Knots, Book 4
by Elias Scott
The rest of the week after our talk was kinda weird. We hung together as usual, but there wasn't any of the natural spontaneity we always had. Everyone else at our lunch table noticed it too. Gina didn't, because she was off with Billy Martin. Ollie managed to notice despite his new girlfriend, Sonia, and him ogling each other all during lunch. Sonia was a grade ahead of Ollie and not bad looking, except for the huge earrings she wore and the fact she was all over Ollie every day at lunch. We could only imagine what they did in private.
Emily said, "What's the matter with you two? Did you guys have a lover's spat?"
"Fuck you, Em," Andy shot off.
"Watch the way you talk to my Em, Andy," Alan said.
Emily turned to Alan and gave him a broad smile and kissed him. "Thanks, Alan."
"What, you don't have anything to say, Matt?" she asked.
We left it at that.
Frank Kutcher still had the starting position. I'm not sure why, because when I got in, the team moved the ball. Coach Gilbert told me to be patient. We only had four games left, but my patience was growing thin.
After the game, Andy and I went out for pizza and were both quiet. It seemed like I really screwed everything up. But at least we had our appointments with Dr. Walker the next day and maybe he'd get us straightened out.
They weren't going to let me play football at all for the rest of the season because of my injuries, but once I finally had the casts off, Coach Gilbert and the doctor tried to give me some hope. I figured there was no way I'd get to play though. I wanted to play badly, but I still hurt in all kinds of places, so I decided I'd do my best to wait for basketball season.
I couldn't wait to get to Dr. Walker's the next day. My life was miserable after Matt and I talked. He started off with his usual question as we walked into his inner sanctum. "Andy, how was your week?"
I plopped down in the chair. "It sucked, if you really want to know."
"I do. Why did it suck?"
It took a whole glass of water before I could speak. "Matt and I had our talk and he wants to just be friends with benefits. And of course I want more. He isn't ready for a committed relationship and he doesn't trust me."
Dr. Walker always seems to be one step ahead. "How about just being friends without benefits, like you were most of your lives?"
"Uh-uh. It's like this Doc: once you've tasted the fruit, it's hard not to go back for more."
He nodded and wrote something down. "I see. So are you saying Matt is like fruit?"
"Damn, Doc. As usual, you're not making this easy."
I leaned my head back on the chair and stared at the ceiling. "Yeah, he's like sweet, delicious fruit."
"Are you saying he's a fruit and not a person?"
"You're putting words in my mouth."
"You're the one who said he's like sweet, delicious fruit."
I got out of my seat and started pacing. "No, the sex is. Matt isn't the fruit."
"But you said he was."
"Damn, Doc. Knock it off. I was looking forward to coming here so you could fix this, and you're just making it worse."
"I'm making it worse or you are? I just asked you how your week went and you told me."
"Okay. Okay. But things aren't the same between Matt and me."
"I see why since you look at him like he's a piece of fruit that you can't have. Kind of like the old Adam and Eve story. And you know what happened to them."
"That's just a story. This is real."
"I'm not going to argue the religious aspects of the story. Let's assume it's just a story. Were they happier or better off after they ate the fruit?"
"Worse off. But that has nothing to do with this."
"Did Matt ever try to have sex with you before the day you found out about Dillon cheating on you?"
"Did you try to have sex with him?"
I sat back down and laid my head back so I didn't have to look at Walker. "Yes."
"What did he do?"
"He got pissed and said no."
"Let's see if I have this right. For you, Matt was forbidden fruit. For Matt, you were his best friend and he was worried about you. He didn't see you as fruit. He saw you as a person. Does that pretty much sum it up?"
"Well, umm, I'm not sure."
Walker wrote something on that damn yellow pad of his. "Think about it. Why did Matt have sex with you?"
I went silent. I knew the answer, but I didn't want to hear myself say it.
"Come on, Andy. Answer the question."
"He loves me and was worried about me doing something to myself."
"Did he do it for the pleasure of sex, or for you?"
Walker took a sip of water and I was hoping he'd drown in it. "But he likes the sex. We both like the sex. You know all the things we've done."
"The larger question, Andy is: Would he have ended up doing any of those things if he hadn't given himself to you that night to show you how much he loved you?"
Again I knew the answer. I'm sure you know the answer as you're reading this or maybe not. "I don't know. "
He checked his notes. "I think you started this conversation off with this sentence: 'It's like this Doc, once you've tasted the fruit, it's hard not to go back for more.' Isn't that what you said?"
