The Long Road: Book One ~ The Long Road

Chapter Twenty~Three

He slowly walked up to the podium and turned to the audience. With a trembling voice he began the most difficult speech of his life. "How do you sum up the life of the most wonderful, caring, giving, compassionate, beautiful man I've ever had the honor and privilege of knowing in just a few minutes?" He turned and glanced at the lifeless figure lying in the coffin.

"He gave more of himself than anyone I've ever known, and I... I... miss him... so very much..." The tears made it impossible to continue the eulogy. The minister jumped to his side and helped him to his seat, then concluded the funeral. At the gravesite after the service, he began again.

"I would like to do something different. Rather than the traditional graveside service, I would like to do a ritual I read in one of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels." He had already discussed it with the family, who really liked the idea. He stepped up to the coffin.

"I remember the first time we kissed. We ran into each other in the Rainbow & Triangles Bar and started playing darts. I tripped over the mat and he caught me and held me tight until I regained my footing. He looked deep into my eyes then kissed me on the cheek then on the lips.

"It sent shivers down my spine. Let that memory lighten grief." He took a handful of dirt and threw it onto the coffin. One by one each person shared a fond memory of him, said the ritual words then threw a handful of dirt on the coffin.

Later, back at the house, several people approached him and told him how beautiful the ritual was, how much he would have liked it, and how it made them feel just a little bit better. "I can't go on like this. I don't want to live without him. This time Dr. Foster can't perform a magic trick and bring us back together. Kyle's gone for good, and I'll never forgive myself.

"I broke my promise to him. I didn't protect him. I don't deserve to live." Before anyone realized his intent, he grabbed a knife off the counter and stabbed himself in the heart. As he slid to the floor, his last thought was "I'm coming, Kyle. We'll soon be together for all eternity."

"Jayson! Jay!" Tommy cried as he shook him, but to no avail. Jay was gone.

"Jay! Wake up." Dr. Foster shook him roughly.

He awoke with a start. "Oh. Dr. Foster. I just had the most horrible dream. Kyle committed suicide over what had happened in bed between us, then after the funeral I couldn't live without him, so I stabbed myself in the heart and died so we could be together." The words came out in a rush.

"Relax, Jay. It was just a dream."

"Doc, I have to ask, but I'm scared. Is Kyle..." He faltered.

"Kyle is very much alive. He's sedated for the moment, and will be on suicide watch for the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Then we'll get to work on undoing the damage. What in hell ever possessed you that you would try to penetrate him when you knew he wasn't ready for that yet?"

"It wasn't like that, Doc." He then proceeded to explain the events of the evening.

"So basically, it was Kyle who initiated things."

"Yes and no. Like I said, he didn't want to sleep in the bed alone and was feeling very guilty about not being able to take care of my sexual needs. He's the type of person that can sense other's needs and does what he can to help them fill those needs which is probably why he's a teacher.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he knew exactly how many times I had to whack off in the bathroom so I wouldn't try to have sex with him, which is the most wonderful experience in the world. Everything was fine up until the point where we started wrestling and I ended up on top of him. Did you know he was an NCAA national champion wrestler in college?"

"No, I didn't."

"Yeah, since the only wrestling I ever did was in high school phys ed, I was surprised I was able to pin him down like that, even though that was never my intention. It was almost as if he wanted me to."

"It wouldn't surprise me on some unconscious level, he did. He's told me a number of times how much he missed making love to you and couldn't wait to resume having sex with you. Once I asked him what was so special about it and," Dr. Foster blushed furiously, "he went into very graphic detail about the sex act itself."

Jay's face turned as red as Dr. Foster's. "Kyle's some sex machine. He's insatiable sometimes. I swear he could wear out a mechanical bull." He said, laughing.

"He pretty much said the same about you."

A nurse walked up. "Dr. Foster, Kyle Matthews is awake and asking for you."

"Thank you, Cathy. Jay, I'll talk with you later. Go home and get some rest and I'll call you after I've talked with him."

"Okay. Thanks Doc. We can't thank you enough for everything."

"Oh, wait until you get my bill."

"You may have to take it out in trade." Jay teased.

"Nah, I don't think my wife would appreciate it." He teased back. "Now, get the hell out of here.

"Okay, Doc. I'll talk to you later."

Comments appreciated at Jim Dunaway