I was about 10 when I left home, a sad day that was. I know it was for the best, however if I could turn back the hands of time I would. My parents seemed to be used to letting go, I am not surprised though: I was the seventh of a total of twelve. I was not their first and nor was I their last. I guess like they all say: “life goes on”, or was that a tupac song. I must say, leaving the house is quite an experience that I would not trade for anything in the world; not even my beautiful girls.
First day out of the house was the worst ever. It was worse than sharing a toilet with 6 brothers and 5 sisters. I couldn’t tell left from right, I had no friends and I had no idea of the whereabouts of my other brothers. I was all alone. Although I was used to being alone, this was a new type of lonely. I have never been the type to make friends. The only people I knew were my siblings and my parents. This was not entirely my fault though; I didn’t fit in with the others.
Let me not get too emotional as of yet, I’m not ready for it. After about 5 days of being out of the house I soon got a hang of things. I knew where and how to get food. I met a cool stranger, my first ever friend. Trevor is his name; he was and still is the best. He was the first person who embraced my appearance and did not judge me. Well I guess he understood because we had a similar yet different condition.
Trevor and I vowed to have each other’s backs no matter what happened. We believed that nothing would separate us; I guess we didn’t think we would ever get married. Together we were untouchable; in a weird way I found confidence in Trevor. Without him I was just as before; a shy loner. Trevor is a year older than me. That meant that he had an entire years experience being out in the “wild”.
“Hey Top, what’s for supper tonight” asks Trevor all the time. He was hungry all the time. “Top” was a nickname Trevor gave me the second we met. He is truly special to me. Being a loner as a young boy, I would be in the kitchen with my mother learning to cook. This came in handy living with a person who sees having 8 slices of bread with 6 fried eggs and bacon, as a starter or as he calls it an appetiser. Sometimes I think that he only stuck with me because I could feed him well, but I know we connected at a deeper level.
After six months of being out the house, Trevor and I decided to start travelling. I was at first not very open to moving to another town because it meant that I would be even further away from home. However Trevor managed to convince me to tag along his quest to explore the world. Starting over would be a problem for me, I thought. Trevor on the other hand seemed to have had it all figured out
“I’ll go with you Trev, only if you promise me we won’t be crossing any seas” I said just 2 days before we set out to explore. The great thing about this entire trip was that wherever we went we would have the best view of it all. It’s a bird thing. This trip helped me accept me for who I am and my abilities. We travelled on boats for most of the trip, yes I know I didn’t want to cross the seas but the second I got on board the first boat, I was hooked. I could always take the boat back if I ever wanted to go back home, Trevor reassured me all the time.
The first boat we were on was heading to Italy. The best thing Trevor and I enjoyed was the food; the pasta was exquisite. Trevor wanted to not only eat but also learn different languages as we went along. His ambition inspired me as well. Trevor was kind of a bully and a ladies’ man. He always found ways to convince me to do what he wanted, I didn’t mind because I had never dreamt of doing all the things we set out to do on this trip.
“We need mingle with the local Top. First we need to acquaint ourselves with the language” said the eager beaver, Trevor. The following day we set out to find a language school. I could read and write, but Trevor could only spell his name and that was it. He didn’t like it if I would write letters back home because he knew that all he could do was write his name. I had a secret quest; I wanted to make sure by the end of this trip Trevor would be able to read and write. It’s the least I could do after all that he has done for me.
We found the perfect school just off Milan; Lodi. Every morning at 8 am we would sit up on the window seal of the tourist classes. We learnt the basics the first two days. We learnt to say thank you; Grazie, and excuse me; Mi scusi. “Wow the food here is delicious, grazie” I would say that every evening when we would go get something to eat. After a week or so, Trevor and I could construct a few sentences. We were able to “mingle” now.
Trevor always loses focus when he sees beautiful girls passing by. “Focus Trev! We need to find our own place before we start approaching any girls” I said to him. I am always his voice of reason and I know how to get him to focus. “Look over there, there is a to-let sign” said Trevor. The place we found as bigger than the one we had back home; two bedrooms and a magnificent kitchen. The place didn’t come at a cheap price, but Trevor took care of it.
