ROOMING WITH MY BEST FRIEND-SOPHOMORE 70

Posted... March 22, 2012

Sunday, I hated to see Mom leave after coming to be with me for the weekend. Her visit was so nice, plus she left me with a big batch of homemade chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies, along with some brownies to help my mood at the time. It would be a slight detour in our healthy eating.

I also hated the fact that I barely got to see Reese and Trevor. I did see them for a little while and hoped they would return one day so I could give them the attention they deserved. After staying with dad I was a zombie the rest of the day. He needed special attention at times plus the nurses stopping in to check up on him.  I went to bed earlier than ever before that night both physically and mentally worn out.

Each day I would go to class and then head straight to the hospital. Sometimes I would stop by the room to drop off a few things. My friends were the best. Each day, I was never alone, with usually more than one there with me. With Dad in a room, it did make it easier on us. 

Slowly, Dad began showing signs of his illness. He started strong and determined but each day that seemed to fade just a little.  Every day, he appeared to be weaker and struggle to walk at times.  I was still there with him though and helping where I could during this time.  I had moments where I couldn’t handle it and would enjoy a good cry but usually those were moments when I was alone and thinking way too much.

The entire week was a blur to me, with me being at the hospital except for one night where I had to study with Ted for a big exam in our accounting class. I felt like I was missing so much not being there but was kept informed on all happenings. Alex and Elise were back together now, with Kris and Megan getting stronger every day. From a distance, she seemed like a great match for Kris and didn’t mind being part of our group.

That weekend, Kris and Colt headed home to leave me and Corey alone. A vast majority of my friends had gone home too since nothing was going on. When Corey was working, Parker and Yancey came up to be with me and support me. 

Tuesday, the following week, I was back visiting Dad with Corey there beside me but we could see things were going downhill. He barely stayed awake and looked and sounded very weak. I still sat by his side and continued to tell him stories from my college days like I had each and every day. So far, I hadn’t run out of things to tell him. Usually he got a big kick out of hearing my stories and said they always brightened his day but the past few days he just sat and listened. I left that night about 8 and kissed his cheek while he slept.

Once out in the hall, I began to cry. “Corey…”

“I understand, Matt, and was thinking the same thing,” he said and was reading my mind.

“He looked awful and was suffering like never before. He did say over the weekend how bad he hurt…”

We made it back to the room. Kris, Megan, Colt and Andrea were watching a movie. I said hello and went straight to my room. Corey joined me later.

“What did you tell ‘em?” I asked.

“I just said you were having a bad day,” Corey said.

“I’m having a really shitty day. Just hold me, please,” I said.

Wednesday, I was walking back to the room when my phone began ringing. I saw it was Gloria calling me. I answered and moved aside to not get in anyone’s way. She said the words I didn’t want to hear but sensed were coming. My dad had just passed away a short while ago with Gloria at his side. I didn’t have to tell Kris or Colt for they knew with tears streaming down my cheeks. I was expectedly sad and visibly upset. I was thankful for the time we had enjoyed together during my Dad’s last days. Now he was gone and I’d never be able to tell him about my college days. I knew it was coming after seeing him fade the last few days, but it happened a lot sooner than I wanted it to.

Kris, in the meantime, called Corey at work to tell him the news. The three missed work to be with me and offer their support. I couldn’t have made it without them during this entire time. We went to the hospital to find Gloria and get the details. It was now becoming such a blur to me and it felt so unreal. 

Once the crying was over, Gloria was kind enough to ask me what day we would bury Dad. I stated Saturday might be best for all of us. She agreed, since Friday would be pushing it just a little. That night I did go out to Dad’s house and finally was able to meet Gloria’s son and see her grandkids. She had lots of visitors during the night. I did my best to put on a good face in front of people I didn’t know. 

Thursday, now in March, I did make it to class, but it wasn’t easy. All I could do was sit and think of the last two weeks and how much I really did enjoy being around my dad.

