by Rafael Henry

Chapter 39

The shadows within ourselves.

At one time in my short life, I wrote down my thoughts……and hopes.

'To be united with him in the flesh. This will give me the greatest satisfaction and what is also satisfying to me is giving the boy who will enjoying himself inside me, pleasure. This will give me the greatest joy, because love is giving as well as receiving, and I know I can give with my body. No one has taught me, not yet, but I will know how when the time comes. It may be difficult for outsiders to understand, that even at my age of naivety I am quite capable of loving sexually. That's what I want to know about. I've never known real love, what it feels like inside. I think Otta loves me because of what he does for me. What he's giving me, real understanding, and through everything he is, his love shines through.'

We had invited Wulff to stay one weekend at our house, Vermont. Here's a letter of thanks from him.

Dear Otta, and Jon. Thank you for the books you gave me and the exciting new clothes, and for my lovely stay at Vermont. I don't think I have ever enjoyed a weekend so much. It was so good to have somebody you were fond of with you all the time and for this I thank you indeed. I most certainly will, if it's alright with you, come and stay again as soon as you would like to have me. Yours, with all my love, Wulff xoxoxoxoxo [1,000,000 times]

Another letter.

Dear Jon and Otta. I would like to spend a few more days at Vermont with you, the first weekend in August or whenever it is convenient with you. With love from Wulff. Xoxoxoxoxoxo

We've had Wulff for three weekends here at Vermont, the rather odd name given to my grandparents house they had built in the nineteen thirties. Otta has been fussing round Wulff constantly. I'm getting rather jealous if I'm honest. Ok, he's doing a lot for the boy now, and he has every right to be interested in him. Otta's keeping his cards very close to his chest and not telling me much at all, but so long as he's not getting in too deep, that's ok. As for the boy, well, he is beautiful, not that I've seen as much of him as Otta has, I suspect, but I may be very wrong. Just my suspicious mind. Wulff's been in one of the spare rooms each weekend night, and that's worked alright so far. That doesn't stop Otta going in there several times to make sure he's gone to sleep, and woken up in the morning! The nights are pretty warm at this time of year so the boy has slept under a single sheet that doesn't want to stay on top of him. I noticed the displaced sheet one time I went in to have a look myself, and the bare torso, the hand on the tummy, the feet sticking out at the end of the single bed and just the flicker of eyelids, an open mouth and calm regular breathing. How blissful. Perfect.

I had a 'phone call from Roger the other night. Big news. He's inherited a lovely little property, more of a shack he says, just along the coast from here very close to a private beach. Not private in the sense that no one else can use it, but in the sense that very few can actually get there apart from energetic souls willing to walk a rough path to it through brambles that scratch at bare legs, long grass and so on. The other thing is that he's left his old job now, the school chaplaincy he held for years, and has taken on the post of Assistant Director of Music for BODS, the Broadstairs Operatic and Dramatic Society. Quite a change! His inheritance wasn't just the property but a very substantial amount of cash too. Lucky old Roger.

'So what's all your news Jon?'

I told him my job is demanding as ever, tons of marking every night, and Otta occupies the rest of my time in one way or another.

'A nice way I hope Jon?'

'Yes of course. We have a third member of the family now, at least that's what it feels like.'

'Oh really ? You had better tell me all about it Jon.'

At the end of quite a long explanation, Roger wants us to go and see his new place, and bring Wulff with us. Next Saturday?

Peter, the Chief Administrator, up at Holland House where Wulff has lived for five years now, thinks we should have the boy with us for the summer holidays. Otta and I aren't going anywhere so we've agreed. I'm still a bit wary, but Otta was more than enthusiastic. Why am I wary? Get thee behind me Satan!

'We have huge pressure on places here Jon. If we can get a boy permanently placed with a family, it means we can provide a home to another very deserving case.'

Otter is doing night shifts at Holland House three times a week now, plus some music tuition. I can certainly see the difference in Wulff. Everything he's doing now has grown in confidence and quality. He's clearly a very intelligent and imaginative boy. His written work is now very good for his age, and his maths, shall we say, better than it was. But as I tell him, you only have to be good at one thing. Music and drama I'm sure will be his thing.