"I don't know. I didn't write it down. It looks like you did though."
He was having difficulty not smiling at the predicament he put me in. "Well, now that I've used your own words, what's your answer? Would he have done all the things he did later if he hadn't had sex with you that first time when you felt betrayed by Dillon?"
I leaned forward and hung my head and said in a low voice, "Probably not."
"So don't you think you should cut him some slack, as they say?"
"I suppose so."
"It's now your turn to show you love and respect his decision. Can you do that?"
"I don't know, Doc. I love the sex as much as I love Matt. What's a guy to do?"
He jotted more notes. "Let me ask you this. What's more important to you? Matt's friendship and your love for him, or sex with Matt?"
I took a deep breath. "That's a tough one. I know the answer should be our friendship and our love for each other. But it's hard to separate the two."
"You're not getting off that easily. Make a choice. You've been doing it anyway and just haven't know it. So choose. Which is most important, your friendship and love for each other, or the sex?"
I gave the required answer. "Our friendship and love for each other."
"You don't sound like you mean it."
"Well, uh. I kind of mean it."
"Our time is almost up so let's get to the meat of this thing. You said earlier that Matt doesn't want to be in a committed relationship because he thinks he's not ready, and that he doesn't trust you. Is that right?"
"Do you understand better why he might think that?"
Again, I knew the answer, but didn't want to say it. "What do you mean?"
"You can choose between your friendship and love for Matt, or the sex. You're not sure which is most important. How can you be in a committed relationship until you decide?"
"Doc, you're making this too hard. We can have both. It doesn't have to be one or the other."
"Evidently, Matt doesn't think so and a relationship requires an equal commitment on both partners. It appears Matt has made the decision for you, and if you're any kind of a friend and you really love him, then you're going to have to respect that. Can you do that?"
"I don't know. I'll have to think about it."
"Good, we'll talk about it next week. Have a good week." "Doc, I'm not sure that's possible now."
I left feeling worse than when I got there. Dr. Walker didn't live up to my expectations.
I was waiting in Dr. Walker's outer office when Andy came out alone. He gave me an angry look. "I think Dr. Walker likes you better than me."
"Yeah, he kind of defends you and doesn't seem to understand."
Walker came out to get me and caught the tail end of our conversation. "Do you really think that, Andy?" "Yeah. I'm always on the losing end."
"Andy, come back into my office."
Walker closed the door and I stood there kind of wondering what the hell was going on.
Walker brought me back into his office and I thought he was going to get the whips out and whip me like a little boy. "What do you mean I defend Matt over you?"
"Yeah. You're taking his side."
"You don't see my side. You don't see my pain and how important my having a relationship with Matt is."
Walker and I stood there. It was obvious he wasn't going to spend a lot of time on this. "I do see it. But Andy, Matt is not you. He's his own person and you need to respect that. If you don't, then you will lose what you have right now. We can't always have what we want. You should know that by now. I do not favor either of you. I wouldn't be much of a therapist if I did. My job is to make you look inside and examine your feelings. And today we covered some pretty heavy stuff and it hurt. But we're not done and neither is Matt. He might feel the same way as you do after our session today. I think you should talk again later."
I started toward the door. "It won't do any good."
"I suppose you think having sex will solve the whole problem."
"Yeah. Everything falls away and there are no problems, no thoughts, no anything, but a feeling of love and pleasure," I said as I turned back toward him.
"That's the way it's supposed to be. But that's only in the moment, Andy; it's not forever. You want something that goes beyond the moment you're having sex, and that's what we're working at. Do you understand?"
I didn't say anything at first. "But for me, it's always been the sex. It fills some need inside me. An empty hole. That's the way it was with Dillon."
"I understand, and we'll talk more about that later. But keep in mind that Matt is not Dillon. Plus, Matt really loves you. Savor that and love him for that. You don't know what the future holds, so be patient. Matt is as confused as you. He has different needs. Respect that. Can you do that?"
I hung my head and tears formed in my eyes. "I don't know. But I'll try."
Love is an ice cream sundae, with all the marvelous coverings. Sex is the cherry on top. -- Jimmy Dean
There are two things people want more than sex and money... recognition and praise. -- Mary Kay Ash
Tell me how a person judges his or her self-esteem, and I will tell you how that person operates at work, in love, in sex, in parenting, in every important aspect of existence - and how high he or she is likely to rise. The reputation you have with yourself - your self-esteem - is the single most important factor for a fulfilling life. -- Nathaniel Branden
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