Chapter Nine

"I Know Not The Man"


Amsterdam was a glory, we took a first class train compartment from Paris, and when we arrived the day was sunny, warm, the city alive as it can be only during its brief summer. It was picturesque, quaint, modern, cosmopolitan. I could understand why Will might like it.

Of course I figured it had its dark side, too, and likely that’s where I’d find Will.

We settled into our hotel, and then I could not wait, we asked directions to his address.

It took quite some time to get there, we had a few false starts, not understanding the city’s tram system, we made poor estimates of the walking distances.

When we finally arrived it was getting late, nearly sundown. We found a seedy basement apartment in an even more seedy apartment building, far removed from the city’s heart, and as expected a lot of ne’er do well young men and women frequenting the neighborhood. It looked like a lot of squatters and the drug influence was obvious. Well, what did I expect?

There was no answer, but I had come prepared, I sat on the stoop of the building and began writing a note to tell him I was here, what hotel we were at.

Suddenly a young blonde boy came up to me, looking at me sharply, and spoke.

“Excuse me, you are Paul?”

I was of course surprised, told him yes.

“I am Matteus, you are looking for Will, I think?”

“Well, yes, I am. Is he a friend of yours, Matteus? Do you know where he is?”

“You can say we are friends, I think. He is now working, but perhaps in a little while you can see him for supper if you like.”

I surveyed the boy, he was thin as a rail, not at all the sort of thing I’d expect from Will. He looked about fifteen, very fine boned, quite obviously gay. Will tended to the masculine, hairy-chested big man. Obviously this wasn’t the love interest. This was a roommate, perhaps a fellow traveler in the sex trade. He was very pretty, he’d do well at it if that was his thing.

“Yes that would be fine, Matteus. Um, can you tell me how you happen to know me?”

“Oh I have seen your photo many many times, Paul. He talks of you often.”


“I am thinking he is not expecting you to be here, though?”

“No, well, we had this trip planned a while, but we didn’t have his address until shortly before we left, so we didn’t really have time to tell him we were coming.”

“I am sorry, who are we, please?”

I introduced him.

“This is my companion, Brandt.”

“It is nice to meet you, Brandt. I do not think Will has mentioned you.”

“I met Brandt recently, Matteus.”

“No matter. He will be very happy you are here I am sure. Can I say you can meet somewhere?  Maybe you want a restaurant for a nice meal to see him?”

“Good idea, what do you suggest?”

He gave us a name and directions to a restaurant nearer to our hotel, and suggested we dine late. I gave him the name of the hotel so Will could call just in case something happened.


Matteus came to pick me up after work, and we were walking back to the apartment. I had thought he was going to wait for me in my room; it was such a nice evening, though, I was glad to have him to walk with me.

“Would you like a nice supper, Will?  I think I will take you to a nice restaurant today if you like.”

This was weird, we ate in really cheap places, buying a little food in stores, from street vendors, take out food, not “nice restaurants”.

I knew Matteus had more money than I did, especially since I stopped whoring after I met him. It was tough to make ends meet and I was having to eat a lot more of Mrs. deKuyk’s food. Not that I minded. So I was pretty inclined to take up a free meal, but didn’t want him to spend his money. Besides I wanted him to fuck me just then.

“No, I don’t want you to pay, you don’t have all that much money,” I told him, “plus I have other plans for you tonight.” 

He smiled, making day out of night for me.

“Yes, we can do that too,” he agreed,  “if we hurry. But I have actually made some plans and we are reserved for nine-thirty, naughty Will, so you must be fast about it and get very clean for a nice meal, which you will please accept with more polite manners than you are now showing.”

Mats wore the pants. Well, actually neither one of us wore pants much when we were together, but he could always lay down the law to me. And his accent always made it so hard to argue with anything he said. I usually had to spend a minute trying to figure out what he was saying when he got that screwy grammar running, and by then it was too late to argue.

“Okay, okay, I give up, but you have to be the one who is quick.”

“Well,” he grinned, “on another hand, we cannot rush so much we are doing a poor job.” 


Afterward, he made me shower and get dressed up in my best clothes, wearing my leather jacket, which was getting a little worn out, and find a really nice shirt and then got impatient because I didn’t have a tie, so he made me wear a silk scarf. I thought it looked fruity. I know better than to argue with him, though.

So it was a long walk to this restaurant and he was being real mysterious with me. I could tell he had something up his sleeve. I tried to guess.

“Couldn’t you have given me more advance notice?  What, is this your birthday? You graduated from the conservatory? I’m going to meet your family?  You found a tourist trick for me?”

“No, nothing like that, just a little special occasion, maybe you will meet someone though. I’m sorry, I should have told you sooner but it comes up suddenly. But you will be enjoying yourself I’m sure.”

And even when I bugged him he wouldn’t let another peep out. “It’s enough now, you will see.”

So I saw this restaurant, and I knew he couldn’t afford this place, this was one of the major expensive tourist places, one of the ones that served Rijstaffel, the Indonesian-Dutch food, like twenty course meals. It would cost a fortune to eat here. Thirty bucks a person at least. Maybe one of my tricks would take me to a place like this but not Mats!

“Are you sure about this, you can’t afford this place!”

