The next few weeks were indescribably awful. I had gone from being a contented, happy teenager in love to being totally dejected and, to be honest, a complete and utter prick. I was sulky, rude and not at all a nice person to be around. Mum and Dad understood to a certain degree, my best friend had gone and there was no likelihood of ever seeing him again; they tolerated me I guess.
Friends came around or rang and I fobbed each and every one of them off with poor excuses and, perhaps, even rudeness. Daniel rang every day to see how I was, he was the only one I wasn't rude to I think. I don't know why he was spared and I don't know why he kept ringing; I never said much, barely anything, but he persisted and, deep down, I was grateful.
The beach, which I had loved and enjoyed all my life, and which had featured so strongly in my relationship with Logan, now had no attraction, no meaning to me.
Every time the phone rang I hoped it would be Logan, perhaps trying to catch up, get some news, hear my voice maybe. It never was. We had both sensed, I think, right from the moment he told me on that crappy Saturday night down at the north groyne, that we were done, our relationship finished, thanks to his old man's promotion and the tyranny of distance.
Logan, for all his vulnerability, was, in the end, the stronger one of us; he seemed to have accepted the circumstances far better than I ever could have. I think, too, that there was a certain degree of denial, certainly from me, at least until reality set in on that awful Sunday morning. I knew Logan was leaving, I knew it, yet I kept thinking that something or someone would come to our rescue. I was a fool.
Of course, neither of us were in a position to do anything about the situation, not a thing. We were kids; we had no power and no way to maintain contact. Today, we would have emailed, Facebooked, Skyped, Zoomed, Instagrammed even. But back in 1975 all we had was expensive long distance calls or snail mail. I thought about writing, but to where? The phone was expensive and, again, what number? I had no contact details at all. Logan had all mine but I knew his Dad would be watching him, ensuring no contact could be made with 'that faggot'.
I had maintained my strength for Logan for as long as I needed to, to get him through the exams and hopefully into university and beyond, perhaps even to get him through the hard days following our forced separation. Now, my strength was done, washed away with my tears and grief. I loved Logan profoundly and I was devastated; in my mind at least, I had no-one to talk to, no-one to hold me and no-one to tell me it would be okay. I was, or more accurately, I felt, completely alone.
Dean Charles saw the change in me and asked if I wanted to talk but when I tried, I found it was just too difficult, too gut wrenching, so I just clammed up and told him I would be fine, that when I came back in February I would be my old self. I knew it was a lie and I knew that I had missed an opportunity to unload some of my burden on the one person who may have fully understood what I was going through.
I was miserable and I had no idea how to bring the old Jeremy back; I knew I was falling, I knew I was descending into a dark, black pit and for the life of me I could not stop myself. I had no idea how to climb back out even if I could.
The day before Christmas, I was sitting in the lounge at home, half watching Bugs Bunny better Elmer Fudd, yet again, when the doorbell rang. I got up and answered the door and there was a man holding a large bunch of roses.
"Delivery for Myers?"
"Yeah, that's us."
I signed the form and he handed over the dozen red roses and took off. I was about to take them out to Mum in the kitchen, thinking they would be an early Christmas present from Dad, but as I closed the door and turned I saw the envelope. A leaf covered the first name but I could see 'my Myers'.
I moved the leaf and sure enough, it read Jeremy Myers. Holy fuck. My heart started pounding and I could barely breath.
I fumbled with the envelope and finally managed to extract the card. I started to cry. It read 'Always and Forever'.
My beautiful Logan.
He was still my Logan and now he gave me hope. My wonderful man gave me hope.
Christmas came and the whole of my family spent the day together at my brother's place in the northern suburbs. I had always enjoyed Christmas, not so much this time around. But I did have hope and that really meant an awful lot right then.
Two days after Christmas I took Barry for his usual morning walk, taking him further than I used to in order to avoid going home and annoying Mum and Dad with my sullen mood. When I did eventually walk in they were both sitting at the kitchen table waiting, it seemed, for me.
"Jeremy, we need to talk, something has happened, sit down, please."
Oh, this wasn't good, the whole 'we need to talk' thing was never good. Mum looked, I don't know, concerned I think. I sat down opposite her. Actually, she looked very, very concerned, I knew my Mum, and there was a look in her eyes that gave me a deep sense of foreboding.
