If any nice person, nasty person, place, event, happening, thing, or sport, seems familiar,
it is purely coincidental.
Can one simple act of kindness change your life?
I decided I needed to take a break from studying for my physics final so I was out taking a nice relaxing walk. As I was wandering along 11th street I decided I needed a nice cold soda, and the closest place to get one was the Shell gas station on the other side of the street. When I walked in, a little guy about 5-feet nothing was standing at the counter.
“Can I have the key to the washroom please?” he asked.
“Sorry, only paying customers can use the washroom,” the clerk replied, “Besides we don’t give the key to little kids unless their mommy is with them.”
“I’m not a kid,” he responded. “And I gotta go real bad, man.”
“Yeah well whatever, that’s not my problem,” was the clerk’s reply, “Besides there’s trees out back. At least then you won’t stink up the place.”
“Please,” the little guy begged.
“Look freak, you’re already stinking up the place. Get your ass out of here before I have you thrown out,” the clerk ordered.
He turned and glanced at me as he left and I’m pretty sure I saw a tear. I paid for my soda and as I was about to leave, I stopped for a second or two, then turned and asked for the key to the washroom.
“Yeah, no problem man. Here,” the clerk replied as he handed me the key.
I walked out the front door, looked to my left and saw the little guy leaning against the corner of the building. I walked over to him and held up the key.
He glanced at me, said, “Oh my god, thanks,” as he grabbed it and ran around the corner towards the washroom.
Five minutes later, he was back. He handed me the key, and grinning said, “Thanks man. You saved my life.”
I took the key back to the clerk said thanks and left ready to continue my walk.
After a block or so, I realized I wasn’t exactly alone. The little guy was right on my heels.
“Hey, looks like we’re going the same way,” I said, glancing back at him.
“Yeah I guess so,” he replied as he moved up beside me.
We continued on in silence, but after about five or six blocks and three turns, I got a bit curious and started to pay a bit more attention to him. It didn’t really need a second look to realize he probably hadn’t had a shower or washed his clothes any time recently. And let’s just say occasionally being downwind from him wasn’t a big thrill, so it didn’t take a genius to figure out something was very wrong.
I didn’t know if he needed help or not, and if he did I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to, but I thought maybe I could at least find out what was going on with him.
“So you live around here?” was my first question.
“Not really,” was his simple reply.
“So you following me then? Or just out for a leisurely walk like I am?” was my second question.
“Just walkin’ I guess,” he replied, and we continued on in silence once again.
Okay I decided this wasn’t going anywhere, so as we passed the park, I wandered over and sat on the knoll in the middle by a clump of trees. He followed along and plunked down right beside me. When I lay back like I was soaking up the sun, he did the same thing.
Finally I decided to just come out and say it. I glanced at him, noticing he seemed to be quite focussed on me, and said, “It doesn’t look like things are going too good for you. Like … are you okay?”
He just kept looking at me for several seconds and then switched his focus from me to his feet as he sat up.
Okay something was going on with him and I needed to know what it was.
“So if you don’t live around here, then where do you live?” I asked.
“Wherever. I been kinda livin’ in Lansing Park for a while I guess,” he said, still staring at his feet.
“Seriously? Like what the fuck? Why?” I asked.
“You really want to know?” he asked.
“Yeah I really want to know,” I replied.
“Okay, well I got home from school like maybe three weeks ago, walked into my room, and found my mom, dad, and Pastor Greg sitting on my bed. Dad made it quite clear he would not allow any son of his to be a weak, demon possessed, faggot. He then told me I was being taken out of school, like two weeks before finals, and would be going to The King’s Academy to spend a year in their conversion program. I’d be leaving first thing in the morning,” he replied.
“Holy fuck,” I responded, “Seriously?”
“Yeah,” he replied.
“That’s so fucked up,” I stated.
“Yeah,” he replied again.
“I don’t get it, like why?” was my, albeit, stupid question.
“Cause I’m a faggot,” he replied, “Weren’t you listening?”
“So they were going to just send you away to some idiot place to fix you?” I questioned.
“Yeah,” he replied again.
“That’s fucked,” I stated with almost a growl.
“Yeah, apparently The King’s Academy would straighten me out,” he said.
“So you ran for it?” I asked,
“Yeah, I waited till about 3:00 in the morning, then I snuck out of the house and yeah, ran for it,” he replied, before asking, “So my being gay doesn’t bother you?”
“No and it doesn’t bother my parents either,” I replied.
“What?” he questioned, “Your parents don’t even know me.”
“Yeah but they know me,” I said.
He just stared at me for a second or two before it kinda clicked and he asked, “So should I assume that means you’re gay too?”
I just grinned at him as he quietly exclaimed, “Oh my god, seriously?”
“I’m Jax by the way,” I said holding out my hand.
