My first visit with Terry was like an emotional appetizer. It only left me with a stronger hunger and desire to know more. Reflecting on the time I had just spent, I wanted nothing more than to plan our next visit. He painted fantasies of freedom by next week so we could move our adventures to a wilder playing field. He touched my hand and told me I was beautiful in more ways than the obvious. He cooed his complaints silently as to not alarm the nazi nursing staff. I leaned in closer to show Terry that I was truly sorry he was there, feeling his frustration radiate off of his spirit, yet his eyes remained the same. Although the shirt was a bit too small, he wore it proudly and we laughed as M&Ms spilled onto the table from our hands and rolled on the floor like a bleeding rainbow without concern. His appreciation for my simple gifts was genuine and when I promised my return, I was being genuine as well.
The breeze stroked my face as I gazed upon the graffiti that the universe had left on the sky. Swirls of blue and white with splotches of grey and pink strewn in between flecks of yellow sunshine. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, taking in the oceans scent once more as the boat sped off back to Manhattan.
Somehow, I had allowed myself to become connected to this boy, blindly committing the one thing that New York teaches its residents to never offer without reward; your time. And as I spent more time with Terry, I realized that finding out the truth about him was going to be impossible if it was going to be left up to him to tell me. He avoided and rephrased every question I asked him about his personal life in a manner that made me seriously question whos intelligence was being insulted; mine or his. But in this instance every single vibration in my being was telling me to keep giving my time to Terry, regardless of the outcome.
When I really sit back and think about what it was I wanted to give Terry more than anything, it was to alleviate a feeling of disappointment. They say you shouldn’t put your faith in man, but when it comes down to it, we all would like to believe we have a twin soul out there; someone who we can just count on to be there every single time no matter what. A mirrored conscious that isn’t bound to you by blood or financial reasoning, just simply their own desire to reciprocate.
Three weeks later I was anxious and excited to finally tell Terry that I was coming to see him again. He had asked several times, but my work schedule and personal life with the holidays coming up was not allowing for a day of travel and mystery. Despite the city’s constant overwhelming grip on my affairs, I found the time.
His next request was for two McChicken sandwiches and an iced coffee from Starbucks. I wasn’t really in the position to be treating to anything. I had been busting my ass trying to save money so I could get my own place and try to move out of my Uncle’s basement, while still trying to maintain a social life in a city that lets you make just enough money to sustain and never leave, but considering everything Terry showed me, this was a request I felt could be easily accommodated.
Terry showed me how vulnerable he was the moment we laid eyes on each other. As time went on through our brief phone conversations and attempts at verbal intimacy, I began to guard Terry’s heart with my own, and I didn’t want to ever see him be left or let down again. Through the weeks our conversations lasted longer as his paranoia subsided with each day he was medicated. I never could get too far in asking him about people or his feelings. Everyone he ever knew had fucked him over and left him out in the cold, enough so to make him truly believe he had no family or anyone in the world to count on. I was going to make damn sure that I would be the one shining example of consistency in his life. His protector and guardian angel. I would never lie to him or try to shield him from the truth. Soften the blow maybe, but he would never be forgotten or dismissed by me.