Daniel was so devastated by what he found that he could not continue to sort through the contents of the wardrobe. He just moved it all into the garage so that the flat would be ready for a final clean before they moved his mother in.
When he arrived home he hid the envelope in a safe place in his office and joined the rest of the family for dinner. Over dinner nobody noticed Daniel’s mood as they were all excitedly chatting about the partial lifting of the lockdown. Each had a preference for their first visit to friends’ homes. Jenny planned to visit her long-term friend Angela. They had been friends since they met at North Ryde College when they were both studying. Three schools shared the campus and the students from all schools shared the canteen, run by the cooking school, and the gardens, landscaped and maintained by the School of Horticulture. Jenny was doing her Chef’s apprenticeship and Angela was studying Travel and Tourism at the third school on the campus.
Christine had arranged to have her friend and fellow journalism student, Marcia to come over for lunch and a catch-up the following day. Kevin as usual was pushing the envelope by arranging a sleep-over at Steve’s place. Jenny was OK with the plan, provided Steve’s parents approved. Kevin took his father’s disinterest as approval by default.
When asked what he planned to do, with his first opportunity to visit a friend, Daniel was unaware of what the family had been discussing because his mind was elsewhere.
“What did you say Jen?”
“I was asking what you plan to do with your first day out tomorrow. Are you going to visit your mother?”
“Well, we’ve all made a number of visits to Mum’s place over the past two weeks.”
“Yes, but you haven’t actually been into her residence.”
“We’ll have to do that on Saturday anyway, when we move her furniture into the flat. Until then I’ll be busy with clients.”
“Fair enough Dad.” replied Kevin “But it will be exciting to see Gran on Saturday, not behind glass. It’s been a bit like visiting the zoo. It reminds me of the time when we had that weekend at Dubbo zoo and we got a room with a tiger on the other side of the glass. I really want to give Gran a hug.”
“That won’t be possible yet son, she is still a vulnerable person so although we’ll be able to visit her house, we still have to maintain social distancing rules.”
On Thursday Jenny and Christine enjoyed their visits. Daniel tried to concentrate on his clients problems instead of his own, but showed no interest at all when Kevin’s absence from dinner that night was explained. Then on Friday, Jenny and Christine did a grocery shop for Beryl, gave the little flat a final clean and hung the new curtains all in readiness for the furniture move on Saturday. On the way home Jenny stopped off at the chemist and purchased a pack of face masks for them all to wear on Saturday.
Kevin arrived at Steve’s late morning and they spent the rest of the morning playing video games. Steve’s mother had left them a prepared meal that just need to heated. After their spaghetti bolognaise they raided the freezer and between them finished a carton of ice cream. The large meal made Kevin sluggish and drowsy, so he suggested they have a rest.
“Sure, just stretch out on the couch, but remove your shoes, Mum’s fussy about that.”
“Aren’t you going to rest as well?”
“I’m OK, I’ll just check my phone or watch a bit of telly while you rest.”
“I thought maybe we could rest together.”
“There’s only one couch big enough to stretch out on.”
“Yeah, but your bed’s big enough for two.”
“What! go to bed in the middle of the day? That’s a bit of an oldies thing.”
“We could just lie down together and chat or have a nap or whatever.”
“Kevin Covid, what are you suggesting?”
“Just that we have a rest, that’s all.”
“OK let’s go.”
As they were lying together Kevin put his hand on Steve’s, but Steve pulled back slowly, without saying anything and picked up his phone. Then Kevin asked “Steve, do you like me?”
“Of course I do Kev, we’ve been best mates since primary school. Why are you asking now?”
“Steve, I didn’t mean as mates. I meant as friends, really close friends.”
“Well, of course we’re really close friends, isn’t that what mates are.”
“Steve...you don’t get.”
“Get what?” he replied, while paying more attention to his phone than to Kevin.
“It doesn’t matter, I’m going to have a nap now.”
A distracted Steve replied. “OK, happy dreams.”
That night Steve’s mother ushered Kevin to the guest room which Kevin noted was separated from Steve’s room by his parents’ bedroom. While he lie in bed not feeling the slightest bit sleepy he thought ‘I’ll have to pass the oldies room, then open Steve’s door without being heard and what if Steve wakes up startled and talks loudly, my cover will be blown. Worse still what if Steve doesn’t want me. After the way he acted today I don’t think he likes me the way I like him.’ He abandoned his plan, looked down at his erection and said “Jimmy, looks like you won’t get a new adventure tonight”.
Jimmy was the name Kevin’s mother gave to his penis when he was young and learning personal hygiene. That way she avoided using the word penis. But it wasn’t long before Kevin stopped having conversations with his mother about his penis. There comes time in a boy’s development when his penis is a very private thing. It becomes basically a tool for aiming the discharge of unwanted body fluids, even over the fence sometimes. But Kevin stopped doing this when the boy next door could get his stream so high that the urine landed on Kevin.
The next time he had talks about it was when his ballet teacher recommended he start wearing a protector. Although the word penis was never mentioned, Kevin assumed from the name protector that its purpose was to prevent severe pain from a misjudged leap or kick while dancing. When he first started wearing a protector he thought it was a bit oversized, but it wasn’t long before it became adequate in size and Kevin realised it also protected him from embarrassment. It was about this time that his father talked to Kevin about an alternative use for his penis, but these talks were few, brief and clinical. Kevin also discovered a use for it after hearing toilet talk at school and bit of experimentation in his room.
Now Kevin thought it was time for more conversation about his penis, this time with other boys his age. He hoped the first would be Steve, but not tonight. “Jimmy, looks like it’s just you and me tonight. I can see you’re ready.”
The Saturday move was relatively uneventful. By lunch time they had all the furniture moved, cupboards stacked and Beryl’s clothes hanging in the wardrobe. When Jason asked his father what he did with all the stuff from the wardrobe, Daniel froze for a moment and when recovered, said he moved it all into the garage so Gran could sort it out herself. After lunch Beryl went into the flat and directed the final touches of furniture placement and made her bed in readiness for her first night in her new flat. She then thanked the family by breaking out a couple of bottles of Champagne to mark the occasion.
When they arrived home, Daniel went into his study, closed the door and had another read of the document. He had not looked at it since finding it the previous week. He thought and hoped that perhaps he had misunderstood it. A second reading did not help. He thought long and hard as to how he should handle this information or indeed should he even raise the issue. Maybe the best approach might be to destroy the document and forget all about it. But he knew he would never be able to forget about it. He would have to confront her and get a full explanation.