I don’t know where he got the money. Every time I would offer to pay, he would slap me and say “Top the only thing you have to do is make sure there is food on the kitchen counter for us”. I didn’t mind though because I loved to cook, it’s sort of therapeutic and it calmed me down every time I felt home-sick. However I still don’t know where he got the money. We had the same job back home and we got paid the same amount. I am very savvy with money but Trevor is the kind to spend money. He never runs out. This was a mystery.
One morning, Trevor got up before the sun came up. For him that was a first. He kept on walking up and down the room. I knew something was wrong but Trevor and I didn’t like to talk about what was bothering us. We made a deal that if there was something wrong and we wanted to talk, we would talk but neither of us was to ask until the other mentioned it.
He took his bag and put a brown folder in it and head out the door. It was still dark out, I tried to look out the window to see where he was going but he was long gone by the time I got to the window. It was a Saturday and neither of us were going to work. I was quite worried, for a second I thought that he had left for good. After six hours I decided to take a stroll outside. I was hoping to run into him and the local bar just 2 streets away; he was nowhere to be found.
I bought a few vegetables and headed back home to start cooking. I didn’t cook a lot because I was almost certain that he was not coming back. At around eight pm, he walked in. he was in a cheerful mood as compared to when he left this morning. He three bags in his hand. They all looked full to the maximum. He put them away and came into the kitchen. “Top if I didn’t love the ladies so much, I would marry you” he said while starring at the pots. “You are crazy Trev! Let me dish up for us” I said.
That night as we were eating I waited for him to say what it was that made him sweat like a pig in the morning. He said nothing at all. “What did you get up today?” he asked. I guess he was trying to get rid of the awkward silence at the table. “Nothing much, I just went to the bar and bought a few veggies” I responded.
The next morning he left early again but this time I knew why. I snooped around to try and find the bags. I found them but they were empty. I found a 100 dollar note in one. Could the bags have been filled with money? How was I to find out? I let it go for a while and forgot all about it.
“How about we hit the streets tomorrow night and explore the local bars here?” I have never suggested anything since we met, well at least not anything that we would both enjoy. Trevor was quite amazed and began to laugh to a point where he almost choked on his steak. “Sure thing Top, I guess you are getting into the Italian spirit” he said with a mouth full of broccoli.
I was proud of myself that night. For once I could be considered to be cool. I woke up super early; I wanted to write a letter home before Trevor woke up. I didn’t want to ruin his cheerful mood. I sat in the bathroom and wrote the letter. I always make it out to my mother; she is the only one that I was okay.
Mama I hope you are well. Trevor and I
are in Italy now. I am having the best
time of our lives. I wish you were here too.
Give my love to everyone back home, even
Love your 7th son
Boo-bear isn’t my real name. My mother gave me that nickname because I always wanted hugs just like a teddy bear. “You must really be excited for tonight!” Trevor said while banging on the door. “I had an upset tummy! I am excited but not to that extant” I said as I hid my notebook in my suitcase in the bathroom cupboard.
At 8 am we were at the window seal. Trevor wanted to learn a new phrase that would help him charm the ladies. We bought English to Italian translation manual. I helped him find the phrase he wanted. “I want to be able to say: you are beautiful” he said. I scanned through the book and we found it. “Its siete belle” I said when I found it.
Trevor practiced that phrase all day. “I think I’ve got it now” he said. I was concerned though, I wondered what he would do if the girl said something back. At round lunch time, we headed home to get something to eat and get some rest before our big night out in Italy. Any night out with Trevor is an epic one.
It’s strange how the next morning neither of us can remember a thing. I have never got why I could not remember what happened when we got to the bar. Trevor would always say that I passed out after a drink or two and he brought me back home and went back out. The rest was always a blur, he would say.
I think I might have given the impression that Trevor and I are together at all times. We may be working at the same place back home and we came on this trip together, but we are not always together. Some days, especially after a night out, Trevor would insist on staying in and I would head out and explore all on my own.
The Italians are a fascinating bunch. I would sit on the window seal of a young couple’s apartment. The apartment was perfectly furnished from the door mat to the living room lamps. The colours complemented each other exquisitely. Julian was the house keeper’s name. She had a very weird relationship with the man who seemed to be related to her.
