Josh (by Grant Bentley)

by Grant Bentley

If any nice person, nasty person, place, event, happening, thing, or sport, seems familiar, it is purely coincidental.

Josh is hit by a drunk driver and thinks the life he once loved is over.

One month of eleventh grade left and it would be summer vacation, two months of hanging with the guys, swimming, hiking, beach volleyball, hell you name it. And then ...

I was walking out of the park after an evening of soccer, well kicking a ball around in a field with the guys. When it started to get dark we all decided maybe it was time to head home. As I came to the edge of the park and started to walk through the trees, I suddenly heard this crashing sound and recognized a jacked up piece of shit old Ford coming right at me. I managed to get my arms up a bit to kinda protect myself and think, ‘that idiot Timchuk’ and that was it.

I woke up in a hospital bed three weeks later. Both my arms and one leg were in casts, nearly every one of my ribs was broken, and my head hadn’t done too well either. I guess I flew about twenty feet through the air and when I landed I cracked my head on a big rock. In fact during the first week my parents had been told to expect the worst. I guess my brain had swollen badly and they were having trouble getting the swelling to go down. They said, if I survived it would be nothing short of a miracle, and if I did survive, I could remain in a permanently vegetative state. They did say not to give up hope, but definitely not to expect me to the same person I was.

When the moment finally arrived, as I murmured and sort of opened my eyes, both Mom and Dad were instantly standing over me.

“Josh? Josh can you hear me?” Mom questioned.

I could hear her, but for some reason I couldn’t get any words out. I guess that was at least partly because I had a couple of tubes down my throat. I was able to make a grunting sound though.

Dad hit the call button about fifty times and within two minutes I was surrounded by nurses, and in another minute a doctor was there poking and pulling and fiddling with stuff.

To make a long story short, within a couple of hours, the tubes were gone, my bed was propped up a little bit and I was staring at my parents with a million questions running through my head. Unfortunately speaking actual words wasn’t happening yet and their worst fears were beginning to take root.

By the next morning though I had words and I spoke them. My first words were to my doctor when he came in to check on me at about 6:00 in the morning.

And those first words were, “What the fuck?”

I had no idea why, but he gave me this really weird kinda shocked look.

“How are you feeling?” he finally asked, after kinda staring at me for like forever. I think he was seriously wondering what the fuck too.

“Numb all over,” I replied a little hoarsely, “and I can’t move.”

“You’ve got some fairly severe injuries. You were hit by a drunk driver as you were leaving the park,” he told me.

“Oh yeah, numb nuts Timchuk,” I said.

“You remember?” he asked sounding totally astonished.

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I?” I asked.

“Uh, we’ll save that explanation for later,” he said as a big smile appeared on his face.

Of course Mom and Dad showed up at just that moment and he quickly led them back out of the room. Since I was, I guess, way more alert and aware than they ever expected … like ever expected, I guess he didn’t want them to completely freak out, especially Mom. You know what with crying and tears and all. 

When they came back in and were standing by my bed staring at me, I just kinda smiled and said, “Hi.”

Okay there was crying and tears anyway, and a couple of gentle hugs, but they didn’t totally freak. We even got into a bit of a conversation, that is until my body told me I needed some naptime. 

When I woke up, the doctor was back, and I did get a bit of an explanation as to why everyone was almost in shock. I guess anyone who’d worked on me, like trying to control my brain swelling, doing surgery to sort out some internal injuries like a ruptured spleen, or who’d even seen me, were amazed I even regained consciousness, never mind I seemed to remember what happened and knew what was going on. Apparently that just doesn’t happen.

Of course there’s nothing like having a little nine year old brother tell it like it is. As he put it, “I don’t like that Josh’s kinda broken. Do you think he’s prolly gonna be okay soon? And kinda like before, still be cool, and yeah maybe still a bit of an arsehole too?”

He did get a little a smack from Mom. Not for calling me an arsehole as much as for simply using the word arsehole. I guess nine year olds aren’t supposed to even know those words let alone use them.

As he hoped, I was getting better but there was one thing that bothered me, well bothered me more than everything else. My ribs were busted up and I could feel them. My arms were broken and in casts and I could feel them. But I couldn’t feel my casted leg, and worse, I couldn’t feel or move the other one either.

