The Boy from Castlebay Down
As the Dust Settles
Stepping out of Troy's front door after deciding I'd better get home to face the music as it were, my face was hit with a fine mist. While we had been lying in bed with the world shut out the weather had changed, taking on a grey and depressing feel to it. I was about to walk down the path towards the road when I felt a tug on the back on my coat.
"Think you're gonna get away from me without a goodbye kiss?" Troy asked as he swung me round to face him.
Unlike the grey skies his smile that greeted me was warm and glowing. It made me smile back and I lent in allowing him to kiss me tenderly. "I'll call you," I said, pulling away.
"Be sure you do, but take your time, I know you'll have a lot on."
I smiled again not really knowing how to reply to that comment. With a gentle flick of my hand I turned again and slowly walked down to the sidewalk at the bottom where his picket fence showed the boundary of where his property started. Before looking back up towards him I sighed and tried to put on my best reassuring smile. Troy waved and stayed watching me until his view was out of mine.
Placing my key in the door of my parents' house I nudged open the stiff bastard immediately listening for any signs of activity. The house seemed quiet as I put my whole self inside and closed the door.
"So you return," came a voice pulling my eyes to the top of the stairs.
"You will have two questions I imagine?"
"One, you will ask if I have forgiven you, and two, where is our mother?"
"Hmm, pretty good! Actually there were three… has Leah left?"
"Answering backwards, yes she has gone. Mum is down at the boat yard talking with her new…staff."
"And have I forgiven you? I go through waves of differing emotion brother."
I raised a brow at her cryptic answer. "What does that mean?"
"It means it depends on whether I am thinking selfishly or unselfishly. On the one hand I feel like you have betrayed me because you knew how much I liked Troy and yet you said nothing. On the other hand I get the impression whatever you're going through it must be hard and you never said anything because you didn't wish to hurt my feelings."
I began walking up the stairs towards her. "Believe me Zoe, it was the latter. You're my world, and… and you know I would never do anything to hurt you. Not in a million years."
I put my arms out and locked her in an embrace. An act she didn't repel. "I think I just needed to hear you say that," she said, wiping her eyes. "And now I have, yes, I forgive you, but we must converse about this. I need closure and you look like you need someone to confess your sins to."
I blew air through my lips. "You know me so well," I said, following her into her room. She closed the door and I flumped down on her bed pulling my knees up so there was room for her to sit at the other end.
"I kept trying to tell myself it wasn't real," Zoe said, getting comfortable on her bed facing me. "I wondered how it could work out that my straight brother would be getting a little too friendly with a boy I really liked."
"And how do you feel about… well you know?"
"About you being gay?"
I shuddered with her words, but tried to mask it. "Yeah, I guess."
Zoe tilted her head to one side looking like she was deep in thought. "There was a boy at school I sort of knew… Dominic his name was. He was a year above me so it's not like we hung out together but I knew him through another boy. Everyone thought he was gay and in a way I felt sorry for him. He's the only person I ever knew was gay… or at least thought he was."
"Hmm, and why did you feel sorry for him?"
"Well he was bullied, and I kept thinking to myself how horrible it must be… you know, to be young and gay. Then when you… well when I found out I wondered if you would now end up going through the same thing."
I sniggered slightly. Not because of what she said was funny, but rather because of her innocence to the whole matter.
"Well I am a little older than this Dominic kid, and you know, school can be a melting pot of fear, hormones and naivety. Not to mention a lot of prejudice. People that don't understand certain things tend to be scared of them Sis. And with that fear comes an outlet which consists of anger and hate."
Zoe nodded. "I guess I worry you'll end up like him."
"I won't, but more to the point how do you feel?"
"Yeah I asked you how you felt about me being gay and you used the question to tell me about your friend at school. I guess I really want to know how you feel?"
Zoe shrugged. "I'm still a little raw about you and Troy, but you as a gay person I am not bothered."
"Really?" I asked eyes wide and smiling.
"You sound surprised."
"Well yeah… I mean, no, but it's really cool you don't hate me or anything."
"Because you're gay? Why would I?"
"Well I dunno, like because it's not really normal perhaps?"
Zoe giggled. "Corbin, Dad would be an example of abnormality, you being gay is not really a contender."
"Hmm, I wish mum saw it like that," I said, frowning.
"Give her time my sweet, she appears old school and probably closed minded. You have to remember in the seventeen hundreds no one had heard of a gay person."
We both cracked up laughing before my smile faded as the sound of footsteps came up the stairs.
After jumping off from Zoe's bed and making contact with mum on the landing I had led her down to the lounge and closed the door. Zoe, being the intelligent one out of the two of us stayed put obviously realising this was talk time.
"Mum could you stop looking out of the window and talk to me?"
She remained in her position, standing there, drumming her hands on the windowsill while I sat on the sofa, elbows on knees. "Is it a phase?" she finally asked, not turning.
I closed my eyes briefly. "I don't think so."
"Is it my fault? Did I somehow create a bad gene in you?"
"Mum! No, look will you sit down for a moment, you're making me uncomfortable."
