oasis

arts


"My Gay Life Part III"

By Josh

[This is episode three of My Gay Life. If you haven't read the first two episodes, check out the Oasis archives from the last two months and read up. It keeps getting better as the episodes go on. This month's episode is sure to be a crowd pleaser. I want to thank you all for the flood of kind e-mails and to the boy who wrote and dubbed me the "gay Danielle Steel" I give you special thanks for your encouragement. Any questions or comments you have can be sent to me at joshcentral@hotmail.com.]

My Gay Life: Jared's Gift

The third week of April brought Spring Break. Spring Out approached, taking up the last four days of the month. The days before Spring Break had been spent with the campus police and with several evening news crews and local newspaper journalists. The torching of our signs presented the first incident of on-campus anti-gay destruction in the last three years. Campus police believed the whole mess was the work a few crazy kids, not the work of an elaborate organization.

After giving interview upon interview the stress began to take its toll. I spent the remainder of my time getting my homework done, putting the finishing touches on Spring Out, and making sure I was ready for the final exams just a month away. I hadn't seen Jared very often, I had missed four out of five of my last yoga classes, and I had spent three nights with Cameron getting paperwork started for next year's Spring Out. I was short on sleep and rapidly becoming cranky.

The Friday before Spring Break I had a terrible time concentrating during calculus. Almost a third of the students weren't in class. Late April brought thick green grass and warm western winds, luring students out of classrooms and into the plush courtyards of the university. Though it was little more than sixty degrees outside, many students had changed their wardrobe to shorts, t-shirts, and sandals.

When I finally arrived home around two o'clock I found Jared sitting outside the door of my apartment, resting his back against my door and grinning up at me. Immediately I felt a sense of relief.

"What are you doing here?" I asked, delightfully surprised.

"I skipped my physics lecture," he said. "I came to whisk you away for a little adventure." I could tell he was proud of his academic escape.

"What sort of adventure?" I asked suspiciously, pulling out my keys and opening the door. I slopped my backpack on the floor, determined to ignore the contents of my backpack for the next few days.

"Just come with me," he said, coming near me. He took my hand and leaned in for a slow, sweet kiss. "Trust me."

***

Twenty minutes later we were in a canoe on Lake Calhoun. Throngs of inline skaters, joggers, and even a smattering of sunbathers settled all around the lake. We rented our canoe, thrust it into the water, and began slowly paddling toward the center of the lake. Getting outside in the fresh air and on the beautiful, glistening lake was exactly what I needed. I looked back at Jared and smiled.

"When I was a kid my family used to canoe all the time," Jared said. "My parents were big camping freaks. In high school I spent my summers as a river guide."

"Really? Somehow I can't imagine your family being big campers." Jared's father was a doctor and his mother had been part of every board and committee she could get her hands on.

"Oh, definitely. My dad always loved medicine, but he was never pretentious about his job. As soon as he finished his rounds he would leave the hospital, come home, and he would be a dad and a husband, not a doctor." I tried to imagine his family, and I tried to imagine his father.

"When will I meet your parents?" I asked. They had recently relocated to New York City when his mother decided that she wanted to try her hand at authorship. His father had agreed and transferred to a prestigious clinic in Upper Manhattan.

"You'll meet them soon," Jared said confidently. We paddled a few more strokes and then Jared suggested we stop paddling. "I want to give you something," he said, smiling like a child on Christmas morning. I turned around in my seat to face him and slowly moved toward him, not wanting to tip the canoe. Jared handed me a big brown envelope. A persistent breeze began to blow and I smiled at him as I opened the envelope. Inside I found two tickets and a key.

I looked up at him. "What are these for?" I asked, fighting back laughter.

"Well, those tickets are for a train that leaves in a few hours."

All I could do was laugh. I was shocked. "A train?"

