Chapter Ten

Gospel and Epistle


I called Eleanor and asked her to hurry on up.

Brandt stepped in to the rescue, because I was suddenly overwhelmed with the immediacy of what I needed to do. He changed our flight and hotel reservations, made some calls to find local resources, not much we could use, but at least some numbers to call if we needed it.

Then Brandt went to his place and stayed there to wait for Matteus to appear.

Matteus showed that afternoon, distraught, hoping to find Will, so Brandt gathered him under wing and shepherded him off to a coffee shop, where he extracted a full confession including home address.

Matteus was tearful, painfully aware of the price of his deception.

“I was not understanding he doesn’t know this, at first, no one else will think I am nineteen. So when I am finally knowing he thinks I am older, I was going to tell him when we had coffee the first time.”

“But when he tells me his story I know he won’t like a boy for his lover, so I didn’t tell him. I was thinking he will not want to me see if I tell him this. Besides he needed something else then so I did for him, what he needs.”

Brandt called me to find out whether he should bring Matteus to the hotel.


Thing about Paul, he always knew exactly how to handle me.

Probably sounds funny, but you know I thought a lot about all the shit I gave him. He thought he made mistakes and then I’d fuck up because of them, but he was all wrong about that. I’d have fucked up just as bad or worse, no matter what he did. He knew how to handle me when I did. I’d missed that, someone to keep me in line.

He came down to the lobby and took me up to his room.

I started to tell him the whole thing about Matteus. I told him the asshole was fifteen, not nineteen.

I started to tell him anyway, and he seemed puzzled about it then he stopped me from saying anything. He held his hand over my mouth, hugged me tight close to him, set me down in a chair, knelt on the floor in front of me.

“Will, are you thinking about hurting yourself?” It was just like old times.

I was glad his hotel was before I got to the canal, or I’d have jumped in first.


We took a vote about bringing Matteus to the hotel; Will voted no, I voted yes. The yeas had it.

Matteus looked at me pleading as Will sulked, face down on the bed.

“Please, Paul tell him this does not matter. When he is fifteen he has many older men, what is wrong with this, I know he loves me!”

I almost laughed. I’d have been thrilled, when he was fifteen, for him to have limited himself to a single nineteen-year-old. On the other hand, I’d lectured him often and well about the need to respect age differences.

“Matteus, I am not sure anything I say can make a difference here. I am sure he loves you, I know he does, in fact. But this is a difficult thing for him, as you can see.”

I wasn’t sure the age of consent in Holland, but I thought it was twelve or fifteen, certainly it was no more than sixteen. The boy had eventually to deal with family, of course, and I didn’t know what that would be like. But there didn’t seem to be any insurmountable impediment to the two of them being together, well, nothing not implicit in any teenage romance.

The truth is, I didn’t know why Will was so upset; frankly except for the practical difficulties, I didn’t see the problem. I couldn’t for the life of me see why Will, with all his experience of the world, hadn’t known immediately. No one with working eyeballs would think Matteus was nineteen.

On the other hand, Will was suicidal, seriously so, and there had to be a reason because he had most definitely NOT been that way the night before.

Hours passed, I had Brandt take Matteus out to get a bite and talk, ordered up some food, Will was sleeping, but I woke him up. He had no appetite.

I asked him if we could talk about it, he looked down at the floor, mesmerized by the intricate floral pattern of the carpet. Then slowly looked up.

“I’ll do whatever you say.”

“Can you tell me, please, Will, what is so upsetting to you about Matteus being fifteen?”

“I can’t believe you ask me that, Paul!” He was excited suddenly and crying. “After all you told me, how can you not understand that?”

“Will, I know I’ve told you a lot of things, tried to give you the best guidance I could. But rules apply to specific situations, and I don’t what rule you think applies here, or what you think it means, and I wonder if you haven’t got to reexamine what it is. So can you please tell me what is wrong with this, as you see it?”

But he broke down crying every time he tried to talk, wracking sobs.

After several tries, he was wailing at the top of his lungs, he was so shaken, out of control, flailing about violently such that I had finally to lay atop him to hold him still.

But having begun, I sensed this was very significant that I should let him; that this was not something to stop. So I told him, encouraged him to scream it out, to let it happen, whatever it was.

