Love Is Silent (by Grant Bentley)

If any nice person, nasty person, place, event, happening, thing, or sport, seems familiar, it is purely coincidental.

Michael’s world is silent. Can he find love in a silent world?

Despite outward appearances, Marc was not one of the typical jocks at Western Canada High. While he enjoyed biking, running, swimming, golfing and tennis, he was quiet and shy. However, his amazing green eyes, shy smile, and muscular body made him the object of desire for half the girls in the school. Unfortunately for them, Marc did not have any interest in girls. Instead, he found guys much more to his liking. Marc was just a tad gay…actually, a little more than a tad.

During the past year he had all but given up on finding someone. Even though he knew that, according to statistics, at least 150 other guys in his school should be gay, he had no idea as to how to figure out who they might be. Well there was Thomas, who gave a whole new meaning to the gay stereotype and fluttered about the hallways like a butterfly. But that was it. Whoever came up with the idea of gaydar was simply dreaming. Besides, his desire to remain closeted wouldn’t allow him to approach another guy even if he thought his gaydar worked.

Then Michael came along. Michael transferred into Western Canada High from St. John’s Newfoundland. Marc would never forget the first time he saw Michael. It was at the beginning of his first class of the day, English. A few minutes after class began, the principal, Mr. Jones, knocked on the door. When Mr. Reed answered the door, a very nervous young man was ushered into the room. It was all Marc could do to keep from gasping when he saw him. Michael was six feet tall, very slim, with blond hair and vivid blue eyes. He stood in front of the room looking back and forth between Mr. Jones and Mr. Reed. It almost appeared as if he was lost or didn’t really know what was going on, like he was a little slow or something. That, of course, got the whispers going throughout the class.

Finally Mr. Jones put a hand on his shoulder and introduced him as Michael Morrison. It was kinda weird because Mr. Jones looked at him instead of the class, and Michael looked at Mr. Jones. When Mr. Reed asked him a question, he seemed to ignore him and continued to look at Mr. Jones. That, of course got a chuckle from several kids in room. It was then that Mr. Jones, still looking at Michael, explained that Michael was deaf and mute, which caused Mr. Reed to blush and apologize. Mr. Jones then told Mr. Reed that he had to face Michael when he spoke so that Michael could read his lips, which made Mr. Reed even more embarrassed and set off the guys in the class even more. Michael then turned to Mr. Reed, and still blushing Mr. Reed apologized again. Michael just smiled and nodded. Mr. Reed pointed to an empty desk and told Michael to sit there. Michael once again smiled and nodded before walking over and sitting down.

The whole performance really angered Marc. As far as he was concerned, it should have been handled all together differently. He felt that Michael should have been introduced to Mr. Reed in the hallway and that Michael should have been told he would be introduced to the class and given a desk where he would sit. That way there wouldn’t have been any confusion on Michael’s part, something that Marc felt made him look a little foolish and shouldn’t have. Marc was right, as Michael quickly became a target. Even before the end of the class, Marc had heard several remarks about ‘the retard’ directed at Michael.

He was absolutely infuriated when he saw one of the guys bump Michael into the lockers and call him a retard during the break between classes. The poor guy hadn’t even been in the school a whole hour yet. Thankfully, Michael hadn’t heard the slur but he certainly felt the bump and the locker door strike his face.

Michael flinched when Marc reached out to help him, and Marc’s heart almost broke. He couldn’t imagine how Michael felt at that moment. He was in a strange new school, couldn’t hear if someone was coming up behind him, couldn’t hear what was being said to him, and now he was being bullied. He must have felt terrified.

It took Marc almost a minute to convince Michael he was trying to help him. Partly because Michael was afraid to look at him, something he needed to do to lip-read, and partly because Marc didn’t quite know what to do or say. However, within a few minutes they both had smiles when Michael realized Marc was on his side. Michael could understand Marc, because he could lip-read, but, Marc couldn’t understand Michael because he didn’t understand ASL, American Sign Language. However, that dilemma only lasted a couple minutes and ended when Michael pulled out his cell phone and motioned for Marc to do the same. After another minute, they had each other’s cell numbers and were texting back and forth faster than some people can talk.

