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Chapter Nine

March 8 2006

Mitched watched as Andrew and Cameron's relationship grew and changed for the friends he had originally met to an intimate couple. His mind cast about as he tried to compare it to what he went through with Jay. They sat there watching a movie, Mitch curled up in an arm chair, while Andrew and Cameron sat beside each other, Andrew's legs drapped over Cameron's. Mitch watched them out of the corner of his eye as they gently held hands. When the movie ended, Mitch stood up and nodded to them.

"I'm tired, I think I'll go to bed?" he lowered his eyes, almost asking for permission to go to bed. Andrew looked at his friend.

"You ok Mitch?" He asked. Mitch's eyes widened at the thought maybe his feelings and confusion was so transparrent. He nodded dumbly as Cameron read Mitch's body language in concern. Andrew stood and put his hand on Mitch's shoulder.

"You know you can talk to us don't you." Andrew asked lowering his eyes to look into Mitch's own downcast pair. Mitch nodded almost impreceptibly. Andrew stepped in and hugged Mitch and kissed his forehead. Mitch stepped back gently out of the friendly embrace and walked down towards his and Andrew's room. Andrew watched him go and looked at Cameron who shrugged. Sitting down looking at Cameron, Andrew felt his concerns rise.

"Have we been too affectionate or something in front of him?" Andrew asked. Cameron took Andrew's hand in his own.

"What would hiding it achieve?" He asked. Andrew turned and looked down the hall to where Mitch had gone.

"Go to him." Cameron said gently. Andrew's head whipped around to regard his lover. Cameron nodded gently. Andrew stood and gently padded towards the bedroom. Opening the door and walking in, Mitch sat hunched over his notebook, concentrating. Andrew sat down gently on the bed watching him. Mitch looked over, then went back to his writing.

"Mitch, are Cam and I making you uncomfortable?" Andrew asked finally. Mitch sat back and put his pen down before looking at Andrew.

"It's not that, I'm just trying to think when Jay and I were like that, and it feels so long ago. I try and remember the feeling and it escaped me. It's all so black and blue laced, that I just can't remember." Mitch said. Andrew looked at his friend.

"Would it make it easier if Cam and I cut back on it?" Andrew asked. Mitch shook his head.

"You don't need to. I'm getting used to it." Mitch told him. Andrew arched his eyebrow and Mitch put his hand on Andrew's.

"It's ok, promise." Mitch assured him. Andrew nodded and stood.

"Alright, I'll leave you to your writing, I'll speak to you tomorrow." Andrew said. Mitch looked at him.

"When I've written this, can you read it for me. I want to post it?" Mitch asked and Andrew nodded. Mitch smiled and went back to his writing as Andrew left the room.

Walking back out to Cameron, Andrew shrugged.

"He's fine. I have something to read in the morning though." Andrew reported. Cameron arched an eyebrow questioningly. Andrew shrugged.

"I dont know." With that, he settled back on the couch and leant against Cam while people ran around on screen accusing each other of sleeping with children, spouse and asking where their second cousin twice removed was hiding the measuring cup.

"Why are we watching this?" Asked Cameron.

"It's that or a horror movie." Andrew said looking at the television guide.

"What one?" Asked Cameron.

"Showgirls. Absoloutely terrifying." Deadpanned Andrew.

The next morning Andrew walked out and found an envelope with his name on it in Mitch's flowing cursive on the fridge. Somewhat alarmed, Andrew opened it quickly and found what Mitch had been writing the previous night with a small note explaining that Mitch had gone to work. Andrew put it down and made himself a coffee and walked out onto the balcony to sit and read.

**
Dearest Jay

I want to tell you, that as much as you loved me for so long, for as long as I loved you, there is something that Iíve never said.

I just wanted to tell you that I hate you. I hate you for leaving your hand print scarred on my face. To face all horrors and hate within life hand in hand? What a load of shit. Things went a different way to what you wanted, you tried to beat it into some never ending night and left me here to pick up your pieces.

