summer heatEver since Chris' death I find myself dreaming about that summer a lot. I dream about Ray Brower, about Teddy and Vern, and about Chris. Chris like he was when we were 12, half child, half teenager, all rebel. I dream about him telling me to use my talent, or crying because he'd never be anyone but Chris Chambers, or holding me as I cries over my brother's death.
I dream about him a lot.
And sometimes I dream about him like he was later on, all teenager, no longer a child, but still all rebel. I dream about how it began, somewhere in June, when we were studying for an exam. I think it was Latin. Funny how you can remember things like that years later.
Chris was lying on my bed, on his back with wis legs up against the wall. "Rex, regis, regi, regem, regi-"
"Rege," I corrected.
"Shit! I knew that! Man, just ... just fuck it. I'm taking a break." He threw the grammar book behind him. I looked at my watch, saw we'd been studying for two hours on end and figured we both deserved a break. So I pushed back my chair and went over to flip his legs from against the wall.
"Stop ruining my wallpaper, man." And flopped down beside him.
"Tell me a story," he grinned.
I rolled my eyes, but gave in. "It's a fairy tale," I began, "About a prince. This prince was only second in line, and his parents only paid attention to his brother, the heir. So the prince spent a lot of time travelling across the country. And one day, while he was riding through a forest, he was stopped by a thief ..." I just let the story run with me and listened to my own voice talk about the prince and the thief, and their friendship.
It wasn't until I'd finished the story that I noticed just how close Chris was lying to me. That was weird, because before, I'd never paid much attention to Chris' constant closeness, his touches, tousling my hair, ... But now, there was something in his eyes that made me acutely aware of him. "Chris," I began, not really knowing what I wanted to say. It didn't matter, because suddenly I felt his lips against mine.
I should've said something then, told him to stop, that I didn't want this. But this was Chris, the guy I'd known since we were kids, and when I didn't say anything he kissed me again, kissed me for real this time and it felt so good, so right. I'll always remember that kiss. I don't remember what my first kiss felt like, or the first time I kissed my wife, but that one kiss with Chris I'll always remember.
When he broke away again, he whispered: "Tell me you don't want this."
"You're my friend, Chris," I frowned at him. "I don't lie to you."
That made him smile that brilliant, mischievous smile of his and that made me want to kiss him again. And again. We didn't stop until we had to or suffocate, and even then it was reluctantly.
"We should go back to studying," I told him. he just "Hmm"-ed and kept playing with my hair. "Chris, I'm serious. If we don't study we won't pass. And if I stay here, we'll never get any studying done."
"One more kiss?" he begged. "Then I'll let you go and we'll study." He grinned. "Until our next break.
I smiled at him. "Deal."
After our exams were finally over, and both of us had passed, we spent almost the entire summer in my room, or in a tent in our back yard, or somewhere around Castle Rock. We'd find a quiet place, away from everyone and everything, and spend the day talking and laughing and kissing. Of course we didn't always stop at just kissing. Hell, we were teenagers, we were always horny. And he could do incredible things with his mouth.
I always wake from those dreams with a hard-on, and crying. The one thing I can't remember is why we ever broke up. Maybe 'broke up' isn't the right word for it, since we were never really 'together'. I can't remember why not. It doesn't really matter anymore. None of it does. Chris is dead and I'm alive and that's just the way it is.