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Words Can't Express

© 2002, Quondam Manitou

Disclaimer: This piece is based on a true story, the story of my closest friend, Jake. He first told me it earlier this year and I knew that I had to put it on paper; I had to let people know what he's been through. I've changed names, places and minor details with the events, but it is nonetheless the same story.

Dedication: To Jake, for everything you shared with me, for everything you have taught me, for everything you have lost. Jake, the world usually throws it worst at those that are strongest, and after all you have been through, to be still living is a remarkable credit. You are a wonderful person and will remain in my heart as my best friend, forever.

I should have known; the signs were obvious. Yet, I was too wrapped up in my own self-pity. I wish I could go back in time and get myself to notice, then I could've helped; things could've been so different. Everyday, the same regrets. They all tell me I need to get over it, need to get over him, and while I don't like to admit it, they're right. I need to stop beating myself over the head with it; I need to move on. That's why I'm here, why I'm writing this. It's really the only place I could write it, anywhere else, just wouldn't feel right. It's been so many years; I've done so many things, yet, the smell of salt air, the warm breeze, the clear blue sky, it all seems just as familiar as it was ten years ago. I wish things could have been different, but I guess fate didn't want that to happen, that would've made it all too easy. They say you grow the most by going through hard times, and I guess I have. Still, it takes quite a bit of effort to get yourself to go back, to face up to the difficulties you have. I practically had to be whipped in order to get myself here, but I managed. Now I just need to start writing...

The air was humid and did little to soothe my troubled spirits. A small crowd gathered around the pulpit set up on the pier as Mum read her eulogy. I found the words took on an almost haunting quality as she read them. I looked out at the bay, with the bright sun reflecting off the water. When he died, he always did want his body to be washed out to sea- a beachside funeral- and with his coffin lying there, water lapping up around it most people could safely say he was dead. My grandpa was dead. He had died three days ago. They said it was a heart attack, high blood pressure. Still, I couldn't help but feel it was my fault. The day before he died my brother, James, and I had gotten into a fight. Just some minor stuff, he'd broken one of my models, and despite Grandpa telling me to let it go, that some things weren't worth fighting over, I'd stubbornly demanded James fix it. When he wouldn't I'd hit him and he went off crying. The last words my Grandpa ever said to me were that I was such a stupid kid, and really needed to learn how to cool down.

Grandpa was so right that day, "some things aren't worth fighting over". It took me a while to realise it, but I did, eventually, and ever since I have known just how little can be solved by violence. Standing there though, hearing Mum's words of praise for her father, all I could think about was how much I hated myself, and how I wished I could've been able to say sorry. Grandpa and I had had such great times together, and now he was gone, all because of me, all because of his stupid kid of a grandson.

I tried to control my tears, after all, boys my age didn't cry; but it was futile as tears begun to run down my cheeks. I sniffed pitifully and then felt a warm hand on my shoulder; it was Olly, my best friend. "It's okay," he counselled me and with those two words of approval I stopped fighting the tears and broke down totally. Olly had been there when I found out about Grandpa and he'd barely left my side since, he'd been my friend for years, so those two words were all I needed to hear to know that crying was fine, no-one else's opinion mattered at that point. Still, I didn't tell him why I was so upset, but he was there to comfort me as he pulled me into a tight hug with him.

I met Olly four years ago, he moved into the bay from the city and within a week we were best friends. You see, living on the coast in such a small town like we do, there was hardly ever any guys of my age to hang out with. I mean, I made friends with tourists before, but that was only ever a casual friendship since they didn't stay long and all my friends from school lived at least half an hour's drive away. That's why when Olly moved here, I was so excited, finally another guy of my age!

We'd become very close, especially over the past year, his parents had split up, and I'd tried to be there for him as much as I could, and now, with grandpa's death he was returning the favour. I looked up at him, his tanned face creased with concern, his usually bright blue eyes sadly dimmed; this was as much his burden as it was mine. I found myself noticing again just how beautiful he was, his unbuttoned shirt revealing a tanned and for his age, well defined chest, his body pressing against me. I'd known I liked guys for quite a while, but never thought of myself as one of those gays you see on the news wearing all their bright colours and waving their equality flags. I just knew guys interested me a lot more than girls did, and Olly had to be one of the most beautiful guys in the world.

