But I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.
Chris put himself through a mental workout that left him drained. He turned on his side and watched the streaks of water flow down the window. Chris was one of those guys that believed in spiritual connections, that you are spiritually linked to the person you are supposed to be with for life. Even though things looked gloomy for Tobias, deep inside he knew Tobias was alive. But there was a strong sense of emptiness in his gut also. Could he have overlooked something? Missed a hangout, a friend? He decided to sleep on the issue in order to get an early start on his mission.
In the wee hours of the night, a very sick and restless Tobias lie staring at the ceiling. He couldn’t get that name out of his head. He mustered all the strength he had to sit up on the side of the bed. He stared at the rain streaking the window, whispering to himself.
“How the hell do I know that name? Who are you Chris Keller?”
Every time he said the name, it rang a bit clearer. The name wasn’t anything threatening. It was calming and cool. If he could get some clarity, things would fall in place, but he didn’t know whom he was, not to mention Chris. Tobias was tired of feeling vulnerable and useless. He wanted his life back. He wanted to make his own decisions and more than anything, figure out this Chris Keller thing. With a quick surge of energy, he thrust himself to his feet, took one step and fell to the floor.
After pulling another long day (and night), Dr. Cameron made his routine early bird trip to Tobias’ room to check on him. He opened the door to find an empty bed.
David was shocked to see Tobias gone. He yelled down the hall.
“Hey, where’s the unknown soldier?”
The nurses shrugged. Tobias in a weak voice responded.
“I’m down here”
Dr. Cameron walked toward the voice. He looked to see a very weak patient on the floor. In a raspy voice Tobias spoke.
“Hi....you like the floor?”
“Well there’s this new hip thing that’s sweeping the nation...everyone is using it. It’s called a bed...and look, there’s one right here. Wanna try it out?”
“Oh you’re so funny.”
“I try..come on get in bed.”
“What....why....are you ok....wiggle your fingers.”
“It’s not that.”
“Then what is it?”
“I don’t have the energy to move.”
“Oh...ok...I need to turn you over and pick you up, ok?”
He turned Tobias over and hoisted him in the air like a hero saving the girl. They looked like the cover of a Harlequin romance novel. Tobias’ head rested in the curve of the doctors neck.
“This makes the second time I’ve saved you....You ok?”
“No, seriously what’s wrong?”
“I know I must weigh a million pounds.”
“Nah, you weigh about one-sixty...seventy at the most...I bench three-fifty easy so you weigh nothing at all.”
The doctor stared Tobias in the eyes. There was something very delicious about Tobias. He wasjust one of those guys that fall for the damsel in distress.
“Are you going to hold me all night?”
The doctor wanted to answer with a big yes, but held back.
“No, let’s get you in bed and then you can explain to me why you were on the floor.”
“I dunno, I ...I ... just wanted to feel like I could take care of myself. You’ve done everything for me...tired of being a burden”
“You’re not a burden. To be honest, you can’t help yourself right now and the more you push yourself, the more time it’s going to take.”
“But if I....”
“No buts....You have to slow down. Haven’t I done a good job taking care of you?”
“Ok, then let me help you.”
“I’ll never be able to pay you back”
“Oh really, wait until you get the bill...just kidding..tell you what, when we get you back to your old self, and we will, you can have me over for dinner and a beer. How about that?
“How’s that head of yours, you remember anything?”
“Flashes, that’s about it. Some things try to come through but, you know....”
“Well if you rest.....”
“I know, I know.”
“Good. I’m gonna let you rest.....go home and get some rest myself. I actually get a day off today, but I’m gonna come check on ya later.”
“You don’t have to do that. Stay home, rest.”
“It’s no big deal, I.... “
‘No, you work too hard...rest. I promise I will stay in bed.”
“You flatter me with your “it’s all about me” attitude, but even though you’re my main priority now, I do have other patients I’d like to drop in on.”
“I’m sorry, just add vanity to my resume.”
“Vanity isn’t always a bad thing. It can be self rewarding at times and down right cute at others.”
“Don’t sell yourself short. Hey, I gotta get out of here and you have to rest. I’ll have the nurse give you something for the pain. It’ll help you sleep.”
“You don’t have to do that. I will sleep....I promise!”
“I know you will but I still want you to have something. A deep sleep may help you remember things better.”
“I have no chance of winning this do I ?”
“Not at all. You rest and I’ll see you later.”
David walked to the door. Even though it hurt like hell, he managed to raise himself up and rock back on his elbows for one last question for the doctor.
“Why am I your priority?”
David paused for a moment. He wanted to tell him he was in love with him. In a submissive yet gleeful voice the doctor responded.
“You just are....and call me David.”
Tobias could see the gleam in David’s eye. He knew it wasn’t concern nor was it jocular. It was a look of adoration, of care. Ultimately, it was a look of love.
