year into medical school, Josh was having doubts. Did he want to become a doctor
or not? And if not a doctor, then what? After arranging to take a leave of absence,
Bill made him an offer. "Come to Greece with me," Bill said. "Ive
always dreamed of going, but I dont want to go by myself. You can look at
it as pay for your company." |
was living in Bills basement apartment. Three months after meeting his new
boyfriend, Christian, Josh was talking about living together. "Not here,"
Bill said. "Its a single unit apartment. Besides, you cant afford
to pay the rent, let alone support your boyfriend." Josh gave Christian a
thousand dollars. He was an artist and couldnt afford what the dentist was
charging to re-construct the tooth he chipped cracking walnuts. "I should
mind my own business, but youve got a leech on your neck," Bill said.
Even though theyd never met, Christian disliked Bill, too. He questioned
Bills motives. He wondered why Josh agreed to go with him to Greece in the
wont be here for New Years either," Christian pointed out.
weeks will fly. Well celebrate when I get back."
you survive the trip, that is." Christian was referring to Bill. Josh looked
at him, but didnt say anything. "What do you think of these ribbons
anyhow?" They were decorating Christians tree with hundreds of AIDS
not exactly festive, but it works."
think its morose?" Like every year, Christian was worried that this
would be his last Christmas. Another purple lesion was flowering on his back.
fine. At least its not boring and traditional."
of morose, does Mr. Morose know youll be sleeping in separate beds when
youre in Greece?"
He does." Josh was getting annoyed. "You said you were okay with this."
"I am. Im
kidding. Go. Enjoy yourself. If nothing else, you could use some sun."
Josh said, offended. "Do I really look that pale?" Christian wasnt
answering. He was pinning more red ribbons. "You know, if you want me to
back out, I will. Ill stay and spend the holidays here, if thats whats
looked at him. "Youre kidding, right?"
Im serious. Ill cancel."
laughed a little in frustration. "You cant cancel at this point."
Now he wanted Josh to go. "Bill would kill you. And probably me too."
If Josh cancelled, Bill would lose the money for both tickets since he wasnt
likely to go by himself. Josh owed Bill eight hundred dollars, the rent for August
and September. Bill agreed to wait for the money, but with what was left of his
student loan, Josh didnt know how he was going to buy groceries, let alone
pay back the rent. If it werent for Bill, he might be crawling back to live
with his mother in Smithville.
sorry," Josh said, "It was a bad decision. I wish I could change it."
Christian wouldnt acknowledge his apology; he kept on pinning the ribbons,
his eyes averted, fixed on the work of his deft, masculine fingers. "Im
not exactly thrilled about spending three weeks in Greece with Bill," Josh
It seemed like
a good idea at first, escaping to the Mediterranean, where he could make a decision
about medical school. "Your grandfather isnt going to live much longer,"
his mother said. For forty-seven years, his grandfather served his country as
a military doctor; he was decorated for saving the lives of hundreds of soldiers
in Normandy. The ones who died were chasing him through the halls of the nursing
home. "He has Alzheimers, mother. He wouldnt even I know was
there." Josh was calling to say he wouldnt be home for Christmas. That
made it two years in a row. When his mother asked where he was getting the money
to go to Greece, he lied and told her that Bill won the tickets in a contest.
"This way I can recharge my batteries before starting next semester."
His mother was silent on the other end. Josh could hear her breathing through
the phone. "Were doing cardiology, which is extremely difficult."
He wasnt about to tell her that he might not become a doctor.
more Josh learned in medical school, the more he knew how entirely possible it
was to kill somebody. He might administer the wrong drug, overlook a critical
symptom, drop a slippery baby on its head. He might misdiagnosis what appeared
to be a minor medical problem, a headache that turned out to be a brain tumour,
when it was too late to save the young childs life. He had dreams and couldnt
sleep. In one dream, Christian was the patient, bleeding to death on an operating
table after Josh snipped his carotid artery, mistaking it for the stem of a yellow
rose in his mothers garden. "Maybe the fear of killing Christian is
what you need to leave medical school," Bill said. "Its your sub-conscious
mind telling you that becoming a doctor isnt your destiny. That, or its
telling you something significant about your boyfriend."
