Well, tomorrow is the big day, and I can’t wait. We're leaving for the Outer Banks tomorrow, and not a moment too soon. I’m not getting along with my dad right now and I’m glad to be getting away from him for a while. I got up early this morning and I was just online chatting on AOL, and my dad came in like a stupid jerk and told me I had to go back to bed.....I was soooo mad!! It’s none of his business when I wake up, and I don’t see why he had to do that to me. It was total bullshit, and I hope I never see his dumb ass again. He's such an incredible jerk. I hope the house burns down while I’m in Carolina and every picture he has of me burns, and then I die while I’m in Carolina and he forgets what I look like.
To say I was looking forward to getting away with my boyfriend would be a huge understatement. I was ready to get away from my dad, who I hadn’t been getting along with all weekend. More important, though, I was looking forward to some quality time with Jacob. I had woken up at 4:30 Sunday Morning to drain the lizard, then I felt a little thirsty, so I went downstairs and drank some orange juice from the carton. When I got back upstairs, I laid down for a little bit, trying to fall back to sleep, but I just wasn’t tired.
So instead, I got up and sat down at my computer. I turned my away message off and instantly got a bunch of instant messages. I was actually shocked that so many people were still up, because I had crashed early that morning. Normally, Jacob would have been there too, but he had to go home on Saturday night and pack for our trip. I get the feeling that if he had been there, I wouldn’t have ever logged onto AOL that morning.
I’m Alex Fuller. I live with my dad, Steve, and my stepmom, Sarah. My boyfriend, Jacob Morgan, lives with his dad, Travis, and his stepmom, Gina. We’re going to be freshmen when school starts again in September, but for the first time in a long time, we’ll be going to different schools. Jacob barely passes, and the only reason he does that well is because I do his homework for him. As for me, I just got into Landstown High, a technology magnet school. I’m in the AP program, which stands for Advanced Placement. My dad’s pissed because I didn’t get into the IB. program, which stands for International Bachelorette. Either way, we were going to be apart during all four of our high school years, so this trip meant a lot to me.
I was already feeling stressed out about the trip. My dad was slacking about packing for me, and we were leaving extra early on Monday morning. Jacob’s parents wanted him to be packed and ready on Sunday before church, and to be quite honest, I would have liked to have been ready then too. But, as usual, it was almost impossible to get someone to pack my things for me.
On top of that, there was the initial drama that led to us going to the Outer Banks. You see, we were supposed to go to Tennessee to visit Jacob’s mom, but when she found out that I would be coming too, those plans fell apart. I won’t get into the details, but let’s just say that she’s far from happy about me and Jacob. In a way, I guess it’s a good thing she lives in Tennessee and not here, because that could cause major issues for us, and God knows we have enough of those already. Jacob’s parent’s, though, are awesome. I love them like they’re my own parents, and even if Jacob and I weren’t boyfriends, I would still be close to them. Just like Jacob would still be part of our family if we broke up. My parents pretty much think of him as their son.
So as I sat at my desk, typing away, I heard the toilet flushing across the hallway in my parents’ room. About three minutes later, my door opened up and my dad put his head in the door.
“Why aren’t you sleeping, Alex?” he asked in an angry, sleepy voice.
“I’m not tired anymore,” I answered, trying not to provoke his bad mood.
“Son, it’s too early,” he snapped. “You need to shut your PC down and get back in bed.”
“How come? ,” I complained. “I’m not tired.”
“I don’t care,” he said in a stern voice. “I said to carry your ass back to bed, and I mean it.”
“I swear I hate you,” I almost yelled as he waited for me to shut down my PC.
“You just do what you’re told,” he said nastily. “And keep your smart ass remarks to yourself.”
Once my PC was shut down, I stomped my feet across my room to my bed, where I tried to angrily flop myself down, but it didn’t seem to have that effect. When he closed the door, I gave him the finger, then I rolled over and fumed about him treating me like I was three years old until I fell back to sleep.
After church, we went out to lunch with Jacob and his parents, and I made sure I gave my dad the silent treatment the whole time. To be quite honest, I was being pretty hard on my dad. I had just been through a whole incident with my leg that required a surgical cleaning because I had developed a staph infection, and I know he was just being protective. He always does that. He does it with my cousin, who he raised but doesn’t even live with us anymore. He does it with my stepmom, who’s a grown woman but you wouldn’t know it from the way he orders her around. Needless to say, he does it with me too.