The sunlight filled the window in Chris’ room to find him pacing. He gave himself a headache thinking about Tobias. When the sun caught his eyes, he revisited the thought of retracing his steps. Maybe he missed something. He needed to do whatever it took to find Tobias. He made his mother a promise. He slipped on a wind suit and jumped in his black mobile and headed into the city. As he took the winding road, he slowed down for the city workers with their hoisting lines in the water. What they were after, he didn’t know nor did he have time to ask.
He spent most of the day going from place to place looking for Tobias. He went to Tobias apartment. He still had the screwed up lock on his door. He forced his way in to look for any sign that Tobias had been there. As he opened the door, he could hear Tobias’ computer repeat over and over “You’ve got mail, You’ve got mail. Tobias’ answering machine had fifty calls on it. Most of them were from Keller, and quite a few from his father screaming his guts out at him. Then came the message that broke Chris’s heart. He replayed the message:
...Honey, this is your mother. I can’t seem to find you sweety. Where are you? Why do I get the eerie feeling that your avoidance has something to do with your father? I really wish you two could get along...but I know it isn’t your fault. Baby, I really miss you. I guess I’m one of those mothers that like to keep her ducks in a row. It’s just, well... I’m scared honey. The storm was god awful. There were quite a few deaths and a lot of people are missing. Right now, I would be content knowing where you are, if you are ok...if you’re alive. Please call me...love you..bye!.
Chris’ eyes began to tear up. If Tobias’ mother was even considering the idea that the unspeakable had happened, then why was he holding out hope? He walked in the bedroom and stared in the mirror. The same mirror where he kissed Tobias’ neck and rubbed his chest. The same mirror where Tobias’ let his defenses down. He turned to find Tobias’ bed. He couldn’t resist the urge to lie down. He sniffed the covers. Tobias, o matter when you were with him,smelled unbelievably sweet. The smell was a mixture of fresh melon and cool air. Chris really missed Tobias. He tried to check his messages but something was wrong with the number. He knew there were messages on the machine but he couldn’t access them. Maybe Tobias had called. He ran to his car as fast as he could and ripped out of the neighborhood. He laughed at the thought that Tobias would have cursed him to high heaven for doing that. He made a mental pact with himself that Tobias wasn’t to know of his misbehavior.
He turned from the main highway onto the winding road. From a distance, he could see something rather large hanging from the city workers ropes. As he came closer, he could see it was a car. It was a silver car. It was a silver Accord. Chris jumped on his breaks. He stared at the car as it glistened in the sun. An amazing sense of disbelief mixed with shock entered his eyes. He got out of his car and ran to the workers.
“WHOSE CAR IS THIS?”
“We dunno, we fish it out...we don’t do i.d’s."
“Did you look for anything.?”
“No dumb ass, didn’t we just say we don’t do i.d’s?”
“LOOK YOU DUMB FUCK MY BOYFRIEND IS MISSING. He drives a car like this. You’re gonna let that car down so I can look for some id.”
No sooner had he said that, the driver side door fell open and an insurance card fell to the ground. Chris picked it up and read it aloud.
“Holder Tobias Beecher is insured....TOBIAS!!!!”
He started sliding down the road towards the water. The workers screamed at him to comeback and slid down the side of the road after him. Chris jumped in the water screaming Beechers name.
He waded through the water in a panic. The workers had to fight to control him. It took two workers on each arm to control him and one to talk.
“LOOK MAN!, we’ve dragged this area of water from every direction there is. The only thing we found was that piece of shit car, a keg, and some other stuff you don’t want to know about. We have a few more miles of water to drag, but in most cases like these, the outcome isn’t good. We may find a body, we may not....nevertheless whatever we find will be dead.”
Chris looked at the worker with shocked eyes. He wanted to clean his clock, but deep down inside he knew the guy was right. With the shape the car was in, the rain, the thunder, all the death and disappearances led him to believe inevitable....Tobias was dead. The workers helped the sad and distraught Chris up the side of the road and then to his car. He sat in the car and stared at the water. How can something so simple, so easy and life preserving be so deadly? He was awakened by a tap on his window.
“Hey, ya gotta move ya car man. We can’t get the car past ya.”
Chris look and saw the battered token of Tobias’ existence on a trailer ahead of him. The tears flowed lightly as he turned the key. Usually the black mobile would roar at it’s surroundings but this time it just hummed and awaited orders. He slowly crept pass the trailer. As he past, the tears came faster and heavier. His emotions took over and he had to stop again. A major realization came to him: He was back at stair one. Before he met Beecher he was alone. After the blow up with Beecher he was alone. And now, as he watched the trailer grow smaller in the distance through his rear view mirror, he was once again....alone.
He slowly drove to his house and pulled the car inside. He could hear is phone ringing in the bedroom but didn’t feel the need to exert the energy to get it. The caller was persistent. When Chris finally got in the bedroom he answered the phone.
“Baby, you’re crying....what’s going on?.....I’m on my way.”
“Mom, Toby is missing...and I went into town looking for him and I couldn’t find him. I couldn’t get my messages so I thought maybe Toby was trying to call me. On the way home, there were these guys...with ropes...and cranes........”
“What were they doing?”
