Loss by Chris Hamill

Loss by Chris Hamill

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, 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. We lock eyes, as the tears roll down my face, getting lost in the rain. I can hear the driver, a young woman, wailing hysterically into her mobile phone.

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 over’s 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 as we walk up the street, the rare Scottish sun blazing down on us.

“Yeah, OK, we’ll do that. And we’ll 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.

                                                     ******

I look around the large room with its blue walls, two beds, TV and PlayStation. Toys and other objects lay around, a typical boy’s bedroom. The door opens and Kye walks in, a smile on his face.

“I love sleeping over at yours,” I say as I put my bag with my clothes at the foot of the nearest bed. Kye jumps on me, causing us to fall onto the bed. We begin to wrestle, laughing as we put each other into wrestling moves, pretending to be famous WWE stars. Everything goes black, our laughter fading away.

                                                     ******

Colour quickly blurs around me, filling in the scenery. I’m sitting on a metal bench next to an old dirt path, overgrown bushes behind me. I look to my right at Kye, a strand of his scruffy brown hair hanging over his slightly tanned face. He pushes it to the side where it is lost among his nest of hair.

He looks down the path both ways, making sure the coast is clear. He nods and lets out a nervous sigh as I slide my hand into my pocket and pull out a packet of cigarettes and a lighter. My hands are shaking slightly as I open the seal on the packet, a nervous chuckle escaping my lips. Kye laughs too, nerves getting the better of us.

“You ready to try this?” he asks me nervously, still checking the path to make sure nobody is coming. I look at his slim body hunched over as he sits forward on the lookout. A small smile spreads across my lips as I look at him, my stomach feeling strange as it often does when he’s around.

“Of course,” I reply with false confidence. With that he smiles at me and nods. I lift the cardboard lid of the pack and remove two cigarettes and hand one to Kye who takes it from me, his smooth hand touching mines as he does so. I put the coloured end of the cigarette into my mouth and a flame flickers to life from the lighter. I put the flame to the cigarette and light it and hand the lighter to Kye who does the same.

I blow out the smoke, my face scrunching up from the taste.

“Aw, that tastes horrible,” Kye laughs. I laugh too, my nerves fading. I put the cigarette back in my mouth, inhaling some smoke. I suddenly have a horrible taste in my mouth and the back of my throat burning as my lungs fill with smoke. I start coughing and choking, smoke escaping with each cough. Kye is coughing also, his hair flailing about.

We look at each other and burst into laughter, unable to control ourselves. I finally get myself under control and try to inhale again with slightly better success. I try again, my throat burning and throw the cigarette on the dirt path and squash it under my foot, putting it out. Kye takes another inhale followed by another coughing fit. He then puts the cigarette out too.

“Well, I am never doin’ that again!” I exclaim as I crush the packet of cigarettes in my hand. I throw the packet into the thick bushes behind us where it will never be found.

“Yeah neither am I!” he laughs as he scrunches up his face in disgust causing me to laugh. “Well I don’t see how anyone can be able to smoke enough of them to actually become addicted. I mean do they have their taste buds removed first?” he jokes as he pulls out a packet of mints and pops one into his mouth. He hands the packet to me and I take them, putting one in my mouth, hoping it will cover up the smell and taste of smoke.

“Alright, let’s go to the shop. I need a drink,” I say, pushing myself up from the metal bench and walking down the path. Kye is walking beside me. Everything blurs, colours rushing away into blackness, sound fading.

                                                     ******

“Kye, I really have to tell you something,” I say in a shaky voice, unable to look at him.

“What is it man?” he asks concerned. I gulp, and try to speak, but fail. “Has something happened?” I examine him, his straight brown hair going down to just below his ears, 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, my eyes tearing up as I wring 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 as I try to control my warring 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. I look at his face, his small button nose, a small spot on his right cheek, his luscious lips begging to be kissed. I contain myself, and look at his bright green eyes and find a new inner strength.

I feel a few tears running down my cheeks as I take a step back from him.

“Ryan…” he says, not sure what else to say. I just stare at him for a moment longer, more tears flowing from my eyes.

“Kye I’m…” I take a deep breath and continue, “I’m gay,” I say, tears freely falling from my face now. He just stares at me for a few long, seemingly endless moments before a small smirk appears on his face.