That resulted in more X-rays and more tests, way more. Then they found it. The nerve connections in the lumbar region of my spine had somehow been damaged. I was immediately scheduled for surgery. As it turns out, there were no problems with the nerves to my bladder and bowel so I could pee and poo, and no issues with my prostate or other ‘down there’ stuff so I could, well you know. However, the nerves to my legs were another story and they would now be replaced by a wheelchair. Needless to say I didn’t take the news very well. I was barely seventeen and I was going to be in a fucking wheelchair for fucking forever. Everything I loved, swimming, hiking, volleyball, track, hell, all of my sports, were gone. I was devastated. I even got into the ‘who’s ever going to want a crippled me’ pity trip.

But life went on, and as soon as my ribs were healed well enough and my casts were off, I was scheduled for physiotherapy. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, I was still pissed off and still feeling so sorry for myself that I was way less than cooperative.

Then I met Logan. He was about my age and was also doing physio but he’d been doing it for a while. He was at home and came in twice a week. He came wheeling in with a big smile on his face and went to work immediately, doing all the stuff I was supposed to be doing but wouldn’t.

Of course we sat together for lunch, and when I started in on my whine about never being able to swim or do anything ever again he gave me shit. In fact he told me I was full of shit, in a nice way of course. Everything was not over. There was a shitload of things I’d still be able to do, just with minor adjustments here and there. When he was done with me, I wasn’t exactly feeling better, but I was thinking maybe. Then a very cute guy, and I do mean a very cute guy, wandered in, leaned over, gave him a big kiss, and asked him if he was ready to go.

After they left, I just sat there thinking, ‘holy shit.’   

The next day, although maybe not overly enthusiastically, I went for it. I did everything I was told to do, or at least I tried. I even got a big pat on the back from Julian, my physio guy. And yes, he’d talked to Logan and lunch the day before had apparently been a setup.

Three weeks later I was discharged. Physio would be three days a week until whenever. I made sure two of those days would be the two days Logan was there. I did get to officially meet his boyfriend Riley. A couple of times he came early and had lunch with us. We talked about all sorts of stuff, not just physio stuff or recovery stuff. I think I turned a shade or two red when Riley laughed and mentioned that, except for his legs, all Logan’s equipment down there worked just fine. Of course Logan had to mention there was nothing wrong with Riley’s either.

Even though I was kinda coming around I still found their attitude almost too positive to be true. I did know however I was gonna find a way to spend time with them outside of the hospital. As friends these two would most definitely be keepers. And speaking of friends, I had no lack of guys stopping by to visit, and when I was at my lowest point I’m not sure why they put up with me, but they did, and they really did make a difference, especially Darius.

Then, after I’d been home for about two weeks, Darius was visiting me. He was sitting beside me on my bed like usual and we were chatting, when all of a sudden he got kinda emotional I guess you’d call it. I mean he got all sort of teary eyed and everything.

Then he said, “You know Josh, if I’d lost you I wouldn’t have wanted to live anymore.”

Okay I knew he liked me. I mean we’d been friends since grade school but this seemed like more than just a liking a friend thing. I had no idea what to say or if I should say anything. And yeah, in case you didn’t pick up on it from my cute Riley comment, I’m gay, but I was in no way shape or form out, not even close.

I just kinda looked at him, and I guess maybe a little tear appeared in my eye too, I don’t know. All I know is when his face started to move closer to mine, mine started to move closer to his. Of course that’s the moment Roger and Sue decided to burst into my bedroom.

“Hey, you’re mom told us to just come on up,” Roger announced, as he plunked down beside Darius and Sue plunked down on his knee.

“Well I better get going,” Darius said as he jumped up and disappeared.

“What’s his problem?” Roger asked.

“Oh nothing,” I quickly replied, “Just been a kinda long day for him.”

“Oh, had plenty of those,” Roger responded.

We chatted on for a bit and then it was dinnertime. As I sat there I couldn’t get Darius out of my head. Is Darius gay?  Does he like me, like that way? I mean we were going to kiss, weren’t we? Do I like him that way? If I was going to kiss him, yeah I guess. I mean yeah, he’s a total sweetheart, always has been. So, yeah.

Mom picked up on my frame of mind first and said, “You seem to be awfully deep in thought. Everything all right?”

“Yeah, yeah, everything’s fine,” I managed as soon as I registered that she was talking to me.

“He loves Darius,” a little voice belonging to a certain little brother announced.

“Don’t be silly, Ian,” my dad said laughing.

“They were going to kiss,” he then announced, “I saw them. That’s before Roger nearly knocked me on my ar … err, I mean bum.”

I would have jumped up and run at that point but I couldn’t, so I just sat there.

