Click on the link below to read Chapter 33 of Summer Boys, Summer Dreams in the pdf format (better formatting).
Or just read it below online in the html format.
SUMMARY: Two boys growing up together in an idyllic beachfront community share a passion for baseball. One excels at the game and plays it with reckless abandon; the other, less talented, studies the game and those who play it, hoping someday to share what he learns with others. Best friends since childhood, the two have seen how baseball can bring them closer together. Now, having just graduated from high school, it’s about to show them a crueler side of the game. Baseball is about to separate them even though neither wants that to happen. You can find a longer synopsis of the entire story here. Please note that italics are typically used to indicate what a character is thinking or saying to himself.
WARNING: This story is a work of adult fiction and intended for mature audiences only. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Unless otherwise indicated by context, all of the characters, leagues, stadiums, teams and clubs portrayed or mentioned in this story are fictional, not depictions of real people, leagues, stadiums, teams and clubs. Please note that the story may describe, depict or otherwise include graphic portrayals of relationships between men and/or adolescent boys that are homosexual in nature. If you do not like or approve of such discussions or it is illegal for you to read such material, consider yourself warned. If you continue to read this story, you are asserting that you are fully capable of understanding and legally consenting to reading a work of adult fiction.
NOTICE: This story is my property and protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. It may not be reproduced in any form without my written permission. You may download a single copy to read offline and to share with others as long as you credit me as the author. However, you may not use this work for commercial purposes or to profit from it in any way. You may not use any of the characters, leagues, stadiums, teams, clubs, or other fictional locations described in the story in your own work without my explicit permission. Nor may you use, alter, transform, or build upon the story in any way. If you share this story with others, you must make clear the terms under which it is licensed to them. The best way to do that is by linking to this web page.
NOTES: Please check these notes every week. If there is something I want to alert you to as I post each chapter, this is where I will I do so. December 23: There is still time to help a young boy or girl in need this holiday season. If you haven’t done so already, please read this post and contribute generously. It’s been a tough winter so far and there are boys and girls out there on the streets who desperately need your help.
SUMMER BOYS, SUMMER DREAMS
While all of this was going on, Cameron had moved into the Williams household and you would have had to have been totally clueless not to see that he and Zachary were fast becoming the best of friends. In some ways it was nice watching their friendship develop, but I remember feeling conflicted about the whole thing as well.
On the one hand, Cameron was a good influence on Zachary. You could see he was becoming calmer, less hyper. His inner wise ass would still occasionally break through, but he seemed more relaxed and secure in his dealings with others now that he had a friend to confide in.
For his part, Cameron seemed happier than ever. He had put his relationship with William to rest once and for all and that was good. But no longer longing for William, he seemed to become more and more enchanted with Zachary. He liked him. He liked him a lot and I could understand why. Zachary was a very good looking young man. It would have been hard for anyone who was gay not to be attracted to him.
In turn, Cameron’s presence was a godsend for Zachary. Don’t get me wrong. He definitely liked living in Rehoboth Beach with Ethan’s mom. The woman was a saint, not to mention a terrific cook, and her presence in anyone’s life would have been a positive. But Zachary was also young and hard-headed and friendships hadn’t come easily for him over the years.
Some were offered privately with strings attached, then withdrawn just as quickly when Zachary didn’t deliver the benefits sought. Another had come from a boy who was different from him and didn’t share the same passions. Zachary was loud. The boy was quiet. Zachary loved sports. The boy was into dance. Zachary preferred cutoffs and sweatshirts like Ethan. The boy was into clothes a lot more expensive and fashionable.
It had been a long four years for Zachary, a lot of his time spent alone listening to webcasts of Ethan’s games or waiting for the occasional visit home from the person he admired more than anyone else. I could understand how hard that was for him, how lonely it could be between visits; visits that became more and more infrequent the higher Ethan climbed in professional baseball and the further he got away from the Peninsula.
My response had been to try to keep myself active at school and to work multiple jobs during the summer. For Zachary, it had been to spend more time alone prowling the boardwalk looking for what was missing in his life.
It had been clear from our very first afternoon together at Poodle Beach that Zachary was attracted to Cameron; and why not? Cameron was also a good-looking dude, perhaps a little small for his age but a perfect complement to Zachary that way. Just looking at Cameron made me spasm at times and I was almost an adult now, someone supposedly more in control of his urges.
Zachary was about four years younger than me, two years younger than Cameron. He had strong urges and he wasn’t exactly shy about making that clear. For his part, Cameron had never pretended to be a monk. And that’s what worried me.