Chris paused a second. His mouth didn’t want to form the words.
“They pulled a silver Accord from the water....Mom, it was Toby’s car.”
“HONEY NO...are you sure?”
“Yes, it’s his car...but he’s nowhere to be found.”
“Well honey, that’s a popular car. Maybe it’s not his. Maybe....”
“Mom, his insurance card fell out. It’s his car.”
“Oh honey. I am so sorry. I’m gonna come out. I don’t want you to be alone, ok?”
Chris felt every organ in his body drop to his shoes.
“Mom how the hell am I going to tell her after I promised to find her son?”
“Honey she has to know...it’s her son.”
“I know..but I can’t.....”
“Honey I will go with you.”
“I can’t do it mom.....”
“Chris, she has to know.....wouldn’t you want Tobias to tell me if the tables were turned, heaven forbid?”
“Yes....you’ll meet me there?”
“No, I will come get you. You’re in no condition to drive.”
Chris released the button on his speaker phone and sat on the bed.
How was he going to tell and elderly mother that her son, a child she worshiped
was dead? He laid back on his pillow and assumed the fetal position.
The sadness reduced him to the level of a child. Like all grieving
widows, he blamed himself. This wouldn’t have happened had he left Quinn
alone. This wouldn’t have happened had he given Tobias the
tapes after the he fulfilled his side of the bargain. This wouldn’t have
happened had he just given Tobias the info the night he asked for it. This
wouldn’t have happened had he never danced at table five. Shit is
reciprocal. If you sling it, it will come back to you and ten times worse.
Never in his life had that been more
true than at that moment.
Midday rolled around and a very foggy headed Tobias opened his eyes to the glare of the sun. For some reason, his head seemed a bit clearer. He opened his eyes more and the glare from the other buildings jump started the nerves in his brain. He remembered things. He saw flashes of the past. He saw heavy rain, flooded winding roads, a room of cock statues that confused him, an angel, a black car with a naked man on it, a beautiful devil, and rivers of red wine. Then he saw himself with two beautiful children and a man, a very attractive man with shiny black hair and large pecs walking with someone else. The man was important. His name was Chris. As a smile crept across his face as the doctor entered.
“Well look a here. You smiling this early in the day? You must be feeling better?”
“Actually, I do. I mean...I’m sure I look like a mack truck hit me, backed over me, and hit me again but my head seems clearer.”
“Oh really, well let’s give it another go. Who are you?”
Tobias sat up in the bed looked at the doctor and then stared out the window.
“My name is Tobias.”
“Oh really.. The wallet I found was yours.”
“You found my wallet?”
“Tobias grimaced when he caught the wallet the doctor threw at him. He looked through thewallet and awakened more visions. He saw Chris with another man, an equally attractive man. A man that was in love with Chris. A man Chris had love for too. Sadness poured on his face. The doctor could tell something was wrong.
“Tobias? What’s wrong...did you remember something?”
In a congested voice, he responded.
“Why I wished I had died.”
“Tobias why would you say that?”
“ Because....I just do.”
“We need to talk about this more but I need to clarify something first. Is your last name Beecher?”
“ I dunno.”
“Tobias try harder.”
“I don’t know.”
“Tobias you were smiling when I came in and something happened when you saw that wallet. I can contact someone if your last name is Beecher. Just try to...”
“I DON’T KNOW!!!”
Tobias’ eyes filled with water. David could see something very bad was going on in Tobias’ head. He made his way around the bed and sat by the ill patient. Gently, he hugged him and talked in his ear.
“Hey, it’s ok....don’t worry about it. You remembered your first name and that’s good. With time, you’ll remember more.”
“He doesn’t love me anymore.”
“He, they, them, everyone. No loves me anymore. I think I came to terms with that in the water. I wanted to die.”
“Tobias, you shouldn’t wish for death because someone doesn’t love you. Besides, you will love again and someone will love you. Trust me on this”
“You don’t know. You’re just my doctor.....”
“I may be your doctor but I also know that you are loved and if....”
“How could you possible know that.”
“....I just do, and if you would...”
“Who? Huh? Who the hell loves me?”
“ Many people...”
The room was heavy with a silence supported by a medicinal stench. The doctor stood up and walked toward the foot of the bed. With his back to Tobias he continued.
““....you weren’t supposed to know that.”
Tobias stared at the doctor in amazement. It all made sense now. The stares, the side glances, the way he held him, the attention. Tobias didn’t know what to say. David was attractive, financially set and well built; but most of all, he was kind.
“I have to go.”
“I’ll have the nurse give you something for pain. You need to rest.”
“Please wait I have....”
The door closed in the middle of his sentence.
Tobias felt like crap. Here’s a man that risked his life to save him and he made him feel bad. The more he tried to think about the doctor, he couldn’t help but think about Chris. He wondered where he was and how he was doing. Who was the man he was with, was he happy with the man, did he miss him at all. The door opened. Tobias called the doctors name in anticipation.
