Flash: Daylight Regrets

Daylight came too soon, pushing back the magic of night. Julian pulled the crumpled bedsheeets around him wondering … wondering if he could continue, wondering if he could stop.

Joseph had been his world from the moment they met at the recreation center. Joe, blond, sculptured, and popular was the pool attendant. Surrounded by the teenage crowd of beauty, where he reigned supreme.

Julian debated pretending to drown to get his attention … for weeks. Instead, for the first time of his life, he crushed his shyness and asked the guy out. He expected to be shot down. Joe could have any guy or girl in the pace. Instead he said yes. Yes to a dweeb, yes to a guy in a homophobe town, yes to him.

They swam daily during lunch. They ate breakfast and dinner together. From the first date, they saw each other every day. The high school Julian had been certain would turn against them in their senior year, supported them – their star quarterback, swimmer, pitcher and the new guy who stole his heart and won the county science fair and took the chess team to national finals.

They changed the town. Gave hope to other kids who came out to their parents. Joe still won prom king, and the crowd cheered when Joe and Julian took the dance floor beside the prom queen and her college boyfriend.

Five years of bliss. Joe supported him through college. Cleaned house, cooked meals, massaged aching shoulders. They started talking about adoption after Julian got his first full-time job.

They were suppose to have forever.

Julian rubbed the goosebumps on his arms as he watched the sun climb in the sky.

The problem is Joe thought so too. So much, so hard, he continued to visit Julian every night since he died. And Julian couldn’t say no. He never had been able to turn Joe away.

And he needed to.

Needed to.

Needed to send Joe to the light. Instead Joe left before the dawn every morning. And Julian relived Joe’s betrayal every day – Joe dying while Julian had to keep living. The moment Julian was told Joe would never …

He needed to stop this cycle before it destroyed him. He needed it to continue so he would always be loved. Never seeing Joe again would kill him. Keeping seeing Joe would break him.

He couldn’t keep living like this. He couldn’t stop living like this.

(words 408 – originally appearing at Breathless Press 10/10/2013 for the 5/6/12 Sunday Fun – See the picture that inspired the story! – As I do not know the copyright permissions, I have not copied it here; republished new blog format 9/8/2019)