“Really?” he asks, slightly amused. I look at him in confusion. Does he think I’m joking? I think to myself. “I can’t believe it took you so long to tell me,” he continues, completely confusing me. “And here I was thinking you had done something wrong like murdered somebody,” he laughs.

“What?” I blurt out, not understanding what was happening.

“Ryan, I sort of already figured it out about you. I had realized you were a bit reserved when the guys all talk about girls. Plus, I had kinda noticed you staring at guys asses before, ya perv,” he laughs as he places a firm hand on my shoulder, 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, which as I said, I had already suspected. After all I do know you very well,” he explains, grasping my shoulders tight. He pulls me into large hug, showing that he doesn’t care about my sexuality. I can’t help but cry from happiness.  

“Thanks man,” I sob as I continue to hug him, as tears of joy drip onto his jumper. Everything dissolves once again.

                                                     ******

We are in a house, music playing, people laughing and joking and drinking. Someone stumbles into Kye 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 lets out a small sigh then turns to me, a small smile on his face.

“Ryan, I feel like now is the right time to tell you this. I’m gay,” he says with a small, nervous smile.

“Yeah? Seriously?” I ask him, placing a supporting hand on his shoulder. “How long have you known?” I ask him quickly, happiness seeping out of me.

“Well I always had a weird attraction to guys but I thought it was normal,” he says and I nod, knowing exactly what he means. He continues, “But I could tell girls were pretty as well. But when you came out to me it sort of sparked something, a kind of realisation. I gradually came to realise that I really like guys and even though I can tell a girls pretty, I’m… I’m just not into them in that way, y’know? And it really became obvious when I was dating Alice,” he finishes. I look into his big green eyes.

“Well, welcome to the team then!” I laugh, gaining a chuckle from him.

“There’s one more thing though,” he says as his cheeks burn red. He pauses for a moment while I look at him quizzically. He takes a deep breath before continuing. “I like you. I have for a long, long time. I’ve known you for so long and I really like you,” he says, a sense of awkwardness coming from him. I feel my heart pounding in my chest, my mind struggling to catch up. So many fantasies of this moment, and yet I’m left speechless. Kye shifts slightly on the couch, looking down at his hands. I realise I haven’t actually responded to his confession yet.

“Well, uh, I would like to, you know if you’re okay with it, I’d like to kiss you because I really like you too,” I tell him softly, giving him a small smile. His head shoots up, his a large smile spreading across his face. His hands reach up and caress my cheeks as he leans forward, his lips meeting with my own. We lose ourselves in the kiss, the kiss I’ve thought about happening for so long.

Eventually, we both separate, resting our foreheads against each other. I wrap my arms around him, pulling him closer to myself. I hear a small sigh from Kye as he leans into the hug more.

“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.

“Well like there’s any chance I would say no to you! I mean, look at you,” I chuckle. Kye gives a short laugh before kissing me again, gently.

                                                      ******

Up the road, the car is sitting in the middle of the road, the floodlights still on. My clothes are soaked right through, but I don’t care. I sob, trying to stop the tears, to stay strong for him.

“Come on, what do you think you’re doing eh? You’re not allowed to get hurt, we still have a date to go on,” I weakly joke, choking back hysteria. He looks at me, only half seeing me.

“Ryan…” he mumbles weakly.

“You’re going to be okay,” I whisper, my voice cracking. I kiss his forehead, my hands in his sticky mess of hair. I begin to shake harder; not because of the cold and rain.

“Ryan…” he croaks, looking behind me, into the dark. I turn and look and see the other guests from the party standing in the garden, watching us in disbelief as the sirens get louder and closer. I turn and look into Kye’s eyes. “I… Love…” he stops. He lets out a large, wretched breath as his eyes close, and his body goes still.

“Kye?” I ask, not able to accept it. He doesn’t respond. He never will again. “Kye? Kye, come on. Please, please,” I cry, my voice cracking. I kiss his forehead, my hands in his sticky mess of hair as I begin to rock back and forth, a flood of tears and open sobs flood out of me.

An animalistic cry escapes me as I clutch his head to my chest, crying, yelling at the world, no words, just noise. I sit there, too much pain for words.

He’s gone. I’ve lost him…

 

First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org

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