Kings Blue

by Rafael Henry

Chapter 4

My mother had glanced at the drawing I had done of Per in the garden. I would have drawn him nude out of choice. I know exactly what sort of visual record I would have chosen to keep and look at for all the weeks, months and years that I will no longer see him. He's perfectly beautiful, at least to me he is……every hair on his body, every bit of him, down to the last detail. I am wondering what he will look like in five years time. Very different no doubt, just as I will look very different…….and think differently too. But this is now, not then.

'Do you like the drawing mum?'

'Yes darling…'s just like him.'

It isn't, actually. I have trouble doing faces, but I'm quite pleased with the rest of him. He's just in his shorts, or rather mine. He's sitting in that way he does… the way he did that first morning. It's become a bit of a joke between us now. He can be quite naughty, and I love him dearly for it, and everything else he is and does. I just love him. He told me first, and then of course I told him. We cried together, holding on, hard. We had to. There was nothing else we could possibly have done. We are so happy.

'Per's mum wanted a sketch of him. Will it be ok if I go with them tomorrow? They want to leave at nine thirty. They think the car park will be busy. It's supposed to be hot tomorrow.'

My mother was fine with the idea. Per and his family are going to the beach tomorrow. Alea, Per's mum, had mentioned it this morning when I went back to Per's after 'crossing the bridge'. I think she knows everything. They don't keep secrets in that family…..very Dutch I think, and issues of sexuality are dealt with openly and very frankly, according to Ties.

The next time Per and I were in the kitchen, Alea asked us 'if we were having a nice time'. I went puce in the face. It doesn't take much with me. Any faint reference to boys, or homosexuality, and I'm a complete give-away. I just hope nobody notices. I'm sure they do. I'm sure they know. I bet Ties has said something. He will have questioned Per about us. Per wouldn't lie to his brother, or his parents for that matter. Why should he? I want them to know. I'm so proud of Per. He's lovely and beautiful. I think my mother will understand too. I'm just a boy who loves another boy. Is that so awful?

Alea is great. She puts me completely at ease. As I said, I think she knows what's going on between me and Per. Not only that, but she is good friends with my mother now. They discuss things, and their children would be first on the list to compare notes. I don't care really. I am what I am and if I had to declare my love for another human being, much like myself, I will. I love her son, and if she asks me straight out, I'll not hide it. Playing with each other, as we have done now, will be assumed I suppose. It's wonderful and beautiful, and not wrong. We are more or less the same age, and both of us want to explore each other in every way possible. We want to see how our bodies work with each other……witness it, and rejoice in all its workings for heaven's sake. Why not? I want to see him pee in the garden, to hold him when he's sad……and I'll wipe his bottom if he asks me to. It's all part of it as far as I'm concerned.

Alea loves my drawing of Per. I haven't shown her the others. I was pleased that she liked it. She asked me if he was good to draw.

'Yes, he's lovely.'

That was a slip…….but she knows anyway….and is comfortable with the fact, otherwise she would keep Per away from me. We disappear into our house for hours at a time. What does she think we're doing? Of course she knows. I asked Per if he'd said anything to his mother that might lead her to certain conclusions. His answer was a bit ambiguous to say the least. I didn't press it. Ties knows anyway. He probably made a public announcement over dinner.

The beach.

It's a twenty minute drive from Hythe, but worth it because of the space and the sand. Sand is bad for sandwiches, but good for running about on, and the bathing is better because the beach shelves very gradually, unlike Hythe where an inexperienced swimmer can get out of his or her depth within six feet….and it's almost all pebbles and shingle.

Ties chose our camping spot. Alea and Mathias put up the windbrake as much for privacy as for wind protection. I've noticed that they are quite 'hands on' with each other, something that I will never see now. I'm sure my mother is lonely.

Ties is surveying the scene, before he decides to get in his swimwear. When he does, it's behind a towel held up for him by Mathias. Ties returns the favour for his father. Per asks for the towel, but Ties has taken control of that and tells Per just to get on with it. No one's near enough to notice anyway. The same goes for me. Being Dutch, Per has orange swim wear. He looks good in it. Mine's black, and fractionally more conservative. It's noticeable how interested the family are as Per and I undress together, before pulling up our respective bathing togs. I have to say that Per has nothing to be ashamed of, but a little different to me in that I'm circumcised…a matter of considerable interest to Per. The family are all smiles, once their curiosity about me has been satisfied. I don't mind in the least. If they want to know, they are most welcome. Later that afternoon, I found myself lying on a towel close to Mathias. He turns to me……

'Tell me Leo. Are most English boys circumcised?'

'No, I don't think so. Maybe a quarter of them?'

'How do you know that Leo?'

'Just from what I see at school.'

'Oh. Are you sad about that Leo?'

'No. I've never really thought about it, although it strikes me as a rather barbaric thing to do to babies. In Biology, he said there was no actual need to do it, but if you've had it done, that's ok too.'


I thought he was about to ask me if he could take a closer look at the job they made of it. I thought the other day that Ties was the same as me when I saw him, but he isn't. It's because his skin is tight and doesn't cover the end completely. I liked it like that. Ties told me what to do with it.

