The Foxwood Chronicles
The second day of July was even hotter than the first. It was during the peak of the afternoon heat, when the only sounds to be heard were the cicadas competing with the hum of air conditioners. As Evan walked up First Street toward Campus Corner, the group of shops across from the College in which Chris Holland had opened “Bohemia,” he took his Ray-bans off, wiped his arm across his forehead, and then pulled his white Polo pullover out several times to vent it. Replacing his sunglasses, he adjusted the volume on his Walkman and adjusted the headphones before inspecting himself again. Yeah, he looked cool and hot, with his khaki shorts, his Topsiders, and the collar of his shirt turned up. He knew, he just knew, Chris would be impressed. It was the look that had turned on so many other guys back home, it couldn’t fail to turn on this refugee from the Coast.
The street was dead, the heat was so great, as he approached the shops. Only a few people entering and leaving Bohemia gave any sign of human life in the area. A golden retriever lay panting in the shade of a great oak tree in front of the last house before the shops. Abandoned bicycles littered the front yards all along the walk from his house, but there were no children outside. It was hot.
As he walked up to the picture window in front of the shop, he paused and looked through the glass. There were a number of older people at the tables in the front drinking coffee and eating pastries while several teenagers sat around the dance floor in the back watching videos on MTV. He shook his head to adjust his hair, pulled the headphones down to hang around his neck, pushed the Ray-bans up above his eyes, and entered the shop.
Chris smiled broadly from behind the counter as Evan approached. There was no one near as he climbed on a stool. Chris leaned over and with a mischievous grin said, “Well, if it isn’t Miss Thang!”
Evan’s face flinched as if he had been slapped. He looked at Chris in shock and sputtered, “What did… how did you know… I mean…”
Chris chuckled and squeezed Evan’s arm.
“How did I know you nickname from LA? Well, let’s see who I might know who might have known you back there. Gee…”
Evan’s eyes narrowed.
“Michael Sanchez. I’ll kill him. That son of a bitch.”
Chris chuckled again.
“Settle down there, dude. It’s OK. I’m not gonna embarrass you further. I’m sorry, but I had to tease you.”
It was not often that Evan Vanderlyn was made to blush and he was not happy.
“He told you. And, how did he know?”
“He told me last night that he was at a party last spring and apparently you were quite the object of a lot of interest and seemed, shall we say, to be rather popular behind the pool house.”
Evan’s blush grew exponentially and he stared down at the counter in mortification.
“Hey,” said Chris. “it’s OK, Little Dude. I’m just jealous that I didn’t get to have so much fun when I was fourteen.”
Evan looked up sheepishly and tried to smile.
“Yeah, I was pretty popular.”
“What do you want?” Chris asked, pointing to the chalkboard behind him with the menu.
Evan thought for a moment and replied, “Iced cappuccino.”
As Chris prepared his drink, Evan asked, “So how do you know Michael?”
“Girlfriend, everyone knows Michael!” Chris vamped for him with a humorous grin. “Who doesn’t know Michael? Isn’t he like the hottest thing on two legs?”
“Yeah, and doesn’t he know it, too.”
Chris smiled and set Evan’s drink before him.
Evan took a sip and then asked, “So, did you baby-sit for him, too?”
Chris shook his head.
“Naw. I had already left home when his family moved here from Miami. I met him one spring when I came home to visit my parents.”
He paused and then looked carefully at Evan before adding, “At the Duck Pond.”
Evan raised an eyebrow and then grinned sardonically.
“How old was he?”
“Fifteen. I think Michael has always been a horn dog. I wouldn’t be surprised if he came out of the womb with a woody.”
Evan giggled and Chris smiled.
“So, I guess you like younger guys?” Evan asked with a touch of seduction in his voice.
Chris leaned on his elbows across the counter and softly replied, “I like to put brats in their place.”
Evan raised an eyebrow and his smile became even more flirtatious.
“You think I’m a brat?”
Chris paused a moment and then replied, “I think you might be too fast for your own good, especially now that you live in Foxwood; and I think you might need a friend to help you cool your jets a bit.”
