Just Hit 'Send' - The High School Years

by Grasshopper

Ch. 19

"Just why do you think you're......gay?"

Jordan had come out of his room and everyone had been polite and civil. They sat on the front porch, Mama on the swing, her hands pressed tightly together, Daddy on gray deck rail, his long legs stretched out and Jordan on the front steps, biting his bottom lip. He remembered so many other times they had sat just like this, laughing and talking. And he remembered when Adam had sat right here beside him, his head on Jordan's arm as he got so sleepy but wouldn't go to bed.

He heard the question again. "Jordan, why do you think you're.....gay?"

He had to make these words right........He knew how hard it was for his daddy to even ask.

"Why do I think I'm gay?" he repeated the question. "Do you really want to hear this?"

"No," David replied honestly. "But tell me anyway."

Jordan sat still for a few minutes. He could hear his parents breathing, waiting for him to explain. Taking a deep breath, he began:

"In the 4th grade, Terry Frazier gave me a stick of gum. I didn't chew it. I kept it." Jordan paused.

"What? And that made you gay?" his daddy snorted.

"In 6th grade, I sat behind Kraig Lefler and learned more about the way his hair curled just below the tips of his ears and his jeans pulled across his butt than any of the Geography Mrs. Franks was teaching."

"Jordan !"

"You asked."

He turned and faced his daddy. "I'm not trying to gross you out. I just want you to see that it isn't Danny. I've been this way a long time. Danny's just the first boy that I let see me." He heard his mama's sharp intake of breath. "Not like that, Mama. I mean, letting someone else see who I am." He thought about what Danny had seen and was glad the darkness was hiding his blush.

"But Jordan, all children have a healthy curiosity. Remember when you played doctor with little Jeanie Clark and her mama caught you?"

"Yeah, I remember. I remember thinking she had parts missing and would have looked really good if she'd had a..............had more parts," he finished lamely.

"But, Jordan. You date all the time. Girls like you. You come home and you have lipstick on your face. What is that?"

"I do that for you, for my friends, for the world. I like girls. They're funny and soft and they listen better than guys and I even kiss them. I didn't want to be this. Believe me.......I tried not to be this." Jordan thought of all the kisses he'd had and how only one had turned him on, made him hard.

"You don't have to be........this," his daddy muttered.

"And how will we fix me? Am I broken? We could just take me to the dump and you could go to the new boy store and buy another me. A better me. A str8 me. C'mon, let's go now before the store closes." He knew he was being horrid but he felt horrid.

"Stop, Jordan," his mama's voice calmed him.

"I'm sorry, Mama. I would have fixed me before this if there was a way. But I've got to be me now. You don't have to love me anymore. I know that. I'm now exactly everything you don't believe in."

He felt his mother's arms slide around him as she sat down beside him on the step. "I wouldn't trade you for any other boy in the world, Jordan Lawrence, I created you. I carried you. I gave birth to you. Who you are is half my doing." The words 'half my doing' hung in the air.

"But Claire," David argued, "the church........."

"I did not make love to the church to create this child, David," Claire said firmly. "You are the other half of him. Are you worried that you are gay? That you gave him this "affliction"? Claire was tired and David was being dense. "Think, David. Are you gay? Am I?"

"No."

"Then Jordan has created this within himself. He took the best of us and then added what he needed to be loved. I know you can't accept it as good or normal right now. No one expects you to, but David.........It is Jordan. You can't deny your own son because he isn't you."

She heard David murmur under his breath.

"What?"

"I said he's your son. He's you all over again."

Jordan had heard that before. It hurt just as much. "So, Daddy, if Adam had not.........died. He would never have been gay cause he was like you. Is that what you're saying?"

"Damn straight. He would have been just like me," David spoke loudly and then realized what he had said.

"That's it right there, Daddy. You'll always want Adam. Always wish it had been me instead of him. I tried. Damn, I tried. So, now I'm doing the ultimate non-Adam thing I can think of to do.........be gay........cause hell, we all know that YOUR son would never have disappointed you like I have."

"Jordan !"

"No, Daddy, let's just say it, okay? I heard you say it, that you wished Adam had lived and I had died. I heard you. I've lived with it for all these years. It didn't make me gay. It made me sad. It made me who I am." He couldn't trust himself to say anymore. Moving from the step where he had risen to face his daddy, Jordan walked back inside, up the stairs and back into his prison.

Claire started to follow him when David grabbed her arm. "No, Claire. Leave it. He's just lashing out to cover this other mess."

"David, you can be such an ass sometimes. If you can't see that your son needs you, you don't deserve him. Let go of my arm." She jerked her arm away and went upstairs to Jordan's room.

