Jayme stood in the middle of Oakwood Cemetery. He still couldn't believe that Sara had talked him into this, but it was typical Sara.She always got what she wanted. Craig, Carol, Sara and the twins, Ronnie and Donnie, had all conspired to meet in the cemetery at eleven forty-five. It would provide the perfect setting to usher in the last day of the month ... the last day of October ... All Hallow's Eve ... Halloween!
A breeze rustled the drying leaves in the trees and a few fluttered softly to the ground. The full moon was intermittently hidden behind the thick clouds that raced across the autumn sky and the smell of freshly dug earth could be faintly detected in the cool air. Another short-lived breeze swirled leaves around Jayme's feet only to end up in front of a nearby tombstone. He sighed, pulled the zipper on his jacket up a little and glanced at his watch. It was almost midnight. He kicked a nearby stick in frustration and again glanced at his watch.
"Damn! They should have been here by now," he said out loud. A twig snapped behind him and he whirled around, peering into the blackness of the night. Crunching leaves told him someone was coming. From the sound, it seemed to be only one person.
"Sara!" he called out. The gentle sound of the breeze moving through the trees was his only answer as the tree limbs rocked to and fro. Jayme took a few steps in the direction of the sound. Through the darkness, he could barely start to make out what appeared to be a white shirt. As the person drew closer, Jayme's heart began to speed up. After all, it was almost midnight, he was standing alone in the middle of a cemetery and it was Halloween.
"Sara! Is that you?" he called out. Still no response. "This isn't funny!" he yelled with an unsure voice. The crunching leaves grew closer and the white shirt became clearer.
"Sara?" The figure came closer and finally at ten feet away, the moonlight provided enough light for Jayme to see it was not his friend Sara.
Earlier that afternoon, his friends had been sitting around at Micky D's munching on fries and discussing what wicked fun they could have for Halloween. They planned to meet just before midnight at Oakwood Cemetery. From there, they would roll several yards with toilet paper, put well placed eggs in unsuspecting owner's car seats, and whatever else they could think up. At the time, it sounded like a good idea. Jayme needed the distraction. He didn't want to think about two years ago.
It had been a night much like this. Even though two years had passed by, Jayme just could not let go of the memory of Kyle. Two long years had passed, and still Jayme cried himself to sleep every night. Kyle had been more than a lover, more than a boyfriend ... Kyle had been his soul mate. Jayme knew it the first time they met. Kyle admitted later he had known it that Halloween evening when they first met. That had been four years ago ... this very night.
Jamie had been sick that night two years ago. Even though it was his second anniversary with Kyle, he just didn't feel up to going out with their friends. Kyle wanted to stay home with him, but Jayme insisted he go out and have a good time. Jayme stayed in bed with a fever of a hundred and one and watched "Halloween" part whatever. He was just getting ready to turn the lights off when a sudden panic hit him for apparently no reason. He took in a quick breath and held it. His bedroom was silent. No sound whatsoever. Shattering the silence, his cell phone rang. Many a nightmare would include the playback of the phone call. The impact of Kyle's cell phone on the dashboard caused it to dial. Jayme listened in horror as the glass broke and the metal twisted. He would never, ever forget the screaming.
The relationship that Jayme and Kyle shared was of epic proportion. From the very start they were finishing each other's sentences. A mere look translated volumes of thought and emotion. Many evenings Jayme would suddenly stand up from his desk, leaving his homework behind, and walk to the phone. His hand would pick up the receiver before the first ring even had a chance to ring out. He just seemed to "know" it was Kyle calling. That's how in sync the two boys were.
"Hi," the boy in the white shirt said. Jayme was thunderstruck. The cold, damp feeling of the cemetery vanished in an instant. A mere five feet in front of him stood the cutest boy he had ever seen. Jayme tried to speak, but his mouth refused to work. What came out was more of a 'ugh' than anything else.
