- Friday -
Peter and I awoke to the slight bump as the jet touched down in Tokyo, Japan for refueling and replenishment of on-board supplies and food. The rest of the guys were still totally out to the world asleep.
An hour and a half or so later we were taking off on our final leg of the trip home.
Unable to ignore or deny an urgent need to use the facilities, I got up and took care of business. Peter entered just as I was finishing up. I went back to bed. The rest of the guys were in various stages of waking up. Andy was chattering away to Benji about life on the islands, the things to do; the ocean, the sunsets, the wide variety of people, the largest mountain in the world (combining both underwater and above the surface height), Pearl Harbor on Oahu and Diamond Head also on Oahu.
The rest of us joined in the conversation, adding bits and pieces here and there, clarifying what Andy had said, and sharing our excitement about getting 'home'.
During the conversations, I vaguely heard the pilot say over the intercom system that we'd be experiencing turbulence, “A very large low pressure system...”
The conversation was non-stop and getting louder as the excitement grew.
Since I hadn't taken my Leg off I walked to the door to our cabin. The pilot said, “We will be traveling north to avoid the brunt...”
The noise was too loud to hear completely what the pilot was saying, something about a storm up ahead.
Just then, a loud knock on the door nearly scared the shit out of me since my ear was against it. I took a step back. The door opened abruptly. Dad stuck his head in and loudly exclaimed, “Boys get in your seats, NOW! Don't ask any questions!”
As soon as the word 'questions' exited his mouth our plane went into a steep descending right hand turn. At same time a huge wave of turbulence sent me and dad up against a bulkhead and then to the floor.
As the plane violently rocked and rolled we made it to our seats by crawling low to the floor, similar to how a crab makes it to its destinations.
After a few very short minutes, thankfully, we were buckled in. The pilot found a leveling off point. Dad was lying on the floor riding it out. I wondered why mom wasn't in the main cabin with us. I asked dad, “Where's mom?”
He replied, “She wasn't feeling good and is lying down in bed. I'll be right back. You boys stay buckled in and do NOT leave your seats for any reason!”
With that, dad stood and carefully made his way into their cabin. When he reappeared, he was holding steadfast to mom and soon got her buckled in, and then he took his own seat and buckled up, not a second before the plane began, once again, violently bucking and shaking.
The pilot announced on the PA system, “I will be changing our altitude and direction to avoid the severe up and downdrafts coming up. This is a very large weather complex, and quite unusual for this time of year. Do not be alarmed. This plane is designed to withstand a storm like this. Thank you.” Click.
With that the plane immediately went into a sharp ascending left turn. With the rapid ascent and sharp directional change we were all pushed deep down into our seats. Between the violence and fear mom turned green, immediately tossing her cookies into a barf bag.
Shoo, sitting next to mom, suffered a similar fate.
Andy, sitting next to me, lost his next, followed by Angel. Jeremy, sitting across the main cabin from me bowed his head then suddenly sat forward and ralfed violently.
That did it for me. A wave of nausea nearly overtook my, metaphorically stated cast iron stomach. After swallowing many times in rapid succession I was able to maintain and keep my cookies crunchy.
Antoine was fine though he had his eyes closed. The love of his life, Matt, likewise had his eyes closed. The boys had their hands tightly clasped.
Allen, bless him, was reading a comic book. A wide smile ran from ear to ear. He caught my looking at him. He mouthed, “I'm hungry.”
As if the plane could ascend any faster or at a steeper angle, it did do just that. My stomach began churning and churning and churning some more. And then the plane leveled off.
But the damage was already done. I dropped my laptop to the floor, kicked it under my seat, and lost it.
Between exertions I peered across the cabin and saw that Matt was likewise leaning forward. His face was red. Antoine was circularly rubbing Matt's back lovingly. He was maintaining although his eyes were wide open and looking straight ahead with definite purpose.
Peter had his hand on my neck, rubbing it tenderly. Between uttering various expletives I looked into his eyes. The love and empathy emanating from them was second to none.
Once the plane leveled off, dad attended to mom's gastric violent outbursts, much like Peter was doing to me, and Antoine was doing to Matt.
All bad things must come to an end.
The plane's mega-powerful engines settled into their 'normal' drone state; the wings leveled out; it was once again flying perpendicular to the ocean.
