Our Littlest Angel
by: Miguel Sanchez
© 2009 by the author
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the
author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...
Pieter Stoltz was a shy quiet boy and when his mother moved to England from Germany, he became even more so. When he was ten, his mother moved here after her bitter divorce became final. She enrolled him in the local public school but shortly after that, he would come home with cuts and bruises and his clothes would be dirty and torn. This went on for several days when his mother finally asked him, "Why are you always coming home like this?"
Pieter looked sadly at his mother and said, "The boys in school make fun of me. They make fun of my accent and that I don't know English very well."
She sat down and said, "Hergekommen mein Sohn."
Pieter slowly walked over to his mother. As she lifted him onto her lap he started to cry saying, "Why don't they like me?"
"They don't know you like I do son," she started saying. "Kids can be so cruel at times when they meet someone different than themselves. It's not right and I will talk with the principle and have him put a stop to this."
"I don't know if that will stop it or not," he said crying harder. "I just wish I knew English better."
His mother understood that problem all too well. Her grasp of English wasn't that strong and she knew Pieter's English would improve in time but she didn't like having to see her only child coming home every day battered and bruised.
She looked at him and said, "How about I get you a tutor to help you with your English? This way you will learn the language faster and the boys should stop bullying you. So you think that might help?"
Pieter looked at the floor and shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know," he said softly.
She lifted his chin and said, "You need to stop being so shy too son. Have you made any friends in your class?"
Pieter just shook his head no and hopped off her lap heading for his room. He flopped down on his bed and looking at the ceiling. 'Why don't people like me?'
The next day she went to his school and had a talk with his principal and told him what was happening to Pieter. He too knew that children can be cruel to those different than them but he wouldn't stand for them acting like hooligans. "I'm terribly sorry for the way your son is being treated here Ms. Stoltz. I will speak with the children and inform them that this kind of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
"Thank you mien Herr," she said shaking his hand.
"You're very welcome," he said smiling.
That afternoon the principal held an assembly and told all the students that bullying others would not be tolerated and any reports would be thoroughly investigated. When they learned who the offending person or persons were, they would be met with swift discipline.
The bullying stopped at school but Pieter was still very shy. Just after his eleventh birthday she decided that she could no longer stand to see him moping around the house without friends. One afternoon when she was shopping, she was trying to tell the butcher what it was she wanted but her accent was preventing the man from understanding her. "The lady wants a kilo of German sausage," I said to the butcher.
"Danke schön mein Herr," she said smiling.
"You're welcome Fräulein," I said.
The woman started to leave the counter then looked at me and said, "Excuse me sir, but would you happen to teach English?"
I smiled and said, "I am a teacher, but not of English. I teach music at St. Joseph's Boys School."
She nodded her head and said, "I noticed your faint German accent. How did you lose it? My son is having problems speaking the language here and I'm looking for a tutor to help him."
"Does he go to St. Joseph's?" I asked.
"Nein" she said. "He is in the public school."
"What time is he out?" I asked.
"Three," she said.
"Why don't you have him come by tomorrow afternoon," I said. "I'll be in Room 15. If he gets lost, have him ask for Michael Joest. What is your son's name?"
"Danke Herr Joest," she said smiling. "His name is Pieter Stoltz. How did you lose your accent?"
"Singing and with time it lessened," I said. "And your name is fräulein?"
"Gertrude, Gertrude Stoltz," She said sighing. "He hasn't sung in over 2 years. He had a beautiful voice and was always singing before we moved here but suddenly he stopped."
"How old is he?" I inquired.
"He just turned eleven," she said.
I didn't think his voice was changing this soon. I needed to find out what happened to cause him to stop singing. "I'll be glad to work with him and see what I can do for him, I said smiling. "I have choir rehearsal at four and I would like to have him stay for it if that won't be a problem."
"Nein Herr Joest," she said. "Danke Herr Joest for trying to help Pieter."
I left the market and went home still trying to figure out why a child would suddenly stop singing. Usually when a child suddenly stops doing something they enjoy it's because of some sort of trauma. Now I just had to find out what."
Pieter's mother left the market and went home to find him sitting there crying, scraped and bruised. "What happened?" She asked as she started to clean her son up.
"Some boy started picking on me and I decided I wasn't going to take it any more," he said. "So I called him a scheiße koph."
She looked up at him and said, "Pieter Stoltz, you know better than to use words like that."