This wasn’t the answer Evan had been expecting, though he quickly recovered and responded, “So you think you can help me cool my jets?”
Chris smiled and walked over to an older couple who had entered and walked up to the counter. Several minutes later, after preparing a couple of lattes and delivering them to their table, he returned to the counter and leaned over to Evan.
“Look, Evan. I’m a little concerned for you. I know you had a pretty wild life back in LA and I’m not being judgmental in the least. I think it’s cool that you had such freedom. But, I don’t think you realize just how different things are here in Foxwood. This is the corn belt. This is farming country. Practically everyone up here is Lutheran or Catholic or some conservative denomination. This is a small town and everyone knows everything about everybody. Why do you think I left home after high school? Trust me. You can’t go around fagging off the way you do, swishing your butt like you did to me yesterday, or making passes at guys and not expect something to happen. I got beat up a few times when I was a teenager. And, remember what happened night before last at the Duck Pond? And, by the way, promise me you won’t start hanging out there. That place has become dangerous. You will get hurt there. The guy who was attacked the other night is still unconscious.”
By the time Chris had finished his warning, Evan had become uncharacteristically somber.
“Little Dude, I know some people here and it’s possible that you can still have a fun social life here. We have a small group of gay people here and we watch out for each other. You don’t have to worry about any of us perving on you, though I think that’s probably the last thing you would worry about…”
Evan frowned and suddenly felt rather dirty. It was not a familiar feeling for him.
“But, Evan, you really have to start thinking about where you are. Like I said yesterday, you’re not in California anymore, Toto.”
Evan hadn’t taken a drink of his cappuccino since Chris had begun his speech. Slowly, he raised the glass and sipped a bit.
“I don’t mean to worry or depress you,” Chris added. “But, know that I’m looking out for you. OK?”
Evan pursed his lips uncertainly.
“By the way,” Chris said, with a nasty grin. “You look hot as hell.”
“Thanks. After that speech, I needed that.”
“So, tell me. Michael thinks you hate him. What’s up there?”
“Man, ever since I saw him at Sunday Brunch, he was like looking at me like he was about to rip my clothes off and I guess I was looking at him the same way. He is way hot.”
Chris nodded with a knowing grin.
“I know. We used to meet up in the City occasionally. And, I went down to Palo Alto a few times to see him. Yeah, he definitely knows what he’s doing.”
“Well, he was kind of a jerk to Adam Tuesday and I thought he was making fun of his autism and Adam kind of got upset and all and we had to leave. So Wednesday, Michael comes by the house all apologetic and shit and wants to play tennis. So we played Wednesday night and…”
“Let me guess. You took a shower together after he locked up?”
Evan nodded remorsefully.
“Yeah. And, it was good. Man, it was so fucking good. I wanted him to fuck me so bad I couldn’t stand it. He was so romantic and he held me and loved me and… I get shivers every time I think about it.”
“And, then, when it was over, he was like, ‘You can find your own way home, can’t you? I got some place to be’.”
Chris raised an eyebrow, which did not go unnoticed by Evan.
“He was meeting you?” Evan asked. Chris nodded sadly.
“At the Duck Pond.”
Evan frowned and took another drink of his iced cappuccino.
“Look, Evan. Don’t lose your heart to Michael. It’s not worth it. He’s not bad. He’s just… well, he’s Michael.”
“He’s a user,” Evan spat.
“And, you’re not?”
Evan looked up angrily, but then his face softened as he remembered his life before and all the older guys who immediately fell in love with him and whom Evan would immediately forget once he had cum in their mouths behind the pool house or in their offices or…
Chris saw how Evan’s look softened.
“Besides, I think there’s someone who loves you.”
Evan’s face transformed and a beautiful smile formed on his lips.
“Yeah. I think so.”
“So, do you love Adam?”
Evan sighed thoughtfully.
“He is… the strangest and the most… I don’t know… real guy I’ve ever met. I don’t think there’s a mean bone in his body. I don’t think he’s capable of being mean. I don’t think it’s possible for him to lie. He is just good and sweet and honest and… lovable. He’s a genius. He really is. He can play the piano like Elton John. He’s over at the College right now working with one of the professors on the piano. Adam is just so…”
“So,” Chris repeated. “Do you love him?”
