Crossing Jordan

by Teddy S Bower

The Note

© 2006-2019 by Teddy S Bower

Author's Note:

This is the first story I ever submitted for hosting on the web. At the time of posting it was also the first writing I'd done since my schooling far more years past than I cared, or still care, to think about, and was done without the benefit of an editor or beta-reader. Needless to say it was rather rough around the edges compared to my more recent work. I could go through the process of having it worked over by my editor/beta-reader, but for nostalgia's sake, more than any other reason, I choose not to. I have cleaned it up a little, removing extraneous content and some of the more egregious errors. I have also added two sequel pieces to it which originally existed but were not chosen for inclusion in the original posting. Otherwise the story remains much as it was when first written more than a dozen years ago.

The greatest crime ever committed is that of the pain we as a species inflict upon our children. Some children manage to rise above it in spite of everything. For them I have great admiration. Others, no matter how hard they try, find themselves broken by it. These are the ones for whom I weep. May God have mercy upon us all.

The following story is principally about one of those children and how his spirit was broken by those who were supposed to nurture and protect him. It is about a child whose love of life was nearly destroyed by a culture that discards as contemptible those who cannot fit into its mould. It is about a boy who believes himself to be rejected by a God whom that culture grossly misrepresents. It is the story of a sensitive, sweet natured boy who grew up in a religious, right wing American family.

~ Teddy

Jordan lay slumped against the headboard. His black shoulder length hair, still damp from the shower, lay plastered against his dark skin. His eyes, although open, stared unseeing across the room. His world was crumbling, and he no longer had the power to stop it. In the past, he'd always been able to rise above it, but now he was no longer sure. There were too many insurmountable problems, and he had no one to help him face them. Talking to his parents would be useless. They were part of the problem. His best friend would freak out, and no one at church would understand.

From each ear, came a white wire. The wires joined below his chin and from there plugged into the device he held in his hand. His iPhone was a gift from his parents; one of many in a long line of things they gave him, he supposed, as a way to assuage their guilt. Even though they were cool things that any kid would want they were just things. He needed something much more meaningful from them.

The playlist contained only three songs that played over and over in a continuous loop as the occasional tear flowed unchecked down his cheeks. As songs go, all three were oldies, but still, they spoke eloquently of the pain he held inside.

The pain had been there for years in one form or another. Tonight, though, all the hurt from all the years seemed to have merged and was overflowing in an unquenchable flood. The rejection, the angry words, the abuse, the lonely nights lying on his bed longing to feel a caring touch or see a loving smile directed his way; it was all flowing out through what felt to him like a gaping wound in his soul.

Everybody wants to touch somebody
If it takes all night,
Everybody wants to take a little chance
And make it come out right

There's gonna be a heartache tonight,
A heartache tonight, I know.
There's gonna be a heartache tonight,
A heartache tonight, I know. Lord, I know.

Tonight he'd set out to take the chance that the song referred to. He'd been going to reach out to someone hoping they would respond to him with the same longing that was in his own heart. But it hadn't worked out. He'd not even been able to try. His hopes had been dashed beyond recovery, and he was now reeling in a way that left him bereft of any other source of solace or comfort.

Could he ever going to feel whole? Was this pain ever going to end? Was anything ever going to come out right?

Love was the issue. He wanted to love and to be loved. He'd known love once. Long ago he'd experienced the hugs and tenderness that only a grandmother can lavish on a beloved grandchild. That was love, unfettered and innocent. But she'd passed away when he was seven years old.

That was nine years ago now. They said it was cancer. It happened quickly. Jordan wasn't allowed to tell her good-bye. They said he was too young to see her in that condition. What did they know? The love between a child and his grandmother should have been able to withstand the trauma of her illness. He'd never really forgiven them for keeping him away from her.

To this day they never considered his needs or desires about anything even though it might be important to him. Over the years, he'd tried to make sense of how his parents dealt with him. He knew they loved him. One must believe in that most basic of facts even if things aren't always the best. To conclude otherwise takes you places your heart cannot bear to go. Nevertheless, he was beginning to understand that perhaps they didn't know how to show their love. Certainly, he hadn't experienced it from them in a very long time; not since he was a very small child.