I am the reason you are sick. I pushed you to this evil. It's my retribution for turning you gay! I would burn in hell for the torture I put you and my family through. All this echoes in my head at night. My mother told me that she hated me for you told her I was gay. That all people like me were nothing more than the idle toy of the Devilís hands. She blamed me for not stopping you. For taking mummyís boy from her arms, from her breast where once I rested. I was given the credit for something that was you. It was all your choice to do what you did, itís time you took responsibility. I donít condemn anyone to death. You killed my inner-self; I never wanted to hurt you! I wanted to you to live forever with me. Until death do us part? Death by natural causesÖ not from you breaking my bones and life! You fucking coward! This is what you had me believing while I lay broken and dishevelled at your feet.

Why couldnít you just stay with me. All I wanted was your love, all I wanted with you. With you I had never felt more complete. I needed you. I needed the stability that you gave me. You were my life, my everything. I hate you, I despise you, I loathe you. You almost killed me without caring! Why the hell couldnít you have talked to someone? Why leave me where it feels so cold? This world is scary now, thereís no one there to take my hand when I need to cry. Thereís no one there when I just need to be held. Thereís no one here to remind me that loving isnít wrong. Damn youÖ you fucking asshole! I just want you, need you.

You decided that two and a half years was worth nothing? Who are you to have made that decision on your own? I thought we were partners in everyway. Decisions, choices, life and eternity.

Almost made you love me, almost made you cry, almost made you happy. Then again, everyone knows that almost doesnít count. Actually it stands for sweet fuck all.

I never thought I would still love you so many beatings on. You still find a way to haunt me. I cleanse you from my thoughts, yet here you are again. How many times have I said goodbye to you? You couldnít help but put the knife in a little deeper towards the end. Your way of saving me was it? To push me away so it wouldnít hurt. You hurt me more with your ďsavingĒ me. I couldnít love you with one foot outside the door. Is that what you thought? You almost convinced me this was true. Then I realised, love knows no limits, it doesnít understand distance, time certainly means nothing.

Have you ever loved somebody so much it makes you cry? Those are lyrics from a song. They may sounds like shit, I wish they were. You hit me on so many levels that I donít know what way is up anymore. You bashed my face, you beat upon my heart and slammed against my brain. Jesus Christ, being beaten was never meant to be so complete. My scars were never just physical, my heart feels like you used it to, I donít even know what the fuck you did with it.

This has got to be the first time Iíve yelled and I havenít heard you yell back at me and raise a hand. Is it because you finally know that I am right, that Iíve worked you out? That Iíve called you on exactly what you are? A coward? Thatís exactly what you are. A coward. If you loved me like you told me you did, then half this shit wouldnít have happened. You would still be here and we would be together.

To make you understand how you make me feel, I wish I could take you to my world, maybe then you would see the damage youíve created. I could so easily blame you for future failed relationships, saying I compare them to you. Thatís bullshit though, I wonít compare them to you. I'll try to replace you with them. I have so many expectations. They arenít you and never will be. They are people of their own minds, personalities and dependence. Next time, should there be one, they arenít your replacement, they arenít you comparison. They are who they are, and for some reason I donít think youíll hold a candle to them. Just because they arenít cowardly enough to kill themselves or hide like you did. I am NOT offering you my heart anymore. You killed me remember.

I hate you so much. Then why do I still cry myself to sleep over you? I am I really that messed up? Only time will tell. Though Iíve now worked out that I donít need you to haunt me anymore. I was going to take today off work because of you. Why let you get to me that I have to suffer and hide from the world. No fuck you asshole, Iím going to stand on my own two feet and find my own demons to torture me, not some ghost of the past who canít release his grip. The only problem with that is that I also have to let go of my grip on you, the ghost. Christ, I've left the state of living in which we were, I've left - I'm letting go. Please release my hand.

Maybe I will understand what you did, but not today. Today is about my moving on and forgetting you. Me letting you rest in peace, and me, living my life as best I can.

If this is the last time I shall talk to you I donít know, but what I do know is, you arenít my life anymore. I have my own life and if you donít like itÖ TOUGH! I've had enough Jay. I've torn my head apart trying to pull the thoughts of you from my brain. Scratched at the broken skin trying to bleed you out. Trying to expell from my heart, this love that you gave me. This love that is broken and wrong. This love that you assured me would never end. This love that left me broken on the floor so many times. This love that is black and blue. This bruised love.