Dad spoke first as he quietly asked, “Josh is that true?”

Mom just put her hand on my shoulder and said, “You know we have no problem if it is.”

Of course Ian had to pipe up at that moment with, “If Josh loves Darius, does that mean he’s gay. Like I got a gay brother … Whoa cool.”

I don’t know if that took the edge off or not but Dad simply replied with, “Yeah, that would be cool.”

I just looked up at him and asked, “Really?”

“Yeah really,” Dad replied, “You are who you are. Who you were born to love isn’t going to make us love you any more or less.”

And with that he got up, walked around to table and gave me a hug, right before Mom did and then of course Ian had to. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to finish dinner or just sit there and have a good cry, I felt so good.

Sadly though, even though he hadn’t missed a day, not even when I was in ICU, I didn’t see Darius for three days. Then on day four I phoned him.

“I’m sorry Josh,” were his first words.

“Sorry for what?” I asked.

“You know,” he replied.

“I’m not sure I do,” I remarked.

“Yeah, you gotta,” he said, as it sounded like he was about to start crying.

“Maybe you should come over and show me,” I suggested, “Mom’ll make sure Roger doesn’t interrupt you.”

There was a bit of a pause before he finally asked, “What do you mean?”

“Look,” I said, “I haven’t seen you for three days and I miss you. Just get your sorry little arse over here.”

Fifteen minutes later I was telling him to close the door as he walked into my room. When he just stood by the door looking scared shitless, I patted my bed and told him to sit.

As soon as he was sitting on the edge of my bed I said, “Now where were we when Roger and Sue so rudely interrupted us?”

“Us?” he questioned.

“Yeah us,” I replied, as I grinned and then sort of puckered my lips and leaned forward.

It took about two seconds for our lips to meet. And they seemed to like each other as they didn’t part for quite some time.

“Oh my God,” was the only thing he said after they parted.

“Yeah,” I replied as I pulled him down so he was lying beside me.

We just lay there, foreheads touching and gazing into each other’s eyes for probably two minutes or more before his lips decided they needed to get together with mine again for a minute or two.

“Is this really happening?” he finally asked when we decided to take a break.

“Uh, yeah I think so,” I replied as I grinned, and pulled him in a little bit closer.

“You know what this means right?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I replied, “It means I got someone to push me around in my chair.”

“Arsehole,” he responded laughing, “after that remark, maybe I should just dump your sorry arse.”

“It’s not yours to dump … yet,” I said, laughing.

“Oh God Josh, I love you, I love everything about you, you know that? I have for years,” were his next words.

“I love you too, always have,” I responded, “I just didn’t know how or how much till you stopped coming over.”

“I’ve always hoped with all my heart, but I never imagined you and me actually together like this,” he said grinning.

“Oh shit, you mean you’re gay for me?” I questioned, trying to sound freaked out.

“Fuck you,” he said laughing.

“Yeah, you wish,” I responded.

As I was laughing I wondered if maybe we’d kinda just taken the romance out of the moment, but he immediately brought it back, as he shed a couple of tears, and gave me the most loving kiss I could ever imagine getting. And for the next hour we just lay there in each other’s arms, whispering now and then between kisses. I had never imagined anything could feel this good.

Then the next day guess who showed up with his dad’s van, pushed me down the driveway in my chair, drove me to physio, sat patiently watching and waiting, and then drove me home afterwards. Yep, Darius.

After this went on for close to two weeks, I had to mention that I’d been right, and not only was he my chair pusher but apparently my driver as well. I still haven’t decided if it’s okay to smack a guy in a wheelchair upside the head or not. He did make up for it later though.

Then after a couple of weeks he showed up with his dad’s van on a non-physio day.

“You know this isn’t a physio day, right? I asked.

“I know,” he replied, “get your trunks we’re going to the pool.”

“What?” I said, “I can’t go to the pool like this. There’s no way I can swim and I’ll look like an idiot.”

“Yes you can and no you won’t,” he replied.

“No I can’t and yes I will,” I said.

“Yes you can and no you won’t,” he insisted, “I know you’ll be able to swim. And if you have a problem I can teach you. I spent hours learning how.”

“What?” I repeated.

“Just do it,” he begged, “I swear, you’ll get right into it and you’ll love it.”

I thought about it for a minute or so and finally figured that maybe, just maybe, he was right. He knew how much I loved swimming, and it seemed he must have spent a lot of time looking at swimming sites, like paraplegic ones or something like that, so I was going to trust him. I changed into my trunks before we left. And yeah he helped, and yeah there were some blood flow directional issues that he found amusing. But that wasn’t the point of the afternoon.