Sure, they kept him fed and clothed. They paid a lot of money for his education in a private, Christian school. They gave him lots of gifts and presents, but that was about it. They did the things that were required; the things that made them look good to other people, and little more. In short, they were selfish, hung up on appearances, and interested only in chasing the almighty dollar.

On further consideration, he wasn't so sure they even loved him. Far too often they were abusive, especially his mother, but down deep he knew that they had reason to be. He should have been a better son, then maybe they wouldn't be like that. He was not a good person inside. Of this, he was convinced. There were terrible things in there that he had been afraid to face, at least until today, and that had gotten him nowhere. If anything, it had made things far worse. He regretted his now aborted plans in ways that hurt too much to contemplate.

He'd always been fairly confident God loved him, but lately, he was questioning even that. He couldn't see or feel God and lately no matter how hard he tried, God didn't seem to answer his prayers. It was his fault that God had abandoned him. He had to face that fact.

The problem was that he was in love with someone and he knew God did not approve of that love. He loved this person so much that he was sure his heart would break if he thought about him too much.


That was the problem in a nutshell. God couldn't love him because he was hopelessly in love with another boy. If he believed what they said at church, he was beyond worthless. Religion had drilled that much into him since he was old enough to remember. An abomination it was called. It was sufficient to strike fear into the heart of even the most pious of youth. If they only knew how he felt about it, they would know real fear.

Why would loving someone be such a terrible thing? It was beyond understanding, but it was true nonetheless. To make matters worse he knew now that it was a love that would never be returned and it hurt. Heart wrenching, gut churning, loud, sobbing, hurt.

Who in their right mind would choose to be like this? Only a reprobate, he was sure. He had fought these urges within himself for more years than he cared to remember. It seemed like it had been going on his entire life. He had prayed. He had sworn vows. He had gone forward in countless altar calls giving his heart to God. He had been baptized because the minister said that it was necessary for a changed life.

None of it had made a difference in Jordan's life. He still had the same problem, and he was still just as fucked up and just as alone as he'd ever been. There was nothing in his life he could grasp on to. No God. No parental love or tenderness. No hope of ever having anyone special to hold and to cherish or be close to. There was no hope of anything being any different in his life no matter how much he wished it to be otherwise.

Please, lock me away,
And don't allow the day,
Here inside,
Where I hide,
With my loneliness.
I don't care what they say,
I won't stay in a world without love.

But there really weren't any options, were there? You can't just tell the world to stop so you can get off. No, there was no hope of that.

The evening had started with so much hope, too. Hope that just this one time he would find acceptance in a special way. Tonight he had planned to tell Jonathan how he felt about him.

Jonathan was his best friend; his only friend, really, and it was Jonathan that he loved. They'd been near constant companions since seventh grade. That was over three years ago now. Jonathan was his refuge from the loveless void of his young life.

But it had only taken a moment for the small flame of hope remaining in his heart to flickered and die out. In its place had come despair.

I can't live if living is without you.
I can't live. I can't give anymore.

As the music played, a plan began to form in Jordan's mind. He'd considered similar plans in the past during some of his darker moments, but he'd always rejected these thoughts. It seemed now though that doing something, anything was better than continuing in this never-ending cycle. It made little difference since nobody except Jonathan gave two damns about his sorry ass, and even that would change when he discovered who the real Jordan was.

He remained a while longer considering his options then rose from the bed and exiting the room made his way to the garage. It was a large garage with four bays, two of which were for his parent's cars while the other two housed his dad's prize-winning hot rods. The door of the nearest bay was up, and Jordan could see his father out on the drive working on the coupe. At the moment, he was busy polishing the chrome that sparkled, reflecting the light from the setting sun. He paused in the bay door to watch for a few minutes.

It was Friday evening. His dad was getting both of his babies ready for the Gresham Auto Show and Swap Meet tomorrow. Jordan would be expected to go, and as usual, wouldn't be allowed to ride in either car for the parade. They always made him go, but they never allowed him to participate with them like he saw other kids in other families doing. Jordan knew that he should be used to it by now, but somehow it always hurt. It was a reminder of his failures, but he didn't know what to do to make things any better.

"Mind if I help, Dad?" He was surprised to hear his own voice asking the question.