“Jameson,” he replied shaking my hand.
We talked for a bit more. I found out he was in the same grade as me, was seventeen, not twelve, and was scared shitless most of the time. When I think I heard his tummy rumble, I asked, “When did you eat last?”
“Yesterday at the mall,” he replied … and yeah, okay, I didn’t even want to know where he found something to eat at the mall.
“Would you like a couple of sandwiches maybe?” I asked, “I think that’s what Mom’s making for lunch.”
“Oh god yes,” he replied, “But your mom’s probably not gonna like you bringing some stinky little runaway home for lunch.”
“Well I could give you a bath,” I said with a grin.
He didn’t respond verbally but looking at the grin on his face he didn’t have to, and we were immediately up and walking rather quickly towards my house. When we walked in the door, I introduced him to Mom. She looked at him, and then gave me the most questioning look I’ve ever seen, or Jameson had ever seen either I imagine.
“I think I should wash up a bit,” he said.
“Yeah, okay,” I replied as I pointed him towards the washroom off the kitchen.
He stayed in there for about 15 minutes which was good. That gave me enough time to explain everything to Mom. I think he was listening because the moment I finished, he appeared, hands and face washed.
Ten minutes later, we were sitting at the table, a pile of sandwiches in the middle and a big glass or milk beside each us. I must say, considering he was probably starving, he was very polite, and didn’t gulp down all the sandwiches at once.
Mom was full of questions but she stayed away from the, ‘why do you smell like something died in your shorts’ stuff. Of course she knew and he knew she knew.
About fifteen minutes and half a dozen sandwiches later, Mom asked, “How old are you Jameson?”
“Seventeen,” he replied.
After she just stared at him for a few seconds, he grinned and said, “Seriously. I know I look like I’m about twelve, but I’m seventeen. I think my ancestors might have been pygmies,” he added with a laugh, before adding, “I even have my driver’s licence, but I’m only allowed to drive Smart cars.”
Okay that got a laugh from both of us, and before we got any deeper into the conversation, I had to ask him if he still wanted a bath. He simply burst out laughing which got me another questioning look from Mom.
I just said, “Inside joke.”
Of course, Mom being Mom, she asked him if he would in fact like to have a bath or shower, and even offered to wash his clothes. He jumped at the chance and thanked her generously. Mom told me to get him a towel and take him to my bathroom downstairs. I was also to take his clothes and throw them in the washer … with plenty of soap.
I think he quite enjoyed his shower because he was in there for almost half an hour. When he did finally come out, I took him to my room where he could sit back and relax while his clothes were drying. And yes, he was wrapped in a towel. As soon as his clothes finally dried, he quickly got dressed, laid back on my bed and was asleep in a matter of minutes. Except for occasionally glancing at him as he slept, and thinking about how totally cute he was, I did manage to get all my studying done for that crappy Physics exam.
About half an hour after Dad got home, I was called upstairs. Mom, Dad, and I then proceeded to have a long conversation about my new friend. It was kinda funny in a way cause Mom had obviously developed an instant soft spot for him. It was decided that clearly there was no way we were just going to turn him back out onto the streets, so Dad was going to call his lawyer to see what we could do. It made me feel warm inside and I had to smile as it seemed that things were gonna get a whole lot better for Jameson real quick.
I’m not sure, but I think he might have slept right through the night if I hadn’t woken him up for dinner. He introduced himself to Dad, this time including a last name, Jefferson. During dinner we basically got his whole story. Everything from realizing he liked guys, to how it had scared the hell out of him, especially knowing his dad’s views, to living as tightly in the closet as possible, to being told he would be sent away to be fixed, to running for it and hiding out under the Centre Street Bridge or in the park.
Then after dinner, looking almost heartbroken, he thanked us for all we had done for him and suggested that maybe it was time he got going. Dad immediately made it quite clear that he wasn’t going anywhere. A quick glance at me and a few tears later, he gave Dad a big smile, a little hug and a big thank you.
After helping with the dishes and cleanup, we went down to my room. I was quite confident I had my physics down, and as the experts say, instead of cramming all night, you should relax the evening before an exam. Video games lasted for about an hour until we decided to watch the movie Akron. I started the movie and flopped back on my bed to watch it. JJ, yep uh huh JJ, gave me a look. I just patted the spot next to me, and he was instantly lying beside wiggling to get comfortable.
About half way through the movie I realized that, somehow or other, he was cuddled up against me, I had my arm around him, and he had his head on my shoulder and was fast asleep. He looked so peaceful and I tried to imagine how scary the last three weeks or so had been for him. And as those thoughts ran through my mind, I leaned over and gave him a little kiss on the forehead. He smiled.
