The Red Envelope

The Red Envelope

It was Saturday, February 10, 1962, and it was a good time to be a young man in Seattle, Washington. John F. Kennedy was president of the United States, The United States was in the space race. Elvis Presley with "Can't Help Falling in Love" and Chubby Checker with "The Twist" were at the top of the pop charts, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Twilight Zone, and Route 66 were just a few of the exciting programs being broadcast on TV. Thousands of young Americans were joining President Kennedy's Peace Corps. 

I sat at my breakfast table, sipping my morning coffee that morning listening to my new stereo. "I Remember When" by Stan Getz played on the turntable. The song set a somewhat melancholy tone as I gazed out the window of my downtown apartment to the busy street below. Numerous umbrellas passed each other on the sidewalks. From above, they resembled a pack of pill bugs scurrying about.  Most Seattle winter days are chilly and wet from the seasonal rains maintaining a nearly constant state of dampness, which permeates the skin. This morning was no different. That was okay though, because I was contently sheltered in the warmth of my first newly rented apartment, away from my boyhood home.

I managed to save enough money over the summer to pay for two semesters of college and rent the inexpensive studio apartment. It wasn't much but it was nice to have more freedom.

Being a gay man, my life wasn't always easy. Growing up in a pro-Eisenhower, conservative suburban home wasn't exactly a walk in the park. Sure, the house was comfortable enough but being a homosexual teenager meant hiding my true self from everyone including my family and my lifelong best friend, Davey.

I carried my coffee cup to the counter and poured fresh hot coffee from the 1948 Sunbeam Coffeemaster Double Bubble percolator my mother had given me after she received a new modern percolator for Christmas. As I poured the hot coffee into my cup, I recalled one Saturday morning six years ago. I was 12 years old, the age when hormones begin to change boy's bodies, enhance emotions and divert interests from toy trucks and cars to girls or other boys as in my case. Davey came across the street as he did every Saturday, escaping his bratty little sister, to watch cartoons on TV with me.  Davey was the only boy in a middle-class nuclear family. His dad was the general manager at the local Pontiac dealer and his mom was a modern-day housewife, as they called them those days. Our families had moved into our houses when they were first constructed and became best friends.

We sat next to each other on the floor in front of my parent's Dumont Television while my mother was in the kitchen pouring a cup of coffee from the old percolator. She peeked around the corner to check on us. "Jimmy and Davey, you know if you sit too close to the T.V. you'll go blind. Move back a bit please."

We turned our attention to her and scooted back a couple of feet. "Okay, Mom."

I noticed Davey was considerably closer to me after moving away from the TV. His fingers practically were touching mine. On the TV, Bugs Bunny popped out of a rabbit hole behind Elmer Fudd and scared him. Davey and I laughed and he moved his fingers moved closer, now touching mine. My heart started beating faster. Elmer Fudd's gun went off with a bang. Startled, Davey grabbed my hand.  Like a bolt of lightning, an electric shock went through my body. I knew at that moment I had intense feelings for my best friend, the friend I'd known and been with all of my life.

Numerous questions went through my mind, questions I was afraid to ask anyone and questions to which I was afraid to get answers. "Why didn't I realize this before? What does this mean? Does he realize he is holding my hand? Is he doing it on purpose? Does he feel something for me too? Does this mean I'm a homosexual? Does this mean Davey is a homosexual? What was I to do?"

The cartoon ended with Elmer Fudd landing in a puddle, covered with mud, yelling "You waskaly wabbit" and Bugs answering, "Yeah, ain't I a stinker?"

A loud roar pulled me from my daydream. I decided the roar was most likely from one of the new 707s taking off from the Boeing plant, south of the city. Those jets sure were noisy at full throttle. I glanced at the clock. It was 9:30 A.M. I needed to get in the shower and get ready. Davey was going to be here soon to get me and go to check out the construction of the Space Needle being built in conjunction with the Century 21 Exposition, also known as the Seattle World's Fair that was to open in April.

On my way to the shower the phone rang. I answered it. It was my mother calling to remind me Wednesday was Aunt Martha's birthday and I needed to buy her a nice gift and card. I did my best to rush the conversation but I knew, being my mother and all, it was futile. After ten minutes she finally said her farewell and allowed me to go shower. I wrote a little note telling Davey I was in the shower and to come in. I taped it to the front door and hurried into the shower, leaving the bathroom door open to listen for Davey. A few minutes later, while shampooing my hair, I heard the shower curtain being pulled open a bit.  I peeked through the lather and suds to see Davey poking his head in the shower and grinning at me like a Cheshire cat.