It seemed such a simple request but to Jordan it represented so much more, and although he didn't think about it in quite those terms, it was a cry for help to a father who'd never been there when he needed him. A plea to the dad who had not cared enough to attend his 8th-grade graduation, come to any of his piano recitals, or teach him to drive. Given the circumstances, his request was a tentative hand extended to a man who couldn't be bothered in doing any of the things with or for him that most fathers would delight in doing for their children.

Jordan really didn't expect his dad to consent to his request and didn't really understand why he'd bothered to ask, especially after he heard his father's reply.

"No!" the man barked, not attempting to hide his irritation.

Jordan knew from the tone of that one word he was in for another of his father's angry rants.

"You know I can't trust you," his father said disparagingly, "This is a critical part of the job, and you've never cared about TRYING to do it correctly. Last time you helped," he said making sure his son heard the sarcastic emphasis placed on the word helped, "it took me half a day to get that scratch out you left on the fender. And do you remember why? It was because you were careless and got sand and grit on the polishing pad. When you learn to be responsible, I'll allow you to help, but not before. Why are you out here anyhow?"

Jordan was surprised that the tongue-lashing was over so quickly. He knew better than to mention that the last time he'd been allowed to help he was only eight years old.

"Came out to get a razor knife, Dad. Need it for a school project I'm working on," he said, trying to keep his tone neutral.

It wasn't a lie, exactly. Jordan did have a project for which he would require the use of a razor knife, but that wasn't really why he wanted it. He had learned over the years to always have a plausible explanation for anything going on in his life no matter how trivial. It was just the way things were. Dad always had to be in control of everything and everybody.

His father stopped his work and directed an icy stare at his son. "Don't you even consider touching any of my tools. You leave them all exactly where they are," he barked again.

Making sure to show no outward sign of his disdain for his father's words Jordan mentally rolled his eyes realizing he should've known he'd gotten off too easily after the first of his father's tirades.

"You never put the screwdriver back where it belonged after you used it the other day," his dad continued. "Get out of my way and go play your piano or something. I need to get this car finished, so it'll be ready for tomorrow." His tone carried an edge that warranted no argument.

"Yeah, right, Dad," Jordan muttered under his breath. There was no use in even attempting to explain that he HAD put the damned screwdriver back exactly where he'd gotten it, just as his father had specifically instructed.

"Put it back where you found it when you're done," were the man's exact words.

Well, fuck him and the horse he rode in on! It wasn't his fault dad had been using it at the workbench and that it was HE who hadn't put it away. To even consider mentioning such a thing would have invited swift and painful retribution. Besides, if he HAD put it where it belonged, he would've gotten in trouble for not putting it back on the workbench. You just couldn't win with that son-of-a-bitch. And what was the big deal anyway? What could be so all fire important that you had to treat your only kid like shit?

'Asshole!' It was a parting shot heard only in Jordan's mind. 'I'll just have to figure something else out instead. Probably it's just as well anyhow,' he continued with his internal dialog.

As he turned to reenter the house, he remained in the doorway for a bit longer quietly observing his father work. As he watched, the deep melancholy took hold of him once again, edging out the anger that had been seething within him only moments before. He somehow understood that the anger was the only thing that kept him hanging on. It gave him a way to focus the emotional pain and frustration. It was something that kept his mind occupied, which in turn kept the pain from consuming him. But he was tired. Tired of the anger. Tired of the constant fight. It was poison to him. It was taking over his entire being, remolding him into something and someone he did not want to become. If he continued on this path, he was sure to become the carbon copy of his father and THAT he refused to do. Besides, he was too worn out.

'Why? Why can't you just love me?' he agonized to himself as the tears began to flow down his cheeks. 'Am I that disgusting? What did I ever do to you that would cause you to treat me this way?'

"I love you, Daddy." Jordan made a final attempt to see if his father cared at all.

There was a long pause while he waited for a response he knew would never come. His father possessed in that instant the power to heal his son's broken heart. It would have taken only a moment to change the future and stop the nightmare that seemed to be fast approaching.

The silence echoed and careened about in his psyche louder than a bomb.