"I'm sorry mom," he said looking at the floor. "I guess I'm not the only one around who knows German either because that really made him mad."
"What am I going to do with you?" she said sounding frustrated.
"Sorry mom," he said.
Pieter went over to the table and sat down as his mother said, "Do you remember when I said I was thinking about getting you a tutor for your English?"
Pieter looked up and said, "Yes."
"Well I found you one," she said as Pieter looked totally disinterested in what she was saying. "He is the music teacher over at St. Joseph's Boys School."
"Do I have to?" Pieter asked staring at the table.
"Yes," his mother said strongly. "I want you to give him a chance Pieter. His name is Herr Michael Joest. He said he will be in room 15. He'll be expecting you tomorrow afternoon so you're to go there straight from school."
When his mother spoke in that tone he knew he had better listen to her. He looked up at her and said, "Yes ma'am."
He got up and went into his room and lay on his bed until dinner. His mind went back to what he heard his mother say the man did at the school. Music was the one thing that Pieter used to live for. More to the point Pieter used to love to sing. It was his life and his very reason for getting up each day and going to school and church.
He had worked hard in the church choir to make first seat soprano. He was a frequent soloist and a boy the choir master used to love to work with. Pieter used to sing duets with his best friend Klaus Shultz. Klaus was the perfect alto to his soprano and together, they could harmonize like a pair of angels.
Pieter's day dream was interrupted by his mother saying, "Hergekommen Pieter, schnell."
He washed his face and hands and sat down as his mother fixed his plate. "Have you done your lessons?" She asked as she set his plate in front of him.
"I will," he said putting a mouthful of sausage into his mouth.
"Don't forget you have to get a bath too young man," she said.
He sighed rolling his eyes and said, "I will mom. Don't I always get my lessons done?"
"Yes you do son," she said looking at him. "But you usually start on them before dinner."
"I know," he said sighing. "I just didn't plan on getting beat up again."
Mother and son finally finished their dinner then Pieter went back to his room to do his lessons. Almost two hours later, Pieter emerged with a pair of clean underwear heading for the bathroom. He drew his bath then climbed in and stretched out to relax and soak.
He closed his eyes and drifted back to his time in Germany. Back then he was a shy boy but he did have friends. Klaus was his best friend ever since he was a small boy and the two of them were always together playing happily as young boys do. When school wasn't in session, they were sleeping at one another's house. Pieter loved Klaus as if he was his brother and he didn't see anything wrong with that. If any of their parents needed to know where they were, all they had to do was listen for their voices as they were always singing.
Pieter opened his eyes to the realization his bath was getting cold and his penis was erect. He turned the hot water tap on and warmed the water then started washing his body. He let the water out then got out to dry off. He slipped his pants on and went out to watch some television before having to go to bed.
I had my dinner then worked on my lesson plan for tomorrow. I muddled through it while fighting to keep thoughts of Pieter at bay. No sooner had I put my papers away, my thoughts immediately returned to this child. I've dealt with problem children before but never one who had suddenly given up their favorite pastime.
Looking at the clock on the wall I saw it was getting late. I put the kettle on for my final cup of tea for the day then went into the bathroom and quickly shaved. Once that was done and I had my tea I crawled into bed and tried to sleep. I tossed and turned but sleep finally did come.
All too soon the alarm was going off telling me it was time to get up. I got up then went to put the kettle on in the kitchen then I returned to my room and hurriedly got dressed. I fixed my toast then sat and ate my breakfast. I pulled out my lesson sheets and once again Pieter came back into my thoughts. I decided to put my plans away then wolfed down my food and left for school. I had a busy morning and before I knew it the lunch bell rang. After lunch it was back to the grind and my afternoon went by as fast as did my morning.
Henry Williams needed some help with a piece we were doing for an upcoming band concert. We were going over the song when a small blonde haired boy came into the room. Since I was near the end of the piece, I continued playing. As soon as the room was quiet the boy said, "Guten Tag Herr Joest."
"Spreche Englisch Pieter," I said still looking at the music.
"Good afternoon Mr. Joest," he said again with his heavy German accent.
I looked up at him and he came around to the other side of the piano. His mother said he was eleven but height wise he didn't look much over seven or eight. Henry smiled at him and said, "Hi, do you go here?"
"Pieter looked at him and said, "Nein, public school."
Henry got his books and left while I put some music on in the CD player. I could see Pieter start to relax as the music played so I said, "Your Mom tells me you like music."