I was startled for a brief second until I realized it was just Davey and not Norman Bates from Alfred Hitchcock's movie Psycho. I caught him looking over my entire body. I felt my cock was swelling and I quickly turned the other way.

Davey grinned even more.  "Jimmy, have you thought about entering one of those bodybuilding beauty contests? I bet all of the guys would be jealous over you and you'd have lines of people waiting to catch a glimpse of you."

I snickered at his flattery. "You goofball! Who would want to look at this skin and bones body?"

"Every girl and I bet even a few boys."

He grinned again and I blushed.

I rinsed the soap and shampoo off me, turned the water off and pulled back the shower curtain to find Davey holding my towel. I reached for it. Davey held on to the towel and began drying me. I relinquished the drying duty to him. He was intensely focused on his job at hand, so to speak. His gentle, caring, drying wasn't helping reduce my swelling problem. He didn't seem to mind as he dried me from my shoulders to my toes, being extra gentle with my tender bits.

I watched Davey as he dried me. He was five foot, nine inches tall, 150 pounds, with short dark brown hair and eyes. He was no longer the skinny 12-year-old geeky boy I watched cartoons with on Saturday mornings. Davey had grown into one of the most handsome 18-year olds I'd ever seen. Maybe I was a bit biased, but I couldn't help not being attracted to him. Davey and I were a team. Neither Davey nor I had any interest going on dates with girls. We were content to do things together and never questioned our motives.

When he finished he stood close to me, looking into my eyes. I remember thinking, "Is this going to be the moment he kisses me?" Davey leaned in closer, our lips almost touching.  He giggled and messed up my wet light brown hair, followed by giving my butt and affectionate quick snap of the towel. I yelped and he giggled more. I sighed, knowing our first kiss would be carried out another time, if it happens at all. Davey's little tease made me realize my heart ached for him.

I thanked him for the personal drying service and padded to the bedroom to dress.  He followed me and while I dressed, chatting about the soon-to-open worlds fair.

I was only paying partial attention to his words. I was distracted, thinking more about his tender caresses as he dried me in the shower. This wasn't the first time Davey helped me in the shower. Two years ago I broke my arm when I fell off my bike during a race. Davey came over every day to help me do my daily business, including showering. He was a big help. I had the same swelling reaction to him helping me back then and he would finish by messing up my hair and giving my butt an affectionate quick snap of the towel. I loved the attention and always wondered in the corner of my mind if his touches meant something more serious. Was I blind or perhaps merely hopeful?

In those days I was scared of being labelled a homosexual and afraid of discovering a part of me deemed to be so sinister and dark that I would be banished from society. My family would, of course, be asked to leave the church, all under the guidance, unconditional love, respect and blessing from the omnipotent Lord above. It was clear the only choice I could make and not risk damnation was too painfully ignore the intense feelings and control my lustful reactions to Davey's touches.

Davey suggested while I got ready, he could walk across the street to the little market on the corner and buy us a couple of bottles of Hires root beer to take with us. I agreed. While he went for the root beer I finished in the bathroom and got dressed. I walked out of the bedroom into the kitchen to hear the loud squeal of brakes and a loud bang. I ran to the window and looked to the street below. A crowd gathered around someone lying in the street on the other side of an old Ford that had hit whoever it was. I could see the person who was hit had on a light blue shirt. Davey was wearing a light blue button-up shirt this morning. I panicked, running out the door of my apartment yelling his name. I ran down the stairs seeing my entire life with Davey flashing before me. I ran across the street to the accident scene. By then many people encircled the fallen pedestrian and I couldn't make my way through the small crowd to confirm it was Davey and I became hysterical. I stumbled to the corner and braced myself against a streetlight pole. I wept openly at the possibility of the one person I loved more than any other being killed crossing the street in front of my home.  I couldn't move. What was the point? My reason for living suddenly was taken away from me. All I could do was hold on to the pole as I wept.

A hand reached to me and touched my shoulder. "Jimmy, what are you doing here? What's wrong? Why are you crying?"

I turned to see Davey next to me holding two bottles of root beer. I hugged him tightly and sobbed. "I thought you were dead. You weren't hit in the crosswalk?"

Davey's jaw dropped. "No, I'm fine. What are you talking about?"

