[[From IM. Will continue as it can]]
K: I sit down on Jake's couch and look around. Still the same as last time, only now it seems different. I'm not so nervous this time. "Coffee would be great, thanks. One sugar." I look back at him and smile. He's changed too, I can see that in his eyes.
J: "Black, one suger. Can do." It's odd to be here, acting as if I'm fully attentive to him. I want to be, and probably by the end of the session I will be. But part of me is off somewhere else, trying not to look for Bills, trying not to tie him down. "Here you are, and there's more in the carafe if you want." He does seem more comfortable this time, and yet...less at ease, if that makes sense. "So, Karl, what did you want to talk about?"
K: "You remembered," I smile. "Impressive seeing as we only met once before." I wait until Jake hands me the coffee then I take a deep breath. "It's about Hugh. Did you know that he and I are an item? We moved in together, got a place in Athena. I expect you knew that." I look at him, waiting, unsure whether he knew already, or if further explanation will be needed.
J: Had I heard that? IF it happened in the last three weeks, probably not. "You'd better catch me up. I've beem distracted." Ordinarily at this point I'd rub my face with my left hand, but...that's not going to happen, now. Not with it all wrapped up. "Perhaps you'd better start at the beginning: High points, until what ever happened, happened, the thing that's brought you to talk to me." IT's damn awkward, actually, having only one good hand, trading between rubbing my face, running a hand through my hair, picking up the coffee, putting it down again. It's frustrating.
K: I give a smile. "Hugh. The singing teacher at Camp. It's been... a few weeks actually. Seems like we've been together for ever. Everything's been perfect. We rented a place in Athena, because our rooms in Camp are not big enough to share, and we're loving living there." I sip at the coffee, noticing his hand but not commenting on it, then I look back at him with a frown. "Last time we talked you mentioned confidentiality. I trust that still applies, yes? What I'm about to tell you, well it's not public knowledge yet. Even Hugh only found out on Saturday." I bite my lip. It'll have to be public soon enough.
J: "Confidentiality. Always." Rooms together. Good. It works for someone. Any little bit of hope, I'll take. "Found out what?" It can't be good. Good news doesn't hide behind anything.
K: I'm silent for several long seconds. "He has..." Why is it that I find that little word so hard to say? "He has... cancer. Throat cancer." Close my eyes, swallow hard. "This is the second go-around for him. He had a tumour a couple of years ago, long before we met. That's why he doesn't sing Broadway any more." I put the coffee cup down on the table before I either drop it or crush it. "It's back."
J: "Fuck, I'm so sorry, Karl." Damn it. How unfair is that...they're happy, together, and this. I guess everyone has a 'Brian', something that can invade their space, something that makes them see how vulnerable they are to loss. "There's really nothing to say to that, is there?" I used to have platitudes, but now? "You say you just found out. Is the differential...sorry, do you know if it's benign or malignant yet?" I see the control he's exercising over his hand, the care he uses to put the cup down. He really cares. Brave man.
K: I nod. "We're waiting on test results, should be about a week. Either way he needs surgery. If it's malignant he'll need radiation therapy too, maybe more. Depends how..." My voice chokes for a minute. "...how advanced it is."
J: "You know I'm not a medical person. You'd need to go to Liv for that...I don't really know about Radiation, that stuff. I hear how anxious you are, though, how frightened. You really click, don't you? You really care, about how he does." I toss back the rest of my coffee, now cold, and stand to get some more. What are you doing right now, Billy? I'm tossing back coffee as though it is whiskey, listening to a man say he's afraid his lover's going to die. "Um. I have to warn you. I'm not an unbiased listener, here. I hate that this is happening for him, for you, and to the both of you. I might not be a very calm person, these days." I take my cup, stand at the window for a moment, seeing nothing. then bring myself back to my office, my self, his concerns. "But I'm here, and i'll listen. I'll help you sort out what you can do, from what you can't, if I can."
K: I listen to him and nod, give him a smile. Feeling a little guilty actually, about pouring all my concerns on him when he has so many of his own. "I was already planning to make an appointment with Liv too, but..." I get up and refill my own coffee too. "Yes. We click, and I care about him more than anything. It's killing me, watching him get so sick. He spent most of yesterday in the bathroom, coughing up blood." I pause, rub at my temples, then I look Jake in the eyes. "I know I can be there for him, give him whatever support he needs. He asked me to be his rock, and I know I can do that. I just... don't know who's going to be mine."
J: "God. Well. You've caught me in a particularly un-rock-like moment...I don't know how good a solid wall I'll make right now, but you can certainly pour your heart out to me, and I'll not turn you away."
K: I sigh and give Jake a weak smile. "Yeah I was wondering if this was a bad time. I know you've had a lot of your own things to worry about lately. Seems unfair of me to dump this on you as well." I flop down onto the couch again. "I just don't know who else to turn to."
J: "Better you turn here, and we stumble around together, than you be alone. I'll be ok-this whole thing with Billy's taught me one thing: I can't be everything to everyone. I can only be me. Whoever that is." Something else occurs to me: the cabin. "Listen, thank you for the cabin. It's...it's pretty amazing, what you all did. Thank you." Not a sign of fucking Brian in it. Amazing. I smile, something else coming to mind. "Um, is Hugh going to get treatment in town? or over at Irvine, at the University Hospital?"
K: I blink at the sudden change of topic, and laugh. All tension momentarily defuses. "Oh that? It was nothing. It was mostly the kids. They all love you and Billy, that was their hard work." Then back to the original topic again with a thud in the pit of my stomach. "A bit of both, I think. It's all written down on some paperwork at home... I wasn't in much of a state to take it in. Surgery's at the University hospital, next Friday."
J: "I can come with you, someone should drive the two of you over, stay with you while he's in surgery, until he wakes up, and make sure you take care of yourself. I can do that."
K: I look at Jake, eyes wide. I hadn't even thougt of that, hadn't thought that I'd need someone with me. But then at that moment I know he's right. "That would be great, Jake, thanks."
J: "HAppy to do it. I took a couple classes at Irvine, way back. It's a good town, nice people. Great campus, good hospital. But...it's too hard, to be by yourself. Down in town, with Billy...we couldn't plan any of that. And still, people came through: you all, up here, and people in town, someone even sold Bills a camera, something that really helped him...You at least can plan a few things, like Irvine." That's lifted something, I can tell. And oddly it gives me focus. Something to work with.