"Used to," he said.
"Used to?" I said surprised. "I thought once you like music, you always do. Do you like this piece?"
I could see his eyes closed humming to the music and tapping his foot. I rolled over to him on the stool and just sat there until he opened his eyes. When he finally did, he had tears in his eyes. "Beethoven's 9th," he said.
I nodded my head and said, "I'll take that as a yes that you still love music. Now, can you answer me another question?"
He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I dunno, maybe."
He was a tough nut to crack. I was about to speak when Henry came back in and Pieter immediately looked at him. "I'm sorry to disturb you Sir," he said. "I forgot my music folder."
He walked over to where he sat and picked up his folder then turned to leave. He noticed Pieter watching him so on his way out he said, "Nice to meet you Pieter. I hope I get to see you again."
He looked up at the boy and said, "Same here."
I was amazed at what I just saw. Henry seemed to bring him out of his shell. I decided to see if he would answer a couple of questions now. I looked at him and said, "Pieter, your Mom tells me you used to sing."
All of a sudden he clamed up and refused to talk to me. Something was definitely wrong here and I didn't know how to get through to him. I let the music play and that seemed to occupy Pieter's mind. I looked at the clock and saw it was almost 4 so I knew the boys would be arriving for practice any time.
As the boys started coming in, Pieter's head immediately lifted and he started watching them as they entered. I was beginning to notice he perked up when boys his own age came around him.
About that time one of my soloists came in. Carl Phillips was my soprano soloist last year until his voice started to change. He was able to stay in the alto range and I really needed an experienced soloist there so I let him stay.
This was my Performing Choir and we were getting ready for our upcoming Christmas Concert. I did a quick body count while looking for any empty seats and as always there were a few members absent. I sat down behind the piano and started with some voice warming exercises.
After doing this for several minutes we started rehearsing. The first piece we did was Silent Night. It was a pretty simple piece for them. The next piece was O Come All Ye Faithful. I moved from the piano to the organ and had to wait a couple of minutes for it to start running. It wasn't totally electronic and I truly loved the sound. While I was waiting I looked at the boys and said, "The first verse will be done with the organ but the second will be done without it. Your starting note will be the same one you ended on so that shouldn't be a problem. Tenors don't drown out the basses and sopranos; let's not try to drown out everyone."
They all giggled at my last remark as I turned and headed for the bench. I forgot my music so I said, "Pieter, can you bring me that folder on the piano?"
He got up and brought it over to me. I thought I would get him involved a little so I patted the bench beside me and he slid over beside me. "Should I turn the pages for you Herr Joest?" He asked looking at the three keyboards on the organ.
I nodded my head then looked out at the choir. I nodded my head to them then started the introduction of the piece. The first verse went fairly smooth with just a few little mistakes. When it came to the second verse, that was a different story. I stopped playing and stood to direct them and everyone stopped singing. I looked down at Pieter and saw him giggling.
I looked out at them and said, "Why did you all stop singing? I stood up to direct you, not stop you. I'll play the end of the chorus then you start with verse two. Now, while I have you, first sopranos, I want you to look at the note above the word Lord. How many of you think you can go one octave above that note. I need at least 6 of you for it to sound right. Let's try it and if you can't hit it don't worry; we'll just keep it as written."
I stood and played the ending then they started singing unaccompanied. I rejoined them on the chorus and for the rest of the piece. I had to play loud because I was deliberately slowing down on the final chorus because it was the here I wanted the 6 sopranos to get a big lung full of air before trying the octave jump.
As I was playing Pieter was turning pages for me but his eyes were on the choir. Actually he was looking at only one member and that was Carl. I could see he was glancing between the music and Carl then looking at the words. I couldn't tell if he was following the soprano or the alto lines but this little guy knew music. Even with him staring at Carl he didn't miss a page turn. When I got to the final line I really slowed it down and some of the boys tried to hit the octave jump but it was just out of their reach so I decided to go with it as written.
We ran through the piece one more time and I was satisfied with it for this day. I looked at the clock behind me and saw it was almost 5 so I decided to call it a day. I dismissed the boys and Pieter closed the music book. I shut the organ off and closed it as a voice said, "Thank you."
I looked up and Carl was looking at Pieter. Pieter smiled and said, "You're welcome."
I was taken aback at this and said, "What did he do that you're thanking him for?"
