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Billy Day - Sing With Me If It's Just For Today...
If I should fall behind, Guyster, wait for me.
guysterrules
guysterrules
Billy Day

They all arrived in a clump just as I had anticipated. David B. was knocking on the screen door as Gene peered into the living room window and when I walked over to unhook the clasp on the door, I saw the entire gang. As they filed into the house, each one giving me a big and consequential hug, relief swept away all the anxiety I had manifested into a tainted bouillabaisse.

All of these men had known Billy far longer than me and the love for him was palpable in the kitchen last night as we stood around trading stories and drinking beer. Early on in our relationship, I had distanced myself from Billy’s core friend group out of some errant snobbery but since Billy went into hiding, I’ve tried to reach out and mend whatever rifts existed and soothe the hurt feelings I may have created over the past decade.

Earlier in the day, I had ventured into Billy’s closet with a determination to mark the clothes I could bear to part with and keep those that are essential to me. I was successful and teary but I made it through the tunnel, sometimes crawling on my belly. I had laid out the clothes for their choosing as well as some other keepsakes I knew they would cherish. I also selected several stories I had written and Kinko’s bound them nicely into books. If Billy wasn’t going on a birthday walk this year, his friends were.

I looked around the room and could see that each man had characteristics that Billy would find appealing. The common thread was their lack of pretense. No one boasted of a marquee job, not a single one of them flexed a single muscle and each one had the spirit of having fun at his core. I was relaxed and found myself giggling with them. What the hell did I have against these guys in the first place? It would have made Billy so much happier had I not created a 38th Parallel.

At one point, we decided to go on a Julia walk as I told them Julia Roberts lives a half-block from our house. With beers and margaritas in hand, the eight of us, and Bob, went down the darkened walk street where Julia lives. Before we left, we drunkenly traded ideas of what to shout when we arrived at her doorstep.

“Hey pretty woman. Yoo hoo!”

“Oh Julia. I’ve got a knotting hill in my pants for you!”

“Hey baby. It’s Keifer. Open up.”

Bob led the pack as he certainly knows this route and as we approached Julia’s home, there was a hush and a reverence. Her bedroom light was off and only the porch light illuminated her front yard.

“She lives there?” Bobby said in disbelief at how accessible the house was situated.

“Well she has to live somewhere,” John D. snorted.

We rounded the corner and came back home. I had bought thirteen of Billy’s favorite brownies from a nearby bakery and decorated each one with a letter so they collectively spelled out H-A-P-P-Y B-I-L-L-Y-D-A-Y. I put a candle on each one and we sang Happy Birthday as each of us blew out our candles and made our individual wishes.

My wish came true later when everyone left, and Bob and I were in bed. I held his picture and stared into those smiling Navy eyes and he looked back at me more vibrant than I’ve seen him in a long time. I didn’t say a word. I let him do the talking. And I liked what I heard.
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Comments
among_the_stars From: among_the_stars Date: August 3rd, 2003 01:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like a difficult but wonderful evening. *hugs*
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: August 3rd, 2003 02:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
All things considered, it was a great evening. I love being around people who love Billy.

And a hug from a beautiful girl is always welcome and I don't mean that in a creepy way.
(Deleted comment)
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: August 3rd, 2003 02:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
You mean sweeter than Rex Reed or Robin Leach?
ruralrob From: ruralrob Date: August 3rd, 2003 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
What excellent images - and another fine chapter in the story of Billy - to send our way. I'm very impressed how well you are (usually) coping in these difficult times. Bodes well for the future, methinks.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: August 3rd, 2003 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Methinks you're right and Bob loved having all of that attention last night as he trolled around the floor looking for dropped food crumbs.
From: danman869 Date: August 3rd, 2003 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sounds like you had one of the best evenings one can have: a night spent with friends.
t_l From: t_l Date: August 3rd, 2003 03:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
What a lovely way to celebrate Billy, and how he must have loved seeing all of the people he loved most together. Good on you for trying to mend those fences.
brianrdu From: brianrdu Date: August 3rd, 2003 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's very apparent how much you loved/still love him. It's also very apparent to me how much he must have loved you, you know. Because you are such a wonderful man.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: August 3rd, 2003 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
You are a very gracious man, Brian, and you're right. Billy loved me in a way so completely, that I've never felt that safe or protected before. In the chaos of a relationship, I'm afraid I didn't always return in kind. But we were a team and we always will be. I'm just running behind him in the relay, trying to catch up to his baton.

Once I get settled, I look forward to seeing the Carolinas. I've never been there before and I think it would be a great weekend with Bob. I hope to get to meet you.
t_l From: t_l Date: August 3rd, 2003 09:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm a Carolina girl myself! There are lots of pretty places here.
From: umkinda Date: August 3rd, 2003 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great story, Terry. But you also tell great stories.
ubermunkey From: ubermunkey Date: August 4th, 2003 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
very beautiful, and touching, I am glad that you both had friends around and that you had some you and bob time as well. Cheers to Billy!
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