So Long the Winter


March 21st Ė Spring Equinox. In LA, you can barely tell unless youíre in the habit of rising at 6 a.m. Which I am, always have been. But still, unless you are itís hard to tell. The sunset creeps a bit later every day, but thereís no big change in the temperature. LA really only has two seasons Ė fire and rain, I tell Face jokingly Ė and thereís not much difference between March and December, or May and December for that matter. It doesnít get really hot till late June, when the lows are higher than the winter highs. Of course, itís never, not even in August, as hot as Virginia was all summer long, or as humid. I can understand from that standpoint why Face didnít like the east...

Itís Wednesday. In a way, that doesnít matter. We still donít have jobs. I donít know if weíll ever get any. We donít need to Ė Face is too clever with money and we have plenty. Now that BAís back, Hannibalís making noises about going back to the old business. Itís not that he doesnít have anything else to do Ė theyíre going to start shooting "The Aquamaniac at Roswell" in five weeks, and theyíve expanded the part. But just making movies isnít enough to fuel the Jazz, and I think Hannibal got a real kick out of the way it used to be, before Stockwell muscled in and changed all the rules.

To be fair, I think we all miss those days, to one degree or another. Even me, though I wouldnít trust my memories of most of it. BA came back from Chicago after a couple of months home, and I know he could have stayed there with his mom. Heís used his money to buy a big body shop downtown, and heís going to be offering jobs training all over the place, but we all know he could have done that in Chicago.

What he couldnít have done in Chicago was have Face nearby. Or me, then. Hannibal Ė well, heíd have been torn. He and BA have been together a long damn time, but Hannibal admitted it at Christmas: heís practically Faceís father. Iím not sure what heíd have done if BA had decided to stay in Chicago. Probably stay here, but he wouldnít have been as happy about it as he is now.

But for the moment, BAís working on cars and Hannibalís in a little movie about a bad leprechaun Ė obviously not the starring role, heís only got a few scenes, but itís work after the last two years and heís happy. And Face and I? Like I said, no jobs. Face sleeps late in the mornings, very late, and lazes around till noon with coffee and the paper. I go out and mess around with a light plane three or four times a week, Face does the same with Summer Place Ė another thing about LA, you donít have to put a boat up in the winter. He still hasnít taught me how to do much with her, but I think itís probably still a bit early for that. Maybe this summer... maybe next.

I picked up a copy of that Stages of Grief thing a while ago. Bargaining doesnít fit Ė thereís nothing Face could offer Ė no, thatís not true. Face would offer a lot, everything even, if only there was some way for him to get what he wants in return. But this isnít a case of ďjust let me live and Iíll swear off whateverĒ; he canít get what he wants. So he shuttles between depression and anger, though they arenít ever as bad as they were back in the fall. He hasnít drunk himself into a coma or punched me, at least. And long days at a time, when he is between the extremes, heís almost at acceptance.

But heís not there yet. And itís still too early to expect him to be. The Victorians Ė they were a crazy bunch, but they mandated a yearís mourning. Face has had just over a half... and me in the way. Not that Iíve changed my mind about anything: Face was too lost to be left alone any longer. He was drowning, he needed me to grab hold of. But itís still way too early to expect him to be over losing Frankie. Him and me, that complicates the process, it definitely does, but at least heís here to be going through it. And I can handle anything he throws at me.

Itís my turn, after all...

Yesterday he got all moody and snappish. I donít even remember what I said that set him off; it doesnít really matter, it wasnít me. It was life, reminding him suddenly of death and what heíd lost. Reminders are everywhere. We have some in the condo, things of his, a photograph. The guys arenít quite sure about that Ė not even BA, and doesnít that still sound weird? ĎNot evení that big mudsucker... But he saw a lot more than either I or Hannibal did, thatís for sure. Paying attention in a whole different way. But neither of them quite understands why I Ďletí Face have those things around. Why I Ďput up withí his moods...

I sometimes want to ask them just what it is they expect me to do. ďDonít let him broodĒ... How do I stop him? I canít control his thoughts; all I could do is stop him talking about them. Stop him with anger, stop him with guilt Ė but stop no more than his words. He already has so many secrets; well, so do I. More than he does, in fact, I reckon. A lot more. Four years I donít even think about if I can help it, four more before he ever showed up, three more... Yeah. We share a few secrets against the world, all four of us, but mostly I wasnít with them when they were piling up their secrets, just as they werenít with me, back in the Sixties... No, we each have our own.

So many secrets. Keeping one more wouldnít strain him...

What it would strain is us. I donít know how many secrets we can keep and still have enough to share. Plenty, itís obvious, and probably plenty more. But I do know that we canít force each other to lie to each other and expect to stay together.

And I know something else: looking at the secrets, dwelling on the anger or the hurt or the loss Ė thatís like refusing to appreciate the spring when it finally comes, looking back at the snow and ice instead of ahead to the warm, and getting angry when the March winds come harsh and chill and knocking buds off branches. You canít do anything about the weather Ė I learned that back as a kid Ė you just have to wait for it to change. Sooner or later it will; March will turn lamblike, and bring warmth and flowers and all that. But it happens in its own time, not yours.

So what if he yelled at me yesterday, and took himself off to be alone all afternoon, and then shut himself up with beer and basketball last night? So what if when I went to bed he was still in the den, watching something noisy on tv? I donít make that more than it is. Because what's important is, that was yesterday. This morning when I woke up he was curled up next to me, his hand on my ribs, sound asleep. And then, while I was waiting for the coffee to finish brewing, he snuck up and put his arms around me, laughing when I jumped, and he kissed my neck.

I put my hands over his, leaning back against him. His arms were bare and warm. He hadnít shaved yet; his cheek was a bit scratchy against my neck as he nuzzled me. ďYouíre up mighty early,Ē I said.

ďI know,Ē he answered; his breath was warm on my skin. He pulled me closer, slid one of his hands out from under mine and down along my body. ďI canít think why Iím out of bed... Maybe Iíll go back.Ē His voice was warm, too. ďWant to come?Ē

I most certainly did.

He was still undressed and he didnít waste any time getting me that way too, pulling me down onto the bed and kissing me thoroughly. Weíre neither of us kids anymore, especially me, but we donít let that stop us. Sometimes I worry about being older than he is, but never when heís actually got his hands on me Ė which happens more than often enough to reassure me that he doesnít care. His hands were all over me this morning, and his mouth Ė nibbling at my throat and nipples while his fingers moved through the hair on my chest and belly, down towards my already aching cock, his mouth following and taking me inside and blowing my mind. Every time.

And then he was inside me, and if my mind was blown before, I was beyond thought totally, existing in a world of nothing but sensation, and emotion.

Every time.

So here we are, him sleeping again with his head against my heart, on the equinox Ė itís a new season in a new decade. In a new life. The Forties had the war, and my momís death; the Fifties were mind-numbing, and I couldnít wait to get away; the Sixties Ė Summer of Love for some, maybe, but not for me, the Agency, Nam...; the Seventies I barely remember; and the Eighties? Well, I remember the Eighties, though most of them not overly fondly Ė the VA and Stockwell for instance. But itís March 21, 1990, and the tide has finally turned. The long winter has finally broken.

So what if the spring is little tempestuous at first? Templeton Peck is in my bed, my arms, my life.

I can take whatever else the universe throws at me, as long as Iíve got that.

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.

The End


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