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When I Fall In Love

Copyright 2019 J.T. Evergreen

Published by J.T. Evergreen

at Smashwords

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Many thanks to Khris Lawrentz for his tireless proofreading.

Falling in Love

As told by Hank Dawson

I thought I had it all figured out . . . falling in love that is. When it finally happened, I was clueless – totally unprepared, and I proceeded to make a bigger fool out of myself than I thought possible.

In retrospect, love slowly creeps up on its hands and knees until you suddenly realize you’re up to your ears – no … up to your eyes in love – and then it’s too late; you're hopelessly at the mercy of one of nature's greatest forces.

All kidding aside, it was one of the worst and most exciting experiences in my life, and I’m certain I would never survive it a second time. I thought it would be like having Doris Day smiling and singing Love Someone in the background. Instead, it turned out to be more like Louis Armstrong blowing that damned horn of his and laughing his ass off; singing Why do Fools Fall in Love, punctuated with Edith Piaf serenading me in French which didn’t make any sense, but that’s how I saw it.

And those cute lyrics to that song Love is Good for Anything That Ails You, are a lot of horsepucky. A little kiss does not pep you up, it utterly destroyed me and sent me on an emotional tailspin from which I have yet to fully recover. Love is not a precious little thing that never fails you; it catapulted me out into a ferocious sea of discovering who the hell I was – without a rudder. I had one oar in the water, rowing frantically, and getting absolutely nowhere until I realized what was going on. Whoever wrote those lyrics had to have had their head up their ass, whistling Dixie – backward.

To make matters crushingly worse, I thought I was this macho, straight heterosexual sex machine that no female on the planet could resist. I remember the day I saw my first naked breasts and promptly walked into a wall.

I was certain I had made the team the night Sue Ellen Moskowitz seduced me under the bleachers behind our high school. Rubbing hot sweaty body parts together, sucking face, exchanging spit and having an orgasm was mind blowing, except for the next day . . . when she all but ignored me. I knew something wasn’t right. She’s the only person I’ve ever met who had the unique ability to make you feel like toilet paper stuck to the bottom of her shoe.

She has since become a successful madam, no surprise there; running her own brothel somewhere in the desert surrounding Las Vegas. It’s called something or other with the word ‘lounge’ in the name.

Oh, yeah . . . Ineda Mann’s Desert Lounge. Ineda Mann, indeed. I wouldn’t be surprised if she had a neon lit giant penis on top of her brothel with fireworks shooting out the end of it.

Anyway, back to my awakening. I knew him from high school. He was in my mechanical drawing class. The perfect Elmer-milk-toast type. Short, about 5-6, kind of scrawny, no eye contact, stayed to himself. But his drawings were pretty good. In fact, he may have won some kind of an award. I think his name was Bobby Wilkerson, but I’m not certain about that. He was not part of my crowd. I never saw him at a game or a dance or any school activity. Maybe he was there but I never noticed him.

Chance Encounter

It must have been ten years after we graduated. I was going into a book store in downtown Chicago when I brushed up against someone coming out – knocking books out of his arms. I, of course, stopped and helped retrieve the books, “Sorry about that.” Then I saw who it was, “Wilkerson? Bobby Wilkerson?”

He grabbed the books I handed him then groused, “Oh . . . it’s you.”

“What do you mean, Oh, it’s you?”

“What are you . . . hard of hearing?”

“That’s a bullshit thing to say.”

“You were a bully then – pushing people around.” He mocked me in a sing-song voice, “Look at me, Mr. Macho shithead.” He glared at me, “And you’re still doing it . . . Get out of my way, I take large steps.” He turned and walked away.

“Hey, wait a minute. That’s not fair. It was an accident.”

“No, it wasn’t. Fuck you, Dawson.”

God, he was really pissed at me and I wasn’t sure why. I wanted to follow him and talk to him but figured that was not a good idea.

Several weeks later I took my lunch break in the park and saw him sitting under a tree, reading. I hesitantly walked up to him. He looked up, “Hi, Hank,” and smiled.

“Macho shithead here. How are yah?”

“I’m fine. Hey, Hank, I’m really sorry about the other day. You caught me at a bad moment.”

“You can say that again.”

“You caught me…”

I laughed, “Hey, can we talk?”

“Of course; sit.” He closed his book and set it aside.

“About what you said the other day … was I really that bad in high school?”

“No, you weren’t, but I thought you were … at the time.” He smiled warmly.

“Well, that’s good to know. You had me worried there for a minute.”

“Hank, I had a crush on you back then. I knew nothing would come…”

I could hardly believe what he just said . . . I just stared at him.

“You didn’t know?”

“I … I…”

“Surely you knew I was gay?”

I couldn’t think of a word to say so I just shook my head and looked stupid.

“Everyone else seemed to know. Sue Ellen told me of your rendezvous under the bleachers.”

“You knew her?”

“Yes, we were good friends.”

“But she was a …”


I didn’t respond, just keep staring at him as I began to see him in a different light.

