Discovering Love

Written by Rick Beck

Chapter 38

On The Second Day

...And so it was that Greg was born again into a surreal world of doctors and unspeakable intrusions that he had no control over. It was a mellow and sleepy boy who thought long and hard in-between his seldom-complete sentences, but most of those came only in single words. I tried to be there to answer each call.

"Water."

"Ice."

"My pillow."

"Ice."

"Ice."

"More ice."

"Could I get some ice... Please?" He broke out in a flurry of words but then he fell silent as I scooped the ice from the bucket that was kept on the nightstand beside his bed. I spooned it gently between his dried and cracking lips as he let it melt icy cold on his tongue. I would stand obediently beside him, spooning more until he refused.

Mostly he was quiet and then there were the times I would find his eyes on me. Usually this came when I wasn't paying much attention to anything in particular. The sounds of the hospital were mutant noises coming and going from near by and from great distances. They had no connection to the inside of the room where I waited, and my mind was elsewhere when it wasn't there. It was when his eyes were on me, and after I discovered them, then came a soft request.

One morning I was standing at the window, looking out at the silent world beyond the glass. I absent mindedly looked over my shoulder at him, which I often did, and it was while still being caught up somewhere inside my own head that I noticed Greg was looking at me.

His wide-open eyes were on me, but he had nothing to say. He blinked a few times after I found his big azure jewels sparkling with the help of the light of the new morning's light. Soon he was sleeping again.

I knew by the look in his eyes that he had yet to grasp his circumstances. All of this was turned totally topsy-turvy when the doctors and nurses arrived. They'd poke and prod until they got him to speak. He would become belligerent, hurling obscenities and fighting them off with the only good arm he had left. They'd yell their questions at his ear, demanding an answer, but he had nothing for them but a thousand epithets. For the most part they seemed undeterred by the combatant and left buzzing over whatever it was they had found. Peace and quiet would come back to the room as he slept. Rarely did they speak to me and I was never asked to leave for these inquisitions.

I guessed good drugs can do that for you and there was talk among the doctors that the drugs were too good and administered too frequently to promote good health. I always winced in fear when considering that they might leave him in serious pain because they feared he might like the drugs so many people already loved. The image of them leaving him to suffer in their efforts to save his soul had me wanting to strangle them. Then someone would remind the worrier about the severity of the damage to the leg and how important it was that the patient stay quiet until the healing was well underway.

This conversation was always ended with the dire warning, "We aren't out of the woods on this thing yet. A little too much drugs will be the least of our worries if that infection gets out of control."

That would be followed by severe head shaking and then hands tweaking chins before a complete investigation of the color and temperature of Greg's seamed thigh was undertaken anew and in silence, leaving me to guess what it all meant. After much soul searching, the "current regimen should be continued", was agreed to by all.

The words served to remind me that Greg wasn't out of the woods yet and therefore my vigil would continue. Until I knew him and all his working parts were going to be restored in some way, I had to stay close to him. I knew it wasn't for him, no matter how much I loved him. My life couldn't go anywhere until I was sure that he was okay, and I knew he'd never be okay like he was, but I hoped he'd be okay enough to get on with his life in some way that meant something to him.

Attila the Nurse, being true to form, continued to objection to me presence during morning and afternoon rounds, but the doctors dismissed her and her concern, they could take it from there and they were sure she had more important "duties" to attend to. I recognized the tone in their voices. It sounded like Greg's father speaking and I wonder if he had spoken to them about me. They mostly ignored me and only one doctor inquired out of the blue one morning, "Don't you have a home, son?" He had waited for the other doctors to exit the room before asking me. I smiled but didn't reply.

Attila always had a glare for me and she followed me with her eyes when our paths crossed. I was on her turf and she hated the thought that she had no control over me. It's the little victories that make your day. I liked her too and I waved my temporary ID at her face for inspection each time I passed the nurses station. I don't think she was amused.

I found looking at Greg to be reassuring. His color had come back even though his brown face had turned back to a much lighter brown and than the last time I had seen him healthy. There wasn't much activity when I was there during the day. By the time I left, so I could be home in time for dinner to keep peace in my house, no one else had come to visit. This surprised me because I could see the distress on his father's face and I knew how anguished his mother was, but they knew it was a matter of rest and time now. They trusted the doctor's opinion.

I didn't trust the doctors that said Greg was out of danger. Even when I was there visiting the sleeping boy, they came in, unwrapped his left leg, and stood as though they'd never seen a left leg before. They checked under it and on top, testing the stitches that seemed to be all that held the leg to the boy. They read over his chart and contemplated the form before them. I listened to the comments but learned little or nothing I didn't already know from other doctors and earlier visits, and his room would go quiet again for me to consider all the possibilities while listening to him breath.

I'd some time wake up to the conversations, dozing off in the chair beside the bed.

"I don't like the color," one said each day.

"Seems to be getting adequate blood flow," another would reply, checking all around the leg that was strung up conveniently for their observations.