On the plane to Greece, thousands of miles above the Atlantic Ocean, Josh was
beginning to worry. Although he knew it would be far too soon, he checked the
lymph nodes in his neck for swelling. He put on his headphones and looked at the
clouds. Except for last night, Josh always insisted on using a condom. When he
first met Christian, the HIV made fucking hotter and more intense, just latex
to restrain the invisible but present danger.
morning after sex, Christian said vaguely, "You cant have everything
in a relationship." After five months together, it was clear he wasnt
happy. Sex with Josh was predictable and limited. To make matters worse, Josh
was flying off to Greece with Bill. "I know youre just friends,"
Christian said about Bill. "But I didnt think youd be going to
Greece with him."
closed his eyes and held down the sick rumble in his stomach. The plane lurched,
and lurched again. If they crashed into the Atlantic, it wouldnt matter
if Christian were planning to be rid of him. It wouldnt even matter if the
virus were inside his body, happily making a billion copies of itself.
thing I brought Gravol," Bill said. The turbulence wasnt letting up.
It was getting worse.
need Valium," Josh replied.
You, my dear, need the candy man," Bill said, producing a baggie
full of assorted drugs and vitamins. "Which colour would you like?"
endured two straight hours of turbulence, the chaos of three international airports
and a delayed flight from Germany, not to mention long hours at a stretch when
Bill could not have a cigarette. When they landed in Greece, they were speaking
to each other just enough to manage the logistics of arriving in a foreign country.
"Downtown Athens. Take us to the closest, decent hotel," Bill told the
cab driver. "Nothing too expensive." By coincidence, their flight attendant
from Frankfurt to Athens was sitting in the front seat.
yes, the vegetarian platter. Hello again," Kurt said, smiling, when he realized
who they were. Kurt was a tall and beautiful god. On the plane, he made the mistake
of taking Bill for Joshs father. Bill was forty-three and going bald. "If
he werent so hot, hed be useless," Bill said, after Kurt brought
him Beef Wellington instead of a vegetarian platter, which Bill specially ordered
when he purchased the tickets in Toronto. As the cab raced off, Kurt turned and
smiled at Josh in the backseat. "We need sleep," Bill said, raising
Hotel, where the cab dropped them off, did not have an elevator. When Bill threatened
to take his business elsewhere, the old man at the front desk picked up the phone.
Whoever answered on the other end was already yelling. The man at the desk said
something angry in Greek and banged down the phone. A minute later, an old man
with no teeth appeared in the lobby. Except for their teeth, the two men were
identical twins. The toothless brother smiled and escorted them up the four flights
to their room, carrying the lightest of Bills bags. He smelled like cherry
cigars and so did their room. As soon they walked in, Josh threw his bag on the
bed by the window. "Ill take that one."
rather be closer to the washroom anyhow," Bill said. He flopped on the other
bed and kicked off his new, white tennis shoes. "I packed my chastity belt,
so you dont have to worry about me raping you in the middle of the night."
but did you leave the key at home?"
after Josh moved into Bills basement apartment, they were seeing movies
together at the repertory cinema near the university. Usually Bill insisted on
paying, which was fine by Josh. "When youre a rich doctor, you can
pay me back," Bill would say if Josh attempted to protest. They saw Persona
twice, which Bill said was a true film experience. Because Josh was busyif
he wasnt studying, he was swimming laps at the poolBill was one of
the few gay men hed met since moving to Toronto. Late one night, when Josh
was studying, Bill made two flavored coffees and took them on a silver tray, downstairs,
to Joshs apartment.
was in his plaid, terry-cloth bathrobe and slippers. "Im not interrupting
your studying, I hope."
was memorizing the names of tiny, facial muscles. "Yes, you are, but thats
okay. Please interrupt me."
Im here to rescue you. Somebodys got to take care of the doctor,"
Bill said, moving a pile of textbooks off the kitchen table. "Because youre
I need is a good shrink."
Freud at your service," Bill said, serving Josh a mug of rich, steaming coffee.
"Its Hazelnut Cream. I brought sweetener or sugar. Which would you
of Joshs first year at medical school, Bill was coming down the stairs to
the apartment several times a week in his slippers. He brought things for Josh,
warm carrot muffins or recent issues of magazines he subscribed to, Playgirl
and The Advocate. "Im always thinking about you," Bill
said. "Youre always on my mind." He invited Josh to spend Thanksgiving
at his sisters cottage in the Laurentians. "It will be just the two
of us and the fireplace. You can relax or study, whatever youd like. Nothing
but peace and quiet." All weekend, Bill stoked the fire and joked about having
sex with Josh, who was studying the autonomic nervous system for an exam. "Just
let me know when you need to study anatomy," Bill said. Dark hairs were growing
in Bills ears. It would be like having sex with his uncle. "We could
play doctor. My prostate probably needs checking."
