Every Treasure Hunt Has it's End
Demetrius walked into a run-down mini-mart outside of Tillicum. A older gentleman gazed at him from the counter. Like a stone, he didn't have the most inviting expression on his face.
“You lost or somethin'?” The man sharply asked.
”No, sir. Some friends told me that I needed to be here.” The man's face softened just a little bit. But remained rigid.
“Oh... is that right?”
Demetrius looked down at the counter, it was a dusty mess of random knick-knacks and such. He took a deep breath and began to speak.
“Yeah I have been sick for the longest time. I am sick of suffering, I don't want this disease to take me. I'd rather go on my own terms.”
The man sighed loudly.
“What the fuck are you trying to get me arrested? Get the hell outta here!”
Demetrius thought about leaving but firmly stood his ground.
“I came here for a reason, and I am not leaving until I get what I want.”
The older gentleman continued to gaze at Demetrius. He knew with the line of products that he sold, he needed to take some precautionary measures.
“I guess you won't take no for an answer. You must be serious. Wait one minute, ok?”
“Alright, but don't keep me waitin' too long, I've got kids in Yakima, you know.” Demetrius replied while smiling slightly.
The man smiled at Demetrius's successful elocution of the secret phrase. Had he not said it right, he would have just given Demetrius a bag of flour. The older gentleman went into the back room for a few minutes, loudly moving things about. He returned to the counter with a bottle in his right hand.
“Three hundred.” He said flatly.
Demetrius placed three one-hundred dollar bills on the counter. The man took each one and slowly rubbed his counterfeit detector over it.
“Well you're legit, brother. Here you go.”
The man handed the bottle to Demetrius. The bottle was small, the size of a eye drop bottle. Upon it was the word “heaven” written in permanent black marker.
“Heaven?” Demetrius asked, puzzled.
“Oh yes son. This bottle will take you there. Real smooth like, you won't feel a thing. They say to run a nice warm bath, get into the tub, and drink the bottle. But you have to drink the whole thing. 'Till the last drop... drink this bottle and you will have eternal life.”
Demetrius had the cutest, friendliest face you could ever see. But he could be mean as Hell at times. At his finest, he would elevate bluntness to historic levels. But he loved very hard. He was cruel to his mother at times, but he loved her madly. There was Hell to pay if anybody laid a finger on her; and yes, one man had to learn the hard way.
At age 28, Demetrius had graduated from the nearby university but hadn't been able to find work in the field of Social Work. For the past year, the State had put hiring freezes which made successful job hunting damn near impossible. When the freezes were lifted, Demetrius and the entire city had to compete for a few positions. This situation depressed him, and Demetrius didn't show his pain through tears. He showed it through malice.
He had a few other good excuses to be angry, he was gay and infected with HIV. A double whammy, he called it. This situation did not necessarily give him the right to be as cross as he was, but it was good enough. Demetrius never worried about being accosted on the street because he was stereotypically masculine: he played sports and dated a few girls in high school, he was crass, and he was a thick guy. Despite his upper-middle class upbringing, he could speak street slang with the best of them.
He knew he was gay since age 16, when his then-best friend, Mateo invited him over to watch porn. An explicit-adult film and two horny teenage boys made the perfect concoction for exploratory behavior.
“Damn, dude. The bitch's got some nice tits!” Mateo exclaimed. “Makes my dick so hard.”
Demetrius gazed at the tent in Mateo's shorts.
“... Yeah, mine too.”
Mateo glanced over to his friend and saw his dick fully exposed out of the open zipper. He looked at Demetrius, surprised at his boldness.
“My bad, it was getting uncomfortable in my jeans.”
“Nah, it's cool... Hey, sometimes my cousin... well my second-cousin comes over and we watch porn... and sometimes... umm... we help each other out, you know? I mean, no gay shit like kissing but it feels so bomb when someone else touches your dick.”
Demetrius tried to keep his breath under control. To keep his cool. He didn't know what to say next.
“Well, nobody has ever touched it before... except for me.”
Mateo reached over to his good friend and made contact. Their desires overrode any inhibition that previously existed. They didn't stop until their virginity was lost, unfortunately, the friendship ended not soon after. Mateo didn't come to terms with his sexuality as easily as Demetrius. Demetrius was blamed for introducing Mateo to “weird, gay shit” like kissing and sucking dick. It didn't take long for Mateo to forget that it was he that made the first move.