“How could I fuck around with a little BOY? “ he finally screamed. “How could he lie to me?”

“More, there’s more.” I said


“What won’t you do, Will, What?” My breath was hot on the back of his neck, I was holding his arms down, pinning him tightly to the mattress of my bed.


He screeched, a soulful agonized steamwhistle of pain, a wordless primal scream.



“Tell me, what it is that you won’t do, Will! Tell me!”

“I – I – I . . .


He collapsed, hiccuping, screaming, hyperventilating.

Hotel security was knocking on the door.


It was very dark in the room, very late at night. I was in Paul’s big warm bed alone but dreamed father was there, kissing me, kissing my forehead. I fell back to sleep his scent in my nose, the moisture of his blessing on my brow.


The Colonel had changed, met Brandt with a smile, shook my hand heartily. Listened silently. I still found Eleanor much easier to talk to. Matteus had gone home, much consoled, but would be back the next day if all went well.

We all slept, but the Colonel kept watch on Will; he conceived it his duty to do so.

And he was ever a man of his duty.


It was good to see mom, no matter how bad things were. They met Mats, and all six of us sat around and ate lunch.

The Colonel kept looking at him out the corner of his eyes, and suddenly I saw what he saw, a limp skinny nelly little boy faggot who fucked his son’s eyes out.

How come I didn’t see that before?

Why did I not want to know it?

Well, there! Fuck it, I saw it, I didn’t care if the Colonel liked him or not.


“You’re finally beginning to understand, Will, what was happening to you all those years. Last night you screamed out ten years of pain.”

“I don’t understand, Paul. Really, I wasn’t raped except that once.”

“You were raped, many times, even when you were wiggling your ass at men, they ended up raping you. They took advantage of your youth, your willingness, your need for love, the emptiness.”

The Colonel shifted in his seat.

“All the pain you had, you didn’t even feel it, you used more sex to hide it, bury it, make it not hurt. Then last night you screamed it all out at once. Because you thought you were the cause of it, you were going to do to Matteus what had been done to you.”

“In fact, you didn’t even see what everyone here can see – his real age – probably because you just didn’t want to face it, thought it was a bad thing, and couldn’t see it to avoid that pain.”

“But Will, there is a clear difference here with Matteus. You must come to understand it. You are not raping him, you are not that much older, you are not taking advantage of him. Matteus isn’t as needy as you were, he was in control of himself when he found you.” 

“And remember all the other things I told you to look at in having sex with someone?  Equality. Mutuality. Trust. Healthy interests. And Love, of course, you have that, it’s obvious.”

“Yes, he violated your trust, you will have to find a way to forgive him for that. He’s young, he made a mistake there. He made it out of love, though.”

Matteus was all teary and rubbing his eyes with a Kleenex.

“From everything I have seen and heard, Will, Matteus and you have a good, safe, healthy thing going on here. It may not be perfect, I see obstacles for you two. But I must say Will, this is the best thing I’ve seen you involved in all the time I’ve known you.”

So there it was, I didn’t know how, what to say or do. I didn’t have to die instead of loving him. Screw the Colonel if he didn’t like it.

After that it was kind of silent and then I didn’t know what to say and then I got up and walked away from the table and looked out the window; it was another nice day out there; and then I went back and bent over and kissed Matteus on the lips right there in front of them all.

Fuck ‘em.


Even though Paul had explained at length what to expect, it was still startling to me to see Will involved with someone like this. Mind, I was not being judgmental, I just wanted him to be happy, but Matteus was indeed a real change. I thought perhaps it was a good thing, a sign of changes that had happened inside our boy.

Well, our man, now.

Nor could I understand what had happened to Will that caused this crisis. But by the time we got there, I began to see it was mostly healed. That recognition came more slowly, of course. When we arrived he was deep asleep and Paul tried to tell us what had happened.

We heard about Matteus’ real age, but I must admit I didn’t see any real connection or problem, just as Paul said he had not at first, but we talked it through and I began to see that Will had come to feel he was doing to Matteus what had been done to him.

As we discussed it I saw that it meant Will was coming to the realization of how much he had been hurt in the past. And because Matteus was so young – well, only a little younger than Will, but perhaps so young compared to Will’s usual preferences? – Will was identifying somehow with those men.

Most amazing of all to me was the Colonel’s reaction.