With the word spreading of my dad’s death, I was blessed with so many well-wishers. It seemed everyone came down to check in on me and see how I was doing, along with lots of calls and posts on my Facebook page. I enjoyed hearing from my old high school friends who called me. Even the little words meant a lot to me and showed that they did care about me even if we didn’t see each other often any more.

Friday, after class, Gloria called and asked that I come to the funeral home to view Dad. I knew it was going to be hard. I got turned around driving to it but finally found it just on the outskirts of town. She greeted me at the door. 

“Are you making it?” she asked and grabbed my hand.

“I guess so, but it’s harder than I imagined.”

“I hear you. It has been really tough,” she said and led me back to where I saw the casket. A big lump came in my throat. The man opened the casket. My dad was lying there with one of the shirts I had bought him for Christmas. I had to step outside with tears running down my face. Gloria threw her arms around me.

“Oh Gloria…” I cried.

“He would have wanted to have your shirt on,” she said.

“I know,” I said and had to find a seat. “Here I was doing okay…”

She comforted me with a very motherly hug in my time of sorrow. We had been through so much together over the past two and half weeks.

“It’s okay. Tomorrow it will be over,” she said.

I cried a little more, “I know, but I don’t want it to be.”

“Me either, but, so you know, he loved every minute you were there with him. Every day he’d ask me ‘when’s Matthew coming to see me?’ I’d have to give him almost an exact time. If you were five minutes late, he would begin to worry something had happened to you.”

“I loved every minute I was there as well… and sorry it took his sickness to bring us close,” I sobbed.

I headed back to the room with Scott and Jordy looking for me. Jordy gave me a nice hug. I wasn’t sure if he and Scott had anything going at the time. I believe they came over after missing me at the pool. 

“So, what’s the plan?” Scott asked me.

“Tonight is visitation at the funeral home, with the funeral tomorrow at 11 at the cemetery,” I replied slowly so Jordy could read my lips. “I saw him today.”

Scott reached over for a hug with tears in my eyes. “I know that was hard.”

“Gloria dressed him in one of the shirts I had bought him for Christmas. I lost again.”

Jordy left us and just wanted to stop by. He told Scott he’d see us later. 

“Scott, I can’t thank you and all the others enough for what you’ve done for me over the past two weeks or so. Kris always said you can never have enough friends, which is so true.”

“He’s right, especially in times of need. Dude, I just hate it for you. I hate to say this but I for one am glad it’s over.”

“Why’s that?” I asked, unsure of what he was about to say.

“A key member of our group was missing. It didn’t feel right without you here. Dude, I’ve missed you so much and I know Shawn has too. It takes all of us working together to make things just right. Things have been out of sync around here. We were never together like we usually were. You and Corey would be gone at the hospital. Kris and Colt were with their girls. It was different and I fucking hated it.”

“Thanks, but things will be back normal here shortly.”

“I forgot too how much Trevor, and especially Reese, missed you.”

“I know, and I hated that I could be around them more. Trevor really seemed to be doing great.”

“He is. He really hit it off with Reese. They hung out together and got to know each other. Trevor told me he and Reese talked a few times this week on the phone. It has really helped Trevor out since Landon found someone else. He feels alone and so isolated. Dude, I worry about him so much now and even more now. Just the little time he was here I felt we bonded pretty tight. We were away from home and able to speak our mind to each other with no worries. I just asked that he have better judgment in life than I have to this point.”

“Man, I’m glad to hear you and Trevor are doing well but hate that he feels alone now. I think Reese feels the same way, like Corey did when he was in high school.”

“You were fucking lucky, dude…”

“I know that is so true!”

Corey, Kris and Colt were off early this Friday night to join me for visitation at the funeral home. I dressed in my nicest jeans and button up shirt for the night, while the others did the same. I was able to get a few pictures of us since we were styling for this sad event. I hated the fact that my other rock, Mom, couldn’t make it until tomorrow. She and I had talked a lot since her visit, with me giving her updates each day.