A nurse entered and offered to find the doctor if he needed him. Tobias
declined. He watched the nurse place a new bag of liquid on the silver
pole and connect his I.V. tube to it. The blue beads of liquid flowed
down the tube in repetition as he turned on his side. He stared out
the window and slowly closed his eyes.
The sun leaped the hurdle of the day and painted the city a weird mustard yellow. It was the first day the people of the city could see the real damage of the storm. Chris and his mother drove through the neighborhoods to meet people with long and sadden faces. Though he had never been there, he knew he was getting closer to the Beecher’s residence. He could feel the depths of his stomach churn. He tried to get his thoughts together, run his lines before hisperformance. Before he knew it, his mother apped his shoulder.
He looked at the house where Tobias grew up. The house was huge,
with curved driveways, trimmed hedges and expensive dogs. Chris wondered how Tobias was so level headed, honest and unspoiled in a place that looks as if it would have it’s own Bat Cave.
“Chris, honey...it’s time to go.”
He opened the door and stepped on to the drive way. As they walked to he house, his hearing became heavy. He could hear every stone under his foot, the leaves brushing against each other, his bones creaking in his skin. They reached the front door and Chris paused a moment. His mother wanted to hurry him but she could see the hurt in his eyes. The look in his eyes was heartbreak mixed with horrific sadness. She knew this look. It was the same look he had when he was three and his Labrador died or when his father died in his arms. Even though Chris tried to hide things, his mother knew him well. This wasn’t one of his flings. Before Tobias, She knew Chris to be more of a gigolo, a player. Love wasn’t real, it was recreational. He got by on his looks and thought with his cock. If it were anyone else, he would shed a tear in memoriam, drink a pint of something intoxicating and get over it. But this was very different. For the first time, she could see how much he loved Tobias. Ever since the day Chris told her he liked men, she always wondered if he loved and was he loved in return. The knowledge that her son could love that deeply was rewarding. Sure, she loved him, but she loved him even more now.
“Are you ready honey?”
She raised her fist to knock on the door when the door opened.
“Hey....I saw you guys drive up from the upstairs window....come in, come in. I baked the best blueberry muffins this morning. Sylvia is always bragging about her muffins but I’m sure my recipe will more than snag a few ribbons this year......well why the long faces? Did you guys drive through the cemetery on your way here?”
“Clara, honey....Chris has something to tell you.”
“Ok....what is it Chris?”
“Spit it out Tobias.”
“That’s what I tell Tobias when he wants to confide or confess...what have you. He’d trip over his words for hours trying to put them in order, so I’d slap him on his bottom and say , Spit it out Tobias. Now, spit it out Chris.”
Chris looked at his mother. He hoped the look on his face would clue Mrs. Beecher, but apparently it didn’t.
“Mrs. Beecher...um...you know the storm was um...well it was bad....um..uh...do you remember when I called you...what I said?”
“Yes you said Tobias came to your place...that he was ill.”
“Spit it out Chris”
“Mrs. Beecher I made you a promise. I told you I would find your son and....”
“I tried to retrace his steps, go where he would go. I went to his place and he wasn’t there so I went home and on my way...”
“On your way what?”
“I saw the city workers....they pulled a car from the water filled ravine, a silver Accord.....It was Tobias’ car.”
Mrs Beecher looked at Chris with wonderment, as if she couldn’t process what he was saying. Chris mother moved to the love seat and held her hand.
“At first, I didn’t want to think it was his but I found his insurance card. The workers said there was no way on Earth anyone could have survived that.”
“Chris what are you saying to me?”
Tears filled Chris’ eyes. For the second time in one day, he would have to admit the worst out loud.
“All evidence points to the fact that....that um...Tobias didn’t make it out of the water and that he may very well have not made it at all.”
Mrs. Beecher was one of those people that could smile through anything.
they’re mad, they’re smiling, when they’re sad, they’re smiling. But this time, she was different. There was no charm, no sweetness. With a very low, still, and cold voice she replied.
“Get - out - of - my - house.”
“I did not hear what you said.”
“Mrs. Beecher, I’m so sorry....”
“HOW DARE YOU COME IN MY HOME AND SAY SUCH THINGS. Tobias is the smartest, the bravest, and the most courageous person in the city. If anyone could survive the storm he could ”
“Clara, my son wanted you to hear it from.....”
“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE.”
Chris took his mother’s hand and made his way to the door. He wanted to hug Mrs. Beecher and cry with her, but he knew the only way she was going to believe it was to hear it from someone more official.
Mrs. Beecher rushed to the phone.
“Helen. Is my husband available? I need to speak to him......I don’t
care if he is in a meeting. I want to speak to him now.....Fine, you tell
him that he is to call me within the hour or I will come down there personally
and interrupt his meeting.”
When Chris got home, he went to his bedroom and collapse on the bed. He could feel himself sink in the plush mattress. In the midst of his sadness, he remembered the night he lit Tobias in blue and yellow light. How sweet he looked, how that would never happened again. Chris was one of those guys whom could shed a tear one second and be over a bad situation the next. But this.....this was hard and weird and sad. He saw a life with Tobias. He saw happiness and joy, the little white house with the picket fence, rows of flowers and a dog, sweet things...all the things straight couples go on Oprah and complain to Dr. Phil about not having. So many men have tried to tame, control, and change Chris, but Tobias was to be the one. He would succeed because Chris would let him.