"You don't know about the accident?"

"What accident?  They were out of root beer here and I went up the block to the General Store to get them."

I took him around the corner and showed him the accident and explained I saw the person's blue shirt, thinking it was him who had been hit. We watched as the police and ambulance arrived. They lifted the victim into the ambulance on a stretcher. He was about our age and had Davey's build.

Davey understood how I might think it was he who was hit. We were both glad it wasn't and hoped whoever he was would be all right.  

It took awhile for me to calm down so Davey volunteered to drive. His Dad had given him the keys to a new but left over Coronado Red 1961 Pontiac Catalina Convertible he brought home from the dealership where he worked. Davey loved that car and drove it every chance he had.

The construction of such a futuristic structure as the Space Needle was exciting to watch. It was a clear indication we had entered the space age. Davey and I watched from across the street in his convertible with the top down, as cranes lifted huge components to the top of the tower high above. Davey took out his movie camera and filmed the construction occurring overhead. At one point we climbed out of the car and filmed me standing against the car smiling and pointing upwards to the tower. He panned upwards, following my arm catching the movement of the cranes and their cargo. As he filmed the tower above, I thought I was blessed being with Davey, especially after thinking he had been killed only a short time before. Maybe this is how our destinies were to play out.

We spent the better part of an hour driving and taking movies around the exposition site.  Davey suggested we have lunch and catch a matinee movie. Davey drove the convertible downtown and parked on the street two doors down from Mario's Delicatessen.  He put up the top and we walked into the Deli that we had frequented for many years. The fragrant aroma of different cheeses and meats greeted us and assured us we were in the right place. A little bell rang as we entered, alerting the owner he had customers.

Mario, the deli owner, wearing a white apron over a starched white button-up shirt, black slacks, and chef's hat welcomed us.  "Hey, my two favorite longtime customers.  Entra, entra.  Benvenuto!  You want to sit and eat or maybe you want it to go?"

The atmosphere and ambiance of the delicatessen was delightful. We chose to stay and eat.  Mario talked us into ordering his amazing spaghetti and meatballs, promising they would be the best we would ever have. We took his word and ordered his spaghetti and meatballs. In minutes Mario brought a huge bowl of spaghetti and two plates. He jokingly apologized for the small portion but after all, it was lunch, not dinner. We snickered, knowing the meal would completely fill our stomachs. Mario was right. It was the best spaghetti and meatballs we'd ever had.    After we dished portions onto our plates, Davey gave me a mischievous grin. 

"Why are you grinning like that? What are you up to?"

Davey took out a long strand of spaghetti from the bowl and handed me one end.  "Come on, Jimmy, just like in "Lady and the Tramp."

We each put the ends of the noodle in our mouths and ate towards the middle, daring each other to end with a kiss.  My heart raced faster with every inch of noodle we consumed. We raised ourselves off our chairs to lean over the table, moving closer to touching our lips. When we arrived to the last quarter inch of noodle we paused, waiting for the other to make the final move, bringing our lips together. Mario stood behind the counter quietly laughing at our escapade. Which of us would relinquish to the kiss first? Davey sucked another 1/8 inch, daring me to make the next move.  I wanted so badly to kiss him.  I'm sure he could hear my heat pounding with excitement.  At that moment two customers entered the restaurant.  Davey and I turned away from each other in panic of being caught in such a precariously romantic moment.  Our first kiss would once again have to wait.

Somehow we managed to eat everything in front of us. We complimented Mario, who with a wide smile took our empty dishes.  He was pleased we finished all the food he gave us. To him it meant his work was appreciated. We each paid out $2.25 for our lunch and gave Mario a fifty-cent tip. He thanked us and asked us to return soon, saying maybe next time we would finish the job like "Lady and the Tramp". We laughed and promised we would do that.

We left Mario's Delicatessen with our bellies full and walked to the Orpheum Palace on the next block. The movie Blue Hawaii with Elvis Presley was the only movie featured. We paid fifty cents each for our tickets and went directly in. We found the movie theatre nearly vacant and took our seats toward the back. Davey and I always sat through movies with our knees and arms touching. I wondered if Davey's heart raced as mine did during those times. Although the movie was entertaining we found ourselves drifting asleep, most likely from having our blood working to digest the food in our stomach. Soon we were in a deep sleep, leaning on each other. Davy's right hand was on my thigh and my right hand was holding his bicep. We woke later after the movie ended to a theatre empty of people. Neither of us was in a hurry to move. After the shock of mistaking him for dead I didn't want to let go.

