Officer Ramirez entered the room where my son sets holding a young boys' lifeless body in his arms while I held them both in mine. He said solemnly, "Peggy, the crime lab folks have arrived. I'm sorry but you and Antoine need to leave. We'll need statements. I'm sorry."
When Antoine, my son, made no effort to change or to release control of Manual, I said softly, "Honey, we need to leave so that the offices can perform their investigation. There isn't anything more we can do here."
He turned his head just enough to look deeply into my eyes. He shrugged noncommittally then returned his attentions back to Manual. He closed his eyes as a renewed ocean of tears freely flowed down his cheeks onto Manual's face.
I pulled myself together, leaned in and kissed my son on his cheek. The police officer helped me up from the floor. He led me into their living room and said, "Ma'am, we're treating this as an apparent aggravated capital murder scene. It is a murder during the commission of a sex crime. We have to go by the book. Your son was present at the time of death. We need to obtain DNA samples. I also need to see your son's genitals and his anal area – the technicians will take swab samples from those areas then send them on to our crime lab in Honolulu. I hope you understand. I'm sorry to trouble him at this time; however we have to do it."
"Can I take him away from here to a doctor?"
"No ma'am. The crime lab is setting up a command center. The photographers will be here soon. The lab people will be taking samples of basically everything. The coroner's office will also be here taking pictures. They will take Antoine's samples before he leaves the scene. There's no easier way."
I nodded, took in a deep breath then walked back into the kitchen where I knelt down and said, "Wake up honey. Son, you need to wake up for me."
He opened his eyes, nodded then went back into his emotional toxic shock state. When he made no effort to assist or resist, I softly kissed him on his forehead then rubbed his face with my hand. I nodded to Officer Ramirez.
The crime scene team entered. They took hundreds of pictures of everything as it was right then. When the scene pictures were finished, Antoine opened his mouth on command so that they could take several swabs of saliva from it. He did open his eyes then fixated them into mine when they removed his shorts and athletic supporter to take into evidence. The technician took multiple samples from his penis.
My son resisted their attempts to obtain samples from his rectum… in fact he refused. While the officer went to the doorway to summon other officers, Antoine advised me that he and Matt had had sex that morning… he said that Matt's sperms would be present.
I wondered how that could be. Nonetheless, I relayed the information to the forensics person. She told me that it would not be a problem, only that she would have to obtain Matt's DNA for comparison and collaboration purposes. I explained the what and why to Antoine. He submitted to the cotton swab invasion of his personal space.
Once that was completed, they took multiple samples from his fingernails, pubic hair, and specimens of what obviously had to have been Manual's blood and substances that had made their way to Antoine's skin.
Father Ben was allowed in. He, the forensics guys and I lifted Manual's body from Antoine's arms and draped it with a thin blue plastic sheet.
My son, very nearly catatonic from the ordeal, submitted to Father Ben's arms. I draped him with another sheet to cover his nakedness then carried him to the rectory where we took him directly to the bathroom. While I began filling the bath the priest helped Antoine to use the facilities. I'd never seen Antoine that helpless and hopeless since we'd been brought together. I vowed that he'd never be that down and out if I had anything to do with it.
Side by side we washed Antoine from head to toe, leaving nothing untouched. He didn't flinch as I washed that which physically designated him as my son. His unspoken permission for allowing me to do that brought home to me the true extent of his condition. While I was rinsing my son's hair, Father Ben excused himself. He returned a few minutes later with a white sheet and a flask filled to the brim with sacramental water so that we could ritually cleanse my boy's spiritual struggle.
After Father Ben extracted my son from the bathtub and we got him dried off I went upstairs to the clothing closet and retrieved some things for Antoine to wear. When I returned to the bathroom, Antoine was sitting on the closed toilet lid. He looked at me with this haunted look in his eyes, like he was there but wasn't there at all.
Like a zombie, with some help and guidance from us Antoine walked into the kitchen and sat down in a chair. I looked out the window and sat that while the ambulances and patrol officers were gone, the coroner's vehicle and the forensics team were still present.
Just then my phone rang. Caller ID showed it was Jim calling. He'd been notified of what had happened just moments before his call to me. I excused myself but Antoine took hold of my hand and urged me to sit down next to him, and then he put his head in my bosom and began softly crying. Crying, soft as it may be, is a very good sign that a catatonic state is dissipating.
Jim said that he'd be catching the first flight back; in fact he was going to notify the pilot to abort and return to Maui. "Jim, you need to be with your mother in her time of need. Please don't turn back. There is nothing that you can do that hasn't been done already, or what will be done over the next few days."