To Josh, Athens was a fast, choking city. During their stay, which blurred to
a week, he welcomed the distractions of being a tourist. Bill wanted to visit
the Acropolis first, where he bought a Melina Mercouri t-shirt and postcards of
ancient statues, nude gods and warriors, a kings lover in white marble.
The smooth, male bodies were no longer perfect and complete. Some were missing
their genitals. "Chopped off by the Christians," Bill said. "Or
was it the surgeons?" Josh was amazed he could make light of it. When Bill
turned forty, he found a lump on his testicle. After surgery and a few weeks in
hospital, the cancer was gone, and so was his testicle. "Even in ruins, its
a spectacular place," Bill said. Just a few other tourists were visiting
the Parthenon, small groups of Japanese girls, writing quickly in notepads as
they followed their guides. The wind carried their light, questioning voices.
At the Olympic ruins,
the quiet was different and eerie. Josh wandered up the eroded stairs to the top
of the stadium. A sea gull was suspended in the perfect, blue sky above his head.
He closed his eyes and tried to hear the cheers, the stadium overflowing with
a great Olympians victory, where now there was silence. Bill was the only
other person in the stadium, or what was left of it. Although he was far below,
Josh could hear him coughing. Bill looked lost and vulnerable, sitting there alone,
looking out on what was left of history.
part of Josh wished he could give Bill what he wanted, to somehow take away his
loneliness. Except for his sister in Montreal, Bills family was dead and
buried. "Cant say I was too upset when the old man died." Bills
father tripped down the stairs of the Horseshoe Hotel and broke his neck. Except
for his three-year relationship with Henry, a co-worker, who turned out to be
an alcoholic and a liar, Bill was chronically single, and always looking. Very
early one morning, after accusing Josh of using him for the apartment, Bill came
down the stairs in his bathrobe and knocked lightly. "Im very sorry
about last night. I shouldnt have said what I did." Bills eyes
were puffy and red. "I just need to know that you love me," Bill said.
"Not that youre in love with me, but that you love me." Josh couldnt
see the difference, not where Bill was concerned, but Bill was standing in the
doorway, waiting for a response. "I do love you, Bill," Josh said. "I
love all of my friends."
On their last day in Athens, Josh decided to buy an icon, a Christmas present
for Christian, which hed give him when he returned to Toronto. Christian
was a painter. He loved Byzantine art. After three hours of searching the tourist
galleriesBill was countingJosh finally found an icon he could afford.
A small icon of the Virgin Mary. "Its not a fake! Hand-painted on pure
gold leaf," the salesman said, loudly to Bill, who had questioned its authenticity.
After the hours of
searching Athens for Christians present, they stopped at an outdoor café
by the waterfront to rest their feet. "Why dont you ever buy me things?"
Bill said, out of the blue, as he was stirring a fifth sugar cube into his cappuccino.
tried to be gentle. "Because youre not my boyfriend," he said.
This, of course, lead to a long, complicated and, eventually, heated discussion,
which was the third time, about whether or not Josh could ever be in love with
Bill. "You know, Im tired of talking about this," Josh said. "You
obviously dont respect what I want."
dont even know what you want," Bill muttered.
Josh wanted to hurt Bill, with cruel, unforgivable words, but he didnt.
In Greece, he was completely at Bills mercy. Bill was paying for everything.
He was holding the travelers cheques and their return tickets. Josh had
eighty-three American dollars and a maxed-out credit card in his wallet. That
was it. Whether Josh liked it or not, for two more weeks, he wasnt going
anywhere without Bill.
me, Bill. I know what I want," Josh said. Across the street from the café,
on the rocks by the harbour, a fisherman was flogging a squid. It thudded like
rubber against the rock. "Weve had this discussion a million times,
Bill. Dont you agree its getting a little tired? I just want to be
your friend. How do I convince you of that? And is that such a bad thing anyhow?"
Bill was frozen in
time, staring at his sticky pastry without blinking. When he was finished being
silent, Bill looked over at the fisherman. "Makes it tender," he said.
is it to get rid of the ink?" Josh asked. The squid thudded against the rock.