He closed the door quietly while the tears continued flowing and made his way toward the master suite. As he passed the family room, he saw his mother sitting there watching some singing competition or other. As usual, the contestant currently at the mic was ever so slightly off key, and it grated on Jordan's nerves. Why they ever let these people on national television in the first place was beyond him.

'At least the show will keep her occupied while I'm rummaging around in their room,' he thought to himself. 'Don't want anyone discovering me in there. They'd probably beat me to death.' He snorted at the irony of the thought, then quietly slipped down the hall, entered their bedroom, and made his way into the master bath.

Quickly he located an unopened bottle of prescription painkiller and dropped it into the pocket of his basketball shorts. Checking first to see that the coast was clear he exited the master suite heading back down the hall toward his own room at the other end of the house, pausing once again at the entrance to the family room.

His mom was still watching television. This time Simon was being downright offensive to a female contestant who had probably done a decent performance. The guy was rude and obnoxious, which was probably why the show was so popular. His mom ate this stuff up. It was disgusting.

He let the thought go and looked back at his mother. "Mom?" he said, trying to keep his voice from wavering.

"What, honey?" she asked, an edge of irritation in her voice, "You know I don't like to be interrupted while I'm watching my shows."

'At least she doesn't slap me around much anymore,' he thought to himself. Her anger these days was not so much directed toward physical abuse as it was toward making his life miserable in other ways. Sometimes he would rather be hit than to always be looking over his shoulder, wondering when the other shoe was going to drop.

"Never mind Mom..." he hesitated, trying to decide whether he should say more, then decided to give it another try, "Can we talk, Mom?"

"That's nice honey, don't you have some studying or something to do? I'm trying to watch this." She hadn't even heard what he'd said. Her indifference stabbed at his heart.

"Sure, mom," he answered as he started to his room. As he moved on down the hall, each footstep seemed to weigh him down like an anchor.

Passing by the large, formal living room, his attention was drawn to his beloved piano. It was a twelve-foot grand and was the only thing that had been left to him from his grandmother's estate. His folks didn't mind having it in the house since it gained them the admiring comments of visitors. It also didn't hurt their image any when they could trot Jordan out to play for said visitors as if he were some sort of trained monkey. Just drop a quarter into the slot, turn the handle, and the monkey performs.

He could still hear the voices echoing around in his head from the last time it happened.

"Such a nice boy you have, don't you think so, dear? And so gifted too. Maybe he and our Heather could meet. She's a really sweet girl, you know. Loves to sing. They'd make such a cute couple, and with matching talents too."

God, it was enough to make him hurl.

In spite that however, he loved his piano. It was the only tangible link he had connecting him to his grandmother. Making music was his solace during the bad times as well as the good.

He moved over to it now, and sitting on the bench he caressed the keys lovingly for a moment before beginning to play Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. It was one of his favorites. When he played it, he would imagine a full moon shining between puffy clouds as they lazed across the nighttime sky. Gradually the clouds would thicken until the moon was obscured, and soon lightning and thunder would be rending the air with their fury. Just as gradually, the storm would abate, and the sky would clear leaving the moonlight once more glistening off the rain-drenched foliage as the last notes of the song faded away.

This time just as his imagination was bringing the storm to its full fury, his mother came raging into the room and slammed the key cover closed narrowly missing his fingers in the process.

"If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times. I don't want to be bothered while I'm watching my shows!" she yelled. "Now go to your room and stay there. Don't come out again for the rest of the night."

He turned to her with tear stained face silently pleading for a moment of understanding, just a small token of tenderness.

"I love you, Mom."

"NOW!" she yelled fixing him in that same withering look of contempt with which he'd become so familiar, and pointing a long finger in the direction of his room.

It made her look, for all the world, just like the grim reaper, dressed as she was in her dark, floppy housecoat. The only things missing to complete the picture was the damn hood and the fucking scythe! It creeped him out to the point that it made him woozy.

Rising from the bench, he made his way unsteadily toward his room and closing the door, fell face down on his bed and wept his heart out, his body convulsing with grief. The last half-hour had done little more than confirm how alone he really was, reenforcing the concept in his mind once and for all that nothing he could do would ever be good enough.