"He was helping me on the chorus," Carl said walking over to Pieter. "Hi, I'm Carl Phillips."
Pieter blushed at the greeting and said, "Hi, I'm Pieter."
I looked at Pieter and said, "How were you helping him on the chorus?"
"He came in a little early on the first verse," he said looking at the floor as he answered.
"I hadn't noticed it," I said smiling. "You have a very good ear."
I heard him mumble "Thank you."
Carl looked at him and said, "Do you sing Pieter?"
Pieter hung his head and started crying. Carl moved over and put his arm around him and said "What did I say Pieter? I didn't mean to make you cry."
We finally got his tears under control but it was getting late and Carl had to get home. I looked at Pieter and said, "You were a big help today. Thanks for helping Carl too."
I took Pieter home and spoke briefly with his mother. I went home and decided to work on my lesson plans for the rest of the week. I fixed a light dinner and while I replayed the things I saw in the music room.
The one thing I was wondering was weather or not Pieter might be gay. Both Henry and Carl were good looking boys that anyone would be happy to have for a boyfriend. If that is the case it would make some sense as to why he would come out of his shell when in their presence.
The rest of the week went by quickly and the choir was improving with each rehearsal. Pieter, however, was an anomaly that wasn't improving. He was coming out of his shell with me as long as I watched what we talked about. Any time singing was mentioned he would get upset and either cry or stop talking. Carl was a big help and the two boys were quickly becoming friends.
Friday after rehearsal he asked Pieter if he would like to come over and play then next day. Pieter was ecstatic at the invitation and when he got out of my car Friday afternoon, it was the first thing he asked his mother. I explained to Gertrude that Carl was a very nice boy and I knew both his parents from St. Josephs. Once she got my assurances that Pieter would be safe she said he could go.
Saturday morning I met Pieter at St. Josephs. We talked for a few minutes while waiting for Carl and Pieter said, "He's the first person I can call my friend."
I looked at the little eleven year old and said, "You're a nice boy, why haven't you made friends before now?"
He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know."
I was going to ask him something else when I saw Carl walking up to us. He was smiling and he patted Pieter on the back and said, "Are you ready to have some fun today?"
Pieter hugged him and said, "Yeah. Let's go."
I tapped Pieter on the shoulder and opened my arms. He walked over and hugged me then said, "Thank you Herr Joest."
I watched the boys walk down the street as if neither had a care in the world. It was good to see Pieter acting like a boy again. I decided it was time to talk with his mother. I needed some questions answered if I was to help Pieter so I decided to go back to Pieter's house and see what I could find out.
I drove over then knocked on the door. Gertrude opened the door and said, "Is there anything wrong?"
"No," I said. "Pieter is fine. I saw the two boys heading over to Carl's house. I really need to talk with you about Pieter."
"Come in Herr Joest," she said. "What would you like to know?"
I followed her over to the dining room table and I sat down while she put on a pot of tea. I thought for a minute and said, "What happened to Pieter's Father?"
She kept on working and said, "We divorced several years ago."
"I know this is personal," I said. "But could you tell me why you divorced?"
She got quiet as she set the tea pot on the table. She got the cups, milk and sugar then said, "He was hitting Pieter."
That answered a few questions but not all of them. I fixed my tea then said, "Why was he hitting him? Had he misbehaved?"
"Pieter is a good boy," she started. "He didn't do anything wrong."
I sipped my tea and said, "Then why was his father hitting him?"
She looked at her tea cup and said quietly, "He was calling him schwule (faggot). Every time he swung his belt he would call him that. I finally pulled him off and yelled at him to get out. He leaned in and grabbed Pieter and said something to him that I couldn't hear then he left."
I looked at her then said, "Do you think he's queer?"
She started shaking her head then said, "I don't know Herr Joest. He might be because I've never seen him around girls or even talk about them."
"That really doesn't mean anything," I said. "What would you do if he was?"
"Nothing," she started saying. "He's still my son and I will always love him."
I still had one nagging question on my mind. "When did Pieter stop singing?" I asked.
Gertrude sipped her tea for several minutes then said, "Uh, I don't remember exactly."
"Was it before or after he hit Pieter?" I asked hoping that would help.
"After," she said.
"That beating he took really must have spooked him to stop doing something he loved," I said. "Did you tell him his father wouldn't be coming back?"
"When I went back to him," she said. "I told him he would never be back and that he was safe now."