"I'm Timmy. I don't think we've ever met before. I went to South and I guess you went to, ah?"
"C-Chandon," Jayme stammered.
"Well, it's nice to meet you," Timmy said, walking to within a few feet of Jayme and extended his hand. As if on autopilot, Jayme grasped the offered hand. It was ice cold and caused Jayme to openly gasp, but he tried to retain some semblance of proper behavior.
"I-I'm Jayme. Nice to meet you too." Jayme finished the handshake and involuntarily shoved his now chilled hand into his jacket pocket. The boy knowingly smiled.
"Hey, you know what they say ... cold hands, warm heart," Timmy said chuckling.
"So what are you doing all alone in the middle of the cemetery on All Saint's Eve?"
"Oh, ah, I was supposed to meet some friends here," Jayme said as he glanced down at his watch.
"Running a little late, huh?"
"Well, I'm supposed to meet someone too. What time is it anyway?" Jayme glanced back at his watch again.
"Uh, five til midnight."
"Great! They should be here in five. This is so cool. I didn't think I'd get to meet two people here tonight."
"Kind of a creepy place to be meeting someone," Jayme said with a chuckle.
"I could say the same thing to you there, dude," Timmy shot back, but still grinning.
"Yeah, a bunch of my friends thought it would be cool to be some place really spooky tonight."
"Spooky? Here?" asked Timmy.
"Well, duh. It IS a cemetery."
"I think it's a really cool place," said Timmy looking around. "Very peaceful. Think about it, dude. There's nothing here but what's left of an earthly life. Cemeteries are just a place for the living to put their loved ones' earthly form after they've moved on to another place. I really think cemeteries are more for the living than the dead. People come here to remember good times with people who aren't here anymore. It's really kinda beautiful, if you stop to think about it."
"When I think of cemeteries, I think of bodies and bones and zombies and all that Hollywood stuff. It gives me the creeps. I mean, there's somebody's dead body, like, right there," Jayme said pointing to a headstone.
"Dude, you watch entirely too much TV," Timmy said laughing. Jayme shuffled his feet uneasily.
"Still gives me the creeps."
"You're kinda cute," said Timmy, matter of factly. Jayme's eyes grew wide. "Hey, I'm not hittin' on ya. I'm just making an honest observation." If there had been more light, Timmy would have seen the intense blush on Jayme's face.
"You're, ah, gay, I guess?"
"Now it's my turn to say, duh! Yes, I'm gay," Timmy said and then chuckled. "And so is my boyfriend." Jayme couldn't help but smile at the weak joke.
"So, I guess that's who you're meeting?"
"Yeah. It's been a year now and I'm really excited."
"Yeah. It takes a year to get acclimated. After you cross over, things are different and it takes time to get adjusted." Jayme looked at the cute boy in front of him with wide eyes.
"Acclimated? Cross over? What, ah, what are you talking about?" Timmy sighed and put his hand on Jayme's shoulder.
"I'm really sorry, dude. I thought you knew." Jayme felt a cold chill run down his spine.
"Knew what?" Timmy paused and looked Jayme directly in the eyes. The smile Jayme saw offered little comfort and came nowhere near answering the question.
"It's not for me to say, but I have a feeling your question will be answered shortly. What time is it?" Jayme glanced at his watch.
"Ah, it's less than a minute til midnight."
"Great!" said Timmy as he squeezed Jayme's shoulder. "I am sooo ready for this!"
"Dude, you are making no sense and, to be truthful, you're soundin' wacked out. Maybe I should leave you to meet whoever it is you're gonna meet. I've got friends I need to find."
"No, Jayme. You've got a soul mate you need to find," said Timmy solemnly. Jayme's eyes immediately swelled with tears, but he willed them to be unshed.
"What the fuck do you know?" Jayme said sharply as he stepped back, freeing himself from Timmy's hand on his shoulder. "Who do you think you are?"
"I'm Kyle's friend," Timmy said softly. The damn broke and the tears rolled down Jayme's face.