Mathias is nice too. There's a warmth to him. I don't miss my father….not really, but being close to Mathias is oddly painful… a nice way. He asked me what had happened to our family, and I told him. I didn't mind sharing our rather sad story with him. He wants to be kind, and a few minutes later he was. I'm sure there were tears in his eyes when he asked me if he could be allowed to hold me for a little while. It was so spontaneous that it happened easily and naturally. His gesture of kindness made me cry, just a little, but enough to be noticed, not that it mattered one jot. The hairs on his chest tickled my face, but the warmth of him felt good. I thought how lucky Ties and Per are to have such loving people to care for them. In no way does that thought detract from the fulsome and unconditional love shown to me by my mother. I know she would gladly lay down her life for me. If Per was drowning, I would save him, or die with him and we would go to heaven together.

Mathias had some wise words for me.

'A man some years ago, when I was about your age, and angry and confused about many things, told me never to hold back on my feelings, provided they were positive ones. Per will be your friend for another four weeks, and then he will not be here Leo. Make the most of it. Be what you will be with each other. Never be afraid to share your feelings Leo, and never be afraid of what others think of you. Let him enjoy you, and you him. How does that sound?'

That sounds good to me, but……..

'You're not upset then…about us being friends? I thought you might be?'

'No, but it would be different if it caused any concern….but it doesn't. And something else Leo. The desert is never truly dead. As Jeff Golblum said in Jurassic Park, life will out……..and so will love. You two little birds may not be physically together in a month as you are now, but that doesn't mean that you are not together, if that makes any sense? Relationships can be formed, and then fade, but are not forgotten.'

Soon, as the cliché goes, all this will just be a memory, so let's live it now eh? Then Mathias gives me an extra hard hug, and I'm finding it very difficult to hold on. He asks me to look at him……

'Sensitivity is your strength Leo. Don't be afraid of your emotions. Shall we go for a swim?'

Good idea. That will lighten the mood and it will be fun. Per has finished the sand castle he has built under Ties's direction, and found his way onto his mother's towel. He lies against her chest as she reads her paperback. He looks beautiful and content as she gently brushes grains of sand off his tummy.

I learnt in art club how to make a basic sketchbook. I'm going to fill it with drawings of Per, and give it to his mum and dad. Mathias had cared for me the other day at the beach……something that I deeply appreciated. I'm making this little book….A5 sized paper……for him and Alea. They might give to Per in due course, if he indeed wants it by then. He may well not. I don't suppose I will know either way, anyway it won't matter……not by then. Every day I will add a new study. Some I will do on separate bits of paper and keep myself because they are more personal……..private ones.

Per and I have made a decision……that we will see each other, if at all possible, every day. If Per happens to be busy later in the daytime, then we can meet earlier. My mother is out of the house on weekdays, and some Saturdays, before eight in the morning. Not that we are hiding anything from her. She is just as aware of our particular friendship as Per's parents are, and just as sympathetic. It was a matter of convenience that we meet, and as early as possible, at mine. My mother would knock on my door just before she left each morning to say goodbye. By eight each day, or soon after, Per would appear. The kitchen door into the garden will be left unlocked, so there is no door bell ringing necessary. Given time on their hands, and a warm bed and some private thoughts, a young teenaged boy may be tempted, and I'm no exception. Both Per and I had agreed to resist any pleasures of the flesh, until such time as we are together. Another 'rule' that we tried quite hard to stick to, was the fifteen minute 'no hands on private bits' rule. I suppose the adult equivalent would be the term 'foreplay'. We didn't know that word.

I slept naked most summer nights, with the possible exception of a large tee shirt, and sometimes a pair of loose and minimal underpants, which to save getting out of bed, I kept under my pillow. When I heard the back door open, which usually heralded the arrival of Per, I would slip them on which would fail to restrict me in a rather pleasant way. Soon I would see Per's smiling face round the bedroom door in the half light.

Out of bed now, I greet Per with a 'good morning' kiss that might linger a little, before relieving him of almost everything he happened to be wearing…..not much usually. This is all part of it of course. For us, and no doubt a lot of other people, this is the way we began our boyish love-making, for that is most definitely what it is. We are two boys together, in love, and about to make love to each other in the warmth and safety of my bed. It is all very lovely, as we gently touch are lips together, smelling our individual scent, and running finger tips lightly over soft skin. This is the way we want to do it. I explore Per's face for the hundredth time it seems, still finding new delights that my boy has to offer me. Per smiles and giggles and wriggles as I make my way around the contours of his head, neck, and shoulders. I look at the bedside travelling clock, and think how I dislike the ticking of it. It has been ten minutes. I can't wait much longer. I lift the sheet to look at what I shall enclose with warmth and love. He's there……waiting for me.

I like Per to rest on me. He's lighter than I am, and we are comfortable like this. With his knees either side of mine, I lay the palms of my outstretched hands on him in the way I want. Our cheeks feel hot, his against mine. When it's time, Per rolls over. He looks at me, expressionless as I look at him, waiting. We always know when it's time. There are ways……certain ways……..a familiar path into that rolling, intimate and folding landscape…….holding on…….holding on…….until we let go.

'Are you alright Per? You've been very quiet.'

He smiles. He's in my arms and he feels so warm, with his arms folded under his chin, almost foetal. I run my palms down his back….and beyond. I feel his body move in response. This is not for talking about……not for discussion. This is another country……for later maybe…….in another place and time.

'Your legs are cold Per.'

'Are they?' he says.

'Umm, a bit.'

'Where you were . Is that cold too?'

'No……not there.' I reply, amused.

'Hold me tighter please……harder.'

I don't think that was possible, but I try. It's been twenty minutes now. From our mutual heat, we have since cooled. Like a phoenix from the ashes, our heat rises.

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