“i think we have our hands full with this one.”
shane wasn’t the worst kid. he was a little rambunctious. when he was up on his feet, he was running everywhere and not being able to stand still. he really didn’t like clothes so much either, streaking around the house, laughing as his parents ran after him. senior and jenn couldn’t keep their eye on him, without him disappearing and being somewhere he shouldn’t be. he was pretty much the one child they had to put on a leash just to make sure he was right there at their side. when he was a little bit older, he would run after his brother, wanting to hang out with him all the time. he just wanted to be wherever junior was going to be. when he started to get friends of his own, he ended up leaving junior behind. playing around in the park, getting dirty, scraped up knees and broken bones. he was definitely a boy who just wanted to play with his toys, go outside, watch the latest disney movie and fall asleep on his mom’s lap. he shared his first kiss with a girl when he was five, believed it to be gross and thinking he had cooties. “you got yourself a girlfriend.” his mother teased him as he pouted, crossed arms, making her laugh at her baby boy. he was always a part of any sports that went on in their community: football, baseball, basketball, soccer. his parents wanted him to run all that energy out of him and crashing as soon as he got home, the parents thankful for the peace and quiet. when his sister came into the world, he was ready to take on the big brother role, happy that he wasn’t the little brother. he knew he would protect her from the world until the day he died. his parents noticed a difference in him. he wasn’t the wild child, running around anymore. he was a slightly different child. he did whatever he could to help his parents out with his little sister. he just wanted to be there every step of the way. her protector.
“ you’re really not the sharpest tool in the shed”
what did his brother mean? was he saying he isn’t smart? he didn’t mean that. right? shane knew sometimes he had his moments, but did he really have them so much? he didn’t think he was the brightest person in the world, but he didn’t think he was plain dumb. is that what people thought of him? that couldn’t be right. here he stood, the 16-year-old, listening to his 20-year-old brother tell him something he never thought he would ever hear. maybe, it was better that he was hearing it from his brother and not anyone else. it probably would’ve been cruel coming from someone else who isn’t family. he did ask his brother to be honest with him always, but maybe, he was being too honest. sometimes, he really didn’t need to hear everything junior had to say. maybe, school wasn’t for him. maybe he was just better off with sports and just hoping for a athletic scholarship to college. but what if he didn’t get it? what else could he do? he couldn’t go off to be some doctor or whatever. according to his brother, he’s not “bright” enough. maybe he was taken this too close to heart. he just wanted to make his parents proud since his brother was in his third year in college (or was it his last?), getting his degree in whatever major junior decided on. he knew that his parents would love if he went to college, following his brother’s footsteps. what if he didn’t? would they be upset with him? disown him? kick him out? what? it made him nervous of his future.
he needed to talk to someone else. he didn’t want to go off by what his brother’s two cents. so he went for his second option: his father. he already felt like an idiot, asking his father if he believed his son wasn’t the “sharpest” tool in the shed. “your brother is an ass. he’s just doing that because that’s what he does.” of course, his father would say that. he didn’t want to hurt his son’s feelings but saying his brother was right. “ look son, you can do whatever you want to do. as long as you’re happy with the outcome,” he wasn’t expecting this answer. he never believed his father to be free spirited, by any means. he always meant business.he really thought his father would tell him something as of go to college, you need a degree if you want to make it in the world, chatter, chatter, chatter, blah, blah, blah but he got the complete opposite. he nodded, listening on as him and his father had somewhat of a heart to heart. the only thing he could do was just be himself until the time came for him to make something of himself.
“nol, you’re gay.”
“what the hell are you talking about j? i’m not gay.”
“yeah, you are.”
his sister didn’t know what she was talking about. his 14-year-old sister didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. he wasn’t gay. he didn’t like guys. he liked girls, right? if he did, why didn’t he have a girlfriend? why didn’t he ever have a crush on them? it seemed like he would always pay more attention to his guy friends or any guy that walked in his path. the subtle looks he would give in the locker room or whenever he was around them. maybe, just maybe, his sister was onto something. he didn’t want to believe it. he wanted to believe that he like girls, but he never asked a girl out on a date. it was easy for him to be friends with girls, but he never found himself attracted to them. it was something he never noticed until his sister gladly pointed it out. now he sat there and wondered if it was something he should even speak about. should he talk to his father? talk to his mom, step-mom? he knew he couldn’t talk to his brother. it wouldn’t be the best thing to do at this moment unless the house wanted to turn into a wrestling ring. he would just leave it be. maybe, he shouldn’t even bring it up and just leave it to himself. no one really needed to know anything about what he preferred. did it matter if he was gay or straight? no, but it mattered to him. his sister must’ve saw the look of worry on his face before approaching him and placing her hand on his arm, giving him a reassuring smile, “your secret is safe with me.”
