South Africa
Special Edition

Not sure if you should read this page if you aren't already familiar with the Steve story, as well as Mark's and Wingnut's. I'll leave that decision to you. But I had to post this "Steve Special" now - and separately - rather than incorporate it into the ongoing Steve story cos it's very moving. It's further proof that Cody made an awesome difference to the lives he touched, and continues to. What you will read below is Steve's email to me this morning [July 11, 2002] and my response. I've re-typed Steve's mail to add parenthesis, assorted punctuation, and paragraph breaks, but it's all Steve's work. He wrote in the subject line: Sermon on the Mountain. MrB

Hi Gary,

I haven't been through all Cody's mail [to you]. I don't know where the fuck he found the time to write so much, and like I said, that's probably only half of it. A lotta Code's mail was trashed by Tripod. There's also the odd mail here to other guys, such as that dude in Brazil who runs that Portugese story site.

It's weird to see Cody mention how cool my folks were to him. I try to think of any contact where they spoke that he might've had with my folks, but I can't think of any. My folks would check out my friends to see if they were "worthy". I remember when I was selling [drugs]. This colored guy came to the house to make a connection for some shit, and I got it in the neck [from my folks] about choosing my friends carefully.

It will be difficult for my folks to understand just how much Cody meant to me. I think it's difficult for a lot of people to understand why Cody meant so much to his friends. I'm not talking sex here; it's just the way he was. The way he used to put everyone in a good mood.

You know what, though, Gary? Cody was the first guy to kiss me, and I almost shat myself. But it was the most incredible moment of my whole life cos, all of a sudden, our relationship was totally fucking normal. Just that one thing changed the whole way I thought of myself and Cody together.

Yeah, I can hear you asking why did I go and fuck it all up. I wish I knew, and I wish I could make everything different now.
---------------------
I wrote that yesterday morning. Now it's Wednesday afternoon, and I feel fucking fantastic. I have spent two hours in the gym, and I've just had a shower. If it makes you feel any better, I've just got a towel around my waist cos I'm burning up inside after the workout and shower.

"Ho hum."

Yeah, right. Hahahahaha! Anyway, I went up the mountain yesterday to Cody's and Paul's special place. Hey, I was being stalked by a spiky-haired dude with a big cheesy smile. I sat down on a rock that Cody must've planted his butt on many times in the past, and stared at the view of wide blue the ocean below.

"Hey, Codeman, what the fuck are you doing here?" I asked as the rollers made their way to shore.

"Checking up on you. Want me to tell you how proud I am of you?"

"So why aren't you really here then?"

"Cos I'm in your head, Steve. So are you just imagining this convo or what? I'll leave that up to you to figure out."

"I've been reading through a lot of your emails, bud."

"Yeah, cos you're a snoop."

"Hurt you a lot, and never even realized how much."

"That's the thing. I've had oodles of time up here to figure it all out, and a lot of it was just me expecting too much from you as well. Never figured you had your own life."

"Is that what you call it? My own life? Spaced and slaughtered?"

"Well, that's another thing. Check. It's called life 101. It's where you live and learn. It's like climbing up this mountain - my mountain. You don't always see all the rocks and stones along the way, so you trip sometimes and fall on your ass, and then you pick yourself up. But you still keep heading up towards the top. It's not like you turned around and gave up."

The blue rollers with their white caps far below were still heading to shore, one after the other, rolling, rolling, rolling, just like they had since time immemorial. And I could see the surfers - ants - paddling like crazy to catch the good ones. Way down there; so distant from my thoughts and my being. I felt like God looking down on his children from afar. His creation. "What did you ever see in my folks, Cody? Especially my dad, who fucking hates me."

"I'm not the prophet, Steve. That comes from folks 101. I remember when you used to go everywhere with your folks. Overseas, larny do-s, dressed up in your tux like a penguin. Partly cos you wanted to find some old wrinkly lady to screw, but also cos you wanted to share that part of your folks. Your dad doesn't hate you. He just doesn't know how to love the new son he's got. He doesn't know how to get close to someone who won't allow him to get close. I thought it was pretty cool when your dad's fist got pretty close to your face. Hehehehe. Your folks were always pretty cool to me. So your dad doesn't remember my name? You've had so many friends, Steve. Is that fair? To expect him to remember them all?"

"But you were special."

"To you. Your mom and you are special to your dad."

"I've got this huge hole in my heart since you left, Cody. It's not getting filled."

"Maybe cos you're trying too hard by killing yourself with drugs. Maybe you're trying too hard to make friends. Or maybe you're just not trying at all. You've tried it your way, and that hole is still there. Why not try it a different way?"

"You have a good birthday?"

"Don't change the subject, Steve."

"What's a different way, Cody? I've always been fucked up. I can see that by reading all the mail you used to send to Gary."

