And A Child is Born - 17. Done Roaming
“Well, it is good that you guys have finished your roaming and returned home. With school back in session, maybe you will be around for a while, instead of globetrotting.”
Yonatan laughed at Ayal. It was their first conversation since he and Matan had returned to Williamsburg after being in Brussels and Paris for the winter break from school.
“I hope you had a good New Year. What did you and Zeke do since I wasn’t around to ply you with cheap champagne?”
“We have a life. Sometimes it includes you, but you know, given what it is like being in your elevated sphere, I need to keep some distance so I can have an objective view of what is going on in the world.”
They both laughed.
“Really, Yonatan. How are you and how is Matan? I can’t believe the shit that came down. Do you like your new house?”
“I am still repairing relationships with people who are dear to me while Matan is intent on taking a larger world view. I told him we have enough work to do in our personal lives without repairing the entire fucking world.”
Ayal laughed at what Yonatan said.
“Ah, but don’t you understand that when you repair your personal world, you are repairing the entire world?”
“Who is on the other end of this phone? Have you morphed into Rabbi Schulman?”
Ayal laughed and laughed.
“Okay, enough with Jewish philosophy. We have business to discuss. When can you come to my office?”
They agreed on a time when Yonatan would travel to Norfolk. When Ayal was hired to oversee the family foundations and the guy’s personal financial life, he had negotiated with the law firm to have an office and support staff in their downtown office suite. It was working perfectly.
“Can you send me an agenda ahead of time so I know how to prepare?”
“Of course. You need to block off an entire afternoon.”
“Does Matan need to be present?”
“Only if you want him to be here.”
“He hates these meetings, so I will attend alone. Maybe he can join us later, and we can eat in Ghent. You know our favorite restaurant is there.”
“Great. Love to the both of you from the both of us. See you next Monday.”
The next morning was going to be another first for them. Matan and Erick decided that they would start swimming at the college pool. With them living in Williamsburg, it made going to the pool very easy. Also, Erick was helping Nash with his physical therapy each morning before class. Matan said that he and Yonatan would help, also. They arrived at the pool house and went in. Erick was helping Nash put on his swimsuit, and Yonatan saw his friend’s legs for the first time, which almost made him throw up. Black had given him an overview of what had happened, but it was different seeing the injuries for the first time. There were huge scars on Nash’s legs where surgery had been performed to reset the bones. The perps had broken his legs, trying to get Nash to tell them where Yonatan and Matan were staying. Nash wouldn’t do it. They were going to break his arms, but the SWAT team intervened before they could continue their dastardly deeds. Yonatan couldn’t fathom the pain Nash must have been suffering. Yonatan knew that Nash did that to protect Yonatan, Matan, and the children. Yonatan decided he would do everything that was required to repay Nash.
There was a therapy pool for the football team that Nash used. The guys lifted Nash from his wheelchair into the pool. Erick and the physical therapist got into the pool and helped Nash move his legs. It was slow and methodical. Yonatan watched the pain on Nash’s face, but the athlete never complained. At the end of the session, he was lifted out of the pool into his wheelchair. He then smiled and said he wanted to watch everyone swim. Neither Matan nor Yonatan had been in the water since summer camp. Matan said he wasn’t sure he could do it.
“Matan, look at me. If I can make these legs work again, you can swim again. I promise that we will both be successful, so if you come to swim with me every day, I promise that I will walk across the stage at graduation.”
Matan grinned and said he was up for the challenge. Matan got in the pool and promptly sank to the bottom. He surfaced with tears in his eyes.
“Help me, Yonatan. I am doing this for Nash. Help me swim again.”
By the time they left that morning, Matan was splashing around in the water. There was nothing pretty about his moves, but he stayed afloat and moved up and down the lanes. Matan and Yonatan bonded again through this time together in the water. With all of life’s challenges they were facing, it was a special moment to remember their time at Camp Falls.
When they climbed out of the water, Nash gave a wolf whistle.
“I just wanted to stay so I could see your dicks in your wet swimsuits.”
He let out a loud laugh, and the guys joined him. When Erick came out of the water, the others whistled. Erick turned bright red. Erick put his hands in front of his crotch, which made Nash laugh even louder.
Nash remained in high spirits and slowly began to improve. The therapy was grueling, but he never complained. He and Matan developed small interim goals for improvement. The two formed a tight bond. Matan would help him put on his swimsuit, and neither was embarrassed anymore with their nudity. Yonatan tried not to be jealous when he saw Matan holding Nash and kissing his head. Nash had his arms around Matan’s shoulders, and Matan’s body shook as the tears ran down his cheeks. The two men were close as brothers and Matan’s heart ached for Nash. Nash would put on a good face for others but knew that he could open his heart and emotions to Matan. Matan treated those times as private and confidential. When Yonatan would come upon them, he would quietly back away to not disturb their intimacy. There was no jealousy, only a sense of gratitude that his husband had such a loving, caring heart.
Griffith and Todd would fly in each Friday night for the weekend. Griff, as he was now called, was gentle and patient with his boyfriend. Nash had convinced himself that Griff would never show his face again after seeing his legs. Griff proved that he was made of stronger stuff and promised Nash that they would walk down the aisle together when they married. Nash choked up and cried on his boyfriend’s shoulder. Griff also convinced Nash that they would live in a family home in London so they would be close to businesses where they could find employment. Nash didn’t know if Griff was saying this just to make him feel better or if he meant to follow through. At that point, Nash needed to believe what Griff was telling him. He was motivated to succeed.
