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A Wall Built of the Past

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Episode 18

A tinny female voice blasted through the cabin, “Please be seated, fasten your seatbelts and put your seats in the upright position, we are making our final descent into St. Paul.”

“Would you like to have dinner with me tonight?” Gabe asked.

“Uumm … sure,” Eddie replied with stunned hesitation.

Shortly after the fact, Eddie was disappointed with himself for jumping into bed with Gabe after dinner that first night in St. Paul. Eddie doesn’t necessarily want to jump in bed with a guy on the first date, but an exorbitant amount of wine has a strange ability to erase his inhibitions.

Yet, that encounter had led, since returning to Salt Lake City two weeks ago, to them spending all their spare time together, which, for the most part, had turned Eddie into a giddy schoolgirl. But sometimes, and as always, Eddie would be overcome with doubt and suspicion, without any real support — just a stony feeling in his gut.

Fortunately, that feeling is also easily erased each time he and Gabe make love. Gabe’s jade eyes glimmer like tropic waters dancing with the sun’s rays as he stares into Eddie’s eyes while inside him. His breath is always warm and calm like a sip of cognac when they passionately kiss. His fingers are like pen to paper, writing the perfect love story on Eddie’s bare body. They move slowly, deliberately with each other as if they’ve been doing it all their lives. And each time they make love, it seems to last a little longer and with more fervor.

Eventually though, suspicion would creep back in after Gabe would leave for work. Eddie would again feel doubt as he’d sit alone in Gabe’s apartment, which would always lead to irrational behavior like going through his medicine cabinet, cupboards and even trash. These erratic actions had lead Eddie to learn a lot in two weeks about Gabe:

He is a connoisseur of white wines and gourmet coffees; enjoys easy-to-make, white-trash meals like macaroni & cheese, Marie Callender’s frozen entrees and Hormel chili in a can; he uses Right Guard roll-on deodorant ‘Fresh’ scent; the dozens of discarded Q-tips indicate he’s obsessed with clean ears; he uses Lava soap, which is logical since he’s a mechanic; he doesn’t appear to use dental floss or dryer sheets; several crumpled lottery tickets indicate he’s a gambler — a seemingly addicted one at that since he’d have to drive to Idaho or Wyoming to get the tickets; he doesn’t have many books so either he doesn’t read much or he checks them out from the public library — though he does keep a stack of pornographic magazines under his bed, along with several bottles of Gun Oil.

Once, a few days ago, Eddie had found a green velvet-bound diary, the pages full of hand-written poems. He gently fanned through it, stopping occasionally to read. One, entitled ‘Standing on the Beach’ read:

Listen intently to the sea, I said
Hear the faint laughter of his voice?
The joy of a playful young soul
Our son is alive, only fathoms away.
He jumps when a wave takes form
And dances with the rigged cliffs.
He laughs when the ocean sprays
And he dreams endlessly like a sunset.
Take flight, I said to my empty wife
Embrace his enormous soul and cry I love you
For he is listening, and says it to you.
In the deep blue sea, forever lives our boy.

As Eddie’s thoughts wheeled from reading poem after poem with the same theme of death, a folded white paper suddenly slipped out from between the pages of the book. Eddie bent over, retrieved it from the floor and opened it. Inside a hand-written message read:

Congratulations on turning 35!
I know how bummed you are about me moving to Boston so I bought an open-ended plane ticket for you to use when you’re ready to come see me. Also, I want to say that these past few years have been some of the best. I’m glad you came up to me at the bar that night and asked me to play pool. I enjoy your friendship more than I ever thought possible. You’ve made me a fuller and better person and I love you for it.
Please go see your parents as a favor to me, share your wisdom with them like you did with me.
PS – Take care of my little sister, I wouldn’t trust anyone else to do it.

The few days since Eddie found the poetry and the letter from some guy named Kyle, he had been hinting to Gabe about them, saying things like “Hey, we should go to a poetry slam tonight!” and “We should have your parents over for dinner sometime” and “Let’s take a trip to Boston, I’ve always wanted to go.”

But Gabe hadn’t budged, hadn’t offered any insight into what Eddie had found, which was now beginning to make Eddie even more suspicious.

To be continued …

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