I told you, don’t ask
questions if you can’t handle the answers.”
“What’s your secret? Is
he some kind of homo, does he queer you? Is that it? Is that why you sleep
I was sitting on the edge
of the other bed in his room, in my pajamas. When he said that I looked at
him, it was so weird, and I started laughing.
“Man have you EVER got it
wrong!” I just laughed so hard I fell over on my side.
“I don’t think so, I
think that’s just what it’s all about!”
I laughed some more, and
then after a bit I stopped laughing and sat up and said, “Well, you asked
for it. You gonna keep your trap shut if I tell you? No ratting on
“I’m no rat!” He sounded
“Okay, you asked.
And I started to tell
I told him about Gary and
Walter and Kent and the beach and the other stuff. At first he tried to
interrupt and ask questions but I told him to shut up and listen since he
asked. So he sat and stared after about the first five minutes, I took
almost a half-hour. Just stared at me with his mouth all wide open.
“So you’re a homo? And
you get fucked in the ASS?”
“I guess. Yes, I
definitely am, want me to go home?”
“No,” he seemed hesitant,
“but I don’t want to hear any more.”
“OK, but you asked. And I
still have to tell you about Paul.”
And I did, about meeting
him, about going to his place in North Hollywood and the rape.
“And Paul,” I said, “Paul
is the only guy I know who doesn’t want to do me. He won’t let me
touch him, he won’t let me do anything with him. He lets me sleep with him
because he’s afraid if he don’t I’ll run away again. And he’s the one guy I
want the most on this whole earth, and I can’t have him.”
I’m not going to tell the
rest because I’m not a rat either.
I still had a friend.
In early December came a
new problem. The Colonel once again had orders, and with Will at home, it
would be a lot more difficult to get them postponed.
There are always choices.
The Colonel could take retirement instead, he had his twenty in that year,
but he had planned to stay at least another five, and possibly ten years. We
expected promotion to full Colonel after his next assignment, and the
economics of retirement alone would be greatly improved.
Plus he was a man of his
He could ask for a
cancellation on compassionate grounds anyway, but that would have meant
airing the laundry with a vengeance, little prospect of working, and
probably would have seriously impaired his career and chances for promotion.
He could ask for
assignment in the US, but that too would have required explaining the
reasons and would likely not be granted anyway.
He was ready to do it,
would have done anything. This time I was the one that needed to face facts.
“He isn’t our boy now,
Eleanor. And it will be a disaster if we try to take him with us. I’ll stay
here if it will make you feel better, I’ll do anything you want me
to, but it won’t solve any problems.”
We kept the orders secret
and discussed the options in detail, each choice being assessed carefully
for its impact on Will.
In time I knew what my
husband needed, and what my son needed. I was not at all sure what I needed.
I was afraid I could not bear it, was not ready to lose him.
With a little more time
to think, I knew Will had two parents who would do anything,
literally, for him.
But what of Paul?
I thought I knew, I
thought the Colonel was right, Will had one father now, it was Paul, and
though I could not think of one single reason he should or would take that
burden, I was sure he would do it. I knew it in my heart. I knew Paul’s
heart by this time.
The Colonel left the
talking to me.
“Paul, we don’t have the
right to ask this, but we are going to ask anyway.”
“If Will comes overseas
with us, we think it will be a disaster, he’ll run away to God knows where
and what in no time. Or he’ll get himself in so much trouble, well, we are
afraid of what he might do.”
“The only thing that has
got him settled down is being with you here. So we are going to ask you if
you can possibly consider taking him on. We’ll understand if you can’t do
this, it’s not your obligation. You’ve already done so much more than we
could ever have asked.”
She was being
disingenuous. She knew before she asked and she wasn’t taking no for an
answer. Because she knew I would do it. Because she was his mother and she
thought it would save his life.
Much as I hated it, I
thought she might be right about that, which left me no choice.
There were some problems
that weren’t going to be easy to solve, though.
I couldn’t keep him with
me in the BOQ; I couldn’t leave him alone for five days a week in North
Hollywood. I couldn’t stay in their home, they lived in base housing, and I
wasn’t entitled; they’d vacate when they moved. So that meant I had to find
a place to live nearby, and pay for two apartments. They would help
financially but even so, that wouldn’t work.
I didn’t want to give up
my attachment in the city. I had friends there, though most of them didn’t
have room in their lives for a “couple” one of whom was sixteen. And friends
or no a few had been more than a little interested in Will.
It came down to either
look for a new job, live in North Hollywood full time or give up my place
there and live here full time.
What finally decided me
was Jesse. If I left the area, Will would lose Jesse, and I thought it too
cruel a blow. I figured I could always move into the city later when Will
So with everything
planned, we broke the news to Will.