We took Wulff with us to Point Cottage, rather a misnomer as I wouldn't call it a cottage in the sense that the English think of a cottage with roses around the door, and it does has a view of a point of land to the west, but it's not exactly on any kind of promontory itself. There's just one bedroom, a sitting area, a tiny kitchen and loo, and a well for a water supply, and no electricity or proper drains. But, it does have a lovely veranda with two large wicker armchairs under the overhanging roof to the front overlooking a beach with no one on it, and it's twelve midday now, so you'd expect a few people by now. There's shingle above the tide line and sand below it, so good digging for those that want to. Being a musical individual, Roger has musical instruments leaning against walls, and an upright piano, needless to say. I mean who wouldn't have?

Wulff goes straight over to the piano and plays a tune, a little melody tinkles out. Then he turns to our admiring faces……

'Can I go for a swim dad?'

We were stunned. Ok, a slip of the tongue. I've had sixth formers call me dad before now, in their haste, much too their embarrassment. He quickly readjusts and say 'Otta'.

We looked at Otta who looked embarrassed, and almost tearful. He knows just how much the boy needs his love; our love; everybody's love. But has he said anything to the boy?

'Yes I think you could Wulff. Can he Roger?' Asks Otta.

'Certainly he can. Have you brought any swimming kit? If not, no problem. Just go in your pants. Be careful of the path, it's very uneven going down. The tide's going out so no further than the top of your tummy. Should I go with him Jon?'

Good idea. We'll all go down. We can paddle. Good for the feet to too. Sand and cold water. In a trice, Wulff is out of his shorts and tee shirt and standing in his pants, if you can call them that. They look fine at the front, albeit very revealing, but at the back they look like they're cutting the boy in half, neatly bisecting his bottom, and at the business part, invisible. Otta got them for him at the boy's request. He'd seen some like that in a magazine, the kind you hide under the bed, and wanted Otta to buy them for him on their shopping trip to Canterbury last week. I disapproved but Wulff was thrilled with them, so there it was.

'You'd be better off in nothing than those things Wulff.' I said without thinking.

The next moment Roger and I had the first sight of the boy nude. That's assuming that Otta has already seen him in that state, at bath or shower time up at Holland House, or probably both. And then there's getting ready for bed, and getting dressed in the morning too. Don't forget Otta's been on night duty at Holland House three times a week recently. Yes, I'm a little exercised by all that possible intimacy enjoyed by the boy I love, and up to now thought my enduring lover. He needs to be very careful. Look, but absolutely no touching; please.

Wulff has never learned to swim. He splashes about, hands and knees all over the place playing in the small surf rolling in. In English waters you have to be hardy to stay in long, and within five minutes the boy is out of the water and enclosed by the beach towel Otta holds for him. He's been circumcised by his German guardian it appears, and not a particularly good job as far as I can see. Otta does a better job with the towel, rubbing the boy down to within an inch of his life, including the sensitive bits whilst Wullf looks down. I'm sure that felt nice. The effects of very cold water on Wulff's private bits is now happily reversed by the soft warm towel and Otta's expertise in the matter of how to dry a boy's body properly. It reminded me of that boy in the art class way back, as Wolff's circumcision scar gradually lengthens. Oh, that all looks much better now.

Roger had made soft drinks for all of us, based on lemons, [a tiny amount of tequila in ours] as we sat in the chairs on the veranda. The chairs are big enough to accommodate two bodies it seems, in Otta's case, as he has Wulff, still naked, in his lap, the boys' legs dangling either side of his, the circumcision scar even longer now. Otta has his hands around the boy's tummy. I'm feeling uncomfortable about this situation, but perhaps it's my mind again, and there's nothing untoward in theirs. At this moment my guess is that Wulff is a very happy boy indeed.

Roger tells us about his new job, badly paid but that doesn't matter now, and seeing the Bishop about putting his ministry on hold for two years maximum. He argued that he needed a complete break from religious matters and he'd be in a far better place at the end of it when it came to taking up another responsibility within the Church of England, ultimately. The Bishop agreed to let him go.

'We're planning an opera Jon. My first big challenge,'

'Oh, which one Roger?'

'The Turn of the Screw. Britten.'

'Ah, you'll be needing a Milo then?' I said jokingly, looking back at the boy nestled into Otta's arms now, turned sideways somewhat with both his legs over Otta's, knees raised high, and his head resting on my lover's chest, an arm around his neck, and everything obscured now, but not quite. Then he adjusts his slightly awkward pose. Suddenly I can more. A shadow between the hills.

We all have our outward appearance we show the world, but there are certain unseen shadows that lurk within us all. Am I right?

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