The pilot announced, “I'm very sorry for our rough flight. We went along the outer most periphery of the storm the best we could. The storm was expanding faster than we could avoid it. Radar and sonar indicate clear sailing ahead. The unfortunate part of the trip is that we will arrive approximately 45 minutes later than we had anticipated. Jim, Juan would you please come to the cockpit as soon as possible? Thank you.” Click.
Before going forward dad and Juan went through the cabin, reassured each and every one of us while collecting refuse and putting them into a large trash bag he's gathered from a galley compartment in the forward section of the plane. They then headed to the cockpit, closed the door and were gone for about 30 minutes. When he returned he turned to mom, whispered in her ear then got up and stood in front of the large screen.
Once our attention was placed solely to what he was about to say, he began speaking in a calm yet calculated and serious voice, “The pilot will soon be slowing this aircraft down to conserve fuel. He has informed me that much of the fuel was used during diversion around the storm. A lot of fuel was expended during the unscheduled steep ascent to a new altitude. Add to that a lot of fuel was used during our flying low altitude for a considerable amount of time. Flying at a low altitude causes more drag on the aircraft.”
Dad gave us a minute or so to digest the information then continued, “Our estimated arrival is a little under two hours away. The computers have calculated our remaining fuel at one two thirty minutes, barring any complications, give or take 15 minutes.”
Without missing a beat he added, “The Coast Guard has been dispatched in anticipation of an 'early arrival'. This is being done solely as a precautionary measure.”
“In the event that we have to make a water landing...”
Dad then went on to explain water landings, usage of flotation devices, exit points on the aircraft, and reassuringly said that the pilot had experience with water landings in his days in the military. He neither denied our danger nor did he give false hope though he was positive that all would be okay, no matter how it turned out. Juan reassuringly recounted his experiences, and made a couple of quirky comments that he was still here and on this side of the daisies, or coral as the case may be.
Our family and friends then joined hands and silently asked the Higher Powers and the Universe to see us safely through our remaining journey home.
I said to Peter, “I love you. No matter how this turns out I'll always love you. If the worst case scenario happens then our souls will live on together. I have no doubt.”
Peter replied, “We're going to be okay. Stay positive. That's what you've always told me.”
He then gave me two breath mints, twice in rapid succession squeezed my hand reassuringly, raised the divider and we scooted so that our shoulders and hips were touching. My dick, despite still having a queasy stomach, arose to the occasion, putting pressure on the zipper holding my pants closed.
About 30 minutes later the pilot announced, “We'll begin our descent in a couple of minutes. We'll experience some very minor turbulence but it is quite normal so don't be alarmed. The skies are clear and the trade winds are light so the rest of the trip should be smooth sailing. Jim, Juan, we're on a 45/30 track heading two eight zero.” Click.
I looked at dad, as did we all then we looked at Juan trying to figure out what the pilot meant by 45/30 heading two eight zero. They looked at each other then got up and went to the galley area. Soon they returned with life jackets. Juan explained that our seat cushions were flotation devices. He and dad then went around and securely fastened the bright orange colored vests to each of us.
Andy, sitting next to Harry asked worriedly when dad got to him, “Are we going to die, dad?”
Dad reached for Andy's cheek and kissed it tenderly and said loud enough for all to hear, “Honey, the pilot knows how to fly this aircraft. The worse cast scenario would be us getting a bit wet but hey you love ocean water. These things will keep you afloat if we need them to, okay?”
Andy nodded though he was far from being convinced.
When dad reached me, he kissed my cheek, hugged me deeply and said, “You're going to be okay, honey. If you'll look out the window in a few minutes you'll see that the Coast Guard will be close by and ready. Honey, I know you don't like to be told that you're disabled and stuff, but I need to tell you that you and mom will be the first ones attended to should the need arise. Remain positive. We'll get through this just as we've always gotten through other challenges.”
Ten minutes, no more, we began a controlled descent. I looked out the window and saw our island way off in the distance. My heart skipped a beat or two, hoping against all hope that we'd make it. I was nervous despite dad's assurances. Peter, my rock of Gibraltar, took both of my hands in his, reached over and kissed my lips then whispered, “We're going to be okay.”
That settled my nerves and my stomach which was once again getting upset.
