September 11 2006
“I, like God, do not throw dice. There are no such things as coincidences.” Professor Wern closed his small, leather bound book and placed it on the desk against which he was leaning.
The room was a typical classroom, pure white walls, no windows to encourage fre thinking or wandering of the mind. A single dry erase board at the front was the only thing in this room not from the 1950s, and that unfortunately included the small desks upon which we were all sitting. Fluorescent lights on the ceiling gave the room such a neutral, cold, and distant feel to the room which seemed to be completely contradictory to the ideals of a university; free thought, independent learning, close teacher student relationships. The room even had one of those old analog clocks sans the second hand you saw in any “Leave it to Beaver” epsidoe or any sitcom from the 50s for that matter. Yet this was my sole source of knowledge now and this I had accepted.
“Now what did Eintstein mean when he said this? Well it’s pretty obvious since he says it outright.” He looked briefly at our small class of about twenty students and pushed off his desk slightly to stand upright. “Fate is an odd thing to those who beilieve in it. Can our lives truly be predestined? Is there some higher being drawing out a path to which we are bound no matter what we may wish ourselves?” he said questioningly in a sarcastic manner, “or is it perhaps that things just happen because…they…happen?”
I love philosophy. Just the word itself explains everything. My dabbling in Greek helped me appreciate the word itself which roughly translated means “love of wisdom.” While many of my fellow students just see it as an easy A by spending their whole time asking the question “why?” I truly appreciate the many different forms of thought, reason, and logic.
“So if we are to believe in predestination, then we must assume we are bound to a path. Yet since we can make conscious choices and act upon our decisions, we cannot possibly believe in a path which is essentially devoid of choice. Any thoughts?”
“Maybe our minds are jus too simple to understand the divine plan,” remarked on of the students in almost a mockingly pensive tone.
“Thank you for yet another generic response Mr. Arnold” remarked Prof. Wern as he rolled his eyes.
Of course I had to offer my two cents speaking from my own life experiences. “Well consider looking at it from a statistical point of view.”
“Go on Mr. Stenson…”
“Well, there comes a point where coincidence after coincidence piles up where one can no longer consider them to be just a series of coincidences anymore, but that’s just the quantitative way of looking at it.”
“And the qualitative?”
“A puzzle Mr. Stenson, and just what exactly is on this puzzle?”
“Everything. Life itself is kind of like a puzzle. Every action…every moment, choice, experience is a piece. Well when you start out and you look back at everything, its just looks like a mess of nonsense that couldn’t possible produce any viable image or meaning. But then…then something amazing happens.”
“What…” asked the professor, listening intently. I felt like I had the whole class on the edge of their seats.
“Then… you fit two pieces together, just two. That’s how every puzzle has to start, with just two pieces. Of course our family always starts with the corner pieces…”
“Of course,” he said with a slight chuckle.
“And it starts out slowly. You add a few more pieces and you still can’t see the big picture. It get’s frustrating after a while and you just can’t seem to make sense out of it, but you keep trying anyway. It takes hours and hours, and you start to notice there are fewer and fewer pieces left to put together, the picture is starting to make sense. You can begin to visualize what’s missing and the exact shape and color of the piece that has to go there, so at that point all you’re doing is waiting for the right piece to come along, to find it.”
“And then,” I continued, “that moment finally comes when you have it, the final piece. You close your eyes, set it in place, and hope to God it fits, since you’ve put so much time and effort into this one single moment. And then it happens…it fits. Everything finally falls into place and you can see how every single piece, no matter how obscure its own little image may have been, comes together to form this unified mural of your life…and it’s beautiful.”
“So life is like a puzzle, waiting to be solved,” remarked Prof. Wern.
“Yes, and every event in our life is just a piece of the puzzle, just waiting to be put into place.”
“Well done Mr. Stenson, well done. Class dismissed.”
It was hard to believe how quickly time had gone by. Fall had made its way into winter and the end of the semester was approaching quickly. We were entering the final weeks of December and the snow was spread about lightly upon the grass of Madison. The streets and sidewalks remained clear due to their constant traffic by foot or by tire.
Chad and I became almost inseparable. We went to movies, concerts, clubs, everything. It didn’t matter to me where we went or what we did, as long as we did it together. His very presence was intoxicating.
There was only one thing we hadn’t done yet together…
We were sitting in my apartment, watching something on TV. I don’t remember the show since I wasn’t really paying attention anyway. My head was rested comfortably in Chad’s lap as he sat and I lie down on the couch. His hand was gently stroking through my hair.
I looked up into his eyes and he looked into mine and we became lost in each others gaze as we had done so often before. I positioned myself so I was sitting next to him, put my hand on his shoulder and whispered softly, “I’m ready.”
He looked at me confused for a moment, but then the look of understand suddenly hit his face. “Tommy, are you sure. I mean, you’ve always kind of dodged the issue. We haven’t really ever talked about it and you know the last thing I would want to do is pressure you into something you’re not read for…”
“Shhh…” I pressed my finger against his lips, and used my other hand to take his and lead him off the couch. “Kallie and Angie are back home visiting in Baraboo for the weekend, so we have the whole place to ourselves…uninterrupted.”