We got to the pool, he changed, wheeled me poolside, carried me into the water, and his training began. First floating on my back pulling myself through the water. Then with him by my side I rolled over and kinda did the same on my stomach. Within an half an hour I was having a blast. And yes I could still swim. I wasn’t going to break any speed records but I could swim. And I impressed the hell out of everyone there while I was at it. It was an awesome afternoon and it definitely wouldn’t be the last time we visited the pool. And yeah, I’m loving that boy more and more every day.

Mom and Dad were pretty impressed too when we told them we’d spent the afternoon at the pool, and that yeah, I actually swam. I guess I could mention that they were also falling totally in love with Darius. My attitude, my aspirations, my thoughts of the future, everything seemed to be changing for the better, and he was getting credit for most of it.

And yeah, life kept on going on, and Darius was by my side for most of it. I was actually starting to enjoy physio, and the pool, well I loved the pool. It was probably our fourth trip there that we saw another chair poolside. I of course had to search the pool to see who it belonged to. It took about twenty seconds to spot Riley, but Logan was nowhere in sight. That is until all of a sudden his head popped out of the water right beside Riley. As soon as we were in the water I was making a beeline for the two of them and Darius was right beside me. This was the first time we’d seen them outside of physio, and at the pool yet, so yeah we were just a little bit excited.

“Hey didn’t expect to see you guys here,” Logan exclaimed as soon as he got the water out of his eyes.

“Yeah you too. Actually we come here quite often,” I said.

“So do we,” Riley said, adding, “I think maybe we need to reorganize our pool days.”

So it seemed they were excited to see us too. As the afternoon progressed Logan showed me a few underwater tricks he’d learned. After a while Riley and Darius left us to ourselves and decided to do their own thing. They did laps for a while and I think ended up racing each other a few times. Needless to say, the four of us had a blast.

After the pool we decided to meet up at a local restaurant for dinner. I phoned home to let Mom know not to cook for us and we were on our way. It wasn’t expensive and the food was amazing. As we were eating, Logan brought up wheelchair basketball. Okay I wasn’t exactly a basketball player as I wasn’t exactly tall enough, but if we were all sitting down, why not? 

As we were nibbling on dessert, Riley asked, “You guys are a couple, right?”

I just laughed and asked, “Why? Do we look like a couple?”

“Well yeah, no duh,” Logan stated.

“Yeah, we’re most definitely a couple,” Darius said with a laugh.

“See, told you,” Logan said, as he gave Riley a little shove.

“Yes you did,” Riley admitted, as gave Logan a shove right back.

“How could you have missed it? I mean just the way they look at each other,” Logan added.

“Yeah well I just don’t normally pick up on those little subtleties like you do,” Riley admitted, “although I did pick up on yours.”

“Yes you did,” Logan said, as he leaned over and gave Riley a kiss on the cheek.

A week after our dinner out, I was on the basketball court and Logan was teaching me the tricks of the trade so to speak. Of course the pros have specialized chairs that are easier to manoeuvre but we were just in it for the fun. Besides using our regular chairs was better cause it helped us build up our upper body strength Logan said, and I was all for that.

Needless to say, I was informed by my doctors that due to my head injuries I wasn’t going to be playing for at least another couple of months, and when I did I’d be wearing a helmet. I was not impressed, but I did like having a brain that worked, so I did as I was told. Almost two months to the day, I was fully involved in a game, and I began to understand my doctor’s concerns. Damn, some of those boys play rough. By the end of the game I was ready to ask Darius to count my bruises. But it was great and it really sent home the message that, chair or no chair, sports were still going to be a big part of my life. Okay I wasn’t too sure about wheelchair tennis. 

As the weeks passed, the four of us spent loads of time together and I was right, as friends these guys were definitely keepers. Of course summer became fall and we did eventually have to move from the outdoor pool to an indoor pool. Basketball was going strong. Tennis, eh. Then, of course, wheelchair hockey came up. Now I really wasn’t sure about that one, and neither was my doctor. We decided maybe next year, but it was still a blast watching Logan play. 

Oh yeah, and I guess I forgot to mention, we were back in school. I mean it was already November so yeah we’d been back for a couple of months. But it was school, so like what’s there to get excited about. Plus it was kind of a pain in the arse working around school time and physio time. My teachers were awesome though. They did everything from photocopying notes for us to re-teaching a class after school just for Darius and me. Of course I’d been the school celebrity for a couple of weeks after we got back too. It was kind of cool, but it was totally nice when things calmed down and I finally got back to just being Josh.

