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Three Tears

Chapter 6

by David Heulfryn

Phil walked over to Martin, who had stood up to greet him.

"I'm so sorry Martin. I'll just get a drink then I'll explain everything." He looked at Martin's nearly empty glass. "What can I get you?"

"Lager, thanks."

Phil went to the bar and interrupted the two barmen to order. Sitting back down, Martin watched him as he waited for him to come over.

Phil came over carrying two pints, and passing one to Martin, he said. "Cheers."

Phil sat down, took a sip from his glass and delved in his pocket for his mobile. "I'm really sorry," he said again. "but me Mum was late home and I couldn't leave before she got in. She's very rarely late and of course today had to be one of those times. I could've killed her"

"It's alright, don't worry." Martin was just grateful he had arrived. "Why couldn't you leave anyway?"

"Oh it's my little sister. Well she's nearly sixteen, but Mum doesn't want her in the house on her own. A little overprotective if you ask me but she is her only daughter, so.." He trailed off, the sentence not needing to be finished.

Looking over at Martin, he still seemed slightly tense. "So, what's your number? I would've rung but I didn't have it. Don't want it happening again."

Phil fiddled with his mobile phone while Martin gave him his number.

Martin then sat quiet while Phil input and stored his number. Sitting back, Phil picked up his pint.

It was very difficult for Phil to get Martin talking. He was still very nervous and seemed to have slipped into his shell just waiting for the experience to be over. He was quite different to the time when they were in the pub after the art class; Martin was much more talkative and friendly.

All of Phil's opening small talk had run out and so he could not ask again how his day was, the traffic on the way over or mention that the weather seemed milder today.

Phil, leaning forward, took hold of Martin's hand that rested between them on the bench. "Is everything OK? You seem a bit tense."

"I'm fine." Martin said, feeling uncomfortable with his touch.

"You're not narked at me for turning up late. Are you? I wouldn't blame you. I didn't want the first date to start this badly." He sensed Martin recoil slightly when he said the word 'date'.

"No, I'm just nervous that's all."

"I know. I'm nervous as well. I really want you to like me and I'm really worried you don't, especially now."

Martin was shocked. He could not recall anybody wanting to know him that much. He could not understand it; he thought himself to be ordinary and nothing special. What Phil said made him feel special. He looked him in the eyes.

"You don't look nervous, but thanks." Nothing he could say could have portrayed how much better he felt about himself.

"To tell the truth, you're only the second boy I've been out with." Phil confessed.

"But you're so much more comfortable with this than me."

It was not a lie; Phil had only ever been on dates with two boys, Martin being the second.

Martin was relaxing as they talked about the hell of dating, the expectations and the let downs. Then Phil explained about his first boyfriend.

He was sixteen and hanging out at the poorly equipped youth club with his mates. Boys and girls from all over the estate used the club and would play basketball or five-a-side football. For the past few weeks a new group of boys had joined and were hanging around each evening. To start with they kept themselves to themselves but gradually started talking to the regulars. Some of Phil's mates had spoken to some of them and they were getting quite friendly, but there was one boy who always hid behind his friends' confidence. It turned out they were from the other school on the estate and were bored just hanging round the shops where they lived.

Over the following days the two groups of friends became one and the unassuming boy began to grow in confidence. He still stayed on the sidelines with the group but did get involved occasionally. His name was Mark and he had a wicked sense of humour. Phil spoke to him most and he really made him laugh. He noticed that when he was not speaking he was always observing, what people said, how they reacted. He found people fascinating.

One evening they decided get a five-a-side football match going. Phil played for about five minutes before falling over and grazing his knee. He limped off the pitch and watched with Mark, who never really participated in sports, although occasionally he would play in goal.

Phil and Mark were talking and it appeared that Mark had been weighing up Phil for some weeks. He wanted to talk in private and suggested they go for a walk. Phil agreed and they walked over to the nearest park. It was quite cold out and even though it was only seven o'clock, it was already dark. The park was deserted and they found a bench to rest on. Mark then declared that he fancied him and asked him on a date.

Phil was shocked and wondered how he had known he was gay. It was unlike Mark to just ask and hope for the best. Mark explained that he had been watching him, his reactions, who he looked at and how for some time. The way he explained it, Phil thought it was obvious and everyone must know but Mark was quick to say it was subtle and he did not think anyone else knew.