He had no sense of the passing of time. There was only the pain in his heart that would not be comforted. When he was drained, and the tears were spent, he rose and made his way over to his desk. There, he booted up his computer and opened the email application.

The only email addy of any significance in his address book was Jonathan's. Choosing it, he filled in the subject and began a letter to his friend.

To: jonalancarmichael99

Subject: It's better this way

Hi Jon,

I came to see you earlier this evening like I told you I was going to. I had something important to talk about. I didn't get to talk to you though cuz you were otherwise occupied. Haha!

You've been holding out on me, Bud. Why didn't you tell me you have a girlfriend? I know you talk about girls sometimes, but I had no idea there was anything serious going on. Anyhow, you've been caught with your hand in the cookie jar this time, Stud.

I was just getting ready to come through your back gate when I saw you leaning there against the tree branch, your body all entwined with some stunning redhead babe and vice versa. Wow! Congratulations! Who is she? I don't think I know her. There was some serious huggage going on there, Guy.

Anyway, I'm happy for you.

But down to business. I'm going to be honest with you here, Jon. I hope you don't mind. As you know, I've been pretty depressed lately. You also know that in spite of your enquiries I've not told you why, but I feel like I should.

It seems like life is getting to be too much. First of all my parents have never been supportive. You and I have talked about that some, but what I've never told you is that they're abusive. I've never really admitted it, even to myself before tonight. I know it doesn't seem to anyone else that they would be like that, but they are. They cover it well.

You remember the weekend before last when you phoned and asked me to come over and I said I couldn't? Well, I couldn't because I was in trouble. While I was straightening up in the kitchen, I accidentally dropped one of my mom's pieces of expensive glassware in the sink and broke it. Dad took his fists to me. He beat me on my back and butt. I had huge bruises that hurt so much I couldn't sit or lay on them for a couple of days.

I'm sixteen years old. I wasn't purposely disobedient. Why do they have to treat me like this? I've tried my best to do everything they ask without complaint.

For years school has been my refuge, I get good grades, but I never had any friends there. I guess it wasn't much of a refuge really, just a less toxic version of what was going on at home. Any refuge there was in scholarship and learning. I still got beaten up a lot till you moved to our school in seventh grade and defended me. I never understood why you did that, but I'm grateful. When you became my friend you also became my lifeline, in a way. Do you have any idea how much your friendship has meant to me? I don't think I would have survived if it hadn't been for you and I thank you for that.

Remember when your mom took us to Disneyland the summer between seventh and eighth grade? We had so much fun together, you and I. I think that was when I first realized that you were really my friend; that you weren't just hanging with me because you felt sorry for me. I especially remember the last evening we were there. We were sitting together on the sidewalk watching the Main Street Parade. They played the song from Cinderella. I know you know the one I'm talking about. It sort of became my song that night. I'm going to put down the words here. I hope that in reading them, you can get a feel for the meaning they have to me.

A dream is a wish your heart makes,
When you're fast asleep.
In dreams you will lose your heartaches,
Whatever you wish for you keep.
Have faith in your dreams and someday,
Your rainbow will come smiling through.
No matter how your heart is grieving,
If you keep on believing,
The dream that you wish will come true.

Jon, what I came over to tell you this evening is that you have been that dream for me. You are the wish my heart makes. You take away my heartache. Please don't hate me! Please! I can't help it.

You've been so kind and understanding. You were the only one that cared enough to come cheer for me when I won state at the high school piano competition. You were the one who laughed at my jokes no matter how dumb. You were almost always the one who first spoke to me in the morning, showing that cute smile that melted me inside. You were the one who earlier this year that helped me with my trigonometry when my mathematics professor father refused to. When things got to be too much at home, you were the one that let me cry on your shoulder and never pressured me to tell you what was wrong.

You've always been there for me Jon, and what I am trying to say is that somewhere along the way I've fallen in love with you. I didn't mean to. It happened when I wasn't looking.

I love everything about you. I love your cute smile. I also think that you're incredibly hot, but the thing I love most about you is how when I'm with you I always feel good about myself. You have this power that draws people to you and makes them feel they can conquer the world. Can you blame me for dreaming about you? I would love you with all my heart even if our relationship never changed over what it is right now. Other than my grandmother, you are the only one who has ever cared enough to really get to know and like me.

