Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

In the beginning...

Of OT.

I gave myself a couple days to get past the jet lag before dropping by mom’s place of employment. I didn’t have her phone number, anymore, and really didn’t feel like waiting around her condo till she showed up. Mom had this habit of just taking off and not being around for a few days without bothering to tell anybody where she’d gone, so who knew if she’d even be home.

I’m glad I waited; this trip took a lot out of me. Going straight to dinner with Uncle Ari’s client after nine hours in a plane, not including the layover in Paris, and it being like eight pm the following day by my body clock before we were done...that was rough. But on top of it was Uncle Owen’s phone refusing to even let me leave a message when I tried to call him; it said his mailbox was full. So I asked Matt to do some research into him, then hopped on a nine hour plane ride back by way of the neverending boredom of Schiphol Airport, and the long flight was crammed with babies that took turns crying so much, I swore I was getting a set of noise-canceling headphones soon as I landed...only I fell asleep in the car, instead, as Tone was driving me home. When I woke up, I was in bed and it was the next day. Tone said I walked in all on my own, but I don’t remember it. Weird.

Anyway, I returned from darkness thanks to the aroma of his coffee -- well, my coffee, since he was holding it close to the bed, in offering. I sat up and took the mug and sipped at it; for some reason Tone likes his coffee just hot while he loves to boil his cocoa, but I’m still always careful with the first sip, just in case he’s changed his mind.

“Okay,” I muttered, “I’m starting to feel human, again.”

“You so sure?” he said.

“Lemme take a shower first,” I said, “and see if I’m still here, then. What time is it?”

“Almost noon. I’d offer you brunch, but it’s Thursday.”


“So brunch is for weekends.”

“Since when do you follow the rules?”

“Since I became a convicted felon. I cross the street at the corner. I pay for everything in my cart, even when the clerk forgets to ring something up. I bake potatoes to go with steak, as is the law in Texas. And I go one mile per hour under the speed limit when I drive.”

I looked at him, wary. “That sounds like the speech you’re gonna give the judge, next week.”

“Close to it. How ‘bout a grilled cheese and cup of tomato soup?”

“Sounds killer.”

“It’ll be ready when you are.”

I looked him over. He was wearing one of Matt’s t-shirts – the black one with a green skeleton’s hand covering the front – and it was a bit snug on him. That and the almost-loose jeans he was wearing made him look like a guy ready go out dancing, and it amazed me at how sexy he could appear without a thought.

I leaned back, finally realizing I was completely naked under the sheet and blanket, and put my hands behind my head as a sneer crossed my face. “Don’t you wanna watch me bathe?”

He smirked and trailed a finger from my nose to my belly button as he said, “Tonight, maybe.”

“Careful,” I sighed. “You’ll get something started.”

“Yes. The soup. Don’t take too long. Matt’s got something to show us, and then you can tell us both about how brilliant you were with Ari’s client.” Then Tone was gone. Not even a peck on the cheek. My breath must really be crappy, which wouldn’t surprise me, considering the crappy airline food.

I flipped the covers off and jumped to my feet and stretched. Man, it felt good to be in a place where I didn’t have to give a shit. And I don’t mean in Texas; I just mean in Tone’s and my place. I’d rented the left side of a two-story duplex on the north end of town, near one of the few parks the city had. It wasn’t new but was built solid, had hardwood floors and a couple of baths, and Matt was in the other bedroom.

He’d moved here six months ago, at my invitation. I did it to let him know I was okay with what’d gone down between him and Tone, and because I’d learned all his friends were online. That did not sit right with me. You should always have people around who can just be there to be with. Keeps you from getting lost in your own misery.

Turned out our neighbor was also Jewish and had a brother who’s gay. Named Aron. Who was stocky and smiley and half-red-haired and more than a little shy. But he and Matt hit it off, and now about every other Friday night, Matt did not come home till late Saturday or Sunday. After brunch, of course.

The rest of the week, he did programming and websites and maintained his domain hotels, which were set up along one wall in the dining room and let off this non-stop hum that could be heard almost everywhere in the place. And I think they had their own friggin’ satellite dedicated to them, all the crap Matt had going on inside those little boxes.

I looked outside at the back garden, and it was sort of drizzly and gray; the perfect day for soup. Winter was closing in and I looked forward to it. I liked the cold and snow of Copenhagen and hoped we’d have some here, this year. But maybe that wouldn’t be necessary, not if Tone and the judge worked things out, next week. Maybe they’d end the whole damn thing and we could get back to the real world. I’d hinted at Matt about joining us, but he didn’t seem too hot for the idea. What the heck, I’d made the offer; if he and Aron hit it off and he wanted to stick it out in this hell-hole, Tone and I could leave in peace.

So I showered and shaved and brushed my teeth and wrapped myself in a nice long robe and by the time I got to the kitchen, Tone had everything ready. Matt was there, grinning and munching on a sweet pickle as he tried to sneak bites of the grilled cheesers, like he was a kid. I plopped myself at the counter and let Matt pop a gherkin in my mouth as Tone ladled out the soup, and I felt like we’d become a nice little family...and thought maybe I’d try and talk Matt out of staying in Texas; he had no idea how vicious this place could be for a gay man.

That’s when I decided to see my mom the next day instead of that afternoon. I didn’t want to mess with how easy I was feeling, and I also wanted to get some more info under my belt before chatting her up about calling my father.

Turned out, I didn't have as much choice as I thought.

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