Their next class was Biology. Marc took it upon himself to introduce Michael to Ms. Welch, the Biology teacher, and explain the situation with Michael to her. She smiled and faced Michael, welcomed him to class, and suggested he sit in front of me. Ms. Welch was awesome. She was careful to face Michael any time she was speaking. Thankfully, the rest of Michael’s day went well. Quite likely because Marc was with him every minute and few students would cross Marc.

The next day, when Michael walked into Mr. Reed’s classroom, he had a laptop with him. He explained to Marc that it was voice activated and he and his mom had met with all his teachers that morning before classes started. He had a program that he could set for each teacher, and when they spoke, it would record everything they said and translate it to text for him. The good thing was he could pause the recording if the teacher gave someone crap or talked about things other than the lesson.

Since both boys had the same classes, it wasn’t more than a day or two before a natural attraction developed between them and they became friends. Michael, ‘a lone wolf' by choice in his previous schools, now was allowing someone into his world. Like Marc, Michael understood at 13 years of age that he was attracted to guys. He felt that by distancing himself from other guys his secret would be safe. In fact, he played the deaf-mute card very well. Marc had followed much the same plan. He liked being in the closet for the time being, and wouldn’t have let himself get ‘close’ to any other guy even if he had thought they were gay. But, consciously or unconsciously, they were both beginning to make an exception. They were letting themselves get a little closer to each other.

As weeks turned into months they had definitely become best friends. But neither was ready to open up their true feelings and possibly find themselves outed and alienated from their classmates. Each boy's fears about making that irreversible mistake prevented things from moving too fast.

Marc was, however, making a concerted effort to learn ASL, something he would not have even thought of doing for anyone else, and something that did not go unnoticed by Michael.

One bright sunny Wednesday afternoon, while eating lunch in the quad, Marc noticed Michael staring off into space with a smile on his face.

Marc waved his hand in front of Michael’s face and then asked, “What’re you daydreaming about? Or should I ask who?”

Michael stared at Marc for a few seconds and finally signed, "Nothing and no one. I was just thinking.”

After a moment, Marc smiled and replied. "It must be pretty good. Anything you'd like to share?"

Michael just smiled and shook his head, no.

Marc tried to look like he was pouting, but that only got a big grin from Michael as the bell sounded for afternoon classes. Marc signed, “Bell,” and this time Michael feigned a pout.

As soon as school was out, they headed for Marc’s to get their homework done and out of the way.

When they walked in the front door, Marc yelled; “Mom, we’re home!”

His mom immediately yelled, “Don’t yell, I’m not deaf!” as she smiled at Michael and signed, “Milk and cookies?” Apparently Marc wasn’t the only one learning ASL.

Michael smiled and signed, “Yes please,” as Marc’s mom led them into the kitchen.

She also smiled at Marc and gave him a knowing look. He just shrugged and mouthed, “Not yet Mom,” and gave her the shush sign. She not only knew Marc was gay, but she also knew how he felt about Michael, and was just a little pushy about him telling Michael. “I’m just being a mom and I want to see you happy,” was her excuse whenever she brought it up.

It didn’t take them long to finish off the cookies…or their homework either. By 6:30 the evening was theirs. Marc had been invited to Michael’s for dinner at 7:00, so after a short chat with Marc’s mom, the two of them set out to walk the eight blocks to Michael’s. They were right on time too, as Michael’s parents were just sitting down to eat. After dinner and a ‘stimulating’ conversation with Michael’s mom and dad, the boys took their desert and a jug of juice up to the rooftop patio.

As they were relaxing on a couple of lounge chairs, Michael looked at Marc sighed, and signed, “I was thinking of someone I like.”

Marc looked puzzled and asked, “Excuse me?”

“At lunch today,” Michael replied.

“Oh. Anyone I know?" Marc asked.