"It's called reading 101. You're only seeing the bad stuff, and Eudora trashed the rest, hehehehe."

"Fuck off, Code. You're not helping."

"I'm not allowed to cuss up here."

"Cool."

"I was also human, Steve, when I wrote that mail to Gary. I picked up on a lotta the bad stuff that you'd gotten yourself into. After the swim tour is when it hit me, like how bad the whole [drug] scene was. Took me getting hurt to find out, tho."

"Why did you never tell me about that?"

"Cos everything I was, was stolen from me [during the rape]. In a flash. Gone. Cos I wasn't in control. How do I expect you or anyone to understand what happened? Not the just physical part of it. Everything I was, had suddenly disappeared. Took me months to tell Gary about it. I figured I'd let him down."

"It wasn't your fault, Code."

"It was. They didn't force the drugs down my throat. I want you to understand something, Steve."

"Here we go. Lecture 101."

"Hehehehe. Shuddup and listen. When you're all drugged up it's not you anymore. It's not Steve. All anyone sees then is a loser."

"Thanks, Code."

"Shuddup. It breaks my heart to see people treat you like crap cos I know the real you... and so do you. Hey, I know the love we shared. I've had you right inside of me. That was so special, Steve, you have no idea."

Once again, I studied the rollers gracefully gliding their way to shore. Going somewhere, but really not going anywhere. Mountains of water heading for their demise in a swirl of white foam on the beach. But not really. They would scurry back to Mother Ocean to play their game once more. "I suppose I have the whole MrB crowd to try and live up to?"

"Hey. They've got nothing to gain by your turning around. You've got everything to gain, Steve. Most importantly your folks. You can have the same thing with your dad that I had with my dad. My mom thinks you're cute."

"Really?"

"Yeah, but she's seeing an optometrist."

"Har-de-fucking-har!"

"And Wingnut needs someone he can trust, Steve. Someone older who he can take his probs to. He's heading the same road that you're on, and he won't handle it unless he's got someone like you that he can talk to."

"I've tried [to reform] before, and ended up going back [to drugs]."

"It's when you stop trying that you're gonna have a problem, Steve. You're always going to trip and fall. Check my mail to Gary. It's called hills and valleys. The hills - like up here on my mountain - are way cool. You can see things that you can't see from down there."

I stared down at the same scene that Cody must've experienced a thousand times. Playing the conversation over and over in my head. Imagining him sitting there with me. Hahahahaha. I even mimicked his voice sometimes.

There was one time when the little hairs on my left arm stood up, and I got goosebumps. Cody used to call them 'chicken babies'.

I tried to imagine what Cody would have had to say to me in the only way he knew how. Reading through his mail has been a huge fucking eye-opener for me. I never realized some of the pain that Cody went through. With me. With Mark leaving [Cape Town]. After the rape [on the swim tour]. And in spite of all of his own pain, he was always worried [about us] and cared more for his friends. I wish that all this mail was [still] around. I wish I could've seen the very first mails he wrote you. I was 14 when Code and me became friends. We were two lighties on a high. A high of friendship.

Cya Gary
Your friend and the Codemans
Steve


G'day Steve,

Neither have I [been through all of Cody's email yet], but reading it again is like re-living it; as though he's still here talking to me. I was staring at his pics on the mantle yesterday. Everytime I asked him where he was, he would say, "here". The great bulk of his mail was written early in the mornings in the school lab. Once he graduated, the mail dropped off cos he had to use the internet cafe. If he'd lived, he'd probably be using the comps at university and be sending me stacks of mail again. What would have he been telling me about you? We'll never know.

Fascinating convo you had with Codeman on the mountain. I was wondering when you'd get around to visiting his special place. His room and the surf are special places too, but the mountain was where he searched his soul. He had a helluva lot to say in his young life, and I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end. Life would have been very different for the two of us if we hadn't met. Same can be said for you. You'll have to explain what the 101 thing means, though. I don't have a clue. :-/

I know you get the guilts when you read about the shit you gave Code. But you've gotta remember that you weren't the only one. Practically all of Code's friends gave him grief at one time or another; even Wingnut. When Spencer and his best friend had a falling out over drugs, he asked his dad what he should do about it. "You have to make a choice, Spencer. Do you want a friend or an enemy?" Cody often asked himself the same question, and his answer was always friend. When you finally got around to apologizing to him after the Steph fiasco, your answer to the question was also friend. Seems to me that you can ask the same question about your dad. What do you want from your dad? We both know the answer to that. So go get it.

Think yourself lucky that you and Code were friends and lovers before he died. If he'd rolled up the tent during one of your fights, you would never have forgiven yourself. Anyway, you can't "make everything different now". It's a good lesson to keep in mind as you continue life's journey. The only way to avoid regrets is to avoid anything that will attract them somewhere down the track.

