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Forty-two years had I walked the earth ... forty-two miserable years. All I could dream of, all I had ever dreamed of, were dolphins.
The name's Matthew ... I've been ... well, all around. Born in South Carolina, raised in Hawaii, couple years here and there in Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma, Maine, and here now in Florida ... been through every part of the U.S., from the Pacific Northwest to New England to the deep south and the southwest.
Never really set down any roots ... though I been here in Florida now for the longest of anywhere since moving out of my folks back in '80. Been through more relationships than I can remember with both women and men ... sometimes both simultaneously ... heh. Damned libido's always leading me around, but never taking me anywhere.
There were a couple special to me ... but no more than John who I met in Maine ... lonely guy, very quiet and reserved ... to look at him, he didn't look like much. It was by fluke I got to know him at all, a long string of bad luck ... but I broke through his shell ... he had opened up a lot to me...
I'd dreamed of dolphins long before I met him, every time waking up hornier than ever. I never quite put the two together 'til I met him, though ... John was ... very different.
He'd been born in Maine, lived there all his life ... I only met him by chance after crashing at my brother's up there, having just fallen out of a bad relationship. I saw him nearly every day walking the beach with his German Shepherd by the beach. He answered hellos with a nod, never talked with anyone. A lot of times he'd spend hours just watching the waves crash over the rocks on the coast, the Sheph sitting beside him or laying in his lap.
I'd gotten a strange feeling from him ... not a bad feeling, a strange one ... several times. He didn't seem to have a lover, nor any friends ... he seemed disinterested in anything going on in the world; never saw him with a newspaper.
Trying to rebuild my life for the umpteen billionth time, I was stuck there with at my brother's for awhile ... worked in a supermarket for dirt pay, saving up to replace my dilapidating car with a newer used one, paying my brother rent, and spending maybe a bit more than I should have on booze.
He became as familiar a face to me as my brother - unkempt, his hair way out of control, thick beard and stache ... he usually just wore plain jeans and a shirt, plaid when it turned chilly, but no matter how cold, he was always out there.
I became very weirdly curious about him ... after having lived there and seen him day in, day out for 6 months, I walked up to him as he was sitting on a walk, just looking out at the sea. His sheperd lifted her head and looked at me, and he casually followed her.
"Hi," I greeted warmly. He just gazed at me. "M'name's Matt ... seen you around here a lot ... mind if I sit for a bit?"
He just shrugged and returned to looking at the sea. I looked out with him ... it was overcast and cool ... way too cool a climate for dolphins, of course, but at least it was the sea ... however cool the breeze flowing in, I enjoyed the salty air.
I remembered all the times I'd seen him gazing out ... felt if anything would break the ice with him, the sea would.
"It's just home, isn't it?" I said after about 10 or 20 minutes of saying nothing. He moved his eyes to glance at me. "The sea, I mean ... it's just home."
Almost to a shock, for the first time in the hundreds of times I'd seen him, he spoke. "Yeah ... yeah, it is."
He had a deep voice, but a quiet one.
"Shame about all the crap we've dumped in there over the millennia ... the origin of life, the biggest gem on the globe," I continued.
He'd brought his own sack lunch with him, as he often did ... he reached in, grabbed some baked fish, letting his shepherd eat it from his hand. She sniffed, but then turned and looked at me, looking very uneasy.
"Its alright, lady..." he said, then turned to me. "Well, if you're gonna just sit there, mind if she checks you out? She's not to keen on strangers, is afraid to even sniff 'em anymore."
He huddled her ... nuzzled her, even with his face. "Its okay, Jen ... I won't let him hurt you ... go ahead," he encouraged.
She looked at him, then slowly got up and tightly tucked her tail underself as she carefully stretched over to me, her nostrils flaring. I gazed at her softly, but didn't move nor react ... I knew they were strongly attached, and if I startled her, it'd quash my chances at getting to know this mysterious fellow ... which, for some oddball reason, I felt very compelled to do.
She kept her eyes fixed on mine as I gazed at her ... and kept her tail tucked very, very tighly under herself. She stretched herself out to sniff my legs stretched out in front of me as I sat in the gravel, my back leaning against a boulder ... she sniffed up to my chest, then loosened her tail-tuck a bit and padded over and began sniffing all around me ... my arm, my chest, my face. She pressed her muzzle softly into my chest as he watched, and I slowly moved my arm nearest her to scritch her. She backed up at first, and i stopped, my hand still on her back ... she turned and sniffed it ... I gently started again, and she licked my arm.
She panted slightly, uncurling her tail, letting it droop normally, and she swayed it a couple times. She then padded back over to him, and passively (but obviously enjoying
"Matt, is it?" he seemed to warm up at her comfort with me. His whole demeanor changed ... I sensed now he was curious about me.
He set the piece of fish on his leg for her to finish; she licked the pieces from his hand, and then he extended it to me. "My name's John."
I shook his hand.
"This is Jennifer," he said, gazing down at his Shepherd. She smiled at him, glanced at me, panted, then returned to taking down the last of the bit of fish he had for her. "She's ... very special to me."
Dunno what it was, but I sensed something held back in that ... and a bit of feared embarrasment about something.
We talked for a bit ... about the sea, about the town. Told me he worked as a freelance writer, wrote a couple Hardy Boys books, occaisional pieces for local magazines and such.
After that, we sat together fairly often. He chatted a lot about Jennifer ... how he'd picked her up as a pup, seeing her wander alone by the side of a road.
I'd been seeing people, having a couple flings with swingers and the local queers, but after John started talking to me ... for some reason, I just forgot all about that.
Within a couple months, I realized I was interested in him ... he never talked about any relationships he had ... maybe he was just a closet gay ... there was definitely something, but I couldn't quite tell what.
John lived in a small house on the outskirts of town, with a few acres that he never mowed. He invited me over for coffee several times as we got a friendship going.
Then, about 7 months after the first time he'd talked with me, I decided to just drop by on a whim, see what was up. I will never forget that day...
It was a warm spring day ... very warm, in fact ... hot and muggy. I knew he didn't have any air conditioning, and he usually had his windows wide open ... I knew he was home because his car was in the drive, but I noticed his windows were closed and his curtains drawn.
I knocked ... no answer. I heard scuffling, Jen's panting, and ... heavy breathing?
"John? Its me, Matt ... you there?"
" ... (seeming to gasp for breath) Matt? Uhh ... I'm not feeling well today ... could you maybe come by later instead?"
"John? Something wrong?"
" ... no! Please ... just go!"
"John, somethign's wrong ... if there's someone else in there, I GOT A GUN!" I pressed on the door, pulling on the latch ... it was open...
"No, please, don't...!"
There he was ... with Jen ... and I mean -with- Jen. Words ... definitely failed me. "Ummmm ... whoops ... I..." I ... I ... I stepped outside and closed the door.
I walked out to my car I'd parked on the street (John's driveway was just too small for both our cars) ... but then just walked past it.
I just walked to town, back home to my brother's house ... I had often walked home drunk ... though I hadn't had more than a beer since I'd gotten to know John.
I'd like to tell you what was going through my head as I did so ... but I honestly had no clue ... my had no coherency to it at all.
.... There is more of this story ...