Mitch.
**

Andrew gently lowered the letter and looked out at the building that stared back. Andrew tilted his head and tried to make sense of what was happening in Mitch's head. Andrew shivered despite himself and stood to return inside as he heard the phone ring. He turned and saw cameron standing there talking on the phone. Andrew walked up behind his lover and gently placed a hand on his shoulder. Cameron turned and looked at Andrew and mouthed 'Mitch' to him. Andrew nodded and retured to the balcony and his coffee.

"Andrew, we're going." Cameron called. Andrew leapt and turned around.

"It's Mitch, Jay's turned up at work." Andrew was moving before Cameron finished talking. The pair were out the door not five minutes later.

Andrew and Cameron ran into the shop were attendants were standing around looking visibly distressed. Andrew approached one.

"Excuse me, is Mitch here?" He asked. The girl nodded dumbly.

"Can you take me to him please?" Andrew tried again. The girl just nodded, a vacant look in her eyes. She lead him to the managers office and knocked lightly.

"Yes?" Came a soft, yet gruff voice from the other side of the door.

"It's Belinda, there's people here for Mitch." The girl, Belinda, said softly. The door opened and Andrew and Cameron were admitted. Once inside the office, Mitch flew into Andrew's arms.

"What's happened? Are you ok?" Cameron asked him. Andrew looked at the manager.

"Jason turned up and created a scene. He tried to take a swing at Mitch. We were lucky that he wasn't in range. By the time he was, we had security here." The manager said. Andrew nodded and held Mitch, gently stroking his hair. When Mitch had calmed enough to be taken from the store the manager looked at him seriously.

"Mitch, I want you to know we're all behind you in this. You are to take the rest of the week off. All the shifts you were meant to work will be paid." The manager said. Mitch nodded his head gently. Andrew and Cameron shook hands with the manager as they gently led Mitch from the office.

When the three got home Mitch wandered off slightly from Andrew and Cameron. Andrew noticed and moved over to his friend.

"Mitch, are you holdin up ok?" Mitch just nodded his head and walked away to lie down. Cameron came up and pulled Andrew back against him.

"There's nothing you can do babe, just accept that it's going to happen. He's going to need to pull away for a while. Cameron pointed out and Andrew nodded. Andrew kissed Cameron gently.

"I've got to head to work. Message me if you or Mitch need anything." Andrew said. Cameron nodded and Andrew wandered of to shower and prepare for work. Cameron stood there watching Mitch's door, then made his way down towards the door to check on his friend.

**
Cameron slipped into the room where Mitch was asleep on the bed. A notebook open beside him, which Cameron reached over to pick up and put it on the desk. As he did he glanced at the passage written there

From where I sit now after my previous tirade, the world is bright and and calm. Yet I feel disconnected, though disconnected is the wrong word. I find it disconcerting that things are the way they are but I remain optimistic that the world is right. For once I have no quarrels with anything or anyone, though I think that is because the energy and will today has evaporated. The day is returning to as it should be, life flowing by with wind under it's wings and lifting it to the heavens where God can lean down and kiss it's sweetness and renew the freedom that exists with everything around it.

The fact that things are right is only a good sign, anything else would ruin this day of peace, broken only by the happy chatter of a small children running along the sidewalk. It's sweet melody that plays to the ears of those who will listen. It's a blessing long since forgotten but always remembered. Perhaps this world isn't as forbidding as I thought. Not the wilted rose pierced by it's own browned thorns but instead the makings of a time that is meant for peace and a return to the innocence that once prevailed through a serene land.

I'm still happy to know, that all is as it should be. I dont know if I am as I should be. What normal person has some many confusions, dramas and misfortunes. Perhaps this is where I should remember, that we aren't normal, we're all individual and our own person. A person who creates their own style, their own unique sense.

After Jay appearing in the store today, I didn't know what to think. It shattered the illusion that it was all over. Andy and Cam said it was all over and I believed them. Though I know it's not their fault, they've done their best to protect me and keep me safe always. What type of friend am I? I'm sitting here, in their home, which they don't let me put a cent towards and blaming Jay on them. I can only blame it upon myself.

There's moments when we look to the ground and see a gap growing. It's splitting at our feet and the ideas and beliefs we built our empire on are starting to slip through. No stone is built so strong as to face that as our own when we turn to evaluate ourselves.