"What happened then?" I asked.
"I rocked him and talked to him," she said.
"Did you ever find out what your ex-husband said to him?" I asked hoping she had.
She shook her head no so I just let it go. I was about to ask her another question when the door opened and two laughing boys came in. Pieter was laughing and smiling like he just got home from a carnival. "Hi Mom, Hi Herr Joest," he said through the laughter.
"Did you have fun?" His Mom asked.
"Yes," he said smiling at Carl. "We went riding bicycles. Carl loaned me one."
She hugged Pieter then said, "I'm glad you enjoyed yourself."
He hopped down off his mother's lap then came over to me and said, "I have a friend now Herr Joest."
I couldn't believe my ears. He said the words that were worth a million pounds. I saw Carl standing there and he was smiling from ear to ear. He walked over to me and said, "We had a wicked time Sir. I told him he was me best mate."
I ruffled his hair and said, "Thanks Carl. I'm so happy you two hit it off. I'll talk with you more when I take you home."
I stood there and watched Pieter dance and jump around when his when his Mother said, "You need to get a bath before dinner son."
"Can I play with Carl tomorrow?" he asked a little sad that his time seemed to be up.
"Of course you can," she said smiling. "You can always play with your friends."
"Wicked," he said running over to give Carl a hug. "Bye mate. I'll see you tomorrow."
Carl returned the hug and we left so I could get him home. On the way I asked Carl, "Did he tell you anything about his past?"
"Not a word Sir," he said. "I was trying to find out anything I could but I didn't really want to push him and have him start crying. I didn't want me mum thinking we had had a fight."
"That's alright," I said. "You did a good job. I learned a lot today from his Mum. He's had a real rough time of it before he came to England. I'm going to need your help if we're ever going to learn why he's refusing to sing."
"I'll do anything I can Sir," he said teary eyed.
"Will you be able to play with him tomorrow?" I asked wiping the tears off his cheeks.
"When I get back from services," Carl said.
"Wonderful," I said. "Don't forget to do your lessons."
I pulled in front of his house and waved to Carl's mum. Carl opened the door and said, "I just have a few problems in maths to finish and the rest is done."
"Fine," I said. "I'll see you tomorrow."
I drove on home happier than when I left this morning but saddened by the knowledge that Pieter had been physically abused by his father. When his Mother told me that Pieter might be gay I debated weather or not to come out to her. I wasn't sure if she would continue to let me try to help him. The rest of the day seemed to fly by for me. Before I knew it, my body was telling me I needed sleep.
I woke rather late the next morning and had to hurry to do my morning rituals. I had just finished getting dressed after my shower when I heard a knock on the door. I wasn't expecting company so I was wondering who it would be on a Sunday morning. I opened the door and there stood Carl looking like he just lost his best mate. I smiled at him and said, "Morning Carl. What brings you around?"
I stepped back so he could come in and he said, "I really need to talk with you Sir."
I could see his eyes beginning to tear up and I said, "Of course son. Let's go out to the kitchen and I'll fix us some tea."
I put the kettle on for a big pot because I knew this might take a while then I went over and sat down beside him. No sooner had I sat down when Carl totally broke down and started crying. He threw himself into my arms and just cried saying over and over, "Why me? Why did this have to happen to me?"
I was totally confused by the turn of events. I put one hand on his shoulder and another under his chin so I could get him to look at me then I said, "Why did what have to happen to you?"
He continued to cry but managed to say, "You're gonna hate me Sir."
"After all you've done to help Pieter, I could never hate you Carl," I said in a reassuring voice. "Now come on lad, out with it."
I went into the bathroom and got the box of tissues then brought them out to Carl. He wiped his eyes and blew his nose then said, "Alright Sir but I warned you. You're gonna hate me now. I'm a poof Sir."
"A what," I said softly.
"A poof," he said again. "I'm a queer."
I drew him into my chest and rubbed his back saying, "I don't hate you because of that."
"You will when I tell you the rest," he said.
I looked at him and said, "Well since it's time for confessing, I have something to say also. I'm just like you Carl. I'm gay also."
"You're just saying that to make me feel better aren't you Sir?" he asked sipping his tea.
"I don't say things like that just to say them son," I said looking at him. "I've known I was gay ever since I was a lad about your age. So why is it you think I'm still going to hate you. Do you love Pieter?"