Davey spoke first. "What did you think of the movie?"

I snickered. I don't know. I guess it wasn't that exciting because I fell asleep early on."

Davey nodded. "I must have fallen asleep at the same time."

We sat together, still holding each other, a bit scared to say anything or to move. We turned to each other, looking for answers of why we were so comfortable holding each other. Before we could say a word one of the ushers entered to clean and noticed us sitting near the rear.

"Hey guys, the movie's over. I got to clean up in here."

That was his not so subtle hint to leave.  We left the theatre and were quiet on the way to the car. Neither of us said a word about our cuddle nap.

That night Davey and I went to a party hosted by our former schoolmate, Trina Kirkland and two other girls.  Trina and her housemates rented a big house near Capitol Hill, where the party was being thrown.  When we arrived the party was going full swing. The "Peppermint Twist" was playing loudly on the stereo as we entered the house. The living room was packed with people around our age. Some were former schoolmates and others must have been friends of Trina's roommates. Many of the guys and girls held beers and other drinks as they talked. A few couples were dancing the twist on the far end of the room. Trina spotted us soon after we arrived, gave us welcoming hugs and pointed us to the kitchen, where we could have whatever we wanted to drink. Davey and I slowly made our way through the crowd, saying hi to those we knew from school and to others we didn't know. Trina called us the perfect party guests. When we entered the kitchen, Trina's housemates, Carol and Sherry, introduced themselves to us and handed us glasses of punch, claiming it was "the most". Carol gave me a wink, and dashed off to hand out more punch to other partiers. Sherry couldn't keep her eyes off Davey and let him know if there was anything she could get for him to please let her know. She gave Davey's hand a squeeze and wandered into the crowd. Davey appeared to be appalled by the girls' aggressiveness as we watched them mingle with the party guests.

Davey sipped a little of the punch. "Wow, this is potent. We're going to have a fun time tonight."

I sniffed the punch in my glass and coughed from the fumes of the alcohol. "I bet we could pour this in your gas tank and your car would be faster than a Corvette."

In no time Davey drank the glass of punch and went for more. I decided I better not drink since one of us needed to be sober for the drive home.

We wandered around the party guests, chatting with former schoolmates and meeting new friends. We separated when I needed to use the washroom. When I was finished, Davey wasn't nearby. Carol passed by me and brushed my upper leg with her hands in a suggestive way that was about as subtle as a cougar attack. Maybe that's how the term got started. I gave a courteous smile and hurried away to find Davy. After a few minutes I found him talking with a guy and his girl who were friends of Carol. I joined them as the guy was encouraging Davey to join them in a sex party that was going on in one of the bedrooms. By that time Davey had consumed a few glasses of punch and was quickly on his way to being sloshed.

I got a goofy smile from Davey when he saw me approach. "Hey Jimmy, let's go see what's going on in here." He pointed to a closed bedroom door and pulled me along with him. The friends of Carol nudged us into the room and closed the door behind the four of us. The room was dim, being lit only by a lamp covered with dark red fabric. It took a few minutes for our eyes to adjust to the darkness. In the meantime we could hear moans and other sexual noises around us. Once our eyes were adjusted we could see naked guys and girls kissing, petting and getting heavy into each other. The couple who came in with us started making out as they shed their clothes. This was all new to Davey and me. We were intrigued at all that was going on around us. Someone with long fingernails reached around Davey from behind and unbuttoned his shirt. Being inebriated, Davey just gave a goofy smile and let whoever it was continue undressing him. In no time his shirt was off and someone else was unbuttoning his pants. I couldn't see the people undressing him, but I could see Davey's intoxicated grin. Someone tried to pull Davey away from me and I grabbed on to him. 

Davey's goofy grin suddenly became a look of panic. He put his arm around my neck and whispered in my ear. "Please don't leave me Jimmy. I need you."

I couldn't tell if he meant me leaving him here at the party or me leaving him in general. I had to come up with an answer to his request. "Davey, I'm right here. I'm not going to leave you."

Davey leaned against me with his arms around me and whispered in my ear. "Jimmy, please, get me out of here.  I don't want to do this with these people."

I looked around the floor and found Davey's shirt, grabbed it and put my arm around him to guide him out of the dimly lit room.  Standing in the hall I put his shirt on him, buttoned it and zipped up his pants.