"Don't, don't fuck with me! I don't need this!" Jayme screamed as he turned to leave.
"Jayme!" Timmy said sharply. "You need to believe me. I am Kyle's friend. I know how much you've missed him ... longed for him. I know you cry yourself to sleep every night missing him ... missing his warped sense of humor, his delicious chocolate brown eyes and running your fingers through his oh so soft curly brown hair. I KNOW IT ALL!" Jayme stumbled back and caught himself on a tombstone. His heart threatened to pound right through his chest. His face, covered in a cold sweat was wrought with horror.
"Get away from me! Just leave me alone! LEAVE ME ALONE!" Jayme screamed. Timmy looked sadly at the ground as his shook his head back and forth.
"I'm sorry. I can't do that." Jayme stared at the cute boy in front of him. Timmy suddenly looked up. "Time! What time is it?" asked Timmy frowning. Jayme glanced at his watch, and then glanced back at Timmy.
"Midnight." Timmy's frown tuned into a grin. Jayme watched as the boy turned and peered into the blackness of the night. The cold irritation of the granite monument against Jayme's butt and hands dissolved as his ears picked up the sound of crunching leaves. He looked intently in the same direction as Timmy. Two figures slowly emerged from the darkness. Timmy ran and embraced one person tightly. Jayme's eyes wondered to the other person standing patiently aside the two embracing boys. As Jayme's blue eyes met the chocolate brown ones, recognition hit like a ton of bricks. Tears streamed down Jayme's face as he grabbed the edge of the tombstone for support.
"T-this can't be," he stammered. Kyle's face streamed with tears as well as he rushed over to Jayme.
"Jayme, I've missed you so much," Kyle said softly as he pulled Jayme into his arms. Jayme wrapped his arms around Kyle and held him tightly. They both sobbed quietly in their reunion embrace as the clouds slid past the moon allowing the surreal pale light to illuminate the cemetery. So many thoughts crowded into Jayme's mind that he couldn't concentrate on any single one.
From the moment he learned of Kyle's death, he had a huge gapping hole in his heart. To continue through life without Kyle was a daily struggle. Everything reminded him of Kyle. His locker at school had been right next to Kyle's. Getting his books for class every morning, he couldn't help but stare at the adjacent locker. He would be lost in memories of Kyle greeting him with a warm hand on his shoulder accompanied by a loving squeeze. And the wonderful smell that Kyle brought with him each morning. That just showered, fresh smell.
Jayme would walk into class and stare at the empty seat that had once been Kyle's. Jayme chased other students away from the desk. He wouldn't allow anyone to sit there. His friends thought it was just a way to deal with the grief and they respected his wishes. They even kept an empty seat at the table at lunch.
Walking home in the afternoon was even harder than going to school. Kyle and Jayme always walked home together talking and laughing and enjoying each other's company. Many afternoons they would sneak into the woods by the park. Those were the afternoons Jayme remembered most fondly. Kyle had been a compassionate lover, always trying to please Jayme first.
They had a secret place in those woods. It was short walk down a trail that opened into a small clearing. It was in that special place that Kyle would take Jayme into his mouth and pleasure him. Jayme knew that Kyle got just as much pleasure, but those afternoons in the woods would just be a prelude to some of the passionate evenings they spent together in Jayme's basement.
The boys spent several weekends building walls, and putting up paneling. They found some used carpet at a thrift store and installed it themselves. After another trip to the thrift store, they were arranging furniture. When they were finished, the little private basement den was perfect. There was a sleeper sofa. Beside it was a giant over stuffed chair. Sara found an end table and lamp at a yard sale and had given it to them as a six month anniversary present. The twins had donated a coffee table. And Jayme's parents gave them the old TV from the den when they bought a new one. They really hadn't needed one, but wanted to make a contribution to the efforts of their son and his boyfriend. Yes, they accepted that Jayme was gay and welcomed Kyle into their home with open arms. Craig and Carol went over the top and gave the boys a top of the line boom box with all the works. The little den was comfortable, but more importantly, it was private and it was theirs.