Michael still feared giving too much information and became a little nervous. But he had come this far so a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer was next and he signed, “Yes.”

Now it was Marc’s turn to feel nervous. He was pretty hopeful about where this conversation was going. But, what if he was wrong? Either way, he knew the next minute or so of conversation might determine if he and Michael were on the same wavelength or not, so the words he chose might make a difference…a big difference. After being so careful to keep his closet door tightly closed, was he willing to take that chance?

“So it’s someone I know?” Marc questioned, followed by a short pause before taking that first step, “So does this person like you too?”

Michael’s expression changed to a rather more nervous expression at this point as he too paused, before possibly crossing the line of no return, “They do, but I don’t know if they like me the same way I like them.”

Seeing Michael’s expression change, and hearing the words, “same way I like them,” definitely registered with Marc. Was Michael hinting at what he had been hoping for weeks?

He thought he would try to play it a little on the safe side and asked, "Okay, will you tell me a bit about this person?"

“I don’t know,” Michael replied.

“Please,” Marc responded, “I’d tell you.”

Michael looked into Marc’s eyes for a second and felt he saw more than just idle curiosity. Taking, what to him was a huge chance, he replied, “Thoughtful, caring, funny, always ready to help.”

“Anything else?” Marc asked.

“Brown hair, green eyes, and tall,” Michael rattled off very quickly.

Marc knew Michael had just described him, but he was still nervous. He became silent for a few moments and stared at his hands. He closed his eyes as he tried to get a grip on the situation.

"Are you okay, Marc?" Michael signed as soon as Marc looked up.

Marc smiled weakly and nodded. Then, throwing caution to the wind, he said, “My preference would be empathetic, funny, and quiet. Oh and tall, but blonde with blue eyes.”

They looked at each other for a few seconds. As they did, their smiles grew larger and larger. It was quite obvious they both knew who the other was talking about.

Marc’s next response was simple. He moved closer, faced Michael and pronounced, “Michael, you have no idea how much I’m in love with you, or how scared I’ve been to tell you.”

Michael’s eyes were totally focused on Marc’s lips as he grinned and signed, “It can’t be any more than I’m in love with you.” He started to sign, “We’re a fine pair aren’t we?” but Marc took his hands in his, as he leaned forward and gently kissed Michael for the first time.

The boys were in each other’s arms before the kiss ended, and made it quite clear to each other how much they were in love and how happy they were they’d finally admitted it to each other. As it started to get colder out, they headed back down just in time to be offered coffee and cake by Michael’s mom. As they sat at the table talking quietly, enjoying each other’s company, and Michael’s mom’s treat, she poured herself a coffee and sat down with them.

Then, with a big grin on her face, she looked from one to the other and signed, “So you finally decided to tell each other. It’s about time.”

Marc smiled and Michael nearly fell off his chair.

“What…how…what do you mean?” he was finally able to sign.

It wasn’t that he didn’t know what she was talking about, but you see, he hadn’t come out to either of his parents, once again because of the fear factor. So, with that in mind, his mom’s declaration shocked the hell out of him.

“You know what I mean,” she signed, “I’ve been watching the two of you since the first time Marc came over. And…I’m a mother…mothers know their kids. You’ve been head over heels in love with each other for weeks.”

The boys just sat there for the longest time before Michael finally signed, “And that’s okay with you.”

“Why wouldn’t it be?” she questioned, before grinning, looking at Marc, and adding, “Besides, Marc’s too cute to pass up.”

Marc just grinned as Michael looked at him. Michael’s stunned look slowly turned into a grin as he looked back at his mother, got up, gave her a hug.

As soon as he sat down again, he signed, “Thank you so much. I love you Mom.”

At this point, it was approaching 10:00 o’clock and with school tomorrow, it was time for Marc to head home. As they walked past the living room to the front door, Michael’s dad got up from his chair, walked over to the boys, pulled them both into his arms and giving them a big hug.

