“Kevin, will you please listen to me? Without remarks? Just listen?” Kevin rolled his eyes but with a wave of his hand indicated Jason to continue: “It was very hard to be there. Everything is different there. The main religion was the Islam and I felt very isolated. The authorities made it very difficult to practice our religion. There were threats. The school was burned down twice before. I could not be open about my being gay. I had been informed to not even display a picture of you, to not create any situations where questions could be raised.
We tried to work as much as we could, but the heat was awful and I was often sick of the food and the water. It wasn’t safe to go out, so we mostly stayed on the missionary post. I tried to read and work as much as I could to distract me, but I started to think more and more about you and about returning to America. The walls were coming at me. And I got really depressed, wondering if it was worth all my troubles. I started to doubt my calling.
So I prayed and prayed and asked God to show me what I should do… It was an exercise in controlling my feelings of lust for you and reminding myself that God gave me a job to do. But I wanted to be with you and no longer be in Malaysia and it got so difficult. I’ve fought the images I had in my mind of you, all those weeks. And I finally said to myself, that without an answer from God, I could no longer continue.
That day, during prayer, I felt the urge to call you and I did. And you told me you wanted to break up with me, that you had met Scotty again, slept with him and, in all fairness, no longer saw how you could maintain a relationship with me… My whole world fell to pieces, Kevin. I didn’t know what to do. I just couldn’t believe it. Could not understand. How you could forsake me like that…”
“How could I…..? …. You are so not serious about this?!” Kevin said in disbelieve.
Not paying attention to Kevin Jason continued:
“At first I didn’t get it. I just couldn’t understand that you could be so cruel. It all felt like a bad dream and I would wake up at any minute…. But then you stopped leaving messages… You know, every day, the first thing I did, was listen to your messages. Just to hear your voice… And then they stopped…. And came the silence….” Jason swallowed hard to control his tears.
Kevin nodded and with a face full of anger and pain he said:
“It hurts, doesn’t it?” he held Jason’s gaze for a moment and then Jason could only nod, unable to say another word, knowing that ONE more word would break the fragile line of self-control, however he had to go on:
“You promised me you’d wait for me…”
“And I did….I waited. I’ve waited for your phone call. Night after night. Day in, day out. For weeks! Do you have any idea what it did to me? Every time the phone rang… I hoped it would be you… I hoped and I prayed. Please let it be him! Let it be him calling me!... And it would be someone else and I would see all my hope shattered. Again. And again! And again!!
And every time the phone rang and it wasn’t you, I lost a little faith, a little hope, a little care. A little bit of my love died with every silent hour. Until, after several very lonely and quiet weeks, everything was chipped away and there was nothing left, but the cold truth: Jason is not going to call. Whatever we once had, is gone. Dead and buried. Dealt with.
We were both so lonely, I’ve missed you so much, and I desperately tried to reach you. But in your hour of need you spoke to God, you talked with your brother, but not with me. I was obviously not your equal partner in this, not in your eyes. I’m sorry. I apologize for not being the person, you believed, you could share your heartache with. But, now, I also know, that I’ve made the right decision in breaking up with you. I kept my promise to you as long as I could, but I was trying to have a relationship on my own. And that doesn’t work, Jason. Trust me, it doesn’t. You were right, we had a few wonderful months. I will cherish the good moments, like I cherish my good moments with Chad and Hank.
And I’m grateful to you. If you hadn’t put me through hell these last few months, I would not have been able to fully appreciate the heaven Scotty is offering. It will not be perfect between us, but at least we will go through our issues together and deal with them as partners.” Kevin’s eyes were filling with tears and his voice trembled when he softly said:
“And maybe, just maybe, one of these days, I will have gathered enough courage to look Scotty in the eyes and tell him how much I really, really love him. I will dare to open up to him and say the words “I love you” without having to be afraid of having them being thrown away like yesterday’s garbage. As if they had no value….”
Jason opened his mouth to protest. He had NEVER taken Kevin’s words for granted. They had been his anchor in the most difficult days, what he held on to through those lonely nights... But Kevin raised his hand in a stop sign and continued:
“Whatever you want to say, it no longer matters. I’m done. You have made me feel useless. Unwanted. Undesired. Worthless. When I heard you were coming back, I was worried that there might be feelings lingering inside me, that somehow I would get drawn in by you again, but all I could feel in the pit of my stomach, was the emptiness you had left behind. Shattered dreams. Broken to a million pieces. And you can’t take away the pain. There are no words for that. It’s too late.”
“This conversation is not going anywhere, is it?”
“There is nothing I can say, or do, or swear to, that will make this better, right?
“No.” Kevin replied determinedly. And Jason nodded that he accepted the answer. He had to. Kevin was very clear.
Jason decided it was best to leave the kitchen. But, at the door, Jason turned around.
“Kevin… about Scotty being a stray cat… I didn’t mean that…. He seems like a nice person to me… And he makes a delicious meal….”
“He is. And he does.” Kevin said gently. “Jason… about Robert… I will never vote for him, but I respect him… maybe one day I’ll even begin to like him…” Slowly a smile started to curl around Kevin’s lips.
“Unlikely.” Jason shook his head. Kevin’s smile became even bigger and he suddenly teased:
“Jason? You should have a little bit more faith.” Jason looked up and couldn’t help but grin in return. And suddenly they were both laughing.
Kevin walked up to him and took Jason’s face in his hands, he kissed him lightly on the lips and then said:
“Jase, I don’t hate you. But I will never trust you again with my heart either. You hurt me too deep for that… I’ve let you go, now please, let go of me. I still care about you. If you need a friend, someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to share your joy with, I’m right here. But only as a friend.”
“Let me guess…. Just a phone call away?”
“I won’t hold my breath…” Kevin wrapped his arms around Jason and Jason replied to the embrace. They held each other for a moment.
