How the River Feels

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(Note to readers: This is a reworked version of a story previously submitted by me under another name. It was well received, but I’ve cleaned up errors, inconsistencies, and vocabulary. I hope you enjoy my story, and I welcome feedback via email. — Rob)

One — A Concert to Remember

Jack sat in the dim light, reading his program for the symphony concert, the first of the season. It was the first time he had been to a concert since — how long ago was it? — since before he and Karen had married. No, they went once or twice in their first year of marriage. Then job, childbirth, moves, finances, all the things that come with living a middle-class life in the suburbs — well, things like concerts fell by the wayside. Going to movies, romantic vacations, visiting a museum, taking a class just for the enjoyment of it — all gone. Life was a comfortable shade of tan or gray.

Lost in his memories, Jack was suddenly aware of someone taking the empty seat to his left, right as the house lights went down for the concert. He glanced over and saw a man, alone, who whispered as he sat down, “Made it just in time.” Jack really didn’t notice much about the newcomer and quickly got engrossed in the concert. Beautiful music swirled around him as he lost himself, for the first time in years, in the emotional impact music had on him. How had he forgotten this?

As the romantic, even erotic, climax of Verklaerte Nacht washed over him, Jack’s emotions gripped him with a tension as strong as the grip he had on the armrests of his seat. His eyes watered with the tears that often welled up since Karen died, and his body almost refused to breathe. Right as the final strains of the music faded into silence, he felt a shock. His left knee had brushed against the knee of the man next to him. What the hell was that? Jack’s breath caught in his confusion, and he looked to his left to find the stranger staring at him, wide-eyed.


Dan ran from his car to the concert hall, damning in his mind all the idiot Houston drivers who had made his drive downtown a miserable experience. Looking at his watch, he pulled his ticket from his pocket and ran to the stairs, taking two at a time. The usher was just closing the door as Dan waved his ticket stub and slipped into the concert hall in the nick of time. He made his way to his seat, sitting down just as the house light dimmed. He whispered, “Made it just in time,” to the man sitting to his right.

This concert was a real treat to Dan. A regular at the symphony, he had been looking forward to this one. Three of his favorites: Verklaerte Nacht, “Prelude and Love-Death” from Tristan and Isolde, and Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. These three pieces always brought out his romantic side, pulling at his emotions and passions, even affecting his body as he listened.

As the first piece rolled along, rising and falling in its intensity, Dan found himself responding. As the music pulled him into its world of passion, Dan was surprised to find himself getting hard. He didn’t usually get turned on like this, but it had been a while since his body had released the sexual tension that was beginning to swell his cock.

Dan adjusted himself in his seat, thankful that the dim lights kept others from seeing him reposition the bulge in his pants. He glanced to his left, saw a society matron type who snobbishly ignored the common folk around her. He looked to his right and was stunned.

The big man next to him was so absorbed in the music that he seemed to have left this world behind. His eyes were gazing somewhere beyond the concert hall, and tears were running down his cheeks. Dan took all this in, seeing that the stranger was around his own age of forty-six, handsome, muscular with a well-trimmed mustache and beard, and obviously in another world. The man’s hands gripped the armrests so that his knuckles were white. He also saw the gold wedding band on his left hand.

Dan shifted again in his seat, and as he did, his knee brushed up against the transfigured man. A shock went through Dan’s body from balls to throat, so strong that his cock twitched, and he felt his precum leak out. What the hell was this all about?


As the shock passed through his body, Jack saw his neighbor staring at him. The jolt was like nothing he had ever felt before. The music faded and Jack sank back into his seat and wiped the tears from his eyes. Under the cover of the audience’s applause, Jack whispered to the stranger, “Sorry, I don’t usually get carried away like that.” The man nodded and smiled, said, “That’s okay. It’s one of my favorites, too. I’m glad to find someone else who gets involved in the music.”

Jack thought, “If I reacted that strongly to the first piece, the next one will be hell.” The “Prelude and Love-Death” was overwhelming, but Jack managed to keep himself under better control. But twice during the music, his knee had again brushed against his neighbor, and the same jolt of whatever it was ran through his body.

As the lights Bycasino came up for the intermission, the stranger got up to stretch his legs. He looked at Jack and held out his hand in introduction. “Dan Olson. Enjoying the concert?”