Mark leant forward and kissed Phil on the lips. Phil responded and they both melted in each other's arms.

They did not stop hanging out with their mates after school, but would often leave them earlier than usual and be with each other. There was not much they could do, so they would just go to the park, sit on the bench and make out. They were not worried about anyone seeing them as it was too dark, and if someone came they could easily hear their footsteps before they got too close. They were only interrupted once or twice by dog walkers and the occasional jogger.

Mark and Phil would also go round to each other's houses. It was not unusual for either of them to have their friends call round and what went off in the bedroom was unknown by their parents.

The relationship lasted for about six months before it turned sour. Phil noticed that they were meeting up less and less and when they did see each other, Mark always seemed to be remote, his mind somewhere else.

Phil finally confronted Mark wanting to know the problem. The argument got more heated as it progressed and in a fit of anger, Mark said he was seeing someone else. The relationship was over.

Phil was now over Mark and so recounted the story very matter-of-fact; leaving out the sordid details of what they got up to together and the fact that he would cry in his room every evening after school for a week.

Martin had no previous experience with dating boys but mentioned the few disastrous dates he had with girls. For some time they laughed at each other's failed attempts with girls before it lead to the inevitable and Phil asked, "So who knows about you being gay?"

"No-one, You?"

"Just my brother, your teacher. I confided in him about a year ago. He's been great. Understanding and not forcing me tell anyone else until I'm ready."

"What about your parents?"

"I'm still coming to terms with it myself. I don't really want to say anything until I'm one hundred percent sure."

Martin smiled. "I know, I suppose we just cling on to the few small percent in the hope that we would become acceptable."

"It's not like I'm ashamed of it. It's just that I'm not proud yet. I hope that makes sense."

"It does. I feel the same."

It was doing both young men good to discuss how they felt. It was helping them come to terms with being gay. Both conceded they were dreading the moment when they told their parents. Phil suggested that as he was going to university next academic year, he might say something then.

It was the mixture of an empty stomach and two pints of lager that were helping Martin relax. He and Phil were talking freely.

As the night went on, the pub became busier. Martin got another round of drinks in and they sat in their corner watching the queers flounce in and out. It was not a gay pub; it was what was known as a mixed pub. Phil had been coming here for about a year now and had made a few friends. It was nerve-wracking at first, but eventually he got friendly with a few local boys and would arrange to meet most weekends for a bit of fun, flirting and dancing. Phil recognised a few regulars but they did not see him so he decided to pretend he had not seen them, preferring to keep the date a one-to-one affair. Besides it was a weeknight and they mostly met at weekends.

The background music got progressively louder. They could still hear each other but only by raising their voices slightly. Phil edged closer to Martin; who did not seem to mind, and placed his arm around his shoulder. He pulled him closer in a half hug, their heads touching.

"Bet you can't do this in your local." Phil smiled.

Martin tilted his head to look at Phil. "No." He said softly. "It feels nice."

Phil inched closer and delicately placed a kiss on Martin's slightly parted lips. "Now, that was nice." Phil brought his other arm around Martin and hugged him properly. He let go and watched Martin, who was quiet and calm.

"I would like to do this again." Martin said. It was a bold step for him.

"So would I."

The two boys finished their drinks. It was getting late. Well, nearly ten o'clock, which was late for a seventeen-year-old who had a weekday curfew.

They got up from their corner and made their way to the door. Phil caught the eye of a couple of the guys at the bar. "I'll ring you." He shouted, nodding his head to Martin indicating his date.

As they left, two badly made up transvestites came through the doors; they must have been in their early forties. Martin looked back at them as he walked through the doors himself. He smiled at Phil who was close behind him, admiring their courage to be who they were. If only Martin had half their courage.

Outside, the summer evening was drawing to a close. The sun was low and the darkness was growing. Without the sun there was a slight chill in the air, neither Phil nor Martin had brought coats but they did not feel the need quite yet.

"Are you on the bus?"

"Yeah. It's best to get on from the station at this time."

"Me too. I'll walk with you."

They walked through the city centre together, passing the groups and gangs out for a good time. The streets were also littered with young beggars, sitting outside bars and cashpoints looking cold and hungry. Some had dogs to add that extra touch but all had a mangy blanket for warmth. I suppose the half-inebriated youth were good picking for them.