“That didn’t bother her. She was having too much fun. She was doing a survey.”

“What kind of survey?”

“Sleeping with all the football players. You were on the list. I remember her telling me about it the next day.”

“What did she say?”

“Well, you’ll be happy to know you ranked near the bottom. We did a lot of laughing about it. She said you acted as if you were on a fishing trip and weren't quite sure what to do with your pole.” He could not keep from smiling.

“Oh, God.”

“Don’t worry about it. She never talked to anyone about the survey except me.”

“She’s out in Las Vegas somewhere or so I understand.”

“Yes, she is. I talked with her the other day. She still has her notes on the survey. I suggested she write a book.”

“Oh, God.”

“Don’t worry, she won’t use real names.”

“Well, that’s good to know. Did she ever tell you who was at the top of the list?”

“Yes, and it wasn’t one of the guys. It was Coach Hughes. She told me he plowed her like an Ohio corn field. We laughed about that so many times. She was a good sport.”

“I’ll say she was. Hughes. He was kind of short.”

“Yeah, but built like a brick shithouse with every brick in place. She was into muscle.” He looked at his watch, “Hey, I gotta go. I’m glad you stopped by. It was good talking to you.”

“Maybe we could get together again. You know . . . for old times’ sake.”

“Sure, I’d like that. Here’s my card. Call or email me when you have time.”

I looked at his card and chuckled.


“WoofWhenWet. Is that for real?”

“It sure is.”

“Are you woof when wet?”

Bobby smiled in a way that surprised me. “Play your cards right and you may find out some day.”

“But I’m not…”

“I know, Hank.” Then he added, “Do you know the difference between a straight man and a gay man?”

I shook my head.

“Six pints of beer.” He laughed and touched my arm as he departed. “Bye.”

“Bye, Bobby.” I stood and watched him as he walked away. When he got to the underpass he paused and waved. I waved back and put his card in my pocket. – I’d have to try that to make sure he wasn’t kidding.


We met several times in the next few weeks. I was amazed at his intelligence; he could carry a conversation about any subject to its nth conclusion. I hate to admit it but I had difficulty keeping up with him.

He had a wit which endeared him to me in ways I had yet to understand. We spent most of our time together laughing about the good ol’ days. I remember one time, as he was about to board his bus, with a beguiling smile he whispered, “I’ll be back at five to make love to you. If I’m late, start without me.” I think my jaw hit the pavement and bounced back so hard my eyes blinked. When the bus was out of sight, I wondered if he was joking, or did he mean it? I was confused. Later on, he told me it was one of Tallulah Bankhead’s famous quotes.

The confusion only grew. We were at a performance of La Bohme one evening. Act IV was coming to an end and I knew Mimi was going to die. I had been so caught up in the opera, the tears were cascading down my cheek. Bobby reached over and took my hand and held it tight to comfort me. It wasn’t until the curtain came down that I fully realized what he had done. He was so in tune with me, he knew exactly what to do at the moment.

The weather had turned bitterly cold so we decided to forego a drink after the performance and went our separate ways. I lay awake half the night thinking about Bobby and wondering if I was falling in love with him. Christ Almighty, that just can't be. I won't let it be. I will not let it be – period. But I wondered, did he still have a crush on me after all these years? Was it possible? No, it wasn’t possible. Fuck me! It's insane to even think it. The emotional tailspin I was in only increased to dizzying proportions.

I drifted off to sleep as dawn broke, and was awakened when the phone rang. It was Bobby. He wanted to see me as soon as possible. I agreed and then panicked. What was going on? We agreed to meet at the Lola Palooza Soup and Sandwich Bar on Lake Street. I arrived first and paced frantically back and forth until I saw him coming toward me. He didn’t have the usual smile on his face I had come to expect. There was something terribly wrong. I could not imagine what was going to happen.

“Bobby, what is it?”

“Let’s go in.”

“No, I want to know now.”

He closed his eyes, pinched his lips, then looked up. “Hank, I can’t see you anymore.”

I was shocked, “Why not for Christ’s sake?” I knew I hadn’t done anything stupid, at least not recently, so that wasn’t the reason. I just stood there staring at him.

“I once told you I had a crush on you.”

“Yes, but that was in high school … a long … time … ago.” Then it hit me like a thunderbolt. “Please ... tell me .... you aren't…”

“Yes, Hank … I never really got over it. I’m sorry. It’s just too painful for me to continue seeing you.”

I turned around, walked a few paces while my brain went into overdrive, turned around and stared at this Bobby Wilkerson. He was still short and scrawny and the most beautiful human being I'd ever laid eyes on. With my heart beating like a drum in my chest, I marched up to him, “You can’t do that. I won’t let you. What about me?”

He looked up at me and smiled, his eyes brimming with tears, “What about you, Hank?” The look of kindness and love on his face almost knocked me out.

“I… I…”

“I’m going now. I love you, Hank. I just can’t help myself anymore.” He turned and began to walk away.