I looked at his hair, light brown by nature, but tipped with blonde, gel holding it firmly in place, then his wonderful sapphire eyes, always so reflective of his mood- there is an old cliché that you can stare directly into a person's soul through their eyes, with Olly I found myself almost believing it. I was so lucky to even have him as a friend, he was perfect in every way, yet, deep down, I knew I desired more. I wanted to hold him on a more intimate level, to kiss him, to be his all, but I wasn't a fag.

I realised where I was and shook my head slightly, trying to refocus. I was at grandpa's funeral! This wasn't the time to be thinking about how cute my best friend was, what would grandpa think? He'd think I was even stupider than he already did. I pushed away and broke down again, I missed grandpa so much, yet I didn't want anyone to know, I couldn't tell them that it was my fault he was dead. I let out a loud pathetic sob as tears began to stream in earnest, stinging my red puffy eyes.

"Hey Lewis, what's the matter? If you need someone to talk to, I can listen." Olly said to me, his voice rich with genuine concern.

"It's nothing," I whispered, "Oh! I don't want to talk about it!" I said scoldingly. I saw the hurt on his face, "Hey, I didn't mean... It's just that..." I tried to explain, but he turned away from me in obvious pain. I had to tell him, tell him why I was so upset. "It's just that I killed him." I said audibly enough for him, but no-one else to hear.

He turned back with a puzzled look on his face, "What do you mean?"

"You know what the doctors said; he died of stress, because of me." He looked at me as if to say 'what are you talking about?', so I continued, "James and I had a fight the day before he died, he told me to let it go, but I didn't, he looked annoyed and stressed for the rest of the day," I started choking up, "And, I, didn't get to, say sorry..."

"I'm so sorry, Lew," he said, pulling me in towards him again, "I wish I knew what to say."

I stifled my tears and tried to get out a coherent sentence, "Thanks anyway, you don't need to say anything. I'm just happy to have you here." And with that I held him closer and buried my face into his chest, warm salty tears falling onto his skin. However, this time, I didn't even think about his looks, it was totally asexual, just him holding me, supporting me when I needed it, he knew just the way to deal with me at the right time- he truly was my best friend. We stayed that way for the rest of the service, and even after it ended, until Mum came up that is. She was holding a tissue and dabbing lightly at her tear-streaked face, "You right to go home, Lew?"

"Yeah, I think I am," I replied, but just as we were gathering everything up I thought of my family all being at home, saying how sad they were that Grandpa was dead. I didn't know if I could bear it. I wanted to avoid that, try and forget that it was my fault he died. I thought of locking myself in my room, going to Olly's house, it all was too close though, I had to go somewhere totally different. So I asked Mum, "Is it alright if I go hiking up the mountain tonight? I'll be back by tomorrow afternoon, I promise!"

"I don't know, Lew, you really should be here with your family."

"I know that, it's just, I feel like getting away from it all, just being alone for a bit. Give me some time to think, plus haven't been up there since I was about six."

"Hmmm, well, I guess it'll be okay. Just make sure you are back by tomorrow. We're going to the city to Auntie Jane's for the next few days, remember? And I don't want you going up there alone, you'll have to take a friend with you," she bargained with me, "Olly, will you be allowed to go?"

"Probably," he said, with slight smile on his face, "I'll just need to go home first and check with my Mum." He actually looked quite excited about it, though was trying not to show it too much, he didn't want to seem insensitive by grinning widely at a funeral, I guess.

"Well, we've got some stuff to do here, but if you go home, ask your Mum and get all your stuff organised. We've got all the gear; you just need a sleeping bag and your clothes. Then we can pick you back up on the way through to the start of the track. Don't forget to pack something warm, because it gets pretty cold up there."

"I won't!" he said earnestly, "Anyway, I better be off now and leave you to it, I'll see you later Lew."

"Yup, bye!" I said, as he went running off.