I’m actually pretty lucky. I’m totally out of the closet, and so is Jacob. My dad lets him spend every weekend with me, or I get to go to Jacob’s house. Of course, when we go there, the sleeping arrangements are different. At my house, Jacob sleeps with me in my bed. My dad trusts us to do the right thing. His dad, though, makes us sleep in the living room or with the door open. His parents keep their door open at night too when I stay over.
I was spending the night at Jacob’s tonight, and I was so thankful. When we got home from church, I went straight to my PC and got online, then I made an angry blog entry about my dad. Of course, the comments I got were mainly along the lines of, “You don’t really feel that way.”
That night, right before my dad was about to drive me over to Jacob’s, he apologized for sending me back to bed. “Maybe I was a little cranky this morning, son,” he said as he pulled me into a hug. “I didn’t mean to take it all out on you like that. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay dad,” I said, suddenly feeling relieved that we were making up. I didn’t even realize that I felt that way, but as soon as he said “sorry”, I felt like someone had lifted a hundred-pound rock off of my shoulders. When we broke the hug, he dug his wallet out of his back pocket and opened it up, pulling three hundred dollars out and handing it to me as my eyes got huge.
“Here you go, Alex,” he said with a smile. “I want you to have a good time this week, do you hear me?”
“Yes sir,” I said with a big grin as I put the money in my wallet and slid it into my back pocket. I had never carried that much money on me before, and every so often, I would feel my back pocket just to be sure that the wallet was still there.
I started to feel a little homesick when I gave my stepmom a hug and kiss goodbye, but when my dad was finished carrying my bags out to the Armada, we were off to Jacob’s. When we got there, Jacob gave me a kiss on the lips and grabbed my bags from my dad. Travis was already loading the Suburban with our luggage, so Jacob just put my things in the back with everyone else’s.
I’ll never forget the first time his parents saw us kiss. We’ve never Frenched in front of them, or my parents for that matter. We talked about it and decided together that it would be disrespectful. But one time, I was spending the night, and Travis and Gina had turned off the TV and were playing CD’s and dancing in the living room. I thought it was so romantic when Jacob took my hand and asked me to dance with him. We moved out onto the living room floor with his folks and slow danced, and as I gazed into his eyes, I felt the floor shake under my feet. It was all I could do right then and there to keep my tongue from attacking his mouth. I glanced over and saw Gina watching us with a warm smile, so I knew that they were truly okay with us being gay.
I still remember the song. It was “Little Jeanne” by Elton John, and I felt so caught up in the moment that I honestly lost my train of thought. So, when the song was over and Jacob got on one knee and told me that he loved me and asked me to marry him, I said yes. Of course, we were thirteen at the time, and maybe that’s why his parents didn’t seem to be bothered by it, but it was still the sweetest thing he had ever done. He got up and, still holding my hands, he planted a kiss on my lips. Not a French kiss. Just a sweet kiss on the lips that lasted a second or two.
Before my dad left, he had a talk with me about making sure I minded my manners and to remember that I was a guest, and that I needed to be polite and respectful. I promised him that I would, then he hugged me one last time before he left.
Jacob and I have always been very social. In fact, my dad took my cell phone away because after he upgraded my plan several months in a row, he realized that I was never going to stay within my minutes. I knew too many people and I was always on my cell. Jacob has the same problem. He’s constantly being nagged by his folks about his cell phone bill.
Luckily, it had gotten late enough for him to start using his phone, and his parents didn’t say anything when people had started calling. We went upstairs to play ping pong in the spare bedroom that he had claimed when they moved into the house about six months earlier.
His dad bought him the ping pong table one day while we were out looking for pool equipment. Their house had a built in pool and Jacob wanted a slide for it, so Travis took us to Rec Warehouse, a place that sold pool equipment, and that’s where Jacob spotted the ping pong table. As soon as he pointed at it and said he wanted it, Travis bought it for him. Jacob was spoiled that way. I had a feeling that his parents were going to be spending a lot of money this week while we were down in the Outer Banks, and that a good portion of that money was going to be spent on whatever Jacob said he wanted.
At around one in the morning we ended up in bed. Travis and Gina were already asleep, so we took the opportunity to close his bedroom door and curl up under the covers. At some point during the night, we both got hot and kicked the covers off the bed completely, which turned out to be a good thing because Travis opened the door at about 5:30 in the morning to tell us to wake up. He didn’t have anything to say about us sleeping with the door closed, and I think it had a lot to do with the fact that he could see that we had our sweats on and hadn’t been doing anything we weren’t supposed to.