Out of nowhere Sherry stood in front of Davey with a mischievous expression and ran a finger down his chest. "You're not leaving the fun, are you, Sugar? The party is just starting."

Davey opened his mouth to say something but I cut him off. "Come on Davey, let's get some fresh air."

The living room and kitchen were more crowded and noisy than before. I noticed a sliding glass door leading to a balcony in the back of the house. I took Davey out to the balcony and shut the door, significantly reducing the din from the party.

Davey staggered to the rail of the balcony overlooking the city. "Wow!  Jimmy look at this."

I turned and stood next to Davey, gazing at the magnificent lighted Seattle skyline under a blanket of soft glowing clouds, with the Space Needle prominently in view. I joined him at the rail. We stood side-by-side with our arms touching when Davey began crying.

"Davey, what's wrong?"

Davey shook his head. "You don't want to know, Jimmy."

I could tell the alcohol had made him feel vulnerable. "Come on, it's me, Davey. You can tell me anything, you know that."

He leaned against me and wept. "I can't tell anyone. Nobody would understand."

I turned, put my hands on his shoulders and looked directly into his eyes. "Davey, How long have we known each other?"

"About fourteen years."

"That's right and if there is anyone in this world who can understand you it's me."

With tears in his eyes, Davey looked at me, willing to let me know what was bothering him.  From the stereo inside the house Elvis Presley began singing.

"Wise men say
Only fools rush in
But I can't help falling in love with you
Shall I stay?
Would it be a sin?
If I can't help falling in love with you"

Davey began sobbing. He was unable to speak. I realized maybe the song lyrics were telling me what he was frightened to tell me.

I pulled him into a hug. "It's going to be all right, Davey. I'm here to make sure of that."

He nodded, staring into my eyes. "I'm sorry. I'm messing this all up Jimmy. I won't say anything more."

"Davey, don't worry you haven't messed anything up.

Davey looked into my eyes. We held on tightly to each other, drawing closer. As we closed our eyes, preparing to let our true feelings to finally be expressed with a kiss, someone opened the door of the house. We pulled away quickly before being seen. Once again our first kiss would have to wait.

After a brief silence, looking into each other's eyes for guidance, I finally spoke. "Come on, let's go home."

I took him inside the house, said goodnight to Trina and left. I was pretty sure Carol and Sherry were in the bedroom we just left. When I asked him for his car keys he said they were in his pocket and asked me to get them. Knowing he had a few glasses of punch too many, I reached in his pocket, fished around and found the keys. He gave me a big smile as my hand was in his pocket. I pulled the keys out and walked him to the car. He managed to open the passenger door and fall into the seat. I buckled his seat belt, shut his door and climbed in on the driver's side of the car, buckled my seatbelt and safely drove us back to his house.

Davey fell asleep on the drive there and when we arrived I woke him. He gave me a goofy drunk smile and allowed me to walk him to his door. I managed to get him inside and into the bathroom, where he peed and brushed his teeth. I stood ready to catch him if he stumbled. When he finished I took him to his bedroom, where he plopped on the bed.

"No, you don't, not yet. You need to get out of these smelly clothes first." He did his best to take his shirt off but in his inebriated state got tangled. I helped him shed his shoes, shirt, and pants before tucking him under the sheets.

Now that Davey was safely in bed I needed to figure out how to get home.  

Davey grabbed my hand. "Jimmy, please stay. I don't want to be alone tonight."

He had a point. It would be easier to sleep on the couch than drive home.

"Okay, Jimmy, I need to find a toothbrush and I'll stay the night."

I found a new toothbrush and toothpaste in the drawer in the sink cabinet. Having taken care of my night rituals, I walked back to the bedroom to find Davey in bed where I left him. He pulled the sheets back and patted the bed. I relinquished, turned off the light and joined him under the sheets. I was about to say goodnight but he was already asleep. It wasn't more than a few minutes before I too was in a deep sleep.

Sometime during the night I woke up spooning against Davey. He had backed in close and my arm was wrapped around his torso. He held onto my hand with his and was in a deep sleep. I wondered how this could happen. I've always been attracted to Davey and have always loved him but surely Davey didn't feel the same, or did he? I thought about turning over and moving away from Davey. I didn't want to lose everything I've ever had with him.  But was that really what I wanted? Was that what he really wanted? Holding on to Davey like that was like being in heaven. It felt too right to be wrong. I soon lost my fight with sleep. I closed my eyes, nuzzled into Davey's neck, and fell into a deep relaxing slumber.