Ten minutes later the pilot announced, “We have been cleared for landing. All other traffic has been diverted into holding patterns so we will have the airport basically to ourselves. If you will look to your left, you will see Coast Guard rescue water craft in place. They have surrounded the island. Should we have to make a water landing we will be picked up in short order. Do not panic. Remain calm at all times.” Click.
A few minutes later the plane began a steeper descent. I looked out the window to see the water immediately below us, no greater than 100 feet away. The plane then performed a steep right bank. I wondered, with the plane so close to the water, how it could do that without doing a wing landing on the surface.
The plane then leveled off. We couldn't have been more than 50 feet from the water surface. Then my anxiety level grew leaps and bounds as the lights in the aircraft turned totally off, plunging us into darkness, save for the tiny bit of light entering through the cabin windows.
Peter's hand grasped mine tightly. I looked at him. His cool and calm demeanor had been replaced by concern. I whispered, “We're going to be okay. Stay positive.”
Just then the runway appeared below us. It took us a very long time to finally hit the runway, and we hit it hard and bounced 3 or 4 times before the wheels hugged the pavement. The pilot then applied the brakes and held them tight against the brake drums. I knew just enough about hydraulics to know that had he feathered or pumped them then we would have lost the ability to stop.
On the ground, I saw all sorts of emergency vehicles chasing us down the runway and taxiways. We were going fast, too fast... way too fast!
And then it happened.
Very abruptly the plane stopped, seemingly on a dime, straining the seat belt to its maximum capacity around my stomach. I then felt the plane begin to sink. Quickly, I looked out the window. We were stopped but there was water surrounding the aircraft. The wings were parallel to the water. We continued to sink and then it stopped once the wings touched the surface. All was quiet.
Dad and Juan immediately relinquished their seats. Quickly they walked to the hatch on the starboard side. Juan pulled a lever that deployed the slide with a loud hissing sound as compressed air filled its bladder.
Dad urged mom out of her chair. Dad then walked to the open door, sat down on the deck of the plane, took mom in his arms and held her tightly then the pilot pushed them off and onto the slide. They went underwater to the bottom but they quickly emerged with help from Coast Guard personnel.
Next, Juan led me to the open door. He sat down then urged me to sit on his lap facing forward but before we could be pushed off Peter leaned in, kissed me hard, and took half a step backward. As the pilot readied Juan and me to descend using the slide, Peter grabbed hold and went with us. The idiot landed on his stomach and went sliding down ahead of us. He went head first into the water and disappeared from sight. Two Coast Guard personnel went underwater. My heart stopped, and at the same time Juan and I hit the water going very fast.
I went totally underwater but Juan quickly surfaced pulling my up with him.
I jerked my head around looking for Peter. Two Coast Guard members were dragging him from the water... at first I felt a panicky feeling but then he waved... my heart started beating again.
Andy and Harry were next down the slide. We were then quickly shuffled to the shoreline where mom and dad were waiting our arrival.
Allen and Angel followed.
I looked up and saw Antoine and Jeremy standing in the doorway. They were talking to Shoo who was clutching the cabin door, frightened beyond belief of going down the slide.
The wings of the aircraft were quickly being lowered into the water by the weight of the unsupported aircraft. It was literally sinking in the sand.
The navigator, a Chinese man, spoke with Shoo, bowing respectfully every now and again. He then pointed to the slide, to Antoine and then to Jeremy.
Jeremy sat down on the aircraft deck and reached for Shoo. But she was still afraid so Antoine sat on the deck. Jeremy and Antoine joined arms. The navigator gently helped Shoo to sit on Antoine's lap. She held onto Jeremy and then the pilot and navigator pushed them off.
As they descended, Shoo smiled and began laughing hysterically.
So much for her fear.
Once we were all down and safely standing on shore, the crew descended in the same manner.
Once we were all gathered together, the emergency crew took us in the Coast Guard vehicles to general aviation where we were wrapped in blankets to warm us up and somewhat dry our clothing from the relatively chilly water.
When the pilot, co-pilot and navigator arrived, the room erupted in thunderous applause, hoots, hollers, and whistles for a job well done.
The pilot, clearly overtaken by emotion, walked to dad, saluted crisply then in a shaky voice said, “Mr. Blake, you will have my resignation as soon as I can find a piece of paper on which to write it. I am very, very sorry for your family's experience.”
