This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
This story is copyright by Owen Hudson, all rights reserved. Distribution, including but not limited to: posting on internet sites, newsgroups, or message boards, or in book form (either as a whole or part of a compilation), or on CD, DVD or any other electronic media, is expressly prohibited without the author's written consent.
Nick slept little after his Aunt Marsha dropped him off at his home. Kissing Todd and making out with him had excited him. But he was very perplexed about the entire matter. He just couldn't be a homosexual, after all, his religion taught that it was a choice, and he certainly didn't choose to be attracted to Todd. It just seemed to happen. At the time it seemed so right. "Oh, God, I need to talk to someone," he thought. "But who would understand?"
Nick pretended to be sick the next morning to avoid going to church. He just couldn't go after what he had done with Todd. He wanted to see and be with Todd, but that didn't seem to be an option either. What if he wanted to become more romantic with Todd, could he control himself? He tried to sleep and forget the entire incident, but he couldn't. How could something that felt so good be wrong? 'Ah', he thought, 'Marsha, I can talk to Marsha. No, not Marsha, she might not understand.' Marsha was his favorite aunt, still single and a free spirit. She was more of his buddy than an elder. But would she understand? "Think, Nick," he said to himself. "There must be someone." Nick finally dozed off thinking of his dilemma.
The ringing of the phone woke Nick, and his first thought was not to answer. Then he decided it could be his parents checking on him. But to his surprise it was Todd. "I didn't expect you to answer," Todd said. "I thought you'd be in church and that I'd get your machine. I was wondering if you wanted to hang out this afternoon."
'Oh, no,' Nick thought in panic. 'I can't face him. What can I say?'
"Nick, are you there?" Todd asked with concern.
"Yeah," Nick answered in a shaken voice. "I was just thinking about yesterday."
"Wow, that was wonderful, Nick. I want to finish what we started before Marsha came," Todd continued.
"Todd, we can't, it's not right," Nick declared.
"Nick, didn't it feel good when we made out? Didn't you like it?" Todd questioned. "I know I sure did. Besides, Grandma said that the Cherokees thought nothing about it until the white men brought their religion to them."
"Oh, God, you didn't tell her, did you, Todd?" Nick panicked. "Why did you tell her?"
"Nick, I can tell her anything," Todd pointed out. "Besides, I had to talk to somebody about it."
"Yeah, I can understand that," Nick said. "I thought about talking to Marsha, but just can't do it right now. I wish I had a grandma like yours."
"You know you can talk to her anytime, Nick," Todd insisted. "You know that she has strong medicine."
"I have to go, my parents are home," Nick hurriedly said. "Bye."
Before Todd could say bye, Nick had hung up.
Todd had an empty feeling following his conversation with Nick. He had been sure that Nick would be as excited to see him as he would. He'd been so sure of his future with Nick after his discussion with his grandmother ... now he wasn't. Why did this have to be so damn complicated?
"Is Nick coming over?" His grandmother questioned.
"I don't know, Ah-lee-see" (Grandmother), Todd answered. "Nick is awfully confused about this. He wanted to talk to someone, and I told him he should talk to you."
"Give him time," Alice instructed. "He has too much confusion and guilt from the yo-ne-ga a-s-ga-ya (white man's religion). I know that he loves you the way you love him, but he has too much guilt. Remember, I told you that you must live your life without fear and you must never be a-na-de-ho-s-di (ashamed) of what you are?"
"Yes, Ah-lee-see," he responded. "I'm not ashamed.
You must also know that life will not be easy in the yo-ne-ga a-s-ga-ya world." Alice explicated. "Even many of your own people will condemn you for being what you are - those that have abandoned the Cherokee ways."
"They call what I am, homosexual, gay, queer, fag, and all sorts of names, Ah-lee-see," Todd informed his grandmother.
"Yo-ne-ga a-s-ga-ya (white man's words)," Alice spat out.
Despite his being upset about Nick, Todd found himself laughing at his grandmother.
"Does E-ni-si (Grandfather) know that I'm gay?" Todd questioned his grandmother.
"No, Wah-yaw (Wolf), he's too yo-ne-ga (white) to understand," Alice joked. "But he too loves you, and will always love you."
Todd nodded in understanding; he knew that his grandfather was more Cherokee than white. But he understood that his grandfather had accepted the white man's way more readily than his grandmother. Todd loved his grandfather, but never felt the bonding with him that he did with his grandmother.
