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 Chapters 28: Communication

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Kell
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PostSubject: Chapters 28: Communication   Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:58 pm

"Connor Truman!" Mrs. Sullivan yelled. "Wake Up! This isn't your bedroom!"

I awoke to the annoying voice and the taunting laughter of my fellow classmates.

I had been on the phone all night with Travis. I had told him a few times that I was tired & wanted to sleep, but he insisted that we keep chatting. About what, I don't even remember at this point.

He was...different lately. I loved Travis with every little fiber of my being, but...I don't know. He was all over me lately. There was just too much of him. He was with me nearly every possible hour of the day, & when he couldn't be with me in person, then he'd be on the phone with me. He was becoming, dare I say, an irritant to my daily life.

I wanted some space, just for a little while! Sometimes when I thought I had some alone time, he'd suddenly show up at my house, wanting to either go out somewhere or just stay with me. And it was getting to be a bit too much. Just at a time when I was starting to re-socialize myself with my old group of friends, I have a boyfriend who can't seem to keep his hands off me.

And as nice as that sounds, it's been bugging me.

After school as I was walking to my car in the sweltering heat of a seemingly early heat wave, I had a thought. What if I just went home & didn't wait for Travis to get out? I hated that I even thought of doing that. I hated myself even more as my feet started picking up their pace every so slightly. I got to my car in the parking lot, got in, turned the engine on & started to pull back out when I suddenly saw Travis in the mirror running toward me. I silently cursed myself. He got in, plopped down next to me & flashed me a gorgeous smile. Too bad they just didn't come off the same lately.

"Hey cutie," he said.

"Hey."

"Y'almost left without me haha," he laughed.

"Yeah," I said rather lamely.

"So what's up?"

"Nothing. Just feel real tired. Think I'm gonna take a nap once I get home," I shrugged as I started to drive off.

"A nap huh?" he grinned. "Wanna have a happy nap?"

That's when I did something I didn't ever imagine I could do.

"I think I'll pass."

Travis' jaw hit the floor. "What?! Since when are YOU one to turn down sex?"

I felt my jaw tighten. "I mean, I like sex, but I'm not some sex-driven ego maniac ya know."

"I know," he leaned over & kissed me lightly on the cheek. "I'm just surprised. Usually you're on your knees in front of me beggin' for it," he winked.

"Yeah, well not today I guess."

He put his hand on my shoulder & rubbed gently. "You ok?"

"Yeah, I'm fine."

There was a slight moment of silence when I felt his hand pull away.

"What's wrong Connor?" he asked, concerned.

"Nothing," I shook my head.

"I don't believe you. C'mon, talk to me."

I almost did. I almost did come clean with my feelings. I almost did tell him that he was my problem lately. I almost did.

"It's nothing, really. I'm just tired."

The rest of the drive to his place was pretty quiet. I don't think I had convinced him enough. He still knew something was wrong. He knew me. He always knew when something was wrong. What broke my heart was that that same person who knew me that well was the one who had been on my nerves.

When I reached his place, he got out & leaned on the open window.

"Text me right before you fall asleep ok?"

"You got it," I lied.

"Love you," he smiled.

"Love you too," I replied.

After he walked into his home, I drove off & headed home. Once I walked inside & made it to my room, I undressed down to just my boxers, rubbed my stomach & crawled into my cool, inviting bed. Looking at my phone, I went over in my head what could come out of me texting Travis. I decided against it.

I just needed a little "me" time right now.

**********

When I woke up, it was dark out & when I picked up my phone off my nightstand to see what time it was, it read 7:38pm. I had slept for almost five hours. I rubbed my eyes & sat up, wiping a short string of drool from my chin. As I threw the covers off & stood up, I realized it was still hot & muggy, even for this time of evening. I put on an undershirt & left it at that. No sense of broiling myself in my own home.

As I made my way down to the kitchen for some ice cream, I checked my phone. I had seven missed texts, all from Travis. I put my phone down on the table & started to scoop chunks of strawberry ice cream into a bowl.

"Hey."

I turned around to see Chris walking into the kitchen in just his boxers. He took a seat at the kitchen bar & waved his hand in his face to cool off.

"I see you feel the heat too."

I grabbed another spoon & bowl & started scooping chunks into it. Emptying the container, I threw it out into the trash. I brought both bowls over to the bar, sat down next to him & passed him one.

"Thanks," he said, digging in.

"Sure. So what's up?"

"The temp," he smiled.

"You're funny."

"Thanks!" he cheered as he scarfed down more ice cream. "I need a haircut though. My hair's getting long & tangled."

"Be thankful you have hair," I shook my spoon at him. "When's your next doctor's appointment?"

"Next Thursday."

"All right. I'm sure it'll be another quick appointment."

"Yeah. Maybe he'll tell me I can throw out my hat haha."

I gave him a surprised look. "Throw out your hat? Why would you do that?"

He shrugged. "All I see when I see that hat is years of blood tests, x-rays, therapies & other stuff. I don't want that constant reminder every single day."

"Yeah but Chris, that hat also kinda represents all the hard stuff we've all gone through to reach where we are now. I think you should keep it. Besides... you never know when you might need it again," I added as gently as possible.

"I'd rather not think of that," he kept his eyes on his food.

"I know," I said, wrapping an arm around him & pulling him toward me so I could give him a kiss on the head. "And I know we're all supposed to look on the bright side of things. But I also think we should stay realistic at the same time. Remission doesn't mean it's gone forever. It means-"

"I know what it means Connor," my brother said sharply. "Trust me...I know what it means."