He was silent while we met with Matteus, but could not seem to take his eyes away. I could almost see his thought processes whirling, he was in his totally focused mode, which I rarely saw outside of his work.

A little later I saw him draw the child aside, took him out on the balcony and they sat in the chairs there, overlooking that beautiful city, and talked for almost an hour. Because I was worried I kept a close eye on this, though I think no one else noticed it.

Later he told me that Matteus had gently scolded him, told him he couldn’t hide his love for Will, and that Will needed to see it. I think it was the directness, the simplicity and honesty that got him.

It took me two weeks to get that out of my taciturn husband in little bits, long after we got back to Spain. But I saw the results much earlier.

The Colonel hugged Matteus.


My parents stayed for five days, Paul had to go home after two. I took them to see my apartment; they met Mr. deKuyk.

The weirdest part was when they left, what the Colonel did. I was gonna wave at him a little bit, I just hugged mom, then was gonna wave off the old man, and then he grabbed me and hugged me. Didn’t say anything. Smelled good. I couldn’t get loose, his arms were too strong.

Then he surprised me a lot more because he shook hands with Matteus.

So then they were all gone and we weren’t and I took him to bed and we fucked each other’s brains out.



After that I told him we had to figure out something to do with his family, because he wasn’t out yet. We couldn’t go to his house, but he did show me the conservatory where he studied and sometimes I came to see him there, to hear him play.

He played like the angels, I never thought that much about music like that but when he played it grabbed me right in the nuts and hauled me up, it was so intense, it really felt a lot like having him fuck me.

One day I laid on the floor under the piano while he played something, a Beethoven thing, he said “Moonlight Sonata,” just for me. I thought I would die, it was so beautiful, I thought I’d cream my pants right then.

We didn’t know what to do with the family thing, he told me he thought his family had figured out he was gay, he just didn’t want to take it too quick. Then he told me he thought my being an American was going to be a bigger problem. For Chrissake!

So we decided to let it ride, I saw him every possible minute.

I decided I needed a better job, but I didn’t have a work permit, so I signed up as a student in a local college, which is like a high school, never mind the name.

But they weren’t sure what to do with my Certificate of Proficiency; this wasn’t California. So they gave me some tests, fortunately in English and decided I could enter the ‘International Baccalaureate’  program, which is for college – I mean University – bound students, and takes two years. Usually students are sixteen when they enter this, it’s like being a High School junior, but I was almost twenty.

Still I studied for a while and being a student let me get a student visa, and with it a work permit. But I didn’t find much better work, and I liked “The Dykes” pretty much so I stayed there a while.

Then one day another guy I knew, he whored now and then, he knew I was looking for some work, but not whoring. He told me he had a customer who needed an aide. I didn’t understand that, I told him I didn’t want to whore any more. He said no, this guy was very old, and he needed someone to help him wash, get dressed, cook his food, stuff like that.

Well, I figured I could check it out, and so I went with him to meet this guy, Mijnheer – that’s Mister – Desmet. He was actually Belgian he spoke French but also Dutch and pretty good English. So sometimes it was Monsieur Desmet, sometimes Mister, sometimes Mijnheer. So I started calling him one after another, “Mister, M’seur, Mijnheer, Desmet.”  I‘d do that when he’d give me a hard time, like the way your mother uses your middle name to tell you you’re really in trouble, “William Anthony Hogan!” He thought it was funny.

He was about eighty years old and he’d had a stroke, couldn’t get around too good. I felt kind of sorry for him. He was a bit fat, with his white hair still pretty thick but cut into a butch and waxed up the way the Belgians do it.

He liked me, and he was a very funny man, I laughed all the time. He was always telling jokes, even though I couldn’t understand them half the time. He called me an ignorant child and patted my head, but I guess when you’re eighty you think everybody is a child. And I probably was ignorant, but I was trying to change that.

I liked him a lot once I got used to him. He hired me, the work permit meant the social security people paid my salary, and it was mostly easy enough stuff to do, just shopping and cooking and cleaning and taking care of an old man’s body. I’d trained half my life for this job, it was a piece of cake.

I did pretty well at the college, but didn’t have as much time as I’d like for Matteus. Mr. Desmet solved that; he told me to move into his house, which made the money situation much better, and he just loved Matteus.

