Author's notes: Comments always welcome.
Archive: yes, please.
This will be uploaded to the Hexwood archive
The Canadian Flag, Egg?
by: Jenny Hill
Ray sat intently watching his best friend, partner and lover from across the small kitchen table, which was housed in the also small spartan apartment the Mountie seemed to call home. Ray had a hard time understanding Fraser's acceptance of this place being home. First off, it was barely big enough to house both the Mountie and the wolf and secondly, it was situated in the worst part of town. The neighborhood that Fraser had adopted as his own "territory" was so bad Ray refused to let his friend walk to and from work, even if it meant a twenty minutes drive out of his own way to get him. Only on rare, uncontrollable instances did Fraser ever have to walk to the Consulate or back to his apartment and when the two of them became lovers, those uncontrollable instances became even less.
By moving into Fraser's apartment, Fraser's neighborhood or "territory" had also become Ray's. It wasn't a hard decision to be made, moving in with Fraser but there was one ultimatum that needed to be met before any of Ray's belongings were to be moved into the "rat trap" of an apartment. Locks or to be more precise, working locks had to be installed on the door. Yes, Ray knew the door itself actually needed to be replace or better yet they should actually move to a better neighborhood but the locks were a start in the joining of their lives.
Ray had been watching his lover for a good five minutes before Fraser even noticed and when he did, Ray could see the embarrassment spread over his face with a slight blush. With one last swipe of his swab, Fraser placed the small object he had been working on down and asked, "Ray, is there something wrong?"
Ray shook his head as he turned his attention back to his own swabs and dyes. "Nothing, I was just curious . . . are you gonna decorate them all like that?" Ray asked pointing to Fraser's pile of Easter eggs, which were all decorated as miniature Canadian Flags.
Fraser looked down at his grouping of eggs, not understanding the problem with the design but when he looked over at Ray's eggs he noticed then what he was saying. "Well . . . I didn't think it would be a problem . . . I didn't realize it was wrong . . ."
"Benny, what you're doing is not wrong . . . it's just you're suppose to be creative, ya know? Take mine for example," Ray said as he grabbed the bowl containing his finished products. "First there's the standbys, all solid colors," Ray said, pointing to the four eggs he had painted, each using one of the dye colors: red, green, blue and yellow. "Then there's the psychedelic decorated ones," Ray continued, pointing out the eggs that were dabbed with dots of all four colors. "Then, and these are my favorites, then you get artsy." Ray held up the egg he had just finished. "Can you guess what it is?"
Fraser stared at the egg much longer than necessary or at least that Ray felt was necessary and then shrugged. "I'm not sure Ray."
"What do you mean you're not sure? Look at it closely, what does it look like?" Ray extended his arm, holding the egg inches from Fraser's face.
Once again, Fraser studied the design on the egg and then took a stabbing guess at what it was. "A beaver?"
Ray's eyes nearly bugged out at the offered guess. "What? Why would I paint a beaver on an Easter Egg, Benny? I'm not Canadian. Try again."
Fraser sighed as he readjusted his sights on the egg. Still, nothing was coming to mind. "A moose?"
This time Ray was the one who sighed but his was an annoyed sigh. "No, do moose have ears like that? Are you even trying?"
"Yes Ray, I assure you, I am trying but I truly haven't a clue as to what you've painted on your egg."
Ray now sighed in a defeated manor as he pulled the egg back and placed it into his bowl of finished eggs. "It's a bunny Benny; an Easter bunny." Ray picked up another egg and continued with his next holiday masterpiece.
Fraser watched Ray as he began on his next egg and was amazed at how serious he seemed to take the holiday tradition of painting Easter eggs. This was the first year he had ever partaken in this tradition with his friend and now lover. All the previous years he had spent in Chicago, Fraser would show up at the Vecchio home for Easter morning Mass and upon their return, the kids would be set loose in the back yard to find the eggs hidden earlier in the morning. This year was different though. This year, Ray was not only his best friend and partner but also lover and that seemed to extend the Vecchio Family Holiday Traditions to his participation as well.
Fraser cleared his throat, catching Ray's attention. "Yes?"