"Yep. We're set to have a candle light dinner on the train which will take us up to the Duluth area." My jaw dropped. "The key is for a guest suite at the McCurren Mansion Bed and Breakfast on the shores of Lake Superior. And, once we get there, I have more plans than you can imagine."

I laughed wholeheartedly and moved in to hug him and give him a kiss. "And it leaves in a few hours?" I asked, already planning what to pack.

"Well," Jared said, looking at his watch, "you have an hour and forty minutes." I laughed and tossed his paddle at him. "Guess we better get going," Jared said, paddling back to shore.

***

In a rush I grabbed my laptop, several changes of clothes for warm weather, cold weather, formal and informal engagements, a few pieces of light schoolwork, a novel I'd been devouring, and my running shoes. I put it all in a large suitcase, zipped it, and smiled at Jared proudly.

"There. Completely packed in twelve and a half minutes." I set the suitcase by the front door.

"I must admit I'm impressed," Jared said, smiling from across the room. He was making sandwiches and fresh-squeezed orange juice for lunch. I got on the phone and called my friends to let them know I was leaving town and I called a few members of the Spring Out team to let them know I wouldn't be available for a few days. Meg set me at ease, telling me that she'd be mad if I stayed back just for the final Spring Out planning. Everything was locked in place, she insisted, so why stay home?

Jared and I annihilated our sandwiches, talking excitedly about our trip, and soon our taxi arrived. The driver put our things in the trunk and drove us to the Amtrak train station across town. Once we got to the station a valet took our bags, tagged them, and let us know he'd take care of them for us. Jared and I grabbed our tickets, moved to the train and found our seats.

"So," I said, as soon as we settled into our seats and the train began to move, "let's play a game. It's called First Boyfriend." Jared laughed. "Leave all the juicy details in." Jared laughed harder.

"My first boyfriend's name was Jamie." He looked shy for a moment. "We were on the same high school soccer team. I wasn't out of the closet, but Jamie had been since the end of junior high. His parents were upstanding citizens and Jamie was popular and wealthy, so it wasn't a big deal for him to be out. Nobody would have messed with him even if they wanted to. In the beginning of my junior year I realized that I didn't like girls and that it was time to break up with Amy anyway."

"Wait, Amy?" I asked, grinning. "You had a girlfriend?"

"Yep," Jared admitted. "We dated for almost a year."

"And did you two, uhm, have much fun together?"

Jared flushed. "Yes, we had a lot of fun together. We hung out all the time and talked. If you're asking if we had sex, the answer is no. We did do quite a bit of making out, but clothes never came off." I laughed. "Now," Jared said, pretending to chastise me, "did you want me to tell you about Jamie or are you going to keep asking me if I got to second base with girls?"

"Sorry," I said, smiling and not sounding sorry at all. This playful banter with Jared was precisely what made him so fun to be with. We could play together like this, but we could also have the quieter, more serious conversations about life. I loved his versatility.

"So Jamie and I were on the soccer team together. The whole team was very close, and we had a tendency to hang out at each other's houses. One weekend Jamie called me and said that he was having a sleep-over party at his house and he invited me to come. When I arrived at his house, though, he was the only one there. It turns out that his parents were vacationing in Tahiti and he decided he wanted to be alone with me."

I whistled. "What a sneaky boy."

"You have no idea," Jared said, shaking his head. "I arrived at his house -- this big, enormous house -- and he told me that he'd made a mistake and everybody would be there in an hour. I started feeling nervous and later I realized it was because I had a crush on Jamie. So, we're in the living room building a fire in his fireplace, and suddenly he looks at me. 'Have you ever kissed a boy?' he asks me out of the blue. And, for some reason, I was perfectly comfortable. I told him that I hadn't, and Jamie leaned in and kissed me." Jared smiled. "We were together for the rest of high school."

"How did your team mates take it?"

"Surprisingly well. They treated us like the team couple. Jamie commanded respect, so even if anybody had anything derogatory to say, it never surfaced."

"Why did you break up?"

