by Parker Williams
When I was fourteen I fell in love with an older man. It wasn’t any one thing that made me fall in love. In fact, I can’t even tell you when I realized it. When I started high school he was there for me. He helped me in ways that no one else would. He laughed at my jokes. He was playful. He never seemed to mind having me around. He even ate lunch with me, despite the fact people gave him funny looks. His name was Jason, but everyone called him Jase.
Jase was my brother Eric’s best friend and he was perfect in my eyes. He was poised, confident, friendly. He never treated me like a kid, even though I was three years younger than he was. Jase always tried to include me in on plans they had, sometimes against Eric’s protests. They’d made arrangements to go to a baseball game and Jase wanted me to come along, but Eric whined about it. “I don’t need my little brother tagging along every time we go somewhere.”
Jase chuckled. “He’s not going to be your little brother forever, dude. When he gets older do you really want him to remember how you treated him? I’d give my left nut to have what you do. Let him come along, okay?”
I heard Eric grumbling, but eventually he gave in. He always did. Jase was just that convincing and it was one more thing about him I loved. I mean, really, what wasn’t to love? Jase was taller than me, I was kinda scrawny at five-feet-six-inches, a good six inches shorter than he was. I was lucky to weigh in at one-hundred-ten, he was a bulky one-eighty. He kept his dark hair buzzed close to the scalp, which made his forest green eyes pop out. My hair was a boring brown and my eyes were like mud. Is it any wonder I worshiped this man? God I was going to miss him.
500 Miles is the story of Mark, a young man who has fallen in love with his older brother’s best friend and the event that is about to separate them. It was done for the MLR call “Mixed Tapes”, an anthology I’m hoping to be part of.