Nick & Tony's Story - Epilogue

by Nick Brady

The year is 2013, 40 years since our story first began.

Nick's parents have passed on, his father in 2005, his mother just two years later. They miss them very much. No one ever had better parents. They loved Joseph, Kevin and Nick, and the rest of their 'boys' as they referred to them all.

Joseph remained part of Nick's family until his musical career took him elsewhere. His mother was released on parole after three years in prison and set up housekeeping with her sister in Oklahoma City. She had been left financially secure after her divorce from Joseph's father. His father married his long time lover. Joseph's relationship with his parents remained cordial but distant. Nick never met his sisters. Alice moved to Los Angeles to live with her daughter and spent her remaining days happily spoiling several grandchildren.

Kevin removed himself from his familiar place on the sofa and attended the University of Tulsa on an academic scholarship and became, of all things, a very successful stock broker. He married a lovely girl and had twin boys. He and Nick remained very close and his sons are quite fond of Uncle Nick and Uncle Joseph.

Joseph and Nick remained inseparable. Joseph spent several summers at various music programs, notably in Aspen Colorado, but returned to Nick when they concluded. By the time Joseph graduated from high school he had already made a name for himself as a pianist of high order. He was offered scholarships at several prestigious schools of music including Julliard and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. Nick did not qualify for a scholarship which would allow him to attend college near Joseph, and was afraid they might be separated for quite some time.

However, one of the schools that offered Joseph a scholarship was the University of North Texas. Nick was not familiar with that school, but Joseph advised him that they have an exceptional school of music and he accepted their scholarship. At his suggestion they drove to Denton, Texas, to visit the school during the summer after Joseph graduated high school and Nick completed his junior year. During high school Nick developed an interest in writing and had edited the Edison Eagle, the school newspaper. Nick found that North Texas also had an excellent English department and that their writing program was very interesting.

Nick made plans to join Joseph after he graduated high school, and devoted himself to a sterling academic year as a senior. With the help of the Edison administration and Joseph's influence, he was able to qualify for a tuition only scholarship to North Texas and with some help from his parents, they were able to attend school together. Joseph rented a small apartment and Nick was able to stay with him rather than in a dormitory.

While they were separated for most of Nick's senior year, they were finally able to live together in college. There was only one bed, but it was big enough for two. In fact, the distance between the North Texas University and Tulsa was close enough to allow a number of conjugal visits during their separation. One of the key considerations when they did their planning was the desire to remain together. North Texas University made that possible.

Joseph's academic and performance schedule kept him very busy. To say that he did well would be an understatement. He was brilliant. When Nick joined him during the summer after his high school graduation, he immediately found a job in the university bookstore. It paid only modestly, but the schedule was flexible and it gave Nick a discount on books. His tuition was paid and Joseph was covering the rent, allowing them to live modestly but fairly well. Nick tried to see to it that Joseph ate properly. Left to his own devices Joseph tended to skip meals and was rather thin already. Nick learned to do some basic cooking, although never up to the standard set by or Nick's mother. Joseph never complained, but thanked Nick daily.

During the time that Tony was living in the apartment building with his brothers, he introduced the family to his old friends from the boys home – Danny, Jermaine and Bobby. Nick and Joseph made it a point to go home whenever they could manage for holidays and during breaks in the academic year. The old apartment was now home for both of them, and quite comfortable after the remodeling made possible by Joseph's father. The highlight of every visit was the private performance Joseph gave for Nick's parents on his old Steinway. They would claim it years later but it lived with Nick's parents for many years. Joseph's homecoming was the catalyst for a reunion of sorts and Mom supplied generously them all with delicious treats to accompany the music. It was a good time.

After Joseph received his bachelor's degree, he stayed on for two years of graduate study, while Nick finished his degree then had a year off. Nick continued to work but spent most of his time writing. He focused on submitting to magazines – articles, essays, short stories – anything that he could get published. Nick acquired a collection of rejection letters, but was able to sell quite a few things. His break came when one of his stories found publication in the New Yorker magazine. It was not a great deal of money but it earned him some favorable attention and he began to have more work accepted. It was not steady, but it was a modest living.

When they were ready, Joseph began to accept the numerous offers he was receiving to perform with various orchestras. Since Nick's office was a portable typewriter, he was able to accompany Joseph and they covered a good bit of the United States, and later Europe and Japan. This became their career, Joseph performing and Nick writing. When there were gaps in Joseph's schedule they could travel for pleasure. Joseph's career began to pay rather handsomely, and Nick's writing was paying better than might have been expected. Nick began to have some success with fiction, and the experiences encountered in their travels enhanced his stories. They were not rich, but able to live quite comfortably and enjoyed some of the good things that life offered.

They had occasion to travel to Los Angeles several times to play with the Los Angeles Symphony. Joseph located Alice and visited her, bringing her roses. She embraced him and wept. From that time forward until her death, he sent her roses every Mother's Day.

They lived for a time in Paris, then in London. It was a grand time for them both. Joseph had grown up with a certain amount of luxury and took it all in stride. For Nick, it was a fantasy world of travel to famous places. They had many opportunities to philander, both of them, and were offered many temptations to indulge in expensive bad habits. They shared these experiences and were amused by them, but never indulged. Throughout all these wonders, they were true to each other, and steadfastly in love.