What Mateo didn't know was that Demetrius was madly in love with him. The moment they first made love was like a dream come true. When Mateo rejected Demetrius, he was totally devastated. He locked himself in his room for days, playing rap music, and crying. His mother would try to check on him and he would let her in after multiple attempts, but only when his face was dry. He wouldn't tell her much details about what was going on. In fact, he lied. He told his mother that he and Mateo were fighting over a girl. She believed him, she had no reason not to.
The rejection affected Demetrius for the rest of his life. Since then, he only dated guys who resembled Mateo. But he didn't want to ever feel rejected again, ever. Therefore, he made sure he was the one who ended the relationships first. It didn't matter how well the relationship was going. He started to develop a reputation, but it didn't harm his success with men. It is odd how some people are drawn to trouble, and trouble was Demetrius.
Eventually, trouble found Demetrius. By chance, while leaving the gay bookstore where many would go for cruising, Demetrius ran into Mateo. Literally. Mateo was entering the entrance at the same time that Demetrius was leaving. Mateo fell back onto the sidewalk.
“What the fuck?!” Mateo said, while getting up quickly, about ready to fight. Then they recognized each other.
“Oh shit... damn. It's been a minute. A long ass time...”
“Yeah, it's been a minute.”
“Sure has, well... what's up man?” Mateo extended his hand.
“Not much... just started classes at the university.” Demetrius finally accepted the handshake. A quick, yet powerful charge went through both of their bodies from the contact.
“That's good, man. I knew you would do somethin' good with your life.”
Mateo found himself staring at his former friend. In fact, they were staring at each other. Demetrius found himself falling back into the past, as much as he wanted to avoid it.
“So what you been up to?”
“Shit... well I got married.”
“Married?! To a chick?!”
“Yep, one year.”
“What you doin' here then, man?”
“I dunno... I guess I like to creep every once in a while.”
“Nah, fuck that. I hate that term. I just do what I do. You feel me?”
Simple as that, Demetrius was back in love. It was the simplicity of Mateo that Demetrius loved the most. Demetrius constantly had to battle intense thoughts and emotions, but Mateo was peaceful. Mellow.
“Mateo, let me show you a book that I helped write.”
Demetrius walked Mateo to a section of shelves in the back. He pulled a book from the shelve that was entitled, Memoirs of Urban Gay Youth. Demetrius hated the title, but still he decided to contribute an essay he wrote about his first gay experience and life since then. Demetrius wanted Mateo to read the book, badly.
“This is what I wrote. It was about... my first relationship.”
“Your first relationship. What? Did the motherfucker break your heart?” Mateo asked, not knowing that he was the motherfucker.
“Yeah... he did.” Demetrius's voice cracked slightly. He could not conceal the sadness in his face. Mateo thought that Demetrius was irresistibly cute when sad.
“He had to be a damn fool to leave a sexy ass man like you.” Mateo touched Demetrius face, rubbed his ears and neck. They began to kiss. The desire that they had for each other in their early teenage years never left. They explored each other bodies with their hands, breathing heavily in between kisses.
“Alright men, go on and find yourselves a room.” The bookstore owner interrupted.
Demetrius and Mateo left the bookstore and checked into the nearest hotel. They made love several times. Making a lot a noise. They went outside for a bit to buy some marijuana. They went back to the hotel, got high, and made love some more. Demetrius didn't want Mateo to ever leave his arms. But he did. After the night they spent together, Mateo asked for Demetrius's number, but he never called. Demetrius was hurt but at least Mateo gave him another memory. Mateo also gave him HIV.
Since the acquisition of HIV, Demetrius love life slowed down significantly. He would meet potential mates but as soon as he told them his status, they were no longer interested. He did eventually meet somebody. During the past two years, he has been seeing a husky gentleman named Gustavo who worked as a HIV counselor. Like Demetrius, Gustavo was also HIV positive. However, Gustavo insisted that they have protected sex because of the risk of infecting each other with different strains. Gustavo was short, sweet, and long-suffering. He put up with a lot of strife from Demetrius. In the good days and bad, Gustavo stayed by his side. Every time Demetrius ended the relationship, Gustavo took him back. Demetrius did care deeply for Gustavo, and in his own way, loved him. But he didn't want to admit it because he feared being rejected again. As long as he didn't really love him, losing him wouldn't hurt as much.