Time May Change Me
by William King
Bad Things Happen
Friday night I called Gareth, just to see if everything was alright with him, that the police hadn't been back, and to find out the news.
The phone only rang twice and he picked up, "Alex, what's up, did you break out?"
"That's oh so not funny," I replied.
"Thought they'd lock the two of you away for sure." I know if I could see him he'd be grinning.
"Well Matty is pretty much locked up, but not by the police. His parents had a fit."
"Well old folk can do that, sorry."
"You haven't had anymore visits from the police?"
"No, I think they bought the little story I told them."
"Nothing much, just said it was some guys spreading rumours about drugs because they didn't like gays."
"That's pretty good."
"And Aled, did they pay him a call?"
"No, but he's still freaked out they might. He worries too much."
"Well keep in touch, got to go."
"Yeah, take care."
The line went dead, but it had cheered me up hearing his voice, I just wished I was a bit older and more independent, and that goes double for Matty. Why can't we just be left alone?
Monday would be school, the start of the summer term. Can't say I was looking forward to it. I thought about calling Jake, but remembered Jonathan had said it would be best to give him some space. Besides he doesn't want to listen to me go on about Matty and our problems.
My dad had another little talk with me. He was acting very nice towards me, making an effort, but he basically repeated that I had to get on with my life. What he meant was I couldn't count on continuing a friendship with Matty, but he never came right out and said it, guess he didn't want to hurt my feelings.
It was Saturday afternoon when I finally got a call from Matty, it seemed like weeks had passed, even if it was only a few days.
"Matty, it's so good to hear you."
"Yeah, you too," he replied. "I'm sorry Alex, I just haven't been able to call you. Either my mum or dad are around or I can't go out. Can't do anything alone. They don't know about the phone and I want to keep it that way."
"Really I'm sorry I created this mess," I told him.
"Alex, it wasn't you. It was me told them I was gay. Never thought they'd go crazy like this."
"What happens now?" I asked him.
"That's kind of why I phoned..." He paused, I knew this would be bad. "They are sending me to a private school, a boarding school. I won't be back until the summer holidays."
"Oh shit, what can I do?"
"Nothing. We just have to accept it. What else can we do?"
I had no answer, not for him, not for us. "I'm sorry Matty."
"I'll try and keep in touch, but if you don't hear from me... well you know it's because I can't use, or don't have the phone. Maybe things will calm down later."
"I'm really gonna miss you."
There was a silence, I knew he was still there, I could hear him breathing, or was he crying?
"I love you Matty. I'll be here when you get back."
I'm sure he was sobbing, it was making me tearful. How terrible it is, parting when you can't even hold the boy you love.
"Bye Alex," he said finally, "love you."
And he was gone.
It was Jake who called me next, we hadn't spoken since before the start of the holidays, an eternity ago.
"Jake, I'm so sorry," was the first thing I said.
"Thanks," he replied. "I guess you know what's being going on from Jonathan?"
"Yeah, I kinda didn't want to call and bother you, Jonathan said you needed some space."
"He's a good friend."
I thought there for a moment I detected a sort of wistfulness in his voice. Why I thought that, I don't know. Maybe tragedy jolts us into introspection, thinking about the people we are close to, wondering about what might have been.
"He's been really good to me," I told him. "He cares a lot."
"Yeah I know... more than me."
"Oh no Jake, don't say that. We're not all made out of the same mold, but you care, you care the way Jake cares, it's different."
"You're sweet, you know that?"
"Only if you say so."
"It's good to talk to you Alex. I need a bit of happiness and diversion."
"I don't know that I'm the person for that. Has Jonathan told you what's happened?"
We spent the next three quarters of an hour talking together, with me giving Jake the highlights of the last two weeks, finishing with explaining where it left us. It was not a totally one sided conversation though, I listened to him telling me how difficult it was for his dad, how he felt he needed to stay with him to support him. He just wasn't able to leave him on his own.
There was no resolution, neither for Jake nor for me. Even if I always considered Jake as older, more experienced, wiser. That was just not true, he wasn't able to do anymore than sympathise with me, he couldn't offer any solution. He did say that he would miss both of us. He didn't know how long he would be away or if he would be back.
When I thought about things it was exactly the same for me. I didn't know how long Matty would be away or if we would get back together. As friends do, we promised to keep in touch, but I wondered if we would. When Jake and I ended our call I thought that was another person gone from my life, and it was hard.
I once wondered if three people could share a relationship together. Now there's no one. I was once happy and in love. That's all finished. What's left? Nothing!
These last two weeks I'd had a lot of time to think. About my parents and myself. I believe the death of my mum brought things home to me about who I was, how I acted towards other people.
I recognised that I was selfish, perhaps everyone is to some degree, maybe I was more so than other people. But as I said before, anyone can change, and I think I have. For one thing I made the choice to stay here with my father, I know it's the right thing to do.
I feel immensely sad about Alex and Matty, I regret that I wasn't around to talk to them, to offer my support. I can't deny that I found both boys very attractive. The thing is though, I have changed. Even if none of the things that have happened ever took place, I would not have destroyed their relationship. Maybe one time, back in the past, I wouldn't have cared, but that's not true anymore.
For some reason that is quite unknown to myself meeting Alex and then Matty started something moving. That something, whatever it was, came from inside me, they were the catalyse, my mother's death sealed it. I think I'd finally found a part of me that had been missing.
I would just love it, if somehow, some way, the gods would now shine down on the two of them, and make things right. But that really would be a happy ending and we all know it doesn't often work out like that, does it?
When you 'come out' it's not always over in one go, sometimes it's more complicated. When you've found the person you love you don't want to be apart, sometimes it's not that easy. Alex and Matty must confront the obstacles thrown in front of them and deal with an episode from the past that they thought was all over with, but which comes back with disasterous consequences.
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