They’d sit and yack in Dutch for hours and then I’d haul him off to the bedroom and Desmet would get this big grin on his face and make dirty jokes and comments all afternoon, sometimes he’d yell them at us through the door while we were fucking. Tell us not to break the bed, he’s an old man, he can’t afford a new bed. The noise was giving him a heart attack. We’d wear our dicks out. Save it for winter so he doesn’t have to heat the room. He just could go on and on, teasing the shit out of us.

He’d get us laughing so hard we couldn’t fuck!  Christ, he’d thought of things I hadn’t ever heard of!  I didn’t know if he’d ever done it, but I didn’t have any trouble imagining him whoring on the streets when he was young!  I bet the customers would have loved him!

I might as well admit I did him now and then.

He didn’t ask or anything. He could hardly get it up but once a week and I felt actually good about it. I don’t even think he was gay, he had been married, his wife was dead. But I guess when you’re that old you think any sex is a good thing.

I’d be giving him a bath and he’d get hard, so I’d just do it. I thought I’d bring him a little happiness, it wasn’t sick like when I was whoring or prowling bathrooms. And afterwards he’d give me a kiss on the forehead and tell me I was a sweet boy, and not to let Matteus get away from me. I told Matteus all about it and he told me I was sweet.

I know – he was ugly and old and all wrinkled; he was all gray –everywhere – and had liver spots too, but I didn’t care, it didn’t turn me off. It wasn’t about being turned on anyway. It wasn’t important, Desmet was beautiful. I was telling him I loved him. He was just like Mats in a lot of ways.

We talked about just leaving the door open for him so he could watch. I thought about doing a three-way with him, really give him a treat, ‘cause he thought Mats was magnifique which I am pretty sure means bitchin’ or hot. But then I figured I didn’t want to share Mats with anybody, and if we did we’d end up killing the old guy with a heart attack or something. But I’d of done almost anything for that old guy. I figured he was as close to a grandpa as I’d ever have.

It was nearly Halloween, 1980, I turned twenty and Mats was sixteen, and so we were ready to tell his parents because Desmet said we could move in with him if we needed to.

It went pretty good, they weren’t surprised he was gay, but they weren’t too crazy about me. They got used to it, though.

Mats parents were old.

I mean they were over sixty, not as old as Desmet. His mom was 45 when he was born and his dad was almost fifty. He said he came too late for them, they didn’t know what they were to do with him. But I think he was wrong, for once, they were really nice people, but I knew they would have to be with Mats for a son.

They had had two other sons, when they were young, but both of them were killed in World War II. That was really sad. That’s probably why he wrapped them around his finger. They did pretty much anything he wanted them to do.

One night he told me we were going to dinner together to meet them. At first I was so fucking nervous I thought I’d have to go back to using drugs, but he saw it, said “Not to worry, Will, they will be liking you. And even if they are not, it is not making any difference, you must know this.”

And I did know it, he was right. I knew I couldn’t lose him, but I still didn’t want to fuck it up.

So we went for dinner and I loved their house, even though it was pretty old and stuffy if you compared it to American houses. Like every Dutch house, they had lace curtains on the windows. The furniture was all real heavy, solid, antiques and the woodwork dark, but the floors had bright rugs, all geometric and modern patterns, and they had a lot of modern artwork on the walls. The music was just like Mats played, it didn’t get me hard, though, thank God. I sure didn’t want to explain that to them!

Anyway, he introduced me, and we had some conversation, but not a lot, because they spoke Dutch, didn’t have as much English and my Dutch was OK but not for something like this, so Mats did a lot of interpreting.

You know, I didn’t need a lot of it though. His mother had this really beautiful look sometimes, when she looked at Mats, so I knew how much she loved him and figured she’d understand why I loved him. And his dad was as touchy-feely as Mats, had his hands all over me while I was there, as soon as the ice was broken. I don’t mean he wanted to fuck me or anything, just he didn’t worry about touching me, so he put his arms on my shoulders, shook my hand and held it in his, stuff like that. Well, after a while, anyway, it did take some time, they didn’t do much of that the first time we met. But later.

I spent another year with school and graduated, did pretty good, my Dutch got a lot better too. In these schools you don’t just pass courses, you have to pass special tests at the end of it all, and I did surprisingly well. I was eligible to go on to most Universities in Europe.

