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Chapter 6 – Tommy’s Story – Second Thoughts.
There was a loud knock on his bedroom door, “Come on Tommy what’s keeping you.”
Tommy opened the door and before him stood Victor dressed immaculately in a suit and tie. Victor was his new friend, well sort of.
“You look like you’re going to a wedding,” Tommy joked.
“Very funny,” Victor snorted, “what’s keeping you? You’ve been in here for ages.”
Tommy looked at himself in the mirror, he looked amazing, he rarely ever got to wear a suit let alone a tuxedo. In fact he had to borrow the one he was wearing right now.
“I just wanted to make sure I looked ok,” Tommy said.
“You look fucking beautiful,” Victor replied, “in fact I’d marry you myself if I could.”
Tommy raised an eyebrow to him, “Only kidding,” Victor quickly replied.
In truth Tommy was stalling, he was taking a huge step today, today he was getting married.
* * *
Tommy had written his first letter to Ryan as promised and it turned out to be a real love letter, he hadn’t intended it to be, it just turned out that way. None the less he was delighted when he received a letter back. He ran to his room and read it more times than he could remember. Ryan spoke of his undying love for him and how much his son Dylan had grown since he had been away. When it came to his wife it was a different matter. It read like a horror story. She had let the farm deteriorate so bad that Ryan had to work hard to restore it. It just sounded like everything was going wrong, Tommy felt sorry for him.
For months they wrote to each other, speaking of how much they wanted to be together, of how Ryan was trying to think of a way for this to happen. Tommy had no idea what Ryan’s plan was but he hoped that he would do it soon, it was driving him crazy without his man.
Then suddenly the letters stopped, at least Tommy never received anymore. He was beside himself with worry, Ryan’s last letter hadn’t indicated that anything was seriously wrong. He didn’t know what to do. All he had was Ryan’s address but going there was out of the question, he just didn’t earn enough to do that. What could have happened? Did he stop loving him? Did his wife find out? Perhaps they moved? Not knowing was sheer agony.
Most nights he would re-read all of Ryan’s letters, now his only link to the love he once had. He’d lost count how many times he would cry himself to sleep and it was a good twelve months before the crying finally stopped.
During this time he was victim to the pressure of village life, Doris now boyfriend-less had taken a shine to Tommy. Being devious and manipulating she engineered things so that Tommy without realising was spending more and more time with her. He really wasn’t interested to begin with but people started asking questions and making comments about them.
“Oh, are you and Doris dating?”
“You two make such a lovely couple.”
Tommy wanted to fit in, wanted to belong and be part of the social life in his village and he found himself looking at Doris as his ticket to an easy life. God knows being a homosexual in a small village would certainly not be easy. Better to bury the past and his feelings and try to lead a normal life. What hurt the most though was that his time with Ryan did feel normal, it felt the most natural thing in the world. But that was two years ago.
He remembered the night he proposed to Doris. It was a warm summer night on the steps to the village hall. Why he picked there he wasn’t sure, it may have had something to do with it having some romantic significance to him. Shortly after he had taken Doris etiler escort home and told his Dad.
“Thank fuck for that!” His father had said causing Doris to blush at his profanity, “I thought you were a fucking puff for a moment.” That embarrassed Tommy.
It was through Doris that he met Victor, her brother. Tommy hadn’t had much to do with him before he started dating Doris, their paths rarely crossed. But now they had become quite good friends or so it seemed. Victor was nothing like his sister who was tall and beautiful (and she knew it), no, he was quite short and plump.
Things were now going well for him. Mr Rogers was taking a less active roll in the store and gave Tommy more responsibility, a little more money too. His father seem to be less hostile to him, although not much, he still swore and shouted a lot.
The letters from Ryan were now resigned to a shoe box under his bed, he stopped reading them, unable to stand the heartache anymore.
So here he was, dressed up to the nines and about to marry Doris.
He took a deep breath he said, “Come on, lets go.”
It was a thirty minute walk from his house to the church and by the time they arrived most of the guests were already there. Tommy stood outside the church and greeted them as they entered. He hardly knew any of them, the vast majority from Doris’s side of the family. The few that was from his side he never really knew either, an uncle and some cousins that he’d never met before. The only people he really knew was his father and Mr Rogers with his family.