No one else seemed to notice and their behavior in public was appropriate. But I began to wonder whether something more was developing behind the scenes and that scared me. There was the legal issue, of course. Zachary was about to turn seventeen. He had been waiting for a friend a long time, however, and legal technicalities were the last thing on his mind.
But there was also the more immediate issue, the fact that Zachary played on our team and that Cameron was his Coach. The two of us had gone through criminal background checks as part of the screening process before being hired. We had been required to study the handbook for coaches they had given us and then to sign the contract prohibiting any kind of abuse; physical, emotional, verbal or sexual.
That agreement had also made clear that coaches were to avoid ever being alone with their players. I had checked with Coach Lodge about that discreetly; and even though I had made the arrangement for Cameron to live with Mrs. Williams before I knew Zachary would be playing for our team and the two of them had separate bedrooms, it raised a question in Coach Lodge’s mind and he had agreed to help out.
He had spoken to Cameron and with his consent the two of them had then spoken to Mrs. Williams and Zachary about the whole thing. Her expectations were clear. She had nothing against their friendship as long as it remained non-sexual and both of them had agreed to keep the whole thing platonic while Cameron was living there.
Still, being gay myself, I wondered whether they would be able to pull it off. To me, the key was Cameron. He had always been one of the most disciplined persons I knew and he didn’t disappoint when I finally raised it with him.
“So, um, Cameron, I hope you won’t take this the wrong way because I would trust you with my life. But it’s hard not to see how much you and Zachary like one another. I know Mrs. Williams has spoken to the two of you about that, but I was wondering whether there was anything I could do to make things easier. If you want, I could speak to my parents about having you move back in with us if it’s too hard living in the same house with him.”
“Look, Hunter, I’m not going to tell you it’s easy,” he responded. “He’s just so freaking cute; and, yeah, I’m tempted at times, no doubt about it. I’ve never been so tempted in my life. But we’ve talked about this a lot and we have a deal.”
“He wants to go to the University of Delaware and I’ve told him we could share the apartment if he works hard and gets in; and I’ve also told him that once he gets in and moves into the apartment, well, let’s just say there won’t be any need for separate rooms or separate beds. He’ll be eighteen by the time that happens.”
“I don’t know. I could be wrong I suppose. Maybe I’m seeing something I want to see rather than something that’s really there. But it seems to me that Zachary is growing up real quickly, becoming more mature. Am I wrong about that, Hunter?”
I stopped and thought carefully about what he had said.
“No, I don’t think you are. I don’t know if it’s you or the team or what, but he seems to have quietly assumed the role of a real leader. He’s working with some of the boys on his own to help improve their skills, at least the ones open to that. He doesn’t make a big deal of it. He doesn’t try to impress you or me with it. He just does it and he does it in a way that doesn’t call attention to himself.”
“Out in the field, he helps get everyone into the position they need to be without being bossy about it. He’s a real calming influence on Angel when situations get tense. He seems to know just what to say to get that boy calmed down; and when Angel pitches calmly, there aren’t many teams that are going to beat us.”
“So yeah; I’ve seen that. He is becoming more mature.”
“And it was his idea for the two of us to stay away from Poodle Beach,” Cameron added. “He just up and told me one day he thought it would be better that way; that we could still go to the beach together, just as long as it was the regular beach. I was impressed when he said that, Hunter.”
‘Well, yeah, you’re right; that is impressive.”
“Like I said, it’s something both of us have to work at every day,” Cameron continued. “But the thing is, there are times when I think he’s more in control of his emotions than I am of mine. And I think you know I’m a pretty disciplined guy, Hunter.”
“I do know that, Cameron. It’s one of your faults; and I would certainly be glad to help you overcome that fault if you let me. That would probably also help with, um, well, you know, those random hard-ons I see you getting.”
“Huh. Really?” he asked, staring at me.
Cameron was even beginning to talk just like Zachary now, picking up his speech patterns and some of his other little quirks.
“No dummy, I’m just kidding you,” I replied; “at least about the hard-ons. The rest of that offer still stands.”
“I’ll have to ask Zachary’s permission about that,” he replied, grinning. “And I suspect I already know the answer.”
“What a shame,” I said, patting his ass with my hand. “So firm, so tight, so in need of something, uh, something, oh, I don’t know, something filling and comforting. You don’t know what you’re missing, Cameron.”
He just stuck out his tongue at me and gave his ass a little shake like Zachary was always doing.