At the funeral home, we found Gloria alone in the foyer. We entered the chapel where Dad lay in rest. Kris walked up and left quickly while Corey and Colt were there to comfort me. We walked out to find Kris sitting in the foyer with his head down in his hands.

“Bro, I can’t fucking do this,” Kris said. “Forgive me but I need to get out of here. There are just way too many bad memories of Nathan. So far, I’ve handled it okay but that did it for me.”

We hugged Kris while understanding his dilemma. 

“Kris, just stick around. I know there’ll be lots of people you’ll wanna see,” Colt said.

I gave Kris another hug, “Do whatever you want. I totally understand.”

“I’ll stay for you but I’m not going anywhere near that body,” Kris said. “It is so hard to see him like that.”

We re-entered the chapel with Kris taking a back seat. At six, the people began flowing in the room. At first, it was some of Dad’s co-workers at the factory, along with some people related to Gloria. The first of my friends were naturally Scott and Shawn. Slowly, all my friends from the dorm came to see me. It was great to see them all. I did everything possible to make sure I spoke with them. A big smile came on my face when I saw Juan and his expecting wife come in. 

“Matt, it is so great to see ya and all the guys,” Juan stated. “I had to come since you came to my grandmother’s funeral and to our wedding.”

“Thanks. So, Felicia, are you doing okay?” I asked.

“I am. I’m ready to have this baby,” she replied.

“I am too,” Juan said. “Matt, sorry but I have to work tomorrow so I won’t be able to come to the funeral.”

“It’s cool. I’m just glad you came tonight,” I said. “I’m sure everyone is glad to see ya now.”

Juan smiled, “It’s like a family reunion up in here.”

Next Rick came with his girlfriend Kathy to offer their condolences. He knew Dad had been in the hospital but didn’t realize how serious it was. 

Again I had to smile when I saw Noah and Kendall in the back. I knew someone was here with the uproar in the chapel. I walked back to see them and join in the conversation. I didn’t even have to ask how they knew for I knew Scott was busy on his phone.

With all of them there, the time flew by. I know we were louder than expected, but it happens when a good group of friends are together again, even if it was for this occasion. It also made it so much easier on me.

The next day, Saturday, after a really fun night in the room, I was up early and getting ready for what I knew would be a really rough day. Just before I was about to get dressed, Mom called and said she had a surprise for me. It was a nice thing she called a few minutes beforehand so we could tidy up the room and dispose of the beer cans and trash. There weren’t that many beer cans since no one drank much the night before.  

I went downstairs and spotted Mom and Vince coming across the parking lot. Mom was carrying a large item in her hand. The closer she got the clearer I could see and I saw she was carrying what appeared to be a suit. 

“Mom…” I said.

“Matt, you need to look your very best. I just pray it fits you,” she said handing me the black suit.

“Thanks, but you shouldn’t have,” I said taking the suit.

We went upstairs with Mom and Vince dressed nicely for the funeral. I warned them about us and that they may get to see some skin with us scurrying around to get ready. Mom and Vince took a seat on the couch while I headed off to put on the suit.

“Wow!” Corey said when he saw the suit. “I know you’ll look great in it.”

“I just hope it fits,” I said. Piece by piece I began putting on the suit. The shirt was little snug while the jacket and pants were a little big. 

“Damn, you do look so great. Now I feel so underdressed,” Corey said.

Glancing in our mirror, I was proud of my new suit. It did look really nice. I went out to get the new shoes, which were uncomfortable, and had Vince put on the tie on me. The three watched as Vince tied the tie around my neck and completed my look. Kris took a few pictures as I modeled the suit.

“Matt, Mom and Dad are on their way and should be here any time,” Kris stated.

“That’s great,” I stated.

Mom, Vince, Corey and I left early to meet Gloria and her son at the funeral home to ride in the family car to the cemetery. I was rather quiet with the reality starting to hit home that this was the end.