"It's Logan, Jeremy. His Mum just got off the phone to your mother."
Dad hesitated, allowing time for awful thoughts to rush through my head and I stopped breathing.
Logan? Logan's Mum? Oh shit. No, no, no. I don't want to hear this do I? Not Logan, please, not my Logan.
"He's gone missing Jeremy, disappeared yesterday morning. He left a note and said he was sorry but he needed to come home, he needed to come back here. Back to you."
Really? That brave little bastard was heading home? Really? And to me?
I began to breathe again.
"You have to tell us Jeremy, have you heard from Logan at all, do you know where he is?"
"No, no, nothing. I haven't seen or heard from him since he left for Melbourne." The roses didn't count did they?
"You're sure?" Mum was watching me intently; she always knew when I was lying.
"Alright then. But if you do, you must tell us straight away, okay? His family are beside themselves with worry."
"Of course." My heart rate had increased dramatically. For the first time in weeks I was feeling positive, happy almost. More than just hope. That brave, beautiful man of mine was coming home and fuck be to everyone else! Oh yes, he was going to be in some serious shit, that was certain, but he was coming home and this time I was not going to let him go so easy. I had done what I needed to, now Logan, at last, had taken control of his own destiny and I was going to make damn sure I helped him to ensure we were never separated again.
"Jeremy, why are you smiling? Your best mate is missing and he's trying to get back here with bugger all money, no clothes and two and half thousand kilometres ahead of him."
I looked at them both. "Yeah, but he's coming home. And he's coming home to me."
They shook their heads, but I was sure they understood. I was going to have to tell them about Logan and me very soon I think.
"Logan's Mum is trying to get on a flight to get back here Jeremy, she will stay in touch with us, just in case. She said that once here she will be heading to her mother's old place. It's around here somewhere?"
"Yeah, just down the road a little. Look, honestly, don't worry, if I hear anything, anything at all, I'll tell you, okay?"
"That's good enough for me Jeremy." Dad looked to Mum and she nodded. We got up from the table and I went up to my room. I lay down on my bed and started thinking. Logan was not out of the woods yet. Who knew where he was or how he would even travel across the country, a large portion of which was desert, uninhabited and as hot as hell at this time of year. He would find a way though, I knew it. Now I needed to start planning for his return.
My first call was to Dean Charles. Even though he was on holidays I knew he would want to know what was happening and I hoped there might be a helping hand extended there too. Once I spoke to him, I grabbed the weekend papers and took up a sudden interest in real estate. An inkling of a plan was developing; one that I hoped would convince the adults that, in Logan's best interest, and yes, mine, nothing could be gained from him being forcibly sent back to Melbourne.
The next day or two passed slowly, and with no small amount of anxiety. Still no word from Logan; it had been three full days now since he'd been on the road. His Mum had stayed in touch with us and was on a flight on the 29th, arriving around lunchtime, Perth time.
But if it was tough for me, I kept thinking, then what about poor Logan? His Mum had said it seemed he had taken off without any spare clothes and with maybe $60 or $70 in his pocket, mostly money given to him at Christmas. It wasn't much considering the distance, certainly not enough for train or air fares. Enough, though, to get food and drink, maybe a room somewhere.
By the morning of the 29th, I was getting more than a little worried, despite my confidence he would be fine. I was up early that day, walked and fed Barry and was getting myself some cereal for breakfast when the phone rang. Mum and Dad were at the table so I picked it up.
"Hello." Long distance beeps. My heart jumped. "Hello?"
"Jeremy, is that you, J?"
"Logan, shit Logan. Are you OK man? Where are you? Your Mum's been on the phone and told us, they're worried sick."
"I'm fine mate, I'm in Kalgoorlie, its effing hot and I'm nearly out of cash, but I'm fine. Fuck it's good to hear your voice."
"Likewise, man. So long as you're OK. What do you need me to do Logan?"
"I'm stuck here, no money for a train and after the last ride I picked up, I don't want to hitch-hike again."
"Okay man, do you have enough money to call back in ten?"
"Not really, no."
"Then reverse the charges Logan. Call me in ten, okay?"