Nash was making significant progress until he received an official letter from the football coach. The letter stated that it was evident that Nash would never walk unaided again, and that the college was rescinding his football scholarship and that he was no longer on the team roster. Matan happened to be visiting with Nash when the letter arrived. Nash didn’t cry when his legs were broken, he didn’t cry while going through grueling therapy, he didn’t cry when his family abandoned him, but he cried that day. Matan had the rehab facility call Yonatan and ask him to come immediately. Nash showed him the letter, and Yonatan almost blew a gasket. Yonatan remembered Black cautioning him about keeping his temper under control. He calmly asked Nash if his attorney could look into the matter. Nash hung his head and said yes.
The following day, Nash was not at the pool with Erick. Nash said he wasn’t feeling well and was staying at the facility for the day. When Matan heard that, he had a look of fire in his eyes and asked for the car keys. Yonatan told Matan not to upset Nash.
“We have a deal, and he is fucking not living up to his part. I need to help him. I know what it feels like when what you want most in the world is taken away.” Matan told Yonatan he would see him at dinner. That was the day that Matan became Nash’s personal care aide.
Yonatan arrived home late that afternoon, and Matan was moving their clothes upstairs. Yonatan asked what he was doing, and he was told they were sleeping upstairs because the downstairs bedroom was needed by a certain football player who was being moved out of that “fucking, no-good, half-assed, so-called rehabilitation facility.” Yonatan didn’t say anything but went to the bedroom to find Nash lying in bed, looking abashed and thanking Yonatan for his generosity. Matan walked back into the bedroom and told Yonatan to make himself busy. He did as Matan instructed.
At dinner time, Matan told Yonatan that his assistance was needed. Yonatan followed him to the bedroom, and they stood on either side of Nash and helped him walk to the table. Jan was there with the children and radiated gratitude for what was being done to help Nash. Just that bit of exercise had taken a lot of exertion, and Nash said he wasn’t very hungry. Matan told him that he would eat what was on his plate. Yonatan had noticed that Nash generally did not eat much but hadn’t thought much of it. Matan realized the man was wasting away. Matan had called the surgeon’s office in Richmond earlier in the day, said he had a medical release from Nash, and said he was Nash’s cousin who was taking him in. They faxed the medical records to Matan’s office at Colonial Williamsburg that day. Matan saw the rehab orders and then saw red. He knew that Nash was not receiving the rehab treatment he needed if he would ever walk again.
Matan then drove back to the rehabilitation facility and told Nash he was packing his belongings and he was leaving immediately. Nash said he didn’t understand. Matan said he didn’t know how to make it any clearer. He was leaving and moving in with him and Yonatan. From that day forward, Matan took charge of Nash for the daily swim sessions with Erick. Afterward, Matan would take Nash home for a session with a trainer who came to the house. Matan went home every day for lunch and made sure Nash was at the table. After an afternoon nap, Nash would have another rehab session with a trainer, which he finished about the time that Matan and Yonatan arrived home for dinner. Matan would take Nash into the shower to make sure that he was clean. Nash trusted Matan in a way he didn’t trust other people. Nash laughed and said that Matan was more familiar with a certain part of his anatomy than anyone else in the world except for Griff. Matan chuckled one night and said he knew things were on the right track because, for the first time, Nash had an erection while they were in the shower. He told Yonatan how Nash was surprised and then embarrassed that it had happened. But mostly, he was happy because it was the first time he had an erection since his legs had been broken. Matan took Nash a tube of lube that night and told him to enjoy himself. Nash blushed from head to toe and said he planned to do precisely that.
“I will wash the sheets every day if that man can achieve an orgasm every night. All of his masculinity and self-worth were stripped away when that fucking football coach sent that letter.”
Nash was starting to be himself again. Nash took the semester off from school to recover, but he still enjoyed being on campus. Matan, Erick, and Yonatan would roll him around in his wheelchair. One day at lunch, Matan pushed Nash in his wheelchair into the dining hall. The football players jumped up from their table and ran over whooping and hollering. They said they had missed Nash so much and couldn’t wait until he returned in the fall. Nash quietly told them that he was no longer on the team and that he had lost his scholarship.
“I say bullshit to that,” a mammoth football player said. “We are not going to let that happen. If you can play, you are going to play. I am going to speak to the coach right now. You are a member of our team, and we don’t leave team members behind.”
“Don’t cause yourself problems. I am not worth it. Y’all play the best you can and know that I support you.”
“You don’t get it, man. You are part of our team. We heard how some fucking Nazis fucked you up, but you are better than them. You are still on the fucking team, and I am fucking going to tell the fucking coach this very fucking day.” Everyone laughed at his repeated use of the f-bomb. They knew the mountain man to be a person of few words, and he was letting them fly. They recognized righteous anger when they saw it.
Nash sat with the team that day until the last player had to leave for class. Matan stayed the entire time watching the guys. One by one, as they were leaving, the players came over and thanked Matan for helping Nash.
“You are now our mascot. We are getting you a football jersey to wear.”
And from that day forward, Matan became one of the biggest supporters of W&M football.
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