Chapter 3

August 8th, 2009

Saturday dawned another bright day, but Ennis and Jack both woke up feeling weary and lost. Jack had ended up sitting with Lureen in her apartment for a while, talking about the date and how it had ended. Lureen reassured him that the fact Ennis wanted to see him again was certainly encouraging. He tried to believe that things would turn out okay, but he wasn't optimistic about it. It seemed to him that he'd had a run of bad luck where men were concerned, and he didn't like to get his hopes up that Ennis would be different.

Still, he tried not to worry too much as the morning progressed. He went to the gym for a couple of hours and hurried home to change; they had agreed to meet at one. As he stood in the shower, letting the hot water run down his back, images of Ennis started to fill his head, and he shut them out, ignoring his growing erection. Now wasn't the time to get distracted.

He got to the coffeehouse first, sitting in the booth where they'd met on Monday, and he was clasping his coffee mug tightly. Lureen watched him from the counter, hoping that Ennis wasn't about to disappoint him.

The door opened and Ennis stepped in, looking around. His eyes met Lureen's and she nodded to the corner where Jack was sat. Ennis nodded and made his way over. He gently laid a hand on Jack's shoulder. "Jack?"

Jack looked up and his mouth opened slightly. "Hey." Ennis sat down opposite him and they stared at each other. " are you doing?"

"I'm alright. Had some time to think about everything."

"I know that...last night, that was the last thing you expected to hear. And I really hoped...that you weren't running out on me."

Ennis took Jack's hand. "I wasn't. I just needed to think. People have run out on you before, right?"

Jack nodded, eyes lowered. "Yeah. Every single date I've had, or tried to have over the last five years...every single one of them bolted for the door."

"But it didn't knock your confidence," Ennis pointed out, smiling a little. Jack met his eyes.

"It did; I just don't try to let it show. I'm more insecure than I let on." He sighed. "I mean...technically, I...I've never even been with another guy."

Ennis's brow furrowed. "You haven't? How'd you, um...? Was it a dodgy transfusion or were you into drugs or something?"

Jack shook his head. "Nope, neither of them. The only drugs I've ever taken are the meds." He swallowed. "What I mean is...I've never been with a a...consensual way."

It only took Ennis a few moments to realise what Jack was saying, and then his eyes widened. " mean...?"

"Yeah." Jack sighed. "I was twenty-one, in my last year of college. It was the year I turned twenty-two. In fact, it was only a month before my birthday. I had an early class, and normally I avoided Central Park, because you hear things about being on your own in there at quiet times. But I was running late, and I decided to take a shortcut through. Biggest mistake I ever made."

His throat worked and Ennis ran his thumb over Jack's hand, waiting for him to continue.

"I was walking through, and next thing I know I'm grabbed from behind and dragged into the bushes. Whoever he was, he hit me on the head so I was all fuzzy and couldn't really fight back. It was over in a few minutes, and then he ran. I never got a look at his face." A look of pain flashed over Jack's face. "I skipped class, got myself to the hospital. I was...bleeding back there, and...they did x-rays on my head but it was fine. Then they tested me for HIV. Came back positive two weeks later." He looked at Ennis. "My mom tried to look after me as well as she could, dad told me was my punishment for being gay. I stuck around until the next summer for graduation, and even then I tried to stay, to get myself through it. That's around the time Lureen left for here. So for the last five years, I've sort of been moving around, trying to find somewhere to settle. Ended up here."

Jack seemed finished with his account of what had happened, so Ennis decided it was his turn to talk. "Jack...I kind of got the feeling you weren't telling me everything before. Whenever you talked about living back in New York, I could tell that there was something you weren't saying." He dipped his head to try and catch Jack's gaze. "I'm glad you told me." He lifted Jack's chin. "I...I know that it won't ever be easy for us to be together, but...I'd like to give it a shot."

At these words, Jack felt his heart lift. " would?" Ennis nodded.

"Been thinking on it all night and all morning. I meant what I said last night; I like you too much to just leave things like that.'s not like you've suddenly changed. You were positive when I met you, right here. And you're still the same guy I met. I don't feel any differently about you than I did before you told me. I still like you."

"I like you too, that's why I was so scared that this would be it," Jack admitted, his lip quivering a little. Ennis cupped his cheek.

"It's not it, Jack. I, um...I wanna give this a try."