"Sure. Ten minutes then."
He hung up. Mum and Dad were standing next me. I looked at them and told them exactly what Logan had said.
"We've got to go get him Jack, he can't be left out there."
"I know, you're right, Pam, I know." Dad thought for a minute then he said "Jeremy, as soon as he rings back tell him you and I are on the way, tell him to stay where he is and we'll be there in 7 or 8 hours."
Dad was right; Kalgoorlie was way east of Perth. Easily 7 hours, maybe 8. And my parents, damn I loved them for their directness, no hesitation; just like that we were going to get my boyfriend, 700 kilometres away. I waited for the call. The phone rang and I answered almost before the first ring. It was the operator asking if we would accept reverse charges. Of course I would. She put the call through.
"Yeah J, I'm here."
"Dad and I are leaving now mate, we're coming to get you, okay?"
"J, really? You're coming out here? Far out man. Thank you, thank you so much."
"Logan, its 8.30 now, it'll be, at best, 3.30, 4.00 before we get there. Where are you?"
"At the train station man. I can't believe you and your Dad are coming all this way. Thank you so much J, I'm sorry to be a pain."
"Not at all Loges, you're never a pain. I'm just happy you're okay."
"Alright then, I'll see you soon J."
"Soon Loges. And Loges?"
"You know I….. you know, Logan."
"Thanks Jeremy, I adore you too."
We hung up.
Mum was making some sandwiches for the trip, Dad had packed a small bag.
"We're not driving back tonight champ, pack some kit for you and Logan and don't forget toothbrush and stuff, okay?"
"Yep, no worries."
I threw some clothes into a bag, making sure I had clean stuff for Logan as well. Where the hell had he been for 3 days? Poor bugger. I found a new toothbrush for him and looked at my footwear. Although Logan was only an inch or two taller than me he was a good 2 sizes bigger in the foot department. No point taking anything then. I grabbed some money out of my desk drawer, just in case, and headed out. Dad was waiting and, after our goodbyes to Mum and Barry, we were on our way I Dad's Ford Falcon.
It seemed to take an age just getting out of town but finally we were on the main highway east. Actually, it was the only highway east. I kept running my plans, my figures, through my head, I thought that I may just be able to pull this off, but it needed all the adults to see things my way, my way and Logan's. I hadn't got my breakfast so we ate Mum's sandwiches in silence, washed down with a warmish soft drink. Eventually, Dad broke into my thoughts.
"So, Jeremy, You're a much happier person these last few days."
Oh-oh, where was this going to head?
"Yeah, a lot happier, I guess."
"Your Mum and I, we've been, well, we've been worried about you. We knew the exams would stress you out but even after that, well you got worse, we could see it champ. You weren't the same person. You've not been our son, Jeremy.
"We knew losing your best mate would hurt. I think we under estimated just how deeply you would feel it."
"Dad, honestly, I…."
"Jeremy, look, hear me out. Please?"
"We honestly believed we would have to take you to see the doc, you were, I'm certain, heading down a dark path. Now, the last few days, you have become your old self, which is a damn good thing, believe me.
"We know that having Logan come back is a great thing for you but, honestly, your Mum and I, well we think, we think there is a hell of a lot more to it, that there is a lot that you are not telling us, a lot you have been keeping from us."
"Son, we want you to be happy, we want your life to be fulfilling and happy and we don't care what you do or say, you will always be our son, always be loved by this family. Your Mum and I, we just want the truth Jeremy."
Oh great. Get me now, where I had nowhere to go. Well, they deserved to know, and they were going to find out in the next day or two anyway.
"Sure, Dad. I really would have liked Mum to be here too, you know?"
"I understand Jeremy, but I'll be talking to her later, or you can, if you want."
"Okay, well, okay. I've wanted to tell you and Mum for a while, but after Logan went to Melbourne there didn't seem much point really."
"Go on son, it's alright."
"I like guys Dad, you know, really like guys, and, well, Logan and I, we've been together for two years, two years today actually. And I really like him. I, umm, love him to be honest."
"Love is a very strong word Jeremy."
"I know. It's taken me a long time to understand what I was feeling, what I have been feeling for a fair while now. It's only been since August that I really understood, that it really felt solid for me. I know it now though Dad. It is love."