My parents came up to my graduation, I was pretty surprised though I did tell them about it. The Colonel got promoted, he had his eagle, that was cool. He was getting pretty huggy too, but I kept my distance. They were ready to rotate back to the States, he was going to an assignment at Great Lakes, near Chicago, which is where Paul lived.

Paul sent me a present. A teddy bear. He included a note.



March 16, 1982


You’re all grown up now, and you don’t need this.

But just in case, you have it, and any time you want you can hug it.

And know that it will be me that you are hugging.




Poor Desmet got another stroke, and he went into hospice. I visited him there, and he let me stay in his place, but I knew he couldn’t last. Matteus and I had not been living together anyway, he was living at home, though he spent more time with me. So I got another job, doing deliveries for a bakery, and we got a little apartment of our own for a while.

I was worried about not having a work permit anymore, and was afraid I’d lose the job at the bakery, but my mom had the answer. Her mother was born in Ireland, and once we got the paperwork together, the Irish Embassy gave me a certificate that showed I was an Irish citizen. Who’d guess?  But that’s Irish law, so I got a passport and because Ireland had joined the EEC a few years earlier I could work legally. I didn’t have to be in school.

But all that got me to thinking about some things.

Matteus turned seventeen, and had about finished his program at the conservatory, he actually did a small summer concert tour, with some other students, then entered some piano competitions, and just blew people away.

I started thinking about how I’d taken care of Desmet, I’d liked that, and now that I was out of college I thought about what I wanted to do next, and I wanted to go to school some more.

So we, Mats and I, decided to try something really different.


Brandt and I had purchased a condo on Lake Shore Drive. I thought it pretentious but he pointed out it was just a better investment because the truly pretentious people would want it if we resold. I told him to stop being a lawyer. Lawyers can rationalize anything.

I had invited the Colonel, now a full Bird Colonel, and Eleanor to our housewarming, and was a bit surprised when they did come. Eleanor was regal, the Colonel a bit uncomfortable with our largely gay crowd, but took to my brother Danny as much as his son had. They sat in the corner all afternoon, thick as thieves.

We shared what we knew of Will’s situation.

Perhaps it was a tribute to Matteus, who I came to feel was one of the more determined little fellows I’d ever met. He had set his sights on Will and bagged his game, held on with a ferocious tenacity. I could not image an obstacle that would get between him and Will.

Eleanor told me that they had gone to see Matteus perform, across the border, in Lyons, France when he was on tour, she was thoroughly committed to the boy as a son in law of a sort.

I sensed the Colonel too was at ease with Matteus, which I knew to be at great odds with Will’s perception of the situation. While he certainly was not the sort of thing a Marine Colonel is expected to dream of for his sons, I thought the Colonel had come a long long way to accept him;  he had only good things to say about Matteus. He sounded almost proud talking about his musical career.

It was too bad Will never could seem to see the changes in his father.

The letter was one of those onionskin airmail things I was used to getting about three or four times a year from Will. But I was really impressed with what it had to say.

I had spoken with him a number of times in the last two years. He was going on twenty-two now, and while the demons were definitely not gone, he was healing, this was the longest sustained time of good news in his life that I could see. Matteus had proven to be a very good healer.

June 11, 1982

Dear Paul,

I have some good news, at least I think you will like it.

Matteus and I have been talking for a while now, he just finished his program at the Conservatory, and we have made a decision about where to go from here.

So I hope you will be happy to learn to that we are coming to Chicago!

I’ve been accepted into a Nursing program at a community college in the area. Yes nursing, I think it’s right for me.

Matteus is going to do advanced studies and get his degree at the Chicago College of Performing Arts.

We will be there for the fall semester, and I hope it means we can see you a lot more often. With my parents in the area I wasn’t so sure we should do it, but Mats said it wouldn’t be a problem, and that being close to you would be good for our souls.

I can’t argue with that one.

So I hope you can find a little time to help us get settled, we’re on a tight budget but we’ll find something in the area. It’s very expensive to ship anything, so we can’t take much of our possessions with us, but we don’t really have all that much anyway.

Can’t wait to hear from you and see what you think!

I love you so much.

Your son,



Nursing, when I thought about it, seemed a good choice for Will. He had accessed a nurturing place in himself, and I thought that had to be a really good sign.