As the night gave birth to the day, an aching Tobias stared out the window with heavy eyes. The three pane windows play visions that confused him even more. Each played images of Chris, the doctor, his father, his mother, a woman and kids, his former life. The ugly thing was that he didn’t have enough of his memory back to piece everything together. It was like having the border of a big puzzle pieced together with all the other pieces heaped in a big pile in a big gaping hole in the middle. The only thing he had control of was the emotions attached to each picture. He knew he loved Chris, the kids and his mother yet his stomach turned when he thought of his father and some other woman. There was an admiration for the doctor and definitely an attraction; but nothing compared to what he felt for Chris. If there was anything left in Chris’ heart for him, was it worth searching out? Here’s a doctor that after meeting him for a few days, had deep feelings for him. What should he do? As he attempted to answer the question, a knock came to the door. Dr. Dave spoke before he came in.
“Yeah...where have you been?”
“What do you mean?”
“You usually show up in the middle of the night?”
“I uh...I had another patient to attend to.”
“Oh ok....I thought maybe you were avoiding me....after telling me you
me and all.”
The doctor made a bee line to the door. He looked to see if anyone may have heard Tobias’ comment. When he convinced himself, he stepped back in the room and closed the door.
“Let’s get something straight. I - SAVED - YOU! There had to have been tons of people passing that saw you fighting for your life, but I stopped when no one else would. I risked my life climbing into that ravine to save you. I want you to remember that before you try to ruin me.”
“Ruin you?...what are you talking about?”
“I love being a doctor. I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was five.
I don’t want to be anything else. The fact that hundreds of people
put their lives in my hands on a daily basis makes me happy. I love this
hospital and I love my job. The fact that I said something like that to
you can be
hazardous to my future.”
“Wait, you think I’m gonna tell on you?”
“David, you saved me. Like you said, you risked your life for me. You’ve
done more for me in a few days than a lot of people have in my life. You
saved me. You don’t know me all that well, hell I don’t know myself
right now....but I’d like to think that I’m not an evil person, a vindictive
person, a bad person. To be honest, when you said that, I felt safe. The knowledge that someone cares for you is....it’s um....”
Tobias fought the tears back and hung his head down low.
“.... as far as I’m concerned, no one will know what you said to me. If you want me to, I will forget you even said it.”
The doctor could see the pain in Tobias eyes. The visions triggered something painful and he didn’t help it any. Like all super heroes, he felt bad and went to the rescue.
“I don’t want you to forget it. I want you to remember it forever.”
They sat in the room with flush faces. Neither of the men wanted to look at the other. Tobias could definitely learn to love the doctor, but even though he had something deep inside him for Chris, he was curious about the doctors feelings. He broke the ice.
“May I ask a question?”
“What do you want to know? Why I’m such a dumb ass?”
“You’re not a dumb ass.”
“Oh trust me....I am.”
“What do you want to know?”
“Why me?....I’m not a looker and in my present condition, I don’t have much to offer....so why me?”
“Do I need to put a mirror in here?”
“Do I need to put a mirror in here? Apparently, you have never seen yourself.”
“Still don’t get it.....”
“You’re one in a million, Tobias. You’re like a cool drink of water on a hot summer day. You’re one of those few people the earth is blessed to have. You stand out. You walk down the street...you enter a room and all eyes are on you. You bring happiness, love and inner peace. Who wouldn’t want to be with someone like that.?”
“But you’ve only known me for a few weeks....”
“ People...men....come through here daily. They’re battered and beaten....and through the bruises and scars, you can still tell what they’re about. You look in their eyes because the eyes don’t lie. Tobias, your eyes were kind and cool and sensitive. Your eyes don’t lie. When you looked at me in the water that night, you needed me. Not just to help you out or save your life; but to explain the world to you. It was as if you were asking for a little help in return for all the help you’ve given others....and.....”
Even though his head was down, Tobias could see the doctors eyes. He was right, the eyes don’t lie. The doctor was sad and distraught. The ears came faster.
“You remind me so much of Jason that it’s unreal.”
The doctor took his handkerchief and wiped his eyes and stared at the floor. Tobias struggle to sit up and anchored him self to the bedframe. Tobias knew the sadness in David’s eyes. It was he same sadness he had in the water. On one hand he thought he should leave the doctor alone, but on the other hand he was very curious.
“Yeah...Jason Nash. He...um...he was my boyfriend.”
“Oh I see now.”
“Yeah we met our freshman year at Yale. He was an architecture major. He was damn good too. You know that big glass building downtown, he designed that. After that, our phone never stopped ringing. He worked on two projects at a time. He got calls as far away as Los Angeles.