I lead him slowly to my bedroom with the best “some hither” look I could seductively muster. I sat down on the bed and he joined me. We looked at each other and began kissing softly. I began to open my mouth to let our tongues begin exploring one another as our first preparation and symbol of the things to come. His hand quickly made it to the back of my head and began simultaneously stroking my hair and pulling me deeper into our kiss. My hands were already under his shirt caressing and gripping softly at the soft skin of his smooth, ripped back.
He broke away momentarily and removed his shirt slowly and seductively, no doubt to give me time to take in all that was this magnificent figure in front of me. He finally stared at me oddly and asked innocently, “What?”
“Nothing…” I said softly, with a huge smile on my face. Why am I so lucky?
I like puzzles.
I quickly pulled off my shirt and returned to making out with the man for whom I cared so deeply. His hands followed suit with mine and began to stroke my back gently. I was lost in the passions of our kiss when I realized a sudden jolt from him. He pulled his head away slightly with a confused look on his face. I realized then where his hand was on my back. While the emotional and physical pain had long since healed, there was one remnant of that night almost a year ago, the scar on my back from the bullet wound.
“It’s nothing…trust me. Just a bad experience long since buried.” I looked at him as caringly as I could.
“Okay.” He smiled and drew me back into his arms and we started where we had left off, no more questions asked.
I moved away from our kiss and began kissing down his neck, making my way to his chest. I began to suck gently on one nipple while my hand played with the other. Every time I nipped I could here a soft, pleasurable groan from Chad. He pulled one of his hands away from my back and raised my chin so my eyes looked straight into his. I was his, completely.
I stood up off the bed, unbuttoned and unzipped my jeans and threw them to the floor. Now it was Chad who was staring.
“What,” I asked.
“You have no idea how beautiful you are…and how lucky I am.”
Oh yeah, I was his.
I remember very little specific details about that night. My only memories are more feelings than actual events and sights. I remember the warm feel of his skin against mine, his gentle kisses, and his loving embrace. I remember the feeling of once again experiencing the physical expression of love and the feeling of being filled, physically and emotionally. I remember how he held me as we drifted off into sleep in each others arms. I remember what it feels like to be loved again.
I also remember a feeling that night that I had felt nearly a year ago, and it was the only feeling that I didn’t like that whole evening; this one, however, was not caused by Chad, but someone else.
My eyes were opening drearily and I stared at the alarm clock next to my bed. 2 a.m. I was exhausted considering how we had shown our love for one another not once, not twice, but three times already tonight.
I rolled over to see him staring at me with a look of regret in his eyes.
“What’s wrong babe?”
“I’ll tell you my story if you tell me yours…”
He didn’t say anything; he just looked at me with that gaze. So I went ahead and told him the whole story of that night at the restaurant, the shots, the hospital, everything. His look of concern and shock persisted through the whole story.
“My God Tommy, I’m so sorry…”
“I’m not,” I interrupted. “It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. It gave me strength and the ability to love more than I had ever imagined.”
Then Chad did something I never would have expected, he began crying. I tried to comfort him and ask him what was wrong but he just kept bawling and apologizing over and over.
Finally he looked me into the eyes spoke to me through his tears. “Tommy, you know the last thing I would ever want to do is hurt you, right?”
“Chad what are you talking about?”
“I got a letter from the University, INS, and my parents a few days ago, I didn’t want to tell you this now, especially after tonight, but I have to.”
“It turns out my fucking parents were able to get a hold of my uncles inheritance to me through some goddamn legal loophole. Anyways, my check for next semester’s tuition couldn’t pass because they wiped my account clean. Since I can only stay in the States as long as I’m in school, I had my visa revoked and now I have to fly back to Australia to sort all this shit out. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone. I’m so sorry.” With that he began softly sobbing again.
I pulled him close to me and consoled him best I knew how. It must have seemed and odd scene to any outside viewer, this small, albeit fit, boy holding and consoling a sobbing muscular, well-tanned man in his arms.
“Chad, I understand. If you have to leave for a while, don’t worry. I’ll be here when you get back, that’s a promise.”
“What did I ever do to deserve you…?”
We fell asleep in each others arms yet again.
I felt a slight press at the front of my head and whispered, “Chad, stop it” playfully.
It wasn’t until I felt the coldness of this touch against my head and the voice that I knew it wasn’t Chad.
“Oh don’t worry about your little ass fucker here,” the voice said in a deep tone devoid of all human emotion. “He’ll be nice and asleep for several more hours thanks to this nice little concoction.” The moonlight radiated through the window and glared against the gloved hand holding a small empty syringe and the cold steel of a handgun barrel against my forehead. “And yours will kick in in a few minutes anyways.”
The gun cocked. “But first, I need to finish something I started one year ago.”