- The Nineteenth Encounter -
Normally, Sundays are very comforting to me. I relax
and generally do nothing, mostly because I’d be
suffering from a hangover, but not this Sunday. Oh
no, this Sunday, I have some serious dilemmas eating
away at me and causing ulcers in my stomach. What I
wouldn’t do for a hangover instead of this panic..
I cannot believe still that I invited Heero over for
Christmas Eve. With his friends. To meet my brother.
I can already feel the impending doom closing in on
me. I can see the end.
What do people do when they sense the end? They go to
god, of course. And hence here I am, a catholic who
does not believe in god, in a church on a Sunday
morning. I’m in a suit, tie and shiny shoes and all,
just like I used to dress when I was fourteen and my
mother was dragging me to church every Sunday. I am
here to find answers.. or at least to talk to
I open the door to the confessional and step into it,
breathing deeply and mentally preparing myself. I sit
on the hard seat and watch in fascination as the
screen is opened, revealing the silhouette of my
Now, what was that I am suppose to say in these boxes
of forgiveness? Oh yeah.
“Forgive me father for I have sinned.”
And have I ever.
“It has been..” I trail off to count in my head,
“uh.. something like ten years or so since my last
“It is okay, my son,” says the voice of absolution
without the face, “for God forgives all
“He does, really?”
“Yes, my son,” comes the patient voice, “He is
infinite in His forgiveness.”
“So it’s okay that I work to acquit murderers.”
“He forgives, my son.”
Right. I wonder if the priest has anything else to
say except that pearl of wisdom.
“I.. uh..” I think quickly, trying to think about all
the things that this particular religion thought of as
a sin. “I have a boyfriend.”
Is it me or does the priest sound somewhat disturbed?
“I.. oh hell, I’m not really here to confess.. I
just want to rant at someone I don’t know, I think.”
“I’m here for you, my son.”
Man, is this a priest or a goddamned recording? Oops,
add blasphemy to my list of sins..
“Look, father,” I say, completely shedding my pretense
of a repentant prodigal worshipper, “I have a
boyfriend and I love him. I wanted to tell my family
about him someday, but I stupidly made someday into
Christmas Eve. Now, my brother’s going to meet him
and I can almost picture the scene.. it involves
hospitals, police reports and Miranda warnings.”
“Go on, my son.”
Well, at least he’s listening.
“So, I’ve been wondering.. according to the bible,
there’s supposed to be an Armageddon or something real
soon, because it didn’t happen with the Y2K deal. Do
you think you can ask god for an apocalypse before
Christmas Eve? I mean, it doesn’t even have to be a
big one, just a little, minor one so my brother can’t
make it or something. Oh, I can deal with an
earthquake, even. Give me something to work with
Well, as you can imagine, the silence was deafening.
I suppose lots of people come into the confessional
ready wheel and deal with god, like forgive me this
transgression and I’ll do the rosary for a day kind.
I might be the first person in here who has asked for
an apocalypse to avoid a Christmas Eve dinner.
“My son,” comes the hesitant voice, “I sense that you
are in great turmoil, and I know that God will guide
you through it.”
Then the screen shuts and I get the feeling that I
should leave the little box. Yeah, I wore out my
welcome at a church. I annoyed a priest enough that
he literally kicked me out of the confessional!
You see the depth of panic I must be in to have done
this? For me to go to church and wheedle a priest for
the end of the world, just so that I didn’t have to
have my boyfriend and my brother in the same room at
the same time?
I sigh dejectedly as I step out of the church. Well,
that was a complete waste of my time and I’m pretty
sure the priest is somewhere in his room downing
whiskey , muttering about the crazy people who wander
into confessionals. So, what’s the other option when
god fails you?
You go to your friends and hope that they don’t laugh
Couple of hours after my incident at the church, I
found myself sitting on Quatre’s couch. Quatre and
Trowa were blinking at me with odd expressions on
their faces while Wufei and Meiran who had come at my
urgent request were trying their best not to laugh.