Countless nights were spent piled up on the couch doing homework, watching TV and enjoying the physical closeness only two lovers know. The nights Kyle stayed, and there were many, the boys pulled the sleeper sofa out and cuddled up. Their love for one another reached new heights, as the two boys became one in romantic ecstasy. It wasn't sex, it was love. Of course, they did have sex, but most of the time, it was gentle lovemaking.
Jayme slowly brought his tears under control. Feeling Kyle's warm body so close after two years of grief was almost unbelievable. In fact, it was unbelievable. Jayme knew this had to be a dream. But it was a dream he didn't want to end. The two boys slowly relaxed their hug enough to be able to look at each other.
"I-I can't believe you're in my arms again," Jayme stammered. Kyle smiled and nodded his head.
"It's been a long time," Kyle said as they leaned into each other, forehead to forehead.
"I've thought about you every day."
"I know you have, babe. I've been watching you and, worrying about you too. You've been so depressed and that's not like my Jayme."
"I've been depressed for good reason," Jayme said shyly as he pulled back and looked Kyle in the eyes. Kyle smiled again. Jayme moved in and lightly pressed his lips against Kyle's. It was a loving kiss that slowly became passionate. Jayme heard someone clear their throat. The boys turned to see Timmy standing arm in arm with another boy.
"I'm glad to see you two are getting reacquainted. This is Ryan," Timmy said introducing his boyfriend. "Ryan, this is Kyle and Jayme." Ryan nodded, as did Jayme and Kyle.
"We don't have much more time, do we?" asked Kyle. Timmy slowly shook his head.
"No, we don't. But, you have to remember, time is relative. It depends on your perception. To some people, a year is but the blink of an eye," said Timmy thoughtfully.
"What about the time? Why don't we have much more? Am I gonna wake up from this dream in a few minutes?" asked Jayme. Timmy shot a quick glance at Kyle.
"You haven't told him?"
"Not yet," said Kyle, looking down at the ground.
"You need to, and soon."
"Tell me what?" asked Jayme. He turned at looked at Kyle. "What's going on, Kyle?"
"Jayme, I wanted to enjoy this reunion as long as possible before I told you."
The conversation was suddenly interrupted by the sound of crunching leaves and murmuring voices. The four boys turned to look in the direction of the sound. Jayme watched intently as the pale moonlight finally revealed the approaching group.
Craig, Carol, the twins, Ronnie and Donnie and finally Sara came walking right up to the boys, but seemed not to notice them. The murmuring quieted down. Jayme could see that Sara was carrying a single red rose. But he was confused because none of his friends even acknowledged the boys' presence. The group walked over and faced Kyle and Jayme. Sara had tears in her eyes.
"Sara, what's going on?" asked Jayme. Sara stood perfectly still, clutching the rose in her hands. "Sara!" Jayme said louder.
"She can't hear you," Kyle said softly. Jayme jerked his head around to look at Kyle.
"What do you mean?"
"She can't hear you," Kyle said again.
"This is bullshit!" Jayme walked over and stood directly in front of Sara. "Hey, babe. What's going on? Why the sad face?" he asked her. Sara continued to gaze past Jayme, seemingly not hearing anything he said. Finally she sighed and unexpectedly walked forward, passing right through Jayme. He openly gasped and then whirled around. Sara had turned as well.
"What's wrong, Sara?" asked Craig. She looked up at him and finally released the breath she was holding. She wavered a bit and look as if she would fall, but Ronnie and Donnie were quickly at her side.
Sara?" asked Donnie. She looked at him with an expression he had never seen before. "Sara?" he asked again. She smiled slightly.
"You're gonna think I'm crazy," she said quietly.
"The reason we're here in the first place is crazy," said Donnie.