“But you obviously do know what you’re missing,” he said, “don’t you, Hunter?”
I remember thinking I needed to avoid these little verbal jousts with Cameron. I could never win, no matter how hard I tried.
We won our second game of the season the following week, crushing the Bethany Bombers 9 to 1. Our pitcher, Angel Pagano, was totally dominant. When he wasn’t striking guys out, he was keeping the ball down and the result was a lot of grounders to the left side of the infield.
Zachary handled everything hit to that side easily; and because we had a solid lead and Angel was pitching so well, I decided to move him over to third and Kevin to shortstop in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Kev proved to be just as solid. The combination of Zachary and Kevin was just too much for the Bombers. They couldn’t get anything out of the infield and by the end of the day they were only too happy to head back home, hats in hand.
My kids were even happier and I decided to treat them to some pizza at Louie’s. They had a good time as best I could tell, but didn’t stick around very long. It was a weekend afternoon after all and the sun was out and the water inviting. Our little impromptu celebration broke up quickly enough.
I was just finishing paying the bill when Coach Lodge stopped by.
“Hail the conquering heroes,” he said, smiling.
I remember returning his grin.
“That’s the worst of it in some ways, Hunter,” he said. “Around these parts, beating Lewes and Bethany back to back can carry you a long way.”
“Thanks, Coach,” I said. “There’s just something magical that happens when guys win a game. I mean, I’ve been on both sides of that, the winning and losing. But the highs that come from the winning seem to last a lot longer than the lows that come from the losing, at least for me.”
“For the boys, I don’t know. I guess we’ll see when we lose one. But they ravaged those pizzas pretty quickly and were on their way even quicker.”
“Tell me about it,” he said. “But, more importantly, tell Ward about it. I’ve been after him to do it for years, but the bastard never would. But this year I quit and what does the guy do? He put aside $50 to pay for food and such.”
“It won’t cover very much, but it’s more than I ever got. Just keep the receipt and submit it to him tomorrow morning. Beating Bethany, I’m sure he’ll pay promptly. He doesn’t like their Commissioner riding his ass when we lose, but he seems to enjoy dishing it out when we win.”
“Thanks for letting me know that, Coach,” I said. “I’ll be sure to do that. Ethan’s mom even came by and scored the game and gave it to me as a present. Maybe I’ll make a copy of that and give it to Mr. Bell as a souvenir.”
“Now you’re beginning to think like a seasoned coach,” he replied, winking at me.
I’m not really sure whether the letter arrived on Tuesday or Wednesday. It was from the school and I had tossed it aside because I thought it was going to contain still another form for me to fill out about my impending employment that fall.
When I finally got around to opening it after practice, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Not sure what to do, I walked over to Ethan’s place. Mrs. Williams answered the door.
“Um, well, is Cameron here, Mrs. Williams?” I asked.
“He is, Hunter. Come on in. He and Zachary are watching some program on television. You know where to find them.”
“Thanks,” I mumbled. “I’m going to ask Cameron to go down to the boardwalk with me.”
Walking into the living room, the two of them greeted me warmly.
“Cameron, I’m heading over to the boardwalk for a walk. I could use some company.”
“Sure,” he responded.
“Does that include me?” Zachary piped up.
“Um, no, not really,” I replied. “It’s, um, coaching stuff. No players allowed.”
“Yeah, right,” Zachary said, looking at me intently. “Like that’s something I really believe. But I’ll let my sweetie go with you, Coach, just as long as you promise to keep your hands off that cute ass of his.”
“Oh, really,” Cameron protested. “And what would you know to do with another dude’s ass?”
“More than you think,” he responded.
“Well, so do I,” Cameron retorted. “So you best keep an eye on your own little ass.”
“Whatever,” Zachary responded. “Have a good time, guys. Just be sure to be back before your curfews kick in.”
Cameron tossed the pillow he had been holding over his lap at him, but Zachary fielded it flawlessly.
“Don’t even try to pull something like that on the starting shortstop of the Rehoboth Beach Sand Gnats,” he said.
“Sand Crabs,” I corrected.
“Whatever,” he said, turning his attention back to the television.
Cameron and I walked over to the boardwalk, turned south and made our way toward Ethan’s favorite spot. When we got there, the two of us scrambled up on to the railing. It was only then I pulled out the letter and handed it to Cameron.
