The story so far: Derk hasn’t had may serious relationships with boys yet since he came out. Thank goodness for sport.
It was the first Shout get-together of the year and suntanned girls and boys were telling each other all about their holidays. Derk’s mind was on something else entirely when Jelle, a boy he vaguely knew, came up to him. And before he knew it, Derk was banging on about his annoying doctor yet again.
‘So the guy didn’t take his eyes of his screen, didn’t really want to examine me and then suddenly declared: you’ve got runner’s knee, two months’ rest. Incredible or what?’
Jelle frowned. ‘Was he wrong then?’ ‘That’s not the point!’ said Derk. ‘The point is how off hand he was. I mean, my whole marathon dream is shattered. I could weep.’ Jelle ran his hands through his hair. ‘And couldn’t he help you?’
Derk sniffed. ‘He said I should just take up swimming or cycling.’ Jelle’s face brightened up. ‘You should try coming for a bike ride. Once you’ve got over your disappointment, you’ll really enjoy it. And I promise to take it gently.’ Derk thawed a bit. Was he being flirted with now?
One week later Derk waited - with a borrowed bike – at the Haarweg. In the distance he saw an eager looking Jelle come out in a cycling helmet. ‘Raring to go?’ asked Jelle, giving Derk an enthusiastic hug. For the first few kilometres in the direction of the Grebbeberg, Derk had no trouble keeping up. He did lose the rhythm sometimes, which made him feel as if his legs were getting tied in knots. His ‘leader’ looked around every now and then and gave him a thumbs-up. After about ten kilometres Derk’s feet were moving in a nice flow. He began to get the same sort of high he got from running and he overtook Jelle. On the way back along the dyke Jelle had a hard time keeping up. Out of the corner of his eye Derk saw that Jelle was determined not to be beaten; he kept pushing himself to catch up again. When Wageningen came in view, Jelle suddenly braked and got off his bike. Derk turned around and watched his companion hurl his bike onto the ground and throw up in the field. When Derk got off , Jelle was leaning against a post. Derk went and sat next to him. Jelle put his head on Derk’s shoulder.
‘Really nice, we must do this more often,’ said Derk. Jelle laughed and coughed. ‘Not, not this,’ he said with a wink, and took Derk’s hand.