The day seemed to be never-ending, and still Nick never came by or called. Todd was becoming upset with Nick for not calling, but then he remembered his grandmother saying, "Give him time." In any case, he would see Nick in school tomorrow.
Todd always met Nick at the school bus stop and decided to be there early so he could talk to him. However, Nick wasn't there and arrived just as the bus was leaving. Todd scooted over to make room for Nick, however, Nick walked past without acknowledging Todd. "Give him time," he heard his grandmother's words.
Todd's day at school was a miserable one that seemed to go on forever. When the final bell rang, Todd got on his bus not knowing what to expect from Nick. Just as in the morning, Nick was the last to get on the bus. However, this time Todd didn't bother to make room for him. It didn't matter anyway since Nick sat three seats in front of him. Todd decided that when the bus arrived at their stop, he would exit quickly before Nick could get away.
When the bus stopped, Todd was already out of his seat and ready to exit before Nick realized that Todd was in front of him. Nick exited the bus and began to walk rapidly in the direction of his house when he heard, "Nick, wait."
Nick began to walk more rapidly when he heard, "Nick, we have to talk. You can walk as fast as you want, but you know that I'm faster than you are. I'll follow you all the way home if I have to."
This got Nick's attention and he suddenly stopped, turned angrily to Todd, and harshly asked, "What the hell do you want?"
"I wanted to talk to you, ass-hole, but now I'm not so sure," Todd replied with equal harshness. Let's go to my grandparent's barn, nobody can see us there. I don't like standing here on the side of the road with all the old busy bodies going by."
Nick didn't want this discussion with Todd, but agreed that if they must have it, the privacy of the barn would be better. They walked in silence to the barn. And when they were inside, Nick said, "Talk."
"Nick," Todd began, "I love you and I know that this is difficult for you." "Grandma said that you were confused and felt guilty because of your religion. She said to give you time, but I want to be with you."
"Why would your grandma say that I was confused and felt guilty?" Nick questioned.
"Because of your religion, Nick," Todd explained and then continued, "They teach that being gay is a sin. Did you know that there's no Cherokee word for homosexual? Before the white man brought his religion, they thought nothing of a man having sex with another man."
"No shit?" Nick asked in surprise.
"No shit," Todd asserted.
"Maybe I should talk to your grandmother," Nick agreed.
"Maybe you should, but first I think you owe me a big kiss," Todd said, with a big smile. Nick was taken aback, but quickly recovered, took Todd in his arms, and kissed him passionately. Todd returned Nick's kisses with equal passion.
Nick kissed Todd again and said, "I do you too."
"Me too what?" Todd questioned with puzzlement.
"I love you too, Todd," Nick declared.
"Nick, do you want to talk to my grandma now," Todd offered.
"Yeah, I do," Nick confirmed.
They found Alice in the kitchen cooking the evening meal. When they entered the room, she smiled and said to Todd, "Go keep your e-ni-si (grandfather) company while I talk to your u-na-li-go-di (boyfriend)."
Todd blushed and wasn't sure if Nick knew that his grandmother had referred to him as boyfriend. He motioned for Nick to sit at the kitchen table while he went to find his grandfather watching TV.
"Nick," Alice began, as she emptied the cornbread batter into the cast iron skillet for baking, "I know that you and Todd love each other. I know that the yo-ne-ga a-s-ga-ya religion teaches that it's wrong to sleep with another man." She suddenly realized that he didn't understand what she was saying when she was mixing Cherokee works with English. Nick didn't understand Cherokee the same as Todd did. "The white man's religion," she explained. "I'm not trying to say that you should abandon what your parents taught you about your God. But if your God is a loving God as your go-we-li u-ha-ge-dv teaches you, wouldn't He love you as you are?"
Alice realized that Nick didn't understand once more, but she couldn't think of the English word for Bible. She then placed her hands together and opened them like a book. Nick smiled and said, "Bible?"
"Yes, Bible," Alice smiled, somewhat embarrassed that she'd forgotten the English word for Bible.
"Your Bible teaches many good things, but men have lost the meaning of much of it." Alice explained. "Isn't it strange that there is only one book and hundreds of denominations? Which one is right? And they're all trying to get to the same Heaven."
'Oh, my God, she's right,' Nick thought. "Mrs. Bushyhead, you're the first person to ever make sense of religion," Nick said.
"Nick, call me Ah-lee-see or Grandma like Todd does," Alice requested.
"Oh, Al-lee-see, I love you," Nick proclaimed.