In the morning I woke to the aroma of bacon and eggs frying. After a quick stop in the bathroom to relieve my aching bladder, I made my way to the kitchen. There standing in front of the stove was my lifelong friend I'd spent the night holding. Like me, Davey was dressed only in his boxers.

He was bright and cheerful. "Hey, Jimmy, how did you sleep?"

"Like a baby. I think that was the best night's sleep I've had. How about you?"

Jimmy pulled the bacon and eggs out of the pans and put them on two plates.  "I slept like a baby too. Hey, what time did we leave the party last night?"

"It must have been around midnight. You were feeling no pain. Do you remember much of the party?"

Jimmy put the two plates of delicious food on the table and poured coffee for both of us. "I remember Carol coming on strong with you and her friends coming on to me. I also remember being undressed by lots of hands and you rescuing me. Thank you for doing that, Jimmy."

"You're welcome. I thought we would never get out of there with our virginity."

Jimmy nodded. "That was pretty intense. I'm glad we left when we did. I got pretty scared there."

After breakfast we cleaned the kitchen and washed the dishes. When it was time for our showers, as we did many times, we showered together. Before we always soaped and cleaned our own bodies. This time Jimmy took the soap and lathered me all over. Both of us became semi hard while scrubbing each other. It was clear both of us were nervous about pushing the boundaries. For a moment we stopped scrubbing and gently massaged each other's chests as we gazed into each other's eyes. Was this going to be the moment we finally kissed?

Suddenly Jimmy stopped. "Oh damn, I need to hurry. I told my dad I'd be at the dealer at nine o'clock. He wants me to sweep the place and clean the bathrooms and stuff."

We skipped our usual routine and quickly dried on our own. We agreed to call each other in the next few days and said our farewells.

Tuesday afternoon, when I returned home from my afternoon classes, I found a fancy large red envelope in the mailbox. I assumed it was a valentine, most likely from that tramp, Carol. Tossed the unopened envelope in the trashcan and settled in for an evening of completing homework assignments.

Wednesday morning, before classes the phone rang. It was Davey. "Hey Jimmy, are we all set for tonight?"

"All set for what?  Did I forget something?"

"Oh no, I messed up again. I'm so sorry, Jimmy."

"Davey, you didn't mess up that I know of. I don't know what you're talking about though."

"Jimmy, I mailed you something. Did you get it?"

I couldn't remember getting anything in the mail except from that harlot, Carol. "No, not that I know of. The only thing that's come in the mail is a red envelope that I assume came from Trina's housemate, Carol."

"Jimmy, that wasn't from Carol. I sent that."

"Davey, why would you send me mail? We see each other and talk on the phone all the time."

Jimmy was silent for a moment. "Davey, do you still have the envelope?"

"Yeah, it's here but I didn't open it."

"Would you please get it and bring it over here? We can grab a pizza or something for dinner but please don't open it until we're together, all right?"

"Okay, I'll bring the envelope and we can open it together. When do you want me there and do you want me to stop for pizza on the way over?"

"Please be here at 6:30 and no, I'll have everything here ready for dinner."

We ended the call and I pulled the mysterious red envelope out of the trashcan. I showered and put on my light gray button up shirt and black slacks. At 6:30 I knocked on Davey's door. He answered the door dressed in a black pullover sweater, blue jeans and an apron that had a cartoon chef holding tongs and a fork. Davey gave me a hug and invited me in. From the delightful aroma emanating from the kitchen, I knew we weren't having pizza delivery for dinner.

"Hey, Davey, did you change your mind about having pizza?"

Davey blushed. "Well, I decided I was in the mood to cook dinner. I hope you don't mind."

"I don't mind a bit. Your mother taught you well how to cook. What are we having?"

Davey returned to the kitchen where he had been preparing dinner. "We're having a light green salad, chicken Florentine, twice baked potatoes, and dessert is a surprise."

I sat at the breakfast bar watching Davey work in the kitchen. Davey was a master in his own kitchen. He managed to keep it spotless and every dish and utensil that had been used was washed and put away as he went along.

He handed me a glass of white wine and held his own glass in a toast. "To best friends!"

I touched his glass with mine. "Friends forever."

We drank sips of wine and he suggested we sit on the couch while dinner cooked.