"We've got to stop that infection. I don't like the color. Why don't we try that new antibiotic? We've had some success with it. We can't lose control of that infection. The leg is still fragile."

"Nonsense, coloration is getting better every day. You worry too much. We need to let it continue to heal. It's going to be fine with the way we're handling it," the older of the two men said, feeling up into the upper reaches of his thigh. "It's warm but let's watch it and continue with this course of treatment. We might start easing up on the sedatives later in the week."

"Yes, sir," came the subservient reply and they turned and were gone.

I recognized most of the faces by the end of the first week. There were different sets of doctors. They came in pairs and in teams. The gist of their conversations was always the same with tiny caveats being all that separated one visit from another.

"How long is he going to sleep?" I asked one day when I was particularly bored and had heard the same comments several days in a row.

"He's a pretty sick young man. The drugs keep him out of it. We feel that's best. I know it doesn't make for very good company, but in a few days we'll let him come around," a particularly youngish doctor said after the rest had departed the bedside. He had lingered behind, making a question possible, and I suspected it was his intention to appease me.

"He going to be alright?" I asked, not knowing enough to ask anything more direct. "It's hard to tell from what you guys say."

"We're doing all we can. His leg was barely on him when he got to the emergency room after his accident. They had to reattach nerves, vessels, muscle, tissue. It took almost eight hours just to get it back where it belonged. Major major surgery involved. It'll be a year before he's anywhere near like he was. Maybe longer but this is the most important time. Letting him build his strength. He's a tough kid."

"What's it all mean?" I asked. "Is he going to be alright or isn't he?"

"It's going to be awhile before we know if everything is okay. It seems okay but we've got to let it do its thing. You come every day?" He said, trying to change the subject on me.

"Yes," I answered, resisting the altered course.

"You must really like him."

"Yes," I said, wondering what he meant by that crack.

"We'll do all we can. He's got the best doctors on his case. He should be okay. We just don't know everything. There just aren't as many answers as there are questions at this point. You'll have to wait like the rest of us. If everything goes well, he'll be almost as good as new. Maybe a small limp. Like I said, it's early."

You must really like him, I thought as he went for the door. Was I that obvious to everyone? No, I don't really like him. I just sit by bedsides of guys I don't really like because my life is so boring and I've got nothing else to do with it. What kind of a question was that?

It was getting dark as I walked home the night of the doctor's big question. It had started me thinking about why I was sitting by Greg's bed. Sure, I really liked Greg, and I couldn't wait for him to get back closer to normal so we could start fighting again.

I don't know whom I was trying to kid but it was apparent it wasn't the doctor who asked the question. Maybe that's why Nurse Attila didn't like me. I loved him and I'd do anything to be with him, even sit by his bed while he slept. I was a fool and there was nothing like a fool in love. It didn't really matter what any of the thought, but it did matter what I thought.

I knew it went beyond those simple realities. So far being gay had been like riding a Brahma Bull. All I heard and knew told me it was a curse and if that wasn't bad enough, realizing I was gay and willing to have lots of sex with lots of different people was. It left me back where I started, literally, mooning and lusting over Greg and caring more about him than I cared about myself. I didn't have a life now and I wouldn't until I knew he was okay.

I had a secret I wanted to keep and a dick that wasn't about to let me keep it. Every chance I got I used it on someone, almost anyone. I couldn't remember ever turning down anyone when it came to sex. I was never like that before I met Greg. I didn't want to be with anyone but Greg, but then I was with everyone but Greg. I wasn't a very nice person but i was very horny, and even walking got me going, or maybe it was thinking about Greg.

I knew that it was too late to take back any of the things I'd done. There was no way to undo what I knew and felt and especially there was no way to undo the experiences I'd had with too many guys. I remembered every single experience and I even remembered near misses when I almost did something but didn't because something kept it from happening. I would tell myself I wasn't going to do it any more and then I did it anyway. I lacked any sign of self-control once my dick got hard.

I vowed to myself that this time it would be different. I wasn't going to do it just because I could. I wouldn't respond to every offer I got with an erection if it wasn't an erection that precipitated the incident in the first place. I wasn't going to have sex with anyone, not even Greg, if he should ask. This time I was determined to be in control of myself. Walking along in the fresh evening air made me feel in control. I felt invincible as I sorted it all out in my brain. I'd wait for Greg and if didn't work out this time, I'd move on for good.

The only difficulty with this frame of mind was that I liked sex a lot. I thought about sex a lot, even walking on the dark shoulder of a road. I'd found something I enjoyed doing and I seemed to be pretty good at it though I had little or no training. When I was doing it or after I was done doing it I no longer felt empty or alone and that was worth it even if I didn't love doing it.

As much as I would have liked to go back to the way it was before I discovered sex, it was too late for that. I knew what it felt like. I knew how great it was to experience it with another human being. It was something larger than I was. It took two to tango and I wanted to be a master at the dance.