At first I paid no attention to their endeavours, but then one day the paramedics had to be called in. from that day on I was hooked like those people who spend so much time watching television series over and over again. I wanted to see what would happen next. I was at that window seal so many times that I got used to their schedule.
Mr. Benedict was Julian’s employer. For about a week or so there seemed to be no Mrs. Benedict, until one day at around noon she appeared. She had long blonde hair. She reminded me of the characters in the stories that my mother made me read. She was pure perfection. I noticed that while she was around Julian only came once a week instead of every day from 8am until 5 pm.
There was something that was odd about their living arrangement. Mr. Benedict slept in what seemed to be the master bedroom and, the person whom I had thought was Mrs. Benedict, slept in the other room. I watched their apartment as though I was being paid to. On occasion Trevor would agree to head out with. Trevor would only tag along only if he knew that there is a football match that day.
“One day they will catch you on their window seal” mentioned Trevor. I was determined to see the season finale of this apartment and I wouldn’t budge. I would rather risk being caught than miss a single moment. “Don’t be silly Trev, I have been very careful. No one will ever notice me” I said. Trevor was ready to move on to the next city or else we would have to find employment before we ran out of food and money for rent.
Obviously I found a job just next to my favourite apartment. It wasn’t mush but it paid enough to help around at the apartment. Trevor found employment at his favourite sports bar. It seemed as though we would never leave Italy, I was ready to settle. We stayed in Italy for about two months, during this time I sat every day from 10 pm until early hours of the morning.
I felt like a little detective or that fly o the wall. I knew everything, I had their schedule all figured out. Trevor would bring me supper every night and sit next to me as I did my daily spying. “Tony honey?” that was the voice of an angel. I have never seen her before. She stood at the door with her tight red dress on and very high heels. “What do you want? You know you shouldn’t be here?” whispered Mr. Benedict.
Little did Mr. Benedict know that the Mrs was wide awake and was listening in to everything. “Stacie did you come all this way to just stand there and stare at me?” whispered Mr. Benedict again. “Well Tony, if you must know, I was kicked out of my apartment because you forgot to pay rent for over three months” said Stacie. At first, being little naïve me, I thought that Stacie was Mr. Benedict’s sister or step daughter or plain relative.
“I’ll call you in the morning and I will take care of it” whispered Mr. Benedict as he closed the door quietly. “Who were you talking to?” asked Mrs. Benedict. He stood there for ten seconds flat and didn’t move, not even an inch. “You are still up. It was nothing, I just heard a noise and thought something was wrong” said Mr. Benedict. “You must have not heard me clearly. Who were you talking to?” she repeated he question.
“It was Mr. Jackson from down the hall, he just got back home and was making a raucous” Mr. Benedict answered. She didn’t seem to believe his story. Mrs. Benedict walked away and went back to bed but this time she was in the master bedroom as well. “So you have forgiven me now?” said Mr. Benedict. “Forgiven you for what, you have denied all my accusation; even the ones where I had concrete evidence” said Mrs. Benedict. I left soon after, my eyes were beginning to itch and they were burning red.
The next day was my last day ever. Firstly it was because Trevor and I were leaving the next morning. Secondly it was because the Benedict family was moving out that day. I woke up bright and early that day. When I got there, Mrs. Benedict was loading what seemed to be a body into the boot of her car. The windows I sat at showed the living room floor, there was blood all over the floor. At first it looked like ketchup but then it was too thick to be ketchup.
I could not believe what I had just witnessed. It was like a scene from those crime investigation shows. “Trevor! Come quick please” I said on the phone. He took his time as usual. “Honey, this was for the best and you know it too” said Mrs. Benedict. “What was for the best?” I kept asking myself. Mr. Benedict looked quite melancholic as compared to his rude and egoistic self. They left in such a hurry. What or who -ever laid in that boot was still a mystery to me.
“Who died Top?” Trevor asked when he finally arrived. I was still in shock and didn’t say a word. Moments later we were off. “Where are we off to now?” I asked Trevor. He said it was a surprise, just like Italy was a surprise. All I knew about this place was that this was where we were to settle. This was where we would find all that we had been looking for or what I had been longing for my entire life.