“ are you sure you want to do this? there’s no turning back if you do.”
at the age of 18, shane was off. not to college, no. straight into the army. he knew it was crazy. something his parents never thought he would’ve done. he did it anyways. was his searching for that full ride to whatever college was scouting as he played football? no. it seemed like he gave up. maybe, it wasn’t the right thing to do, but shane didn’t believe he was ready for college. he never believed he was meant for it. he did have his days where he thought he would play for some great college and possibly make his way to the nfl, but sometimes, things change or happen for a reason. he didn’t want to dwell over so much. he felt it was the right thing to do. serve for his country and be happy with the outcome. he was doing what he wanted to do and not what anyone else wanted. he was making decisions for himself and how his life was going to turn out to be. he was away from home and everyone he loved. his infantry was his family now. this was his brothers (and sisters) in arms. he wasn’t just protecting himself. he was protecting everyone around him. he didn’t think he would have to fight and watched the ones he cared for fall next to him. a war that he had to fight. a war he has to continue to fight after coming home his first tour. no one told him the hell he had to deal with coming back. something he prays no one would have to deal with. he was happy at the beginning, but he couldn’t be happier when he stepped foot back onto american soil.
“do you believe in love at first sight?”
“no. it’s not real. ”
shane wasn’t someone who was big on love. yeah, he saw how it worked out for his parents. both divorced and remarried. he believed their parents should’ve work things out, instead of calling it quits on his sister’s birthday. it was pretty hard for them, more him and jamie since they were there for it all. junior was the lucky one to not have to be there for the arguing, the fights, the slamming of the doors, so on and so forth. he didn’t want be that person. he didn’t want relationship after relationship, watching them fail. he was better off, but he was soon to get a rude awakening. he never thought it could happen to him. was it real? could he instantly fall in love with someone he didn’t know? yes. he ran smack dab into him. he wondered if everyone felt like this. sweaty palms, knots in his stomach, dry throat, dilated pupils. maybe he was sick or maybe he really was feeling what it felt like to be in love with someone at first sight.
he never thought he would be so smitten. it was easy to talk to the older man and basically be able to be himself without the judging eyes that he was used to growing up. it was the first time he felt free and content with everything at this moment. he knew if his friends could see him right now, they would tell the man “told you so.” the smile could never leave his lips. maybe the young man could finally be happy and no longer miserable. he really saw himself with this man. he knew it was too soon to say, but he actually believed it. he never knew someone could make him feel like he was on top of the world and never ready to come down. it was weird how he knew he couldn’t see himself with anyone else. after all this time in his life, this was who he wanted to spend the rest of his days with. have a family with, do everything with. he was ready.
“it’s a year. a year without you…”
“then let’s do it… let’s get married.”
one more tour. one more. that was all. he wasn’t ready to go back, but the man didn’t have a choice. germany. he had to leave, but he wasn’t going without him. it was all last minute, but he wasn’t leaving the states without him at his side. he knew it was so much for mau to take in, even more so when he decided they marry before he jumped on a plane to a country he’s never been for a year. his heart raced, palms clammy, dry throat. it was like the first time they met, but this time, they were making it official. they were going to be a family from this day forward. it was crazy to him to even think that he was going to be someone’s husband, but the man he was soon to be married to was someone he was going to spend the rest of his life with. he was ready for it. so it’s only been two years since they’ve been together, but he knew they were going to be just fine. for someone who didn’t believe in love, he didn’t know how to live without it, and he knew he couldn’t live without mau.
every seemed to be a blur. a ceremony was quick and fast at city hall and before they knew, they were on a twelve hour across the country. what a way to start their first day as newlyweds. he didn’t know how things were going to be for them in this new country. he just prayed that it wouldn’t change them. he just hoped that his husband was alright with the move. they were away from everyone they knew. it was almost like starting all over again, but he knew that they were going to be fine, right?
could they make it?
it was impossible, but it wasn’t. they survived it, and the trip only made them stronger. they never gave up on each other, and shane was there whenever mau needed him. they are together til the end. always.
“now the honeymoon can actually start.”
they were finally back in ashwick. his last tour was over, and they didn’t have to worry about leaving the states ever again. they could finally have all the time in the world to enjoy their marriage the right way. they always said the first year was the hardest, but they made through it just fine. now, all he wanted to do was enjoy his husband without having to take anymore orders from anyone else. they can just focus on one another and what they want out the rest of their lives. he was happy to have this man in his life and being able to live his life the way he wanted to. he didn’t have to worry about anyone telling him that he wasn’t “sharpest” tool in the shed, anyone caring that he didn’t go to college and not taking on football as a career and going off to the army, anyone caring that he was gay man, living his life with his husband. he was happy. happy with the choices that he made in his life. he really did take his father’s words to heart. after all the overthinking of the decisions he made throughout his life, he didn’t regret a damn thing. he has the career he wanted, the man he wanted, the life he wanted. he doesn’t have to worry about a damn thing. he’s good.