On the edge of the bluff behind the house, over a hundred feet above the sea, Wyatt stared at the water. Jimmy was right; there was a trail from the end of the yard down to the coastline below; a tricky footpath that wound like a snake to an awkward strip of sand and stone hounded by the ocean. Wyatt’s eyes tripped along the surf, following a small arm of rocks until he found Harry, sitting on his rock, his back to the shore and the house. Harry, with his knees pulled tightly to his chest, his chin resting on crossed forearms. Harry on the rocks, gazing listlessly at the sea.
Wyatt tried shouting, but the coarse winds and strong surf only carried his words back toward the house where they were useless, and he realized there was no other choice than to begin walking down the craggy path. Carefully he picked his way down the side of the cliff, twisting and turning back and forth until he was able to jump the last few feet to the rock strewn beach. Once at sea level, he immediately saw how Harry had managed a walk so far out into the cove; the lumpy arc of stones created a natural trail from the beach to the last large boulder upon which his lover sat.
Calling Harry’s name again, Wyatt discovered that, as pointless as his efforts were atop the bluff, here by the sea, they were utterly meaningless; the sea roared stronger and the winds howled louder. So, he started out slowly, stepping from pebble to stone, slipping on the slick wet surfaces. The sea spray dampened his skin and sent chills through his body, and the stronger waves taunted him, threatening to toss him into the water more than once.
After losing his balance, and stepping knee deep into a tide pool about halfway out, Wyatt finally got near enough for Harry to hear his shouts. But when he turned, although he wore sunglasses—a pair of crimson circles bought for two-ninety-nine at an Arco station in Daly City—Wyatt could see that Harry had been crying. The tears, however, had seemingly ended, for Harry grinned broadly when Wyatt clambered onto the boulder, shaking the salt water from his hands and wiping them on his shirtfront. Pushing the glasses into his hair, and rubbing a wrist over both eyes, Harry scrambled over the stone to hold out a hand; taking it, he pulled Wyatt to his side.
“Morning” Wyatt said as he settled in next to Harry, throwing his arm over Harry’s shoulders and planting a small kiss on his cheek.
“How’d you know I was here?” Harry hollered above the bawling surf.
“Jimmy came by.” Wyatt shouted back as the waves and winds died for a moment; then he spoke more calmly. “He said you used to come out here a lot.”
“Yeah, I did.” Harry rubbed his palm against Wyatt’s thigh and tugged at a loose thread along the inseam. For all the times he had come to the rock, all the days he sat and wondered who he was and where, if anywhere, he fit in the world, he had never sat beside anyone. He’d always considered it his spot, but now, like so many things in his life, be it a place, something special, a movie or piece of music, a thought or dream, he could share it with the man he loved. “This was the one spot where I didn’t feel so alone. I would spend hours out here, even in the rain…”
“You didn’t feel alone here?” Wyatt asked, looking around, taking in the dramatic, but essentially barren view. Though the rock was sheltered in the relative safety of the cove, it was set far enough from the shore that, if you looked straight ahead, you saw nothing but ocean and sky. Only by turning your head one way or the other, could you even see land at all; only by craning your neck all the way around did the house at the end of Skeleton Road come into view. “How could you not feel alone out here? There’s nothing out here.”
Harry laughed. “That’s exactly why.” His eyes followed the thin line separating the sapphire Pacific from the pristine pale sky of morning. “When I was a little boy, I felt so different from everybody. I didn’t know what gay was and I certainly didn’t know any gay people…”
“No uncles, period.” Harry laughed again, though this time it was more melancholy. “I started coming here to watch the sea and think, but mostly to get away from…her. You know, if you look out there,” Harry flung his hand at the horizon, “you can’t see a thing. No people and rarely any boats. It’s all…nothing….” Harry’s words flew away on the wind.
“And that made you feel less lonely?”
“Sure it did. See…out here, there were no kids pushing me into lockers or calling me names. There were no little brothers who…made fun of me. No mothers who would…well, no mothers at all. When I came out here, it was only me, and I was gay. I mean, how could that be wrong. If I was the only person and I was gay, what was wrong with that? Out here, everyone was gay, even if it was only me…”
“I can’t believe you didn’t have anyone to talk to about this.”
“Well, there might have been someone if I hadn’t been so afraid to look, so afraid of what people might say. Look at it this way, Wyatt, I lived at the end of a road to nowhere with a mother everyone knew was a crazy drunk. I was the kid whose father disappeared without a word, whose sister ran out on him, too. How was I supposed to say, ‘Oh, by the way, I kinda like boys.’ “Harry laughed at the idea and Wyatt leaned into him, slipping his hand into Harry’s. ”Out here on the rock, everyone liked boys.”
“And they still do.” Wyatt said, as a flock of gulls soared overhead, squawking their disapproval at the two interlopers on the rock. Together they watched the sea drift by, and marveled at the seamlessness between the azure ocean and the wan sky, sitting on a rock all by themselves.