Everything else in life took practice if you wanted to be good at it. Why not sex? Why did I keep beating myself up because I liked something other people seemed to like? Lord knows there wasn't much I shared in common with other people but sex just happened to be what we did share an interest in. Did I really want to stop having sex until I figured it all out?

For my entire lifetime I never knew what it was like caring or being cared about, feeling or being felt for, and especially I knew nothing about receiving pleasure or giving it. Instead of denying myself, perhaps I should accept that I was good at it, I liked it, and the people I did it with liked it. Maybe there were some of us that didn't need any more than that. Of course it would be great to find someone I could do it with all the time and then I wouldn't need to keep having those long thoughtful sessions with myself or long for others to relieve my aloneness.

As much as I wanted to join forces with someone else, it just never worked. Each road I went down was marked with a dead end sign at the end. I hadn't so much found someone as I had found a king and his court. While I wanted the king, I settled for his court, because I needed someone and I discovered that sex was the quickest way to get what I needed.

For the most part it was the orgasm that spurned on most of the boys I went with. You could see it on their faces and in their eyes when they accepted the arrangement that at the time was convenient. They wanted to get to the other side so they could cum and cum as long as they could cum. I suppose some would cum forever if given the opportunity. For me it was the holding, the touching, the being touched by them, and the union of body and mind that allowed me to discard the nothing that I was both unlovable and more frighteningly, unable to love.

This was the message of my childhood. I was unworthy of human contact or of any compassion that might indicate that there was value in my life. This left me on the outside, longing to get in, but the harder I tried, the more violent I was repulsed, and then there was the day I stopped trying to appease the angry huge people I could never please. Nothing was good enough and everything fell short of satisfying them. I was without value then.

Subsequently there was the fear that I would always be alone because I couldn't love or be loved, and so even sex was a substitute that allowed me to flush those unattractive thoughts from my mind. If I was in the arm of a lovely boy, sucking his dick, having him suck mine, then could it follow that I couldn't love and I was unlovable?

It did follow, many times it followed closely after the act, and once the other boy was gone from my grasp and beyond my reach, beyond caring for me any longer now that his load of love was ecstatically dispensed. At least for the time it took he was mine for the taking. It seemed his interest would rise and fall with his erect cock, but it was something. The act of loving when the love because a byproduct of his lust. Why would I deny myself this relief form being alone?

It was better than sitting on the sidelines as I'd done for fifteen years, or more like three or four after I knew what it was I was and wanted from boys. It would never be what I wanted but it was something. Until I met Greg there was nothing. He was immediately the end all and be all of love for me.

Was it love at first sight? Did I love him now? Was it all an illusion and now I could be close to him without protest, no objections, no insults, and no interaction. Was it another sellout on my way to where? I didn't know where? Would I ever know what it was I was looking for? Would Greg ever feel anything for me but content no matter if I went a hundred years without having sex with another boy? How long would he wait for me? Did I really want to go up this road, putting all my eggs in his basket, only to have him crush them carelessly under his feet.

After not being able to feel, not knowing how to feel, and being fearful of my feeling, doing it with the king's court was enough to give me hope there had to be more. It was more than I had known before. I didn't want my life to be about the numbers too great to count but I didn't want it to be about me going down a lonely road alone, wondering where I was going and why I was doing what I was doing.

There had to be some way to control my urges. Even watching Greg asleep in his bed, I had the urge to reach up under his sheet to feel what it was I dreamed about so often. He was naked except for the sheet that was jammed into his crotch so it didn't make the doctors and more likely the nurses from having obscene thoughts about all that he had to offer. I knew all about what he had to offer but it didn't keep me from the obscene thoughts. I had control myself but more than once I had let my hand rest on his bed and very near the sheet. I bet that would wake up quick, I mused. A couple ah toots on his horn would remind him what his life was about.

It seemed somehow humorous thinking about his reaction if he caught me taking what I wanted from him while he was too drugged up to care. I trudged along with the shoulder substance yielding beneath my determined feet as I walked, and smiling because I knew only too well what was hidden behind Greg's sheet. Maybe just a feel to see if he was alive?

The car eased to the shoulder in front of where I walked. If it hadn't been late I would never have considered it, but when the door opened, I thought, at least I should tell him I don't take rides from strangers, no matter how much I appreciated their kindness. It was a prepared speech I'd only used a couple of times in my life. I knew the hazards and had heard the horror stories about what happened to good looking young boys after they climbed into stranger's cars. I'd just go up and say no.

The gravel crunched under my feet as I jogged up to the open door.

"You want a ride or not? Too damn dark for you to be waking on this section of road. You want to get hit?"

No, I didn't want to get hit. I was already late. My parents would be pissed off as usual because I missed dinner. Saving five minutes seemed smart at the time. The gate was only another mile or so, and what could happen in a mile? Once we got to the gate if he was acting kinky, I'd let him go on without me until he was out of sight and while I was still safely under the watchful eye of the gatekeeper.

What could happen in a mile? I was a big boy. I could take care of myself. Who'd want to take advantage of me anyway?

Little did I know that my life was about to change.

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