Sharply the pilot again saluted dad and turned away to leave however dad stopped him by saying loudly, decisively, “I will NOT accept your resignation. Your piloting skills saved my family from certain death and/or grievous injury. Your attention to detail and astute skills no doubt prevented catastrophe to civilians and military personnel on the ground, alike. In addition, I see no significant structural damage to our aircraft... <Dad smiled>... the airplane needs a bath but otherwise she appears unscathed. I hope you and your family will join us for dinner soon. We'll let you know when. Seriously Rod I'm impressed. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.”
One by one the rest of us shook the pilot's hand. Shoo, even though she still appeared visibly shaken slowly walked to the pilot. With respect she bowed reverently. Matt handed her a lei which she promptly put around the pilot's neck then she took a step back and bowed once again. The scene was moving to say the least.
The limo arrived. We were efficiently escorted home. After a few minutes of idle chit chat Juan announced that it was time for him, Benji and Harry to take their leave. After Harry, Benji and Andy gave their best sad puppy dog renditions Juan gave in and allowed them to be together that night. Juan then took his leave with stern expressions and instructions to Harry to 'be good' and to not wear out his welcome. Further, he said for him to be ready early the following morning.
During the 'lecture' Horace, Alice, Jason, and William arrived.
Needless to say, Jason and Jeremy then Andy, Harry, Benji -and- William took off for Andy's room.
I took Peter's hand in mine and half dragged him to our room where I shut and locked the door.
We stripped naked in the bathroom then entered the shower where we proceeded to wash away the caked sand and salt and grunge from our bodies, using ample quantities of body soap and shampoo, all the while paying very special attention to those little and not so little special places of our human anatomy.
Finished, we towel dried then air dried and brushed out our hair followed by thoroughly brushing our teeth.
With the cleansing mission accomplished, we went to our bed, pulled down the covers, crawled in and pulled the covers over us.
When we were all snuggled in our lips came together and earnestly searched for tonsilar tissues deep down within our throats. While we found none, the search was pleasant to say the least.
I reacted first by searching for and finding the bottle of body lotion. Without the need for any encouragement, though Peter was providing ample invitations to me, I gently but intently applied a large dollop of the fluid to my willing and able anal orifice, slathering the goop thoroughly and expertly until I was sufficiently relaxed and open.
Peter likewise needed no further encouragement. I invited him to take his place between my legs, helped him aim his instrument, and then when in position I grabbed hold of his cheeks and pulled him forward. Within mere seconds his hot and raging cock had sliced its way utterly and completely into my thoroughly engulfing love tunnel where I squeezed onto it tight, sending him into near immediate spasms of delight all the while filling me with his rich protein nectar. I was half expecting and half wanting to taste his jizz but alas that did not happen.
Peter collapsed onto my chest, weak and trembling from his amorous exertions.
Soon though, he grabbed the bottle of body lotion, deftly applied it to his own anal cavity and worked it in with precision skill, developed from much, much practice!
Soon, very soon, I reached and surpassed the far away planet of Nirvana, and then slowly returned back to Earth with Peter eagerly waiting and anticipating my arrival.
Spent and quivering we fell into a contented and satiated physical state of sound sleep.
- Meanwhile in Andy's room, Andy's POV -
I introduced William to Benji. William already knew Harry but they greeted each other warmly with a firm embrace.
William and Benji took to each other. Their embrace was warm and endearing.
Lastly but certainly not least William and I came together into a deep affectionate hug. He looked into my eyes and asked intently, “How's David?”
I kissed his cheek. At the same time I looked to Benji and Harry who were holding each others' waists with their arms.
William's face began contorting as though he was in pain yet I felt no pain emanating from his Temple. I quickly replied, “He's fine. He was cured of the cancer.”
William's smile was out of control. He jumped into my arms and hugged me tightly then much to my surprise hungrily and gratefully brought our lips into a lip-lock kiss. When we broke our physical connection I noted Harry's questioning look and Benji's concern at what he was observing.
I said nothing to my soul mates however I reached for Benji first then drew Harry into our embrace. With passion and determination I deeply kissed Harry then Benji – to the point where we were all tented out in major ways. Clearly, even though he was not in our embrace, it was noticed that Williams Dockers’ shorts were also tented out. His face was flushed. Absent mindedly, his hand went to his crotch and squeezed the obvious pole of pleasure behind the fabric.