"Nick you must remember that you and Todd have to protect each other," Alice stated with a state of solemnity. "Together you can protect each other, but apart you can be hurt by men who do not understand your kind of love. Do you know that there's no Cherokee word for what you are?"
"Yes, Todd mentioned that to me," Nick said.
"My medicine is strong, Nick," Alice stated, "But you must be strong for me to help you. Remember all that I have told you. It's like putting two sticks together, they are hard to break. But as one, they break easily."
"Now, go get Todd and you two wash up for supper," Alice instructed.
"I should go home for dinner," Nick stated.
"No, you can stay," Alice insisted. "Go call your mother and tell her that I asked you to stay. Nick, you'll always be welcome in our home, remember that."
"Yes, Al-lee-see," Nick beamed.
Todd knew that his grandmother had gotten through to Nick the minute he saw Nick's face. He put his arm around Nick and asked, "Isn't she wonderful?"
"Yes, she certainly is," Nick agreed.
After dinner, Todd pulled Nick to the side and said, "Stay the night with me."
"Tomorrow is a school day and I have no school clothes here," Nick stated. "Besides I would feel strange sleeping with you with your grandparents in the next room."
"Hey, I know!" Todd exclaimed "Friday my mom is going to be in Oklahoma City and my dad is in Texas for a couple of weeks. We can sleep over at their house." He then realized that he'd referred to his parent's house as 'their' house. He now spent most of his nights with his grandparents.
Nick readily agreed to the plan and was already looking forward to it. Then he asked, "When did you say that they will they be home?"
"My dad won't be back for several days, and mom won't be back until next Thursday," Todd declared.
The remainder of the week seemed like two for Todd, but finally Friday arrived. After school, Nick went home to get a change of clothes and agreed to meet Todd as soon as possible.
Todd rushed to the house to make sure the house was acceptable for company. It seemed like hours before Nick arrived, but Todd realized that it was less than an hour. He greeted Nick at the door with a long lingering kiss.
Todd pulled Nick into his arms saying, "I love you, Nick Brown."
"And I love you too, Todd Hawkins," Nick responded.
Suddenly, Todd remembered that they hadn't eaten since their noon meal at school. "I'm hungry, are you?"
"Did you hear my stomach growl?" Nick laughed.
Todd left the comfort of Nick's arms to find some food in the kitchen. He found some hamburger meat and decided that hamburgers would be perfect. As he was making the hamburger patties, he felt Nick's arms around him and kisses on his neck. "Need any help?" Nick inquired.
"I'm sure I will after we eat," Todd laughed. "But for now, you can start the gas grill out on the back patio."
"Maybe it was the ambiance they felt, but they agreed that those were the best burgers they'd ever eaten. They quickly cleaned the kitchen and were ready to return to the bedroom for more fun.
Nick awoke with a full bladder and needing to pee, but for a moment couldn't figure where he was. Then he felt Todd move next to him and smiled, thinking that he was in his own paradise. He quietly slipped out of bed and made his way to the bathroom. As he began to urinate, Todd joined him and added his own stream, while flashing a big smile to Nick and saying, "I love you."
"I love you too," Nick responded.
"Are you ready for breakfast," Todd asked, as he led Nick to the kitchen to see what he could find. His mother rarely cooked lately, since he mostly lived with his grandparents. Todd found some cereal, but discovered that the milk had exceeded its expiration date and was spoiled. There were neither eggs nor bacon. He decided that they would just have toast. Before he could make the toast his grandmother called, telling him that she had breakfast ready for him and Nick.
"My grandma said to come to breakfast," he informed Nick.
"No, I can't go, I'd be too embarrassed," Nick argued.
"Didn't she tell you to never be ashamed?" Todd questioned.
"Yeah, she did," Nick smiled.
Nick couldn't remember when he'd had a better breakfast. Alice had prepared bacon, eggs, southern style fried potatoes, homemade biscuits, gravy, and homemade strawberry preserves. "Thank you, Ah-lee-see, that was very good."
"I thought you boys would need a good breakfast after your busy night," Alice teased. She then laughed at Nick's obvious embarrassment.
"Ah-lee-see, I don't tease you about your sex life with E-ni-si (Grandfather)," Todd intervened, although he couldn't imagine his grandparents having sex.
"Ha, what sex life," Alice laughed. "He's too old."
Nick couldn't imagine having this conversation with his parents, much less his grandparents. Alice seemed nonchalant about sex and nonjudgmental. He could see why Todd loved her so much. He realized that she had strong medicine, and knew that he could always ask her for guidance.