"But what" Jack murmured.

"Well...I'm thinking...we could take things slowly. Get to know each other better before we jump in the sack. I'd like to know more about this, if it's okay with you. And I think that if we wait a while, then when it does happen, it'll be right." He smiled. "That okay?"

Jack grinned and leaned into Ennis's touch. "That's fine, Ennis. I'd like to get to know more about you, too. So...are we okay?"

"We're okay," Ennis replied, and to Jack's great surprise, he leaned in, kissing Jack firmly on the lips. Jack felt his eyes slide shut as he melted into the kiss.

Lureen turned away and smiled to herself, thankful that at last, Jack seemed to have found the right guy.

Ennis and Jack spent a lot of time together over the weekend, after their agreement to take things slowly. Ennis was properly introduced to Lureen, and Jack to Alma. The four of them made plans to all go out together sometime, when Alma wasn't working.

The rest of Saturday was spent in the park, the pair of them eating sandwiches and ice cream on the bench near the lake. Ennis found that the more time he spent with Jack, the more he enjoyed being with him. Jack certainly had high spirits for someone with such a difficult situation. Despite the constant threat living inside him, he was still quick to smile, making jokes, and he seemed focussed. Ennis wasn't sure what he would be like if it was him, but he knew that he might not be as good as Jack at coping with it.

"So anyway," Jack was saying as they ate their sandwiches on Saturday afternoon. "When I got here, I was feeling kind of lost. No job, no boyfriend, nowhere to live. Lureen helped out a lot. I got the place in her building, and she was the one who got me the job at the electrical store. She's friends with the manager, so..." He shrugged. "He's a decent guy, I guess. The money's alright, but...with the rent and the gym membership, not to mention the doesn't go far."

"Don't you have insurance for the meds?" Ennis asked, watching Jack chewing.

"I keep meaning to get some, but I keep forgetting. My doctor keeps badgering me to get on with it, saying it'll make things easier."

"You should do it, Jack," Ennis implored him. "You've gotta look after yourself."

Jack smiled a little at his concern. "I know. I'll do it eventually. you go to the gym at all?"

Ennis shook his head. "Nah. I don't eat a lot anyway, and it never piles on."

"Well, it's a good idea to look after yourself, like you just said. I go to build up muscle. Very important when you're living with this thing." He was nodding to himself as he spoke, eyes on his sandwich. He then looked up. "Hey...if you join, we can go together."

"Yeah, maybe," Ennis replied, smiling a little. He then looked at his watch; it was almost three. " finished?"

"Yep." They stood up and Ennis disposed of their trash. "What do you wanna do now?"

"Jack, I...can we just...sit here a while?" Ennis asked shyly, looking up at him. Jack smiled and nodded, and they sat down again. Their fingers laced together and Jack smiled up into Ennis's face. With no words, they leaned in and began to kiss, slowly. Jack had warned Ennis about French kissing, teaching him how to check his mouth for sores and cuts so that there was minimal risk of transmission. He'd also informed Ennis that saliva wasn't suitable for carrying the virus, so it was safe.

They continued to kiss slowly, tongues playing together. Ennis was still a little nervous, even about kissing, but he trusted that Jack knew what he was talking about. He'd had five years to learn all of this stuff. Ennis knew in his heart that he could trust Jack not to put him at risk.

His free hand made its way to tangle in Jack's dark hair, and he revelled in its velvety texture. "Mmm..."

Jack smiled against his lips. "You're a good kisser," he murmured. "I've been kissed before, but wasn't anything like this..."

"Mmmhmm." They pulled apart and Jack shuffled a little, resting his head on Ennis's shoulder. Ennis wrapped his arm around Jack and held him, gently yet firmly. Jack felt good pressed against him, and Ennis knew that his feelings for Jack were growing stronger.

They had dinner together at Jack's place on Saturday night, and then watched a movie together. Ennis spent the night sleeping in Jack's bed, but they did nothing more than share a few kisses before going to sleep. Both of them knew they wanted to wait a little longer.

Sunday was spent walking around the city together, hand in hand and taking in the sights. They went up to the South Bay and sat watching the waves, enjoying fries and fish together. They could see the Golden Gate Bridge from where they were sat and admired the beauty of the area.