Without incident or hesitation we included William in our embrace. Taking the lead, I purposefully kissed William on his lips. When we broke I said to William, “William, Benji and Harry and I have bonded souls. We are one and the same. It just happened; we did nothing to cause it nor have we done anything to stop it because stopping it is impossible.”
To Harry and Benji I confessed, “William and I have shared our bodies. He was instrumental in my coming to grips with a physical and mental acceptance that I could love and make love with a male person. As I have told you on previous occasions, I never thought it possible.”
Harry said, “What we have is beautiful, forever, total, complete, and unending. We just are. We are grateful for your gift to us.”
Benji, last to speak, walked to William, touched his shoulder. “You will easily join our spirits. I do not see 'learned' hesitation in your soul, or in your being. I feel <Harry and I joined Benji> your abilities to bond, your gentle soul, your intelligence, caring, forthrightness, and willingness to join in harmony are strong and lasting. Andy, Harry, we must join with this soul. Such a bonding is right and purposeful and just.”
With that Benji gently and delicately and tenderly joined with William's lips all the while pulling him into his embrace. Without hesitation or reluctance I then Harry fully and completely engulfed William's physical presence, sucked in his emotions then saw his soul, white and billowy and innocent.
As one, we moved to the bed. William, looking intently at each of us, and together as one unit, he quietly undressed to his underwear which was tented completely to its length and girth, straining the fabric to epic proportions.
In one trusting fluid motion his fingers slipped inside the waistband of his underwear and then slowly but deliberately lowered them to his ankles and feet. With a quick flick he tossed them into the air with his foot, caught them midair with a finger and then hung them on the bedpost joining his jeans and t-shirt.
William, as if possessed, said softly, “Please allow me to cleanse you.”
With that said and agreed upon we entered the large spacious bathroom.
With gentleness that I'd not yet seen in William he slowly, seductively and completely undressed me then Benji then Harry until we stood before him naked as the day we'd been born.
He refused to allow us to undress him. Instead, with lightening speed he stood before us just naked as the day he'd been born.
En masse, as a single unit, we followed William into the large walk-in shower where he proceeded, with a gentle touch and tenderness never before experienced, William twice washed and rinsed our hair and then washed each and every square inch of our physical bodies, paying particular attention to those deep dark crevices not normally seen.
When he finished, we as one, that is Harry, Benji and I washed William's body in a similar fashion. After drying off we entered our bedroom, made our way to the bed, climbed on and then became a massive octopus of arms, legs, love muscles and flesh. I became the centerpiece of attraction, need and want. Soon, I was filled with the nectars of my soul mates, and then we turned our attentions to William and after performing purposeful and patient ministrations to his orifice, each of us entered his most private of places, and then christened him with our love and acceptance, in all physical, emotional and spiritual ways.
Likewise, Benji and Harry were filled with essence of our love.
Finally, we played musical penis and anus as we each took turns inserting our male appendage so that each and every person felt the other person's deepest and darkest yet enlightening entrance. At the last possible second I filled Benji utterly and completely, while Harry filled utterly and completely William's wanting and nectar needy receptacle. Roles were then reversed: Benji filled me to capacity; William ejected his life sustaining forces into Harry.
Through the mass of eight arms, eight legs, four bodies, four spirits, four sets of emotions we joined in harmony, as one.
Sometime later, loud knocks on the door to my bedroom brought us to a current level of awareness. We disentangled, stretched, kissed tenderly in a new and exciting holy reverence. I was first to hit the richly and thickly enriched carpet. I went to the door, unlocked and opened it to see Jeremy standing, smiling with Jason at his side. Their arms were interlocked; their faces bright and smiling; their demeanor calm and assuring and casual and spiritual; their appendages hanging limply from their pubertal hair bushes.
Jeremy said, “Dinner's ready in 15 minutes. Maria, Jesus and AZ are here and waiting. Hurry up.”
With that said we once again got into the shower, cleaned up individually, and then not wanting to but needing to donned clean underwear from my drawers located in the large expansive walk in closet. We then put on pairs of running shorts: Harry in white; William in baby blue; Benji in gray; me in cream.
Before we left the room, Benji with a concerned look on his face, said, “We must speak to my grandfather to make sure our bond is complete and proper.”