Then, stepping back and looking at Michael, he said, “Congratulate me. I have two sons now and I only had to raise one of them.”

Marc laughed as he stepped forward and hugged him again, Michael shed a few tears and grinned as he did the same.

“Thanks dad, I love you,” he signed as they released the hug.

“Dads aren’t all that dumb either,” his dad stated, before looking at Marc and saying, “Good night son. I expect we’ll be seeing you tomorrow?”

“Yes you will,” Marc signed with a grin.

The boys did spend a minute of two saying good night once they’d closed the condo door, and they both knew they had something to think about when they crawled into bed for the night.

When Marc got home and walked in the door, he gave his mom the thumbs up. She almost bounced across the room to hug him and tell him how happy she was. After a few minutes of excitement, he was able to escape to his room.

The next morning when Marc stopped by so they could walk to school together, Michael laughed and signed, “Holy shit, I still don’t know if I believe it yet, but yesterday’s going to go down in history as the best day of my life.”

Marc gave him a squeeze as he signed, “Mine too.”

Their morning went as per usual, go to class, and frantically write notes, while glancing back and forth at each other. Lunch break couldn’t have come soon enough for either of them. Being in all the same classes was good, but being able to sit together and chat was way better. When they opened the door to go into the quad their plans suddenly changed. Neither of them was particularly interested in sitting in the rain even if they were together. So the cafeteria it was. They found a table, opened their lunches, and looked forward to 45 minutes to themselves.

“Why did it take us so long to tell each other how we feel?” Marc signed.

“Fear of being wrong,” Michael signed back, “Fear is a very powerful emotion.”

“So is love,” Marc signed, “And I’ve been in love with you like forever.”

“But that’s all behind us now,” Michael signed, “I love you more than anything, and now we can be ourselves when we’re together.”

“Yeah,” Marc signed, “Life is going to be perfect from now on.”

Just then, Randy Walsh, Michael’s neighbour, came over and sat with them. He lived down the hall and around the corner from Michael. They were on friendly terms and occasionally walked home together. He seemed like a nice guy, but if anything, he was simply an acquaintance.

“So how you guys doing?” he asked.

“Good thanks,” they both replied, wondering why he had come over to sit with them.

“I was just thinking,” he stated, looking at Michael, “We live like 50 feet from each other but we don’t even know each other. What are you guys doing tonight after dinner?”

“We don’t really have any plans,” Marc replied looking at Michael, “As long as we get our homework finished.”

“Why don’t you come over then, say about 8:00, and we can visit for the evening and get to know each other better.” he suggested.

Marc looked at Michael, and when he smiled, Marc replied, “Sure why not? Sounds like a plan.”

“Great, see you at 8:00 then,” Randy replied, as he got up and went back over to sit with the guys he usually sat with.

As the bell rang for afternoon classes, Randy walked past them, grinned and signed, “See you at 8:00.”

The boys just looked at each other and both silently mouthed, “Oh fuck.”

“You don’t think he saw us what we said and wants to cause trouble do you?” Michael signed.

“I don’t think so. If that was the case, he would have already done it,” Marc signed.

It seemed to take forever for 8:00 to finally arrive. After finishing their homework and Marc’s mom had fed them, they stood outside Randy’s door. It took at least three minutes before Michael finally reached over and knocked on the door.

“Hey,” Randy greeted when he opened the door, “Thanks for coming over. Come on in.”

“Thanks for inviting us,” Marc signed.

The boys followed Randy to his room. When they walked in, the first thing they noticed was Kevin McDonald laying across Randy’s bed. The next few things they noticed were pictures of Adam Lambert, Chris Colfer, Billy Gilman, Queen, and a poster for Hearts and Hotel Rooms. The only ‘non-gay’ thing was a large picture of Zac Efron wearing very low rise shorts. Of course this was just their quick ten second first glance.

“Hi, Kevin,” Marc said.

“Hi,” he replied with a smile.

“Sorry about that signing thing at school,” Randy signed grinning, “But I couldn’t resist. I hope it didn’t freak you out too much.”

