by Rafael Henry
Simon and David's last night together.
I wanted it to be a low key affair for a number of reasons. After another lack lustre dinner at the hotel we walked for more than an hour on the beach. The weather which had looked threatening earlier had cleared and left us with a warm evening…….hardly any wind and perfect conditions for contemplation as we wandered from one end of the lovely beach to the other….more than once. About ten minutes into our stroll David did something that really moved me. He asked me if he could hold my hand as we walked. I didn't need to say anything. I held it out and David took it giving me one of his lovely smiles as he did so. I gave it a squeeze and he responded……
'Do you love me?'
'What do you think, you silly beautiful boy?'
'I think you do…..deep down.'
'What do you mean, deep down?'
'I mean deep down inside you. How much do you?'
'More than you'll ever know.'
'You'll have to love me from a distance now. Do you think you can do that? Anyway, you'll meet someone at university won't you?'
'I might……..I might not. I might not want to. Have you considered that possibility?'
I wasn't expecting an answer to that question.
We walked on in silence. He'd let go of my hand and put it around my back and I had responded in the same way. We passed a couple walking their dog. They gave us a nice smile. It must have been five minutes before David said anything. Then…….
'Do you think that Ruan and I can be proper friends David?'
'Well that's up to both of you isn't it? My advice is not to be too demanding with him. He's quite a serious character and wants to go forward carefully with his life……you know……one step at a time. He's had some difficult times and he's a bit of a wounded soldier at the moment. He could be a wonderful friend for you as long as you are careful with him……..don't scare him off David….let him decide what he wants to do and when ok……don't push things.'
We walked on in silence as David considered what I had said. Then…….
'You won't see me any more after tonight will you?'
'No, probably not, but you'll still be with me.'
'Because I won't forget… you . You'll always be there……somewhere…….round a corner…….on the stairs…….maybe even in bed with me, cuddled up and…….'
I didn't answer that.
'Will you miss that ?'
'Oh yes. I will miss that .'
We stopped and held each other. I'm taller than David, but not by that much. His hands that were just above the waistband of my shorts slipped lower and I could feel myself responding. David enjoys many of the things I do, and this is one of them. I place my hands either side of his head and draw him towards mine. These are perfect moments when everything that we are is joined.
The next morning……………..
'Hurry up David….your father said he'd be here at ten. You've got twenty minutes ok.'
'Have you seen my pants Simon……yesterdays?'
'Somewhere in the bed probably. You had better find them, before some poor cleaner has to deal with it.'
'Can you please, I'm busy in here for a bit.'
I pulled back the covers on the bed and there they were, just where they had been discarded. I picked them up and carefully folded them into a neat shape. I walked over to David's open case that contained the rest of his clothes for the week. It was, for David, quite neatly arranged with the larger items underneath the smaller ones, and everything folded. That's Berrington Hall for you. I could have placed the item I held in my hand on top of the other similar articles of clothing of which there were rather a lot, but I didn't. I don't suppose they would notice one less.
Five minutes later……
'Did you find them?'
He stopped to look at me, smiling. His gaze dropped to my open case at the end of the bed and he smiled again.
'Quickly then, your father will be downstairs in fifteen minutes.'
I doubt if it lasted more than a few seconds given the state we were both in. Fifteen minutes was plenty of time to do what we both needed to do. Unusually I came first. David was slower than he normally is. We used our hands on each other simultaneously while we enjoyed each other's lips and tongues. It was an exquisite sensation for us both full of excitement and a sense of danger interwoven with a strange attempt at closure, at least for me. I wanted to know why David had taken so long to come.
'I wanted it to last Simon….to not be over. I don't want it to be over.' Poor David. When he really cries, he really does mean it. He cries so beautifully, the blessed boy. I couldn't be, in a thousand years, be unaffected.
'Here use this David. Are you ok now?'
'About as good as you are.'
'Come on, we'd better get our act together. Your father will not be impressed if he sees us like this. Are you sure you've got everything?'
The drive back was a bit tricky in that we didn't really want to talk, but of course we had to. David's father quite reasonably wanted to know how it went with the course, the hotel which he had paid for, and everything else. We both replied to his questions as fully as we could, but I was conscious of falling a bit short on detail.
My departure from David's house in Southernhay was even worse, because I could barely hold it together, and they must have noticed. David was virtually silent and as the front door finally closed I saw him run up the stairs towards his bedroom. Oh dear…….I think we have made a complete mess of this……right at the end and I'm annoyed with myself.
I didn't want to go home at that point so I decided I would sit in the Cathedral for a while, which is less than five minutes walk from David's house. I'd been in before but not in the state I was in now. I found a seat in the nave right at the end of the row and next to one of the pillars with some sort of monument on it. I couldn't have read it if I had tried. It wasn't sadness or joy even……..I don't really know what it was, but whatever it was, it was all flowing gently out of me in the form of my tears. I don't know how long it was before I felt a slight pressure on my shoulder.
'Can I help?'
'David's been in his room for ages. Do you think I should go in and talk to him?'
'No darling. I think he's in another place right now……best to leave him be. Don't worry, he'll come back to us when he's ready.'
It was an hour before David thought he was ready to face the world. He was wrong of course…….he was nowhere near ready. His father was right…..he had been in another place, but now he had come back to them because he needed them. There are times when a boy needs his mother, and this was one of them. His father quietly left the room sensing the situation.
David sits with his mother, her arms around his shoulders holding him tightly as the boy weeps…..wrapped up and safe in a mother's love.
What a difference a day makes eh? David is in his customary ebullient mood, and ready for his breakfast.
'Hi mum……hi dad………can I phone Peter please………see if he wants to come round?'
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