Harry softly said, “Our bond is complete, normal and natural. I just feel it.”
William's demeanor registered concern, and yes even a small amount of anxiety passed through and stayed in his body.
I said, “Sensei, Benji's grandfather needs to bless our union, to make it complete and proper. There's nothing to worry about.” With that me then Harry and finally Benji quickly but firmly and assuredly kissed William's lips and drew him into a hug. William relaxed considerably though his anxiety was not yet completely withdrawn.
Mom met us at the bottom of the stairway. She said, “Grandma has joined us. Benji, honey, you haven't met her yet. Don't worry; she'll take to you like she has the rest of the boys.”
“Mom, I need to tell you something, please.” I said sincerely.
“Sure honey. Let's go to dad's office so we can talk alone.” Mom replied.
I added, “Mom, uhm, well we all need to talk to you.”
Mom's face registered a bit of concern but she took us back to dad's office, which was devoid of people. After shutting the door, and after she invited us to sit down, I said, “Mom, we're together. All of us.”
For a brief couple of seconds which seemed to last a lifetime mom said, “Together as in 'together'?”
“Yes. We have bonded together as one. There was nothing we could do to stop it. We did not want to stop our natural beings. Are we wrong, mom?”
“Oh my honey, no your bonding is not wrong. Do you mean a complete bonding?”
I deferred to Benji, “Ma'am, our bonding is complete. It is normal and natural. We are in Homeostasis.”
“Harry?” Mom asked.
“Yes ma'am. We are one.”
Mom said, “Okay. I bless you children.”
With that said we received equal amounts and quantities of hugs from my mother which gave us blessings more than words will or could ever say.
Mom said, “Okay, I need to get back to our guests. Boys, I am proud of you for facing your truths. The truth will always set you free. I love each of you because you will bring happiness and purpose and a deep love to Andy. Andy, I told you that everything would work out, didn't I?” Mom smiled warmly all the while looking intently into my eyes.
I said, suddenly filled with emotion, “Yeah, you did. Thanks mom.”
The adults were milling around the house talking, laughing, and congratulating David and Peter on their healings. I just stood in place for a while soaking it all up. I was so glad that David got cured. I know it sounds selfish but I really need him. I need all my brothers. After a lifetime of not having them in my life... I guess we need each other even more... what? To make up for lost time... yeah, that's it.
“Sup?” I heard a happy voice, Harry's, say from behind me. I turned around. He was up close and personal in my face, smiling his beautiful smile, and looking into my eyes with his rich, dark chocolate orbs. He's almost obsessed with his hair so I saw one little hair out of place. It was hanging across his eye so I put my index finger to it and pushed the strand aside to meet with the other ones that were neatly lying together.
Our lips were but millimeters apart when I heard David's voice say, “Hey guys. FOOD!”
Benji joined us. Whether it was right, wrong or indifferent we did a quick-three-way kiss, separated and then headed into the serving area where food was being disbursed.
Grandma looked first to me and then to Harry and then to Benji. William came running to us. He hooked his thumb in my belt loop and trailed his fingers innocently into my crack outside my shorts. Then realizing what his fingers were doing he quickly wrapped his arm around my waist. I looked at him, winked my eye and handed him a plate.
I could see grandma quickly assess the situation but the only reaction was a genuine smile. She said, “I hear you boys had quite a flight home from Singapore.”
“Oh yeah. That was a close call. That pilot sure knew what he was doing.”
'That he did.” Harry said factually.
William looked to me for an explanation. I said, “We'll bring you up to speed later on okay... meanwhile, you're holding up the line.”
“Benji, honey, get yourself a plate. This is some really good stuff. Maria's been working hard all day.”
“Oh you've got to eat her food. It's to die for.” Harry said factually, handing Benji a plate.
I stepped aside so that Benji could be served up first.
Angel arrived. Grandma said, “Honey, I've got you a special plate already made up. Give me a second and I'll get it.”
David said, “Grandma, Angel doesn't have diabetes anymore.”
Spontaneously, grandma stopped what she was doing. She sat the plate down, walked around to us then without a moment's hesitation pulled us all into her bosom, and held on tight as she wept.
The room got deathly quiet. You could have heard a pin drop in a completely filled 70,000 seat auditorium. With her voice breaking, she said to David, “Oh honey, I was so scared. I'm sorry. This is a party.”
