Behind The Silver Screen
By Jerry Miller
When Jay spoke to me the other day, I was surprised. I wondered the entire weekend what he wanted to talk about. Except for Betty and Ben, I had closed myself off to friends. Eric was the only one I let in to some degree. Ben was my closest confidant. I told him one time how much I loved him. He blushed. He and his wife had just had a baby boy and named him 'Benjamin Michael'. He wanted to make it clear that the 'Michael' was for both Mike and me. The first time I held the baby was an awesome experience. The touch of the baby reminded me so much of Mike as his little fingers wrapped around one of mine. I knew my imagination was running away from me again.
I heard Jay outside the house on that Monday morning. I called out to him from my window and told him to come on up. My bedroom had twin beds, so I sat on one while Jay sat on the other. He was more handsome than I had remembered. I knew what I felt for Jay never measured up to what I felt for Mike.
"You're looking good, Jay," I said.
"Yeah, thanks. You got taller, filled out some, Mike."
Jay kind of fidgeted around a little. He seemed a little uncomfortable.
"I owe you an apology, Mike."
"I treated you so badly after we...ah."
"It's okay. I think I understand."
"No, you don't. I was wrong. I missed you so much. I not only hurt you, I hurt myself in the long run. I literally ran from you and myself."
I watched him closely. His eyes looked pained. I figured this conversation wasn't easy for him.
"I was wrong about so many things, even about myself. I thought if I stayed away from you that I wouldn't have any of those feelings. I started dating girls. I buried myself in schoolwork. I took as many hours as I could at the firehouse. I kept myself busy, but it didn't work so well. Even when I jacked off, I fought with myself. My fantasies were always about you."
I am kind of hard to forget, I mused.
"I fought it for a long time, but I finally accepted it, Mike. I felt incredible relief and fear all at once when I did. I thought about you. I wanted you to be the first to know. I wanted you to be the first one to be with. By that time, it was a year after we graduated from high school."
I listened feeling bad for him.
"I called Ben and asked where you were. He said then that it wasn't a good time. He told me about Mike. I'm so sorry Mike. Ben told me you were still grieving and that he didn't think that my coming back into your life was a good idea at the time. It just didn't seem like a good time to me either. Ben did keep me informed on how you were doing and what you were doing. I'm grateful for that. When I saw you on Saturday, I knew I had to speak to you."
"I'm glad you did, Jay."
It was that awkward silence, suddenly that filled the room while we both considered our thoughts.
"I haven't seen anyone since Mike, Jay."
"I know. Ben told me you've pretty much kept to yourself. Me? I have seen a couple of guys. Nothing much happened," he said, looking down sheepishly. Then he said, "I would like to start seeing you."
Jay's head shot up, eyes nearly pleading with me. "I want you back in my life."
"I would like that, too, but I don't know if I'm ready to start seeing anyone yet."
Looking slightly defeated, Jay nodded his head. I knew myself and felt that maybe no time would be a good time to consider seeing anyone like that.
Even now, Mike has been so much a part of me. I have lived with the constant memories of him and for the last four years it was like he was still my boyfriend and lover. He's been an ever-present shadow beside me, keeping me straight with myself, going forward into the future. Mike's words echoed in my mind: "Go on with your life". Yet I never let myself think that I could be with anyone else. I was still in love with him and always would be.
To consider seeing Jay scared me because I wasn't sure it would be the right thing. But in my mind, Mike kept after me 'to live'. He's never been wrong.
I looked up at Jay. He was studying me, probably wondering what was going on in my mind. I decided to give it a shot and 'to live'. "Okay, we can start going out and seeing each other, but we take it slow," I said.
Jay's face lit up with a big smile. He came over to me and kneeled in front of me. He was tall enough that he was face to face with me. He placed his hands on mine.
"I said slow, Jay."
"I know, I know. It will be. I promise."
I was surprised at my reaction to his touch. Having built a wall around myself emotionally, I could feel it quietly falling down.
"I hurt you, Mike. Ben gave me hell for that. I hadn't realized how badly I did hurt you. I was dealing with my own feelings. Believe me when I say I've missed you."
With some hesitation he kissed me. I'm sure he was worried about my response. I was wondering about that myself. His lips touched mine, gently but firmly. It brought back the memory of Mike's kisses. With Jay, this time with him, it was different. It had feeling. He backed away from my lips.
"I'm sorry. It just came over me," he said.
I looked into his eyes for the first time in five years. The eyes told me that he loved me. I shuddered with the realization of the last time I saw eyes loving me. I reached for him and kissed him back. It all came rushing back at me from those dark recesses of the mind. I immediately thought of Sleeping Beauty and the kiss that woke her up.
Jay took that as permission and started to become more passionate with his kiss. I felt myself getting hard, something I never allowed myself to do since Mike. I moaned in Jay's mouth. He pushed me back on the bed and laid on top of me. I could feel his hard on rubbing on mine. His mouth didn't leave mine. My tongue began to probe his lips; they parted and took my tongue.
Jay tore himself away from my mouth. The lust was foaming out of his eyes. He reached back to my cock and felt it. He moved down and slowly undid my belt and slid the zipper down. He put his nose inside and inhaled and moaned. His tongue reached out to my cock through my underwear. He pulled it down. My hard cock sprang up and he took it into his mouth. Jay started sucking on me, ravishing me.
Sensations lost, sensations found. It didn't last long. I told Jay I was coming. With much enthusiasm, he sucked the orgasm out of me, swallowing all I could produce into his mouth.
I felt alive again.
Jay finished what he was doing and laid down beside me.
"I have owed you that one for a long time."
