Lost & Found Ch. 01byDWSimon©
I never planned to spend my life running. I didn’t even realize I had until I got to San Antonio. Running and alone, not what I wanted for my life, but it was what my life had become.
I had worked various construction jobs since leaving home at 17. I hadn’t stayed in one place or held a job for any longer than three months until I got to Texas. I hit San Antonio and met some people, liked my job, and decided to stay. My boss, Brian, and I really hit it off. He was married and 25 to my 23. Every Friday after work, the crew would head to a bar; Brian usually joined us for at least one beer. After a few weeks at work, we started talking more than just pleasantries. It turned out we had both played basketball in high school and still enjoyed watching the games. After a while, we decided to catch a few Spurs games.
During one of the games, Brian told me about his sister-in-law, how great she was, pretty, single, etc. I then turned to him and told him I was gay. I swallowed deeply, expecting a bad reaction and that that night’s game would be our last. Instead he laughed, said sorry, and asked if I would like to meet his cousin Mark. We both laughed and everything was okay. It was nice to have him not care, or at least have it not matter so much. Each week our friendship grew greater and stronger. I was incredibly attracted to him, but nothing was going to happen, so I squashed those thoughts and instead enjoyed having a close friend again. Okay, so he was beautiful with dark brown hair and chocolate brown eyes and when he was working in the hot sun would take his shirt off and I would have to catch my breath. We were friends, and a friend was something I hadn’t had since before I left home. Even if he was so massively muscled with no fat on him or had a gorgeously hairy chest that covered his pectorals perfectly and grew so thick and dark along his sternum and continued south to whirl along his navel down into his jeans. Even if his jeans hugged the most perfect ass and bulged so invitingly, he was a friend. And straight. And married. Damn!
After a few months, I hardly noticed his body anymore. Well just a little, here and there. I was afraid my staring was obvious, but I drew more attention because no matter how hot the Texan summer, I never was without my long sleeved shirt. I took some ribbing for it, but I never stripped down.
A few months later, Brian didn’t show up at the site one Tuesday. He always showed up at least for a few hours. With him not there, we simply did our work and came back the next day. By Friday, Brian had not showed and we were worried … he never missed any time without contacting someone. After the obligatory beer with the crew that night – they also didn’t care about my being gay – I headed home to my empty apartment and worried.
I had crawled into bed when someone started pounding on my door, I got up, dressed, and answered the door. There stood Brian, so miserable looking, unshaven and disheveled, and incredibly sad. He smiled at me sheepishly and giggled; I knew he was drunk. He staggered into my arms and I caught him before he fell and he asked if he could come in. “What’s wrong?”
He started to cry and hiccup. “My wife left me, she moved out Monday while I was at work and had me served with divorce papers when I got home.”
I was shocked; my apologies seemed to make him more upset.
“She left me and when I had my meeting with her and her lawyer today, she told me everything. Absolutely everything.” He was so miserable. So lost. I knew he would tell me about it, he just needed some time to get it out. Well, sleep was overrated anyway.
Over the next few hours, I got the whole story. Brian’s wife had been having an affair off and on since they had started dating in high school. She was pregnant and wanted to marry the baby’s father. When I asked why she thought Brian wasn’t the father, he told me he and his wife hadn’t slept together that often recently and when they did, she made him use a condom. He was devastated; he really wanted to be a daddy. When he found out she was pregnant, he thought he was the father and so happy about it. But he wasn’t and she had had the blood work done to prove it. He was so devastated that he started crying again. He was a weepy drunk.
I helped him off the couch and guided him to my room. Brian is 6’ 6” and even though I am 6’ 3” he outweighs me by a good sixty pounds. Needless to say, it was a long and trying trip the twenty feet to my bedroom. He collapsed on the bed and I tugged his shoes off, rolling him onto his side into the middle of my full size bed. I grabbed the sheet from the bottom of the bed and covered him. He murmured a little and started to relax. I got a blanket from the closet and covered him with it. I intended to sleep on the couch and grabbed my quilt and was heading for my pillow. Brian grabbed my arm and pulled me down on the bed with him. He wrapped his arms around me and whispered in my ear.
“Don’t leave me alone Simon. Please?”