I held the phone to Antoine's ear so that Jim could talk to him. Other than for a couple of yes's and a couple of no's my boy said nothing. He handed the phone back to me and then headed out the door with Father Ben on his heels.
I convinced Jim to keep his trip plans to be with his mother intact. After getting off the phone I went outside to see where my boy and his priest went. They were sitting on the glider. I walked over to them. Antoine made room for me to sit next to him. With the saddest expression I'd ever seen him wearing he asked, "What now, mom?"
"I don't know. Let's go home."
Father Ben closed and locked the doors to the rectory then as we were getting ready to get into his car, we saw a stretcher with a small covered mound being wheeled toward the coroner's van. Antoine saw it too. Purposefully, he walked toward the stretcher despite our requests for him not to do so. We caught up to him just as the attendants were about to load the cart. Antoine arrived. He found the zipper to the bag, lowered it and then he stared at the little face of his friend for a moment or two before turning around and walking to Father Ben's vehicle, got in and then sat and waited for us.
I got in beside him and Father Ben headed out to take us home. Antoine said but two words but they chilled me to the core, "Manual's dead." He then resisted me from taking him into my arms, instead looking out the window toward the ocean.
When we got home he quietly went to his bedroom and shut the door behind him while Father Ben and I watched him go.
I called Alice, "Alice, please send the boys home. I'm sorry for the short notice but Antoine needs them. I'm afraid that his little friend Manual was killed today. He's taking it very, very hard…"
Within 15 minutes the boys entered the kitchen. I briefly told them what had happened but they wouldn't listen to everything I said because they took off for Antoine's room with Father Ben and me on their heels.
After arriving in Antoine's room, everybody, including Alice, Jason and William enveloped Antoine in our loving arms and held him tightly for an indeterminable period of time. We prayed together asking our Father to give Antoine the strength he needed to ‘come back' to this world.
After several hours of holding him, praying for him, loving him and supporting him, he did come back to us. As if he'd only been asleep he opened his eyes, sighed, took my hand in his, put his other hand in Father Ben's then allowed his extended family to touch him in all places, except for one place, as he recovered his sense of time, place, surroundings and being.
Later, after a light dinner prepared by Alice, the boys went upstairs to be by their selves while the adults hung back downstairs. The Klinger's didn't stay very late but they did allow their sons to stay overnight.
After they left, I fixed myself a stiff bourbon and Coke, and sat in the quiet solitude of the TV room for an hour or so just to unwind.
I then watched the news. Manual's murder was mentioned however no details were given because it was a developing story… or so said he newscasters. I would later learn that they, the media, would be given no information relative to the case.
At about midnight, I took upstairs to get a shower and go to bed. The light in Antoine's room as on yet he wasn't in there. Immediately, a flash of concern very nearly took over my psyche with wonder at where my son could be. I went to Jeremy's room and then David's room and then my room and then, finally, Allen and Angel's room. The door was open and the room was dark except for soft light coming from the bathroom. I very quietly stole into the room and headed toward their bathroom door because the illumination would be better. I did peek into the bathroom but nobody was there. I opened the door so that the full light would shine into the bedroom so I could see if my Antoine was there.
Not only was he in the bed… but he was in the middle of it… David, Jeremy, Jason and William had Antoine cocooned into their protective custody. All the boys, including my son, were sound asleep; their breathing deep and regular, a few light snores emanating from the mass of arms, legs, and torso's. I gathered a sheet from the linen closet and covered their naked bodies and then let them be.
I was up early after a fitful night tossing and turning and reliving the events of the previous day in and through my mind, non-stop. As a nurse I'd seen death before, even young people's, and even found the body of a young man who'd been tossed into the ocean and who'd been washed up to shore… but nothing had ever prepared me for what I'd seen the day before at a little house close to the mission. Nothing had ever prepared me for the reaction my son had had with all that had happened to him – even with psych nursing as a second specialty in nursing school. So those events, emotions and traumas played over and over and over again. Finally, at 4:30 I said to myself, as I know the boys say from time to time, "Fuck it."
I went downstairs, put on a pot of strong coffee and went to the pool where I would wait until the java was ready for consumption.