"Jordan, when did you hear him say that?" She looked at her son, stretched out in the middle of the floor, his arms over his head, his face mashed into the rug.

"At the hospital," Jordan mumbled through tight lips, "When no one would let me go see Adam. When my brother died and no one would let me in the room. Remember that? I heard Daddy talking to Uncle Jimmy. Uncle Jimmy said that he still had me and Daddy made this noise in his throat and said that Adam's name should have been David and now he'd never see him grow up. He said that I should have caught him. I should have caught him." Jordan's voice had disintegrated into a childish singsong choked with tears. "He blamed me then Mama, and he still does. I couldn't catch him."

"Oh Jordan," Claire lay down beside her son on the soft carpet, smoothing his hair out of his eyes, watching the tears flow unchecked into the corners of his mouth to drip onto her fingers. "People say a lot of things when they're hurting. Your daddy was hurting that night. He didn't mean any of that." As she said it, Claire cursed at her husband silently.

"I'm sorry, so sorry, we didn't let you be with Adam, Jordan. I forgot you. I'm so sorry."

"It's okay, Mama," Jordan sniffled. "It's just that the last thing Adam ever said to me.......I remember it all so clear....'Can you go with me, Jordy? I'm not so scared when you're with me.' And then they wouldn't even let me be with him when he......when he....... He was so scared, Mama. I wasn't there."

David stood outside the door, tears coursing down his face. He remembered it all like it was yesterday. Claire's call from the hospital. Jordan's big wide frightened eyes staring at him in the truck as he raced over the Skyway Bridge to All Children's. His conversation with Jim in the hall outside the waiting room. He had not known that Jordan was listening. Truth was, at the time, he would not have cared, but now..........God, now. He had hurt his son. How do you take words like that back? How do you ever say I'm sorry I didn't love you? How do you apologize for forgetting about your own child?

Adam had been his shadow, a mirror image of David. That was the reason he had said that he wished he had made him a junior. Not that Jordan wasn't loved, just that he was his mother's child through and through. The way he talked, in that soft whisper, the way his eyes lit up and his nose crinkled when he laughed, the little jokes only he and his Mama shared. David had been left out of their closeness and, as he leaned against the wall outside Jordan's bedroom, he realized, for the first time, that he had resented what Claire and Jordan had.

He walked quietly into the room and saw the two people who made up his universe sprawled in the middle of the floor. Feeling once more out of place, he turned to leave.

"David Lawrence. You are so not leaving this room," Claire spoke in that breathy voice. "Sit !" He walked over and sat gingerly on the edge of the huge recliner.

Claire sat up, bowed her short legs Indian style and poked at Jordan. "Enough now, punkin. You have our attention. Tell us what you need."

Jordan rolled over and sat up, once again the reflection of his mama, legs folded in on themselves. For the life of him, David never saw how they got in those positions. Eyes down, Jordan didn't know what to say.

David cleared his throat and coughed two times. "I'm sorry, Jordan. I'll try to understand. I'll try to do better. It's just that..........."

"Shhhh," Claire interrupted. "That's a good place to start. Jordan, your daddy and I love you. Do you know that?"

"Yes."

"I've already accepted in my heart what you've told us about yourself. Your daddy will take a little longer because he just found out. Isn't that right, David?" Claire's eyes rose to her husband's and she pleaded with him to say this right.

"Yes, that's right."

"I'm going to ask you this one time and then we'll forget it forever, okay?"

she touched Jordan's knee lightly. He looked up questioningly and they both saw his tear stained face and his puffy bottom lip clenched between his teeth. He looked about 9.

"Do the feelings that you are gay come from what happened when Adam died? Is this some way of trying to get our attention? To make us see you? To try to find the love you think we haven't given to you?" She looked directly into his wet green eyes.

David sat still. The love I haven't given to him. That's what she means.

Jordan thought. "No, Mama. At first, I thought maybe that was it too. But, it isn't. I can't tell you the different things that happened to make me know," he blushed. "All I can say is that even if Adam were.......still here," he reached over and pulled the Tigger to him, "I'd still feel this way about...you know."

"About Danny?"

"Yeah."

"But Jordan," David spoke, trying to keep his voice level. "What about all the teachings of the church? You know how we feel about what you say you are."

Claire watched Jordan's jaw clench. But, this had to be said.

"Daddy, I go with you. I sit there. I listen to the preacher talk about God's love and about how we are all his children and if we do something wrong, to just ask for forgiveness and he'll forgive us. And then, I listen to him say that we are the ONLY people going to Heaven. That people who believe differently, think differently, live differently..........won't. How can we all be his children but some more than others and some not at all? Why Daddy, are there 17 Baptist churches in this county? Why can't even the CHOSEN ones get along enough to be together?"