Yep, Cody was big into kissing, especially tongue kissing. He even planted one on Wingnut for his birthday, and shocked the hell outa the grommet hehe. But it was Cody's turn to be shocked when Mark kissed Cody after meeting up with him on the mountain. Mark's excuse was that Cody was the kinda guy who attracted that kinda love and affection. Occasionally he would give me a cyber kiss or hug and blow me away. He inspired me to write about Daniel meeting B, causing B to go all wobbly. Cody taught me to see myself from Daniel's point of view - the humorous aspects.

Two hours in the gym, huh? If I spent two hours in the gym I wouldn't be writing this. You'd be sending flowers to Taree.

Anyway, it's good that you've been "snooping" and reading Cody's mail. He may have been talking to me, but he is now talking to you. He hasn't come back to haunt you, he's come back to help you. And you're doing a lotta soul searching as a result. But be careful not to judge yourself too harshly. We all make mistakes, and hopefully we learn from them. Cody learned from his mistakes. Mark learned from his mistakes. You're learning from your mistakes. And you can be there for Wingnut when he makes his mistakes.

When I told my dad that I was gay, he said, "Where did I go wrong?" He was referring to himself, not me. If my dad went "wrong" it was because he was a lousy communicator. But that wasn't his fault. Maybe your dad is asking the same question of himself. He's housed you, fed you, clothed you, and educated you. So is the rest up to you? As you know only too well, lack of communication can have very negative consequences. And communication is a two-way street.

Cody solved a lot of his problems and heartache by communicating with me. Although he kept a lot of secrets from his folks and friends, including you, there was at least one person he could share them with, instead of bottling them up. I was his safety valve. I was interested in him and his life. Some people tell God about their troubles, but Cody chose to tell his fossil. The advantage of the fossil was that the fossil wrote back hehehe. For me, the advantage was being able to focus on Cody's probs rather than my own, which were considerable at one stage. My life was in tatters. Even the comp I was using was donated. It's amazing when I think about it. There were a zillion reasons why Cody and I should never have met, but we did. The fossil and the Captain. There was no way in the world that either of us could have anticipated the relationship that would develop, and I've gotta say that, in the beginning, I had to work my ass off to win that Cape Town heart.

So, my friend, never underestimate the value of Cody's legacy to us. We are two of the luckiest guys alive to have met the Codeman. And he was equally lucky to have met us. As his dad told you, Cody was thrilled to bits when he met the blonde bombshell grommet called Steve. You turned up at a time in his life when he was totally depressed about losing Paul to England. One of the things I'll never forget was the time you and he had had a fight, and you left a note and a surfboard necklace in his locker at school, apologizing for your actions. He was sooooooo chuffed about that!

I'm mindful of the times I've seen elderly couples sitting at restaurant tables, staring into space and having nothing worthwhile to say to each other. Maybe they never had any fights. Maybe their lives drifted along with no hills and valleys. Maybe their whole lives together amounted to BORING. Well, there was certainly nothing boring about your relationship with Cody hehehe.

Another thing I'll never forget was a time when I was a grommet who knew NOTHING about sex. I was at a party where there was a couple kissing and hugging on a sofa. When I asked them what they were doing [in all my innocence and naivete] they explained that they'd just had a fight and were making up. :)

Cody and I never had any fights so to speak, but there were a couple of occasions when I was depressed or whatever, and didn't wanna carry on. So he stuck rockets up my ass like you wouldn't believe. One of them, the first, was so peppered with cussing that I couldn't do anything but laugh. At the same time, I was incredibly moved by the fact that he cared. That was back in the days when I'd change Gary to MrB and Cody to Kyle.

Yep, we're extremely fortunate to have known the Starman. Who else would visit you on the mountain and chat with you like he did? Who else lives in your head like he does?

"I stared down at the same scene that Cody mustve looked at a thousand times. Playing the conversation over and over in my head. Imagining him sitting there with me. Hahahaha I even mimicked his voice sometimes. There was one time when the short hair on my left arm stood up and I got goosebumps. Cody used to call them chicken babies. I try and imagine what Cody would have had to say to me in the only way he knew how. Reading through his mail has been a huge fucking eye opener for me. I never realised some of the pain that Cody went through. With me. With Mark leaving. After the rape. And in spite of all of his own pain he was always worried about and cared more for his friends. I wish that all his mail was around. I wish I couldve seen the very first mails he wrote to you. I was 14 when Code and me became friends. we were two lighties on a high. A high of friendship."

I know that you will be ever thankful for that friendship, Steve. You were in the right place at the right time. And even when that hole in your heart is filled by someone special, Cody will still dwell therein, forever.

Your friend and the Codeman's

Gary

Copyright 2002 All rights reserved. mrbstories