The Year We Grew Up – Chapter Nineteen.

If You Can Talk It’s Good.

I don’t know what Zack has going on with Adam, it’s like I just discovered another side of Zack, and it’s difficult to figure out. We talked a lot after Tom left, Zack wanted to confront Adam about the video, but it was more than that, it was almost like he felt he had some evidence that would prove Adam was guilty.

Guilty, but of what? I was not at all convinced by the video, it was not clear who the two guys were, it wasn’t at all conclusive. We don’t know either, what happened between Adam and Josh, no, for me it seemed like Zack was jumping to conclusions, or, more likely, he was looking to get back at Adam for what he’d done last year, for dumping him.

That was an aspect of Zack’s character I’d never seen before, the part of him that could bear a grudge and carry it around forever. Then again, I was not even certain about that, because Zack had greeted Adam’s return as though he was pleased to see him and he was happy that I’d sorted out the accommodation at the old apart.

Then it hit me that maybe Zack was happy to see Adam knowing it hadn’t worked out with Sophie and that he was knocking on Zack’s door. If you like, Zack perhaps thought that Adam had come back to him. Then of course when Josh disappeared and we wanted to know why, when we both went to talk to Adam to find out what he knew, that’s when Zack realised Adam was fucking Josh and nothing had changed. He had to accept that Adam’s return had nothing to do with him and that made him angry and wanting some sort of revenge.

It’s not a nice aspect of someone’s personality even if it is understandable, I think you need to accept people for who they are, so I had to accept what I saw as a bit of nastiness inside Zack. I decided that what I needed to do was talk to Josh, not just to clarify what happened with Adam, although that was important, but to attempt to get our relationship back to what it was before all this happened.

I phoned Ali, who was the only person so far that Josh had made any contact with, I asked her if she had a number for Josh, a way of contacting him. She was very nice about it, but told me she couldn’t give me his number because he had specifically asked her not to, not to give it to anybody. I wanted to know why he wouldn’t speak to me even if it was obvious that Ali didn’t have the answer to that question. In the end we left it that Ali would let Josh know that I really wanted to talk to him and then it would be up to him to decide.

She added, as a kind of warning, that if I did get to talk to Josh, I should not push him or put pressure on him to talk about stuff he might not want to, that he might not be ready to talk about. It’s difficult, she said, but the key here is patience, being prepared to wait for him to contact you and then to wait until he is ready to talk. Ali was very motherly and protective, which was something I liked very much about her, she was also mature and what she was telling me was right.

The dilemma was that if I didn’t get any information from Josh, and it didn’t seem very likely that I would, then another confrontation between Zack and Adam would be inevitable.

* * * * * *

I told Zack about my chat with Ali and what she had said and basically his reply was that he didn’t think we would hear from Josh anytime soon. I wanted to ask him about what was really going on with him and Adam, but I wasn’t sure how to do it. What I did know though, was we needed to talk about it.

Tuesday evening we were alone together at home, I’d cooked supper, nothing special, pasta, ham, mushrooms, with garlic, basil, cheese and tomato sauce, I’d actually cooked it lunchtime, because it’s always better when you reheat it. “Nothing special!” Zack smiled when I served up his favourite food. “You know Mikey, I could eat pasta every day.”

“Yeah I know,” I replied.

We ate together in virtual silence with just some music playing quietly, and only interrupted by Zack saying, “It’s really good Mikey.”

When we were finished and Zack was lying back on the bed, I was on the floor cushion, I looked over at him and said, “Zack we really need to talk about Adam.”

“Yeah, I know,” he replied.

There was silence, except for the music in the background. Zack sat up on the bed looking kind of serious. “And I know when you say talk about Adam, what you mean is… about Adam and me.”

I was surprised, surprised that he’d brought this up, but I shouldn’t really have been, because Zack has a knack for reading my thoughts and anyway he had probably come to realise things for himself.

“I admit,” he continued, “I was a bit nasty with him and yes, it was much more to do with him and me than with Josh.”

He looked almost sad as he was telling this to me, not the sadness of a person about to cry, no, not that kind of sadness, it was the look of a person who had lost something.

“You have to see that I thought I was in love with Adam… I was in love with him. I did everything he wanted, I wanted to please him. It was my first real relationship, it was the first time I’d lived with someone, and the first time I’d lived away from home. I put a lot of trust in that relationship and it was misplaced.”

The sadness was giving way to anger, I got up and went over to sit on the bed beside him. “You Mikey,” he looked at me and now the sadness was a tearful sadness, “You are the only other person I’ve fallen in love with, you are the only one I would share this with. I wouldn’t talk about it with my brother, nor with Colin, although they might guess what happened, I couldn’t share my feelings with them.”

We sat together very close, I put my arm round him, and he told me everything about him and Adam that really I already knew. How he thought Adam had betrayed him, how he wanted to make him pay for being hurt because he never had, how he thought Adam had come back to him.

He told me how he fell in love with me the first time he saw me in the laundrette and how he couldn’t quite believe how things had worked out. He assured me, but he didn’t need to, that even if Adam had come back, he would never leave me, never give up what we had together. I think I realised then just how vulnerable Zack is, and just how much he needs me.

It is always good to talk things through and that evening was no exception. We both decided together that we would go to see Adam again, but we would also get Aaron to be there and we would just talk to him without getting angry or making it a confrontation. At least that was the plan.

* * * * * *

I phoned Aaron the next day, it was Wednesday around 6, he had only just got in.

“Hi Aaron, hows things?” I asked him.

“Oh Mikey, yeah, good,” he replied. “Sammy is moving in here, we’re going to live together.”

“That’s great,” I said, “You two make a perfect couple.”

“Haha, thanks… anyway, how are you and Zack?”

“We’re good. We’ve been talking together about Josh, well, about Adam and Josh. Zack and I thought it would be good if you, me and him, could sit down together to talk to Adam. Try to find out why Josh left.”

“Yeah, OK, that’s no problem,” Aaron replied.

“I phoned Ali and she’s gonna tell Josh that I’d like very much to talk to him, but that maybe wont happen anytime soon.”

“No, I understand. Thing is he’s never around much, I haven’t actually seen him since Sunday, I think… look, hold on a minute, I’ll go see if he’s in his room. He stays in his room a lot.”

There was a longish pause as Aaron went to check on Adam, I heard him call his name and open the bedroom door, but I didn’t hear Adam reply.

“Mikey,” Aaron came back on the phone, “You’re not gonna believe this.”

“What?” I asked.

“He’s gone!”

“What do mean, he’s gone?” This seemed pretty odd.

“Just that,” Aaron replied. “The room is empty, none of his stuff there, the bed hasn’t been slept in… He’s gone, left I guess, never said a word.”

next – good news…

Chapter Twenty – Good Friends and Good News