“Forgive me.” Jason whispered.
“Only if you forgive me too?” Kevin asked. Jason nodded.
“Are you coming back to the dinner-table with me?”
“In a couple of minutes. I just want to … you know…” Kevin waved his hands about.
“I get it.” Jason left the kitchen to give Kevin time to compose himself.
The first thing Jason noticed was the silence at the dinner table. He became aware of the fact that they had heard Kevin and him yelling at each other. The place right to where Kevin had been sitting was empty.
“Where’s Scotty?” he asked.
“Garden.” Sarah replied curtly. He nodded and went into the garden.
He found Scotty sitting on the side of the pool.
“Mind if I sit next to you?” he asked, pointing at the piece of wall next to Scotty. “It’s kind of crowded out here.” Scotty looked around the empty garden, shrugged and replied:
“You pay for your own drinks.”
“Fair enough.” Jason smiled. But then his smile disappeared. “Scotty, Kevin is in the kitchen. I think he may need you.”
“Our fight surely cleared the air between us.”
“Good.” He didn’t mean a word of it.
“He forgave me. Told me he still cares about me…” Scotty’s heart sunk. Oh God, no. “… but it’s you he wants to be with. Not me.”
“Really?” Jason saw the disbelieve on Scotty’s.
“You just don’t get it, do you? … How much Kevin wants to be with you.”
“What?....” When Jason wanted to repeat his words, Scotty quickly said: “No. I’m sorry. I understood you perfectly. It’s just that it sounded familiar.”
“Yes it was just weird to hear you use the same words.. That’s all.”
Jason took Scotty’s hands into his own.
“Scotty, I really hurt him. I don’t think, I realized the full extent of it, until today. And what I did, will have repercussions on his life with you and I don’t want that. He told me something… and I will tell you, because, for now, he will not tell you this….” Scotty looked at Jason with curiosity as Jason told him in a soft voice: “He loves you. He loves you so much more than you’ll ever know. And if he won’t tell you, it’s because he told me that he loved me and I …” Jason prayed for strength. “… I took his words for granted. He was very hurt and now the words have lost their meaning. … And I’m sorry about that.”
“It’s alright. I don’t need to hear him say it. I have heard them before, only to find out that they were hollow words… But I’m glad you told me. It means a lot to me, to hear you tell me the truth. You didn’t have to. You could have kept quiet and keep me guessing.”
“I want Kevin to be happy and if his happiness lies with you, then so be it. But, Scotty? If you ever hurt him, I’ll find you. And I have back up.” Jason said pointing at the sky.
“Don’t worry. I have no intention to hurt Kevin.” Scotty laughed. “I’m sorry to break the conversation…. I just... I want to go see Kevin.”
As he saw Scotty walk away, Jason felt lost. Kevin had made a definitive choice. Whatever glimmer of hope he still had, it was squashed and he had just sent the only person, who still doubted Kevin’s love and was standing between Kevin and him, back into Kevin’s arms. Deep inside he knew he made the right decision. Whatever path God intended to send him on, Kevin would not follow it with him… He knew he was right, what he didn’t understand was, why it had to hurt so much…
When Scotty came back at the dinner table, he looked and felt a lot better. His eyes were bright and the color was back on cheeks. He went straight for the kitchen. And the others knew, whatever had happened, something had changed. Robert apologized and went into the garden, where he found Jason, where Scotty left him.
“Of course you are.” Robert said, looking at Jason’s pale face, his eyes big from trying not to cry, his lips a determined line. He put an arm around Jason’s shoulder. Jason, however pushed him away. But Robert took him and held him close again. Jason’s carefully built wall started to crumble.
“It’s alright. Let it go, Jason.” Robert said quietly.
Jason grabbed Robert’s jacket and for a moment it looked as if he would push Robert away again, but instead he pulled him closer. Hiding his face against his brother’s shoulder Jason allowed the tears to come. And all Robert could do was hold him close.
“Hey. Is the fight definitely over?” Scotty asked.
“Yeah, we were waiting for the soft shell crabs or the lobsters to come in.” Kevin smiled. “Did you see Jason?”
“He told me that you might need me….”
“I do. Come here.” He said stretching his arm out to Scotty. Scotty took his hand. “Hold me, please.” Scotty wrapped his arms around Kevin and held him tight, until Kevin moved from his embrace.
“Scotty, I know you had your doubts about my feelings for Jason… Maybe you were right…. I just want to you to know, and hopefully believe you'll believe me, that I have cried my last tear over Jason. I think I’m finally over him.” Scotty looked at Kevin’s face for a few seconds as if he tried to read his mind.
“I believe you.” He then replied. Kevin gave him his brightest smile and Scotty took him in his arms.
When Nora walked into her kitchen she found them, so lost in their kiss, they never even noticed her. She smiled, closed the door again and left them alone.
IT MUST BE HIM – Timi Yuro
I tell myself, what's done is done, I tell myself, don't be a fool
Play the field, have a lot of fun, it's easy when you play it cool
I tell myself don't be a chump, who cares, let him stay away
That's when the phone rings and I jump, and as I grab the phone I pray
Let it please be him, oh dear God, It must be him, it must be him,
or I shall die, or I shall die, hello, hello my dear God, It must be him
but it's not him, and then I die, that's when I die
After a while, I'm myself again, I pick the pieces off the floor
Put my heart on the shelf again, You'll never hurt me anymore
I'm not a puppet on a string, I'll find somebody else someday
That's when the phone rings,…and once again, I start to pray
Let it please be him, oh dear God, It must be him , it must be him
or I shall die, I shall die, hello, hello my dear God, it must be him
but it's not him and then I die, again I die
Let it please be him, oh dear God
It must be him , it must be him
or I shall die……