"Then keep the hat," I said again. "If you don't ever need it again, that's great. If you do, then you have it. Do you get what I'm sayin'?"

He nodded. I gave him another kiss on the head & let him go.

"So where have you been all afternoon?" he changed subjects.

"Napping."

"Makes sense. You look like crap lately," he grinned a bit.

I rolled my eyes. "I've been exhausted lately..."

"Why?"

"Travis."

"Ummm, ok don't really need too many details here!"

"Not THAT! He's been...way too close to me."

"What do you mean?"

"He always wants to hang out or do something."

"God how awful. To have a loving partner who wants to spend time with you? I feel for ya man." I lightly slugged him in the arm.

"It's been too much lately. He wants to literally spend 100% of his time with me, & when he CAN'T, he's texting me nonstop. Like today, when I was driving him home from school, I told him I was gonna take a nap. Well, he wanted me to text him before I fell asleep, & when I woke up, I saw I had like, half a dozen text messages from him."

"DID you text him back before you fell asleep?"

"Well, no..."

"There ya go then," he said.

"You don't get it dude, it's...it's been a bit too much for me."

"Talk to him then?" Chris said it so easily.

"And tell him what? That I don't wanna spend time with him?"

"That you just want a bit of space 'cause you feel a little smushed lately. I think he'd be fine with that."

"I dunno," I said with a mouthful of cold dairy. "It's been like this getting worse & worse for several months now."

"Really?"

"Yeah. Almost since...." now that I thought about it.

"Since what?"

"Well...over the winter, we were out on Barrel Pond, the day you wanted to go skating, and then DITCHED by the way, & I ended up falling through the ice into the water."

Chris stared at me wide-eyed. "What?! You never told me that!"

"Yeah, well it happened," I said, my mouth suddenly feeling much, much colder.

"So what happened?"

"Well, when I fell through, I started to drift away from the hole a bit & even though I tried punching through the ice, it was too thick. I saw Travis' arm reaching down into the water at one point, swam toward him & ran out of air."

Chris' face went white. "You...you mean..."

I nodded. "I ran out of air. And when I breathed in...I can't even describe how wretched I feel thinking about it. But Travis caught me & was able to get me out."

"So...he saved your life?"

I smiled & played with my spoon, nodding my head.

"So what's the problem?" he asked.

My smile faded a bit. "Ever since then, he just seems to be all over me & it's suffocating."

"Talk.To.Him.Then."

"POINT TAKEN BRO."

Just then, the phone rang. Chris went to pick it up & by the sound of it, it was a friend of his. Then after a little MORE talking, it was definitely a girl who he was flirting with. I stared at him incredulously as he shrugged toward me & took the phone to his room. I needed help!

Just then, my dad walked in the house with a couple bags of groceries.

"Heyy, what's goin' on?" he asked.

"Hi. Just eatin'. Thinkin'," I ate some more ice cream.

"Yeah? Help me bring the rest of these in & then talk to me."

As I got up to help him, I thought about how my dad could possibly help me. It had taken a while, but he had finally fully come around to the idea of Travis & me as a couple. I know he was...uncomfortable with the whole thing after what happened with Chris at school. But he had managed & I think once he saw that I was the same son who he had spent mosquito-filled nights tossing a ball with, endless hours trying to teach me how to ride a bike & countless nights of trying to help me learn what the fuck it means when someone says "four times seven," he understood that this was just another thing about me, like my hair or eye color. And while we never really talked about my relationship with Travis, or me being gay in general, I knew that he was comfortable with it now. And if you don't know the feeling of your dad supporting you being gay...it's something to really appreciate.

Once all the groceries were away, he started in on me again.

"So what's going on?"

"It's uh...Travis."

"Are you guys fighting?" he asked as pulled out a new carton of strawberry ice cream, took out a spoon & started scooping chunks into two separate bowls.

"Not quite, no..." I said as we sat down at the bar. He offered me a bowl & when I shook my head, he pushed it closer to my face. I laughed & took the bowl. I guess you can never have too much ice cream.

"So then what is it?" he asked as we started eating.

"He's all over me & frankly, it's kind of suffocating."

"What do you mean?"

"He ALWAYS wants to be around me now, & when he's not with me, he's ALWAYS texting or calling me. I took like a billion hour long nap this afternoon & he KNEW I'd be napping & he still texted me like seven times."

"Why don't you talk to him about it? Tell him you just want some breathing space, that's all."

"That's what Chris says too, but how can I just tell him that? It's easier said than done. No matter what I say, what matters is what he hears. And what if all he hears is 'leave me alone'?"

"I don't know Travis as well as you do obviously but I don't take him to be that unreasonable. And besides, if you DON'T talk to him about it, then how do you expect the problem to stop?"

I shrugged.

Just then, I felt my phone vibrate. Grunting, I took it out & saw it was from Travis.

"It's him...again."

"What'd he say?"

"He wants me to attend his tennis game next Friday. It's the first of the season," I twirled my finger in the air.

"You should go."

I flipped out.

"DAD! Have you not been listening to me?!"

"Then tell him no," he shrugged.

"You're not helpful."

He smiled. "I can't help you unless you figure out what you wanna do. And it sounds like you don't know what you wanna do."

I dropped my head into my hands. I felt my dad rub my back as he stood up, finished with his ice cream.

"Talk to him," he whispered, then kissed the top of my head.

Ugh. People.

They can be so unhelpful at times.

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