"A squid has ink, doesnt it?" Josh wanted to be talking, any subject
would do. Not talking was ridiculous and exhausting. He was afraid he might blurt
out that he hated Bill and didnt know why the hell he was in Greece with
thudded against the rock again. "Im sorry if Im ruining your
trip," Bill said. "I do respect what you want, Josh. Your happiness
means more to me than anything in the world." He reached over and squeezed
Joshs hand, smiling at him with true, complicated eyes. "My own happiness
is important too," Bill added, because he needed to remind himself, "but
youll always be next in line."
the time the fisherman was finished flogging the squid, Bill was cheerful, eating
the chocolate shavings off his pastry and listing off where else they could go
in Greece. "Santorinis a must," he said. "The lost city of
Atlantis, or whats left of it, that is." Josh slid back into the chair
and held the sun on his face. Christian said not to call while he was away. It
would be too expensive. "We should definitely go to Crete," Bill said.
"It has fabulous ruins." Sitting there, listening to Bill, Josh couldnt
picture Christians face, not all of it. He could see the moon-shaped scar
above Christians eyebrow and his eyes, so brown they pulled you in. He could
see his own finger tracing the broken cartilage in Christians nose.
I dont think the ferry goes to Mykonos in the winter," Bill said. "Wed
have to fly, which would be outrageously expensive."
It was not an unpleasant week in Crete, staying at a vacant hostel in Paleochora,
nobody on the beach but the two of them. They walked in the cool sand until sunset,
Josh collecting unusual stones for Christians aquarium, Bill reminiscing
about things that had happened between them over the past year: the basement flooding,
going as Sonny and Cher for Halloween, their weekend at his sisters
cottage. Sometimes Bill laughed at himself for the shit and craziness of their
relationship, which is what he called it. Josh said, "Were both crazy,
so dont worry about it." Finally, they were getting along, enjoying
one anothers company, making the best of it. Still, Josh was counting down
seemed like a distant problem now, a problem going on in another country that
didnt directly involve him. He was thinking constantly about Christian,
their last night playing over and over in his head. Wanting Christian to be happy.
Releasing the danger. His own words: "Take the condom off." Christian
hardly making a sound as they fucked, his eyes closed, lost in the deep pulse
of his body into Joshs. The condom on the floor.
Paleochora, Bill asked that they not talk about Christian for the remainder of
the trip, and Josh agreed. It would make the trip easier. Josh let it slip out
that, occasionally, Christian wanted to fuck without a condom. "Hes
getting tired of condoms," Josh said. "Hes been infected for eleven
years." Bill was appalled. He was the bookkeeper at the AIDS hospice in Toronto.
"I dont really care if hes selfish and thinks with his dick,"
Bill said. "Im just concerned about you."
Christmas morning, at the hostel, because they thought they should mark the occasion,
Bill and Josh exchanged the small gifts theyd picked up for each other in
Paleochora. A hand-painted mug for Josh. For Bill, Ouzo-filled chocolates. Also
for Bill, because it seemed odd but useful, a blue glass ashtray, a tacky souvenir
featuring the Acropolis, before it was in ruins, "Made in USA" written
on the back. "I love it. Its brilliant!" Bill said. Exchanging
gifts made missing Christian even worse. When the day was over and Bill was asleep,
Josh snuck down to the beach and jerked off into the Mediterranean.
leaving Crete, Bill suggested they take some photos of Josh on the beach. It was
the excuse Josh needed to put on his new Burt Lancaster swimsuit. Besides, Christian
had said he needed some sun. "Lie back a bit," Bill said. "Youre
in a shadow." The sun was barely hot, but Josh was soaking up what he could.
"Okay, flex." Bill snapped the photo. "Very hot. Burt couldnt
touch you." He snapped again. "You sure you dont want to take
it off?" Josh laughed at him. "Im serious," Bill said. Josh
was still laughing. "Nobodys around." The beach was deserted.
"Ill give you the negatives." If Bill wanted to take some photos,
why not? Josh pulled off the swimsuit and tossed it on the chaise-lounge. "Forget
medicine," Bill said. "You could make a fortune in porno."
In Santorini, where they went after Crete, they were staying at a small hotel,
carved into the black, volcanic cliffs of the islands crater, overlooking
the turquoise sea. It was a place on a postcard. According to Bill, the crater
was the result of a cataclysmic explosion that destroyed Atlantis and changed
the course of Western civilization. Now it was a great, volcanic scar, where they
were spending their final days in Greece.