“You..” Trowa began in a strangely hitched voice,
“asked a priest..”
“I know,” I say, forestalling him from finishing the
sentence, “that’s how desperate I am. What do I do,
guys? What can I do?”
“Why not just introduce Heero as a friend? I’m sure
he won’t mind.”
Well, leave it to Wufei to come up with the logical
solution. However, that was not what I wanted to
“Wu, it’s not that he won’t mind.. it’s that I will.”
Yes, and there is the real problem out in the open. I
don’t want to introduce Heero as my friend to anyone
anymore. He doesn’t deserve that from me. Sure, I am
not going to introduce him to my parents for a good
long while, maybe until I’m gray in the hair and using
dentures, but at least then I wouldn’t be introducing
him as a friend. See the twisted logic there?
“So you want Solo to know that you have a boyfriend?”
Ah, Quatre, sometimes, you let your blondness show a
little too much.
“No! I don’t want anyone to know yet. I’m not ready
for that level of stress. But I honestly don’t think
I can just say that Heero’s a friend. It.. sounds
“You’re so in love with him.” Meiran says with a soft
sigh and dreamy smile.
“I am. So, what do I do?”
It was a plea, a heartfelt cry out for help. I think
by now my friends understood that I would not chance
hurting Heero’s feelings yet again by uninviting him
and that I would not say that he was just a friend. I
don’t know, it would be so much easier if I could
introduce Heero as a friend to Solo. I know Heero
would understand and his friends would probably play
along with some advance notice, but I didn’t want to
do that to him.
And just in case you were wondering, I’m not even
thinking about what I’d be introduced as if and when I
“Your only option is to be honest with Solo.” The
voice of wisdom otherwise known as Trowa spoke finally
and three other heads nodded in assent.
Oh, sure. After ten minutes of intense thinking,
that’s the solution that my friends come up with.
“And you guys will be there to clean up the bodies
after I’m honest?”
“Duo,” Quatre says gently, “why are you so certain
that it won’t turn out well? Solo loves you. He
would understand, I think.”
“Quat, I know my brother, okay? He thinks..” I pause
for a moment, trying to gather my thoughts. What was
I trying to say here, really?
“It’s just that,” I continue valiantly, “he’s so proud
of me. He thinks I’m perfect. I think.. it would
crush him to find out that.. I’m.. I’m..”
“I would think,” Wufei interjects, “that he’d be happy
for you for being in love.”
“Only with a woman.”
There is a somber silence as we all contemplate the
words out in the open. The thing is, why am I so
convinced that Solo won’t take the news well? He has
never shown anything against homosexual relationships,
but then again, he had never had to deal with it up
close. He knows about Quatre and Trowa, but he never
really got to know them that well. What would he do
when he found out about me, his only brother?
“So,” Quatre says to break the silence, “what will you
“What I have to,” I sigh, trying to face up to what
will happen, “I guess I’ll tell him.”
With that, I said my good-byes and left four very
concerned friends chasing me with their eyes. I
didn’t want to go back home, so I wandered around the
city for a while. I walked with the crowd,
occasionally pausing at a window to stare at the
merchandise just for show and kept walking. I
wondered if any stores sold body bags and if they did,
how many I might need for Christmas Eve.
I don’t know for how long I walked, but it was dark
when my cell rang. I must have been out for hours.
“Hello.” I say rather dejectedly into the phone
without even checking the caller I.D.
“Duo, where are you?”
“Heero,” I moan into the phone, “I need you.”
As soon as I say that, I realize that I really want
him near me right now. I had been so damned dejected
worrying about the Christmas Eve party, thinking about
it too hard and too much. I needed a little cheer up,
and Heero could do that by just being there.
“Of course,” comes the immediate reply, “where?”
I look around and see to my surprise that I’m actually
standing in front of my apartment building. How and
when did I get here?