"Well Ray, I'm not sure if you are aware of this but when I was growing up, in the Territories, chickens were not widely farmed there, it being quite cold and all so eggs were scarce. Well, not scarce, I mean I ate eggs all the time growing up but . . . "
"Benny, you are babbling here, can ya get to the point."
"My point Ray is that when I was a child, contrary to what you may believe, I use to decorate Easter Eggs," Fraser said completing his statement before being cut off a second time.
"Really?" The thought of Fraser actually doing something a child should do as a child elated Ray. Finally, there was at least one thing his parents and grandparents did right.
"Yes Ray, I was always allowed to color one egg a year and . . . "
"What?" Ray's one word question was exclaimed and followed by, "One egg?"
Fraser blinked, giving Ray a look that told him he didn't understand Ray's reaction. "Yes Ray, as I said it was cold where I grew up and eggs had to be ordered ahead of time in lots that would cover the time period in which it would be until our next order. So we had eggs but we didn't waste them." Fraser hoped his explanation would suffice Ray but he should've known better.
"Do you think we are wasting eggs here, Benny?" Ray asked.
"No Ray, that is not my point." Fraser took a breath before he continued. "I mean, in a way it is a waste but eggs are easily accessible here. You can waste a dozen eggs and still be able to go out the next day and replace that dozen without a second thought. When I was growing up, that wasn't a luxury we could take for granted."
"Oh," Ray finally understood. "So, what did you do with this 'one' egg?"
A smile beamed across Fraser's face at Ray's interest in his childhood memory. "Well, when mum was alive, we would paint the egg together. Mainly, she let me do the painting but it was as if we were both doing it. I would always paint my egg in the same design, every year . . ."
Ray butted in. "Let me guess, you painted it to resemble the Canadian Flag, right?"
Fraser nodded his head, still smiling. "Yes Ray, needless to say, over the years my abilities in painting the eggs have improved." Both Ray and Fraser gazed at the pile of "Canadian Flag" eggs, which were painted perfectly. Every line was straight and each leaf was flawless. "You should have see the eggs I painted in my formative years," Fraser commented as he let out a little chuckle.
"I bet they kind of looked like my Easter Bunny here, huh?" Ray said still in awe of the eggs Fraser had painted.
Still laughing, Fraser agreed. "Well, now that you mention it, yes Ray, very much like your Easter bunny."
"Are you saying I paint like a five year old?" Ray asked defensively.
That comment sobered Fraser up quickly and he figured it was best not to joke about Ray's artistic ability. "No Ray, that's not what I'm saying at all." There was a whimsical look on Fraser's face at that moment; one Ray had never seen before. "It's just I had almost forgotten about that."
"What, about Easter?" Ray questioned.
"No, more than just Easter Ray, Easter spent with my family. I had almost forgotten about them," Fraser said as he returned to finishing his tenth egg.
"You miss them . . . holiday's that is, with you family?" This was the first happy memory Ray had ever heard about his lover's childhood. The rest of his stories always seemed closer to a horror flick that one really wouldn't want to remember.
Fraser's head popped up from his work at the unbelieving tone in his lover voice. "Most definitely Ray. Holiday's aren't always what you get but more the time spent with your family. You may have received more tangible gifts in your childhood that overshadowed this fact but family is important, as I know you agree. Now that I don't have my family, I miss the times we shared together."
The two men were looking each other in the eye and Ray's mouth was becoming dry from their discussion. "Um . . . I'm sorry Benny. I didn't realize . . ." Ray cleared his throat. "But you do have my family now, ya know? I mean they aren't just my family but your family as well."
Fraser smiled at that truth. "Yes Ray, I know and I am truly grateful for that, thank you. Your family has been very kind and generous to me since my arrival in this city; more so than I deserve."
"Benny, don't say that, you deserve all you have and more and don't even think about denying that fact, okay?"
The two men returned to their chore at hand, finishing up an even two dozen eggs for the annual Vecchio Family Easter Egg Hunt that was scheduled for the following day. When they were finished, there were four various solid colored eggs, four psychedelic patterned eggs, two bunnies, two crosses, eleven Canadian Flags and one American Flag.