Christmas, Bill insisted on celebrating New Years Eve. "We have to
celebrate," Bill said. "If the wines not flowing, well be
cursed by the gods. Were in the lost city of Atlantis, for chrissake. How
could we not celebrate?" By that point, it didnt much matter. Bill
was paying for his company; he would do what Bill wanted.
Bills sake, if not for his own, Josh was determined to be in a good mood.
It was New Years Eve. He was in Greece. He was trying to be grateful. Back
in Toronto, Bill made muffins for him and wasnt asking for the overdue rent.
After the trip was over, they would need to be friends. Josh shaved for the first
time in a week and changed into a wrinkled dress shirt.
for a pack of stray dogs barking in the streets, Santorini was deserted. Eventually,
they found the one restaurant on the island that was open. It was overflowing
with hilarious laughter and celebration, the locals singing boldly in rounds.
Bill pointed out that they were the only tourists in the place.
I take your order?" the waitress said, in perfect English without the trace
of an accent. Bill asked what her name was and how she knew English. She lived
in Santorini. Her father owned the restaurant. Every summer, Mary worked in London
as a nanny so she could escape the flood of European tourists. The Americans,
she didnt mind.
would you and your son like for dinner?" Mary asked.
just looks young for his age," Bill explained. "Actually, Im not
even old enough to be his father." By this point, he was used to people asking.
Bill was seventeen years older, which made him old enough to be Joshs father.
Mary looked skeptical.
"The squid is superb," she said. "Have you tried squid yet in Greece?"
The squid it is," Bill said. "Another tough decision." In Greece,
their decisions, for the most part, concerned straightforward, daily matters:
what to eat, when to take a shower, which pair of shoes Bill should wear that
day. Josh was hardly thinking about medical school, let alone making a decision.
After Mary brought
their wine, Bill proposed a toast, "To New Years in Atlantis!"
Josh summoned as much enthusiasm as he could, and their glasses clinked. "To
the lost city!" Bill took a large swallow of wine and put down his glass.
He sat there, squinting at Josh. "Are you okay?" he said. "You
seem a little pre-occupied."
just got a lot on my mind. Im sorry."
and no. I dont really want to talk about it." Josh was staring into
his wine glass to avoid Bills eyes. The wine was dark and red.
boyfriend, by any chance?"
didnt answer at first. Bill rarely referred to Christian by his name. "I
thought we werent going to talk about my boyfriend?"
if we dont talk about your boyfriend, Im going to be looking at your
pretty face go glum all night, and, frankly, my dear, I was hoping to have a pleasant
sorry," Josh said. It was New Years Eve. "Youre right. Im
sorry." Josh sat up in the chair and gave Bill a smile. A man at the next
table was standing on a chair, leading his table in boisterous song. Bills
glass, Josh noticed, was already nearly empty. "More wine?" Josh asked,
reaching for the bottle.
whats going on?" Bill persisted. "Obviously, somethings
biting your ass. Did you let him fuck you without a condom?" In the silence
that followed, Josh was considering his answer. "Youre kidding me?"
He stopped pouring wine into Bills glass and put down the bottle. "What
the hells wrong with you, Josh?"
thought to deny it, knowing that the truth would only make Bill angry. "Yes,
I did. I let him fuck me without a condom," Josh said. It came out like a
well-rehearsed confession. "Im not sure what else I can say. I wanted
his cum inside me." At the time, it didnt matter to Josh. Getting infected
from just one fuck seemed unlikely. If the virus slipped into his blood, it would
link their bodies irrevocably, and give them a reason to stay together. "I
know it was stupid, but I cant change it now, and I dont need a lecture."
you know what? Good. Lets not talk about this," Bill said. "Im
just going to end up getting pissed off." Bill called Mary over with a large
wave of his arm, and he ordered another bottle of wine.
they finished their dinner, which they agreed was the best squid theyd ever
tasted, Bill said, "You know, Josh, what really hurts is that I would never,
ever do anything to hurt you. I certainly would never ask to fuck you without
It was Joshs idea. They were looking for a party in the rain. It was soon
obvious that Mary had given them the wrong directions. They turned back and walked
quickly up the dark road, looking for a small, white building with blue shutters,
which described nearly all of them. Wherever they went, the pack of stray dogs
followed, barking and barking. Bill wondered if the dogs were rabid. "Lets
try that other road," Josh said. "We can easily find it." Theyd
finished three bottles of wine at dinner; Josh was ready to go.
wasnt sure. The rain was persistent and cold. "I say we head back to
the hotel," he said. "The rains getting worse and Im freezing."