Evan smiled and finally nodded.
“Well, then, all the rest of our discussion has been academic.”
Evan thought for a moment.
“Yeah,” he said with dawning realization. “Yeah. I love Adam. When I hold him, it’s weird. It’s like I get caught up in his eyes and I can’t look anywhere else and he’s like talking to me with his eyes and it’s like I understand everything. You know what I mean? And, Adam, it’s so weird. I can make him cum just by looking into his eyes! I’ve done it twice! I mean, we’ve never had sex. It’s just that I hugged him and looked into his eyes and he just… lost it.”
Chris smiled and shook his head.
“That sounds so beautiful.”
“Man, it’s weird. He gets hard playing beautiful music. He gets hard watching a sunset or looking through his telescope. Anything he thinks is beautiful gets him hard.”
Chris sighed thoughtfully.
“For someone who doesn’t express emotions like we do and who doesn’t perceive other people’s emotions like we do, maybe that’s the only way he can express or feel them. Maybe he gets these feelings so intensely and they build up and he has no other way to let them out.”
Evan shook his head in wonder.
“Wow, I never thought of it like that. But, I think you’re right.”
“Does Adam understand about sex and being gay and all? Is he gay?”
“I think Adam is Adam. Yeah, he understands about sex. He and Dylan mess around.”
“His little brother.”
Chris raised an eyebrow and nodded.
“He seems like a really sweet boy.”
He paused a moment and then looked at Evan seriously.
“You know, it would be really easy for Adam to be hurt. You know how Michael hurt you the other night? You might want to think about how Adam might react if you did the same thing.”
“What do you mean?” Evan asked defensively.
Chris looked around and watched as some of the kids in the back got up to dance to a two year-old Michael Jackson video from 1980, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” Evan clearly wanted to dance as he was bopping to the beat on his stool; but he waited for Chris to speak.
“Evan, you might want to think about how Adam thinks about your relationship if you take this further. If you get bored and want to move on to the next exciting and exotic thing in a few months, you might wreck him.”
Evan started to react with outrage and then, stopped himself as he realized Chris had a pretty valid point. He looked up at him sheepishly.
“You know, Adam and I are going to have a campout tonight with his telescope. We’re going to look the moon and some stars and planets and he’s told me he wants to do it tonight. We’re going to… we’re going to make love tonight.”
Chris smiled and started to reply when a blue Ford Granada pulled up in front of the window. Evan looked to his right and saw Adam sitting in the front seat on the passenger side.
“There’s Adam!” he said with excitement. But, almost immediately, he froze.
“Something’s wrong,” he said as he watched Adam’s hands holding his head in agitation. Evan jumped from the stool and ran out the door.
Adam’s mother was looking out the windshield watching Evan run to the car.
“What’s wrong?” he demanded as he opened Adam’s door. “Adam! What’s wrong?”
Adam looked up with tears in his eyes, his hands desperately holding his head.
“Evan. Hold me. Hold me. Hold me.”
Evan fearfully looked at Adam’s mother. As he crawled into the car, he wrapped his arms around Adam and demanded, once again, “What’s the matter?”
“Evan was playing the piano and suddenly became very emotional. It must have been a very difficult or sad piece of music. We haven’t been able to console him. He kept asking for you and for something called ‘brain juice.’ Do you know what he’s talking about, Evan?”
“Yes,” he replied as he held Adam. The boy seemed to melt into Evan and his agitation lessened dramatically as he leaned into Evan’s chest. “It’s this herbal drink Chris sells in there with special vitamins and stuff for the brain.”
Mrs. Stuart nodded and leaned over. She placed a hand on Adam’s shoulder, but he violently shrugged it off. She frowned and said sadly, “Adam, sweety, I’m going in to get you some brain juice. OK? Evan’s going to stay here and hug you. OK?”
“Evan will hug me and I will be OK,” Adam replied shakily. “Evan loves me. I will be OK.”