“It's okay, grandma, I understand. I was pretty scared myself. But wait...” David said then took Peter's shirt and lifted it to his chest... grandma looked at his tummy and ran her hand up and down it looking for the scar.
“Oh my...” She said and then leaned down and kissed his belly.
She kissed Peter's cheek then turned to me, “Andy, honey, do you feel better about yourself? You know that healings come in all different shapes and sizes.”
“I love you grandma. Not that I ever hated you but I've learned that it's okay to love... because if I love then I can be loved. I didn't really know that... it just popped into my head.” I said sincerely.
“You're absolutely correct. There can never be enough love.”
The way she was looking at me, the way her arms were holding me firmly, and the safety I felt in the words that I'd just told her, I said to everybody, “Mom, dad, grandma, everybody (without being asked or told or mentioned, Benji, Harry and William joined me. Harry stood on my right side and put his arm around my waist. Benji took my other side. William stood in front of me. We all put our arms around William), we're soul mates. We're one. Our souls are joined. We just wanted to tell you this.”
Grandma took a step back, looked at each one of us and then smiled warmly. Without adieu, grandma tightly hugged each of us, individually and as a group.
Harry said, “Benji's mother will be working for my dad. She's going to be our housekeeper and cook. <Giggling>. I'm not really all that great about keeping my room clean and dad can't really cook to save his life.”
Juan, unbeknownst to Harry, after hearing that comment playfully smacked Harry's butt. Harry turned to Juan, “It's true and you know it!”
Juan retorted, “Well you don't have to tell the world, you know.” They hugged and then Juan took off to mingle with the rest of our family and friends.
Harry said wistfully, “Parents!”
Grandma snickered then turned to Benji.
Without a word, grandma took Benji in her arms and held on for dear life. Tears were freely flowing out her eyes and down her cheeks; she was trying to say something but the words eluded her capabilities. Finally, she choked out, “Thank you for saving my grandson from a horrible death. I'll never be able to repay you. Never.”
With that, we helped her to sit down as she was overcome with overwhelming emotions in the moment.
Eventually, she regained her composure enough to say once again, “Thank you, Benji. You don't know how free my heart feels, knowing my family is in such good hands as they are in yours.”
Benji stood and then reverently bowed to grandma. He said softly, “David and Peter's bond was strong enough to overcome their challenge. I was just there, ma'am.”
“Poppy-cock. You brought them together so that their strengths could join. I just know it. Don't argue with me son.”
Benji's body tensed. His eyes filled with tears. They freely flowed down his cheeks, landing on his attractive chest (I'm biased, okay), and then trailed and dripped onto the floor. Quickly he said, “I am forever sorry, ma'am. I would never ever disrespect you. I'm sorry. I failed.”
Benji reverently bowed then without hesitation turned on his heels and ran through the house and up the stairs, distraught, with tears continuing to fall. They followed him with each and every step.
I stood up, faced grandma, and said, “He feels he disrespected you. In his culture, respect for his elders is first and foremost. He feels that he argued with you because you said so, and elders are always right. I'm going to go talk to him.”
“Help me up, damn it.” Grandma hissed.
Dad walked over, took his mothers' arm into his and asked her what the problem was. She turned to him and said, “I disrespected Benji. I've got to take care of this. You all stay here. This is something I have to do!”
- Grandma's POV -
With sheer determination in my bones, I made it up the stairs without too much difficulty. With a sad acceptance I accepted the fact that while I'm old and my body riddled with arthritis, and a very real sense that while my mind is up to doing most of everything, my body often lags behind.
I'd not been upstairs to their bedroom suites so I had no idea where the boy might have gone to. The first clue I noticed was that all the doors were open, except one, at the end of the hall on the right side.
I knocked on the door. There was no response from within. But then my hearing was going to hell in a handbasket.
I knocked on the door again, harder.
I heard no response... again. Not trusting my hearing, I quietly opened the door, looked inside. The room was dark; the shades had been drawn closed. The air had an acrid smell to it, like incense.
From the dim light emanating from the bathroom skylights I saw a lone figure, a boy, sitting on the floor in the middle of the room with his head bowed. He almost looked like a statue, solid, unmoving, totally still. The silence was only broken by a muffled sniffle coming from the direction of the boy, the statue.