Jack took Dan’s hand in greeting, feeling again a shock pass between them.

“Jack Middleton. And yes, I am. You headed to the lobby?”

Dan nodded and led the way. As they pushed through the crowd, a couple of times they bumped against each other. The peculiar spark ran through both men as they searched for a less crowded spot where they could talk.

Once they got to a sort of alcove in the lobby where they could leave the crowd, they were able to converse without having to nearly shout.

Jack said, “You’re right, I haven’t been here before. I just managed to get my season tickets before they sold out. In fact, I haven’t been to a concert in years, so I’ve really been looking forward to this. Have you been a regular?”

“For years,” Dan answered. “I get to all the concerts I can. Opera and ballet, too. Museums when there’s an exhibit that interests me. I’m fortunate that I’m in a position to take advantage of the cultural opportunities in Houston. I’m an oil executive, so I get a lot of perks with my job. But I think I would do all I could anyway, even if I had to cut back on other things. Music and art, travel, new places, seeing what’s in the world: that’s my passion. I try to live my life to the fullest.”

Jack was silent for a moment. Then he said, “I’ve been sidelined from a lot of things that I used to love to do. Life happened, and things like concerts and travel took a back seat. But I’m trying to get out more again.”

Dan looked at Jack thoughtfully, then said, “After the concert, would you like to go for coffee and conversation? Or do you need to get home?”

“No, there’s no hurry to get home. The apartment is empty, and I’d welcome the company, in fact.”

“There’s the signal for the second half. We’d better get back to our seats. After you.”

Jack led the way back into the hall, unaware that Dan’s eyes were fixed on the way Jack’s ass filled his pants to perfection. The movement of those round globes under the thin fabric made Dan’s cock rouse again. He managed to adjust his erection before he sat down next to Jack.

The pianist was good, and the brilliant playing of the first and third movements was stirring and exciting. But during the slow, romantic second movement, Dan again glanced over at Jack. He was astounded to find Jack again in another world, tears running down his face. Jack turned and met his gaze. Dan smiled and nodded his head, reassuring Jack that he understood. Jack returned the smile.

After the concert, Dan and Jack made their way to the parking garage, found that they weren’t parked too far from each other. They made plans to meet at The Backstreet Cafe in River Oaks. Jack had heard of it but had never been there.

On the drive, Jack’s mind was in a whirl. What the hell was he doing? This, the first time he had done anything new since Karen had died, and he was meeting a total stranger to have conversation over coffee.

But there had been something in the way Dan acknowledged his emotional turmoil during the concert, and Dan’s reassuring smile had done something inside of Jack. And there had been those weird, even terrifying, jolts of something when the two men had touched. Something like an invisible whirlpool had pulled him in, and Jack, nervous as he was, was determined to follow it.

Two — Coffee and More

Dan arrived first at the coffee house and got a table in an out of the way corner. He wasn’t exactly sure why he did that, but something told him that Jack was a private man who didn’t open himself up very easily. And those shocks when they had touched! What was that?

And Jack’s wedding band. The gold mocked Dan, who had a habit of one-night stands. Lots of passion, hot sex, and then moving on to another man who attracted him. Dan’s life was active and fun, but he had never been one for settling down. Now, as his forties were passing, he wondered if there was something that he was really missing in life. Who was this mysterious man who had captured him during the concert and pulled him into his orbit?

Dan saw Jack come through the door and waved him over to their table. The waiter came and took their orders of coffee and pastries for a late evening snack.

Dan said, “I’m glad you enjoyed the concert. It was obvious that you were really wrapped up in the music.” Jack nodded but didn’t answer. Dan continued, “I hope it’s not impertinent, but doesn’t your wife enjoy a good concert?”

Jack looked at Dan, a spasm of pain passing over his face.

“I’m sorry,” said Dan. “I shouldn’t have asked that.”

“No . . . no, it’s okay,” said Jack. “I . . . I think you’ll understand. I know we just met tonight, but I want to tell you why I was so overcome with emotion. You see, my wife died last year.”