After a few minutes of small talk I asked Davey about the envelope. "So, what's in here that is so important? Can I open it now?

"Not yet. Let's wait until after dinner to open the envelope, okay?"

I agreed as the timer on the oven dinged. Davey asked me to sit at the dining room table. It was set with a white tablecloth, cloth napkins, the good china, crystal glasses and silverware. In the center of the table were two lighted stick candles. Davey brought the delicious smelling food into the dining room and set it on the table. We dined in candlelight while listening to jazz playing softly in the background. It didn't take me long to figure out this was more than a casual night at home. Davey created a romantic Valentine's Day dinner date for the two of us. I was in love with my best friend. Was he also in love with me?

The chicken Florentine was amazing and easily the best elegant entree I have had. The twice-baked potatoes were perfect and so tasty. The wine was fabulous and of course, the ambience was first rate. For dessert Davey had baked my favourite dessert, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Each piece had a small red heart made from fondant on top.  The cake was perfect. Davey learned his cooking and baking skills well. I took the first bite of the delicious cake and moaned. It was the best carrot cake I ever had. Was he attempting to win me over through my stomach? If so, it's working. Davey smiled with pride when I raved about the cake. When I finished eating the piece of cake he offered a second helping.  Being completely stuffed, I regretfully declined.

After the delicious meal we sat on the couch facing the large picture window overlooking the harbour.  Davey turned off the lights, creating a romantic ambiance from the candlelight. Coming from the candles on the dining room table. Aker Bilk's "A Stranger on the Shore" played the stereo. We sat comfortably listening to the relaxing music.

"Davey, that was the best dinner I've ever had."

Jimmy grinned. "You aren't just saying that?

"No, I mean it. Thank you."

"Thank you for letting me cook for you. It means a lot."

After a pause I showed him the red envelope. "Is now a good time?"

Davey snickered. "You're like a little boy with a wrapped present. "

I gave him a faux pout. "Awe Daddy, please?"

"Davey put his head down and suddenly became stoic. "Jimmy, maybe the envelope wasn't such a good idea. Can we forget I even sent it to you?"

Confused, I looked at him. "Davey, it can't be that bad, can it?"

He raised his head revealing tears flowing from his eyes. "I don't want to lose you, Jimmy.  You're the best friend I've had."

"Do you think if I see what's in the envelope, I won't want to still be your friend?"

Davey wipes his tears, nodded, and lowered his head again.

I put my fingers under his chin, raising his head and looked into his eyes. In them, I saw a fear of being hurt.

"Davey, I can't think of anything that would breakup our friendship. I mean that. Do you really want me to forget the envelope?"

More tears flowed from his eyes. "I'm just scared. I'm sorry.  Jimmy, I need you to read it, please."

I held the envelope as I searched in his eyes for direction. He nodded and asked me to open it. He held his breath as I carefully tore the envelope open. Inside was a pink and white valentine card. Davey took a deep breath and held it as I pulled the card from the envelope.  The cover of the card was a simple but elegant heart with an arrow shot from Cupid, flying near the side of the heart with an empty bow aimed toward the heart. The message inside the Card read:

Cupid Gif

"Jimmy, my neighbor, best friend, playmate, and schoolmate,

You have always been there for me and with me in sun, rain, or sleet.

Since the day we met, I've loved you as a friend and a brother. My love for you has grown stronger so when we are apart my heart aches for you.  

I cherish the fun times we have shared, I melt in the warmth of your embraces and I celebrate every moment I am with you.

I have always loved you more than life itself.

On this Valentine's Day, would you allow me the honour of accepting my offer to dine with me?

Also, would you do me the honour of being my partner, my friend, and my lover for the rest of our lives?

I love you so very much.



I lowered the card and wiped the tears that poured from my eyes. I turned to Davey.  He was still holding his breath anxiously. He began shaking and tears continued to flow from his eyes.

"Davey, this is the sweetest Valentine's Day gift I've ever received.  

Since the day we met, I've also loved you as a friend and a brother and my love for you has also grown stronger. The days we are apart are sad days for me. I can't see us ever being apart.

Davey, yes, I accept your offer.  I will always be your partner, your friend, and your lover. I love you so very much."

He pulled me in for an embrace and we gazed into each other's eyes. We wiped each other's tears and our lips slowly moved together for our first kiss, the kiss we had waited for since we were twelve years old. After so many times coming so close to sharing our feelings for each other, we finally became life long lovers that Valentines night in 1962.