And so we come to the end of another story. That’s always sad for me in some ways, but there does come a point when you have to let go of your characters and give them the freedom to find their own way in the world.
This is a story I struggled with more than any other I’ve written so there is a positive side to this ending for me; but since every ending is just a beginning in disguise, all of us can spend an occasional moment or two over the holidays wondering what happened to Sean and Holden after this chapter ends.
That’s true for all the characters in a story, of course. What happened to Kevin and Bobby or even to Roger for that matter? Did the kiosk manage to survive changing times? Was Warren able to keep his hands to himself?
And what about Professor Jeffords? He’s old now and could leave us at any time. You have to wonder what happened all those years in between when we first met him teaching at Williams College and where we end up leaving him tonight.
Did he ever find love in his life? Is he gay? Or did teaching provide all the love he needed?
That’s the fun part of writing for me. There are so many characters and so many possibilities. But if you’ve read all my stories you know I tend to be focused on boys and young men of a certain age; adolescents and young adults just coming of age and struggling to come to grips with their sexuality.
There’s a reason for that, of course, but I’m not going to go there tonight 😀
In some ways the last two chapters have been a living hell for both Holden and Sean. Roger’s cruelty was all too apparent in the way he toyed with Holden before finally revealing what he wanted in exchange for keeping silent about Sean’s drug-dealing past.
Sitting alone next to Holden’s door in Wigglesworth, Sean wondered for hours whether he had lost Holden because of his difficulty saying the magical words; or perhaps because of that old bugaboo that boys and young men who are gay tend to struggle with.
Am I man enough?
In the end Holden came to Sean’s rescue, arriving back at his room in the early hours of Thursday morning after struggling for hours with Roger’s proposition.
Finding Sean on his doorstep, he quickly made it clear he wasn’t dumping Sean. In turn, knowing how much he loved Holden and now able to share that with him at last, Sean helped Holden resolve his dilemma. Even if it meant not getting into Harvard, Sean didn’t want Holden to do something wrong like having sex with Roger to buy his silence.
The boys sealed their love once again that evening. But in the morning Holden pointed out that Professor Jeffords was about to get blindsided unless they told him the truth about Sean’s past. Sean agreed and a meeting was set up for later that evening.
On his way to Wigglesworth at the end of the day, Sean finally came to grips with the realization he wasn’t going to get what he wanted; a chance to go to Harvard. He could have been devastated by that and indeed he was disappointed, no doubt about it.
And yet, staring at the words above the Dexter Gate, he also realized that he had grown in wisdom just by recognizing it was his own fault; and also by reminding himself what could have happened if Holden had never opened his door and he had ended up in jail instead.
We pick up the story tonight with Sean having entered the Yard and heading for Wigglesworth.
Tim mentioned in his comment on the last chapter that he could have lived with that being the final one. The more I thought about that, the more I realized what a great compliment that was. And I do think he’s right.
If I had been run over by a car this week and didn’t survive and thus couldn’t bring you this final chapter, I think I would died comfortable with the story ending at Chapter 19.
But it doesn’t end there and I hope tonight’s final chapter will tie up all the loose ends in a way you find satisfactory. It’s another long chapter so be sure you’re well fortified before taking it on.
Even knowing how much I struggled with this story and how grateful I am to be done with it in some ways, I found myself shedding a tear or two as I wrote those final two words with which all stories must end.
In any event, have fun reading and be sure to come back on Thursday because I am going to post a bit more about what’s in store for 2016. I think it’ll be a good year for story telling, but you can never be certain until it’s over and done.
But unlike when I first started posting this story earlier this year, I am looking forward to 2016.
Thank you for reading my story and for all your encouragement and support. It’s sustained me through some difficult times with this story and I appreciate it very much.