“Benji, is that you honey? My eyesight isn't like it once was. I need to talk to you.”
The lone figure stood, turned toward me and then walked closer. From the light emanating from the hallway I saw that his eyes were red, puffy, still leaking and freely flowing tears were dripping from his eye sockets.
He bowed the reached for something. Quickly, he stepped into the object... which I immediately realized were his underwear.
“Honey, it's okay. Please don't feel uncomfortable. I'm used to seeing boys in their natural states. If you prefer I'll step out.”
“I am indebted to you ma'am.” The boy's soft voice said. He quickly, shamefully pulled on his underwear and turned on the light then stood in front of me with his head down.
He quickly fetched a chair and urged me to sit. I did.
As if he was a wooden soldier he continued to stand stiffly in front of me, waiting and waiting some more for additional chaffing from me.
Instead, I whispered, “Benji, please sit here so that we can talk. Honey, you're in no trouble. Please.”
The boy regarded me carefully. Somewhere within his being he decided that I wasn't going to hurt or harm him, that maybe, just maybe we were going to just talk and work things out. In any event, he did gently, tentatively, sit where I had my hands indicating where he was to sit. His demeanor and body language remained stiff and wooden until I put my arms around his waist and squeezed gently but meaningfully.
My first thought was that the boy needed some food to fill him out but then my second thought was that in their culture they eat much different than we, in America, eat... but still, I planned to find out what this boys' favorite meal was, and fix it for him, and to fix a lot of it.
The boy began trembling. He reached up to his face. It was then that I saw his eyes were full with unshed tears. My heart sank.
“Ma'am, my sole purpose in life is to respect and learn from elders. I am sorry for disrespecting you in front of your family. I must be punished severely. I have failed.” Benji then moved to get off my lap but I pulled him into my chest, rearranged us so that my old arthritic knees were more comfortable, and then rearranged us further so that I could very softly speak into his ear so that he'd hear me well because I only wanted to say it once.
“Benji, I'm not familiar with your culture. You're going to have to teach me. Can you do that for an old woman?”
“Yes ma'am.” Benji said cautiously. I sensed his shame as his muscles tensed a notch or two.
“Relax Benji. You're in no trouble. And I do not feel, in any way, that you disrespected me. I am ignorant and intolerant of many things but that brood downstairs is changing my ways of thinking, albeit slowly.”
I kissed his cheek tenderly. He didn't flinch. Good.
“Benji, I've thought about what happened downstairs. Please listen to me carefully.”
Benji replied, “Yes ma'am.”
“Honey, what I said about 'arguing' is simply a euphemism. The English language is a bear because so many individual words have more than one meaning. Shoot, some words are spelled differently based on context. Honey, neither of us really disrespected the other.”
Benji replied, “I have much to learn about your culture.”
“And I have much to learn about your culture. Can I tell you a story?”
Benji sat up then scooted off my thigh bones. He knelt down on the floor turned so that we could look each other directly into our eyes. I cupped his cheeks in my hands then without hesitation kissed his forehead.
“Benji, when my husband died, my son and his family – James, David, Jeremy, Angel and Allen... they came to be with me and attend my husbands' funeral. I made a very bad and hurtful mistake. I hurt them to their core because I could not understand and therefore could not accept their 'notion' of love for each other. I very nearly pushed all of them away and out of my life for the rest of my days. You see, I'd been taught that love between boys... I mean the kind of love that my grandsons shared with their mates... was and is totally wrong, that it's unnatural. I listened to some preacher tell the congregation that some kinds of love are okay, and some are absolutely wrong, in God's eyes. I used that misinformation to judge them, and even to condemn them as people, as my own flesh and blood.”
“But you love your grandsons. I am a stranger. I do not understand.”
I reached down and kissed this boy on the top of his head. I said very gently, “Honey, Peter is my grandson. He is as if my son and his wife had had him naturally, as if he was a part of my own flesh and blood. He's a good person, pure inside despite all that has happened to him throughout his young life. You see, I 'hated' what they were doing and what they represented because of misinformation that I'd heard throughout my life, and what I've made my own over the years.”
Benji slowly nodded.
Determined, with my heart heavy and hopeful, I asked this boy, “Benji will you be my grandson? Please.”
*** To be continued