"We both told each other regularly how we were feeling, but no, we never said we loved each other. I know my Logan though, I'm pretty sure it will be mutual."
"I see. Well, it's no surprise Jeremy, your mother and I, we suspected for a while that you and Logan were closer, much closer, than you were letting on. You're still our son, and we love you just the same, but I really wish that you had spoken to us about this before. We could have perhaps helped you through what has no doubt been a very difficult time."
I sighed deeply. 'I know Dad, I wish I'd told you both too, but, I don't know, it sounds easier than it really is. I mean, when Logan's cousin told his family he was virtually disowned, by the entire family, Dad, it was so unfair."
"I'm sorry he went through that, but that won't happen with this family, let me assure you."
"Thanks Dad, you're the best, really."
"Hmm, tell your mother that will you." He looked at me, smiled and looked ahead. That simple. But it did go and show how differently people, families, could react to something like that. I would never hide another thing from my family.
"You need to be careful, Jeremy, and not get your hopes up too high, this may only be a fleeting visit by Logan. His parents may well force him to go back."
"I know, Dad. But I can't help how I feel at the moment and I know I'm just a, I don't know, just a minor, and have stuff all power or influence, but I will do whatever I have to do to help Logan stay. I will not let him go again Dad."
"Well, I guess all I can say, Jeremy, is what all parents say at this point."
Yes, he was right, when in doubt the old 'we'll see' always gets rolled out.
Normally the east-west highway would be full of trucks, great big long road trains, but between Christmas and New Year, it was pretty quiet. We were making reasonable time but I thought it would be just on 8 hours total before we got there. We followed the railway line much of the way and saw a couple of freight trains heading towards Perth. Dad pulled in for fuel after four or so hours and while he filled the tank, I grabbed us some food to go from the roadhouse along with some odds and ends for Logan including some thongs (okay, flip flops, not the underwear, although…).
There was a small picnic area next to the roadhouse so we pulled in there and ate our lunch.
"You want to drive the rest of the way Jeremy?"
"Heck yeah, that'll be super."
"Alright then, let's get moving."
We pulled out of the roadhouse and continued our long journey east. Time seemed to go quicker when I was driving. Dad was snoozing when we reached the outskirts of Kalgoorlie, just before 4.00pm. I slowed down as we approached the outer limits and followed the main road into the town proper. It was a pretty big place, famous for gold mining and brothels. There was a sign pointing north to the train station so I turned left up the road. I had had butterflies in my stomach all day but now it was almost uncontrolled excitement.
I pulled into the train station parking area. The place was deserted except for one, solitary figure laying on a shaded bench near the main station building. I stopped about ten metres away and climbed out of the car. The figure was standing and then walking toward me.
I started walking towards him, we stopped about a metre apart looking at each other, drinking in each other, looking into one another's eyes.
"Loges…." My voice cracked and I could say no more. Tears leapt into my eyes.
"J, my darling J."
We stepped in and hugged, gripping each other tight, not wanting to let go of each other. Logan finally released me.
"Umm, hi Mr Myers."
We stepped away from one another, I turned and we walked back to the car. Dad was leaning on the open passenger door.
"Hi Logan, you okay?" They shook hands.
"Yes sir, thankyou so much for doing this, I can't ever thank you enough."
"Well, that's fine Logan, we couldn't very well leave you out here now could we?"
"No sir, thankyou."
"C'mon then, you must need a wash and a feed. There's a couple of motels back on the highway. We'll go back and grab a couple of rooms, clean-up and go get an early dinner. Bloody hell it's hot, isn't it?"
It was, it was bloody hot. Logan jumped in the back seat and we exited the carpark back the way we had come and turned right onto the highway and headed out of town, back west. I pulled into the carpark of the Highway Motel and Dad went into the office. Logan and I had been quiet in the short journey here. I was getting just a bit emotional.
"Yes mate?" I replied thickly.
"Are we, are we okay, mate?"
I turned around in my seat and looked at him. I couldn't talk, I hoped my eyes would tell him my answer as a tear ran down my left cheek. He leant forward and placed his hand on my shoulder. It felt wonderful. I leant my head on his hand. His other hand wiped the tear away.
