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Old September 12th, 2009, 10:04 AM
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The Summer of 1981, Part 39: Crying

For those of you who would like to catch up, here are links to the earlier chapters:

Part 1: The Best of Times
Part 2: Wasn't That A Party
Part 3: The Boy From New York City
Part 4: The Voice
Part 5: Feels So Right
Part 6: Sausalito Summernight
Part 7: The Waiting
Part 8: All I Have To Do Is Dream
Part 9: Urgent
Part 10: The Theme From The Greatest American Hero
Part 11: Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through
Part 12: Life of Illusion
Part 13: America
Part 14: Deep Inside My Heart
Part 15: Mister Sandman
Part 16: Hard To Say
Part 17: Bette Davis Eyes
Part 18: Limelight
Part 19: Cool Love
Part 20: Don't Let Him Go
Part 21: Physical
Part 22: Hold On Tight
Part 23: Medley
Part 24: I Love You
Part 25: The Sweetest Thing (I've Ever Known)
Part 26: Everlasting Love
Part 27: It's My Turn
Part 28: I Love A Rainy Night
Part 29: Promises In The Dark (Beginning)
Part 30: Promises In The Dark (Middle)
Part 31: Promises In The Dark (Almost To The End)
Part 32: Promises In The Dark (The End)
Part 33: I Made It Through The Rain
Part 34: For Your Eyes Only
Part 35: What Are We Doin' In Love
Part 36: You Make My Dreams
Part 37: Time
Part 38: Don't Want To Wait Anymore

Any feedback is very much appreciated – I would love to hear from those of you who have been reading. Or if you just want to reminisce about some of your favorite music or memories from 1981, please feel free to share. Thanks!!


Saturday, September 12, 1981

“Ben, I’ve already considered it. I know what I want.”

Ben pulled Tug a little bit closer and repeated his question from earlier, “What is it you want, Tug?”

Tug took a deep breath, but he felt like his words wouldn’t be enough. He wanted to share his deepest emotions with Ben, but he didn’t know quite how to express it. He looked down to the ground, again realizing that Ben was wearing the same outfit that he had worn on the first day they met.

It was day that Ben had seen him dancing in the living room with the pastries shoved in his mouth. Suddenly, he knew exactly what to say.

In a soft voice, Tug began to sing.

“Whisper to me softly, breathe words upon my skin
No one’s near and listening, so please, Ben, don’t say goodbye
Just hold me close and love me, press your lips to mine
Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, feels so right, feels so right”

Ben leaned his head close to Tug’s, just to make sure he could hear every word over the sound of the surf. As he did so, tears began streaming down the face of both boys, but Tug continued his song.

“Standing here beside you, I hear the echoes of your sighs
Promise me you’ll stay with me and keep me warm tonight
So hold me close and love me, give my heart a smile
Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, feels so right, feels so right”

Tug and Ben then both leaned in together and kissed for the very first time, their lips locked together for a full thirty seconds. There was a sudden warmth enveloping them, protecting them from the cold winds coming off Puget Sound, and making them both feel like nothing could ever harm them as long as they were together.

When they released, Ben wiped the tears from his eyes and spoke first. “Well, was that better tasting than those pastries?”

Tug broke out his traditionally boisterous laugh, and Ben joined in. “It was a million times better,” he responded.

The pair embraced, and as they held each other along the shoreline, Tug finally said the words that his Ben had wanted to hear: “I really do love you.”

“I love you, Tug Yates.”


The end of the summer of 1981 was only the beginning for Tug and Ben.

Ben did go back to the New York, but only long enough to tell his parents about the new life he was creating for himself back in Washington State. They were very worried about his decisions at first, but he convinced them with the eloquence and passion of his arguments, and after speaking the Yates family over the phone, they were sold on the idea of him living out there. They made a cross-country trip to move out his things, and they even arranged for him to get an apartment near where Tug and his friend Jim would be living.