In the evening, they went to the Zingari Ristorante and shared some Italian food as they listened to the jazz music. They sat at a candlelit table and shared more than a few glances in the romantic setting. Ennis had never had such a good time in his life, and he'd never been in a place like this before. Jack was bringing out all of these new and different things in him, and he liked it.

The next day was Monday, so Jack drove Ennis home to his place, and they stood in the shadows of the front door of the building.

"I had a great time this weekend," Jack murmured, his arms around Ennis's neck. Ennis nodded and stroked his cheek.

"Me too, bud." He sighed. "So...I'll call you in the morning, okay?"

"Yep." They leaned in and kissed a few more times, imprinting the taste of themselves onto each other. Jack then reluctantly prised himself from Ennis's arms. He didn't want to leave, but they both had to work tomorrow.

"Night, Ennis," he said softly, stepping back. Ennis smiled at him, dimples showing on his cheeks.

"Night, Jack." He watched Jack get back into his car and they exchanged a wave before Jack drove off into the darkness. Ennis watched him go, his heart bursting with the happiness he'd found since meeting Jack. He didn't know for sure where this was going, but he knew that he was having the time of his life.

When they both got into bed that night, they thought about each other and how much they enjoyed being together. Hopefully soon, they would become even closer.

August 10th, 2009

Monday arrived once more, and it had now been a week since they'd met. Jack knew that, for the most part, this week had been one of his happiest. And even though things on Friday night hadn't exactly gone the way he'd hoped, at least it wasn't over. They'd managed to have a good weekend together, and he'd enjoyed himself immensely.

As he worked, chatting to the customers and helping them out, he couldn't help but notice that he felt lighter than he had in months. Maybe this was because, of all the dates he'd had, he'd finally found one that stuck. Ennis just seemed different from all those other guys, and he wondered why Ennis hadn't bolted like the rest of them. True, he had declined to stay that night and Jack had driven him home, but even then it had been different. And Ennis had agreed to meet him the next day. Ennis wouldn't have done that if he hadn't been truly interested, Jack reasoned with himself. Maybe, just maybe, he had a good chance with this guy.

He was standing around, waiting for a customer to come up to him and ask for help, when the door opened and Alma stepped in, looking around. She smiled when she caught his eye and walked over to him. "Hey, Jack."

"Hey, Alma. What's up? You need something else already?"

She nodded. "Actually, yeah. My mom wants a digital camera for her birthday, so..."

"Say no more." He led her over to the digital cameras and started to show her their selection. During a lull in the conversation, Alma looked up at him.

"'s it going with you and Ennis?"

Jack smiled a little. "Just fine. Had a good weekend together. He's...he's something else."

"Yeah. Anyway...I feel like there's something you should know." She bit her lip and he looked at her.

"What is it?"

"Well...his parents know that he's gay, and they accept that. Did he tell you?" Jack nodded. "Well...the thing is, I know they said he could bring someone home if he was sure about them, but..." She looked at him; she knew that he was positive; Jack had given Ennis permission to tell her. At least then, the four of them could hang out without any bombshells being dropped on any of them.

"Is it being positive?" he asked in a low voice. She nodded.

"Yeah. I don't know how they'd react to it. When we were going out, and I was at their place, I heard them talk about HIV a couple of times. They were living up there right through the pandemic in the 80s, so they remember all the media attention it got. But...I don't think they'd take too kindly to their son seeing someone who has it. I mean, it's a big risk, and you must know how parents are about anything threatening their kids, even someone our age."

She paused, thinking about what she wanted to say. "The thing is, Jack...don't be too disappointed if they can't accept you. It's just the way things are and it's still a taboo subject. No matter how strongly Ennis feels about you...there's a chance you might never get their approval. I don't mean to sound harsh, but..."

Jack nodded. "It's okay, Alma. I get what you're trying to say. And...I'll keep it in mind." He smiled. "So...this digital camera..." he started to say, trying to change the mood of the air around them.

He spent the next twenty minutes attending to her and then she bid him goodbye. Jack watched her leave, thinking about what she'd said. It made a lot of sense. Ennis was taking a huge risk by wanting to be with him, and this would only increase when they started sleeping together. She was right; his parents would probably flip out when they were told the truth, but that wasn't their problem. Maybe if he told them how he got it; that might make a difference. At least he wasn't promiscuous.