Jack stood silent, a statue of grief. He stared Bycasino giriş down into the grave, seeing Karen’s casket below. Oblivious to the movement of the other mourners around him, Jack reviewed their years together, from the time they first met in high school, to the time Karen said her last goodbye. Now, at age forty-seven, Jack knew there was a void in his life, an empty stretch before him, and he realized that the loneliness ahead would be unbearable.

Neither he nor Karen had any siblings, and the friendship forged in high school algebra class had deepened. They went to the same college, Karen studying chemistry, Jack planning to become an accountant. Both studious, they shunned the wild side of college party life, drawing closer to each other. Their love grew gradually and naturally, and long before they both realized they wanted to share life together, they had formed a bond and were inseparable.

Then, disaster struck Jack. Both his parents were killed in a car accident. If it hadn’t been for Karen, he probably wouldn’t have made it through that time. Her parents took him into their hearts and treated him like a son. So, it was natural for Jack and Karen to get married, to make official what they already had: a bond that nothing could part.

Their son, Sean, was born after two years of marriage. Karen’s father owned a company that researched and produced all sorts of chemicals for industrial use, and he had become wealthy. Karen worked for him for a while, but she really loved being at home with her son. Life settled into a happy pattern: a lively boy, doting grandparents, a nice suburban house, and Jack a successful CPA.

Karen’s mother was diagnosed with cancer and didn’t make it. Her father succumbed to heart disease only a few years later. Now it was Jack’s turn to be the support for Karen. It was difficult, but they made it through.

All along, Jack and Karen had been deeply in love, and they made love two or three times every week, sometimes more often. The sex was passionate, volcanic, loud, and joyous. Their physical joining was as intense as their mental and emotional bond.

Then Karen was diagnosed with cancer. The shock of it all, and the memory of what her mother had gone through, hit Karen extremely hard. She had always been a fighter, but as the weeks turned into months, months into years, the ups and downs of treatment, the emotional roller coaster took its toll on her spirits. Finally, she began to rapidly decline.

Jack became a ghost of himself during all this. He continued to work, because that was the only way he could keep any stability in his life. His life became more and more a routine of a few hours’ sleep, getting breakfast for Karen, giving her medication, going to the office when the nurse arrived, calling Karen at lunch time, coming home, getting dinner, feeding Karen, holding her close as she shook with the pain until a drugged sleep took her. Jack ceased to live, just existing from day to day, often moment to moment.

Now, he stood by her grave, alone among many people.

“Dad. Dad!”

Jack barely heard the words.

“Dad, it’s time to go. She’s not hurting anymore.”

Jack shook his head, realized Sean was talking to him, realized that his review of his life with Karen had taken only a moment or two. It was with a huge effort that he shook himself free from the mental fog, turned away from the grave, and walked hand in hand with Sean toward his family.

Sean’s wife, Hannah, stood with their twin sons, Cody and Conner. Looking at his family, Jack knew he had to hold it together. He knelt and hugged his grandsons, hugged and kissed the others, and then took the hardest steps of his life, away from Karen, into the unknown.


Dan just looked at Jack, seeing the tears, realizing that his own eyes were burning, and his own heart was heavy. He couldn’t believe that this handsome man, whom he had met only that evening, had unburdened himself of this moving story of pain and loss. He was amazed, touched, and honored all at the same time, that Jack would have felt trusting enough to reveal himself like this.

Jack sat there, his pastry and coffee barely touched, his head sunk low on his chest. He was surprised at himself, hardly believing that he had just told a stranger, a man he didn’t know, his deepest, most secret pain. But it had felt so right. All through the narrative, Dan had fixed his gaze on Jack’s face, meeting his eyes, seeing into his mind and heart. And now, his cheeks wet with his tears, Jack put his hands on the table and touched his wedding ring.

Impulsively, Dan laid his hands on top of Jack’s hands. The electric shock was there again. Jack raised his head and looked Dan in the eyes, seeing there a compassion for his pain, a caring that struck deeply into his soul. And there was more. There was a fire burning in Dan’s eyes that shook Jack to his core.

“Jack,” said Dan quietly, “how did you get from losing your wife to sitting in the audience at a Houston Symphony concert?”

Smiling gently, Jack Bycasino güncel giriş said, “Karen told me to live passionately.”


