And for a while, looks like. The neverending storyboaring job is back with new revisions needed. I started on it yesterday and will focus on it today to try and get it done before the weekend. I already had to put off a meeting with my publisher in Austin over a number of things, but they've paid me for this and I need to see it through to completion.
So...this is the last bit of that chapter dealing with Brendan's stay in the hospital and learning the direction he wants to take with his life. He and his brother, Eamonn, are finally heading for bed.
Then as we were climbing in he asked, “How you feelin’ down there?” He nodded to my crotch.
I shrugged. “Hasn’t hurt for some time.”
“Is it back to working?” He had a smirk on his face that told me exactly what he meant.
I blushed. “I’ll wager mine works better than yours.”
He laughed, silently, and kept cutting the apple. “You haven’t had the right use of it, yet.”
“I’ve had use of it.”
He leaned over and whispered, “With a girl?”
I’d have to say no to that, so instead I asked, “Have you?”
He sighed and leaned back, playing up the man of the world aspect of it. “Not a girl. An older lady.”
I felt my heart quicken and something stir down below, so I lay face down on the bed and half-buried my head in the pillow. “Eamonn...”
“Near twice my age, she is. Beautiful. And well-versed in the art of love. And married.”
“Eamonn!” It came out almost like a hiss.
“Her husband’s in Hong Kong, has two mistresses and sends her barely enough to live on, the ripe bastard, and -- .” He looked at me, sharp. “You’re not to say a word of this to anyone, you understand?”
Did I? I could just hear Mam’s neighbors having a good craic over this. “Well, he’s a wild one, ain’t he? I heard he’s cattin’ ‘round with a married woman. Some lad she’s raised. First time he pulled this with me, he’d of seen the back of my hand.” Which would set Mam off to the moon, and not at those old cows.
“Never a word.” Then I couldn’t help but ask, “What’s it like?”
He took a moment to answer, cut two final slices off the apple and gave me one then whispered, “It’s the same as a drug. It pulls you in and builds you to a joy that’s double the pleasure from when you take care of yourself.”
“You mean?” and I did the wanking move with my right hand.
He nodded. “Have you really experienced that, yet?”
I huffed and lay my chin on the pillow. “The one time I even come close to it, the damn thing nearly come off. I don’t think I’m meant to do that sort of thing.”
He jostled me, smiling, again. “All lads’re meant to do that sort of thing. But I’d not go braggin’ about it to Father Pat.”
I snorted. “That much, I already know.” I finished the apple and turned to watch my brother dance with slumber, and I couldn’t help but ask, “Eamonn...this lady of yours. Does she go to your meetings?” He sighed and nodded. “Do the others know?”
“Naw -- they’re too busy talkin’.”
“Aw, what’s going on in America -- with civil rights -- Martin Luther King -- setting up marches here for Catholics to get equal treatment -- that sort of stuff.”
“Like parades. Protests. There’s talk of doing more than just begging the Derry Corporation to be fair with us, but forcing them to. Maybe a march of us all down to where those caravans are, keeping families of six and eight in something meant only for an overnight stay for two.”
“Can I come if you do?”
“Dunno. You’re only twelve. But I’ll ask.” And he drifted off to sleep.
I rolled over and looked at the ceiling. The paper covering it was stained and wrinkling but that meant nothing to me. What I saw in its creases and shadows that night was a world where if a Catholic boy saw a Protestant girl, he wouldn’t have to give a second thought to going up to her and asking her for some time together, and vise versa.
Then her face appeared in the ceiling for the first time since that night. Green eyes bright as emeralds. Lips like cherries. Cheeks as round and soft as peaches. A nose so pert and outlined with freckles, she could be a poster for Lady Bell Ice Cream.
I felt the same sensations as before, but this time without pain or discomfort. In fact, touching myself made everything so much finer as I dreamed of her kissing me as her hands caressed my back and I traced my lips down her neck and we melded together in ways only the gods can understand as my hand worked up and down, and in moments a feeling exploded through me unlike anything I’d ever known. I froze. Dared not move. Something liquid had shot from within and I was halfway afraid it was blood. Oh, Jesus, I’ve probably gone and undone everything the doctors fixed. But then I looked at my hand and the wetness on it was clear and sticky and smelled odd.
I glanced at Eamonn. His breath was deep and steady. No answers coming from him, not just now. So I wiped my hand off and lay back to sleep...and it was the best sleep I’d had since coming home.