The following poem I composed while on the walk with Olly, it took a while before I actually wrote it down and it has been refined since then, but it has always been in my heart, ever since the walk as an expression of my love to him:

Summer sun shines bright
We meet, then begin our hard
Journey together.

Each footstep impacts
The world in its own varied
Way. Small, becomes large.

Scenery changes,
Journey goes onwards. Upwards,
It ever ascends.

Weary; can't go on.
Stumbling, falling. He is there-
To help me back up.

My truest friend.
He leads the way. Through barren
Parts, he finds the path.

I owe him my all.
Words can't express. Space in my
Heart. Guarded for him.

Friday, 23rd December
Dear Journal,

Yesterday I went to Lewis' grandpa's funeral, it was really sad. Everyone was quiet and crying, especially Lew. I really didn't know what to do or say, but after all the support Lew gave me through the divorce; I knew I had to help somehow. So I just hugged him and eventually managed to get him to tell me about how he thought his grandpa's death was his fault. It was really sad to see my best friend crying like that, but I just held him and tried to help as well as I knew how, I think it helped, but even if it didn't it felt really nice! I really do love him heaps; everything about him is so perfect! He's not only my best friend, but he is smart, generous, funny and really hot too! We tell each other everything but that one thing... I don't know how he'd react. I don't even know what exactly I'd tell him, because I don't even really know if I'm gay or not, I guess I must be though, why else would I be in love with my best friend?

Anyway, afterwards we were getting ready to go home when he asked his Mum if he could go hiking up the mountain. He must've wanted to get away from his family for a bit; I was a bit worried though, because he was feeling down, I really didn't want him going off alone. Thankfully his Mum came to the rescue and suggested I go along too. I just about hit the roof! Finally he and I would get some time alone without parents around. I hoped I'd be able to tell him my big secret and I hoped he'd understand.

I quickly rushed home and organised my gear before sitting down and waiting for him to come and pick me up. I started thinking about all the stuff that I'd read can happen when two guys get together camping and I ended up really horny and since I had some free time on my hands, I went to the toilet to "relieve" myself. I felt really dirty afterwards, I always do. I mean, what if he doesn't like me, what if he is straight, I mean, it's sort of like raping him in my mind, isn't it?

Anyway, he turned up and we packed my stuff into the car and drove off to the track car park, it didn't take long and we unloaded everything. His Mum gave us some advice, the usual parental warnings, kissed him and then gave me a hug goodbye. His Mum's really cool, I love her heaps; I feel I could tell her anything and she wouldn't really care; unlike my Mum. As much as I love her, we still get into heaps of fights, she never seems happy with me being who I am. She'll never be able to accept that I'm gay,

Well, after distributing the weight between packs equally, we set off on the track. We didn't talk much on the way, I didn't feel brave enough to tell him my secret and he had other things on his mind. The whole time I tried to talk, to tell him how I felt, but I couldn't get it out; I didn't want to ruin our friendship. It just goes to show how weak I am- I had the chance, but I didn't tell him.

We arrived at the campsite and set everything up before going off and "playing". Really little kid like, sword fighting, running around and just having loads of fun. Most people our age are too "mature" for that kind of thing, but when we're just with each other, we really don't care. Later on he suggested going skinning dipping as we've done lots before, but as much as I wanted to see him naked, I couldn't. What if he saw me with a boner? He might realise I liked him, I couldn't take that chance.

Sunset came and we decided to cook dinner. Just one of those packet pasta things. It didn't turn out too well, but for two hungry boys, it was more than edible. After washing the dishes up we decided to call it a night, the mosquitos were ravenous! We did the usual horror story and dirty joke routine that all teenage guys do when camping before things started getting serious. I told him his grandpa's death wasn't his fault and that he needed to stop feeling guilty about it. Told him how I used to blame myself for Mum and Dad's divorce. We ended up just cuddling and talking, it was a perfect opportunity to tell him how I felt, but I didn't take it.

After cuddling that close for a while, I started to get a boner. I was going to break the hug so I could adjust myself, but I didn't dare to when both of us were in such a vulnerable and emotionally exhausted state, he could easily take it as a personal affront. So I got hard and started tenting my boxers, I could feel it pushing against his belly; I was so embarrassed but then something I never would have guessed happen. I felt him reach down and grab my cock through my boxers.