As we arrived at the cemetery, there looked to be a small crowd. We exited the car and headed to take our seats while the pall bearers, Dad’s co-workers, hauled the casket to the grave site. Once seated, I felt a hand on my shoulder and saw it was Kris there on this nice sunny day.

Thankfully for me, the service was very short. The minister read the obituary and said a few words. It was over. I sat there and stared at the casket with Corey holding me. We walked around to see the casket up close. I leaned over and kissed it before putting my boutonniere on the top. Corey was there to hold me while I walked away crying. 

Walking away with my head down and crying, there were soon many arms there to comfort me. The closest was Jess, who was wearing a nice dress shirt and slacks but looked a little rough, whereas the others were in jeans at Gloria and my request.

Breaking from the crowd, Mom, Vince, Walt, Jenny and Gloria were standing together. I had to bite my lower lip to keep from crying again for they were filling in the dirt on Dad’s grave. 

“Matt, would you and the rest of your group enjoy something to eat?” Mom asked.

“I guess. I’m rather hungry,” I replied.

“Go ask them and as many as want can come. Gloria is going with us,” Mom stated.

“I know Kris will be hungry,” Walt stated.

“Okay,” I said. I walked back over and invited all who were willing to join us for lunch. I didn’t have to pull many arms, with most agreeing to come along. I estimated at least 20 would be going. Vince laughed and said he’d foot the bill until Walt interrupted and pitched in as well.

It took some thinking but we decided to head over to a deli near the school to enjoy our lunch together. First, we rode back to the funeral home and got in our cars to meet the crew that was patiently waiting. I made sure Mom and Vince got to meet those they didn’t know, including Bishop, Ted, Luke, Myles, Joe and Antonio. 

After we ate, I said a final and very lengthy goodbye to Gloria with a promise to keep in touch. Once back at the dorm, Mom and Vince needed to head back as well and had came into town just for the funeral. Now, it was time for my life to continue as it had before the call came that Dad was in the hospital. 

Corey and I entered the room with Kris and Colt waiting there for us. “Bro, are you doing okay?” Kris asked me while Corey and I took a seat.

“I’m doing okay. All I will say is I couldn’t have made it without the three of you, as well as the rest of them. When the chips are down, you know who you can really count on. I found out I have a bunch that I can count on,” I said.

“There are a lot of people that care for you, Matt,” Colt said. “Chase and Tabor wanted to come but couldn’t make it.  They send their best to you.”

“I know. Chase called me the other night. I appreciate that so very much,” I said. “Now, are we ready to get things back to normal around here? I know I am. I feel like I’ve missed so much.”

“You really haven’t missed much, but you do know what next weekend is, right?” Kris asked.

“Spring Break and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I so need it right now, and will even more so after this week,” I replied.

“We all need it. I’ve got a shit load of tests,” Colt stated.

“Me too,” Corey said. “Imagine if Larry would have passed next week, or worse, the week after.”

“I just knew he would die during spring break,” I said. “I guess that’s the silver lining in all of this. I’m so ready to get out of this suit, too.”

“Why? You look really hot in it, doesn’t he Corey?” Kris stated.

“Oh man, he does,” Corey said. “The next time we have sex I want him to start with it on.”

“Yeah, this has taken a big toll on y’all’s sex life, huh?” Colt asked.

“Mmmm… a little,” I replied.

“I don’t mind at all. When we have, it’s been so on fire,” Corey stated.

“So, Kris, all this sex talk and not one word from you,” I said.

“Bro, I’m not going to fuck and tell…” Kris said.

“That’s some bullshit right there,” Colt said.

“If it is, then tell me what I’ve told you so far since I’ve been with Megan?” Kris stated.

“Nothing, so I assume you’re not getting any,” Colt said.

“For your info bro, I have been, but that’s between Megan and me,” Kris said.

“Get a few beers in him and how hot that pussy is will start coming out of his mouth like those cum shots have out his dick,” Colt stated. We laughed at his unique analogy.