I know you probably find me disgusting right now. I don't blame you, and I'm sorry. It hurts to know that you can never return the kind of love I long to share with you. I don't hold it against you. I was happy to see you with that cute girl. I honestly hope she makes you happy.

What's really bothering me though is the fact that I've finally had to admit to myself that I'm gay. Jon, I hate it. I hate myself because I'm like this. I've tried for years to change. We're together at church and stuff a lot and you know how I am. I'm sincere about my religion. I am, and I know you are too. But why do I feel so abandoned by God? Why hasn't he changed me like I've begged him to? I'm sure he knows I mean it. Why can't I be normal like you?

I am so conflicted inside. I hate myself for being the way I am and yet it's the only way I know how to be. I can't help it. Lord knows I've tried. It's who I am and it's wrong, and I'm going to end up in hell because of it. I don't want to face living the rest of my life dreading hell in the hereafter. It'd be better to end it all right now and get on with it than to spend the next sixty or so years living in that kind of fear.

That's why by the time you read this I'll probably be dead. I have a full bottle of Mom's prescription painkiller that I'm gonna take as soon as I send this. I'm sorry I couldn't be a better friend to you, Jon. Thanks so much for being such a good friend to me; probably a much better one than I deserve. I love you, Jonathan. You were my prince, my knight in shining armor, and I am grateful to have known you.

Goodbye My Love,


With the final keystroke he moved the cursor up to the top of the page and clicked "Send" knowing it would find its way onto the internet and at some point in the morning Jonathan would pick up his phone and check his messages.

The clock said 2:17 AM when he switched off the monitor. Rather than getting up immediately, he sat staring at the blank screen for awhile. Eventually, he rose from his chair and grabbing his water bottle off the nightstand he stumbled to the bathroom. There he filled it with water from the tap and returned to sit on the edge of his bed.

Placing the water on his nightstand alongside the bottle of pills, he lay back on his bed; fingers laced together under his head, and stared up at the ceiling. He had tried. Really he had, but it had become too much for anyone to carry let alone a lonely 16-year-old.

He tried to recall the good times in his life, but the good memories wouldn't come. Instead, he remembered a five-year-old boy sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor, his spilled food scattered around him. He'd only been trying to be a big boy and help get his own food from the refrigerator because his mother was sad and hadn't fixed the evening meal. But he'd spilled it, and now she was forcing him to eat it where it was, right off the floor.

Mom always kept the house clean, but not that clean. Cat hair and small pieces of dirt were mixed in with the food, but there she was, scooping the stuff up and shoving it in his mouth one bite after another. He had no choice but to try to eat it as fast as she shoveled it in. Even at his age, it was disgusting, and he could hardly stomach it. The longer it went on the harder it was to keep up with the flow, and eventually he threw it up. He didn't do it on purpose, it just happened. He remembered thinking she would give it up after that but that wasn't how it had happened, she'd spooned up the mess and force fed it to him yet again.

He was horrified and knew that what she was doing to him was wrong. None of his protests would deter her, however, and when she was finally satisfied with her handiwork, she led him by the hand to his room. There she made him strip off his clothes. When he was undressed, she made him lay face down on the bed while she whipped his little, bare bottom with a belt causing angry red welts from his lower back down to his knees.

He'd cried himself to sleep that night, an event that turned out to be the first of many during the years to come. He wondered absently what it was that had changed that fateful day. Nothing had been the same with either of his parents since then. He had no clue why. What had he done that could possibly cause them to hate him so?

He remembered an incident only a few days later. He was learning to ride his bicycle. It was the first time he'd been able to ride successfully without training wheels. He'd come riding up the drive after a short excursion around the neighborhood just as his dad had rolled up the garage door. He was so proud and excited.

"Look Daddy!" he'd called excitedly, "I can ride without wrecking!"

The excitement of seeing his daddy and calling out to him caused him to be distracted just long enough, and he had gone crashing into the back of the family car, shattering one of the tail light lenses. He had blood running down his face from a cut on his forehead, but instead of rushing over to see if he was okay, his father yelled at him.

"You worthless, stupid, good for nothing kid! Why don't you watch what you're doing? Look what you did to my car!"