Of course, Phil and Martin were approached several times by them asking for a bit of change but neither of them dug their hands into their pockets. They just walked by, ignoring them.

Phil and Martin approached the nearly deserted bus station. The small newsagent kiosk had closed many hours before and some graffiti strewn vending machines provided the late night travellers some hot coffee or bars of chocolate.

Martin walked over to the stop where he would catch his bus, looked at the small timetable attached to the pole declaring are large '10' and the final destination of the bus. Turning to Phil, he said that the next bus was due to go in the next fifteen minutes.

They sat down on a nearby bench, the occasional person walking through or hanging round waiting. The station was cold and was nothing more than a large concrete box, sound echoed and the noise from the passing busses amplified to a deafening roar.

They declared their intentions to ring each other and arrange to go out again at the weekend. Both had enjoyed the time they spent together and were keen to see each other gain.

Martin's bus arrived and the doors wheezed open.

"Well, goodbye, then." Martin said.

"Bye. I'll ring you tomorrow. What's a good time?"

"Anytime between six and nine. Mum doesn't like people ringing after nine; she likes to relax in front of the telly."

"Between six and nine it is then. You go get on the bus."

Martin turned round and headed for the bus, as he took his first step he felt a hand lightly squeeze his buttock. As he walked, he turned and smiled at Phil.

With Martin safely on the bus, Phil turned and left to catch his own bus, the other side of the city.

Martin watched for as long as possible as he walked out of sight and the bus jerked to motion.

It was getting on to half past ten when he reached his front door and quietly pushed his latchkey into the lock. He saw a light coming through the curtains in the living room so he knew someone was still awake, probably his parents. Not knowing for sure who would be up, he wanted to be as quiet as possible. He also wanted to avoid an interrogation tonight from his parents and was eager to just get upstairs and to bed.

He closed the door quietly and poked his head round the front room door. Both his parents were still up watching some courtroom drama.

"I'm back. See you in the morning." Martin said.

"How was it?" His Mum asked.

"I'll tell you tomorrow, I'm pretty tired and I've got college tomorrow."

He had casually dismissed his mother's question and went upstairs, quietly. Tony was bound to be asleep but he had no doubt that James would be waiting up for him.

Martin opened his bedroom door and went it. The lights were still on and James was sitting up in bed listening to music and reading his book.

"Hiya. Good night?" He enquired.

"Not bad."

"I can smell the smoke on your clothes and no doubt if I got closer, quite a few pints on your breath."

"Yeah, so." Martin went over to his bed and sat down. "Thanks for the clothes by the way."

"Anything to help. Will you need them again?" He pried.


James continued to question him about his night, but Martin just said that he would tell him tomorrow. Tonight he just wanted to get to bed and go to sleep.

Martin stripped down to his boxers and went to the bathroom to wash up. When he returned he got straight into bed and James turned out the light. He went to sleep that night with a smile on his face, thinking of Phil.

James' Diary

Martin's got a date tonight, he wasn't saying much before he left, so I'll have to wear him down later to get all the details from him. He seemed really nervous this time. The last date he had was several years ago and I don't remember him being this nervous. I wonder if it is serious.

Can't remember the last time he went out and it was nice to have the room to myself. After getting all my work done I used the opportunity to lie on my bed and relax.

School was boring today. You can tell when it gets close to the end of term as the teachers don't really give a shit anymore. We spent most of the day messing around and chatting through all the lessons.

I also got a phone call today. It was from Tom, I met him when I was at the studios and he'll be with me on this TV show we will be making. When we met, we found out that we lived close to each other so we swapped numbers. He was quite nice and friendly and I'm glad that I will get on with at one person I go with. We chatted for some time on the phone; his parents are a bit concerned about letting him go. The way he put it, he was an only child and they liked to know what he was doing every moment of the day. It sounds like they're having trouble letting him go. But they probably just reacted like parents, after all it is a long time to be away from home and to make matters worse we will be abroad so we can't just be home in a few hours. He said it took him several hours of convincing before they said he could do it. He's really excited about going and can't wait. We've arranged to go out on Saturday and we're meeting up in town. He's got a little shopping to do then we're going to grab a burger and perhaps see a film.

Reproduced with David's permission from Screeve. © David
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