“Shh. I won’t go.” I than wrapped my arms around him and held on, rocking him a little back and forth, and smoothed his hair. He drifted off to sleep and I knew it had been a mistake. All these months I had lied to myself, and now I knew the truth. I had fallen in love with my best friend. I started to cry a little and must have woken Brian.
I wiped the tears from my face, choking a little as I spoke. “Nothing.”
His face was so concerned, I felt myself melt. “Then why the tears?”
“I would have to be a stone cold bastard to not hurt when my best friend is hurting,” and I gave him a tremulous smile that I hoped didn’t wobble too much or reveal what I had just figured out. He leaned forward and kissed my check and thanked me for being there. He drifted off again. I lay there and waited for the sun to rise. I couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t my feelings or even his presence that kept me from sleeping; I can’t relax and sleep around another person. Another of the many reasons I was alone.
The next morning, Brian asked me to help him at his home. He needed to clean out some things and didn’t want to do it alone. I waited for him to shower away the hangover, trying hard not to think of his big, strong, hairy body in my shower. It somewhat worked, it helped by straightening my bed and clothes. Though I was lost when he came out of the bathroom, wearing a smile and a towel, low on his hips. He was such a large man that his thigh showed through the slit in the towel. Strong tanned and hairy … he was so beautiful; I couldn’t catch my breath. His smile made my stomach drop and my chest tighten.
“Can I borrow some clothes till I get home?”
I simply nodded like an idiot and got him some of my baggier clothes. On the way to his house I tried not to think of my underwear hugging his crotch and caressing his ass. I crossed my legs, no easy feat in a truck, to hide my growing arousal.
We spent the day packing up all of his wife’s things. Hour upon hour we packed clothes and pictures; only her personal items. Apparently, she had gone out of the country to get a quick divorce. She didn’t want anything from Brian and he was so disgusted with her he just wanted her out. We packed up her stuff and called for a mover to come pick it up. It was about sunset when we were done. He said he wanted no reminders.
After the movers left, I helped him move his things out of the master bedroom into a guest room with a queen sized bed and a huge closet with a great bathroom with a huge walk-in shower and two-person Jacuzzi tub. His house was quite large with three bedrooms. The previous owners designed the room he moved to as a mother-in-law apartment. The house was shaped like a U and in the middle was a large pool and patio.
When his new room was arranged, as he liked it, he asked if I wanted to go for a swim and I declined. He then offered to take me to dinner and he gave me some of his clothes. I went into his spare bathroom upstairs and prepared for my shower. The mirror on the wall was huge, at least 6’ by 4’. I couldn’t cover it, so after locking the door, I hurried and tried not to look in the mirror. Tried but failed. All the warm feelings I had been having disappeared and after the shower I told Brian I couldn’t go with him. I asked him to take me back to my place and when he did I told him I would see him Monday at work. I knew he wanted to ask questions, but I couldn’t answer them and was grateful when he let it go. I went inside and cursed myself for trying to be normal, for hoping to have something I never would.
Six weeks later, my lease was up on my apartment. I thought about leaving San Antonio and finding someplace new, but I couldn’t face another move; if I was honest, I couldn’t leave Brian. But I couldn’t stay at my apartment either; it was being demolished or remodeled. So I told Brian the next day at work that I would be moving, but didn’t know where. He asked me if I needed help. I told him I always lived in furnished apartments and had nothing but clothes and one or two personal items, everything fit in my truck and that’s how I liked it. I realized how pathetic it sounded, how lonely. Brian suggested I live in his house with him. With him in the downstairs, I would have the upstairs bedrooms to myself. I didn’t want to agree, I knew I would end up hitting on him or throwing myself at him. I was surprised when my mouth agreed before I had thought it through completely. That weekend I moved in and we started a very good living arrangement.
Over the next few months, we talked and played. We were teenagers again. We would roughhouse and laugh; we barbequed and shared chores. It was the most fun I had had in years. I didn’t worry about the past, only enjoyed the moment. Every Sunday I would call my dad at home and catch up with him. Things were going so well. Brian didn’t even question some of my weird habits; how I slept with my bedroom door locked and only showered with the bathroom locked inside my locked bedroom. The master bathroom had a deep tub, and I preferred it, felt safer.