Michael just looked at him for a few seconds, grinned and signed, “Karma.”

“Oh shit,” Randy signed still grinning.

“So I think we know a little more about each other already,” Randy said as he glanced around his room with a grin.

“I think we can safely say that,” Marc signed laughing.

“I know ALS too,” Kevin signed, “So you’re in good company Michael.”

Michael just grinned and gave him a thumbs up.

The rest of the evening was interesting to say the least. Randy and Kevin cuddled up on one end of his bed and Michael and Marc on the other end. They found out Kevin and Randy had been a couple since freshman year. All the guys at the table Randy usually sat at for lunch were gay. A couple of them were out at school, so as Randy put it, there was a reasonable chance that, to some degree, they all were. He and Kevin were definitely out to their families and a few very close friends. Michael laughed and signed that since he and Marc had no friends, they were just out to family, which of course got a good laugh from both Randy and Kevin.

The evening was a learning experience as well. They now knew a ton of things they had no idea about, like the teen club close by, the snowboard club, the cross country ski club, and the swim club, all of which were very gay friendly. They learned that the reason the other two both knew ASL was because Kevin’s mom was deaf. They also learned that they had at least two new friends and after tomorrow, probably more. Apparently tomorrow they would be sitting at the gay boys’ table. It was 11:00 before they knew it though, so they had to make a quick exit home before they ended up in trouble.

Once they got home, Michael texted Marc and they talked at length about sitting at the gay boys’ table. They decided that since these guys were like them, wanted to be friends with them, then fuck it. If others they couldn’t care less about figured them out and didn’t like it, well, that was their problem. No one seemed to hassle Randy or Kevin or the other guys at their table, so why would they hassle them anyway?

The next morning, Randy was waiting in the hallway when Marc got off the elevator to pick up Michael, and they met up with Kevin two blocks away. They were now a foursome walking to school. Their conversation was quite animated since all four of them signed as they walked along, and they must have received a few second glances. They definitely did as they walked up to the school. No one was in any way negative, but they were definitely intrigued. At lunch they got to meet the rest of the guys in Randy’s lunch group. Both boys had never met a friendlier group of guys in their lives. By the time the afternoon bell rang, they were made to feel like they’d been a part of the group for years. It was awesome.

The weather forecast for the weekend was also supposed to be awesome and before they knew it, they were asking their parents for permission to go camping with the guys. Both their moms were thrilled to see their ‘loner’ days come to an end and they had no trouble getting permission. They did however need to buy a tent, air mattresses – well, one air mattress, sleeping bags, and food. By 5:00 Friday, they were all loaded up and on their way to Boulton Creek campground in Kananaskis Country. They were a group of ten, Randy and Kevin, Carlos and Jonny, Jesse and Jake, Todd and Nico, and Michael and Marc.

They found the most remote campsite they could, and job one, once they got unpacked, was setting up their tents. The smile Marc got from Michael as they blew up their two person air mattress and zipped their sleeping bags together was priceless. Marc was sure he was thinking about how good it would be to get a good night’s sleep though. Job two was getting a fire going. Job three was to cook whatever their evening meal was going to be…as many hotdogs as each of them could eat, obviously. Job four was to lay back, relax, and chat as they listened to the wind blowing through the trees. Once it got dark, they stoked up the fire and Randy found the marshmallows. Then for the next hour they OD’d on fire-toasted sugar.

Of course that wasn’t going to help them sleep…uh oh. Carlos and Jonny disappeared first, then Todd and Nico. Michael and Marc were next. They had a little light they used to undress and slip into their sleeping bag. As soon as they were in, the light went out. All Marc could think about what followed was that, thank God or whomever, he was gay.

Needless to say, when they woke up in the morning the sun was up. But the light was still out, so it took them a while to find their clothes. When they did finally emerge from their tent, Randy, Jesse, and Jake were busy frying bacon, making toast, coffee, and scrambled eggs over the open fire. Michael and Marc got the job of finding the paper plates and eating utensils and within a half hour they were all up and eating. Eating done, everything cleaned up, scraps burned, lunches and water packed, food sealed and locked up in Nico’s truck (as bears like people food), and they were free for the day.