As soon as we pulled out of the driveway, I closed my eyes. At some point while I was sleeping, I felt Jacob snuggle up to me and I smiled a little to myself, but I never totally woke up. I’m not exactly sure why I woke up, but at some point, as we were pulling away from a toll booth, I opened my eyes and looked around. I wasn’t sure where we were at first, but when Travis made a right turn down a small road, I recognized the street sign. It said Battlefield Boulevard, and I knew we were still in Virginia and on the bypass that goes to North Carolina. We pulled up to a 7-11 and I gave Jacob a gentle shake as soon as his dad turned the Suburban off. I got out with Jacob right behind me and let loose with a long yawn as I stretched out, then I made my way into the store.
I tried to pay for everything I had picked out, but Travis and Gina weren’t having it. They insisted that I put my stuff together with theirs and they paid, then we were back on the bypass. Just as we were approaching the Carolina-Virginia state line, Jacob made his parents stop again, this time at a large store that seemed to be in both states, so he could pee.
As soon as we were back on the bypass, time seemed to fly. Jacob took out his CDs and made his parents play Street’s Disciple, the CD that Nas had just released. It was a double CD, and it almost took us all the way to the Outer Banks. Just before we got there, I asked Travis to play the Doobie Brothers CD I had taken from my dads collection.
“Dude, this CD sucks,” Jacob griped as soon as the first track played.
“Well, why don’t I turn it up, then?” Travis said from the front seat with a smirk, as he turned the volume up to the point that Jacob couldn’t talk over the music anymore. Of course, this only served to piss Jacob off, but I reached out and took his hand while “Black Water” was playing, and he smiled and laid his head back. I knew he was enjoying the slow tempo of the song as we held hands. I was pretty much on his level too. The only thing that might have made the moment better for us would have been a kiss. But again, out of respect for his folks, we didn’t. I knew I was in the mood for a serious tongue session, so I won’t even say what I knew Jacob was in the mood for.
Duck, North Carolina isn’t exactly the most exciting place to go in the world. In the past, we always went to Kitty Hawk, another town in the Outer Banks. But for some reason this time we went to Duck, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. The house Travis and Gina always took us to in Kitty Hawk was really nice, and from there, we would always eat at the same restaurant and go to the field where the Wright Brothers made their famous first flight. I wasn’t sure what to think about Duck yet. I was a little worried that it was going to be some dive and that we weren’t going to have fun. Of course, I’d never say that out loud to Travis and Gina. Jacob, on the other hand, had no problem expressing his concern.
“What the fuck kind of name is Duck?” he blurted out from the back seat. “We’re going to have such a shitty time.”
“What an eloquent speaking manner you have, son,” Travis said as he rolled his eyes. “It’s always nice to hear you put your vocabulary on display for us.”
“Whatever,” Jacob griped as he shifted in his seat and leaned forward toward the front seat. “When are we having breakfast?”
“Alex what would you like?” Gina asked from the front seat.
“Anything’s okay with me, Ms. Gina,” I said as politely as I could. I wasn’t too shocked that Jacob was acting like a jerk to his folks. For one thing, he was hungry, and a hungry Jacob equals a cranky Jacob. For another thing, I knew that deep down, he was disappointed about not going to Tennessee to see his mom. I felt a little guilty about it, but he made sure that I knew he didn’t blame me. In fact, he blamed himself. He decided that he should have just told her that no matter what, he was coming and that he was bringing me, and that if she didn’t like that, too bad. Finally, I knew he was mad at his dad and his stepmom for taking us to Duck this year. Change isn’t something Jacob likes.
When we got to the cottage, I was pretty shocked. It was twice the size of the house we stayed at in Kitty Hawk, and it was at an awesome spot on the beach. Jacob and I helped Travis unload the Suburban, then we all showered. When I took my turn behind Jacob in the shower, I was taken back by the size of the bathroom. It was bigger than my family room at home, and it had a bath tub that I would have to walk down into if I wanted to use it. The shower was just as nice. There was a lot of space and three shower heads. It was truly the most luxurious shower I had ever seen, much less used, in my life. When I got out, I got dressed while we waited for Travis and Gina to finish their shower. Then we were off to find food.
We wound up at a small restaurant that had really good grits. I was glad for that, because I eat grits almost every day for breakfast. My parents actually wake up before I do so they can have them hot and ready for me by the time I get downstairs from my shower. On the way down, I was wondering to myself whether or not I was going to have to endure a whole week with no grits. That would’ve totally sucked, so when I picked up the menu and saw grits, I breathed a small sigh of relief and closed the menu.