Just as I was pouring my second cuppa Jim called. I drank cups #2, 3 and 4 while giving him the entire story as it had unfolded the previous day and evening. I know it sounds selfish but I needed to talk to someone so I could share my own profound grief and heart pain, and doubts as to whether I handled the situation correctly. I openly cried hard when I told him how the boys had rallied around Antoine, cocooned him with love and companionship. Jim told me that was what his boys did the best, that it was natural and normal for them. He told me the story of how Allen and Angel had become a part of his family. He said that nothing had been planned or anything along those lines when Peter became a part of the family, or Matt, or us – Antoine and I. He said that it just happens around here (his family, his home).
By the time we got off the phone I was feeling much, much better, and more focused, and more able to help the boys, especially Antoine.
I went upstairs and took a shower in Jim's room, put on a sundress then made my rounds to see what the boys were up to. I didn't have to look very far, or for very long. They were still soundly sleeping in Allen and Angel's room, the cover tossed aside… which ‘what was up' was not all that difficult to ascertain. It was the first time I'd actually seen to the full extent of my son's male member. While I didn't linger because I didn't want him to be massively embarrassed at me seeing him that way, I consigned it to memory so that if he had any troubles with acceptance, I could assure him that he was quite normal in every respect… not that I anticipated Antoine would ever come to me with a concern like that… but still…
At 8:30 the boys still hadn't come downstairs. I knew one way to wake them up without embarrassing them.
Lots of food.
Within the hour, 5 boys between the ages of 8 and 15 were hungrily lapping and wiping clean dozens of eggs, pounds of bacon, stacks of pancakes, an orange tree de-sap-ed of its offerings, and their appreciations represented by three burps loud enough to shatter fine crystal… only Antoine and Jeremy reserved their air bubbles… until they went outside to the pool to sit and wait for their meals to digest before going swimming.
Meanwhile, Thursday night, in Matt & Peter's room at the hospital
"Fuck him. If we can't even hug then fuck it. I don't even want to have sex with him. I don't even want him around me." I said to Peter, angrily.
"Dude, we've gone over this at least 500 times and have not yet resolved anything. It's late, I want to go to sleep, and willya just get over it! You guys aren't even a couple. Big deal. Now go to sleep." Peter responded in kind.
Just as I was falling asleep, Matt spat, "He's an asshole. Fuck him. What the hell's he doing at YOUR house anyway? I won't live under the same roof. Just send me to some fucking orphanage or some damn place. I'll just run away and live on my own."
"WOULD YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP! STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF. Have you ever thought of what Antoine might be thinking for once? Huh? I am sick to fuckin death of hearing your stupid damn whining."
"What the hell do you know? You live in that idealist bullshit. Everything is just fine. You have a boyfriend who you smack butts with at any given time, any damn time you want. What do you know? Not a damn thing."
"How the fuck dare you talk about David like that! Dude, you're fucked up in the head. Maybe you shouldn't come live with us. We don't act like that shit. That's old bullshit coming out your ass, bro."
With that said I went to the game room, sat down and ‘enjoyed' (not) a few muscle spasms because I was so uptight at what Matt had been saying. Finally, my anger brimmed over the top… I picked up the remote and tossed across the room as hard as I could. It hit the wall and busted all to hell.
The security guard entered the room, looked all around then at me and said professionally, and "Is everything okay?"
"No, but there's nothing you can do about it. That guy in there is crazy in the head." I said defeated.
With that, I took off and walked some laps around the ward to walk off my upset feelings. On about the 30th lap an idea came to me: Antoine's afraid.
Okay, well, I could relate.
I returned to our room. Matt was sitting in the chair at the desk. He looked up. The anger was still present though not as pronounced as it had been when I'd left to go walking around. I said, "Antoine's afraid; I relate as I've been there done that. Think about it."
With that said I got back into bed after turning off the light and went to sleep.
Sometime later the lights came on in the room thus waking me up. When my eyes opened, Matt was sitting on the side of the bed looking at me. "What?" I said grumpily.
"You're right. Antoine IS afraid. Peter… so am I. Like what if he doesn't like me? What if we don't get along? What if … no wait, I'm selfish, I just realized it, what can I do to fix things?"
Sleepily, I laid my head back on my pillow, and replied, "You guys are going to have to work it out, bro. Nobody can do it for you… now turn off the light."
Meanwhile in the "Nest"
The alarm clock read 4:36am when I turned over onto my side. I'd only been asleep for a little over an hour. I needed to piss really, really bad yet I felt so safe with the sprawl of arms, legs and torsos holding me in bed comfortingly. One arm, one hand was casually lying over my fully elongated prong sending shivers of pleasure through my body. I reached down then moved the hand off of my member.