It was too late for Ben to register for the fall quarter at the University of Washington, so he decided to take a three-month internship at the clothing company owned by Mr. Yates. He very much enjoyed working in the business atmosphere, and easily adapted to the world of profits and losses, balance sheets, and office politics, so when he finally did get back into school, he decided to double major in Business and Exercise Science.

After graduating four years later, his father and Tug’s father helped bankroll his first gym, which he opened up in downtown Seattle. By the mid-80’s, as the baby boom generation tried to fight off the ‘middle-age spread,’ gym memberships were skyrocketing, and Ben was able to take advantage of this craze with his superior training techniques. He became very successful in the local area, and even began to attract attention from celebrity clients, who were more than willing to fly up from LA to book sessions with a trainer who could quickly get them in shape for their next movie roles.

By the mid-90’s, Ben owned gyms across the country and had made a name for himself as the top personal trainer in the country – not only was he knowledgeable, but his good looks and top-notch physique made him popular on all the talk shows. His books and videos sold out every time they were released, and he was one of the first to take advantage of the World Wide Web as a method for communicating training techniques.

It also didn’t hurt his reputation as a trainer to be associated with the best known bodybuilder in the world – Tug Yates. Everyone knew that Ben Reeves was the trainer of the winner of 15 consecutive Mr. Olympia titles, a record that surely would never be broken. The popular story was that he had met Tug in college, recognized his potential as a bodybuilder, and turned him into the most muscular man on Earth.

In reality, a lot of Tug’s success actually belonged to Tug – once bitten by the exercise bug, it wasn’t something he could give up. All through his college years, as a double major in Exercise Science and Nutrition & Food Science, he spent all of his off-time either in the gym or with Ben.

Tug’s muscles continued to grow and grow, and the sports coaches who saw him in the weight room practically begged him to join one of their teams. But Tug refrained – team sports had always been his brother’s forte, but he never really enjoyed them. He just continued to build his body the best he could, turning himself into a 6’4”, 300 pound muscle freak by the time he graduated in 1985.

At 22, he entered his first bodybuilding contest and blew the competition off the stage, and by the time he was 25, he had won his first Mr. Olympia title. All through the 1990’s, he continued to improve and refine his physique, and nobody ever came close to beating him on the stage – the size and thickness of his body just could not be denied a victory. Stories about his strength turned into urban legends, as kids around the country talked about the time he jumped over a ten-foot wall, and about the time he saved a 250-pound man from falling off a cliff by pulling him up with just one hand.

During this time, Tug also worked to create several lines of nutritional supplements, which became known as the gold standard in the industry – they were sold in health food stores across the country, as well as in the gyms that Ben owned. The business end of the supplement company was run by Ben, but Tug was intimately involved in the creation of all of the products.

By the early 2000’s, having achieved phenomenal success, both men decided to retire from their professions – Ben sold the gyms and the training business, and Tug sold the supplement company and retired from the sport of bodybuilding. They still made many personal appearances across the country, and along with Tug’s brother, former professional football player Tim Yates, they started a foundation to encourage the youth of America to put down their video game controllers and start exercising.

But Tug and Ben spent most of their time at their home on the island. When Ben’s aunt Kathy passed away in the mid-1990’s, she left her house and her land to her only nephew, and Tug and Ben moved in. Over the next ten years, they quietly bought up the land on both sides of the estate when those neighbors moved, and they also took over Tug’s parent’s property when they decided to retire to a smaller home on the north side on the island.

By 2005, they had acquired most of the land south of the ferry terminal, and as other parts of the island became more and more developed, with offices and shops and condos, their estate remained peaceful and undisturbed. They owned long stretches of beach property, the bluff, the grove, the hill with the fire lookout, and acre after acre of forest. It became their oasis, where they spent their time fixing up their home, lifting weights, reading, camping, going for long walks, and enjoying wild nights behind closed doors.

Most people on the island knew they were a couple, but nobody made a fuss about them. In fact, all through their relationship, they were often surprised at the reaction they got when informing someone they were a couple – almost everyone was genuinely happy for their successful partnership. They encountered very little hostility, whether it was from the fact that the West Coast tended to be more liberal, or whether it was because nobody was willing to insult two of the biggest, strongest and most muscular men around.