“When my dad found out I was gay and that he was my boyfriend....that
were living together, he call me a faggot, fudge packer, ass hole...he ran the whole gamut of defamation...then he cut me off.... emotionally and financially. I was in jeopardy of not finishing my last year of medical school.....”
A smile crept across the doctors face. A smile Tobias welcomed.
“.......then one night I came home from my work out. After my shower, Jason came to the bedroom, through me on the bed naked, tied me to the post and put tape over my mouth. At first, I was like...my baby’s getting kinky. Then he sat on my chest. You know, he was slender when you looked at him, but with all that muscle, he weighed a thousand pounds. Anyway... I struggled but it didn’t help any. He just sat on my chest, eating Little Debbie snack cakes until I gave up. I finally did. He eaned in and kissed me and said: "I want you to be very quiet and listen to me." He reached in his underwear and pulled out a rectangular piece of paper. He turned it around so I could see it. It was a check for ten-thousand dollars. He looked me deep in my eyes and said: "I don’t want any crap. You’re gonna take this money and finish medical school. You’re gonna be the best damn doctor this state has ever seen. You’re gonna take me to fabulous dinner parties and buy me pretty clothes...but more than that, Dr. David Austin Cameron , you’re gonna love me forever." I said no...he ate more cakes and before I knew it, I agreed. He was gonna open his own firm. He had his whole life ahead of him.”
Tobias could tell this was something the doctor needed to get off his chest.
“If I can ask, how did he pass?”
“Drunk driver. He was on his way to see his mother and got hit head on. I’m just grateful that he went quickly....he didn’t suffer.”
“I miss him so much.”
“I’m sure you do...you ok?”
“Hey....any recollection on you last name?”
“No....I’m still a bit foggy. I’m trying though.”
“Oh I know..but I’m sort of worried though.”
“Tobias, every hospital in this county and at least thirty hospitals south of the state line are connected by a database. When someone is missing or when a family member is looking for a relative, we send out a mass email for the other hospitals to check their registries.”
“Tobias, you’ve been here almost two weeks and no one is looking for you.”
“I thought you said you didn’t know my last name...you need that don’t you?”
“Tobias, it would help, but I can also search by first names....I didn’t find a Tobias.”
Tobias’ heart sank. There he was; ill, battered, heavy minded, needing someone to put to the pieces in order and those someone’s weren’t looking for him.
“Hey, it’s gonna be ok. Tell you what, I’ll do some more research....I
“Can I have some of the pain killers?”
“What? You usually don’t want the pain killers?”
“Aren’t they pain killers?”
“Well yeah, but....”
“No one is looking for me....that’s painful. Can I have something to kill it please?”
“Tobias, I can’t give you pain killers to suppress an ill emotion.”
“But I can stay here till you fall asleep....if you’ll let me.”
“I’d like that.”
“Let me help you lie down.”
He supported Beecher’s back as he laid on the pillows. He covered him up and waited. He knew how Tobias felt. He knew how it felt to be on a planet with billions of people, yet feel so alone. Before he knew it, Tobias eyes closed and his chest heaved up and down. The doctor sat silently and watched him.
Later that night, Chris stared at the moon through the sky light. He
watched as the stars danced across the sky and with time, he saw the clouds
usher away the moon and bring in the sun. How could he spend his
time in a place where everything would remind him of Toby. He worked at
a gym that was across the street from Toby’s favorite Ice Cream Parlor,
he slept in a bed that smelled like Toby, he frequents a club where he
first kissed Toby, he work at a club where he first met Toby, danced on
a table....table number five, where he first flirted with Tobias.
was no way he could stay there and make it..not with so many reminders of Tobias around. He sat up and pressed the button on his speaker phone and called a friend of his, a dancer at the club.
“Chris?.....hey baby...wassup...I ran into your ex the other day?”
“Yeah, Quinn...you know....nice complexion, good hair, big legs, high tight ass....”
“You’re not getting jealous are you? For what it’s worth, you have a tight ass too and a really big....”
“....Zach....I need to ask you something...uh”
“Hey you don’t sound to good...what’s wrong? You want me to come over, kiss your ass and make it better? I can leave now.”
“Chris getting mad at a sexual comment?.....something must really be wrong?
“I don’t want to discuss it. I was just wondering something?”
“What...what do you need?”
“The dancing job in Texas...are you still going?”
“Yeah, I went down there two weeks ago and did a guest spot. They really liked me. She hired me on the spot. She asked if there were anymore dancers like me and I told her yes. I told her you could dance me under the carpet.”
“What did she say?”
“Well, I’m going back this weekend at her expense. She said I could bring one of my dance friends with me at her expense. Chris, you just have to go. When they say everything is big in Texas, they mean it.”
Chris paused for a moment. He was about to make deal that would take him from his home and his mother, but without Toby, what kind of home was it.
“Chris....you still there?”
“This weekend?....I’ll clear my schedule.
“Cool, I’ll call her tonight and get tickets for Friday afternoon...I’ll tell her I’m bringing a hot ass with me.”
“Ok...hey I’m gonna let you go.”