David wanted to run get a bible, show Jordan the passages that condemn homosexuality, but he just sat. What good would it do to preach at his own son? Jordan had always been such a good boy.........maybe he was choosing a path David didn't understand but maybe it was his path. His heart hurt for his only child.

"I um.......," David cleared his throat. "I won't lose you over this, Jordan."

"What about Danny?"

The question hung in the air. What about Danny? It was one thing to consider that possibly Jordan was ...different. Quite another to have a strange boy flung in his face.

"I'd rather you didn't see him," David said softly.

"That really isn't an option," Jordan answered, his voice strong.

"I could forbid you."

"You could."

"What would you do?"

"Leave."

The silence was deafening. Claire, stuck in the middle, had so much to say and pressed her lips shut, her eyes darting from one to the other.

"Jordan?

"Yes, Daddy?"

"Are you, have you.....with Danny?"

Jordan's eyes squeezed shut and his face blushed red. "Daddddddyyy!"

"Well, have you?"

"Have I....have we.........not what you're thinking, Daddy. No."

"I won't have that in my home."

"Yes, Daddy."

"Claire. Go away. Do the dishes," David said. Jordan's eyebrows folded in and he stood up and walked over to the window. Oh, God ! Not a talk ! Not that kind of a talk ! He pressed his face up against the glass. Danny !! Save me from a gay sex talk from my Daddy !!

Claire bit her bottom lip, forbidden giggles, the kind you get at a funeral, when you CANNOT laugh, threatened to escape. That she should ever live to see the day......."Yes, David."

"Jordan."

"Yes."

"You know what condoms are?"

"Duh."

"Don't get smart."

"Sorry."

"Anytime you put your um....anytime your penis goes into um.....another person....." David's voice trailed off, his mind going where it had never gone before. "Jordan, whatever place it goes in...................."

"Daddy? Don't do this," Jordan said quietly. "It's okay, really. Neither one of us have ever been with anyone else." He crossed over to his daddy and put his hand gently on the older man's shoulder.

"I just remember when I was 16," David murmured.

"At least you don't have to worry about me getting Danny pregnant," Jordan teased carefully. He watched his daddy's reaction.

"God Jordan ! Well, I guess not. But I can't have you doing that here. I can't know. Maybe I'll get better but right now all I can promise is that I will think about it. You have to give me some time."

It was funny, really, Jordan thought as he stood there, his hand on his father's shoulder, almost like he was the dad comforting his son. He knew what he wanted, but his daddy needed time, to think, to adjust, to consider. He didn't realize there was really nothing to think about, to adjust to, to consider. It was a done deal. Gay isn't a party hat you take off when the party's over. But, he'd let his daddy think. At least, he had given Jordan that.

"May I see Danny?"

"Where?"

"Here? At his house?"

"Why?"

"Daddy!!"

David sighed. God, he was exhausted. Jordan runs away. Jordan drops this bomb on him. Jordan doesn't think he loves him. Where the hell did all this come from? He wanted it to be last week, when everything was normal......but truth to tell, it hadn't been normal last week........or the week before that. It hadn't been normal since Adam fell out of that treehouse seven years ago. As much as he wanted to think it had, there had been secrets in this house. Painful secrets that needed to see the light of day. If Jordan needed to feel that he loved him, then he would have to show him and to show him he would have to trust him.

"All right."

Jordan couldn't believe his ears. "Did you say 'all right?' Did you Daddy?"

"You can see Danny. But Jordan.........."

"Yes?"

"Let me be proud of you in this......like I've been proud of you all your life."

Jordan felt his heart and his stomach hurt. They always hurt when he was scared or excited. This was a mixture of both. "Oh Daddy !" He threw his arms around his daddy's neck and hugged him as tight as he could. David slowly raised his arms and drew his son into his arms. Why had he never noticed that they never hugged? What had been wrong with him?


Jordy says: DANNNNNYYYYYYYY !!!!

Danny says: I take it things went well hahahahaha !
Jordy says: I can see you............wheeeeeeeeeeee !!!
Danny says: really? REALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jordy says: Daddy says we can come over and go to the beach hahahah ! I guess if we're out in public I can't jump you
Danny says: I don't care if we have to sit in the middle of the street !!!!!
Jordy says: we've got shaperons (sp) now Dan
Danny says: I don't care........i really don't
Jordy says: me either......but Dan.........we will find a way
Danny says: we better......if I don't touch you soon I'll die
Jordy says: I want to lay nose 2 nose toes 2 toes like before :::blush:::
Danny says: I want to taste you again...........love you again............::sighhhhhh::
Jordy says: Danny?
Danny says: Oh yes, please..................

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