About ten o’clock Mom appeared in my doorway. She looked at us and just shook her head. I gave her a little smile. She smiled back. After a bit, I managed to get JJ down to his boxers and tucked into bed. I slid in beside him, and almost instantly he was cuddled right up tight to me again. I did manage to free my arm and put it around him again, at which point he wiggled in tighter which felt kinda awesome. He was sweet and cute and tiny, well okay not exactly tiny, but there was something else, and no it wasn’t his vulnerability. I don’t know what it was exactly. All I knew was that, after just a few hours I felt a deep attachment to him, and I realized I could very easily fall totally in love with him.
I don’t think we moved all night because we were in exactly the same position when I woke the next morning. With some difficulty, I was able to free myself so I could shower and get ready for a fun morning at school. The best part of that being it would be my last morning at school. It would be last exam done and summer holidays begun. And the best part of that, I hoped, would be JJ.
The Physics exam was a breeze and I couldn’t get home fast enough. As soon as I got in the door I yelled, “JJ, I’m home!”
Like some kind of idiot, I think I searched the house three times. And no I didn’t look in the closets. Well not all of them. Then I just sat at the kitchen table. I felt like crap … like empty. I wasn’t sure what to think, but of course I thought of all the worst things. Did social services take him away? Did he just up and leave without even saying goodbye? It was weird cause I kinda felt like crying but I couldn’t and I just sat there for almost an hour staring out the window. Then the front door opened. I jumped up and ran to see who it was. It was Mom … shit. Then a few seconds later JJ walked in carrying half a dozen bags of stuff. I ran over and gave him a huge hug. He didn’t hug me back, but then his hands were kinda full. I looked at Mom and she was just laughing.
“Uh, hi … thanks,” he said with a grin, “It’s great to see you too. Did you think I ran away or something?”
“Uh, no,” I kinda mumbled, “I just didn’t know where you were.”
“You didn’t know where I was either,” Mom said laughing.
I quickly stepped over and gave her a hug too. She just smacked me on the arm and told me to help JJ unpack his stuff. I guess they’d gone shopping, like no kidding, duh. I grabbed a couple of bags and the two of us almost ran down the stairs.
“Careful you two!” Mom called out. Too late, we were already in my room.
Okay, bag one was shirts and t shirts. Bag two was jeans. Bag three was runners and flip flops. Bag four was shorts and another pair of jeans. Bag five was socks and underwear. As he started laying everything out on my bed so I could get a good look at it, I thought, ‘damn, he’s got more stuff than I do.’
“You’ve got some pretty cool stuff here. I think you’re gonna have to do some modelling,” I said with a grin holding up a pair of what looked like rather tight fitting boxer briefs.
“Maybe later,” he replied with a grin.
It wasn’t long before Dad got home. He’d stopped for donairs so dinner was ready as soon as he walked in the door. Over dinner, it didn’t take long to find out that since JJ was seventeen, he could live wherever he wanted, with whomever he wanted, and basically do whatever he wanted, work, go to school, whatever. So there wasn’t a, ‘can I keep him?’ issue … well I hoped not.
Dad had also gone to JJ’s school. He’d obviously missed all his final exams but because he had been sitting with an 87% overall average, and considering his circumstances, the principal said his finals would be waived and he would graduate high school with that 87% average. Like how cool is that? JJ was of course ecstatic and Dad got another hug. A big one this time.
When Mom mentioned their shopping trip and my reaction to their return home, Dad just laughed. And home it was, cause when Dad asked him if he would like to stay with us, at least until he got things sorted out or until whenever, some tears and big hug later it seems I was going to get to keep him.
We did finish eating and did make it back to my room and he did model some of his new stuff. I had to admit, the boy knew how to pick out clothes that worked for him. And damn, did he look sexy? Oh, yeah. I gotta say too that I kinda liked the part between taking off his old jeans and putting on his new ones. Of course I was waiting patiently for him to model those boxer briefs too, but later he said … again.
Now we did have a three bedroom house but we spent an hour shifting my stuff around to fit his stuff into my dresser and the closet. And even though I had to go upstairs twice to get more hangers, Mom and Dad never questioned why, so once we were done we flopped back on my, hopefully our bed, in hopefully our room, and he immediately cuddled in tight just like last night. I gave him a kiss on the forehead, and again just like last night, he smiled.
Then he started to quietly cry and I immediately pulled him into a tight hug. As we lay there wrapped in each other’s arms, his face nuzzled into my neck, he started talking real quietly. With everything that had been happening, running for his life and giving up his home and family, eating other people’s garbage, sleeping alone in the park for three weeks, being in fear for his life most of the time, and then the asshole clerk at the gas station treating him like shit and telling him to fuck off and go shit in the bushes, he had been standing outside, leaning against the corner of the building, thinking of ways to make all the fear and hurt stop.
Then I walked up and handed him the key.
Thanks to Colin for editing, prepping, and posting this story for me.
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