The other big thing with my return was the fact that I was no longer single. Oh yeah and neither was Darius, duh. Darius even got bitch slapped by Lisa, as I guess she’d been somewhat desirous of his hot bod. She did give him a big grin and a kiss on the cheek afterwards though, so he forgave her. Of course we got a lot of, ‘we’re proud of you,’ ‘good on ya for having the balls to come out,’ and a couple of ‘right, like we didn’t already know,’ comments. Thankfully anyone who was at all negative just stayed the hell away from us, like not even a comment.

Oh and if anyone cares, as for Timchuk, he’d received an impaired driving charge before, and since he was a month away from turning eighteen, was tried as an adult. In the end he was sentenced to a year in jail and his driver’s licence would be suspended for another five years after his release.

As for school, unfortunately Riley and Logan were in Mission High not Southbend, so we couldn’t be classmates. But there was still physio, basketball, hockey, and yeah, Logan got me into volleyball. Oh and another of our favourite pastimes was playing 8 Ball Pool at the rec centre. You know you can line the ball up pretty good when you’re sitting down. Somehow though, Darius still managed to be the reigning champion, but that, I assured him, was temporary.

Then one Sunday evening Darius and I were sitting downstairs in the rec room cuddled up watching a movie. About halfway through Ian wandered downstairs and plunked down beside us. We were watching Handsome Devil and he sat there kinda watching it for a bit I think.

Then out of the blue he asked, “Do you guys do it?”

I just looked at him thinking, ‘Okay how do I answer a question like that coming from a nine year old?’ Darius, on the other hand, just burst out laughing which didn’t help.

To kinda kill time and give me a chance to think, I asked, “What do you mean?”

“Well you know,” he responded, complete with hand gestures.

At that point Darius totally lost it. He was laughing so hard I though he was going to pee his pants.

Finally I poked him and said, “If you think it’s so funny you tell him.”

“Hey he’s your brother,” he managed to say.

“You do don’t you?” Ian kinda stated, “That’s why Darius is laughing, right?”

“Oh geez, you really don’t need to know stuff like that at your age,” I finally said.

And yeah okay the obvious question back, “Why not?”

“You’re just too young,” I said.

“No I’m not,” he argued, “I got a willy. And if I get a girlfriend or a boyfriend how’m I going to know how to use it if no one tells me?”

Okay, now I lost it.

“You guys are both arseholes,” he said as he got off the sofa and headed back upstairs.

“Oh my God,” Darius exclaimed, “That was just too much.”

“Yeah, no shit,” I said still laughing.

“I do think one of us should have a serious talk with him though,” he said as our laughter died down, “He’s curious, and if he’s anything like you, he’s not going to quit until he gets some answers. And he might just ask the wrong person.”

I’d never thought of that, actually I was so blown away by his questioning I hadn’t thought of anything. But knowing Ian, if we, the guys who mattered the most to him, laughed him off, he was liable to ask just about anyone. I guess, okay we’d had our laugh, but now it was time to give this some serious thought.

An hour later Darius was giving me a piggyback up to Ian’s room and we did have the talk. He wasn’t particularly impressed with either our boy-girl or boy-boy explanations. We got more than a couple of, ‘why would you do that?’ and “isn’t that icky?” questions during the process. To wrap things up I told him to wait a few years, and then he’d know why … and at least one of them wouldn’t seem icky.

On the way back downstairs Mom explained she had taken the movie we apparently weren’t watching out of the CD player, and Dad was now watching his show. When she asked why we’d gone upstairs, we gave a short explanation of our conversation with Ian and told her we’d had the talk with him cause he wanted to know how to use his willy if he got a girlfriend or a boyfriend. She looked at us for a second before she pretty much lost it and burst out laughing.

“Oh my God,” she finally asked, “Did you give him the talk or the talks?”

“The talks I guess,” I said, “There was no way he was going to be satisfied with just one talk. He made that quite clear.”

She of course asked us why we felt compelled to do that. When we told her, we both got a hug as she agreed that yeah, knowing Ian, come hell or high water, he wouldn’t be satisfied until his questions were answered.

“I think Dad might have a chat with him later too, just in case he’s come up with any new questions,” she said.

I laughed and said, “Yeah, there’s nothing like being an overly curious nine year old, so that might not be a bad idea.”