Having absolutely no recourse, I worked myself out of bed then went into the bathroom where I took my naked cock and pointed it into the toilet. I could not piss. Everything I tried failed to work. As a last resort, I closed the door, got into the shower, turned on the water, and got it to a very warm temperature allowing it to cascade over my body and into the drain. Nothing. I could not pee no matter how hard I tried.
Relax. It was just a piss hard, after all, wasn't it? Relax.
Convinced I would not pee, ever, I sat down on the floor then let the water flow over me allowing me to relax sufficiently. I took a hold of my fully engorged member, held it up to my chest, allowed the water to flow unabated over it then got a tremendous urge to pee. I rhythmically squeezed the last third of it then ran my fingers over its slit. I could feel the piss sitting right there on the brink of flowing forward. I pushed down like I was going to take a dump. Thankfully only a fart escaped – but then the piss began flowing like a fountain. The warm fluid escaping from my penis actually felt good spraying onto my chest and neck, making its way into the drain.
Once the last dribbles escaped and then stopped I was still left with evidence of sexual desire.
While the manipulations and adjustments to performance and persistence felt very good, my mind began replaying the words of shame he who ejected sperms into she who collected and stored eggs, and the good Padre said to me about depravity and hellfire should I slink into temptation to release those fluids prepared by and stored in my male organs.
What confused the situation even more, a battle really, was hearing the words of Father Ben and Mildred saying ejaculation of by any method not hurting myself or another person was normal and natural.
I closed my eyes and gave in to the most recent words of encouragement. My stroking picked up speed with a clear and convincing goal in mind, however that which designates me as male would not, despite increased squeezing motions, release the fluids onto the shower floor.
The senses creating urgency and need prevailed.
I'd never done what my mind was thinking of at the time but it worth a shot (pun intended). I laid down flat on the floor. All the while the warm water was cascading over my body. Taking a bold step, I put my chin down on my chest then brought my cock up and found plenty of it was available but I was in a really bad position … so I moved around to where my legs and butt were resting on the wall.
Thinking that what I was about ready to do was depraved and despicable, I did it anyway because my dick called for release loud and clear. With those thoughts swirling about in my brain, I stuck the end of my dick in my mouth then fed more until it was resting at the back of my throat. Quickly, I began stroking and milking my cock until the feeling of imminent release completely took hold of my body.
Then it happened.
Shot after shot, jet after jet of jizz smashed against my vocal cords. The sheer volume tried to gag me at the onset but then I relaxed my throat muscles using relaxation techniques taught to me by Sensei (although I don't think swallowing my dick was one of the purposes for teaching me relaxation). That ended the gag reflex allowing me to drink the spunk with impunity.
When I came back to this world, the water shooting from the spigot was ice cold. Quickly, sooner rather than later, I got up, turned off the water, got out and dried off.
I was still frozen though. My body was shaking with cold. I chuckled at seeing my dick totally shriveled up like a prune. I was amused to see my balls, which usually hung low, totally hugging my body looking for warmth.
After tossing the wet towel into the dirty clothes hamper, I strode into the room, wormed my way into my assigned place between everybody, pulled the sheet such that it was now covering my nakedness and coldness. Without asking for, without any coaxing on my part, a bunch of arms and legs enveloped me completely. Soon I was toasty warm and that is how I fell back into a peaceful and restful sleep.
I awoke with a start sometime later. One of the guys behind me had his prong deep between my ass cheeks pumping away like nobody's business. Before I could turn over to push away that pumping spear I felt a hot liquid run between my cheeks. It was pushing at my ass hole as it released its spray bottle.
Rather than being repulsed, the hot liquid running between my cheeks was, almost, pleasurable, but not quite. When the motions ceased, I then heard rhythmical deep breathing behind me. Slowly and determined I raised my head up and off of the pillow and looked behind me to see who it was. Angel pulled himself close then held me tightly never once opening his eyes or giving any other evidence of waking up.
When his cock fully rested and fell from between my globes it more or less fell to where it was lightly touching my ass cheek. Curiously I reached back and took a big glob of the fluid into my fingers. I tasted his nectar and found it to be incredibly sweet, very unlike my own that had tasted somewhat bitter, salty and unpleasant.
Nonetheless, I laid my head back down on the pillow and quickly fell asleep … with a smile on my face and peace in my heart.
Later, I did not know how much later, I awoke with arms and legs moving around me. At first I was startled however that did not last for too long because several pairs of hands were running over my face, neck, shoulders, and upper back.
