Over the next few months, Carl had called Allan on the 'phone quite often, sometimes their conversations had lasted just minutes, but other times they had lasted a couple of hours or more. Those particular calls had been made from a landline. Not his parent's 'phone, but from Tom's. He couldn't risk his parent's wrath at receiving a telephone bill that contained an American 'phone number, so Tom had graciously allowed him to use his 'phone, on condition that when the bills arrived, Carl paid for the calls he made and, so far, he had done so.
At home, he still logged on to the Internet to chat with Allan online and, despite the time difference between the two, they managed to get a couple of hours in at a time, which left Carl feeling very tired the following morning and saw him sleep late, much to his mother's annoyance.
"You should be out looking for work, not sleeping until all hours," she had chastised. "And I don't know what the fascination is with the computer, you're on it till all hours."
Carl had secretly smiled to himself. If only she knew. Gosh! What a thought! Imagine if she did. What on earth would she make of it? He had played the scene over in his mind a number of times, so many, in fact, that he had the 'script' down to a tee.
"Mother. Father. I have something to tell you both."
"What is it, son?" his father would ask without looking up from his evening newspaper.
"Well, it's like this. I've met someone."
"You have, son? That's good. About time, too"
"Yes, I have."
"That's nice, dear," his mother would reply, as she continued to set the table for a meal.
"Well, I think so."
"Maybe you could invite her round for tea," his mother would add, as she checked over the table to make sure that nothing had been forgotten. "How about Sunday, would she be able to come?"
"Well, that would be a little difficult."
"Why?" his father would ask, turning the page of his newspaper.
"Well, a few reasons, really."
"Dinner's almost ready, dear, you should go wash up," his mother would say, disappearing into the kitchen.
"Why difficult?" his father would ask, absently.
"Well, the person I've met doesn't actually live around here."
"Oh?" his mother would respond.
"No," Carl would say.
"Well, I'm sure your father could pick her up in the car."
"So long as it isn't too far away," his father would quickly add.
"They live in America."
"Much too far," his father would laugh.
"I know, but I wasn't thinking of them coming for tea, I just wanted you to know that I'd met someone."
"How can you say you've met someone?" his father would ask, turning another page.
"On the Internet."
"Perhaps it's just as well she's so far away, you hear such stories," would be his mother's reasoning.
"I've been talking to him for quite a long time."
"Oh, this is a male friend, then?" his mother would comment.
"Yes, it is and he lives in America."
"That's nice, dear. A long way to come for tea, I agree."
"Yes, it is. But I do like him."
"That's nice, dear, but I thought you'd found a nice girl."
"He's much better than a 'nice girl'."
"What does that mean?" His father again.
"It means, well, what it means is that I love him."
"Love him?" probably both parents in unison, Carl had thought.
"Yes. He's gay."
"He is?" that would be his father.
"Yes, he is and, well, so am I."
"That's nice, dear," his mother again.
"Did you hear what I said?"
"We both did," would be his father's answer, adding, "it explains a lot."
"You're not mad?"
"Why would we be, dear? Are you happy?"
"Yes, but I'd be happier if I could be with him."
"Maybe one day, son."
"Dinner's ready, Carl, have you washed your hands, yet?"
Carl would turn and walk upstairs to he bathroom to wash his hands and return to eat his dinner where his parents would sit at the table discussing their respective days and Carl would eat in silence as he so often did.
Carl laughed to himself. If only! He knew that no matter how often you played a scene in your head that when it came to the reality of a situation it never quite worked out the same way. The other 'cast' members all seemed to working from a different script.
He sighed. If only it was that easy. He did love his American friend and he did so much want to be able to meet him in person, but nothing short of a miracle was going to make that happen. Until such a time, he guessed he would continue very much as he had been doing, chatting online with him from home and via the telephone when he was able to do so from Tom's flat. Not ideal, but the best he had.
He glanced at the clock and quickly turned on his computer. Almost time for Allan to be home and for them to be able to chat online again.
The computer whirred into action and went through its automatic procedures until Carl was able to enter his password and then connect to his IM service.
There was no sign of Allan as the 'buddies' list came into sight and Carl clicked the button that would let Allan know he was "available" when he logged on at his end and waited.
He replayed the scene of his telling his parents about Allan again over in his mind. It would be funny if it weren't so tragic. There would be absolutely no way they would understand about Allan. How he felt about him, that he loved him and wanted to be with him. They wouldn't understand at all, he knew that, even though homosexuality wasn't something they discussed, he just knew it wouldn't be something they would understand, or accept, especially of their own son. Perhaps it was for the best that Allan lived in America and he in England. At least he could be in love without anyone else, other than Tom, that is, having to know.
His attention was drawn to the computer as it made a recognisable noise to let him know that he had received an instant message.
Carl looked at the clock as he approached his computer, he'd been logged on for just over an hour and he saw Allan was online.
Allan: Hello, babe.
Carl: Hi. You're late this evening.
Allan: Sorry, got held up in a meeting at work.
Carl: That's okay I wasn't doing anything.
Allan: I soon will be.
Carl: Oh, well, don't let me keep you.
Allan: LOL! No, not tonight, but very soon in the near future.
Carl: Okay, I give in, what?
Allan: Is what the meeting was about. Seems my time in this Godforsaken place is coming to an end.
Carl: That's great, you'll be able to go home again.
Allan: Yes, I will, but not for long.
Allan: The company has expanded over the past few months and they want me to go to another place to do much the same as I've been doing here.
Carl: What a bummer.
Carl: Well, it is. Can't they find someone else?
Allan: I don't want them to.
Carl: Why? I thought you wanted to go home.
Allan: I don't want them to because the job will be a much better one for me.
Carl: In what way?
Allan: I get to meet you.
Carl: What do you mean? You're not making any sense.
Allan: They want me to go to London.
Allan: I'm coming to England, babe.
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