As the guests was entering Tommy noticed a tall man some way down from the church. He stood by a large black car and wore a trench coat with a trilby hat. He looked familiar. Tommy squinted, it couldn’t be, his heart raced, it looked like Ryan.
The man entered the car and it pulled away, Tommy in a panic ran down the path to the church gates after the car.
“Tommy!” Victor shouted, “Where you going?”
When Tommy reached the gate the car was clean up the road and out of site. If that was Ryan why did he not come over? Why was he here? As he walked back towards the church Victor met up with him.
“What was that about?” he asked.
“Nothing,” Tommy replied looking back up the road.
What if Ryan had come over? What would the consequences have been? Would I still have gone through with the wedding?
His mind span as he entered the church and sat down with Victor. He was sweating now, was he doing the right thing? He looked back at the entrance hoping to see Ryan appear but instead the doors opened and Doris appeared looking beautiful in her wedding dress. Tommy swallowed hard, his heart racing, This is it. He turned and looked ahead.
The church organist began playing the precession march so Tommy and Ryan got into their place in front of the vicar. Tommy kept looking ahead as Doris drew up next to him, he couldn’t look at her. The vicar started with the usual speech, “We are gathered here…”
Tommy wasn’t listening, he was fighting a raging battle in his mind, Ryan is the one he loves, always will do. He started questioning his feelings for Doris, he likes her, he thinks he likes her, but like isn’t enough is it? Marriage is about love and compared to his feelings for Ryan, that was a million miles away.
He was bought back to reality by the vicar, “Tommy?”
He looked up at him.
“Do you take Doris Anne Jacobs to be your lawful wedded wife?” He asked again.
Tommy looked at him blankly, he knew he was supposed answer. There was a long silence, fatih escort all eyes was on Tommy.
The vicar was patient, he had seen this happen before, “I’ll ask you again,” he said softly, “do you take Doris Anne Jacobs to be your lawful wedded wife?”
Tommy looked at Doris, “I-I-I,” he could see Doris willing him on. His eyes began to well up, he knew his life was at a turning point. If he said ‘I do’ then he would be with this woman for the rest of his life, but he couldn’t get the image of Ryan standing by that car out of his head. He is the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, not this woman before him. They hadn’t even had sex, she wanted to but Tommy always put her off, saying they should wait till after they was married. In truth he was petrified, the idea of having sex with a woman scared the shit out of him.
He took a deep breath and said, “I can’t!”
“What?” Doris said.
“I-I-I can’t,” his eyes full of tears now, “It wouldn’t be right, it wouldn’t be fair to you.”
“What do you mean?” She asked angrily.
“I’m a h-h-h-homosexual.”
The whole congregation gasped in shock.
“Is this some sort of sick joke?” Doris asked fuming by now.
“No, I’m sorry,” Tommy replied looking at the floor in shame.
Doris bawled and ran out of the church. The next thing Tommy saw was a fist smashing into his face as Doris’s father floored him. Tommy ended up looking at the vaulted ceiling of the church, his nose throbbing. Then Victor came over threw the ring at him and kicked him hard in the ribs, he doubled up in agony. As soon as the pain subsided he got up, people were staring at him in disbelief. He picked up the ring and ran out of the church where he saw Doris sobbing over a gravestone. He felt sorry for her, he’d ruined her special day.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
She looked up, then briskly walked over to him smacked him hard on the nose.
“OW!” Tommy screamed, the second punch more painful because of the first.
Tommy ran, he didn’t stop until he was back in his room. He sat on his bed and contemplated what he had done. He knew now that marrying Doris would have been the wrong thing to do. He didn’t want to end up like one of those men he witnessed in London. Suddenly he remembered what he had said to Ryan. I never want to sully your memory. He nearly did. If he couldn’t be with Ryan then he wouldn’t be with anyone. In a flash he decided what he was going to do.
He went into his father’s room and pulled a suitcase from the wardrobe. He was packing when he heard the front door.
“Are you fucking insane?” his father barked.