It was hard to decide where to start so they picked the first trail they saw by the campsite and started walking. As they did, none of them could imagine anywhere in the world more beautiful than this. There were walking trails, streams, lakes, ponds, mountains, and birds, chipmunks, squirrels scurrying around searching for food. They came around one corner and were almost face-to-face with a moose which was kinda scary. Those suckers are big. A little while later they watched a herd of deer grazing in a little open space. And yes, they did see a bear. She had a cub with her so they stayed very quiet and very far away. They had lunch on the shore of Lower Kananaskis Lake where they watched an osprey swoop down and pick a fish right out of the lake. That was pretty awesome.

By 6:00 they were back at the campsite, very dirty and very tired. They washed up a bit in the creek and out came the hotdogs. This time though they added a big pot of baked beans to go along with them. Two guys sleeping in a small tent after eating baked beans? What the hell, they were roughing it. Tonight however by the time it got close to dark, only Todd, Nico, Michael, and Marc were left, but not for long. They made sure the fire was out, food was sealed and locked in Nico’s truck, and that was it. Time for sleep and they actually did sleep.

Marc found it was totally cool waking up feeling Michael’s body half on top of his though…and the light was out. This time when they finally emerged from their tent, no one was up yet. It was therefore their job to get a fire going. The next to rise was Todd. After a nice long pee, he got the bacon, bread, hash browns, and coffee out of Nico’s truck. Michael found the frying pans and coffee pot. Marc began to make toast using their hotdog sticks. Randy then came wandering out and began to fry up the bacon. Todd was already working on the hash browns, so Michael was in charge of the coffee. It wasn’t long before the other boys dragged themselves out of their tents, found the paper plates and cutlery, and everyone was eating.

Unfortunately, this was Sunday so they would have to head home sometime during the day. But not for a while yet. Another long hike was thought about, but not for long. Sitting on the edge of the creek with their feet in the water seemed cool until Jake got a three inch long leech on his foot. He was not thrilled, but Jesse came to the rescue and pulled it off. Okay so feet in the water…not cool. Now what? Laughing, Carlos suggested an orgy and got a smack upside the head from Jonny. Finally it was decided they would go for a short hike the opposite way they had gone yesterday. About a half hour into their hike, they came around a sharp corner and Nico got the creepy feeling they were being watched. When he mentioned it, they stopped walking, and looked at their surroundings very carefully. It was Carlos who first saw it, and he nearly peed himself. He whispered to the others and pointed. On a ledge not fifty feet from where they stood was a huge cougar staring right at them.

A very quiet, “Oh shit,” was the general response. Thankfully they all knew that running was not a good option, so they began to very slowly move back up the path…very, very slowly. They rounded the corner and so far the cougar hadn’t moved. They continued slowly for about fifty feet more. When there was still no sign of the cougar, they turned and began walking, still relatively slowly towards their camp. They were still keeping a very watchful eye out for the cougar. After what seemed like forever, their campsite finally came into view. There were still lots of people around, so they finally felt safe. Up to this point no one had said a word. The first words spoken came from Nico.

“Todd, did you bring an extra pair of boxers with you?” he asked.

That broke the silence very quickly, as they all burst out laughing, as much from relief as from the image of why Nico asked the question. They all grabbed a soft drink of some sort and plunked down on the grass. It was still a while before anyone spoke.

“Holy fuck,” Jesse finally said, “I’ve never been so scared in my entire life…fuck!”

Michael just happened to be facing him and signed, “I don’t think any of us thought we’d be a cougar’s lunch,” then looking at Nico and grinning, added, “I brought extra boxers.”