"Well, he went to UCLA and played soccer there. It was always his dream to be out in California, so away he went. He e-mails once in a while. I miss him sometimes."

Before more could be said, an attendant announced it was dinnertime. Jared and I moved to the plush dining car at the end of the train. Tables with beautiful lace tablecloths and fine china were set out with candles and an amazing view of the passing countryside. The dining car quickly filled with chatter and clatter as people found tables and began eating. After we ordered our meal Jared continued the game.

"Cameron was your first boyfriend, right?" Jared asked. Cameron and I had spent quite a few nights working on Spring Out together and had even ventured out for coffee a few times since I'd been with Jared. If Jared was ever concerned about infidelity, he never mentioned it.

"Yes. I was Cameron's science and English peer tutor in high school. In the summer before his junior year he'd had problems with drinking and experimenting with some drugs, so when he came back to school his grades sucked. He was a star baseball player and he couldn't stay on the team without a B-average. As soon as we met something clicked for Cameron. He stopped drinking and partying and got serious about schoolwork. He made a full-tilt change, making all new friends and joining academic clubs. Somewhere along the line we stopped tutoring at school and started tutoring at his house. One afternoon we were reading Shakespeare and he started reading Shakespeare's eighteenth sonnet to me. We got down to business right away and we stayed together until half-way through our senior year."

Our meals arrived. The waiter set fettuccini in front of me and a steak in front of Jared. We thanked him and sampled our meals before getting back to conversation. I was staring at Jared, watching the way the candles on the table bathed his face in a soft, gentle glow. I had forgotten I was telling Jared about Cameron and started talking about the gorgeous countryside. Before I could say more than a few words Jared interrupted me.

"Wait, you have to tell me what happened to you and Cameron before we start talking about the cloud formations outside." He smiled at me and took a bit of his steak.

My demeanor became quite serious. "Just before Christmas his parents divorced. And then, three weeks later, his best friend Aaron died in a drunk driving accident with two of our other friends. I was in Italy for the holidays and Cameron was alone. One of his old friends called him and invited him to a party after the boys died, and suddenly everything went insane. Cameron started drinking like a fish and smoking everything he could get his hands on. When I got back from Italy I barely recognized him. In mid-January his father and I put him in a treatment center. We covered it up by having him graduate early. He'd been accepted at Dartmouth already for his stellar baseball performance and his new academic excellence. I didn't see him for a few months, and by the time he got out of the treatment center he went off to Dartmouth."

Jared stopped eating. "That must have been incredibly hard for you."

I shrugged and took a drink of my non-alcoholic wine. I didn't want to dramatize. "It wasn't easy. I loved him very much, and he hated me at first for putting him away in treatment. When he got out he thanked me profusely and we became close friends again. It was hard to watch him go, but I loved him enough to know when it was time to let go. He needed to go off to college and be an independent person."

Jared nodded, agreeing. He looked out the window across from me. "Josh, look. It's Lake Superior." Superior is so large that it's not possible to see the other shore. As a child I was always convinced Superior was the ocean.

"It's beautiful," I said, looking out at the water sparkling in the late afternoon sunshine. I looked into Jared's eyes. "Thank you for putting this all together."

"I have something to tell you," Jared said, smiling and sighing at the same time. "But I can't tell you until tonight."

***

Our train took its time, getting us to our destination just after eight o'clock. We picked up our things and hailed a taxi at the train station.

The first thing I noticed about Duluth was the silence. There was no highway traffic, there were no honking horns, and time seemed to move a little slower. I was immediately content.

Jared and I settled into the back of the taxi. Our driver was a sixty-year-old woman named Gini, wrinkled and tanned, wearing turquoise jewelry.

"So, you boys are going to the McCurren place?" She asked, putting the taxi into gear and pulling onto a quiet, tree-lined road.