The rest of the morning passed swiftly, and it was almost time for lunch. He and Ennis had spoken on the phone this morning and agreed to meet at the coffeehouse. Jack liked making these plans; to have something else in his life besides medication and gym sessions and a careful diet. All of that was necessary, but he had to pay attention to his social life, too. Ennis was like a breath of fresh air in his life; someone who he could talk to without holding anything back. He knew that Ennis didn't judge him for anything, and it was a welcome relief.

As he finished with his last customer of the morning, Jack found himself wondering when they might sleep together. Looking back, Friday night had definitely been too soon. But after the weekend they'd just had, he felt closer to Ennis than ever. Maybe it would happen tonight, or sometime this week. Jack felt as if he was ready, but he had to make sure that Ennis was, too. They both had to be ready and aware of the consequences that came with having sex. Ennis would probably need to start taking HIV tests now and then, just to be sure, and to cross that line would change everything.

Still, he had a feeling that Ennis was smart enough to know exactly when he was truly ready, and he trusted that Ennis would tell him so. He was brave, and Jack knew that. He could only hope that Ennis was brave enough to go all the way with someone like him. It was a tremendous amount of pressure and quite scary. Magnetic relationships, as he'd heard them being called, were never easy to keep going.

Jack sighed with relief when the boss told them it was time for their break, and he gathered his wallet and keys from his locker in the back before heading out into the bright sunlight, towards the coffeehouse where the man who filled his thoughts would be waiting for him.

Sure enough, when Jack got to the coffeehouse on the other side of the park, Ennis was there waiting for him. He walked through the door and immediately locked eyes with Ennis across the room, and he grinned. His smile lit up his face and he walked over to their usual booth.


Ennis smiled up at him, thoroughly happy to see him. "Hey, bud." Jack leaned down and kissed him for a few seconds, hand on his cheek. They pulled apart and Jack sat down opposite Ennis, signalling to Lureen for coffee. "How's it going?"

"Alright. Been looking forward to this all morning," Jack admitted, smiling across at him. Lureen came over.

"Hey, Jack. The usual?" she asked with a smile.

"Sure, thanks. And can I get a muffin, too? Blueberry?" She nodded and left. Turning back to Ennis, Jack took his hand, running his thumb over Ennis's knuckles. "So...are you okay?"

Ennis nodded. "Yeah, I'm fine. You?"

"Yeah, I'm good." He chewed his lip. "I know that Alma came to see you this morning. She told me what she told you...about my parents." His brow furrowed. "Are you okay?"

Jack nodded and sighed. "I guess. She made a lot of sense, you know. Your parents wouldn't have a problem with me if I wasn't positive. But because I am...if they find out, they're gonna freak, and you know it." He grew a little worried. "Doesn't put you off, does it?"

Ennis shook his head. If he was sure of anything, it was that nothing, not even his parents' reaction, could stop him from wanting to be with Jack. Having realised this after speaking with Alma, Ennis had started to feel as though he might be ready for them to move to the next step. If only he could verbalise this to Jack.

"No, it doesn't," he reassured Jack, placing his free hand over their joined ones on the table. "Ever since you told me that you're positive, I've been thinking over everything. And...I guess I already kind of knew how my parents might react if and when they find out. They're my parents,'s to be expected." He licked his lower lip, looking into Jack's eyes. "Thing is...I don't care. They won't be able to make me stop wanting to be with you, Jack. I really like you...and...I wanna keep this going."

Jack smiled. "I do too, Ennis. You've proved to me that you're different from other guys. You know the truth and you're still here, wanting to be with me. That means so much to me." He sighed. "I'm really glad that I met you, Ennis."

"Me too, Jack." Ennis pulled up their hands and kissed Jack's. "That's why I..." He was interrupted by Lureen returning with Jack's coffee and muffin.

"Here you go, Jack," she said with a smile. He thanked her and she walked off again.

"Sorry about that, Ennis. What were you saying? That's why you what?"

"Well...I've been thinking about it a lot, and...I'd like things to...maybe...go further with us." He took a deep breath. "When I realised that my parents couldn't do anything to stop me wanting to be with you, I started thinking. Made me realise how strong I feel about you." He started playing with Jack's fingers. "So...when I realised that, I..."

"What is it, Ennis?" asked Jack softly, looking into his eyes. He could sense that Ennis was struggling with what he was trying to say. "What are you trying to say?"