After Marc translated, Nico grinned and gave Michael a sign that didn’t need translating. Michael simply smiled and returned it. They continued laying there quietly chatting for about and hour before Jonny decided another walk was unlikely, so maybe they should pack up and get ready to head home. No one was overly enthused about heading home so early. Just laying around taking in the scenery and breathing the fresh air was worth hanging around a while longer. They did wander along the edge of the creek for a bit and saw a bald eagle perched near the top of an old dead tree. However, it was approaching 5:30 and everyone was getting hungry. Lighting another fire didn’t appeal to anyone, so they decided to walk back, pack up, and hit a restaurant on the way home.

Camping turned out to be an excellent bonding experience for the boys, especially the facing death part. It was no exception this time, and Marc and Michael felt as close to the other boys as they had been with anyone. The feeling was mutual and as they were taking down their tents and cleaning up their site, there were ten best friends working together. And they all had a story to tell. Meeting a cougar face-to-face, the good wild kind, not the local domestic predatory kind.

Marc and Michael cuddled up and held hands all the way home…well, except at the restaurant. This weekend, for them, had been the most incredible, emotional experience of their lives, and had sealed an unbreakable bond between the two of them. It also formed tight friendship bonds between them and the other boys. Both of which were clearly obvious to the other boys, and to their parents when they got home.

In the few weeks until the summer break, life was awesome, well except for writing final exams. They did discover that sitting at the gay boys’ table did make everyone assume they were a gay couple. A few mentioned it in passing, but no one seemed to care.

And then…it was summer break. And that meant a week-long camping trip. This time they decided on Creston, British Columbia, with its amazing Kootenay Lake, Duck Lake, Kootenay River, Goat River, and Goat River Canyon and Falls. They found Bayshore Resort, a neat secluded campsite beside Kootenay Lake. It was a little bit of a drive from Creston, but the seclusion was worth it…and there was little likelihood of meeting any cougars. After the nine-hour drive though, they were ready to settle in, build a fire, cook, eat, and relax for the evening.

They spent a couple of relaxing days in and around the lake before deciding to explore. Anywhere they saw a bunch of cars parked, they would stop and check it out. Their first good find was the Kootenay River which proved to be fun. The fast-moving current would sweep them down, around the corner, and under the bridge. Then they would make their way back and do it again. There they met some guys who told them about Goat River, the canyon and the falls. That would be the next day’s outing. When they found it, it was definitely a canyon, and they had to climb down to the river below, like way down. When they got down there, it was amazing. The falls weren’t high or anything, but they were breathtaking as the water swirled and rushed its way down. Just above the falls was the swimming area which seemed to be clothing optional. Since there were no kids around, the boys decided to take advantage of the option, an experience they found to be quite enjoyable both in and out of the water. When jumping off the top of the big rock, some twenty feet above the river, Kevin learned that clothing optional could be hazardous to your balls when you hit the water. Being thoughtful, he did let the other boys know a well placed hand would be to their advantage. They spent more than a few days enjoying the canyon.

Since they were way in the back of the campsite, they did the clothing optional around the campfire a few times. Something the mosquitoes also enjoyed. Unfortunately, the week flew by, as time tends to do when you’re having fun, and they were too soon on their way home. Most of the boys had summer jobs and that meant the fun was over. Both Marc and Michael were going to be working with deaf kids at a southwest day camp. Both of them would be working with kids from thirteen to eighteen in a computer art and design program.

“Computer nerds teaching computer nerds how to be computer nerds,” as Michael put it.

At the beginning of the third week, one of the older boys, Jordy, who was seventeen, and had been attending every day since the beginning, and usually sat with them during lunch, seemed to be very nervous, which was unusual for him.

When Marc asked him if everything was okay, he replied, “I don’t think so.”

Michael immediately asked if they could help.

His response was, “I don’t know. I think maybe.”

“Okay,” Marc signed, “That’s one of the reasons we’re here, can we help?”

“I don’t know,” he signed back, “I’m really scared you’ll get pissed with me if I tell you what’s wrong.”

“We promise we won’t,” Michael responded.

He looked at them for a minute or so, then looked around the room, turned so no one could see his hands, and signed, “Well…I like boys.”