"Was that pay back or the spirit of the moment?" I asked.
"More of the moment. Probably some of both."
Jay moved his lips to mine and we kissed, this time without the urgency of lust, but the compassion of love. I felt for his cock and was rewarded with a very stiff one. I pushed him back and took out his cock. I sucked him off for the second time in my life. Although I knew I was better at it this time, at the moment, I don't think he really cared. His hands brushed through my hair as I made love to him. He too, didn't last long and I swallowed him completely.
For a while, we laid there, holding each other. Feeling an intimacy that had long disappeared from my life. Emotions flooded back.
With Jay in my arms, I soon realized that I had lost Jay only to find Mike. I lost Mike to find Jay.
"We still have a lot to talk about, Jay." I said to him kissing his forehead.
"I know. I will repent for the rest of my life the way I treated you."
"A little dramatic?"
Turning up to look in my eyes he said, "I want you to trust me again. We both need that."
We started kissing again. Soft, sweet kisses.
"I would like to see you naked," I said.
Jay got off the bed and began to take his clothes off. First his shirt then his jeans and boxers were soon on the floor. The five years since I had seen him naked had been good to him. His chest was defined. Hair sprouted from his chest and thinned out over his belly and down to his pubes. His cock was about the same size, but it looked like his balls had filled out some.
"Your turn," Jay said.
"Okay, here goes," I said.
When I was naked, Jay took me in his arms. Feeling his body against mine was wondrous.
"This isn't exactly taking it slow is it?" I asked.
"No and I will take the blame for that. I felt moved by the moment. You didn't resist and I couldn't help myself."
"I want more from you than just sex, Jay."
"I do too, Mike."
"I want to tell you about Mike," I said. "It's important that you understand that I will always love him."
"Mike, I do want to hear about him from you. I have never doubted the idea that you still loved him. In fact, I would be surprised if you didn't. I'm not here to help you forget. Never forget him. He meant a lot to you."
I laid my head on his shoulder, feeling the warmth of his body. "Yes, he did, Jay. I felt the pain for a long time. In a way, I still do."
Under the marquee we stood. He looked at me with those luminous eyes of his, wondering what the heck I was doing holding that old jar of Vaseline.
"I wanted it."
"Memories." Immediately my mind began singing that Barbra Streisand song from THE WAY WE WERE.
The frown on his face told me that I might be in trouble.
"You are the epitome of impossibility," he said.
"Great, you think I'm impossible to deal with?"
"Sometimes," he said with a wink.
I wanted to take him in my arms and kiss him. Not here, in public before an unaccepting world.
"I wish you would come inside and look around."
"No. Those are your memories. They belong to you and Mike. Not me."
"I don't think Mike would mind if you did."
I studied him for a moment.
"What's the jar of Vaseline for, Mike?" he asked again.
"It's for the box. The box Mike left me."
He eyed me and I could see his mind figuring out the jar mystery. Then with a flash, his eyes lit up and a wicked grin appeared.
"You are so bad," he said.
"You seem to like it when I am."
"Most of the time. Which of you bought that jar of Vaseline?"
"Neither of us. It was there in the locker room when I went to work here."
"Oh really? So there must have been other guys in the locker room doing the same thing?"
"I would like to think so," I said.
I could see his mind working and it was obvious he had an idea.
"You know, instead of putting the jar in the box just yet, why don't you and I use up what's left? Maybe tonight?"
"I like the way you think, handsome," I said. "I'm hungry. I miss the chili down the street. My treat."
"I bet that's where Mike and you had lunch all the time."
We walked together to Gold Star Chili Parlor. I pointed to a booth that Mike and I always used and we sat down.
"I usually get the plain chili. Smothered with oyster crackers."
"What did Mike get?"
"He usually got two chili dogs."
He smiled looking over the menu. All I could do was stare at him.
"Are you guys ready?" asked the cute waiter.
"I will have the plain chili, extra crackers and a Pepsi."
He looked up from his menu and said he would have the same. The waiter took the menu and walked away.
"Mike, what was in the box?"
I never expected him to ask me that. But I guess since today was about reminiscing about Mike, it was appropriate.
"You know that Mike put the box together before he left. In it were a letter, his watch and his class ring. Since then I have added all the letters he sent me after he left and the three I got after he died. The program from the funeral and a rose that I took from one of the dozens that were there are also in the box."
"The box of memories has grown."
"I realized that it wasn't just Mike's box. It was ours, his and mine. I just keep adding to it."
"That jar is another memento?"
"Yes," I said feeling myself blush.
"I love it when you blush."
"Sometimes," he said with another one of his wicked grins.
The food came and we ate. My mind began to wonder about the times with Mike, here. I loved when he laughed at me; the sparkle in his eyes always sent a warm glow through me.
"I still miss him."
"I do too."
"I'm so glad she came down to the theatre."
"I figured it would be good for her. She loves you, you know?"
"I know she does. I love her too. She's like another mother to me."
"Are you okay about today?"
"Yeah, I am glad you suggested I that see the theater one last time before it's gone."
"You had to do it alone, you know. Some sort of closure."
"You know as far as Mike is concerned, there will be no closure."
"I know," he said.
"I know. You're pretty wise for a twenty-one year old junior in college."
"You're the wise one yourself, even though you are so old. Wise enough to kiss me back after I kissed you."
"Your kiss was a big surprise."
"Yeah, I know. I'm glad I did."
"And what was that 'old' crack for? I am only two years older than you."
He laughed. His eyes sparkled just like his brother's.
I looked deep into his eyes and softy said, "I have fallen in love with you, Eric."
The end of Chapter Nine.