The fear of the beast, is not so much the falling but that which has already fallen. We are consumed by trying to stay afloat and then when it finally gives, we are left free-falling to an unknown. When we land, our ideas, our beliefs, our lives are scattered around us.

We can be building our empire and lives upon a mere thought, placing our feet upon it to reach the next height. Then one action or word from another can loosen the grip you had above you and unbalance that which is below. Self-doubt plagues the mind and makes you second guess most activities you do.

Then with luck you find Angels. They smacks you around the back of the head in a mass wake up call to sort yourself out. They deliver the news the way it should be with no padding and no pretense. It's a walking confusion until she arrives, their halo glowing and quiet words tender, whilst still being hard enough that your ass is still smarting three weeks later from where they've kicked it. They may be an Angel, but no one said that they are always gentle.

You can be so consumed by the thoughts of ill-tidings that you forget about the good-tidings that people can bring. It seems that these people are Angels in disguise. Friends are Angels who lift us to our feet, when it would seem our own wings are unable to remember how to fly. That or that kick us so far up the ass that we don't have a choice. Such is life.

Self-doubt is the first step to learning, accepting is the second and realizing that learning never stops is the final.
**

Cameron smiled at his friends words and closed the book gently. It was obvious Mitch was healing. Gently he placed the notebook on the desk. He glanced back at Mitch and got lost in his thoughts.

"Thanks for all your help Cam, it's meant a lot." Said Mitch still facing away from Cameron. The words shook Cameron from his reverie. He sat down quickly beside his friend.

"Sorry I didn't mean to wake you." Said Cameron reaching out to lay his hand on the Mitch's shoulder. Mitch rolled over and looked at Cam.

"You didn't, I was awake. Can't sleep, so just lay here with my eyes closed. Cameron nodded. Mitch looked at Cameron.

"Did you read what I wrote?" He asked. Cameron nodded and looked down. Mitch shook his head.

"It's fine. I don't mind. I am thankful to you and Andy though." Mitch said. Cameron smiled and leant down and kissed Mitch's forehead.

"That's fine Mitch, we know and we're just glad to help you when we can. Now scoot over and I'll lie with you for a while if you want." Mitch nodded and moved over to make room for Cameron on the bed.

"Is there a reason for the way we feel? The highs, the lows and everything thing in between. Our own inability as humans to let it all out. The way we attach ourselves to our haunting inner-demons of the past. Demons of pain and unbearable torture which linger within our hearts and minds. Demons which we canít control. They exist independent within our souls. They haunt us as long as we will let them, or so the myth says. We may think we have them beaten only to find out they have recurred and are stronger than ever before." Asked Mitch. Cameron was quiet for a moment before answering.

"Passion." He told Mitch. "We have a passion to live, to not sit in a corner and let the world pass us by. We are enabled to be passionate about love. That feeling that makes our hearts flutter. The feeling that makes us feel more alive every day. We are given for hardships for it is human nature to fight being beaten. It is against our nature to sit back and accept an unfair hand thrown at us by a life which understands no pain nor fear. No justice nor intensity. It also means that we revisit where we've been so we can grow and learn from them. Which means sometimes the inner-demons can hurt, but they also remind us why we need to feel the passion to grow and to move on."

"They come to attack at the moment in which we are weak. The weaker we become the more controlling and daunting they become until their original strength overshadows anything we have experienced with them before." Mitch struggled to justify in his own mind. "We are incapable of life without affection. What you are saying is we are driven by life, love and hardship. Three different forms of unadulterated passion. Do we truly comprehend the life blood of passion that flows through our hearts and lives?" Cameron stayed quiet, carefully considering how best to reply to Mitch's question. Mitch watched intently, as the question drifted through Cameron's mind before he finally opened his mouth.

"We pass so many passion broken people every day. They are dead on the street and most of them have 9 Ė 5 jobs. They are not driven by passion, rather the monotony of life. They are listless and unable to comprehend the wonder and awe of passion. I thank god for the fact I have a reason for being a live. The existence of passion within my life that means I am alive. That's my personal belief for me Mitch. You need to decide your own." Cameron said kissing him lightly on the forehead. Standing, Cameron walked out leaving Mitch to his thoughts.

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