David was in front of me. When I opened my eyes, he was smiling warmly then without a second thought he reached up and kissed me on my forehead. It was not a passionate or sexual kiss, although his hardness was poking me into my stomach area.
"I've gotta pee like a racehorse. Help me out of here so I can go take care of business."
Quickly, I moved my legs from the tops of his allowing him to free himself. He grabbed his crutches which had been leaning against the wall then made his way into the bathroom. Soon enough a very loud splashing of water was heard as he relieved himself. "Ahhh what a relief that was!" David exclaimed.
When he came out of the bathroom, his very hard dick led the way out of the bedroom. I giggled.
I too got out of bed then noticed the clock read 11:15am as I made my way into the bathroom where I easily unloaded a bladder full of liquids that had built up from earlier in the morning. I let out a really good good-morning-fart as I always do and then noticed that my butt crack felt crusty. I simply wet a washrag and wiped my ass good with it.
Finished with those tasks, I went back into the bedroom, looked for my clothes – there were none – so I took off padding down to the guest room which had been assigned to me. I reached into the dresser drawer then pulled out a pair of running shorts that had a liner in them. Assured that my cock was nestled comfortably inside of them I headed downstairs.
Mom and David were talking quietly at the bar. I walked over to them – they were smiling broadly. I kissed mom on her forehead, gave David a warm hug then strode over to the refrigerator, poured a large glass full of pineapple juice and slammed it down quickly. I poured another glass then went and sat down with them. Immediately, they began massaging my shoulders.
"Did you sleep okay sweetie?" Mom said with concern in her voice.
"Like a well behaved baby. How about you?"
"I slept okay after getting to sleep."
"How did you sleep, David? We were pretty much packed in like sardines and everything."
"Oh, I slept wonderful. I like sleeping with my brothers. I sleep really well that way. Sleeping with them has been my salvation, so to speak, with Peter gone and everything."
"Kewl, thank you, David, thank you from the bottom of my heart; you don't know how good waking up with all of you around me meant."
"Anytime dude. Anytime."
"Peggy, if I can, may I please go on to the hospital so that I can spend the day with Peter?"
"Of course. I won't stand in your way. Just pack you a bag so you can leave from there if that is what you want to do. I talked to your dad early this morning. You all will be coming home tomorrow afternoon rather than on Monday. Your dad is going to talk your grandmother into coming back here with him."
"Cool. You guys will like her a lot. I just know you will. Okay, I'll go pack a bag then. I'll be back in a few."
That said David took off for upstairs leaving mom and I there alone. Quickly, she put her hand in mine and squeezed lightly, assuredly.
After a couple of minutes of total silence, our eyes met. We started to speak at the same time. Mom giggled, "Go ahead."
"No. You go ahead."
"No, you go ahead."
"You're the adult, please."
"Okay. Have it your way. Don't say I didn't warn you though. Antoine, I want you to speak to your mentor but first I want you to call Father Ben. He was so worried about you yesterday. You owe it to him to make the call yourself, pronto. Those are your priorities before and over anything else."
"Mom, my Sensei lives in Singapore. I lost my cell phone somewhere between … uhm, I don't know where. Not here."
"Okay, I keep meaning to get you one. I'm sorry. Let's do that today when we are on the way to the hospital – assuming you want to go up …"
Mom regarded me for a long moment. I then regarded her for an even longer moment then said "Are you sure? How am I going to fix that which is broken?"
After a few minutes of silence mom said "Follow your heart, Antoine. Follow your heart. I'm behind you all the way. But you have to follow your heart, always."
I nodded then said intently, meaningfully, with heartfelt intentions "Follow your heart too. Do not be afraid."
Mom stood up then we reached for each other. We held on tightly as shudders passed between us knowing that we must follow our hearts not knowing what the results will be.
I met David on the stairway. He was coming down, I was going up. We smiled then automatically hugged tightly. David kissed my cheek then strode on downstairs while I went upstairs, stopping by the bathroom before I went to make the calls I was told to make.
After arriving in the bathroom, I closed and locked the door, stripped naked, sat down on the toilet, dumped a huge load of refuse into the sewer system, wiped clean and flushed.
I took a very hot cleansing shower making sure that every single pore was purified as much as possible without using hot oils of ritual.
Just as I turned off the water, a soft knock on the door interrupted my semi meditative state. I recognized the knock though – mom's.
"I'll be right out."
"Would you allow me to wash your back for you today?"