I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t anymore drama between Jacob and his parents. More accurately, I should say that there was drama between Jacob and his dad. They seemed to argue about every little detail of our day. Every time Travis would suggest something that we could do, Jacob would talk about how it was going to suck. When Travis offered to let Jacob decide what we were going to do, Jacob huffed and puffed and snapped that he didn’t care what we did because the whole trip was a dumb idea. Travis looked defeated and finally gave up on trying to talk to him about it anymore.
Personally, I was beginning to grow tired of Jacob’s complaining, and as soon as we were alone I let him know. We had walked out onto the back deck and found a set of stairs that led down to the beach. We both ditched our sandals at the top of the stairs and made our way down to the sand, where we headed toward the beach. The waves were crashing against the shore, and a light wind was sweeping across the water, carrying the scent of the ocean with it as we walked along the shoreline. Finally, I spoke.
“What the fuck is your fucking problem, dude?” I said rather nastily, as I jerked my hand away from him when he tried to grab it.
“What are you talking about?” he asked defensively. I looked at him incredulously before I continued.
“Your dad is doing everything he can to try to make you happy and you’re being a dick,” I said, not caring whether or not I upset him at this point.
“Alex, you don’t know what’s going on,” he tried to explain, but I cut him off.
“I know exactly what’s going on,” I snapped. “You’re ruining everyone’s day, including mine. Why don’t you just fucking stop it?”
I knew I had crossed a line, but I didn’t care. I had never gotten in the middle of any argument he was having with his parents before, and I had seen some bad ones. They usually consisted of Jacob telling his dad why he hated him and calling him every name in the book, and of Jacob telling his stepmom that she was just that ... his stepmom.
I always hated that, but I knew how he felt. I had to grow up without my mom, but my situation was different. My mom is dead. I have no memory of her presence in my life. Jacob’s mom was still living, but for whatever reason, she was never there. What made it worse was the fact that when he came out, and he told her on the phone that he was gay, she told him that his being gay was what kept them apart. I hated her guts for that. He cried and tried his hardest not to be gay for a while, but there was nothing he could do about it.
Eventually, he got so depressed that I was afraid he was becoming suicidal. He never wanted to come out of his room, and he talked about his life as if it were over. He played the same CD, Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon”, over and over again, and he openly pondered what the exact moment of death was like. What upset me the most was that his mom was never in his life to begin with. She hadn’t seen him since he was five, and she always made promises that she never kept. She made him believe that she was moving back to Virginia Beach and that he was going to be able to live with her again as soon as she did, but that day never came.
She often called his house, but it was usually to ask Travis for some money. She never asked to speak to Jacob, and when he tried to get on the phone with her, she would normally hang up before he could even say hello. Then in March she was diagnosed with cancer. He wanted to go to Tennessee to see her right away, but they didn’t wind up going until April, when she suffered a heart attack.
Of course, selfishly, I was upset that they had gone to Tennessee. I was mad because I didn’t think it was fair to Gina, and I was mad because I didn’t like being away from him for a whole week. I was also afraid that she was going to hurt him somehow.
Instead, he came away from the visit with a new sense of who he was. I was so proud of him for standing up to his mom and letting her know that if she didn’t accept him the way he was, he didn’t accept her at all. Of course, even with that show of strength, he was devastated about what had happened. I knew it too. His dream was always for his mom to be a part of his life, and he had pretty much taken the first step in admitting to himself that his dream wasn’t going to come true. So, in a small way, I could relate to his pain. My dream has always been that somehow I could feel my mother’s touch one time, just to know what it was like. I know it’s irrational, but it’s still my dream.
The difference is that my mom is gone. She exists no longer. Jacob’s mom is still on this planet, breathing and living. For some selfish reason, she has chosen not just to live her life away from him, but to also dangle the possibility of being in his life right in front of his nose. In the process, she has had a negative impact on not just his life, but on the lives of everyone who loves him. Every time he cries for her, I cry for him.
Things weren’t always stressful between Jacob and his dad, either. In fact, when we were younger, there was no one else in the world who Jacob loved more than Travis. He was always hugging him, and it always seemed like no matter what they did, no matter where they were, Jacob was always holding his dad’s hand. I can remember watching them one time in the store. Jacob and Travis were holding hands as usual, and they were swinging their arms back and forth. It was almost a routine for them. But when things went from bad to worse with his mom, it seemed like Jacob withdrew and pushed his parents away. In fact, it had been a couple of years since I had seen him be affectionate at all with his dad. Still, it seemed like they had a good relationship, and I knew that Travis was willing to move the earth and the moon for Jacob. I also knew that deep down, Jacob felt the same way.