Suddenly she shot a glare at me, almost snarling, "I'm making YOU uncomfortable? Have you considered how I'm feeling right now?"
"Yes, all the time. Actually I think about how everybody feels… is feeling. In fact the only person I am neglecting right now is myself!"
Mum's expression softened and she moved away from the window towards me.
"Why Corbin?" She asked with held out hands before letting them drop to a slapping sound on her thighs.
"Why what? Are you asking why I'm gay?"
"Corbin you're not gay, you don't just go from having a girlfriend and being in a heterosexual relationship to being gay, I'm sorry it's not that clear cut."
"Mum, I'm willing to discuss this and be conscious of your feelings but can you please do the same to me, for example will you stop telling me how I am approaching this or what it means for me."
"I'm just saying… you seem to make it all fit so easily, like this is one of those chapters in your life where one day you're straight and the new day turns you gay… a new chapter."
As mum sat down I got up and paced the room. Up and down, up and down… I needed to be really clear about my next sentence.
I stopped, towering over her and took a deep breath. "Mum, the truth is, the more I think about this, the more I think I have always been this way."
"Mum! See, there you go again… stop deciding what's real for me and what's not!"
"Then explain it!"
"I'm trying, it's hard! Look, there has always been something missing with Leah ok?"
I rolled my eyes. "Look, I've already been over this with Troy and Leah I really don't wanna go into minute detail all over again."
"Well I'm glad to see you felt they should hear this before me."
"It wasn't like that, you're not playing fair. Hell mum, even Leah has taken this revelation better than you and she was my fucking girlfriend."
"Do you even realise she's gone? Does it bother you? I had to run her to the train station in floods of tears."
"Mum we're talking about me here!"
"I know, and Leah was your life for 2 years and now she has gone and you haven't even asked about her."
I blew air through my lips. "Mum, listen. Leah and I, we… we pretty much said our goodbyes already. Her going it was… it was best for both of us. We were just starting to ruin each other's lives. We both agreed and accepted that the relationship was over and I think she didn't wanna prolong it any more than I didn't wanna hurt her any more than I already had."
"So you just let her go, without seeing her off."
"Mum you weren't there. When she left the café we met in I could tell on her face that she planned to come back here and go before I could see her again."
Mum shook her head before folding her arms. "Well, you obviously know best. So, something was missing you say?"
I frowned in confusion. "Huh?"
"Earlier, you said something was missing? So what are we talking about here, you mean something in your relationship? Are you telling me you always knew you were gay but just had a relationship with Leah for the sake of it?"
"Oh, erm perhaps, maybe… I'm not sure. But whatever it was it feels clearer now than it did all the time I was going out with her."
Mum shook her head before running her fingers down her face. She looked defeated. "Corbin, I won't pretend to know what you are going through right now. I also won't pretend that I am ok with this nor agreeing with whatever this is…"
"But?" I asked, knowing there was one in there somewhere.
"But… just give me some time ok?"
"Give you time? What does that mean?"
"It means give me some time to accept this. I have to accept you're an adult now and I can't control your life."
"No mum you can't, but I want you to be ok with this. In fact I need you to be ok with this."
"And I will, I just need some time to absorb what has happened. You need to also remember that it's not just you and your confession I'm dealing with right now you know?"
"Dad? Yeah I get it. Sounds sick but all this with me and Troy has been kinda like an escape from the thoughts of my father."
"Hmm, well, no matter my feelings I won't lose you too. Now if you don't mind I'd rather be alone for a while. Why don't you take your sister out to see her horse or something."
"Well erm… actually I wanted to go and see Troy."
"What so you can tell him how I took it?" she asked, a hint of childishness in her tone.
"I'll speak to you later mum."
I walked out, deciding to end the conversation there and not bite at her last comment.
Back upstairs I walked into my room, or rather the room where Leah had been staying pretty much alone since we got here. I knew she was gone for good. I also knew from looking around that her departure had been a rushed one. She'd done her best to tidy a little but you could tell she had packed in sadness and mild anger.
Stepping over to the bed I found a piece of ruled note paper folded in half. It had been torn out of a pad that had one of those curly wurly wiring things at the top. Hmm, I thought picking it up and unfolding it. Inside was one line which read,
I did my best, Leah.
I sat down on the bed and stared at it for a moment. It was short and to the point, but its effectiveness was as she probably expected because for the first time I actually genuinely felt sad about our break up.
I was determined not to dwell on it, still totally convinced we… I, had made the right decision. Getting up from the bed I pulled my spare duffle bag from the closet and started to pack a few more things to take with me to Troy's place. I had a feeling I might need to use that as my base until things were right again with mum. I had an impression that me being here too often would prevent her from finding peace about my… new lifestyle.
As I walked back towards Troy's place I began to feel like I was turning a corner in my life. Mum had put it pretty well when she said one chapter of my life was closing and another was opening. Sure her meaning could have been a little better but I think now I'd thought about it, she was essentially saying what was true.