Karen died in January, and the next few months were the busy time of the year for a CPA. Jack lost himself in his work. Working with numbers was so much easier than working with people. He still saw his family, but he withdrew more and more from everyone. It was easier than dealing with the pain and the loss. Jack went through the motions of living, but that was it. Sean and Hannah were really concerned about him, but he always shrugged it off and said he was doing fine. They both knew better than that.

The chemical company had been privately held, and it had passed to Karen when her father died. She hadn’t been interested in the business side of things, and the company thrived with some good people at the helm. Now that Karen was gone, the company had come to Jack. It ran well without him, so he had nothing to do with it other than rubber stamping some decisions. He didn’t need the money, but he kept working as a CPA, mainly to have a reason to get up each morning.

He sold the house and moved into an apartment, anything to escape the memories that haunted him. The color Karen had brought into his life faded to gray.

One July evening, there was an unexpected knock on the door. He opened it to find Sean standing there with an unreadable expression on his face. “Dad, we need to talk.”

Jack and Sean sat facing each other across the dining table, Jack perplexed, Sean obviously nervous.

“Dad, it’s been over a year since Mom died. I know you need to deal with this in your own time and way, and you know how much Hannah and I loved Mom. But we’re really worried about you. You rarely leave this apartment except for work, and when you visit us, you aren’t really there. Even the boys are asking questions about Grandpa.”

“Sean, I know you mean well, but I’m okay with my life now. I’ll get through this.”

“But, Dad, you need to live again. You’re only forty-eight, and you have years before you, years that can be good for you. Don’t shut yourself off. Besides,” Sean looked embarrassed, “I know that you and Mom had a deep physical love. Don’t you miss that? As a man, I understand that. Hell, I’m all tense and worked up when I’m away from Hannah for a few days for work!”

Jack was shocked. “Son, how do you know what went on between your mother and me?”

“Well, let’s just say that you two were loud and the walls in the house were thin, I guess. I’m the same way. I think I’ve scared the boys a few times.” Sean was grinning, and Jack had to smile back, partly with the revelation of his son’s knowledge, partly in remembrance of the passionate sex with Karen.

“I know, Sean, I know. I will get out, someday, but I just can’t think about it now. But I will take some baby steps.”


“So, Dan, the first baby step I took was to get symphony tickets. I thought I could get out of my quiet routine, but still be alone in the crowd. I wasn’t ready to take on much more than that.”

“And here I am, messing that up for you, intruding into your life,” said Dan, starting to pull his hands away. Jack gripped Dan’s hands tightly.

“Dan, whatever happened at the concert, what’s happening now, I need to talk, to open up, to start to live again. And I know that you’ve been feeling the same jolt or spark or shock or whatever the hell it is, each time we’ve touched. It feels right. Damn it, I know it’s right! This is the first time in years that I’ve not felt like I was sinking into quicksand.”

“Jack, Jack, I know you’re feeling a lot of emotions tonight, that you’ve started to let your heart beat again after all you’ve been through. But you need to know something. I’m . . . I’m gay.”

Jack looked Dan straight in the eyes, searching, hunting for something, then shocked Dan when he said, “So what?”


Dan stormed out of the house, swearing at his father. “I don’t need your fucking money! I don’t need your fucking approval! And I sure as hell don’t fucking need you!”

It was the culmination of years of frustration and tension. Since his days in high school on the swim and track teams, Dan had been more interested in his teammates than in the cheerleaders. He kept quiet about it, but it was difficult to keep it secret when he got hard watching his fellow athletes in the showers. Dan somehow made it through high school a virgin, becoming familiar with porn and his right hand.

College gave Dan personal freedoms he had never dreamed of. On a full scholarship, he had financial freedom from his father, as well. Dan was bright and a good student, and his tough academic load still gave him time and opportunities to explore his sexuality. And explore it he did!

Always horny, Dan found places in town and on campus for quick hookups. He became a fan of glory holes and bath houses, places he could drain his ever-full balls anonymously. His nine inches of thick uncut cock and huge balls were in demand. With a young, tight body, hung like a stallion, and always randy, other men cruised him constantly. Heads, male and female, turned and stared as he walked across campus. His swimming gave him broad shoulders and strong arms and legs, with a slim waist and a tight ass. Dan filled out his jeans to the full, front and back.

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