"Yes," Jared piped up. I was feeling a bit sleepy and I rested my head on his shoulder. Jared wrapped his arm around me and pulled me close. Gini drove slowly, asking us questions like a grandmother would.

"You boys up here for vacation?" She asked, looking at us in the rear view mirror. I watched the trees spin by as Jared talked with her.

"Yeah. We're college students and we wanted to take a break before our final exams."

"This is a better place than any to relax," Gini said, smiling. "And, uh, you boys are staying together?"

"Yes," Jared said, smiling and kissing me on the forehead.

Gini winked at us. "You boys will love it here," she said, flipping on the radio. She found National Public Radio and for the remainder of our trip the news murmured in the background as we drove in tranquility, looking out the windows, a bit sleepy but very, very happy.

***

Betty, the bed and breakfast owner, showed us up to our bedroom. The entire house was done with authentic English summer house touches. Expensive crystal pieces, china, practical and elegant furniture, light colors, and an open, free feeling dominated the house.

When I first saw our room I stopped breathing. The bedroom looked like something directly out of one of the British literature books I had in my suitcase. Jared and I ventured into the room with Betty, looking at everything and not even daring to touch. We had a queen size four poster bed, a large boudoir, a chaise lounge, our own private deck, and a large bathroom. Everything was beautifully appointed and thoughtfully arranged.

"The house has been in the family for more than a hundred years," she said, smiling and giving us the key to the room. "This is my favorite room, actually," she said, admiring the bedroom. "Breakfast is served starting at seven-thirty and is available up until noon. If we can do anything for you here at McCurren House, just let me know." She smiled again and backed out of the room, closing the door.

I turned to Jared and hugged him, grinning like a cat. "Thank you," I whispered. I kissed him and then hopped onto the bed. The down comforter folded around me, and for a moment I simply laid on my back and looked at the ceiling. Seconds later Jared slowly pulled himself onto the bed and slid lightly on top of me.

"So you like it then?" He asked, looking down at me hopefully.

"It's perfect," I whispered. Jared leaned down and kissed me. We rolled around the bed, taking our time, exploring each other gently and insistently. I pulled at Jared's shirt and he tugged off mine, tossing it across the room. Jared suddenly pulled back and sat up in the bed. He offered a hand to me and I sat up.

"Josh, I want to tell you something." I could see the moonlight glinting off his bare chest. I pulled myself closer to him. "I wanted to tell you before anything went any further so that you'd know what I was saying was true and not just mumbled in the throws of passion." My pulse started to race. I smiled and a wave of happiness wove down my spine. "I love you," he said, pronouncing every syllable.

I felt a small lump in my throat. "Jared, I love you, too." He leaned in, easing me onto the bed, holding my hands and kissing me. I squealed with delight as we rolled around the bed. I couldn't remember the last time I was as happy.

***

In the morning I woke up with my head on Jared's shoulder and my arm across his bare chest, the sheets folded neatly around us. The early morning sunshine crept into the room as Jared stirred awake. Jared slowly moved out of bed and started dressing.

"Jared? What are you doing?" I asked groggily, lifting my head and opening my eyes.

"It's a surprise. Get some more sleep and then I'll come and get you." I grinned at him as he left and then promptly fell asleep again.

Jared returned just before nine o'clock, crawling back into bed next to me, still fully clothed. "Sweetheart," he said, kissing me on the eyelids, "I have something to show you." My eyes fluttered open and I grinned sheepishly at him.

"Is the surprise outside?"

"Yes."

"Are we going right now?"

"Yes."

I moved from the bed and put on my yoga pants and a gray t-shirt, not knowing what to expect. As I dressed Jared suddenly pulled out a blindfold.

"A blindfold?" I asked, laughing. "My God, what do you have planned?"

"Something that will make you so happy that your heart will almost stop," he said, putting the blindfold on me. "Now take my hand and I'll lead you to our surprise."