They argued over Josh
not wanting to go back to the hotel. By the time they found the party down another
dark, muddy road, they were soaked, and barely talking. They sat inside a loud
bar, dripping wet. Red and blue light bounced off the walls. The place was empty,
except for the bartender, and what appeared to be a seven-foot tall drag queen
with a yellow boa. The bartenders t-shirt was stretched tight over muscle.
When he came to get their order, he said, "Yes, please."
does the party get going?" Josh inquired. The bartender leaned over and shouted
into Joshs ear in broken English. Josh smiled and shouted back, "Thank
you." They were too early. Josh understood that much. "We could hang
around for a drink and see what happens," Josh shouted, over the music, to
Bill looked at
his watch. "Fifty-three minutes to midnight. Lets go back to the room,"
he said. Josh was noticing the bartenders thick, hairy forearms. They sat
there for a minute, not making a decision as the bartender wiped their table clean.
"I come soon," he shouted into Joshs ear, before he turned his
beautiful ass, and walked back to the bar.
place is dead," Bill said. "Lets go back to the room. Im
soaking wet and I dont want to stay here."
a short, derisive laugh. "You want the bartender."
just his ass."
a bottle of wine in the room, Josh. Well get drunk. Drunker. You can strip
down and Ill give you a massage."
though he was soaked, Josh was pleasantly intoxicated and happy. In a few days,
they would be back in Toronto. The bartender was a definite possibility. Christian
might be at the bathhouse, getting it without a condom, for all Josh knew. He
couldnt sit in the room again, another endless night, New Years Eve,
listening to Bill wheezing and snoring. "Im going to stay," Josh
finally said. "You go ahead, if you want, but Im going to hang around
and see what happens."
sat there for a minute, not saying anything, but Josh could feel him starting
to boil. He leaned over and shouted into Joshs ear, "Youve got
a boyfriend, dont forget."
wasnt going to argue. "Cant hurt to flirt a little."
twitch started going in Bills upper lip. Now he was glaring at Josh. "If
youre planning to pick up, dont bother bringing your trick back to
my hotel room." He stood up, in one gesture, with his whole body, and made
for the door. Bill could have shamed Bette Davis. In a minute, the bartender came
over, sheepishly, and asked Josh if everything was okay.
fine," Josh said. "Can I get a beer please?"
the end of his beer, the place was still empty, and they were still playing Madonna.
Josh sat at the bar, in wet clothes, thinking about Christian, missing him, wondering
what he was doing at that very moment. He finished his beer and said good-bye
to the bartender, whose boyfriend, unfortunately, was the drag queen.
Josh left the bar, the moon was an imposing, white spotlight. It was no longer
raining. The stray dogs were quiet now, sleeping in a huddle on the road. If he
ran, hed make it back in time to ring in midnight with Bill. He could raise
a toast: To Greece! To the lost city of Atlantis! A few minutes before midnight,
Josh was hurrying down the illuminated cliff, down the steep stairs to their hotel,
moonlight reflecting off the black, still water in the crater.
was probably still awake. They still had an unopened bottle of wine. They could
use the water glasses in the washroom. Josh knocked once and waited. That was
their agreement, a gesture of respect in case one of them was masturbating. "Its
me, Bill. Hello! Happy New..."
Josh opened the door, Bill was lunging toward him. From there, Josh wasnt
sure what was happening. In an instant, his heart was racing. He was pinning Bill
to the bed, restraining him, Bill panting and gasping, kicking to break free,
a desperate, trapped animal. A fire was burning in Joshs ear. Again, it
came. Again, Josh could see the rage in Bills eyes as Bill lunged toward
him with the ashtray, that unreal moment, that blur after opening the door and
stepping into the room. There were blue shards of glass on the floor, blood running
from Joshs ear. He was struggling, using all his weight to hold Bill down.
The white sheets soaked up drops of Joshs blood. Then, just as suddenly
as it started, Bill went silent and limp. Deep sobs of grief started shaking from
his body. At first, without words, and then with the words "I love you, Josh.
I love you so much."
love you too." Josh said. He repeated the words as he held Bill down.