"Oh J, I'm so, so sorry. I really am. I'm so glad you're here though, you know?"
I nodded, my emotions had definitely got the better of me. Dad came out with 2 keys.
"Right Jeremy, head out the back, rooms 112 and 115. Double for me, twin share for you guys. You okay?"
"Uh, alright, c'mon then."
I drove around back, away from the highway and pulled into the bay outside 112.
"Right, this is my room, you guys are a few doors up that way. It's 4.30 now, what say we clean up and, ah, get reacquainted and I'll come grab you about 5.30?"
"Sounds good Mr Myers, thank you again."
I got out of the car and went around and opened the boot (trunk). We got our bags out, Dad took his and Logan and I walked up to Room 115 while Dad went into 112 and closed his door. Logan had the keys and opened up. I went through and dropped my bag next to one of the beds, we had a single and a double, then looked back as Logan shut and locked the door. He pulled the window blind down and turned back to me. He walked up and pulled me into his arms. I hugged him tight and the tears began to flow. I shook as the emotion took hold. It took a little bit before I could say anything.
"I'm sorry Logan." I managed to squeeze out. "This isn't how I imagined it."
"It's alright, J, let it out babe." His voice, too, was thick with emotion.
"I thought, I thought I'd lost you forever, you know, I thought we would never see each other again, Logan."
"I know J, I know. I'm here now; I'm not going anywhere, not ever, I'm never leaving you again Jeremy."
"I thought I'd lost the love of my life."
"You, you love me?"
"With all my heart, I love you."
He pulled his head back and looked at me, kissed me and still holding me tight said "I love you too my dearest J, always and forever."
"Always and forever." I repeated our mantra.
We continued holding one another while I tried to get my emotions under control.
"I heard you that night, Jeremy, that last fucking, arseholey night, I heard you howling. It broke my heart. I wanted to go out and hold you, comfort you, be strong for you, like you were for me, but Dad wouldn't let me go. Then it stopped and you were gone."
"I'm sorry Logan, I was still there."
Logan looked at me, he looked horrified. He hugged me even tighter, if that was at all possible.
"What? No, no surely not, I would've snuck out; I would've done anything to be with you. If I'd known J…"
"It's okay Logan, please, it's okay.
"I, I remember, it was like feeling my heart being ripped out of me and howling and bawling, then nothing. It was after 4.00 before I regained my senses."
"Jesus, no Jeremy, no, no, no, oh shit no, J, oh shit, shit, shit, I'm so, so sorry. Fuck. Those howls, they broke me, Jeremy, they totally broke me. I vowed then, I would give my family Christmas and then I would find my way back, back to you."
"And you have, my beautiful Logan. Fuck, I just want to hold you, hold you forever. I missed you so much."
"I know, I missed you too. God, I love you, Jeremy."
I smiled "I love you, Logan Phillips." We held each other, stroking each other's hair, backs and bums.
"Thank you for the roses, Loges, you have no idea how much they meant to me. How much hope they gave me."
"J, I knew, even if you felt only half as bad as I did, then you would need something, something to hold on to, a promise of something better. I knew I was coming back, you didn't, so I had to do something, you know?
"Dad thought they were for Nan when he paid for them. Hah, sucked in father!"
I smiled, that really would piss his old man off if he knew.
"Thank you Logan, fuck, I love you." We continued holding each other, tightly, it was as if we feared we would lose each other again if we let go.
After a while I said "Logan, Mum and Dad know about us, they suspected and I told Dad on the way up here." My emotions were starting to become controlled, at least for now, which in turn calmed Logan.
"Really? Well done you. If I'm honest J, I think mine know, especially after this little episode. Your Dad, it seems like he took it well?"
"Yes mate, pretty well, better than I thought. They had a fair suspicion I reckon. I have a plan Logan, I'll tell you about it later, after dinner, but I hope that it will help keep us together because I'm not letting go this time."
"Neither am I, J, neither am I. Your plan though, does it include a shower cos I think I'm ripe man, it's been like two or three days since my last one I think."