I pulled away though, I couldn't continue, I couldn't take advantage of our closeness and his hormones. It wouldn't be right. I said we should get some sleep, so he turned the light off and I rolled over to get some sleep. I started crying silent tears as I lay there, but I don't think he saw and even if he did, I don't think he'd know why. I was just tired from the day and hated my cowardice for not taking advantage of the opportunity I had with him. Just as I fell asleep though, I think I felt him lean over and kiss me though, I was so tired it could've just been my imagination, it could've been a dream, but deep down, I think and hope that it wasn't.

This morning nothing was mentioned of last night's activities as we had breakfast and packed up. The walk back was quiet once again as a billion thoughts went through my head. Maybe Lewis was gay, or he could simply be a curious teenager. He was ready to do stuff, so he had to be at least bisexual didn't he? I loved him so much, but did he love me back or was it simply his hormones? If he had in fact kissed me was it because of love, or simply an act of pure friendship. Before we knew it though, we were back at the car park half an hour earlier than the time we arranged with his Mum so we sat in silence as we waited for her car to arrive. The trip home was uneventful as we were both too tired to talk a whole lot, we said a brief farewell at my place after unpacking and he left.

I unpacked and showered, then got ready for bed. I've been thinking about it, but I really don't know what to think. The incident has confirmed to me and that is that I am gay, though I don't really know if I like that idea. I know for sure that Mum and John won't. I've read online how everyone hates gay teens, and even kill them. I don't know if I can handle that, even with my love for Lewis. He'll probably hate me too, anyway. My Mum kicking me out of home, her idiot boyfriend beating me and my best friend hating me. Sounds like fun. I'm tired now though, so I'll go to bed, hopefully everything will be okay in the morning, though with Lewis at his Auntie Jane's house, I'm going to be bored as hell and probably will end up wasting my day on the internet. Anyway, that's all for now,

Dear Lewis,
I'm so sorry to have chosen such a horrible time to do this to you, it's Christmas Eve, and your grandpa has just died. I really am so sorry, but I can't see any way around it.

Well, by the time you get back to read this I'll be long gone, hopefully to a better place, but with parents like these, who knows? I guess I'll just be happy to just have peace, though.

You see, I have a confession to make to you, I'm sure you'll understand. After all we've been through, after how close we are. Well, I guess I should spit it out... I AM GAY, a fag, a queer, a poof, or whatever you want to call it. Well, that's my big announcement, not that it matters a whole lot now. I just needed to tell you that I love you. I always have, ever since the first day we met. I've always loved you and as more than a friend, even more than a brother. I've loved you forever, still love you now and I'll continue to love you for all of eternity.

I know you better than most people and I know that you're not entirely straight either, but just like me you've been too scared to admit it, to me, and probably too scared to admit it to yourself. Whatever your decision is, I'm proud of you for it. I am sorry to do this, and I really wish there was another way, but in all honesty I can't see one.

Anyway, I guess I should tell you what happened. Earlier today Mum and I got into a fight (as always), actually it was two fights. The first one was pretty much the same as normal, her wanting me to tidy my room, get annoyed about school and other things, me telling her what an idiot I think John is, I was my smartass self, as usual. Anyway, after that I went on the internet to try and stop thinking about it and was on some gay sites when she came into the room, obviously it didn't go too well. She said she was disgusted with me and never wants to see my face again.

I guess at least she's going to be getting her wish, though not in the way she expected but I've got nowhere else to go anyway. I'm sick of it all, if my own mother can't even accept me for who I am then how's anyone else going to?

When you get this I hope you'll be able to understand my decision, there's no other way and no way that at this time I'd rather take. Please don't feel bad for me, be happy that now I'm at peace and just remember that whatever you do in life, I love you and support you in it, though please for my sake live life to the fullest. Lew, boy of my dreams, I hope you can forgive me for this, someday, somehow. I have taken the easy way out, but I have always been a lot weaker than you. Forgive me, please...
I love you, for eternity and beyond,

My excitement filling like a glass,
Slowly trickling until ready
To overflow.
A letter, I read then
Shatter. Broken glass.
His brother gave me the words,
He lies!
Lies on the ground.
It isn't true, it can't be true, but I know it is.