For many years, the media never even picked up on this relationship – mostly because neither Ben nor Tug was really comfortable with public displays of affection, preferring to save that aspect of their relationship for the privacy of the bedroom. And in the 1980s and 1990s, tabloid journalism still hadn't reached the point of chasing people out of the closet, and the concept of blogging about celebrities and their hookups was still many years off. By the time that Tug and Ben finally did tell the world in 2003, the atmosphere had changed greatly since 1981, and neither they, nor the businesses they had created, suffered at all.

In 2006, after 25 years together, they joined in as one of the couples suing the state of Washington to for the legal right to marry, and three years later, they got their wish – the State Supreme Court decided that preventing gays and lesbians from marrying was contrary to the rights afforded by the state constitution. As soon as the decision was announced, Tug and Ben began planning their big event – it would take place on Saturday, September 12, on the very date when they first said “I love you,” and it would be on the very same beach where they said it.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

The large man pulled up to his destination, parked his car in the lot, and stepped out into the heat. He grabbed the remaining protein bar and decided to slip it into his suit pocket, just in case he got hungry later on. He slowly strolled down the sidewalk from the lot toward the front door of the building, where he saw the familiar face of a muscular bald man, who turned and waved to him.

“Hey there,” said the bald man with a smile. “Are you ready?”

“I guess so,” said the man who had been driving the Escalade. The two men briefly hugged, and then walked toward the door.

As they were about to enter, the bald man saw the face of the Escalade driver as he took off his sunglasses. He noted the redness of his companion’s eyes and asked, “Tug, have you been crying?”

Tug tried to look away from his older brother, Tim, but he knew that he had been caught. “Yeah, a little,” he said as he wiped his eyes with his hands.

Tim put his hands on Tug’s shoulders and turned his brother toward him. “Now why on earth are you crying? It’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life.”

Tug sighed, and let loose his reason. “On the drive over here, I heard this song on the radio that made me remember the summer of 1981. I started thinking back to the time that Ben almost fell off the bluff, and it made me sad to think how close I came to losing him. It just overwhelmed me to think how much love I might have missed out on if he hadn’t made it. I mean, every day I love him even more than I did the day before, and if he had left me, standing all alone…”

Tim reached around and hugged his brother, noting the incredible width of Tug’s shoulders. Even though he as a big guy, who had packed on plenty of muscle from his time as a professional football player, Tim was always amazed how beefy his younger brother had become over the years.

“Tug, you may be made of muscle on the outside, but inside you always were a big softy. Ben didn’t fall off the cliff, and you two have been together for 28 years now. Let’s save some tears for this afternoon, OK?”

“I know, Tim. I guess I’m just a little emotional.”

Tim let go of his hug and took a step back to look Tug in the eyes again. “That’s OK, little brother. But let’s get our tuxedos on and head over there, get you married, and have some fun with everyone. Do you think you can give me a smile?”

Tug smiled for his brother. “I could smile for a while, sure.”

“Good! Years from now, Tug, I want you to think back about today and say, ‘Wasn’t that a wedding? It was one of the most fun nights I have ever had!’”

Tug laughed at his brother’s enthusiasm, and they entered the tux shop together.

Last edited by Padraig; September 12th, 2009 at 07:00 PM.
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Old September 12th, 2009, 10:06 AM
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Mr. Don McLean:

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Old September 12th, 2009, 03:11 PM
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<sniff> I'm going to be sad this is going to end soon. But excellent chapter. Can't wait for your next foray.
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Old September 12th, 2009, 06:59 PM
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I'm really sad, too, Memorex. I can't believe it's almost over!

Last chapter will be posted in just a few minutes...

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Old September 13th, 2009, 11:49 AM
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Wow utterly amazing!
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Old September 13th, 2009, 12:36 PM
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Thanks, Toj. I'm glad you liked it!

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