Chris looked out the window. He visually commented on how dirty the
day looked, how depressed the trees look. He knew how the trees felt. He
had accepted Tobias death for the moment. He wanted Tobias’ body
found. Just so he could have a proper burial. As the afternoon passed,
he tried to take his mind off the current issue by turning on the TV.
He caught the nightly news just in time for the weather report. The weatherman
reported a new storm cell entering the area. It wasn’t going to be as violent
as the first one, but it would definitely remind the city of the recent
horror. The weatherman predicted the storm would arrive late Friday night.
Chris was glad he made the decision to go with Zach. After all that happened,
he couldn’t go through another storm. Texas was a southern state, it doesn’t
rain as much in the south as it does in the north. Texas was good. It wasn’t
raining in Texas.
Midnight found Tobias in a deep sleep. For the first time, his dreams made a little since. He saw the woman he had seen in other flashes. He knew her to be his wife. He didn’t have good feelings for her. He knew her to be a source of pain and embarrassment. Then he saw himself in a court room. He remembered a certain case and how his father ambushed him in the bathroom. How he mistreated him on a regular basis, how he told him he wasn’t wanted as a child, how he kept screaming that name over and over again..BEECHER..BEECHER.. BEECHER.. BEECHER. He sat straight up on the echo of the name. His face was dripping wet with sweat. He panted until the tears rolled in. He knew he wasn’t a bad person. So why did his father treat him that way? A lot of things made sense now. His father was the root of all the crap and evil in his life. He ruins everything good to push the ideology that he is a member of the upperclass. In the midst of the anger brewing in him, a sharp, murderous pain shot up his spine. Tobias fell back on the bed and cried out in agony.
A nurse ran in.
“Sir, are you ok....what’s wrong?”
“My back....pain...oh shit!”
“Just a second.....”
The nurse ran to the door.
”DR. CAMERON....WE NEED YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Dr. Cameron ran down the hall and dashed in the room.
“Tobias what’s wrong?”
“I had a nightmare and it made me sit up fast in the bed......then the pain just....OH GOD!!!!!!!”
“Ok..I know what’s going on here...I have to turn you over so this is gonna hurt a bit.”
The doctor turned tobias on his side and rubbed across his back.
“Where’s does it hurt the most?”
“Ok Tobias if I go any lower I will be on your butt.”
“Just a little lower.”
The doctor went down about an inch and start rubbing.
“OH SHIT THAT FEELS GOOD....OH GOD!!!!....YESSSSS!!!!”
“Uh...Tobias, people are gonna think we’re screwing in here if you don’t stop that.”
“I don’t care...keep rubbing.”
“I will, you just quiet down.”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“Muscle spasm. You haven’t worked these muscles in a while. You just woke them up is all.”
“Oh shit that feels good.”
“So....you wanna tell me what this dream was about?”
Tobias paused a second. He was still cloudy on the issue but the general idea was strong.
“It was about me....I remembered some stuff.”
“My name is Tobias.......Tobias Beecher.”
“Good...at least we have your wallet......what else?”
“My life is a sham.”
“Why would you say that.?”
“My father hates me.....my mother didn’t want me...he doesn’t love me.”
“Why does your father hate you?”
“I dunno, he really doesn’t need a reason.”
“Oh....did your mother tell you she didn’t want you?”
“No, that’s what he said....he could be lying.”
“Well, how about this, I will look up all the Beechers in the phone book and try to find your mom. She can come down and you can find out.”
“Tobias she has to be worried....just let me call her?”
“No, not right now.”
David looked at Tobias with saddened eyes. For the first time, he met someone whose life was just as screwed up as his. He wanted to take Tobias home right then and there. He would make sure all the crap in his life would be done away with. Tobias turned his head a little to talk to the doctor.
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure, you know you can.”
“ You may want to close the door for this one.”
The doctor closed the door. Walked back to the bed and continued rubbing Tobias’ back.
“How did you know?”
“That you were...um...that you liked....liked guys?”
“On some level, I always knew. I would buy bodybuilding magazines and my dad thought I was interested; but to be honest, I just wanted to stare at Bob Paris. It wasn’t till high school that I had my first experience. His name was Ben Kissinger."
“Yeah...you know him?”
“The name sounds so familiar....I’m crazy....continue.”
He kissed me at a party and freaked out...then I got freaked out. We didn’t say a word to each other for about a month. Then one day out of the blue, his dad called me and offered me a summer job on his ranch. I took it because I knew Ben would be there. We worked all summer and then one day when his dad and mom went out of town, we made out. It was just us, two guys alone in the hot summer sun, kissing and loving. He wanted to go further, but I wasn’t ready. Before the summer ended, we had become and item; but no one could know. My father was a psychologist, Mr. Kissinger was the mayor, both pillars of society. If either of them found out, they would kill us. If the anyone else found out, they would be outcasts in the community. So we held back. We would pass each other in the halls everyday for four years...wanting to hold each other but that would have caused all kinds of trouble. Then one day his brother, a major dumb ass, found some magazines and told his dad. His dad thought he was crazy and talked to my dad. My dad in his radical flare suggested that he be sent to military school. When Ben found out about our dad’s meeting, he assumed I told on him. I never heard from him again. He was a lot like you and Jason....Anyway to answer your question...it wasn’t till college that I admitted it to myself. It wasn’t till Jason that I consummated it. Knowing you’re gay isn’t something you just wake up one day and decide to be. Deep down, you know it. You just are. It’s who you are, you don’t have a choice in the matter. It’s as normal as the air you breathe.”