"I...I want us to try and...take things further..." he murmured, lowering his eyes. Jack's heartbeat increased.

"You mean...sleep together?" he asked, hardly daring to believe it. It had only been two days since they'd agreed to wait. "Are you sure?"

"I think so," Ennis whispered, nodding. "I mean...I know we said we'd wait, and we have. After the weekend we've just had...I..."

Jack nodded. "I know what you mean. Was something special, wasn't it?" He leaned forward. "Ennis...I'd be happy to sleep with you. God knows I'm attracted to you, and I think it would be great. But...I want you to be absolutely sure that you're ready. Because if we do it...and you end up regretting would break us up and you know it."

"I know. But I really think I'm ready, Jack. I know that I might...need some reassurance, and you'll probably have to get me to relax,'s what I want."

Jack cupped Ennis's cheek with his free hand. "I want it too. And if you say you're ready...well...I guess I'll just have to trust you on that." Ennis smiled, happy that Jack was agreeing to his desire for them to sleep together.

"Alright. Anyway, I was's tonight for you?" Jack couldn't help but feel his heart lift.

"Sounds good to me. You wanna have dinner first?"

"Sure. You can come to my place; I'll make you something." He nodded as if to emphasise his words.

"Okay, but no fast food. Can you do Oriental stuff?" Ennis nodded. "Great. So...I finish work at three, and I'm going to the gym afterwards..."

"What time should I pick you up?" Ennis asked, smiling. Jack went a little red.

"Well...maybe about six? That works." He grinned and started to eat his muffin. "You want a bit? Help yourself." Ennis finally let go of his hand and they both started picking at the large muffin, talking about their workday so far. Ennis was telling him stories about things he'd seen at the vet's, and Jack was soon laughing.

Lureen kept watching them, noting how happy they looked. It seemed as though something had been decided between them, and she had a feeling what it might be. All she could do was hope that they were sensible about it. As she watched, she saw Jack laughing at something Ennis said, before leaning in to kiss him for several long moments. Whatever the future might hold for them, she knew that they had a good chance of being happy together.

With their plans for the evening made, Ennis and Jack managed to get through the rest of the day well enough. Jack spent most of his time in the gym thinking about Ennis, and what they might get up to this evening. He wanted to sleep with Ennis, but he had to be sure that Ennis was well aware of the risks. Even though they would be using protection, Jack knew there was still a small risk of infection, and Ennis had to be aware of that before anything happened. At least he'd agreed to take regular HIV tests once they started having sex.

Ennis picked him up at six, as agreed, and took him to his apartment. It was nice and cosy, and Jack could see himself settling in here quite nicely. He sat on the sofa with a beer while Ennis busied himself in the kitchen. Jack wasn't too sure what he was making but he knew that it smelled good.

He smiled as Ennis came back into the room, opening a beer for himself. "Should be ready in a minute," he said to Jack, sitting on the arm of the sofa by his friend. Jack laid a hand on Ennis's knee, stroking a little.

"So what are you making anyway?" he asked, looking up at Ennis.

"Um...chicken pad thai, with noodles," Ennis replied, cheeks reddening. "I probably should've checked with you first..."

"No, it's okay. I like that stuff," Jack said reassuringly. "Sounds great." Ennis smiled and took a sip of his beer before going back into the kitchen.

A few minutes later, Ennis called out to him that the food was ready, and Jack made his way into the next room. He stood still for a moment, taking it all in. There was a dining table in the kitchen, and there was a large candle in the middle, as well as a bottle of wine. "Ennis...this is..." He was speechless.

Ennis shrugged, looking over at it. "Just...wanted things to be nice." He laid a hand on Jack's shoulder. "You ready?" Jack nodded and sat down as Ennis served the food.

The dinner was wonderful, and Jack was very appreciative of all the trouble Ennis had gone to in order to make this night special. They retreated to the sofa afterwards and watched some TV, both of them knowing that it was only a matter of time before things heated up.

Their eyes met and they were soon kissing softly, hands in each other's hair. Jack pulled his mouth away, staring into Ennis's eyes. "Are"

Ennis nodded and took his hands, pulling him up. They continued to kiss as he walked backwards, leading Jack to the bedroom. He knew of the risks of what they were about to do, but he also knew that he was prepared to take that risk. He wanted to do this with Jack.