I first found out the day I got back from the city, the day after Boxing Day. We were staying at my aunt's house, since they wanted all the family to be together after grandpa's death. We'd been home for about an hour and I was just about to go out and see Olly and talk about what happened when we were camping, that's when I saw his brother, Will come running up the driveway. I went to meet him and he just said three words, "I'm so sorry," before handing me a note. I don't know exactly what happened next, but I remember reading it and then not believing it, thinking it was a sick joke, beating Will up to try and get him to tell the truth. He couldn't be dead, after the great time we'd had just days earlier, he was laughing, having fun. He had no reason to commit suicide. Or did he? I started to think about Olly, knowing him for as long as I had I knew that after his greatest highs always came his greatest lows. We hit the top, but he'd had time to think, and after the incident with his Mum, I guess he just went spiralling down. If only I'd been there, he would have been able to talk things through with me, stay at my house and cool down. But I hadn't been there and that realisation came flying at me with the impact of a bullet train.

My head aches.
A memory, a wall we once sat upon.
Now we can sit no more, it is gone.
My world, it is gone. I try to forget.
My life it is gone, I try to end it.

Everything after that is a complete blur. I somehow managed to break my wrist during that time, I think it was from a wall at our school that I came across and demolished. I couldn't believe it, it was like a part of myself had died and on a number of occasions I tried to follow him into the grave. Fate works in strange ways though and I never did end my life, a breeze throwing me off balance, a knife falling out of my hand, just at the right moment, giving me enough time to think and recompose myself.

I ease my sorrows
In ways I never wanted to.
I drink, I smoke and try everything else.
Nothing works to ease my nothingness.
Days, weeks, years, all the same-
Time passes, who knows how much?
A fight, a knife. Police.
"Boy, what are you doing?
Come with me."
A cold cell, explaining, a church explaining.
Explaining what took place.
"Father, may God bring him back?"
Words echo, "Never.

For two weeks after I found out, I was living on the streets- drunk, stoned and using several other drugs. I blew my entire life savings, and ended up with a $500 debt over my head. Well, that was until I hospitalised the guy I owed it to. My life continued spiralling downwards until one night I was passed out in a park in one of the towns nearby (I don't know which one) and the police found me. I found myself in a jail cell overnight and the next morning was sent off to the local church. I told the priest there everything, about Olly, how he was killed himself, how I loved him, how he was gay. I was hoping he'd be able to help me, get God to perform a miracle and bring Olly back, instead, his only remark was that would never happen, Olly was in Hell and would burn for all eternity.

Blank. Thoughts, no more.
Lifeless, a shell, I try to smile,
Smile sometimes comes through new friends,
But I still know.
I know it is my fault.

Surprisingly I didn't snap, I didn't get violent, I just walked out ghost like, as calm as day, but dead inside. I stayed in that trance for a couple of months. February came around though and school started once again. I promised myself that I'd try to make new friends, to be social and surprisingly I managed it. Well, I was having fun, though in the back of my mind Olly's death always kept on at me. His birthday came around and I was set off once again. Counselling and strong friendships helped me through and I was able to manage life by myself

Life continues ever on, life makes me keep on living.
Years pass, love comes, love goes, but never as true.
Never as happy, because he is gone.

Since then, I've attended University, got a job and am now a Junior Manager at the company I work for. I have had a number of relationships, some good, some bad and I'm currently looking at proposing to my boyfriend, Josh. Josh is wonderful, and while it is a different bond to the one I shared with Olly, he is really a great guy. Tough times have come throughout my life recently but he's always been there, always known what to do to comfort me. Actually, it's his idea I'm here too, writing this. He's about the only person that could get me here, get me to write this. And I'm eternally grateful. So Josh, Olly, my life is dedicated to the two of you, you both loved me unconditionally, you both taught me so much, thankyou.

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