Cape Henlopen High School
1250 Kings Highway
Lewes, Delaware 19958
Dear Mr. Allen:
I regret to inform you that we must withdraw our earlier tentative offer of a teaching position in history this fall at Cape Henlopen High School. As you may recall from that letter, I mentioned at the time that our offer was contingent upon receiving additional funds from the Federal government to support a limited expansion of our history program.
While some of the additional funds we requested were forthcoming as anticipated, the amount we requested was reduced and the funds we received are not sufficient to fill all of the positions we contemplated adding to the program. In turn, this forced us to revisit our earlier decisions and to reduce the number of offers we could make for the upcoming academic year.
I am sorry to tell you that yours was one of the positions we have decided not to fill at this time. It’s possible the position could become open in January of next year or the following fall. However, there is no guarantee that we would offer the position to you even if that happens. Our intent would be to advertise any new openings again and to make our choice from among those who apply at that time.
As I said, I deeply regret having to take this step. Unfortunately, we have no other choice.
Martin Adler, Principal
Cape Henlopen High School
“I don’t believe it,” Cameron said, shaking his head. “Didn’t Coach Lodge say Kevin’s father was a member of the school board?”
“He did,” I replied.
“Well, there you go,” he continued. “This is retaliation for not starting Kevin at shortstop, pure and simple. You need to fight this, Hunter. It isn’t right. It isn’t right at all.”
“I suspect you’re right,” I sighed, “but I don’t know how I can fight it, at least not realistically. Yeah, sure, the guy spoke to me. He made it clear he wasn’t happy about Kevin not starting. But he never threatened me directly with the loss of my job. He just talked about what a mistake I was making and how much I would regret it. There’s no smoking gun.”
“The worse part about it is that I withdrew my applications at some the neighboring school systems the minute I got that earlier acceptance. I called the principal back then and he said he was certain the grant would come through. So I pulled my other applications and now I’m up shit’s creek without a paddle.”
“I don’t know what to tell you, Hunter,” he replied. “I’m just not an expert on any of this stuff. Maybe you should talk to Coach Lodge. He seems to be a pretty nice dude and he likes you. Maybe he can think of something.”
“That’s a good idea,” I agreed. “I’ll try to do that tomorrow. Do you want to go back to the house now?”
“We could do that if you want,” Cameron replied. “Or maybe we could find some kind of deserted spot around here and do something else instead.”
“Like what?” I asked, confused.
“You know, Hunter,” he said, grinning at me and spreading his legs ever so slightly.
I couldn’t believe it.
“You’re kidding?” I said. “You would do that for me?”
“Maybe,” he said, grinning shyly. “Or maybe I would do for myself; because if I have to live in that house all summer with that little hottie, I’m going to be certifiably nuts by the end of this summer.”
“I don’t know how much more I can stand,” he added, easing himself off the railing and pacing back and forth. “He’s so hot, Hunter, and it’s almost like he goes out of his way to drive me insane with how sexy he is.”
“Good,” I responded, smirking at him. “Now you know what it’s been like for me these last couple of months, you little tease. I wouldn’t do you now even if you begged me. I’m enjoying seeing you in pain like this.”
“You’ll be sorry you said that,” he said, edging closer to me. “You’re mean and nasty and I’m going to spank you for that.”
I made a dash for the beach, but he quickly followed and finally tackled me. We rolled around on the ground like that in the sand until neither one of us could take it anymore.
“God damn it,” he said. “I think I’ve got sand in every body orifice there is.”
“There’s a solution for that, a special kind of drill, and I just happen to have one,” I said, rubbing my groin.
“Isn’t that what got us into this mess in the first place?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I replied, “but it was fun.”
And with that I pulled him up to his feet and started dragging him the last few steps to the ocean.
“No,” he screamed dramatically as the two of us tumbled into the surf, totally soaking ourselves.
We just sat there for a few moments, letting the waves wash over us. Eventually he scrambled to his feet.
“I’m a mess,” he said, looking down at himself. “I need to change. But how am I ever going to explain this to Zachary?”
“Just tell him I tried to rape you and you bravely fought me off.”
“I dunno,” he said. “He might just believe it and deck you. He’s pretty possessive when it comes to me. In any event, we should get back to the house.”
As Cameron suggested, I talked with Coach Lodge the next day about what had happened. He was angry about the whole thing.
“You know, the funny thing is Glenn was never much of a shortstop when he was younger. The high school team was pretty bad back then and they had to beg students to try out for the baseball team. Glenn was one of those who did and they made him the shortstop, but he didn’t even distinguish himself on a bad team.”