For a brief moment, I felt shame and embarrassment then quickly dismissed those feelings after remembering everyone telling me time and time again that we have nothing to be ashamed of with our bodies, and that she had washed my back many times after Mildred passed away. Nevertheless, I did not wish to embarrass my mother so I draped a towel over my maleness then held it with one hand while I opened the door with my other one. She was standing there with a very warm smile on her face "Yes please. Thank you." I replied without any further hesitations.
That said mom came in, ran a sink full of water then grabbed a washrag out of the closet. After soaping it up adequately I turned around away from her. Her soft but firm hands wonderfully scrubbed my back then when she was finished, rinsed and dried it tenderly.
"Honey, are you okay today? I mean are you really okay? You've been through so much over the past 24 hours, and well, you scared me yesterday. I can't help but to worry about you, it's my job as a parent. Oh honey, I wish bad things would stop happening to you. But you were with Manual. He was not alone. You gave him great gifts."
"No, I'm not really okay. My soul is deeply troubled. It still strongly wishes to avenge his death. He was hurt. He was harmed. And … he had every single choice taken away from him. The people who did this to him must pay, yet, the Biblical God only carries the level of forgiveness Pablo needs. His mother does not have the necessary strength; she will carry the scars forever; she will never live in peace."
I continued after a short pause, "Mom, the boy is playing now, and he's free, and he's happy. Make no mistake, I will be watching the police, the courts, and everybody who has anything to do with Manual's injuries and avenging his untimely death. Pablo must pay."
Intently, mom looked into my eyes and said, "Honey, I feel the same way you do… but… you have to allow the courts to find him guilty and to exact punishment. Don't do anything that you'll regret, you know what I mean."
"Mother, my spirit will heal before my mind. While my mind may become weak my spirit will not let this go until Manual's death is avenged through the courts, or through other means. I'm sorry it has to be this way. I think and feel your words. I have made your words mine. That child, Manual, his spirit rests in my spirit. Our souls are touching. They are interlocking."
She reluctantly nodded and pulled me into her bosom where we hugged deeply. My towel fell to floor but I made no effort to retrieve it. Instead, we hugged tighter as a tear escaped, a sob began to take hold but I held it back the best I could. Once our hug spontaneously came to a conclusion, she patted my bare butt and sent me on my way.
Without any sense of shame, I headed to the room where I was assigned, dressed in a pair of firm fitting white BVD's, jeans, a t-shirt, white socks and tennis shoes then went to Jim's office where I called Father Ben.
Father Ben (3rd ring): Hello.
Me: Good morning Father Ben, this is me, Antoine.
Father Ben: Hey buddy, you sound much better this morning. Are you doing okay?
Me: I guess so.
Father Ben: You do sound better. Did you sleep well?
Me: I slept in a cocoon with my friends. My spirit felt safe and protected, and yes I even felt love. Mom and I spoke with each other this morning. I feel better but…
Father Ben: I understand. Antoine, would you come to the mission today? We have much to talk about.
Me: I must speak with my mentor. What do we need to talk about?
Father Ben: I wanted to talk to you in person. Would you be able to come see me Sometime today?
Me: I will try. May I ask what troubles you?
Father Ben <after an uncomfortable pause>: Pablo's arraignment was this morning. Until the DNA test results come back there really isn't much the DA can do. The coroner also called with preliminary autopsy results…
Me <I felt rage return to my mind and spirit>: You mean they CUT HIM UP INTO PIECES?
Father Ben: They did not cut him into pieces. They had to find out how his body died. His spirit, Antoine, is safe and protected, and will live on forever.
Me: I feel Manual's spirit residing within mine. Yes, he is at peace. I'm sorry to cause you to worry. I must go now. <Click>.
I undressed, assumed the meditation position on the floor, and then went within myself to that place where nobody could get into, or out of, and I am unaware.
As always, the period of meditation ended seemingly in the next moment but when I looked at the clock, 45 minutes had passed. I became aware of knocking on the door.
Quickly, I got up from my sitting, my meditating position, then walked over to the door, unlocked it, opened it. My mother was standing there looking at and into me …
"Antoine, I've been knocking on your door for over 30 minutes…"
"Mother, I'm sorry. I am not aware of my surroundings when I meditate deeply. I need to ask you something, please?"
"I must be in person for my mentor. I must travel to him."
"Where is your mentor, Antoine?"
"Singapore. I must arrive there."
"Oh gosh, honey, this isn't possible in the time that you need to speak with him."