“I’m leaving,” Tommy replied.
“I should think so too, you can’t live round here anymore, especially after telling the whole fucking village that your a fucking queer.”
“I’m not a queer! I’m a homosexual!” Tears filled his eyes again.
“Queer, Poof, homosexual, it’s all the fucking same. What possessed you to tell everyone?”
“Because I am!”
“I know, but you didn’t have to tell them that, you could have lied or something.”
Tommy stopped and looked at his father, “You knew?”
His father sighed, “Always have done, I’m not stupid you know.”
Tommy couldn’t believe his ears, “How? When did you know?”
“Your mother and I spoke about it often, she was very perceptive, guessed you would be when you was five, she wanted to make sure I wouldn’t freak out about it.”
“Mothers intuition I guess.”
Tommy sat on the bed and began to break down, “Oh god! Dad, I’m so fındıkzade escort sorry,” he bawled.
His father just grunted, “finish your packing before the lynch mob comes after you.”
Silence descended the room as Tommy finished packing the suitcase, he looked under the bed and found the shoe box, opening it he took out the letters.
“From your soldier boy?” his father asked.
Tommy looked at him in shock again.
“I saw you two together, I could tell you had the hots for him.”
“I don’t understand, why didn’t you say anything?”
His father grunted again, “not my place to, figured you’d tell me if you wanted to.”
Tommy was seeing his father in a new light, a bond had appeared he never knew existed. But he realised it was all too little too late as he put the letters in the suitcase.
“Where will you go?” his father asked.
“Figures, all the poofs live there,” he said trying to make light of the situation.
Tommy headed to the front door and paused looking at his father. “Will you be ok?”
“Now what sort of stupid question is that? The whole village is going to ridicule me for having a queer son.”
Tommy dropped his head, “I’m sorry.”
“When has anything like that ever bothered me? Of course I’ll be alright, I’ve had much worse said to me. Now fuck off before I kick you out.” he grunted.
Tommy opened the door when his father spoke again, “I’ll miss you.”
Tommy flung his arms round him and hugged with all his might. “I’m sorry dad, I love you.”
Tommy’s father quickly cleared his throat, “Well er.. What I meant is I’ll miss having to shout at you and kick your ass.”
Tommy saw him blush, his father never once kicked him but he knew what he meant.
Tommy left, closing the door behind him, he had this strange feeling he would never see his father again.
He would need to catch a bus to Chichester before taking the train to London so he ran to the bus stop. From there he could see the Inn where he and Ryan had spent several nights together. Outside was the dark car he had seen earlier and getting into it was the tall man.
In a flash he was running with all his might but as he drew closer the car began to drive off.
“NOOO!” He screamed, “RYAN!”
He ran harder than he had ever ran in his life, it felt like his lungs was about to burst and his legs turn to jelly but it was no good. The car was gone by the time he reached the Inn, he collapsed on the pavement outside, clutching his suitcase sobbing and panting heavily.
Through bleary eyes he looked up at the Inn, they kept a register, he had to know if it was Ryan for sure. He picked himself up and entered, finding Mrs Delaney at the reception.
“That man who just left, what was his name?” he demanded.
“Tommy Anderson! You have some nerve showing up here after what you did to poor Doris!” She snapped. Tommy wasn’t surprised that she knew, this was a village after all.
“Please Mrs Delany, I need to know,” he begged.
“Why? Was he your lover?” she asked sarcastically.
“Yes, please I need to know.”
“Oh, I’m not sure,” she said surprised by Tommy’s admission.
“Was his name Ryan Monroe?”
“Er, no, Mr Richardson I think.”
Suddenly Tommy was in shock, the full realisation of what he had done came crashing down on him. He had just outed himself to the whole village for a stranger. Someone he thought, no was certain was Ryan.
Later that day as he rode the train to London he realised that in the end it didn’t matter.It had saved him from a life with someone he didn’t love. As he headed towards his new life he resolved that he would never love anyone else, he would never let his love for Ryan be marred with feelings for another.
He remembered he still had the wedding ring. Fishing it out of his pocket he placed it on the third finger of his left hand. This will help keep others away,
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