“And yet even back then he was already a worthless son of a bitch; but he’s a member of the school board, of course, and he has that principal over there pretty intimidated.”
As always, I appreciated having his support. Like me, however, Coach Lodge wasn’t sure what to do.
“Maybe you should talk to Zachary’s mother,” he finally suggested. “I seem to recall her challenging the School Board when they tried to keep him off the team. Maybe she would have a better idea what to do, Hunter.”
So that’s what I did. I talked to Mrs. Williams. Like Coach Lodge, she was sympathetic and filled me in at last on her own struggles with the School Board trying to get a fair shake for Zachary. She suggested filing a complaint with the School Board and getting the American Civil Liberties Union involved. But I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that.
“If I do something like that, there’s going to be a lot of publicity about the whole thing, Mrs. Williams. My parents won’t like that. More importantly, it will end up being a big distraction for the boys and could divide the team. Some of the boys will blame Kevin although I’m sure he has nothing to do with this. But the point is, the boys just want to play baseball and I would hate seeing them dragged into this.”
“I understand,” she replied. “But what kind of example would you set by not fighting back. You’re a good coach. I’m sure you can help the boys avoid letting this become a distraction.”
“Could I ask you a question, Hunter?” she asked.
“Of course,” I responded.
“It’s a personal question, Hunter, and I’ll understand if you don’t want to respond; but ever since Cameron told me he was gay, I’ve wondered whether you might be as well. I think you know me well enough to understand it would never make a difference for me if you were. I love Zachary very much and I’ve loved having Cameron here as well because he’s been such a positive influence for Zachary. And I’ve loved you even longer than them so you can count on my support no matter what.”
“I am gay, Mrs. Williams,” I responded. “I’ve gone back and forth on that for a long time and it wasn’t until I met Cameron this year that I finally realized I was.”
“Does Ethan know?” she asked.
“No,” I said. “I want to tell him, but I want to tell him in person, not over the phone or by e-mail or texting. It just seems like he never gets home anymore.”
“He doesn’t,” she sighed. “I miss him so much and so does Zachary, but I can understand you wanting to tell him in person. You won’t have to wait long though, Hunter. He should be home in September after the minor league season finishes up; that’s assuming his team doesn’t make the playoffs or he doesn’t get called up by the Blues.”
“I hope you’ll tell him then. I think it would be good for him to know that. He seems very lonely these days whenever I speak to him and that worries me.”
“In any event, I’ll support you no matter what you decide about this job, Hunter. It’s your decision, but I would fight it if I were you.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Williams,” I said.
By the time we had finished talking, I was inclined to do what she suggested. But I wanted to talk about it with my parents as well. Fighting what had happened would involve a lot of publicity and I suspected that would upset them.
That turned out to be the case. When I told them what had happened, they suggested I drop the whole thing and begin looking for a teaching job in one of the neighboring communities the following January. They would let me continue living at home while I did that, but they didn’t want all the publicity that would come from fighting what had happened.
When added to my own concerns about the effect the whole thing would have on the boys, the decision became easier. I decided to swallow my pride and do what my parents suggested.
We lost our third game to Ocean City, 3 to 2. Our number two pitcher, Del Ford, had a good game and Zachary kept us in it at the plate with a strong batting performance. But they squeezed out a run in the bottom of the last inning and sent us packing. The boys were down after the game, but I tried to reassure them it was still early in the season and most of them had forgotten the whole thing by the time we got back to Rehoboth Beach.
After that we really started to play well. Close victories over Georgetown and Millsboro were followed by our second win against Lewes. By the time the first half of the season started winding down in July, we were solidly ensconced in second place and our game the following Sunday would decide the first half winner. If Ocean City won, they would also win the first half. If we won, the first half championship would be decided by a complicated formula.
It never came to that. Ocean City blew us away, 5 to 0. Angel had nothing that day and they pounded him relentlessly. By the same token, their pitcher had total control of his stuff and would have had a no hitter except for a seventh inning single by Zachary.
So Ocean City had won the first half championship, but I just kept emphasizing to the boys we were improving with every game. I think that message got through because we started the second half with two solid victories against Lewes and Bethany, the two weakest teams in the league that year. We followed those up with a nail-biting 1 to 0 victory at home against Ocean City.
As poorly as Angel had pitched in his previous start against Ocean City, he was solid and workmanlike in his second; and then in the bottom of the seventh inning Zachary had gotten all of a fastball and sent it over the left field fence.