Inside the bedroom, Ennis pulled Jack close, kissing his neck and starting to unbutton his shirt. Jack's eyes fell shut at how Ennis was making him feel, and his own fingers wandered to Ennis's shirt buttons. Their shirts were removed and Jack moved into Ennis's arms, embracing him and feeling the warm, hard muscles under his hands. Ennis nuzzled into Jack's hair and trailed his hands down Jack's smooth chest, towards his belt.

Jack pulled his face back to look up into Ennis's eyes, the unspoken words passing between them. Once they crossed this line, there was no going back. Ennis nodded and started undoing the buckle, feeling Jack do the same to him. They stepped out of their jeans and underwear and just stood there for a moment, eyes travelling over each other's bodies for the first time. Ennis then took Jack's hand and they sat down on the bed, lips meeting as they crawled up and wrapped their arms around each other. Both hearts were hammering and they were hard. Ennis pulled Jack on top of him and ran his fingers through Jack's hair.

"I want you to be really sure about this," Jack whispered, stroking Ennis's cheek. "You know the risks..."

"I am sure," Ennis replied in a low, throaty voice. "I wanna do this..." Jack nodded and looked around. "They're in there," Ennis told him, indicating the top drawer of the nightstand. Jack leaned over and took out a box of condoms, taking one out and unwrapping it. He put it on, eyes glued to Ennis's, and then grabbed the tube of KY from the top of the nightstand. He smoothed it over himself and grabbed Ennis's legs, resting them over his shoulders.

"You ready? I know you've never done this, so...I should tell you that it hurts..."

Ennis nodded. "I've heard. I'll be fine." Jack pressed closer, and with one hand between them, started to push in. Ennis let out a gasp and scrunched his face up. "Goddamn..."

"Are you okay?" Jack asked, pausing. Ennis nodded. "Just breathe," Jack instructed his friend. "It's alright..." He waited until Ennis was relaxed to try again, pushing in further.

Ennis felt himself lift his hips to try and help, and Jack finally slid all the way in, sighing at the warmth that welcomed him. "Oh..."

"Jack..." came the soft sigh from below him. Ennis's face was now peaceful, and he was ready. Jack started to slowly thrust into him, trying not to be too rough. Not only did he not want to cause Ennis any pain, but he also had to make sure the condom didn't break.

They soon found a rhythm, Ennis pushing back against every thrust Jack made, taking him in deeper. Jack lowered his head to kiss him as they rocked together, hands in those blonde curls. Ennis's hands were on his back, as though he was trying to pull him even closer. He let out a low moan as Jack changed his angle, searching. He knew of the prostate gland, and he wanted to make this as good as possible for Ennis. "Oh God," he choked out as he pushed in deeper. "Ennis..."

"Uhh...Jack..." Ennis groaned, head pushing into the pillow. "Fuck..." His legs slid from Jack's shoulders and he pulled Jack close to his chest, face buried in his neck. Jack was now thrusting relentlessly, finding the spot and hitting it every time, making Ennis buck beneath him. "Jack!"

"Ennis!" Jack yelled out his name and came, shuddering against him and still thrusting as he rode it out. He felt Ennis shoot between their chests; warm sticky fluid that Jack liked the feel of. He'd never felt like this in his entire life.

He collapsed onto Ennis's chest, breathing heavily. "Son of a bitch," he gasped. He then lifted his head. "Are you okay?"

Ennis was smiling, hand threading through Jack's damp hair. "Sure am, bud. That was...well..."

Jack grinned. "Yeah." He slowly pulled out and staggered into the bathroom, disposing of the condom before walking back into the bedroom. Ennis was flat on his back, spread-eagled, with a mixture of sweat and come on his stomach. Jack grabbed a towel and cleaned himself up as best he could, before doing the same for Ennis, who smiled at him.

They got under the covers and turned to face each other. "Are you staying tonight?" Jack asked hopefully. Ennis nodded.

"Couldn't move even if I wanted to. And...I wanna stay here." Jack smiled and set his alarm clock, as the both had work the next day. Ennis then drew him into his arms and kissed him lightly, guiding Jack's head into his shoulder and closing his eyes. Jack smiled and closed his own, knowing that things had changed between them forever, but that it wasn't a bad thing. For the first time in five years, he had hope for the future.