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Thursday 10 November 2016

NZ Writing: Rainbow town and Jesus land

Posted in: NZ Writing
By Richard Brown - 8th January 2013

Fag! Sissy! He called me every name in the book before he got around to throwing punches. Whack, whack! It hurt like hell, and then came the kicks. He had me on the ground in less than a minute, I let him continue… I zoned out to another place.

I showered and dressed hurriedly the next morning, still aching from the beating the night before. Slipping into my blazer I disappeared out the door silently, I had eight hours of freedom I had better use it wisely.

Head bowed, I walked quickly through the halls of the school, and no one bothered to talk to me as I walked slowly towards my first period class. I found Taylor Williams in the library, his eyes held his usual vacant look within them. Taylor was gorgeous, his blond hair hung tidily, almost into his sumptuous aqua eyes. The uniform of dark trousers, white shirt and black blazer hung perfectly on his lean physique, he was simply intoxicating and I was the one lucky enough to have his affection. We talked quietly for a while until the first period bell rang and we went our separate ways. Tay had History with Mr Walters and I had English with Mr Kirk. I was silent in class as usual; I didn’t like it when the teachers noticed me.

Everything was fine for the first few periods, then came Lunch. Taylor and I sat together in the courtyard, we weren’t really saying anything since the silence was far better at speaking for us and besides we didn’t want our feelings to be broadcast to the entire school by some unsuspecting eavesdropper. We were interrupted rather rudely by a group of seniors in hoodies, the leader stepped forward. He was a big bulky Maori guy about 6’ 3’’ “Youse fags know we don’t like your kind here right?” he drawled we stayed silent. Another one spoke, this guy seemed to be just as intelligent as the first “Oi he was talking to you shit heads!” yet more silence from us and then a rugby ball appeared out of nowhere and began spinning towards us. I thought someone would try again but luckily Mr Walters the new English teacher came past and got rid of the gang.

By the end of the week we were both exhausted from the torment, but on Saturday Tay and I managed to walk up Ruhatahi hill, it was a long winding track of stunning native bush. When we reached the top we felt as though we were in the highlands, the vista of green rolling hills spread out like a quilt for miles on end. We could see Morrisville (only a tiny town nestled within a valley) and the stream running through town and feeding the large Clutha River which eventually flowed into the sea. The insignificance of our world gave us hope that one day we could escape it.

We stayed up there for hours talking about everything and nothing, just being in each other’s company without being harassed meant everything to me. We watched the sun start to go down before we began our downward descent. As the vista faded into darkness it was almost as if that feeling of hope did too.

He was waiting for me in the lounge, he was angry but then again he was always angry about something. “Where in God’s name have you been boy?” I should have expected this.

For tonight it was just verbal abuse, it was the same old insult over and over again, all them clichés used to offend a gay guy like myself. I sat back and took it silently I was completely used to it, besides it could be worse. What have I done to deserve this…

I lay on my bed utterly exhausted, I missed Taylor terribly but at least I felt the tug of the silver bracelet he gave me. It was inscribed with a single word “Hope” and hope was what I needed most right now. I felt like he was there with me, as I drifted slowly off I remembered how all of this began.

“Boy I’m going up to Christchurch for the weekend, don’t do anything well I’m gone!”

That was all he said then minutes later the front door slammed shut and the rusted engine of his Ford began to rev up and he was gone, the house was left in total silence. It was late by the time I had finished watching some Science fiction film on TV3 but I still awoke early. That morning I was anxious to see Taylor, we pretty much had the entire weekend to ourselves. We met at Willow Creek around nine as usual. It was a popular swimming spot for the local kids in the hot Southland summer but in early autumn it was completely deserted. Although there was never much to do in Morrisville we managed to pass the day rather quickly. We went to the rundown art deco cinema and saw a movie which had probably been out in the rest of New Zealand for the past month or so but it was still good. Once that was finished we went to the dairy to find some lunch. It was a place was the town housewives and the forty something year old women went to gossip so we were careful how we behaved.

“I have something for you” he whispered as walked quietly through the park and towards home. I felt a little silver bracelet slide onto my wrist

When evening came I let us into the house. It was nothing special but it was somewhere we could hang. I was nervous as hell although Tay and I been together for the past six months or so we’d never had the opportunity to be completely alone it each other’s company. The evening was simple yet sweet, much like anything Taylor and I did together. We eventually made it upstairs to barren little cubicle that I called my room; it was an absolute puritan affair with a double bed, dresser and wardrobe. I collapsed onto my bed from sheer exhaustion and Taylor was beside me almost immediately “I think I know what we can do the rest of the night” he said then he pulled me closer to him in a warm embrace.

Shit! I swore furiously, I could hear the engine of the irate Ford. It was so close I could almost feel the beams of the headlights piercing me. The engine stopped and I could hear obnoxious shouting. I made out one sentence “They’ll be right up here Mic.” I shook Taylor awake; he was in a rather compromising position, his underwear dangling loosely around him. There was only one way out of the house or two if you wanted to jump from a window “Tay you’re going to have to hide somewhere, quickly he’s back!” Taylor didn’t need telling twice he began to scramble around in the dark. I heard more shouting and something like smashing glass, then the front door flying open. I was fumbling also; trying to find suitable pyjamas I could tell he was infuriated already, I could only imagine his anger if he dared to climb the rickety stair case to my room. At that moment I knew we were dead. “Boy! Where are you? You worthless piece of shit” His footsteps were loud and I could tell by the slurring in his voice that he was drunk like usual. My bedroom door nearly came off its hinges because of the force.

“Oh my Boy I knew this would happen, caught in the act aye? And where is the fairy fag runt you call your boyfriend? He’s about to be just as dead as you are when his parents find out they’ll be angrier the Jesus himself," I was silent and beyond petrified to speak, I really wanted to know how he’d found out. He whipped the covers off revealing Taylor still in his rather compromising situation “and what in God’s name do you think you’re doing you pervert? Get dressed and leave and don’t think your parents don’t know because the whole town does.”

He beat me and scalded me for the first time that night but I did nothing at all, I just ran.

I ran past the shop, the hotel, the cinema and finally all the way to Taylor’s. I didn’t care if his parents were just as furious as my father was; anything had to be better than violence. Taylor’s mother ushered me in straight away “He’s through there” she said. I found Tay slumped into a chair in the lounge his father was pacing erratically around the room. After a brief explanation we were both sent to bed without a fuss, we were both completely shattered.

By the time I awoke the next morning the sun was streaming through the window. I could hear arguing. The voices belonged to Taylor’s parents, my father and rather surprisingly the town’s Presbyterian Minister. “Mrs Mathews I’m afraid these boys need help, help that our small community cannot provide...” I looked over at Taylor; he was fast asleep and blissfully unaware of the struggle for our souls that was going on downstairs. I felt his arm wrap around mine, even in his sleep he was protecting me.

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Richard Brown - 8th January 2013