To cause tears is a terrible thing. I am sure that at some point I have hit one of my brothers and made them cry but to cause tears by omissions and foolishness is really quite another thing.
Jerry is a happy guy who sneaks up on you in the park and announces "Guess who?" as he covers your eyes with his hands. His almond eyes light up when he smiles and his perfect teeth will blind you with an impish grin. His toned, masculine but small frame is a work of art as his unwavering male voice yells at you on the street as you obliviously pass him on your way to work.
In short, what a hot little dude!
It was Easter Sunday when he called early before I had even made it out the door to church with Mom and the boys. Church was an event that happened every Sunday not just at Easter so Jerry knew if he was to grab me it better be early.
"Meet you at the park after you get back from church OK?" he said.
I agreed. I was early and watched as a Mexican family with two little boys and a little girl dressed in her Easter best prepared for a bar-BQ.
At the edge of the park there is a stream which is bordered on both sides by a willow grove and it is easy to lose yourself a few yards down the stream in some forgotten little alcove.
I felt the cold hands go over my eyes and the familiar "Guess who."
It was Jerry and I was needing him like I needed air to breathe. I forget that simply having a feeling for someone is not always enough. We walked the length of the park that gave way to the stream and the willow trees and continued on farther than I had been before.
Jerry was dressed in just a T-shirt and jeans which made me shiver just looking at him. His shirt was short enough that when he stooped to pick up a small stone to skip on the pond, I could see his boxers. I was already getting aroused just looking at his spunky little ass and his well defined arms.
A good ways down I planted him into a tree and kissed him. His silly grin soon turned to a more amorous look and he kissed me back.
As it warmed up I was forced to roll up the sleves on my Pendleton. The wool shirt was one of several that I had always worn to hide the marks on my arms from my etchings. The scars were ugly and I had one that was new from the night before. It was still tender and red. I had assumed that Jerry had never looked at them or that I had never given him the chance to see what I had done to myself over the years.
We finally sat, leaning against an old oak, both of us just staring out at the stream. It was very quiet and we watched a squirrel saving acorns to his secret stash. We laughed as he came closer and closer to us.
"When are you going to stop abusing yourself?" Jerry asked.
"What do you mean?" I said playing stupid.
"OK, Jack, when are you gonna stop ripping?" He said.
I wasn't feeling all that good. I had a strange pain in my stomach and felt a little nauseous. The last two times I had been with Jerry I had felt the same thing. I was too stupid to realize I was falling in love but I did have a vague feeling that if I lost him I would die from this same malady.
Falling in love was something that I could honestly say I had never done before. Because of this lack of experience I still was not clear on what was happening.
"I love you Damon and I don't want you to wake up dead some morning because you accidentally cut too deep," he said. "I knew someone that happened to at school last year."
I didn't say anything and I guess it struck Jerry that he was way into my business and I didn't want him there. "It is my business you know, I love you," he said.
"It's not your business," I said. I stood up and walked out toward the stream just as an older man and woman walked past. The man nodded at me and then glanced at Jerry behind me.
Jerry had his legs doubled up and his head buried in his knees. I walked back and sat again by him. He was quiet for a long time and I just sat there with him.
I pulled his head up and toward my chest but he pulled away. I saw that his face was wet with tears. All I could see was the smile he had on his face as we met that day and I was horrified that I had taken that from him. Jerry is such a happy guy usually and it confused me that a simple admonishment would upset him so much.
"You know Damon, I saw my mom this morning. I took her a little Easter basket," he said. "She has no clue who I am though, it's like I am not her son anymore. I still look up in the sky at night and talk to her though. It's like I can hear her the way she used to be, talking from the stars."
I still did that with my dad too so I knew what he meant. Jerry was breaking my heart.
"I hate it here Damon," he said. I hate Idaho because it's so lonely here. "If my mom dies, I was going to leave, but then I met you. You were my reason to stay."
His head went back between his knees and he sobbed uncontrollably. "Everything is falling apart," he said. "Don't tell me it's none of my business if you bleed to death some night. It is!"
Still, all I could see was that bright smile and those teasing almond eyes and wonder what I had done to take that all away.
"You'd stay for me?" I said.
"Yes!" he shouted through his sobs. "It is my fucking buisness. You, are my fucking business!" he screamed.
I had never seen this cool little debonair dude so out of whack. Jerry was always in controll, always.
"Damon, there is a difference between loving someone and being in love," he said. I'm in love with you."
To lose Jerry now would be more than I could deal with and his words suddenly hit on me. That was it! I was love sick over him. The literal process of being ill because you were in love with someone and afraid to say it or tell them or even believe it yourself.
All this posturing and trying to pretend like it was all some sort of phase I was going through was over. I was gay and I was in love with Jerry. This melancholy joy I was feeling was all about Jerry...and me.
I brought his head up to look at me. "Don't cry," was all I coud manage to say.
"I wasn't aware that I was," he said with a slight smile on his face.
He was so amazing. With tears still wet on his face he could manage humor.
"I will always be your business and I am in love with you too," I told him.
I know this sounds lame. I guess you had to be there.
"If you promise you will always love me, I will promise not to cut again," I said.
I had only seen a tear in Jerry's eye once before and that was the night we met. He was telling me about his mom and her stroke. Losing someone was bad like losing my dad, that was hard but having your mother not even know who you are must be a nightmare. How Jerry could ever manage his silly pranks and joke around like he does was unbelieveable.
I just wanted to enfold him somehow and protect him from all things bad and hurtful, yet he seemed to have a machanism already in place for that, and he was saying that it was me. No matter what, if he had me, he would stay in Idaho and be all right.
There is no worse feeling than to cause someone to cry because you forgot to say "I'm in love with you. didn't you know?"
Jerry is a tough little dude. Way tougher than I am. Sunday night we asked Jerry's dad to join us for dinner at our place but he declined telling Jerry to go ahead if he wanted to. I dropped his dad off at the nursing home where he spent the evening with his wife. Jerry had to understand that it was Ok not to be there. He needed people.
My brothers took to Jerry very well as they gathered around Chucky's X-Box. I had told Mom about Jerry's mom so there was nothing to discuss except to politely ask how she was doing.
"She OK. I took her an Easter basket this morning," he said. "I think she liked it."
Mom left the room rather quickly for a moment. I think she had something in her eye. Jerry didn't seem to notice though and that was good.
It wouldn't have been a good day or good year for that matter to suddenly announce how much I loved Jerry to my family. Still I get a strange feeling that day will come and it will be alright.