Wednesday Work in Progress…




I’m going to share a scene from a story I’ve been working on for a while. It’s the third story in the Rupert’s Legacy series. From Yesterday tells the story of Phillip and Carlos, two men searching for their way in the world.

From Yesterday copyright c. 2013 T.A. Chase


Shoring up his emotions, Carlos pulled away and smiled. “You’re right, hermanito. I’m just tired. It was a long shift, and I wanted to visit you before I go home.”

“Sit.” Miguel motioned to the empty space next to him on the couch.

Carlos flopped onto the cushion with a huge sigh. He let his head drop back and stared up at the ceiling for a moment. Miguel reached over and squeezed his hand.

“You work too hard, Carlito. You need to get some rest or you’re going to get sick, and not be able to visit me.” Miguel’s concern showed on his face and in his voice. “You are my only visitor.”

Pain hit Carlos’s heart and he pressed his hand to his chest. God, knowing that his happy laughing brother was cut off from his family and friends hurt Carlos. Yet it wasn’t Miguel’s fault. Being gay wasn’t something Miguel chose, and he certainly didn’t decide to go out and get AIDS.

The only thing Miguel chose to do was be out and proud of who he really was, and while the consequences weren’t what either of them hoped for, it meant Miguel didn’t have to hang his head because of hiding. Carlos wished he had his brother’s strength.

Carlos had known he was gay since he was fifteen, but he still dated girls through high school and college. Oh, he’d gone out and had sex with men as often as he could, but it was a secret and something he didn’t talk about with anyone.

The girls were for his father, to convince him his oldest son was a man in every way. He was expected to set an example for his three younger brothers. Yet when Miguel came out, Carlos silently cheered.

“It’s okay. I know why they don’t come, and it’s their loss. When I’m gone, they’ll have to remember how they treated me. And when they get to Heaven, they’ll have to explain to Mama as well.”

Carlos snorted. “You’re right, and I think that would be the hardest thing to do. Mama always was protective of you.”

“I was her baby. Of course, she loved me.” Miguel leaned slightly into Carlos’s shoulder. “I never told you what she said to me the night she died.”

“No, you didn’t.” Carlos wrapped his arm around Miguel, holding him close.

“You and Papa had stepped out of the room to talk, and Julio and Paul hadn’t gotten there yet. I was sitting beside her bed, holding her hand. I didn’t know what to say or do. I mean I was only seven and didn’t really understand death all that much.” Miguel plucked at a string hanging from the hem of Carlos’s T-shirt.

“I’m sorry, hermano.” Carlos rubbed his cheek along the top of Miguel’s head. “It was a hard time for all of us.”

Miguel chuckled softly. “It’s still hard for Papa.”

He nodded. “You’re right. He’s never gotten over losing her.”

“Anyway, she looked over at me, and told me to climb on the bed. I did it, though I was afraid of all the tubes and machines. I didn’t know if I would hurt her in some way.” Miguel paused and Carlos stayed silent. It was his brother’s story, so they would take it at his pace.

“I laid next to her, and she put her arm around me. She could only whisper, and I could tell her soul was getting ready to leave. She just had a look about her.”

More silence. Carlos understood what Miguel meant. He’d seen more than his share of patients die, and they all had a certain look like their souls were ready to go on to whatever waited for them on the other side.

“She told me she loved me, and it didn’t matter to her if I was different from Julio and Paul. I was still her baby. I didn’t understand what she meant at the time. She died soon after and all I remembered for months was the sadness.”

Carlos drew a sharp breath. How had his mother known about Miguel and had she known about him as well?

“Somehow Mama knew I was gay, and I’m pretty sure she knew about you as well, Carlito. When I realized I liked guys, I panicked and freaked out. I knew Papa wouldn’t accept me at all, and I risked being banished from the family. Yet I’d dream of what she told me that night. I knew I couldn’t be a coward because she loved me.”

“Mama always loved you best,” Carlos teased.

Miguel grunted in agreement. “Sure she did, man. I’m pretty awesome.”

Carlos laughed, but his happiness slowly faded. “I’m sorry I couldn’t stand up with you, Miguel. I should be more of a man, and not let you be the only one Papa hates.”

His brother pushed out of his embrace and glared at him. In that moment, Carlos was reminded of his mother. Miguel was the only brother who took after their mother.

“Carlos Mendoza, don’t say that. You’re more of a man than Papa and our brothers ever could hope to be. Just because you haven’t told Papa you’re gay doesn’t mean you’re a coward.” Miguel put his hand on Carlos’s chest. “It means you’re smarter than me. I should have waited until I could move out on my own. I knew how he was going to react.”

“Well, I’ve saved up enough money to get my own place. I’m going to look this weekend when I get off work. I was thinking I’d try to find someplace closer to here, so I can see you more often.”

“And so you can finally get a boyfriend,” Miguel commented with a gleam in his eyes.

“I’m not sure a boyfriend would work for me right now.” Carlos shook his head.

He’d never had a serious relationship with either sex. All of it was too big a risk when he was younger, and now he worked so much, he didn’t have time for anyone except Miguel.

“Oh, a boyfriend always works.” Miguel frowned. “I’m worried about you, Carlito. I’m afraid you’ll spend all your energy on me, and will be alone when I’m gone.”

“I don’t spend all my energy on you. I wish I could, but I just don’t have the money or the place to take care of you.” Carlos looked around the bright airy room they sat in. “That’s why I was so happy when a spot opened up for you here. This place’s got a great reputation, not only among charities, but among the medical field as well.”

3 Responses “Wednesday Work in Progress…”

  1. Zeneida says:

    Oh I have been waiting for this story. I love the first two and can’t wait to read this one.

  2. Cynthia says:

    It takes a special heart to be able to hold a love one while their life is slipping away and you cannot hold them to you just through will. This is gonna be a rough one Ta.

  3. josexpressions says:

    loved it, thank you.

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