The man then got in the car, backed over the front forks of Jordan's bicycle, and drove off leaving his son's wound unattended and his treasured bike a pile of twisted steel. Jordan had tried to staunch the flow of blood without success. It frightened him so much that he phoned his grandmother for help. Ashamed to tell her the truth, he went out and hid the evidence before she got there. He didn't want her to think badly of his daddy, so he thought up a story about how he got cut. She rushed right over and took him to the emergency room. They gave him seven stitches and a small teddy bear. When they were done sewing him up his grandma took him back to her house. There she held and comforted him, not understanding how badly his little heart had been shattered that afternoon. His daddy had never acted that badly toward him before. In his innocence, he reasoned that if only he had paid better attention maybe he could have stopped in time and his daddy would still love him.

His thoughts turned once more to God and it was then that it struck him then that perhaps what he'd been taught about God might be wrong in some way. It didn't seem logical. On the one hand, he'd been taught that God was full of vengeance toward sinners, and on the other hand he'd learned that God was supposed to be loving and kind. Jesus hadn't been vengeful when he was here on earth. He'd gotten mighty angry about a few things but the anger was always directed at the preachers and religious leaders. Jesus had spent his time with the people that were looked down on and reviled by the religious elite. He healed them and ministered to their needs.

Jordan wasn't sure how Jesus treatment of people related to his own sexuality, but he was suddenly convinced that it was not an insurmountable problem.

'If Jesus came into my house right now,' he wondered, 'Would he want to spend his time with me? or with my parents?'

He didn't know the answer, but the thought brought him just a small glimmer of hope. That small glimmer quickly expanded, becoming a pervading brightness within him heart, causing him to put off his dark plans. After all, if God really was who he claimed to be, it had to be possible for him to do something about the pain and loneliness. It must be possible to change the situation somehow so that he could feel whole.

From there his thoughts drifted naturally to his friend, Jonathan. In many tangible ways, he decided, Jonathan wasn't unlike Jesus. Certainly he was thoughtful and kind. On top of that, he was tall and athletic with just the right amount of muscle on his slender frame. He thought about his friend's upturned smile, the wavy blond hair and green eyes, the cute button nose. The way his black dress slacks accentuated his sexy bottom, and how his colorful button down shirts with the top buttons undone and the cuffs folded back gave him that oh, so sexy, yet innocent charm.

Mostly, though, his thoughts drifted back to his friend's kind spirit and loving nature. Just the other day Jordan had been alone in the house, practicing on his beloved piano. He was working on his own rendition of the song Unfaithful by Rihanna. He was quite pleased with how it was coming along and had finally managed to play it through perfectly a couple of times. Just as he was finishing up, he was startled to hear a sound behind him. He turned to discover Jonathan sitting in the big rocker with tears on his cheeks and a big smile on his face.

There was a moment of silence before Jonathan spoke. "Gosh, Jor! you're getting really good. You play with such expression. I'm proud of you!"

Then he got up and coming over to the bench where Jordan sat gave him a hug. It felt good. It was the first time since his grandmother first got sick that anyone had given him a hug that contained the message 'I care about you'.

It was a good memory. How could a person not love Jonathan? Would Jonathan really reject him for liking boys even if Jonathan was the boy he liked the most? The more he thought about it the more he realized that it was unlikely. Jonathan had never hated anybody. There were things he hated but people weren't in that category. He had stood up to the bullies at school on Jordan's behalf but he didn't hate them. They'd known he wasn't to be challenged on the issue and he'd earned their grudging respect.

No, he hadn't given Jonathan enough credit, and he felt bad about it. After all, Jonathan had chosen him as a friend, not the other way around. The least he could do was to value that friendship, he realized. He couldn't just go away and in the process leave his friend grieving. That would be an unkind act after all the things Jonathan had done for him. It would be like saying to him, "Sorry, Jon, but I don't value your friendship enough to stick around. All the things we've done together and everything you've done for me is meaningless when compared to my own problems."

To do that would be the ultimate act of self-centeredness, which was the very trait he hated so much in his parents. He would not give them the satisfaction of knowing they had broken him. In a little less than two years he would be eighteen and could be free of them if he chose. What was two years when compared to a lifetime?