With my father now off my case, Leah gone and a sister who was on the road to forgiving me I now only had a few more things to sort out. One of course was mum, but I had a feeling with time that would take care of itself and the other was my future. I knew I wanted it to include Troy no question, but there was this part of me that felt suffocated in Castlebay.
Coming out to everyone made me feel like I had had wings attached to me. Wings that allowed me to soar above the bullshit that had been my life for all these years.
And yes, I wanted to fly!
I walked up the side of Troy's house and into the back yard. Before I had even come into view of his patio door I heard it slide violently open and Troy came running out in his bare feet.
"So?" he scoffed expectantly. "How did it go?"
"Shall we go inside?" I replied. My tone seemed to almost make him panic. I quickly smiled to reassure him and he grabbed hold of my hand and pulled me inside.
"Tell me everything… I wanna know everything!"
"Hmm firstly, shouldn't you be at work? You really shouldn't be taking all this time off on my account."
"Yeah yeah yeah, just tell me," he whined.
"It went ok… I think."
I sniggered. "Well actually I kind killed two birds with one stone because I had a decent chat with Zoe and it seems like she is cool with me… well actually me AND you."
"Whoa, cool, and the other bird?"
"My mum? Hmm, well right now a fragile truce is holding which I think is being held together by the fact that she might end up sort of getting it."
Troy's eyes went wide. "Getting it? You mean you?"
"I think so, time will tell." I replied, sitting on one of Troy's luxurious sofas.
"Wow that's excellent news Corbin!"
Troy jumped all over me and kissed just about every part of my flesh that wasn't covered up with clothing.
"Hey clam down, you remind me of a big dog on heat!"
We both giggled and he moved to get off of me ending up to my right, his big brown earthy eyes looking deep into my soul.
"Ok so my turn!" Troy blurted, banging his heels against the sofa valance excitedly.
I raised a brow and pursed my lips, confused. "Huh?"
"My turn for some news," Troy repeated.
"Hmm, let me guess, you're pregnant!" I replied, dryly.
"So while you were gone I called my dad."
"Yeah and basically I told him that you and I were sort of… well seeing each other."
"Troy, am I gonna like where this goes?"
He giggled. "You might. Anyway I asked him on that basis if you could move in here permanently and he agreed, ain't that great?"
I tried to quickly go into false excited mode but Troy had already seen my delayed reaction and so my cover was blown.
"You hate me… shit, I mean you… I should have discussed it with you first, crap, look I know and I'm sorry I didn't… I just wanted to surprise you and-"
I started to chuckle. "TROY! Wait!"
"I'm not mad, hell I'm flattered and honoured…"
"But… but I dunno what I wanna do yet, or where I wanna be, or… Jesus I don't even know what tomorrow is gonna bring."
"What are you talking about?"
"We're supposed to be taking this slow remember? You said we had to take it slow and now you're asking me to move in with you… like already?"
Troy seemed taken aback with my comments. "Corbin, if you hadn't noticed, since your dad went spacko on you, you've been staying here anyway. All I've done is make it permanent. The sleeping arrangements will stay the same. All I have tried to do is give you a little bit of security just in case things go south with your mum… or Leah."
"Yeah, sorry… I guess I got a little freaked out there."
"Look, I get it, and so let's not go around in another circle on this. I just thought you'd be pleased. But now you got me worried."
"Why?" I asked, taking his hand in mine.
"What's all this about you don't know where you wanna be or what you wanna do? Are you having second thoughts about us. Do you still need that time to go off and find yourself?"
I buried my head in my hands and heaved a sigh. "Oh Troy, it's just Castlebay that's all."
"What about it?"
"It's just so… so enclosed, so quiet, small and-"
"I get it, you already have some real shitty memories since being here."
"No, no not at all. I mean… well sure, breaking up with Leah, my dad, mum… but fuck Troy, meeting you trumps all that. I just feel like this place is weighing me down."
"So what does that mean, you wanna leave here?"
"And give up on what might be something amazing between us? No, of course not."
"Well then can I make a suggestion?"
"Give it 6 months, and in that time take a trip back to your old town. By all means get away for a bit Corbin. Go see your friends, do what makes you happy but give this place a chance because I'm certain once the dust settles you'll probably find it's been the events here rather than the village itself which is making you feel like this."
I nodded in agreement. Troy was right I thought. It wasn't the village to blame for the way I was feeling, it was what was going on within it. It was then and there that finally everything started to feel right. It was like the dominoes had finally stopped tumbling. Perhaps my life was here with troy. Perhaps this was all fate and all these events leading up to where I was now were already mapped out for me. I mean, so many things had had to have fallen into place to get to this point, and to me it just seemed a little too fucked up not to be fate.
I heaved another sigh and just then, as if something or someone was telling me everything was now gonna be ok, the low sun broke through the clouds and filled Troy's lounge in a bright deep yellow glow which warmed my face. Maybe I was meant to be here. Maybe I had come home.
Maybe the waves that crashed into CastleBay Down had been calling me to Troy. All I needed to seal that thought was a long lingering kiss from the amazing person in the room with me.
It soon came and I was certain that the boy from Castlebay Down was the boy for me!
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