The last vestiges of my macho shithead foolishness dropped away. I stepped after him, grabbed him and pulled him around, “There’s no tomorrow for me, Bobby Wilkerson, without you.” Then I did what I had been wanting to do but had not been able to accept until that moment. I locked my mouth onto his mouth with a passion that surprised even me, and in front of God and the crowd passing by. I heard clapping, horns blowing, and a lot of cheering. I knew at that moment, if I lost him, there would be no tomorrow worth living.

When I withdrew from his face, he had the most wonderful surprised expression.

He grinned, “Did you just drink those six pints of beer?”

I smiled, “No, I didn't. I just fell in love with you. That’s all.”


Then he began to laugh. And I began to laugh. Finally, he suggested we go in and have lunch. I agreed. “Hey, are you still woof when wet?”

“Wanna find out?”

I smiled.

“How about after lunch?”

“You mean it?”

“Sure. I’ve been wanting to take a little fishing trip with you for a very long time.”



“I love you.”

He just smiled and pushed himself closer to me as we entered the sandwich bar.


About the Author J.T. Evergreen

OCCUPATION - Retired from the grind. Reflecting on successes, failures, and regrets. Exploring new aspects of self, writing that book which will get me an Oscar, staying out of trouble - well, small amounts of trouble are ok. Bringing joy into people's lives with random acts of kindness - the ones who aren't expecting it are the best.

ABOUT ME - Alone in blessed singleness. Wicked sense of humor, enjoy my own company, glad I'm not young any longer. I do miss the intimacy of being in love. Enjoy the possibilities of every moment, an imagination that won't quite, a master weaver - give away everything I make, excellent portrait painter, a national treasure - though no one agrees with me, a good listener, intuitive, a good conversationalist, avoid boredom and boring people at all costs - that's a career all by itself.

INTERESTS - Intelligent conversation: hard to come by these days, metaphysics, mysticism, my pups - Charlie, Max, and Bailey, seeing the funny side of life, going to Macy's at Christmas time - kicking Santa and punching an Elf. If I had a singing voice, which I don't, I would sing all of the time, wherever I was - even in WalMart. Wouldn't that be enchanting? When I receive the Oscar for the book I'm writing, I will have some baritone sing On A Clear Day, and I will lip sync his voice. It will wow the audience.

LOVES - Color and lots of it, strawberry jam, hiking up Yosemite Falls, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, sourdough bread, only made in San Francisco. Hearst Castle, Big Sur, sea air, Adams peanut butter, chocolate milk, rainy days, canaries singing, chocolate chip cookies my mother made, Greek yogurt with honey - oh, yum. Laughter. I make it a point of doing this many times a day.

HATES - Stupidity, insensitivity, bad table manners - come on, how difficult is it to hold a fork properly - it's not a shovel for God's sake. Snow, ice, slush, freeway traffic, lima beans - what was God thinking, sleepless nights, people who are late, texting - it's a cop-out, alcohol, red meat,

FAVORITE BOOKS - The Spiritual Journey of Joel S. Goldsmith.

FAVORITE MUSIC – Joplin’s Peachrine, Ahmad Jamal - Country Tour - the absolute best jazz - never tire of it. Someone Waits for You – Carly Simons, Helen Kane singing Button Up Your Overcoat and I Want to Be Bad – I relate to the lyrics. And the Tenor who sang Springtime for Hitler in the Zero Mostel version of The Producers. No one seems to know who he is. What a voice.

FAVORITE FILMS – The Celluloid Closet, Witness for the Prosecution, It Could Happen to You, Maltese Falcon, Inherit the Wind, 12 Angry Men, Harold and Maude, Murder on the Orient Express, Hope and Glory, Sorry Wrong Number, Speed, Practical Magic, Apollo 13, Where the Red Fern Grows, The original Producers - touch me, hold me - Estelle was terrific, and Zero - what can I say.

FAVORITE QUOTES – The poetry in writing is the illusion it creates: by me. Lord Chesterfield: “Sex: the pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.” The saddest words of tongue or pen are these - It might have been - indeed they are. If you want to make a success out of old age, you better start now: my mother when I was 15. On a clear day, you really can see forever - you just have to look. I may be rancid butter, but I'm on your side of the bread. Inherit the Wind.

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

Omar Khayyam

Other books by J.T. Evergreen

Short Stories to Celebrate the New Year

Alone at the Beach 25 short stories to keep you company

Home Alone 8 Great Stories to keep you company

Born in the Twilight

Injun Summer


Short Stories for a Summer’s Day

Holiday Short Stories

With All My Love

Father Frederick Monahan

Shangri la, Stepping Stones to God

I’m Gay Mother – Get Over it

The Olde Book Shoppe

Naked Before God

The Italian Call Boy

The Silence of Healing

Death of a Pope Birth of Hope

The Best Short Stories Ever

My Love Affair with Father Tomas McTavish

Father Gibbon with Sister Mary Magda in development

I get choked up when I re-read some of my stories.

I’m told that’s a sign of being a good writer.

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Here’s a collection of tunes to send you on your way. Cheers, JT , , , , , ,

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