Trevor had never been so nervous on a flight before. I felt coerced into asking if there was something bothering him but I didn’t. “We are almost there” said Trevor anxiously. Whenever he didn’t finish a sentence by saying my nickname I knew something was wrong. I didn’t say a word until we landed. When we landed, Trevor was still shaking. “Does that say OR Thambo Airport?” he asked. “Yes it does” I responded.
He calmed down a bit. We carried our bags to a hotel. “We need to find a more permanent place Top, these places are not that cheap” he said but this time with a little more enthusiasm. I didn’t unpack my bag because I knew this was not our final resting place. We headed down the elevator to the dining area. “The food here is…” before I could finish my sentence, Trevor stood up and went into the bar. He would always finish his mountain of food before I would.
Eventually when I finished my meal, I went into the bar to look for him. It’s not a mystery where I would find him. He was seated a table surrounded by bunch of women. “Hey Top! Ladies this man knows his way around the kitchen” he said to the ladies at the table. They were all certain that I was homosexual. “I’m off to bed Trev” I said to him. He ignored me and carried on chatting to the women.
The next day he was up before me. “Time is money and sleep is for the dead Top” he said as he shook me. He was an early bed and I liked to sleep in until late. “Where are off to now?” I asked Trevor. I always wake up quite cranky especially if I was woken up. “Well we need to find jobs and a more permanent place to stay” he responded. I for one was astonished, why would he want to settle here. It is not as fun as Italy was.
By the time we had found a place cheap enough for us, Trevor had become the towns favourites person. I don’t know how he does it. He is just so good with people, how does he do it? I guess his good looks put him above my average by far. I am just glad that him and I are friends, I get to get the rejects to be in my life because they think they are getting closer to being friends with him. A cool guy that Trevor of mine, supercool.
Amazingly where ever we go we veer struggle to get jobs, must be the magic hand of chance playing in our favour all the time. “Up so early Top” murmured Trevor as he got up from bed. “You know what they say Trev, the early bird catches the worm and plus it’s our first day on the job and I aim to impress” I said. Trevor starred at me and laughed. “You getting yourself all made up for Mr Rou” he said.
Mr Rou is our new boss. He is quite strict in how he likes his employees to dress and behave. We have always gotten jobs at places were the boss immediately becomes your buddy. They were quite lonely folk. Mr Rou is different, he has a wife, two children and a pet dog. I did my research, I figure that this will definitely impress Mr Rou even further.
I know people always prefer to interact with Trevor more than me, but Mr Rou liked him way too much if you ask me or any one for that matter. Mr Rou even said he prefers to call me Top as well, “just like Trevor calls you” those wee his exact words. I choose to brush people’s comments or judgements about me under a carpet so it doesn’t hurt me as much.
“Trev, how’s about you come for dinner at my place tonight? My wife makes the best lasagne” said Mr Rou. “hmm I’m not quite sure, I…” said Trevor. Right there, his response, is the reason we are great friends. “Please, you can bring Top along with you.” Mr Rou said as he put his arm around my shoulder. I was like a bargaining chip, I guess. “I guess we can come “ Trevor responded.
At this point I wondered if it had occurred to any of them that I might just have plans or better yet wouldn’t want to go to Mr Rou’s house. Anyway being the good fellow that I am I played along and accompanied Trevor to Mr Rous place. Not what I imagined, I though a well established man like him would have something a little more decent. I guess the cost of living is too high these days, even for the big boss himself. Mrs Rou is the most beautiful women I have ever set eyes on. She is the perfect shade, shape and height. I think I’m in love or maybe just attracted to her.
“Hello, come in come in!” she said as she welcomed us into her home. Although the house was old and not what you would expect from a big shot like Mr Rou, Mrs Rou made it look beautiful. “What a lovely home you have Mrs Rou” said the charmer, Trevor, as he softly kissed her hand. “Oh thank you, please just call me Evelyn” she said as she blushed like every other one night stand that Trevor has been with.
“Boys don’t just stand there drilling at my lovely wife, come in and join me for a drink or two before we sup” said Mr Rou sitting in the lounge area. Evelyn said something, neither myself nor Trevor could make out what she had said. I had a strong feeling that there was trouble in paradise. “Come tell me about your trip to Italy” Mr Rou requested very enthusiastically. What was thee to tell? Nothing really, just great food, great people and a little snippet of what could have been a murder.
To be continued….