Of course Christmas came and went and so did New Year’s Eve. The best part of either was the break from school. Well the presents weren’t all that bad, but having every family member on the planet visiting, and telling me how sorry they were I was now a cripple didn’t do anything for me. Oh yeah and neither did Uncle Rob’s explanation of how Jesus would cure my sexual deviancy if I’d just come to church so they could lay hands on me and pray. Unfortunately I wasn’t too worried about my deviancy, especially after the kiss Darius gave me at the stroke of midnight New Year’s Eve. You have no idea the deviant things some parts of my body did at that moment.

Over the break we of course managed to get in a basketball game, two afternoons at the pool, and a ton of games of 8 Ball Pool. The best afternoon was when Darius, Riley, Logan and I were at the pool and half a dozen guys from school showed up. Of course we had to go for food and drinks afterwards. Then we had to play some 8 Ball Pool and snooker and of course we had to go for some more food and drinks. I loved every minute of it, and the guys made sure we knew it wouldn’t be the only time we all get together. 

Maybe the best part though was when Ben poked me after everyone else had left, well except Riley, Logan, Rich, and of course Darius. He gave us a big grin and then leaned over and gave Rich a rather nice kiss which Rich quite enthusiastically returned. Of course we were all staunchly committed to secrecy. Thanks to his parents views on ‘faggots’, coming out was not an option. Needless to say, after my invitation, they became regular visitors. Sadly it was the only place they felt safe enough to be themselves. Oh, and the first evening they were over we watched Handsome Devil, all the way to the end this time.

And yeah all good things must come to an end and we were too soon back in school. But it was only a little over two and a half months till spring break and then two and a half months after that … graduation … fuck yeah!

Logan had finished his physio a couple of weeks into December and yeah I missed seeing him there. Of course we saw a lot of each other at the gym, the pool, and wherever. Then about a week before spring break I was told I would no longer need physio. I was both happy and sad. Happy the physio - school thing would be done, but I’d made a good friend in Julian and I was going to miss him.

Then came spring break and that was an experience. Along with Logan and Stacey and a couple of other guys, Vic and Dave, we were going camping. Yeah I know, camping in the bush in wheelchairs, brilliant, right. Logan had found a place where we could rent chairs with big fat wheels that were made for rough terrain. He rented one for a week and Dad lined one up for me. Then the first day of spring break we were off to Vic’s grandpa’s farm and the Rosebud River.

Well I won’t say it wasn’t challenging, in fact once in a while it became downright hysterical. Neither one of us ended up in the river though. Close once, but only close. Riley can move pretty fast when he wants to. The best part though, I didn’t think I’d see the day that I would sit by a roaring campfire and use a poky stick to rearrange everything, but I did it. I didn’t think I’d ever see the inside of a two-man tent again either, and even though it was a bit of a pain in the arse getting in and out, I slept in one. I must say though it’s a good thing Darius has a strong back. And it’s a good thing he didn’t mind holding me up when I peed into the river, and didn’t mind sitting me down and checking to make sure my butt was all the way over the big log before I pooped. And no I didn’t need help wiping my arse.

We were just bit grubby when we got back but I didn’t care, and I don’t think we smelled all that good either. According to Ian, Darius and I “both smelled like roasted cat sh’ … I mean poo.” He didn’t get a smack, but he got ‘the Mom look’. Unlike Ian, Mom didn’t comment on what we smelled like but she did mention no one would need the shower for an hour or two.

And yeah, like always, too soon we were back in class. Nothing spectacular or awe inspiring happened during those last couple of months. I did become the reigning 8 Ball Pool champion, well for a week until Darius won it back. Vic did breathe in underwater once when he should have breathed out and scared the shit out of the lifeguard. Oh and Ian asked a rather typical ten year old’s question at dinner one night, and yeah he was aging and maturing. He wanted to know if it was okay to call me a butthole since he wasn’t allowed to use the other hole word. Mom nearly choked and it took Dad about five minutes to stop laughing. So yeah I’m no longer an arsehole cause that’s inappropriate, I’m a butthole.

Then before we knew it, it was June and the butthole’s graduation day. As I sat there on the stage in my cap and gown with Darius by my side, looking out over the crowd, my eyes settled on Mom, Dad, Logan, and Riley, with their huge smiles, and Ian with his fidget spinner wondering when the hell we were we going for that ice cream he was promised, I couldn’t help but feel like, all things considered, I had to be pretty much the luckiest guy on earth.

Thanks to Colin for editing, prepping, and posting this story for me.

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