About six months after his divorce, Brian told me he was going on a date the following Friday. I knew I loved him, but I could still wish him happiness. He then floored me by asking why I didn’t date.
“It’s been four months since you’ve been here. You don’t date, you don’t go anywhere unless with me, or to run errands. Why?”
I kept trying to steer him away from the questions I couldn’t answer. But, he kept persisting.
“If you think I would mind you bringing someone home with you I don’t. Do you think I would care about something like that?”
He was so hurt I had to tell him that I knew he wasn’t like that. But he wouldn’t let it go. He asked all the questions that I knew he wanted to, I had just hoped to have some more time before it was all over. Thankfully the phone rang and saved me. It was my dad. I listened; he never called unless there was an emergency. I heard what he said and felt like I was drowning. The panic took over, I couldn’t breath, and the room swam. I was able to tell him goodbye before sinking to the floor, hyperventilating.
Brian was on me instantly. I was wearing a western style shirt with snap buttons; he had given it to me for my 24th birthday. He pulled the collar open in such a rush; he yanked almost all the snaps open down to my belly. That’s when he saw the deep scar on my chest. He ran his fingers along it and he noticed another which he followed, then another, and another after that. He looked into my eyes and knew I was too far into my panic attack to answer his obvious questions. He worked with me, tried to calm me, matched his breathing to mine than slowed it. He helped me up and to the sofa. He sat across from me on a chair he pulled up until I calmed down.
“I think you need to tell me what happened.” The concern on his face made my heart beat faster, melting with all the emotions I felt for him. “I now know why you are always covered up, but I think there is more to it than that. You love your father and are always so happy to talk to him. You were terrified. Why?”
I took a deep breath. I didn’t want to talk about it. But, there was no choice and I started talking, going back to those days long ago, when my life as I knew it ended.
“My mom died when I was 16. She had been sick with cancer for 3 years. It was almost a blessing when she died. My dad had kept it together the entire time she was sick.” My mind clouded, going back, remembering everything. “He held on when she died, through the funeral and the gathering afterwards at the house. When the last person left, he collapsed to his knees, sobbing. I helped him up and half carried him to his room, away from where my mother’s sick bed had been. I helped him into bed and covered him. I had never seen my dad cry before. He was inconsolable.
“I made my way downstairs, thinking to clean up before he woke up in the morning. When I got to the kitchen, I found my best friend Jason loading the dishwasher. He had gathered plates and glasses and had bagged some garbage. I went in to help him and we quickly finished. He helped me to my room where grief took over.” I remembered the gentle way Jason had helped me into bed. His soft murmurs of concern, his caring hugs and touches. “Jason put me to bed, slipped off my shoes and just held me. But I couldn’t stop crying. Jason kept trying to quiet me, but it did no good. He kissed me, slow and steady. It was wonderful and I stopped crying and fell asleep. I woke up alone.
“She died at the beginning of summer. My dad took a leave of absence and we spent most of the summer traveling. When we got home so I could go back to school, I went to see Jason. I wanted to thank him for everything the night of the funeral. When I got to his house, he was cold, aloof, almost like he didn’t want to see me. I realized he was embarrassed by what had happened. I knew the kiss didn’t mean anything; that it only happened to try and calm me down. I tried to tell him. He just said ‘forget it’ and shut the door in my face.
“Jason was a year older, he was a senior to my junior. In early November, Jason came over to my house one Friday. We had hardly spoken in the previous months. We were alone and he wanted to apologize for how he treated me. He said he didn’t mean for anything to affect our friendship, but it had. He then hugged me. I was just glad that we were friends again.” I remembered the feeling of safety, of having my friend back. “I pulled back and looked at him with a goofy grin. He stilled and leaned in and kissed me again. One thing led to another and we were naked on my bed. I started kissing him on his chest and stomach, going down further and further. I thought that maybe we were going to be together; maybe we would be lovers and friends. After he came, he was up and out my door. I was confused and a little hurt. I didn’t understand. The next day I went to see him at his house and he refused to see me, saying he had homework. I figured fine, no big deal. He regretted what happened. So I decided to give him time. I went to school on Monday and thought no more of it. Well, not much anyway.