I sighed and gave him my hand. I couldn't see anything, so I just walked gingerly down the hall, down a flight of steps, through several long hallways, and then finally into the outdoors. It's amazing how much my body became in tune with sounds once my sense of sight was taken away. I heard every creak in the floor boards, heard every door closing, heard the trees rustling in the wind. Finally Jared brought me to a tree and had me lean against it.

"Now," he said, excited, "take off the blindfold." When I took it off and opened my eyes I saw two horses at the base of the tree with their reigns tied to a tree branch. I screamed with delight and hugged Jared.

"This is Challenger," he said, pointing to the horse on the right. "And this is Fifth Avenue," he said, pointing to the horse on the left. I was so flustered that I couldn't speak. "Pick whichever you like."

"Jared," I whispered, "how did you do this?"

"Betty arranged it. I remembered you talking about horses one night when we were laying in bed, and I knew I wanted to do this once we got here."

I walked over to Fifth Avenue, drawn to her. Her saddle was new and freshly polished. Her black mane had obviously been brushed recently and she was scrubbed to perfection. I admired the work of her owners. I touched the saddle lightly and then, with an unabashed grin, I mounted her. Jared managed to mount Challenger and I gave him a quick lesson on the basics of horseback riding.

"You know," Jared said after I finished giving instructions, "the shores of Lake Superior are half a mile that way," he said, pointing eastward.

"Let's go," I said, smiling and giving Fifth Avenue the signal to go.

***

The rest of the morning and afternoon went by quickly. We took Challenger and Fifth Avenue on a ride along the shoreline, admiring the lake that seemed to be an ocean, sometimes talking to each other and sometimes simply enjoying the ride. As the sun settled into the middle of the sky Jared showed me a small picnic he'd had Betty pack and place in his saddle bag. We found a place for Challenger and Fifth Avenue to rest while we ate our lunch on a deserted and quiet part of the beach. He pulled a blanket out of my saddle bag and we settled into the beach, staring out at a sailboat racing by.

Jared was telling me a story about his friends Adrian and Steven. Adrian and Steven had decided to adopt a baby, and now had a healthy nine-month-old girl named Stephanie. "It's just so odd to me. I met them at a student group when I was a freshman and they were seniors, and now they have a child together." He laughed and shook his head. "When did I get old enough to have friends who have children?"

"It's crazy how time flies by," I noted. "One minute you're just getting your license, then you've graduated, and suddenly you're paying for your apartment and the telephone bill and calling exterminators and plumbers." I rolled onto my side and rested my head in Jared's lap. We eased into a peaceful silence, breathing in the fresh breezes coming off the water.

"Do you want to have children some day?" Jared asked. "I mean, after you've graduated and finished law school, do you want kids?"

"Oh, definitely," I said, looking up at him. "Eventually I'd like to find a firm that will let me work from my home so I can work six or seven hours a day while the kids are at school and then be with my children."

"So all this acting and modeling stuff you're doing is just temporary?"

"Oh yeah. I don't think anything related to show business should ever be something long-term. I get really upset if I think about it for too long. I mean, the business I'm in is about using my body to sell a product. And I always worry that people will look at my pictures and not realize that stylists and make-up artists and clever camera work and hours and hours of planning and post-production laboring have gone into making me look like somebody I'm not." Jared brushed his hands through my hair. I paused and then asked, "Do you want children some day?"

"I do want kids. I'm worried about being a doctor, though. I don't want to work for a hospital because I don't want to be on-call at all hours of the night. I'd like to find a nice, quiet practice somewhere and keep normal office hours instead."

"What made you want to be a doctor?" I asked, taking his hand. His hand was large, warm, manly. I loved it when our fingers were intertwined.

"My mother had breast cancer when I was fifteen and almost died," Jared said slowly. "My mother survived, but my grandmother died of breast cancer at fifty-two." Jared sighed. "I always felt so powerless about the whole thing, and that made me want to be a doctor. And, eventually as I realized I was good at math and excellent with science, medicine seemed like a great option for me."