"I felt him just now," Sara said. "I felt Jayme." She held the sleeve of her jacket up to her nose. "Oh my God! I can smell him!" she cried out, tears rolling down her cheeks.
Jayme looked quickly at Kyle. The questions threatened to burst out. Kyle held his finger to his lips, telling Jayme to be quiet. Then he motioned for Jayme to join him. Walking back over to the tombstone, Jayme was pulled into Kyle's loving arms. Without a single word, Kyle directed Jayme's attention back to Sara.
"You all think I'm crazy!" she yelled at her friends. "Smell! Smell my jacket!" She held it up to Donnie's nose and his eyes immediately widened. Soon, the rest of her friends were gathering, smelling her jacket and nodding in agreement and amazement. When they all had sampled the smell of Sara's jacket, she turned back and faced Jayme and Kyle who were standing next to the tombstone.
"Watch," Kyle said gesturing toward Sara. Jayme watched as Sara knelt down at the tombstone that Jayme had been using for support. She kissed the rose lightly and placed it gently at the base of the monument.
"We miss you, bud. We miss you so much," she said in a voice that was starting to falter with sobs. She kissed the tips of two fingers and touched them to the face of the stone. The twins walked forward and helped her up.
"Come on, Sara. We'll come again," Ronnie said. The others in the group gathered around for a group hug. Then they moved slowly back into the night.
Jayme watched as they faded into the darkness, then he turned to Kyle. He could see the tears on Kyle's face.
"Do you remember what I told you about it taking a year to, ah, get acclimated?" asked Timmy.
"Huh?" said a bewildered Jayme as he turned to look at Timmy.
"Earlier, when we first met, Jayme. I told you it takes a year to get acclimated."
"Yeah, I remember, but I don't understand."
"Your acclimation is over," said Kyle.
"My acclimation? MY acclimation?" Jayme suddenly burst out laughing. "Man, this is the wildest dream I've ever had!"
"What time is it?" asked Timmy. Jayme glanced at him and then glanced at his watch.
"It's twelve fifty-five and you, dude, need to get a watch," Jayme said chuckling. Timmy walked over to Kyle.
"Tell him and do it now," Timmy said quietly, but sternly. Kyle took a deep breath and walked over to Jayme. Jayme looked into Kyle's eyes.
"Babe," started Jayme. "I wish this dream would never end. I wish I could be with always." Jayme's eyes welled up, suddenly realizing he was going to lose Kyle again.
"You will be, babe. In fact, you are. You're with me and you always will be. I really don't know how to tell you this, but Jayme, you died a year ago this very night in a terrible car wreck, just like I did.
"What ..." Jayme started, but was interrupted by Kyle's gesture to the tombstone.
"Read," he said softly. Jayme walked over and knelt down on his knees. He immediately realized that it was Kyle's tombstone. There was the inscription.
"Thomas Kyle Kimball. April 17, 1985. October 31, 2001."
But then Jayme saw the freshly carved words beside Kyle's name. Jayme glanced back up at Kyle, and then looked back at the writing.
"Jayme Daniel Scott. February 9, 1985. October 31, 2002."
"This isn't happening!" Jayme cried out. Kyle ran to his side and wrapped his arms around him.
"I know this isn't easy to understand. You've been, ah, kinda been asleep ever since the accident. It was your acclimation time. And today, it's been a year, so now it's time to move on. It's time to leave life, as you know it. It's time to move to the next place."
"I c-can't be dead," Jayme sobbed.
"There's a bright spot in all of this that you've overlooked," said Kyle softly. Jayme looked into Kyle's eyes, desperately trying to find some good in all of this. Kyle took Jayme's hand. He took two of Jayme's fingers and guided them to the cold granite monument. Then Kyle slowly rubbed them across the inscription at the bottom of the stone. There, Jayme saw and felt the words that would bring him happiness ... forever.
Beneath the names and the dates, a simple inscription said it all.
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