Evan blushed fiercely and looked fearfully up at Adam’s mother. Their eyes met for several seconds until finally, she sighed and nodded. As she climbed out of the car, Evan held Adam tightly, brushing his unruly hair away and kissing him on the forehead.
“What happened, sweetheart?” he whispered. Adam trembled and snuggled closer.
“I was playing Liebestraum. It was sad. It made me feel bad. I started crying. I could not stop.”
Evan caressed his head and ran his fingers through the curls and waves of his hair, ignoring the looks he was getting from the few people braving the heat to enter or leave Bohemia.
“Did you ever cry playing it before?” he asked.
“I have never played it before. Dr. Forrest played a record of it. He showed me the music. I played it and it made me cry.”
Evan rocked back and forth as he held Adam. Every once in a while, he would mumble something soothing and Adam grew quieter and more relaxed. When Adam’s mother returned with a plastic cup of brain juice, Adam reached for it, but remained cuddled close to Evan. His mother looked up at Evan again. He tried to disentangle himself from her son, but Adam leaned into him with more force.
“You will hug me, Evan. I will feel better. You love me.”
Evan’s eyes met Mrs. Stuart’s again and she nodded sadly.
“Would you like to come home with us, Evan?”
“Yes, ma’am. But, I need to pay for my cappuccino, first.”
She shook her head.
“Chris said not to worry about it.”
As she started the car, Evan looked in the window of the shop and saw Chris wave and smile. He waved back, grateful for a friend who was as understanding as he.
A few minutes later, as the Granada pulled into the driveway between the Stuarts’ house and the church, Adam seemed almost back to what passed for normal for him. He remained close to Evan as they climbed out of the car, but he no longer sought his arms around him. However, as they crossed the yard for the backdoor, Mrs. Stuart said softly, “Adam, why don’t you find your father and ask him to meet Evan and me in the living room.”
“Yes. I will find Dad,” he replied and, as if Evan no longer existed, he turned toward the church and walked away in his plodding fashion. Evan was blushing fiercely and afraid to look at Adam’s mother in the eyes.
“I think we need to talk, Evan,” she said softly. When Evan didn’t reply, merely swallowed nervously as he looked down at the wooden planks of the back porch, she placed a hand on his head and added, “Don’t worry. It’s nothing bad.”
In a few minutes Evan was seated in an overstuffed chair and Adam’s parents sat side-by-side on the couch.
“Adam,” his mother said, “could you find Dylan for me and tell him dinner will be ready soon?”
“Yes. I will find Dylan,” Adam replied standing in the doorway. “He is up in the bell tower reading.”
However, as he turned his father said, “What? He’s up in the bell tower? What the heck is he doing up there?”
Adam turned back around.
“He likes to go there. It is his secret place. He likes to be alone sometimes. It is quiet there. Evan and I will camp up there tonight. We will take the telescope. It will be above the lights. We will see the moon and the planets better. I want to show Evan the North America Nebula. We can see it up there. It is a nebula shaped…”
“Adam, we’ll discuss this later. For now, would you get Dylan. Don’t climb up the tower. Just yell for him outside. OK?”
“Yes. I will get Dylan.”
Adam then turned and disappeared into the kitchen. Evan took a breath and clutched his hands,
“So, Evan,” Mrs. Stuart began, “you and Adam have developed quite a deep friendship this week.”
Evan couldn’t reply. He simply looked down at the carpet. They couldn’t block him from seeing Adam ever again. They couldn’t. He loved Adam.
“Adam seems to feel very strongly about you. He doesn’t form relationships very often and he seldom, if ever, expresses affection for anyone. One of the great sorrows of being Adam’s parents is that he seldom shows us any affection. We don’t think it’s because he doesn’t feel love for us, but that he just doesn’t express it. Yet, he expresses it so openly and freely with you.”
Evan was desperate. They had to be made to understand. He stood, clutching his hands in fear.