"I must listen. He will know of my situation. He will guide me with my senses."
"Honey, Jim is tops in telecommunications. May I speak to him? He may have an immediate solution but I do not know for sure what that might be. Let me call him. I will give you an answer. Come with me. You may explain to him better than I can." Mother said then pulled me into a deep, deep hug. I felt her spirit. It was nothing like I had ever experienced before. It was not troubling instead it was comforting, and very strong.
"I trust you. Yes."
With that, I became aware of my nakedness yet at the same time felt no shame, however I put on the underwear and pair of jeans neatly folded on the floor next to my meditation spot.
We went downstairs to the bar where mom initiated the phone communications with Jim.
Mom: Hi Jim. How are you this morning?
Jim: I'm okay. How are you? How is Antoine this morning? – Is he better?
Mom: He's right here. We needed to talk to you.
Me: Hello sir.
Jim: Good morning Antoine. I really wish I were there with you.
Me: Yes sir, as do I. Your sons, they were with me throughout the night. Their presence gave me peace and tranquility.
Jim: Good. I knew they would. What can I do for you right this moment?
Mom: Jim, Antoine needs to travel to Singapore to see, and to speak with his mentor.
Jim: Yes, of course, we can put you on a next available flight to see your mentor. Let me know when and where you need to go so that arrangements can be made.
Mom: Jim, he lives in Singapore.
Jim: Oh… well, that's no trouble. How soon do you need to leave?
Me: Mother tells me that you might be able to do something, that you may have some means where I could speak to my Sensei immediately. I am sorry but I was irresponsible… I lost my cell phone, so I'm sorry, I will not burden you.
Jim: Antoine, I don't see how your need to speak with your mentor and loss of your cell phone go together.
Mom said to me: I don't see how they go together either. Phones can be replaced. Your spirit needs to be put to rest so we'll do whatever needs to be done to make that happen. Then to Jim, added, "Jim, you're in communications… is there a way to bring them together now?"
Jim: Of course there is… so long as the receiving person has videoconferencing capabilities. Tell you what… Jeremy has a key to my office… have him let you in. I'll then lead you to the connection; it is very easy.
Twenty minutes later, after Jeremy unlocked Jim's office door and after he turned on the computer equipment, mom called Jim back and said that we were ready. She and Jeremy then exited the office, locked and closed the door behind them.
Jim first established a connection with Angel's cell phone. When he answered, he was definitely out of breath, flushed, panting hard, and hurried. Dad snickered. I was super-totally embarrassed as it was not too difficult to determine that they'd been interrupted, as the saying goes. My worst fears came to light when Allen came into view. The equipment was so acute and detailed that it clearly showed white strands of liquid on his cheek.
Quickly, we terminated the call. That aside, I felt comfortable for Jim and I to end our conversation.
After arranging the camera properly, I undressed completely, folded my clothing neatly and laid it on the sofa and then I initiated the call to Sensei. He answered on the 4th tone.
Sensei: Hello young Antoine-son. You are very troubled, yes?
Me: Yes, Sensei. My spirit is heavily burdened. I shall anticipate and appreciate your assistance.
With that, in preparation for a combined meditation with him, I sat on top of the desk so that we could, the best we could under the circumstances, speak freely with all holds barred.
I looked at Sensei's face displayed on the large screen hanging on Jim's office wall and began telling Sensei of the difficulties then currently besieging my soul.
Sensei: His death must be avenged, yes. But not by you. Not right now. Right now, you are having rage. You are in shock. Your senses are betraying you. Permit the local legal system to perform its duties. If they fail then and only then will you begin the War with Evil. Before you declare war though, you must release Manual's spirit else it will be destroyed forever and ever, never to return. The remnants would forever and ever be lost to the Cloud of Mystery. Remember, Antoine-son, that love and honor and peace destroys hate and discord, and must prevail.
Me: How do I do that, my teacher?
With Sensei leading our meditation, we mediated for the next two hours. Emergence was quick and painless.
From nowhere, without forethought, planning or preparation I said, "How do I experience the release of my spirit?
Sensei: Help another child in need. Give of yourself.
Me: I need the ritual of cleansing, Sensei. We must do this together as we have done in the past.
Sensei <smiling>: No Antoine-son. Not only do we not have the necessary cleansing agents and oils but we also cannot experience the sense of touch… however, most importantly, your spirit is surrounded by 8 halos, one of which is your very own. It shines brightly.
