Chapter 1 – An Unknown Country.
“Can you ever be serious?” Matty looked at me across the little coffee table that sat in the middle of his room.
“Well I hope not.” I looked up at him, a smile forming across my face.
“I’ve got something important to say!” He looked kind of tense, was he frowning?
“OK, well just say it.” I learned forward resting my chin on my hand, looking up at him. There was silence, the only sounds came from the street outside, the gentle rumbling noise of traffic and the clinking sounds from the kitchen downstairs as Matty’s mum emptied the plates and glasses from the dishwasher. The silence continued, I waited, time could almost have stopped. “Well, tell me what you got to say.” More silence as he fidgeted about in the chair in front of me.
Finally, as if the silence was never actually there, he continued, “I’m gay!”
“Is that it?” My smile broadened into one of those huge white teeth smiles spread right across my face. I took my hand from my chin, leaned closer towards him and slowly moved my arm over his shoulder, my hand resting on the back of his neck. With a sure, but gentle pressure I pulled his head towards mine, turned to one side and in a scene worthy of the best motion picture I closed the gap between us and kissed him full on the lips.
Releasing my hold I sat back, sinking into the old armchair, watching his reactions, the little movements his body made, the expression on his face. I heard once more those faint background noises which had all but disappeared during that moment of intimacy. Like a lightning bolt from nowhere the thought entered my head that never again would we be just best friends. Two boys who had grown up together as virtual neighbours had crossed some kind of invisible barrier, a frontier to an unknown country.
The silence had returned, this was a comfortable silence between us, the sort of silence that allowed each of us to savour the moment. Watching Matty relax, seeing him look back at me in that cheeky mischievous way of his, I wondered why I had never said anything to him, I was after all older than he was, wasn’t it me who should have been the one to tell him, wasn’t it in some way my responsibility, hadn’t I, by saying nothing caused my best friend undue fear and anguish.
Just as my head was filling with thousands of questioning thoughts, as if Matty could some how see inside my mind, the silence was broken as music filled the room, I had never even noticed him do anything. “You know this has always been one of my favourites!” Matty’s voice joined with the music.
‘I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away.’
Heroes, I just couldn’t prevent another huge smile as I looked Matty straight in the eyes and he looked back with a similar smile breaking right across his face and then we were laughing together, the laughter that bounces from one person to the other reaching an unbearable climax with tears forming and wetting my face, I tried to speak, but couldn’t form any coherent words and he made it worse rolling about like a contorted acrobat holding his sides.
The whole event was only calmed by a knock at the door. “Uh, yes.” Matty managed to get out in between the now subsiding bouts of hysteric laughter. The door opened slightly and Matty’s mum peered in.
“You two seem to be amusing yourselves, I could hear you from the bottom of the stairs.”
“Hello Mrs T, sorry if we were making too much noise.” I had regained just enough composure to give a semblance of talking normally.
“Hello Alex,” Mrs T acknowledged. Then turned to Matty, “I thought you might like some tea and cookies?”
It took a supreme effort and purposely avoiding looking at Matty, to not burst back into laughter.
“We’re not eleven years old mum, but thanks.” Matty smiled at his mother, he had the smile of an impish angel, which almost always won his mother over and would no doubt charm hundreds of people, just as he did at school with friends and teachers alike.
“I know you’re not.” Mrs T was placing the tray with two mugs and a plate of chocolate chip cookies on the little coffee table. She stood up, turned to leave and in parting glanced back. “Although I’m not so sure, with all that laughter going on.” She smiled and slipped back out through the half open door, closing it gently with the click of the door catch.
Matty called out after her, “Thanks mum.” We were once again alone.
I learned forward out of the old armchair and picked up my mug of tea, not forgetting a couple of those chocolate cookies Mrs T had left. Matty was lying on his bed tea on the bedside table, already munching on a cookie. “Matty!” I broke the silence. “Like, since when did you know you were, uh… gay?” I finished a cookie and cradled the mug of tea between both hands, it was warm and comforting, some how reassuring to feel something so familiar.
“Don’t exactly know,” he replied, “I mean, it’s difficult to say….” He paused. I could see he was thinking about how he should answer. “Like, when you are a kid,” he continued, “you never really think about it, do you?” That was clearly a rhetorical question, “I mean, you don’t really know about sex….” He paused again. “So it’s only later you see that, well, oh yeah, I’m gay, that’s me, that’s it, I guess I always have been.”
So many questions were buzzing around inside my head, but I knew it just wasn’t fair on him to get too deep into some quasi psycho analysis, which was actually taking on the form of a cross examination. For Christ’s sake, I thought to myself, he had after all taken the huge step of announcing this to me and my questioning him was feeling more and more like I was actually asking myself the questions, why, when, how come, even perhaps, why me? That’s always a good one, the why me.
‘Baby, I’ll never let you go
All I see is all I know’
Bowie was still singing, I stopped a moment, catching the lyrics. Funny how sometimes you can interpret songs as though the artist wrote the words just for you, just for this moment.
“So… Matty, why… uh… I mean why now, why tell me now?” I looked over at him across the space of his bedroom, looked at him lying there on his bed and caught his grin as he looked back.
“Well I could say, because I couldn’t wait on you forever.” His grin turned into a full on broad smile. “But, nah… that’s not true, it’s actually because… and I’ve been thinking about it, telling you that is, for a couple of days now… and well, it’s because of this dream I had.”
Now it was getting interesting, I loved the times we spent together, just the two of us, talking about any number of things and sharing our thoughts and telling each other our little secrets. That, I suppose, if you think about it, is how you become so close to someone and sometimes you don’t even realise it, it just happens.
“It was one of those really vivid dreams.” I was listening, this would be good, I thought. “You know, I don’t usually remember my dreams,” he continued, “but if I wake up from it, well often I remember then… and well I woke up from this one.” He looked down, was that a hint of some uncomfortable emotion, not sure, anyway, he brushed it aside. “Well, in this dream it was a really warm summers day and I was walking down a country lane with someone. The lane had steep grassy banks on each side, it was… almost like a secret tunnel.” He stopped, he was thinking about what to say, or how to say it, I knew him so well, I could see his brain ticking. “OK,” he said, “this is like a very personal dream.”
“Hey Matty, jeez, I mean we’re best friends, we’re more than that now.” I smiled at him, my best reassuring smile. “You can’t stop now, come on, tell me the dream… plee..ease!” I smiled again.
“Alright, so I had a really strong hard on,” he said, “and like, well, all I wanted to do was to take this guy I was with and….”
“Yeah, yeah, so what happened, go on.”
He took up the story again. “So I took this guy and pushed him facing into the soft grassy bank… and well you know, even in vivid dreams it’s not exactly like reality… so he was lying in front of me, his face pressed into the bank and he was naked and I was going to do what I’d dreamed about, thought about, for what seems like forever… I was going to have sex with a boy… and I did, it was great and it seemed so real and that’s why I woke up and remembered everything, because it was a wet dream, my first and so fucking good I just shot load after load and woke up covered in creamy gooey sperm.”
Fuck, fuck, fuck, I thought, that was so bloody hot I was sitting in the old armchair, vaguely aware the music was still playing and definitely aware of the hard on I had from listening to Matty’s wet dream. “You should write fucking porno,” I said. “You’ve just given me a massive hard on listening to you.” I smiled and Matty smiled back. Wherever it went from here, I thought, it can only get better. And Bowie was still there frantically singing…
‘I’ve nothing to lose, nothing to gain
I’ll kiss you in the rain
Kiss you in the rain
Kiss you in the rain’…….