“Say, would anyone care to run to the Rec Center for a while?” I asked. “I’m aching to get back there.”

“Of course we’ll go,” Kris said and stood. “Are you sure though?”

“I can do that or sit and grieve,” I replied. “I’m tired of crying for the moment. I know there will be days to come when I do but I’m so damn ready to get back to life.”

We dressed and called around to see who was willing to go. We had our regular crew when we headed over. I worked harder than ever to get my blood pumping and the sweat flowing. 

As I was working out with Shawn, an idea hit me, “Shawn, I’d really like to do something nice for everyone as my way of saying thanks. Could I talk you into buying a few cases for everyone to enjoy tonight?”

“I’ll do it for you, but you don’t owe me a thing. I’ve felt your pain. I only wish I’d had a few weeks to spend every day with my Dad before he passed away,” Shawn stated.

“I know they will enjoy it and it will have things back to normal around here.”

“Dude, we’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed everyone too. Shawn, I do appreciate each time you took the time to be there with me at the hospital.”

“Ah, it was nothing. I have a feelin’ you’d do the same for me and the rest of us. Even though we were close before, now I feel that much closer. One of us was hurting and the entire group was hurting. It’s amazing to see a bunch of guys that really care for each other. You don’t see that every day in today’s world.”

“Boy, you sure don’t,” I said and finished up.

I knew things were getting closer to being back to normal when the banter in the locker room was the same. We talked like we always did while showering. I did get a great laugh watching a towel fight between Colt and Kris. Kris was running around the locker room naked with Colt behind him. The others who were there probably didn’t know what to think. 

Back in the room, I gave Shawn some cash that I had saved up with some of it being from my night of poker. He and Bishop left without saying a word to the others. We were kicked back in our shorts and talking while they avoided Dad’s death. 

After we ate, we had a room full, like we usually did for a Saturday night. I stood once everyone was back, “Guys, you don’t know how much each of you mean to me now. I’m looking at the best group of friends ever. All of you took time away from your schedule to be there for me. Dad really enjoyed meeting you and hearing you add to my stories I told him. As my way of saying thanks, I got Shawn and Bishop to buy some beer for you to enjoy.”

“Bro, you shouldn’t have,” Kris said.

“I wanted to,” I said.

“Hey, you won’t hear me complaining, especially since this is a rarity; Matt buying for us,” Colt smiled.

“Well, hell yeah, let’s start enjoying this,” Alex stated.

“Why now?” Scott asked. “It could have waited.”

“Well next week starts Spring Break for us, so why not? Dad liked to drink, plus I feel like this is normal for us and natural. I want everyone to have a good time,” I said.

“Hell, we even did that at the hospital,” Scott said.

“I know, but I’m so glad that is over,” I said with Kris shoving a beer in my hand. 

“Everyone grab a beer. We need to toast Matt,” Kris stated loudly.

“Damn right we do,” Shawn said. 

With beer cans high in the air, they toasted me and brought a smile to my face. After a while, the girls joined us and showed me some love. Now I can say Toni isn’t the only girl who has ever kissed me after quite a few of the girls kissed my cheek and gave me a big hug. 

Our room was hectic for a while with Rick coming down to make sure we were okay. He didn’t stay very long and told us to be safe. With so many of us partaking in my thank you gift, it would be hard for someone to get really drunk. 

As I was sitting with Shawn, Ted walked up to me and asked to speak with me alone. I got up and followed him to my room where I shut the door behind me. 

“Matt, I can’t thank you enough,” he said.

“For what?”

“With your help, I made a high B in our accounting class. I just checked a while ago online and saw Mr. Jackson just posted our scores. I bet you aced it.”

I snickered, “I doubt that with everything going on around me.” I pulled out my phone and was able to log in to see my grade. I eked out an A and was shocked.

“See, I told you,” he said after I showed it to him. “If you’re not busy this week, I could use your help in my Econ class.”

“I don’t see it being a problem.”

