Out of the dark, things can be stolen away as quickly as they arrived...
I kneel on the cold wet road, holding his head up off the ground as the rain batters down on us. My breathing is short and ragged, my body shaking, not from the cold, but from the fear of losing him. I give him a gentle shake, trying to keep him awake. His eyes half open, a lopsided smile appearing on his face. He looks at me and I look back at him. Tears are rolling freely down my face, but are lost among the rain, the tears of the sky.
I try to think of something to say, but no words form. As I hold his head, memories between us begin to flood back. Childhood. The summer we spent exploring the local woods. The games of Tag that we would organise for all the kids in the street during the summer holidays. The snowball fights during the winter. The countless sleep overs when we were younger. These fade. More specific memories begin to form...
“Hey Ryan, why don’t we try looking for the ghost dog again?” Kye asks me as we walk up the street, the rare Scottish sun blazing down on us.
“Yeah, ok, we will do that again. We will find it this time,” I reply. We joke about what we will do if we find it, how famous we will become for the discovery. We run towards the woods in search for the ghost dog and again everything fades.
Its night time and I’m in a bedroom. It has two beds, a T.V and a PS2. Toys and other objects lay around, a typical boy’s bedroom. The door opens and Kye walks in, a smile on his face. He jumps on me and we wrestle, having a laugh, thinking it will always be like that. How naive we were. Everything fades to black, our laughter fading away.
We are sitting on the benches at the old railway tracks, a few years older, Kye with his slightly longer, scruffy brown hair. We are looking around, making sure there was nobody around. He pulls out a packet of cigarettes and a lighter and nervously opens them. We each remove one and, again, make sure nobody is going to see us.
“You ready to try this?” he asks me nervously, scared about what we were about to try. I look at his slender body, his scruffy hair and feel something strange inside me, an attraction, but I push it down, hiding it.
“I am if you are,” I tell him, pretending not to be nervous. With that he lights the cigarette and hands the lighter to me. I light mines up. We both take a puff and start choking and coughing. We look at each other and laugh. We try again and get the same result. After a few more failures we put them out, crush the pack and throw it into the bushes behind us, laughing and joking about how horrible it was.
“Well, I am never doin’ that again!” I say, getting out the mint flavoured chewing gum.
“I agree man. That is a no-no. At least we have tried it and now we wont want to again,” he says, taking a couple pieces of chewing gum and popping them into his mouth, both of us hoping it will cover the smell of smoke. Again, everything fades away.
“Kye, I really have to tell you something,” I tell Kye looking him in the eye. He stares back into my eyes.
“What is it man?” he asks, concern in his voice. I gulp, and try to speak, but fail. “Has something happened?” I examine him, his straight brown hair going down to just below his ear, the fringe swept across his forehead. I love that hair, the way it suits him perfectly. “Ryan?” he asks, still concerned.
“I’m... just give me a minute...” I say looking down, wringing my hands together, afraid of how he will react when I tell him. I look away to the side, staring at the beautiful Ochil Hills in the distance, trying to control my waring emotions. I look at his face, then his slender body before looking down at the ground, trying to think of how I should tell him.
He grabs my shoulders and lifts my chin up, staring into my eyes. As I stare into those beatiful green eyes, a new strength builds within me and takes control.
I take a shakey breath. “Kye, I’m gay.” I take a step back, not sure how he will take it. He pulls me into his chest and hugs me, letting me know it was ok, that he was fine with it.
“And here I was thinking you had done something wrong like murdered somebody,” he laughs, “Besides, I sort of already knew. Plus, I had kinda noticed you staring at guys asses before, ya perv,” he laughs, settling my nerves.
“You don’t mind?” I ask him, looking him in the eyes again, my vision blurry.
“Why would I mind? You are my best friend Ryan. We have known each other since we were just kids. You are still the same amazing, friendly guy, except now I know a little bit more about you. Also, I had kinda suspected it. I do know you very well after all,” he explains, grasping my shoulders tight. He pulls me into another hug.
“Thanks man,” I sob as I continue to hug him, squeezing my eyes shut as a few tears of joy drip onto his jumper. Everything dissolves.
We are in a house, music playing, people laughing and joking and drinking. Everyone having a good time. Someone stumbles into Kye, knocking him off balance and causing him to fall on top of me on the couch. I make a crude joke and we both laugh. People are chatting and helping up the girl who knocked Kye over. Kye looks out the window, the rain battering down on it, the outside world consumed by darkness.
He turns and looks at me, a small smile on his face.
“Ryan, I think now is the right time for me to tell you this. I’m gay,” I look at him shocked, my mouth dropping.
“Really? And since when?” I ask him, slightly confused.
“I’ve sorta known for a while. I had a strange feelin about it since before you told me , but then when you did it started becoming more evident to me but I wasn't sure if it was just a phase or not, so I decided to wait till I was certain about it,” he explains, looking into my eyes. “And I have known for a month or two now that I am.” He looks away before speaking again. “And I really like you man,” I notice his cheeks turning red from embarrasment.
I lean towards him, pulling his head towards me. He knows what I am doing and gets involved, parting his lips slightly. Our lips meet and we embrace each other lovingly. I hear several people whistling, a couple cooing. We pull away from each other, both of us smiling uncontrollably.
“Well, this must be a wet dream!” I joke, making him laugh, “Cause I really like you too, as if you hadn’t alreay figured that out.”
“Yeah, well, this has worked out much better than I had hoped,” he laughs, looking at me, smiling. “You can take me out some time,” he says, winking.
“Oh I will!” I chuckle. We laugh and get up from the couch to get another drink.
Up the road the car is sitting in the middle of the road, the floodlights still on, the door open, the driver on the phone talking frantically. My clothes are soaked right through but I don’t care. I only care about Kye. I sob, trying not to cry, to stay strong for him.
“Come on, what do you think you’re doing eh? You’re not allowed to get hurt, I’ve still to take you on our first date,” I joke with him, choking back hysteria. He looks at me, only half seeing me.
“Ryan...” he starts but I stop him and tell him to reserve his energy.
“I love you,” I cry, voice cracking, looking into his eyes, kissing his forehead, my hands in his sticky, mess of hair. I begin to shake harder; not because of the cold and rain.
“Ryan... I... Love...” he stops. I look in his eyes and see him looking behind me, a smile on lips. He lets out a large, wretched breath as his eyes close.
I turn my head to see what he saw, but find nothing but the party guests standing in the garden shocked expressions on their faces. I look back at him and find him still, chest no longer rising and falling. I hear sirens, an ambulance.
“Kye?” I ask, hoping he is just preserving his energy. But he doesn’t respond. He never will again. An animalistic cry escapes me and I weep harder. I clutch his head into my chest, crying, yelling at the world, no words, just noise. I sit there, too much pain for words.
He is gone. I have lost him...