“We were both into sports, him football, wrestling, and baseball. I was into swimming, basketball, and track. My school set up for all teams to have PE together just before lunch so the coaches could work with us on technique, exercise, and whatnot. We were both in the class. I was working on the basketball courts and the football team was in the weight room off the gym floor. I was playing basketball and my team was skins. We were playing well and I lost myself in the game. It wasn’t until someone on the opposite team was throwing free throws that I saw Jason outside of the weight room, staring at me. I developed early and was one of the first to get a hairy chest. I was standing there in my shorts and there was Jason, staring at me, he was hard as a rock in his shorts. I ignored him to finish the game. When the bell rang for end of class, I helped put away the equipment and was late going to the showers. I got to the locker room and went to the showers alone. I let the warm water sooth my confusion over Jason and his actions.
“When I got out of the shower, I wrapped a towel around me and was heading for my locker when I saw Jason watching me. I walked by him to go to my locker, but he grabbed my arm and pushed me back. He punched me in the stomach. My towel dropped. I stood up and he punched me in the jaw. He then grabbed me and slammed me into the wall. It was cement blocks covered with a mirror. My head crashed into the mirror and it broke. I was blacking out and slipping to the floor. The last image I remember was seeing Jason rock hard, standing over me.”
I swallowed hard and took off my shirt so Brian could see. I then stood and dropped my jeans, toed off my shoes and socks and stood in front of him in my boxers.
“I woke up in the hospital twelve days later. I had a tube in my throat to breath for me. My left leg and arm were in a cast and my chest and back were wrapped in bandages. My dad was sitting by my bed, holding my hand. I hurt so bad Brian. I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t move much. My dad was so happy to see me awake. He kissed my cheek and told me he loved me. I kept mouthing that I was so sorry. He kept telling me that I had nothing to be sorry for. Later, I was given a report of my injuries.”
I pointed on my body to Brian as I listed them. I had my left shin broken and in a cast. My left forearm was snapped and also in a cast. My spleen and one kidney had been removed as well as several feet of my upper and lower intestine. My chest and back, upper arms and thighs were lacerated repeatedly; some deep, some superficial.
“I was given the police report six weeks later, once I was out of my casts. When I didn’t get up, Jason proceeded to kick me, stomping on my leg and arm, trying to wake me up. When that didn’t work, he picked up a chunk of the mirror and started to cut me up. Two of the coaches came into the room and saw me bleeding on the ground with Jason kicking my stomach. They had to sit on Jason to stop him. His last kick hit me in the throat and bruised my larynx. One coach performed a tracheotomy on me while waiting for the ambulance. I used to be able to sing, but all the damage to my throat destroyed my range. I had to learn how to walk again because the tendons in my leg were so badly damaged. I had to learn how to talk again after the tube was removed from my throat. Jason was eighteen and arraigned while I was still unconscious. He pled guilty and was sentenced to ten years.
“I was prepared to go back to school once I left the hospital. But, the school graduated me so I wouldn’t and avoid the scandal. Three months after the attack, I was getting ready to leave the hospital for good, and was getting dressed when I saw it in the mirror. They had hidden the mirrors from me so I could only see the scars on my arms and chest and legs. I now knew why my dad was pressing for plastic surgery.”
I stood and turned my back to Brian; lowered my boxers over my left cheek. There, carved into my flesh was the word FAG. It was crude but legible. I pulled up my shorts and sat again, unable to raise my eyes to Brian. I knew if I saw pity, I would lose what little control I had.
“Just as I finished dressing, Jason’s dad stormed into my room. I was still in shock. He started screaming at me, accusing me of ruining his son’s life; how I seduced his boy and ruined his chances at college and pro ball. It was too much. I curled into a ball in the corner, afraid to look up, hyperventilating and terrified. My dad came in and called for security. They couldn’t calm me down; they ended up letting me hyperventilate until I passed out. When I woke, I told my dad I was leaving, I wasn’t coming back. He asked me not to go, begged me; offered to come with me. I just shook my head and left that night. He gave me $5000 and hugged me. Told me he loved me and that nothing was my fault. I’ve been on the run since then. That was almost seven years ago.