“Awesome. You’re the best there is. Dude, I admire your strength and courage. Hell I was a basket case after my dad passed away this summer. You have handled it really well.”

“Ted, thanks, but I had my moments. I can see where you took it hard. I really just reconnected with my Dad last year when he spotted me at a game. I’m sure it would have been harder if he’d been in my life the entire time like your dad was. It was hard enough but I’m satisfied with the way we connected during his final days. It’s just a shame it took something like that for us to really connect.”

“It’s still hard, huh?”

“It is, but I still have my mom. That, I’m sure, makes it harder now that you’ve lost both of your parents. I’d be fucking crazy if it had been my Mom.”

“I can see that. She does love her boy. You do favor your mom more than your dad, but people say I look just like my mom too whereas my brother is spitting image of Dad.”

“Hey, I hope Reese is able to make it back again sometime. I really hated that I had to be gone…”

“It’s cool. He really likes Trevor.”

We talked a little longer before Corey opened the door. He was looking for me and making sure I was okay. “Ted didn’t wanna brag about his accounting grade,” I said to Corey.

“Your boyfriend is ace, Corey, you’re one lucky man,” Ted said. “You know I need to find me a girl. I feel so left out now that Kris has one.”

“Thanks. I’m sure if you just mention you’re available and they’ll flock to you,” Corey said.

“I know, but I want the right one. I know one day she’ll come along, but first I need to open to the idea of it,” Ted stated.

“I’m sure it will be tough since you’re the big superstar,” I said.

“Damn Matt, don’t remind me,” Ted said.

“Embrace it, dude,” Corey said.

“I try to, like that day I went to the hospital, but I’m just a football player. That’s all I ever wanted to be,” Ted said.

We talked just a while longer before Myles interrupted us. We went back out to the crowd with people in every space now, including in Colt and Kris’s room. It appeared as though word had trickled out the party room was back open for business. More than anything I was glad to see everyone and couldn’t get the smile off my face. 

We were sitting around when Kris spoke up, “Are we excited about next weekend?”

“Hell yeah,” Shawn replied.

“What’s next weekend?” Cody asked. He and his roommate Ethan seemed to have a keen sense when we were partying and slowly had been a part of our growing crew.

“Spring Break, bro,” Kris replied with one arm around Megan and a beer in the other hand. “We’re all going camping. If you’ve got a tent, you’re more than welcome to join us.”

“Fucking sweet, dude,” Ethan said. “We’ll let ya know, but that sounds like a fucking plan to me.”

Corey looked at me and was shaking his head. I was thinking the same thing. We had enough as it was already with the possibility of Jess and a friend joining us as well. By my count, there was close to twenty that were going, but only a select few that would continue on to Bishop’s lake house after the camping excursion was finished. We discussed the trip a little more before calling it a night. 

With everyone gone but Kris, Colt and their girlfriends, I grabbed Corey by the hand and pulled him off the floor where we were sitting. “Thanks for everything,” I said to them.

“No bro, thank you!” Kris said. “Sleep tight.”

“I will,” I said and led Corey to our room not caring about the others and what might happen. I wanted to show the best boyfriend ever how much he really meant to me for being there for me during this struggle in my life. We did our thing before I stopped him from stripping down naked. The thrill was still there revealing Corey’s naked body to me. 

Standing naked, Corey said, “Tough day, huh?”

“Parts were, but I’m good now,” I said. “Corey, please allow me to make great love to you. I love you and want you to know it.”

“I know you love me as much as I love you, Matt, you don’t owe me one thing.”

“I said I want to.”

Corey smiled, “Okay then. I could use my fucking hot boyfriend’s love as well.”


TO BE CONTINUED…

My hope is you were able to enjoy this chapter.  I'm sorry for bringing up some old emotions by writing this part.  This is only fiction whereas most of you have dealt with this unhappy subject matter in the real world.  I've been touched by your personal emails that you've sent me.  Thanks!!!

As always, you're welcome to comment below.