He shuddered to think how close he'd come to ending it all. In his self-pity, he hadn't stopped to consider that in offing himself he would not only accomplish his goal of avoiding the heartache and pain, but he would also be robbing himself of the things he loved the most. He would loose his music, his friendship with Jonathan, not to mention all of his hopes, plans, and dreams.

His dearest ambition had always been to become a concert pianist. That ambition had been helped along when he'd done a guest performance with the Portland Youth Philharmonic Orchestra last fall as one of the perks of winning the state piano competition. The experience had opened his eyes. When he'd practiced with them, he'd gotten to know many of the kids in the orchestra. They'd accepted him like no one else ever had. He'd always found it difficult relating to his own age group, but these kids were fantastic. They treated him as if he was one of them. That kind of acceptance had been a new experience for him. The conductor had invited him back for another performance next season, which he was really looking forward to, especially since there were some really cute boys there. The possibilities were intriguing, but it would take a lot to get over Jonathan enough to allow himself the luxury of loving someone else.

His mind turned to his relationship with his parents. Things were going to be a lot different from now on, he decided. One thing was for certain, tomorrow morning he was putting them on notice that he would tolerate no more abuse. They could say anything to or about him that they wanted. He'd try to let it roll off, but they would NEVER touch him again. The first time it happened there would be hell to pay. He would not fight. He would, however, contact the authorities, the leaders of their church, his father's employer, or anyone else he could think of if it came down to that. He would live in the house with them if he had to, but he would no longer consider himself part of the family. If they made life too miserable for him, he would leave. He had no idea where he would go, but that didn't really matter to him at the moment.

It was too bad he'd had to get to such a low point in order to see things clearly, but he was thankful he'd come to his senses. He supposed that everyone ended up in a crisis at some point in their life. Some just didn't make it through to the other side.

He glanced sleepily at the bottle on the nightstand, thankful that it still held all of its contents. Tomorrow would be a better day.

He reached over and picked up his iPhone, thumbing through the songs until he found yet another oldie that he liked and started it playing.

I've just closed my eyes again,
Climbed aboard the dream weaver train.
Driver take away my worries of today,
And leave tomorrow behind.

Ooh, dream weaver,
I believe you can get me through the night.
Ooh, dream weaver,
I believe we can reach the morning light.

Fly me high through the starry skies,
Maybe to an astral plane.
Cross the highways of fantasy,
Help me to forget today's pain.

Ooh, dream weaver,
I believe you can get me through the night.
Ooh, dream weaver,
I believe we can reach the morning light.

Though the dawn may be comin' soon,
There still may be some time.
Fly me away to the bright side of the moon,
And meet me on the other side.

Ooh, dream weaver,
I believe you can get me through the night.
Ooh, dream weaver,
I believe we can reach the morning light

Dream Weaver... Dream Weaver...

As the music flowed through and around him, he discovered he was too tired now to do anything more than reach around and pull the comforter over his fully clothed body. As he began drifting off, his mind told him that he needed to send Jonathan another email but he was too far gone to act, and soon he slept.

No thoughts intruded on his rest. At least for a short while there would be no pain, there would be no regret, and there would be no remembering...

Note that there are two more chapters. You do need to read to the end, pretty please, even though the voting form is here. It's on every chapter.


This story is part of the 2018-2019 story challenge "Recovery". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The voting period of 4 January to 25 January 2019 is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the challenge home page.

This challenge is to write a story based on the recovery of one or more of the cast from a dark place. There is no picture. Instead we are looking for tales which are able to paint a dark word picture and show recovery and hope.

Crossing Jordan

You may tick as many statements as you wish. Stories my also be discussed in detail on the Literary Merit forum

I will seek this author's work out
It grabbed my attention early on
I had to know what happened
I identified with at least one of the cast
Gritty - it had an edge to it
Realistic - it could have happened that way
I found it hard to follow
Good characterisation
I feel better for having read it
It was romantic
It was erotic
Too much explicit sex
It had the right amount of sex, if there was any
Not enough explicit sex
I have read and enjoyed other work by this author
It was sufficiently dark, but the recovery was missing something
It was not sufficiently dark, but the recovery was great
It was both sufficiently dark and had a great recovery

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