“Air can stink at times.”
“And so does life, but you don’t stop living because it stinks. You can be untrue to yourself and deny it....and for some that can be therapeutic until they can build the strength to admit it to themselves...but in the end, you admit it to yourself...you just know. That’s all.”
“Are you doubting yourself, Tobias”
“I dunno....never really gave it much thought.”
“You’re not out?”
“No....just never gave it much thought....until Chris came along...I tried to fight it...I’m still fighting it...I dunno.”
“Maybe you need more time.”
“Tobias, if I was your boyfriend, wanna know what advice I would give you?"
“Take time to make yourself happy. I get the impression that you’ve tried to make everyone else happy and you totally forget yourself.”
“Why do you get say that?”
“Every time we talk, it’s about your father, and other people and what they want. What do you want?”
“Can I take a guess?”
“You wonder why your father is such a prick, but you really don’t care. You just want him to leave you alone. You want to know why your mother didn’t want you....and as much as I hate to admit it, you want to know if you have a chance with this Chris guy....am I close?”
David slid down the bed and ran his fingers through Tobias’ hair. He mentally commented on how soft his hair was.
“You’re never gonna be happy until you find the answers to the questions you have.”
“I know, but what about the bible, and god and the gay thing.”
“Tobias, I pray every night. I have a very good relationship with god. I had so many ideas in my head when Jason died. God brought me through everything. I’m here. God loves. God forgives. God loves you.”
“How’s your back?
“No problem....hey I have a twelve year old boy I need to see. I will be back later ok?....rest your back.”
“You sure you’re ok?”
“I will be.”
Toby saw the whole “am I, aren’t I “ gay thing as part of the puzzle with the big gaping hole in the middle. He was taught for years that homosexuality was wrong. It was an evil before the throne of god. Then again, that same religion told him to hate sinners on one page and love thy neighbor on another....thou shalt not kill in one chapter and eye for an eye in another. Deep down he knew David was right. He had to stop thinking that everything was going to magically fall in place. If he wanted to get things straight, he needed to fill in the big gaping hole in the middle of the puzzle. He needed answers.
He tried to sleep but he couldn’t. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw his father and heard his voice. With every breath he took, he could feel the blood in his veins boil. This was the vengeful court room Beecher.
He paced the floor trying to find the answers, but failing in the end.
He walked to the closet in his room and found what he hoped was his clothes.
He left them alone till he knew for sure. He had a plan but it had to wait
till morning, when his head was bit clearer, when a few more pieces fell
into place. He sat down on the bed. He could feel some of the old
Tobias blood flow through him. He had somewhat of a plan, it was
enough that he would be able to sleep.
A day passed and Chris found himself lying naked in the bed. Though
selfish, he tried to put Tobias out of his mind. But that was like asking
him not to breathe. Around midday, he finally managed to get out
of bed. On Friday, he was going to Texas to shake his cock for a club full
of hot women and even hotter men. He had one day to prepare and he
hadn’t been to the club in a while so he needed to refresh himself on his
moves. He turned on his stereo to find the song that started all
the crap with Tobias. He hated the beat, the message. It was more a funeral
march than a strippers theme song. There was no way he could dance to that
song and perform well. He took the burned cd out of the player and through
it in the trash. He went to his collection and found another song for the
future. As the day passed, he choreographed a whole new number. He
was pleasantly surprised. He spent so much time dazzling the boys and girls
with that one number, that he didn’t think to try anything else.
At the hospital, Tobias watched the sun slowly sink into the clouds. He was still a bit cloudy but he had enough of his senses locked in to pull a pretty good picture together. A knock came to the door and a nurse entered. Tobias used his charms to find out some information.
“Hi yourself...are you feeling any better?”
“Oh yeah seeing as though I almost died.”
“Yeah you were a big mess when you arrived.”
“I’m sure I was. I’m still blurry on some things. I don’t even know where my clothes are.”
“Oh, we put them in the closet...well the shirt at least. The jacket and pants were ruined. Dr. Cameron brought the rest.”
“Oh that was nice of him.”
“He’ll be in to see you early in the morning.”
“Great, I want to thank you all for what you’ve done for me.”
“Well don’t thank us yet, we’re not leaving and you aren’t either.”
Tobias smiled. He got the nurse to tell him about the clothes. Then he realized how stupid he was. He could have just asked her. As the night passed on, he thought about his conversation with David. If he wanted answers, he had to go get them and he was hell bent on getting them.
Continued in Part 11
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