I sat up. "I didn't know your mother had breast cancer."

"It's really hard for me to talk about. My dad and I took care of her a lot during those years and it was scary because we almost lost her once. She was in a coma for two days, but somehow she recovered. She's been in remission for years now." He looked into my eyes. "Actually, you're one of the few people I've told. The last thing I want is for one more person to tell me how sorry they are that it happened."

"Isn't that the worst?" I say, wrinkling my brow. "I hate it when the only thing people can think to say is 'Oh, gosh, I'm sorry.' I mean, after a break-up or your parents divorce or somebody's death, the last thing you want to hear is 'sorry.'"

Jared paused. "Sweetheart, is there something you didn't tell me about Cameron and the car accident? On the train in felt like you were holding something back. I don't want to pressure you at all..."

I laughed. "Are we having 'bare your soul' time here?"

Jared laughed good-naturedly. "I guess. I'm just curious. I mean, you don't have to tell me anything you don't want..."

I interrupted. "I told you about Cameron slipping back into drinking and then rehab because our friends died." I dug my bare feet into the sand. "The car that they crashed and died in was my car. I was in Italy and Cameron borrowed my car while I was out of the country. He was at a party at a friend's house, and Aaron, Carl, and Drew stole the keys to my car from Cameron. I had been tutoring Carl in calculus for a few months and we'd become friends and I had known Drew since second grade. Aaron was one of Cameron's closest friends." I paused. I was surprised how much emotion still stirred about it. "It was really hard for me after the crash because I felt like I should have been there somehow to stop them. Eventually I just had to realize that it was their fault and not mine. They're the ones who got drunk and they're the ones who stole the keys to my car."

Jared took a deep breath. "Wow." I curled my head into the crook of his neck. Jared looked at his watch. He kissed me on the forehead. "Hey, kiddo, the sun is going to set soon." I lifted my head and Jared and I watched the sun slip beyond the horizon as dusk settled over the lake and surrounding forest.

***

We returned to the McCurren mansion for dinner. Dinner began with some of the best gazpacho I've ever had and was followed by an Alsatian salad and a surprising main course of schechwan eggplant and tofu. "We're health food nuts around here," Betty McCurren said proudly as she served dinner in her glamorous dining room. Our dessert was a strawberry-rhubarb crisp, the ingredients straight from the McCurren gardens.

After the scrumptious four-course meal Jared and I retired to our bedroom. We slipped out of our clothes and walked around in t-shirts and our boxers. Jared had decided to start reading my Michael Crichton novel while I checked my e-mail. After a few noisy chirps and some static, my e-mail box popped up. The first message was from Tyler, demanding to hang out with me when I returned. The second came from Kate, mumbling about her day and sharing a dirty joke. The third, however, caused problems. Meg, the lesbian in charge of getting the $8,000 grant from Dr. Yudolph and the University, had bad news.

"Because of the governor's budget cutbacks this year, the University doesn't have the funding to give us this last chunk of change," Meg wrote in her e-mail. "This means we're going to have to cut at least a day's worth of activities and maybe even cancel the dance party at the Radisson." I immediately became furious, writing a series of e-mails to the Spring Out crew and a few possible contacts who could get their hands on a few thousand dollars. I wrote Meg and gave her a few names and phone numbers until I could return. By the time I turned off my computer Jared had given up reading and looked at me, concerned.

"Come here," Jared said, patting the space next to him on the bed. I got up from the oak desk near the window and unplugged the laptop. "What's going on?"

"The governor's new budget plan screwed the University out of money that should have been directed to Spring Out. When I get back I have to find a way to raise at least $8,000 to keep the thing going."

Jared's face dropped. "What does this mean?"

"It means that we should probably leave within the next two days," I said quietly. "I really have to get back to fix this mess." Jared looked very disappointed. "Our stupid governor gave our University $8 million this year when we really needed almost $200 million to make everything run smoothly. It's been difficult. I'm really sorry about this whole mess."