"Of course mate, c'mon." We finally let each other go and I turned, leading him towards the bathroom at the rear of the room. Logan was wearing shorts, a tee that looked a tad grubby and sneakers. I took them all off, they were actually pretty ripe, and went in and turned on the shower. When the water was right I asked him to get in, I would be back to wash him. Around his neck he was wearing our chain and medallion, now the symbol of our love. I fidgeted with mine as he went in under the water.
I quickly stripped off and joined him. I washed him carefully, tenderly, just as I had done so many times before. And I kissed him, deeply and passionately, he was my Logan and he had come back, he had come back to me and I loved him. When I had finished we hugged and held each other then he started on me. I shivered, not because I was cold, far from it, but because he was touching me, kissing me, loving me.
We stayed under the shower head for quite some time before we thought perhaps we should get ready, before Dad knocked on the door. We dried each other, then went naked into the bedroom, both hard but with no time to take care of them the way we wanted to.
"Mate, I brought some spare jeans, shorts and tees for you, undies if you want them, and I bought some thongs on the way here if you need them." I started pulling all the cloths out of my bag and throwing them onto the single bed.
"Wow, thanks Jeremy, you brought a ton of kit. Have you worn the undies, I mean, are they dirty?"
"No dude, geez, they're clean."
"Don't want them then." He smiled, his beautiful smile. Fuck I had missed that smile.
"That's me, handsome."
He picked out a pair of shorts and a tee shirt, put them on, no undies, then tried on the thongs, perfect fit. I was just throwing on my tee when there was knock on the door. Logan went over and opened it.
"Aah good, you guys are ready. Excellent. Umm, before we go, though, take a seat."
Logan and I sat on the edge of the double bed and Dad dragged over the chair from the little desk in the corner of the room and sat in front of us.
"Okay guys, I need you to listen to me please." We both nodded. "Right, I've spoken to your Mum, Jeremy, and she's very happy you have been honest with us. She said she loves you and is looking forward to hugging you when you get home.
"Now, Logan, Jeremy's Mum has spoken to yours; she arrived from Melbourne this afternoon and is now at your grandmothers. She is very happy that you're safe and quite thankful you rang us. Of course, she is upset with you Logan and, from what I can gather your father, well he is more than a little angry with you."
"Did he come with Mum, Mr Myers?"
"No, he stayed in Melbourne to take care of you brother and sister and, well, I'm not sure he wants to see you at this point Logan. My understanding is that he is very, ahh, pissed off with you. You should prepare yourself for some strong words there I think."
"Yes, sir." Logan looked a little downcast, I hoped he was not having second thoughts. "The thing is Mr Myers, if Dad had been just a little more reasonable then perhaps this would never have happened."
"Logan, I'm not here to judge you or your family. That's not my place.
"But know this, from what I've seen and the little I know, you make my son very, very happy and that in turn makes my wife and I very happy. We will do whatever we can for you Logan, for both of you. But you are still a minor, at least for another six months or so. If your Mum wants to take you back to Melbourne, we can't stop her. But we will help to try and persuade your parents to let you stay, under my family's protection."
I don't think I could have loved or admired my father any more than I did at that very moment. Dad was very much old school. He had lived through the great depression, fought in a world war, lived in an age when being gay was a serious offense and he despised any music produced after the 1950's. But here he was, just hours after confirming his youngest son was into guys, and very much into the guy sitting in front of him right now, trying his best to ensure we remained together.
"Thank you Mr Myers, I really appreciate you coming all the way out here and, well for helping me, and being so understanding. Your son makes me very happy too, sir."
"Good, alright then. And one more thing before we go, Logan. If you're going to be a regular part of this family then it's Jack, okay? Jack and Pam, or Pamela, just never ever Pammy." Well, Dad just went up even more in my estimations.
"Ahh, sure sir, that is okay Jack. Thank you sir."
"Well alright then. I'm guessing you guys are starving; I know I am. The guy at the front desk said there was a top notch pizza place back towards town so we may go there, yes?
"Sounds the go, Jack." I replied.
"Not you Jeremy, to you I'm Dad or sir or yes, whatever you want kind Father sir. Got it?"
"Of course, Jack."
He clipped me lightly under the ear as we got up and made our way to the door. Sometimes parents surprise us, my Dad certainly surprised me that day.
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