Jay came back to himself with a start and looked around the motel room.
The wallpaper, bedspread, and carpet were in shades of beige, and the wide king-sized bed dominated the room. Above the bed hung a framed print of the birds that gave the motel its name: four of the huge, green-and-white native woodpigeons flew against a background of distinctively New Zealand bush. Jay got up for a closer look.
Kereru in Flight. The name was printed across the bottom of the picture, and Jay lifted a finger to the glass covering the nearest bird. He'd loved walking in the woods with Eru, listening while the Maori boy talked about the trees and the birds, playing hide and seek amid the alien trees and ferns, and dunking each other in the ice-cold springs.
Restlessly, he turned away. On the nightstand, the clock glowed green: five-forty-eight. It took Jay a minute to figure out whether that meant a.m. or p.m. He was too tired to figure out what time it would be in Detroit.
Flopping back on the bed, Jay covered his face with his hands, unable to keep his emotions in check any longer. Eru. Eru
Memories of the year he'd spent as Eru's shadow, friend, and constant companion were so precious, Jay rarely let himself indulge in remembrance. Now, the images flooded his tired brain: he and Eru going for long runs through the woods that covered the Waitakere Ranges; he and Eru cracking up over their textbooks in the Kauri kitchen, Eru's mom shaking her head indulgently at them both while she cooked dinner, the smell of broiled pork and roasted kumara filling the air; the sound of Eru, late at night in the room they shared, gasping his way to completion in the opposite bed while Jay's own hand worked frantically under the blankets. Ostensibly, they were both staring up at a poster of Claudia Schiffer in a skimpy white swimsuit, but for Jay the image of Eru, naked, sweaty and sleepy, had always been far more compelling.
Jay sighed, giving in to his exhaustion.
He hadn't heard from Eru in fifteen long years. Hell, he had no idea if the guy was still in the country. But sitting in the empty, desolate Tudor house in snow-covered Victoria Park, Michigan, reading over his divorce papers one more time, Jay only knew the heavy cardstock of the reunion invitation had felt like a golden ticket in his hands, a visa to someplace that, if not as perfect as Jay's memories allowed, would at least get him out of Detroit.
Jay glanced at the bedside clock once again, then gave in to the overwhelming whirl of exhaustion and lost himself in memories of Eru's broad, dark chest and the look in his eyes when he smiled. ENDEXCERPT