They both smiled at him, which I’m sure he wasn’t expecting, and Michael carefully signed, “We do too, well only one,” as he pointed at Marc, and Marc pointed at him.

After the slightly glazed twenty second stare, they got a little smile. “Really?” he questioned, “I kinda hoped…maybe…because I need to talk to someone and I really hoped it would be you guys.”

“Why us?” Marc asked.

“I don’t know,” he signed, “I guess ‘cause I know you’re good guys.”

“Thank you,” Michael signed back, “So maybe Dairy Queen or the park later?”

He gave them a bigger smile and, kinda back to his old self a bit, signed, “Yeah, let’s do both.”

At DQ they learned that Jordy had talked to his older brother, who was twenty five, about his feelings. Jordy said his response was, ‘You need to screw a couple of chicks. After you do, you’ll forget that gay bullshit.’

Jordy’s reply was, ‘It’s not bullshit,’ for which he got a smack upside the head. “My brother’s a total asshole,” he signed with a grin.

That afternoon they learned a lot about Jordy and he had lots of questions he wanted answered ASAP. They did the best they could to answer his questions. The more they answered though, the more he asked, but as their conversation continued, the more relaxed he became. He did mention that one of the guys in his swim club caused things to change shape in the shower room. He also thought maybe he wasn’t the only one of them with that problem, but he wasn’t sure. By the time they needed to go home if they wanted to get fed, he had decided that he liked who he was because he liked who they were. They weren’t overly helpful with the showering problem, but he felt more at ease with it, and had come up with some, “What ifs.”

Summer moved along quite nicely of course. Although Jordy had finished with day camp, they did DQ with him regularly. Their topic of conversation was often Wes, of swim club fame. About two weeks before school was to start, they arrived at DQ at their regular day and time, and Jordy wasn’t there. The next meeting day though, he was there and he wasn’t alone. He had some very cute company. When Marc and Michael sat down, Jordy was almost glowing as he introduced them to Wes.

“Very cute,” Michael signed.

“He’d change my shape in the shower room,” Marc added.

Wes quickly grabbed Jordy’s hands when he started to respond to Marc’s comment, grinned, and made it very clear that he understood some ASL signing, like shower and room. He also made it clear that, since he was at a distinct disadvantage, Marc had to promise to translate everything they signed…and not make crap up.

Apparently they had been the last to leave the shower room on Monday. In their moment of privacy, first Wes and then Jordy, had unblocked the other’s view, and combined with a couple of smiles, nothing needed to be said. They spent the rest of the day and evening together…and every minute they could get together since.

Given time, and as Wes worked to master ASL, the four of them would meet and spend an hour or more in deep conversation, or not so deep, and not a sound was heard. There was no doubt Jordy and Wes were more deeply in love with each passing day and, obviously there was no doubt about Marc and Michael’s love for each other. Unknowingly, the four of them were proof that being in love…expressing love…having love…does not need to be vocal…and does not need fanfare. It’s a look…a smile…a gesture…a touch…a truth…a heart that beats faster when it feels the other beating beside it. Love is silent.


A Final note:

Just so you know, ASL is not exactly word for word the way we would say it verbally. For example…
‘Who do you think is cute?’ would be signed as ‘You think cute, who?’
‘Does it have to be dark for you to sleep?’ would be signed as ‘For you sleep must dark?’

However, I gave the verbal form of anything shown as signed, more for my own convenience probably than yours.



Thanks to Colin for editing, prepping, and posting this story for me.

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This story may contain occasional references to minors who are or may be gay. If it were a movie, it would be rated PG13 (in a more enlightened time it would be rated G). If reading this type of material is illegal where you live, or if you are too young to read this type of material based on the laws where you live, or if your parents don't want you to read this type of material, or if you find this type of material morally or otherwise objectionable, or if you don't want to be here, close your browser now. The author neither condones nor advocates the violation of any laws. If you want to be here, but aren't supposed to be here, be careful and don't get caught!