As they grew older they wanted to travel less often and found a lovely place in upstate New York where they bought their first house. It was a quaint and comfortable cottage and Nick took to growing roses. Joseph discovered a talent for painting and they spent their leisure time puttering with their new hobbies. Joseph still toured occasionally and Nick still wrote. They worked less often and were paid more it seemed. They were enjoying a comfortable middle age. Nick's hair began to turn gray, Joseph's was still dark. They watched their weight and enjoyed sex as much as ever. It was a good life.

In the summer of 2001 They traveled to the Netherlands and were married in the first country that allowed it. Legally it made little difference as they owned everything jointly, and the circles they inhabited had accepted them as a couple for some time. But it was very important to them. They had both grown up churched, albeit as very liberal Episcopalians, but had always suspected that they were somehow living in sin. Now they were legitimate, at least in Holland. Many other places began to follow of course, and they privately celebrated as first one place and then another began to recognize their union. At one point they even considered adopting a child, but decided that they were too old for that sort of thing. Children were best left up to younger, more energetic folk.

Then their parents began to fail. First Joseph's mother, then Nick's father passed away. Joseph attended his mother's funeral while Nick remained in New York. Nick offered to join him, but Joseph preferred to go alone. It was only a formality in his mind and he wished to make a quick trip of it. When Nick's father passed however, Joseph wept at the news and insisted that they go together and spend some time with Nick's mom and help her adjust. Nick's parents had been more mother and father to Joseph than his own had ever been and he loved them dearly.

They helped Nick's mother with the sale of the apartment building and moved her into an assisted living center, one with lovely gardens and a good staff. She had grown rather frail and they felt somewhat guilty that they had not spent more time with Nick's parents in recent years. Visiting the old apartment was a very emotional experience for both of them. It had been a place of warmth and love for many years.

Nick's mother was very brave but devastated by his father's passing. They had loved each other dearly for just over fifty years and she was somewhat lost without him. She lived on for several more years but seemed quite lonely, although of course she insisted she was just fine, thank you. They made it a point to visit more often and tried to provide what support they could. Financially she was comfortable, but emotionally she was bereft. Joseph's father is still living, but they have little contact with him now.

Nick and Joseph are as much in love now as when they were in their teens. Their love life is perhaps less vigorous, but still very satisfying. Nick is quite gray, Joseph is becoming a bit stooped, but neither of them has grown fat. Joseph still plays, Nick still writes, and they still tell each other that they are beautiful. They have moved the Steinway into their cottage and Joseph plays for Nick daily. Occasionally he will rip out Gershwin's Rhapsody just for old times sake, and Nick still loves it. Some things change, some things never change. They consider themselves blessed and are very happy.

Jack lived in the apartment house until after he finished graduate school in 1981. He became first an engineer with Sun Oil and later an executive with Boeing. Pablo did well in college but dropped out before he graduated and found his way into the CIA. Not the government agency, but the Culinary Institute of America, and became a chef, first at a series of nice restaurants then eventually as the owner of his own fine restaurant in Tulsa. Jack and Pablo are still a couple and are now retired in Florida.

Juan married and raised a family, making his living in construction. He was not financially successful, but made a comfortable living and had a good life. Carlos never seemed to recover from his early difficulties and drifted away. His location was uncertain, and they were never sure where he was until word came that he had been killed in an automobile accident in California.

Danny and Jermaine remained in the Tulsa Boys Home until they turned eighteen and graduated from high school. They made a reputation for themselves as mentors to a number of struggling boys who passed through the institution. Danny attended Oklahoma State University and majored in Education, eventually teaching, coaching, and becoming a high school principal where he counseled many troubled boys. He married one of his teachers and raised her two daughters and three children they had together. They invested in property and developed a small real estate company, eventually building a home on 5 acres east of Tulsa. Jermaine went through a technical program and became an electrician, married and was divorced. He remarried, this time happily and raised three sons. He coached basketball for the YMCA. Danny and Jermaine remained friends throughout their lives.

Bobby experienced a great deal of success with the choir begun by Mr. McNab. He had a beautiful soprano voice and was accepted into the Tulsa Boy Singers. Fortunately, he retained his excellent singing voice even after his voice changed to a lower register. He came to the attention of a musical couple who admired his talent and eventually adopted him when he was fifteen. Although rather old for adoption, he thrived under their encouragement. After high school he attended Tulsa University, majored in vocal music, and found a position as a teacher in the same school where his old friend Danny was the principal. He never married.

Bobby never forgot his friend Tony but lost touch with him after high school. Tony lived at the Boys Home, stayed in school and out of trouble. After high school he struggled, fell victim to drug abuse and was virtually homeless for a time. Some years later Bobby made a concerted effort to locate Tony and found him working at a car wash. Their friendship was rekindled and this time it was Bobby who encouraged Tony to straighten himself out and return to school.

With his brother Pablo's assistance Tony went through a culinary arts program and learned to be a fine cook, working in his brother's restaurant. While he found a number of sexual partners over time, he found it very difficult to make the commitment required to establish a long term relationship. He eventually took up residence with Bobby where they remained steadfast friends, but never lovers. After his brother Pablo's retirement Tony now manages the restaurant and dotes on Bobby.

Thank you dear reader. It has been a long story and like life itself, sometimes happy and sometimes sad. May you be blessed with love and good fortune.
Nick

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