The water in the pool was cool and refreshing as Jeff dove into the deep end off the diving board. He swam a few laps, swimming freestyle and then switched to the backstroke. He finished up at the shallow end and walked up the steps to the lounge chair where he had placed a towel. He dried his hands off and stuck the towel in his ear to dry it off before his put the earpiece of his transistor radio in his ear. He adjusted the sound and lay down on the lounge. He closed his eyes and listened to the radio as the late afternoon sun dried him.
After about fifteen minutes a shadow crossed Jeff’s face. He opened his eyes and saw Doug standing over him.
“Hey, you found the place,” he said as he sat up.
“Yeah,” Doug replied as he sat on the lounge next to Jeff.
“I’ve already read ‘Steppenwolf’,” Jeff said.
“So, which one are you?”
“What do you mean?”
“Narcissus or Goldmund?”
“I don’t know, both I guess.”
“I think that’s what it’s supposed to be about. That we have these different sides to us. Duality. I know I do.”
Jeff lay back on the chaise and closed his eyes. Doug stared at his handsome face and made his way down his body.
“You doing anything this weekend?” he asked.
“Nope.” Jeff opened his eyes.
“My parents are going out and I’m having a party. You want to spend the night?”
“Sure.” They both turned to look at the pool. “You want to go for a swim?” Jeff asked.
“I don’t have any trunks.”
“You don’t need any.” Doug gave Jeff a disapproving look that turned to a grin. “Just kidding. I have an extra pair.” Jeff got up and motioned for Doug to follow him. They walked over to a changing cabana. Jeff turned on the light, walked over to a pair of trunks hanging on a hook and threw them to Doug. “Here, these should fit.”
Jeff walked out of the room as Doug looked around the room, walking up to a group of pictures hanging on the walls. He looked closely at the pictures of the Rosens posing at various vacations the family had taken together. There were pictures of Jeff and his sister at different ages. He found a picture of Jeff as a little boy and thought how absolutely adorable he was as a child. He changed quickly and walked out into the afternoon sun.
Doug did his best swan dive as Jeff sat on his lounge and watched. When he emerged from the water, Jeff applauded.
“I give it about a nine point five.”
Doug emerged from the water and threw water on Jeff as he lay down on the chaise. He closed his eyes, letting the sun warm him and dry him off. Jeff looked over at Doug and smiled. He lay back and closed his eyes as Doug opened his eyes and looked over at Jeff. He turned his head back, closed his eyes and smiled. It was good to have a friend; especially a friend with whom he seemed to have so much in common. The boys lay there soaking up the sun and each other’s company.
“Hesse wrote at the same time as Freud.” Jeff said as he lay on the lounge with his eyes closed. “They were both discovering the inner life of the mind. You know, the ego and the id. Growing up we’re supposed to learn how to integrate them. Some people end up with more ego than id and others with more id than ego.”
Both boys still had their eyes closed. “How do you know all this shit?” Doug asked.
“My mom’s a therapist and I’ve been in therapy since I was eleven.”
“What are you crazy or something?”
“No, really, why’re you in therapy?”
“I killed someone.”
They lay there in silence for a moment and Doug opened his eyes, turning to Jeff.
“You’re shittin’ me.” Jeff opened his eyes and looked back at Doug.
“Yeah,” he laughed. “Had you going for a minute though, didn’t I”
“Yeah, for about a second.” Jeff looked at Doug, smiled and then closed his eyes again. Doug continued looking at him.
“Do you ever get confused about..you know, who you are?” Jeff asked.
“Are you kidding? All the time.”
“I’m really sorry about the other day at the creek.”
“Hey, I said..”
“I know, it’s just that, well, when I was ten, my best friend and I were fooling around and shit. You know, typical kids stuff. You show me yours, playing with our dicks and well, his mom caught us and freaked out. She accused me of all kinds of shit and I got really depressed, so my mom sent me to a shrink.
“So the other day was..?”
“Yeah, it felt like a rerun.”
“Hey, you didn’t know.” Jeff paused for a moment, his eyes still closed. “I haven’t had a friend since.” Doug looked at him as Jeff opened his eyes and looked back at him.
“Sometimes I feel like, I don’t know.” Doug paused. “Like the other day, I felt like it opened up something inside of me. A part of me that freaked me out.”
The back door of the house opened and Jeff’s mom walked out. She was dressed in a blouse and skirt. Her shoes were low heeled.
“Hi honey,” she said as Jeff sat up.
“Hey, mom, this is Doug.”
Doug stood up.
“Oh, please, don’t get up. Nice to meet you, Doug.” She walked over and shook his hand. Doug sat back on the chaise.
“Hello, Mrs. Rosen.”
“Dinner will be in about two hours, Jeff. Your dad won’t be home. Would you like to stay for dinner, Doug?”
“Uh, I don’t know. I think I should, I mean..”
“Come on, call your mom. You can use the phone in the cabana,” Jeff said.
“OK.” Doug got up and walked to the cabana. Jeff and his mom watched him.
“He seems nice,” she said. “Polite. Is he the boy you went hiking with?”
“Yeah. We’ve read a lot of the same books, too.”
“That’s nice. I’ll call you when dinner’s ready. I’m fixing your favorite.”
“Yep,” Jeff’s mom paused looking at her son. She loved him so much. He was so beautiful. She wanted him to be happy. She wanted him to be free of the restraints and restrictions that had been imposed on her at his age. She had done everything in her power to help him come to grips with who she suspected he might be and now it was up to her to understand it.
“I’m glad you have a friend.”
“Yeah, me too.”
“I’ll call you when dinner’s ready.” She walked back into the house as Doug walked out of the cabana.
“She said, OK,” Doug said.
“Wonderful,” Mom said.
“Dinner for three,” Jeff said as he stood up and walked to the edge of the pool. Mom entered the house.
“She said it was cool for you to spend the night.”
“Alright!” Jeff yelled as he cannonballed into the pool. Doug jumped in after him and dunked him. Jeff dove under the water and pulled down on Doug’s legs. They wrestled and laughed as Mom watched from the kitchen window, rinsing the potatoes in the sink.
The Big One Thousand
6 minutes ago