But today he was totally out of line. Travis was awesome as far as I was concerned, and Jacob had no right to treat him like crap. I felt like I had to stand up for him, because it was obvious that he didn’t want to argue with Jacob anymore. Like the rest of us, Travis wanted to have a nice vacation and relax. Jacob, on the other hand, wanted him to suffer.
“You just don’t understand,” he finally said quietly, as he walked along side me. We were close enough to the edge of the beach that the water that was rolling in was hitting our feet. It had a refreshing feel to it and neither one of us made a move to avoid it.
“Tell me what I don’t understand,” I said in a calmer, quieter voice. “What’s wrong?”
He looked up at me, blinking back tears, and my heart sank.
“I’m scared, Alex,” he admitted as his voice cracked. “What if she dies? I didn’t go see her, and she needs me.”
I didn’t have an answer. I was at a total loss as to what to tell my boyfriend. My best friend. He was struggling with something so profound and so personal that I found myself speechless. So, instead of answering, I reached down and picked up a medium sized rock. He looked curiously at me when I dropped to my knees, but a smile crept across his face when he saw what I was doing.
I used a sharp edge to draw a large heart in the moist sand, then, right in the center, I spelled both of our names. I sat down Indian style in the sand, and when he sat next to me, I wrapped my arm around him and let him lay his head on my shoulder. When we were little, and I mean really little, he had done the same thing. We were alone in a wooded area behind our neighborhood, and he used his pocket knife to carve out a large heart in the ground and write our names inside. Then we sat together, just like we were sitting on the beach. I leaned over and inhaled the scent of baby shampoo that his head was giving off, and I let my mind wander back to a time when things were simpler for the two of us.
As the morning turned to afternoon, we eventually shed our shirts and enjoyed the sun. We didn’t go in the water, though. Instead, we built a large sand castle. While we worked on it, Travis and Gina came down to the beach and slabbed us both down with sun block, and then they helped us with the sand castle.
When we were done, the four of us went for a long walk down the beach. At some point, Gina and I dropped back while Jacob and Travis walked side by side. There wasn’t any arguing, and there wasn’t any cussing. Instead, there was conversation. And at some point, when Gina and I had dropped back even further, I could swear I thought I saw Jacob’s and Travis’s arms slowly swinging back and forth.
Well, we made it back in one collective piece, with no injuries to speak of ... well, no physical ones … lol. We went crane jumping and I may never be the same again. It's funny how once they let you go, you can’t change your mind anymore ... lol. The actual sight of the ocean rushing toward me, or the thought that it was me rushing down toward the water, was something I don’t think I want to have to have run through my mind again. The crazy part is that my usually cautious and thoughtful boyfriend wanted us to do it again the next day!!! I told him HELL NO!!!
We also got to ride in a helicopter, which was something I never did before. I was kinda scared that there were too many of us in the thing but we made it ok. Well, at least I got to try something new that I most likely won’t get to do again. Actually, the helicopter ride was pretty cool. The thing they steer it with looks like a giant shifter for a car or something.
Besides that we swam on the days it didn’t rain and we ate at A LOT of wonderful restaurants and I was in hog heaven. I love shrimp, and the shrimp they had down there was fresh out of the water and HUGE. Mr. Travis did this thing where he marinaded it in some kind of mesquite sauce then he grilled it on the barbeque, and it was friggin’ awesome. The whole time we were there he kept trying to keep me from spending my money, and he bought everything I tried to buy and gave it to me and kept telling me to save my money. Last night I wanted to do something special because him and Miss Gina are so sweet to me all the time, so I paid for dinner and it was fun. I never paid at a restaurant before and it was cool. But the only sucky part was that I couldn’t pay the whole bill. They had to put his beers and Miss Gina’s wine on a different bill because I couldn’t pay for it or it would be against the law or something.
So anyway I’m home, and dad’s not home from work yet but I already talked to him and he's gonna try to get off early so we can spend some time together tonight. I’m not signed onto AOL yet while I’m typing this, because I wanted to do this in peace. Because I know that since I haven’t been home for a week like 25 people are gonna IM me all at once ... lol ... it's ok though. I missed chatting with everyone and I cant wait to catch up with everyone.