“Yes, well, someone else will pay for your dinner, I think, and I will perhaps not eat so much. Maybe I will just pick a little from your plate.”

“Someone else?”

“Ah, we must go in now, we are almost late.”

We walked in and the maitre’d surveyed us doubtfully, but Matteus spoke quickly in Dutch to him, he said we were expected then I lost it, something about me being American.

The maitre’d told him to follow, ‘nagaan,’ and we did, and then I saw him.

Oh my heart swelled up so I thought it would explode, it was pounding and pounding and I started to get tears in my eyes immediately. I stopped right there in the middle of the restaurant.

“My God,” I whispered. “Oh my God.”


I could not have been more pleased, neither by the restaurant, nor by Will when I saw him. He came up all teary, speechless. I didn’t know until a little later that little Matteus had kept it a surprise for him.

But he looked so fine!  He’d perhaps been more muscled when he was working out in California, but he had obviously regained his health, put weight back on, was far from what I had expected or feared. His eyes glowed, his skin looked healthy if pale from the scant sunlight. He was, all in all, a good sight.

And more. He was somehow grown up in a way I’d not seen before. Of course he was pushing twenty now, so I should expect that and he did look his age, but there was a more mature cast to him, and I realized it was in his walk, his posture, not his body.

“My little boy has grown up,” I exclaimed aloud, not thinking. He was startled.

Of course we had a bit of catching up to do, he really had not expected us, didn’t know of Brandt, didn’t know why we were there. Ordering food and making introductions was complicated and distracting.

I saw that Matteus had invited himself to dinner, didn’t mind since he’d been such a good messenger and made such a nice surprise. I found I liked the kid, at least pending learning more about him. . He did have a poise about him that I enjoyed.

Thus, I was astonished after I made introductions of Brandt and Will, when Will turned to this fey child and said “This is Matteus, but you know him, of course. My one and only.”

Indeed, astonished is an understatement.

Never in a million years would I have expected Will to be interested in such a little creature. And to be introduced as “one and only”?  From Will?  The boy who had five men a day sometimes and couldn’t be satisfied?

Well, of course I might be taking that part too literally.

“Well, Matteus has been quite modest, Will, he didn’t tell us about his elevated status. One and only? My that’s some compliment, Matteus,” I winked, “You’ll bear some watching.”

All through that joyous dinner, while I learned a little of Will’s life, I watched the interactions between the two. Matteus refused food, said he’d eat a little off Will’s plate, and did so. The waiter was scandalized, not I think, by the loss of revenue but by the intimacy. These two could not hide it, though it was not blatantly sexual behavior, just star-crossed lovers. Well, Will was star-crossed, Matteus seemed more in control, but just as much in love.

Will told me Matteus was studying concert piano, I was suitably impressed, he surely had the fingers for it. But when I asked questions the answers seemed a little evasive.

How long had he been studying was the one that caused the trouble.

“Well, a while now, since I was eight, but more seriously since twelve.”

“Ah, about eight years altogether then,” I said being generous.

Will interjected, “No, like eleven years.”

But Matteus was silent.


How could I not have seen it? I’m so stupid. I was blind.

I didn’t figure it out while we ate dinner, I was back at the apartment and he had left to go home and suddenly the conversation played back in my head.

Of course he had never spent the night, now I understood why. I knew that I’d made a mistake. A horrible mistake.

That night I dreamed about rape.


When he came the next morning I made him tell me. Just to be sure.


The whole world came apart.

I was crushed, I didn’t know what to do, what could I do?  I had to send him away, I had to go away, run away, kill myself, something, anything, I could not bear this pain.

Then he was crying, telling me not to be crazy, to forgive him.

“It’s only a little lie, I’m not fifteen in my heart. You must see this.” 

He finally left.

I was in a deep funk, I went out and wandered the streets all day, finally found a guy to fuck me.

It felt awful. I wanted HIS dick in me.

I sat up all night, rocking on my mattress, crying, dozing off, crying again.

It was earliest dawn when I got dressed again and wandered the streets, moving aimlessly, but knowing where I would end up.

As I headed there I felt guilty, I remembered what he had said to me that night, it seemed so very very long ago.

“ . . . If you kill yourself I’ll be left with nothing.”

I didn’t like the thought of leaving him with nothing. But you have to do the right thing, he taught me that, even if it hurts.


We had spent a busy day at the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, each incomparable in their own ways; then a delightful dinner in a little bistro if that’s the right word in Amsterdam.

We had plans to see Will once more before we left, the next day; and I had excitedly telephoned Eleanor to tell her of our dinner the previous evening.

“I can’t say with him what will happen, Eleanor, but I’ve never been so optimistic. He’s grown up so much. The boyfriend seems so strange, such a departure from his past, but he’s sweet as a kitten, and still seems to be the leader in the relationship. They’re a cute couple.”

“Paul, it’s so wonderful, do you think he would let us come to see him?” I relished the relief and joy in her voice

“I don’t know, Eleanor, I can ask tomorrow. Nothing to lose by asking.”

When I hung up, Brandt and I shared a late night snack and a few glasses of wine in our room before going to sleep.

It was barely six a.m. when the phone rang.