We followed that victory up with another nail biter, this time a 3 to 2 victory over Georgetown in which Del pitched incredibly. Ocean City defeated us in our second game of the second half, but we won the second half championship anyway when they fell unexpectedly to Georgetown.
It was nearing the middle of August now. A final playoff game had been scheduled for the following Saturday evening against Ocean City to determine the overall summer league championship.
By a flip of a coin, they were declared the home team and I knew we would have our work cut out for us playing them at their field. They would be able to turn out a lot more fans than us even in the best of circumstances and I knew some of our fans would not make the trip down to Ocean City on one of the last good weekend evenings before the summer season ended.
So there you had it pretty much. It was all going to be decided by that final game against Ocean City and I knew that was going to be tough.
I had asked the boys to arrive early that Saturday evening to get in a little extra practice before the game. Cameron and I had arrived earlier still to get everything set up so we could make the best use of time. All of the players except Zachary had already arrived and I was wondering where he was.
“Don’t ask me?” Cameron said, shrugging his shoulders when I looked over at him. “He said his Mom would be driving him, but I’m as surprised as you the two of them aren’t here by now.”
He had just finished saying it when I saw a solitary figure in the distance racing toward the field. He was going hell bent for leather and it only took a moment for me to realize it was Zachary.
He was screaming something, but at first I couldn’t make out what he was saying. As he got closer, however, the words became clear enough and they scared me.
“It’s Ethan,” he was screaming over and over.
Finally, exhausted, he slammed into my arms.
“What about Ethan?” I said, worried. “Did he get injured, Zachary? How bad is it?”
“No, no,” he replied, trying to catch his breath. “He isn’t hurt. He’s fine. But there’s been a monster trade in the PBLA; four teams, seven players.”
“The Blues have traded Ethan to the Washington Warriors and the Warriors have called him up. He’s in San Francisco right now and about to go over to the stadium to meet his new teammates. He says he doesn’t think so, but I know they’re going to start him at shortstop later tonight.”
“Oh wow, oh wow; that’s so awesome,” Billy interjected, as the rest of the team gathered up around us. “Ethan’s the best player in the world.”
“I knew he would do it,” Zachary said. “I just knew it. I knew he was good enough to play major league ball.”
I remember being stunned by the news.
Like Zachary, most of the time since Ethan had left I had been certain he would eventually make it all the way to the top. I had never really lost faith. But then, as you begin to get older, you start tempering your expectations. In my case I had come to realize just how few players ever do make it.
Maybe next year, I would tell myself. Maybe next year is Ethan’s year.
But doubt begins to creep in.
“Unbelievable,” Zachary said. “This is incredible, guys. Now we have to beat Ocean City for sure. We need to make a statement tonight. We want people to know we’re from Rehoboth Beach, the place where Ethan comes from, and we want to show them what we’re made of. We have to win this game and I know we’re going to do it.”
Zachary’s excitement proved contagious and he proved to be prophetic as well. I didn’t have to do very much coaching that evening. It wasn’t even close.
Ocean City never stood a chance because Zachary had a monster game, five for five at the plate, including two home runs and six runs batted in. In the field, he was a demon. Nothing got by him. His performance alone that evening would have won the game for us single-handedly. But, like I said, his enthusiasm proved contagious and everyone on the team seemed infected by it. Even Billy Barnes contributed two singles, one stolen base, and scored twice.
The final score, 11 to 2, didn’t even begin to capture how well we had played as a team that night. We had done more than make a statement. We had crushed Ocean City and won the league championship in the process. And after it was over Cameron and I had treated the boys to some pizza well into the evening, at least until it was time for them to go home and watch the game on television or via a webcast from San Francisco.
Like them, I had gone home and listened to the game that evening. Mrs. Williams had invited me over to her place, but for some reason I wanted to be alone. I had been proud when Ethan played well that night and the Warriors won the game. But now the game was over and I was just lying there staring at the ceiling.
I had been doing that for what seemed like hours without ever closing my eyes. In my mind, all I could see was Zachary racing toward the field and throwing himself into my arms.
“It’s Ethan,” he was screaming. “It’s Ethan”
And now, at last, I realized just how right he was and began crying.
It was Ethan.
It had always been Ethan, but somehow I had never been able to tell him that and now there I was, on my bed, crying like a baby.
You did it, Ethan. I’m so proud of you, so happy for you.
See how happy I am?
I love you, Ethan. I always loved you. I always will.
Today, tomorrow, forever; I love you, Ethan.
[End of Part III]