Me <after thinking about a feeling what he was saying, and had said: Sensei, my spirit is confused about another facet of my earthly life. It is very troubling. May I speak of it?
Because our relationship had been very, very open… when he was silent he was waiting for me to speak… I did the same with him, so when he didn't say anything, I said, "My sex scares me, Sensei. It has already, and will continue to fail the tests for purity, honor and dignity, and design.
Sensei: You will soon experience the Ultimate Release of your spirit. Soar high and mighty. Permit yourself to experience, and permit yourself to release another soul highly and mightily. You soul is not designed to live in a box, Antoine-son.
Me: What do you mean, Sensei?
Sensei: You will experience it. I cannot tell you how and when or where.
Me: I will fail. I will fail the call.
Sensei: Maybe so. Maybe not. I seriously doubt you will fail.
Me: I am weak.
Sensei: NO. YOU ARE STRONG. You have cast about many demons from your past and from your present – already. Trust your instincts. The Great Spirit has blessed you. Go. Love. Do not hold back. Follow your heart.
Me: No. I am weak.
Sensei: Go child. You are holding up the Universe.
Me: I am weak as a man.
Sensei: Oh but you are not weak as man. You are a boy. You will grow into a strong man. A man is within himself. He gives of himself. Go and give of yourself. Follow your heart. <Click, the screen went blank>.
It can't be.
What is – is.
Upon arrival at the hospital, even though I knew it would happen, a wheelchair greeted me. A security man urged me to sit in it while another man took my crutches, and then we headed to see Matt and Peter, my beloved Peter.
As we entered The Suit, Dr. Rasmussen also arrived. For the next few minutes he spoke of Matt and Peter's rapid recovery, and that they would be discharged home the following day, or the next day after that.
When the doctor left the room, Peter and I immediately embraced warmly. Peter's strength and stamina was returning day by day. With Dr. Rasmussen's news of his impending discharge from the hospital my mind immediately went to us sleeping together, and hopefully joining in such a way so as to bring us bliss and bonding. Our lips found each others, however we restrained so as to not embarrass Matt, or make him feel otherwise uncomfortable.
Glenda arrived shortly after we sat on Matt's bed and started talking excitedly about their being home, and the arrangements that had thus far been planned for Matt's entry into our family.
She removed the IV's which had been the only remaining encumbrance holding them back, other than soreness, of course.
With that, I accompanied them on their thirty minute every two hour walking marathon around the hospital ward to get back their strength and stamina. We were talking all the way and soon found that 45 minutes had passed.
When we returned to The Suit, Matt and Peter were summoned to their room to have their dressings changed. I went to the game room. Antoine was just coming out of the galley area. He smiled and walked to where I was sitting.
After looking around for any staff that might have been present or in close proximity, and seeing none, Antoine sat down across the table from me. He said, "How's Matt today? Is he okay?"
"Yeah, they're fine. Dr. Rasmussen said they could probably come home tomorrow, or Sunday at the latest. Otherwise, <wearing a sly smile>, you'll have to find out for yourself."
Antoine looked to the floor. Worry lines showed on his eyelids and below his dark orbs. Finally, he mustered strength and said, "I'm afraid I really messed things up yesterday. I don't know if he'll ever forgive me."
"You'll never know unless you find out. Talk to Matt about it, okay?"
Antoine slowly nodded his understanding.
At the same time, Glenda exited the hospital room, stuck her head in the door and said, "Okay, I'm all done. You guys can go on in. I'll see you a little later."
With that she was off to do her nursing duties elsewhere.
Antoine and I both stood. I said to him, "Dude, you two have it bad. Just follow your heart to say and do the right thing." He blushed fiercely. I giggled then took off for their room.
As soon as we entered, Matt's whole demeanor changed to one of fear and worry. I'd seen that look in Peter's eyes a few times since we'd been together. Peter saw it too, got up and out of bed, walked over and kissed me tenderly and then whispered in my ear, "Let's go babe. They need some time alone to work their stuff out."
Peter then gathered himself together and put on a hospital robe. I retrieved a hospital orderly who graciously offered to wheel Peter to the cafeteria to get a Coke.
I said to Matt and Antoine, "You guys work it out. When we come back you had better have…"
They both looked at us and then they looked at each other. Matt shrugged his shoulders, Antoine gave a sheepish nod.
Security ushered us to the cafeteria where we purchased soft drinks and found a table in a faraway corner, away from the few people who had gone there to do the same.
When they left, without regard for anyone, we leaned across the table and kissed tenderly.
To be continued