"Didn't we have a talk about the word 'sorry?'" Jared said, trying to make light of the situation. "Accidents happen," Jared said, doing his best to smile. "I would have just liked more time with you." I gave Jared a wicked smile. "What's that smile about?" Jared asked, immediately suspicious.

I got up, slowly turned off the lights, and returned to the four poster bed. I kissed Jared slowly, removing his shirt and pulling mine off.

"What's going on?" Jared asked. "I'm just so confused," Jared said, pretending to be completely innocent.

"We're making the most of our time," I said, reaching over to the night stand beside the bed. The blindfold Jared had used for my surprise that morning was still there, and I put it on Jared. "And that's exactly what I intend to do."

***

The next day we borrowed two small hiking backpacks from Betty, filled them with goods, and adventured through the miles and miles of paths that wove through the surrounding national forest and great lake. In the late afternoon we returned to the mansion and had an early, light dinner. Once the sun set we ventured into the mansion's opulent parlor where we curled up near the fireplace. Jared brought his book and I brought my notebook to make a sketch of the next literary criticism paper I had to write, and we spent most of the evening by the crackling fire. Eventually we grew tired of our reading and writing and we simply laughed and talked in the parlor, curled up by the fire.

Early the next morning a taxi came to get us. It was, oddly enough, the same cab driver whom we had had when we first arrived. "There's only one taxi in this part of the town," she said, grinning at us. She adeptly threw our bags in the trunk and opened the doors for us. "And by the looks of it, you boys did have yourself a good vacation after all." She shut the door and I blushed.

***

Being back in my apartment was a treat. I've always believed that it's important to take time away from things I love so that when I come back they seem infinitely more wonderful than they were when I left them. My apartment ushered me back into its sweet perfection, and soon after arriving and unpacking I slipped into the bathtub. Jared had decided to spend the night at his apartment, and I looked forward to a quiet night at home.

After my bath I sunk into the living room couch, happy to zone out. I watched a rerun of Will & Grace and then went to the kitchen to get a bowl of cereal. As I poured the milk the telephone rang.

"Hello?"

"Josh, this is Maggie Townsend." Maggie was Kyle's mother. Why would she be calling me? Maggie sounded hurried, distressed.

"Hi Maggie," I said slowly.

"Josh, I know that we haven't talked and I know that you and Kyle aren't together anymore. I just wanted to call and let you know that if you want to see Kyle, you should come now." She started sniffling and I could tell she had been crying.

"What do you mean?" I said, rapidly becoming panicked. "Come where? What's wrong?"

"Haven't you heard?" Maggie asked, shocked. "It's been all over the news. Haven't you been home?"

"I've been out of town," I said, looking at the answering machine and realizing I had twelve unanswered messages. Crap.

"Kyle was at a house party," Maggie explained, still fighting tears and starting to sound angry. "A boy at the party put some kind of drug called GHB into his drink. It's that date rape drug that's all over Dateline and 60 Minutes. Anyway, the stupid prick put too much into his drink and Kyle is in intensive care. Kyle's in a coma," Maggie said, finally giving away to tears.

I slid to the linoleum floor of my kitchen. I started to cry. "Did they catch the person who did it?"

"Some guy named Evan Kincaid. He's in jail right now."

My eyes widened. "His name is Evan?" I asked, my heart racing.

"Do you know him?" Maggie asked, surprised. I cursed under my breath, remembering the night at the Saloon.

"I'll be over right away," I said, quickly hanging up. While still crying and in shock I grabbed my bus pass and ran all the way to the bus stop.

***

[Josh, 18, lives in Minneapolis. Feel free to e-mail him at joshcentral@hotmail.com. Look for the next month's episode in the July 2001 edition of Oasis Magazine.]

Written 4/9/01 through 4/21/01


©1995-2000 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.