“My place. Now.”
“I’ll be right there.”
I walk into my building feeling slightly better.
Heero was on his way to cheer me up. Sure, I couldn’t
really spew out what was bothering me to him since he
was a large part of it, but he could sit with me,
relax with me. He could calm my raging brain and help
me forget for a while that Christmas Eve was coming up
I was laying on my couch with my eyes closed when
there was a knock on the door. I was too tired in
mind and body to get up to answer it, but my sense of
peace was on the other side of the door. I needed it.
I needed Heero.
I may have surprised Heero by just falling into his
body as soon as I opened the door, but he recovered
quickly and settled me on my couch. He touched my
head as if to feel for my temperature and I took
advantage of the closeness to press my lips to his for
a kiss. He returned it tenderly and my mind finally
found the peace that it was searching for all day.
With a touch of his lips on mine, I let go of the
anxiety and the uncertainty that had been eating away
at me and settled into a floating bliss.
We kissed for a long while, but I don’t know for how
long. Time tends to stop when I kiss Heero.
“So,” he says to me when our lips finally part,
“what’s bothering you?”
Oh, only if I could tell him..
“It’s nothing, really.”
“Bullshit,” he says, startling me, “you would not have
called me here like that if it was nothing.”
Well, I guess I acted sort of out of character there
with the whole ‘I need you’ bit.
“You’re nervous about me meeting your brother, aren’t
Jesus, why do I even bother trying to hide shit from
Heero? He’s a damned mind reader, haven’t I learned
that by now?
“I am,” I admit, “because I’m going to introduce you
as my boyfriend.”
I definitely rendered him speechless with that
declaration. I don’t think he was ever hoping, not
even in his wildest dreams, that I would be telling my
brother that he was my boyfriend. He looked stunned,
then the most beautiful and glowing look of joy came
over him. God, he’s so beautiful.
“I love you.”
He said it so damned reverently, softly, like it was a
prayer of his deepest heart. I may still be nervous
as hell telling my brother about him, but that
cemented my decision to be honest with Solo. How can
I possibly introduce someone like Heero who could tell
me he loved me in the most heart rending voice as just
“You better remember that after my brother stabs you
with the shrimp fork.”
“I’d brave a hundred shrimp forks for you.”
We burst out into laughter at that and I feel an
immense weight lift from my shoulders. Imagine that.
God couldn’t give me an apocalypse, my friends
couldn’t give me answers, but Heero could give me
everything I needed with simple words.
“You know, Heero,” I say without really thinking,
“maybe this can be my Christmas present to you since I
don’t know what to buy you.”
“Oh, really?” He replies with humor in his voice, “so
me getting hospitalized by your brother is a gift
“I didn’t really think of it like that,” I admit.
“Oh, fine, I’ll buy you something, you materialist.
“You don’t have to.”
“I will so shut up about it.”
We lapse into a companionable silence after that and
just lay on my couch together with his head on my
chest and my arms loose around his shoulders. I feel
the tension of the Sunday drain out of me and my eyes
start drooping. After all, the day had been a bitch
“Duo,” I hear my boyfriend say, “you’re falling
“I know,” I say over my yawn, “but I’m tired.”
“Tomorrow’s Monday.” Heero points out rather
“Don’t remind me.”
“We have to work tomorrow.” He continues despite my
“I said,” I try to say sternly, but too tired to make
my voice obey me, “don’t remind me.”
“So I was thinking,” he continues, “it would be a bad
idea for me to sleep here.”
“Mmm hmm.” I grunt out, too tired to really pay
attention to Heero’s words by now.
“But I’m going to sleep here.”
Had I been more awake, I might have been nervous,
shocked or something. But I was so tired and Heero
felt so comfortable and warm laying on the couch with
me. Therefore, all I got to do before I drifted off
was to enjoy him being near me when I fell asleep.
I think.. no, I know that I smiled the whole night.