“OK. I’m gay. Yes. I’m gay. And, I love Adam. I love Adam like I’ve never loved anyone before. I would never hurt Adam. Never. I’ve never done anything with him. Yeah, we hug and sometimes we kiss, but, I’ve never kissed him on the mouth. And, we’ve never had sex. And, if you don’t want me to, I won’t. But, you can’t stop us from seeing each other. It would kill Adam. It would kill me, but it would kill Adam worse. I love Adam. I love Adam. You have to understand.”
He paused for a moment, looking at the expressions on the Stuarts’ faces; but they were inscrutable.
“I could never do anything to hurt Adam. I swear. And, it would kill him if we couldn’t see each other. Adam is… good. There is something about Adam that is so… good and honest and decent and… good. I… I love Adam.”
As Evan stood before the Stuarts, he saw the previous three years of his life, all the sex, all the pot and poppers, all the nights with Ricky and Robert, all the quickies behind the pool house at Chad’s parties, and none of it mattered to him. Only Adam mattered to him. In only six days, he had developed a love for the boy stronger than any emotion he had known, greater than the grief over his mother’s suicide, the pain and anger of rejection by the rest of his family, the sense of loss at leaving LA for Foxwood.
“I’ll do anything to help Adam. I’ll help him at school. I’ll kill anyone who makes fun of him. I’ll protect him. I’ll do anything for him. Anything. Just, please, don’t take him away from me. Please.”
Mrs. Stuart had pulled a tissue from her pocket and was dabbing her eyes. Evan’s heart sank. He dropped back to his chair, tears forming in his eyes. Adam’s father stood and walked over to Evan. The boy flinched with fear when the man placed his hand on his shoulder, but when he knelt beside Evan, he saw the kindness in the man’s face. Evan began to feel a hint of hope.
“Son, we’re not going to separate you two boys. We’ve been concerned. I’ll admit that we were very concerned. We knew you were gay, Evan; and, we knew you were from a much faster crowd than Adam has ever known. But, I think you’ve pretty much answered all our questions. We’ve wondered if Adam even understood the concept of sex. And, then, we’ve wondered if Adam might grow up to be gay. Evan, we aren’t completely happy with the idea of the two of you having sex. I’ll be honest. We would prefer that you not. We are also realistic and know that if the two of you are determined, short of permanently barring you from seeing him, we can’t stop you. But, we know you love Adam. We have seen such a difference in him in the last few days. You seem to reach something in him that we’ve been unable to. No, Evan, we’re not going to separate you two. We’re grateful you’re in his life. But, I ask that you be careful with him and that you take into consideration the double stigma he will face in society of having autism and being gay. We don’t want him hurt, Evan. We trust you. And, we trust that you won’t move on to your next conquest in a month or two.”
Evan’s eyes grew wide and he blushed, if it were possible, even more. Pastor Stuart continued.
“I’m not being judgmental, Evan. I understand things. I might not approve, but I understand. It would, as you said, kill Adam if you were to leave his life. Please, don’t think of him as this week’s diversion. I don’t think you do. I think you are sincere. But, I also remember being fourteen. At that age, everything is life and death. Everything is forever or never. At fourteen, everything is an absolute. I want to know that you are certain of your feelings, because Adam cannot be hurt.”
Evan was speechless. He looked at Pastor Stuart through his tears and opened his mouth to speak, but could think of nothing to say.
“Why is Evan sad?”
The three turned to the entry to the living room and saw Adam in an agitated state. His hands were clutching his head and he was trembling. Evan jumped up and ran to the boy. He wrapped his arms around him and kissed him on the forehead.
“I’m not sad, Adam. I’m happy. I’m happier than I have ever been.”
“But, you are crying.”
Evan grinned and kissed him on the forehead again.
“Sometimes, people cry for happiness, sweetheart.”
“Why are you happy?”
Evan looked down into the eyes of the boy he loved and replied honestly and clearly for all to hear, “Because I love you.”
“Yes. You love me. I know. I love you, too. We will set up the telescope now. I will show you the North American Nebula. It is cool. We will take the telescope to the top of the bell tower. We will camp up there tonight. It will be fun.”
Yes, thought Evan with a joyous smile. It will be fun.