His eyes dropped to his lap and his slowly nodded his head. "I do Sir," he said starting to cry again. "Over this past week as I've gotten to know him I've seen a really cute and very sweet boy. At first I was sad for him then yesterday as we were playing and having fun I knew I was falling for him. He'd do something then run over and hug me and I'd hug him back but when he asked me to be his friend, I just totally fell for him."
I smiled at him then kissed him on the top of his head saying, "I don't hate you for that. I think that is wonderful. I learned yesterday from his Mum that Pieter might be gay too. That's why she divorced his Father. She caught him beating him and calling him a queer."
"That's sad Sir," Carl said wiping his eyes. "But it's also wonderful too."
"I know Carl," I said. "But there is still one more problem we have to solve and I'm still going to need your help. He opens up when you're with him so I want to sit down with Pieter and his Mum and try to get him to open up as to what his father said to him before he left that day several years ago. Would you have any problem telling Pieter you're gay and that you love him?"
"No Sir," he said smiling. "I wanted to do that so bad yesterday but I didn't want to lose my best mate."
"Good," I said as I picked up the tea pot and mugs. "Go into the bathroom and wash your face so we can go over to Pieter's house."
I rinsed out the tea pot and put the mugs in the dishwasher while Carl washed his face. I wanted Carl to take Pieter outside for a bit while I talked with Gertrude. This was going to be a very trying event on Pieter and I was going to need her total support if we were ever gong to find out what it was his father said that day.
Carl came out of the bathroom and we headed over to Pieter's house. On the way over there I told Carl what I wanted him to do and he agreed. As we drove over Carl said, "I have an old bike that's still good that I want to give to Pieter. I got a new one for my birthday and I don't ride the other one any longer."
"That's a nice gesture," I said ruffling his hair. "Have you asked your parents if you can give it to him?"
"I don't think they would object," he said. "They took a real liking to him yesterday. Dad started tickling him like he does with me then he kicked the football around with us."
I parked on the street in front of their house and Carl ran up and knocked on the door. Pieter opened it and immediately gave Carl a hug. He saw me coming up the walk and he ran out and jumped into my arms saying, "Thank you Herr Joest for bringing Carl over."
He didn't wait for my reply before he was running inside with Carl. His mother came to the door to see what the commotion was when she invited me inside. Gertrude fixed us some tea and I saw Carl take Pieter outside to play. I decided that there was no easy way to ask the question so I said, "I think it's time we sit down with Pieter and try to find out what his father said to him that night. This is why I brought Carl with me so he might be able to help."
She sighed and said, "Yes, I think you're right. I've wanted to try to talk with him about it but I've never known how to approach him."
I got up and went to the front door and motioned Carl to come inside. I could see once again Pieter's bright smile and hear his laughter as he and Carl ran playing tag. He nodded then came running with Pieter in tow. The two boys came inside and Gertrude said, "Get something to drink then come to the kitchen table."
I put two chairs together near me so Carl could be beside his Pieter. Once they were seated I looked at Pieter and said, "Pieter, I need to ask you something that will be hard for you to answer. We all care about you here and nothing is going to happen to you."
Carl took Pieter's hand then said, "Pieter, you're my best mate. You're the first person to ever be that. I've never let anyone get this close to me. There is no way you will lose my friendship."
I could see the love in Carl's eyes as he spoke to Pieter. Pieter looked over to me and said, "What is it you want me to tell you Herr Joest."
I took at deep breath and said, "Tell us about the day your Mum caught your Father hitting you."
Pieter's eyes dropped to the table then he looked sadly to his Mother. She just smiled and said, "It's alright my son. I've told you many times that I love you and I always will."
Pieter took a mouthful of his drink then said, "Klaus and I had been playing in my room most of the day. We were getting bored so we decided to go over our music for Sunday. I got out the sheets and we had to sit close together so we could each see it. We'd gone over the piece several times and liked how it sounded so we stopped. While we were sitting together, I started feeling something happening inside me. Every time I would look at Klaus it was like we were being drawn to each other. When we stopped singing I looked into his eyes and we started leaning closer and closer to each other and then we kissed. I remember smiling at him and seeing him smile at me. It was then I knew I loved him. I remember setting the music down on the bed then we started hugging each other. I was about to kiss him again when Father came into the room. We both pulled apart but he came over and threw Klaus on the floor and told him to leave and never come back. I remember him yelling and cussing at me calling me a little schwule. He tore my shirt off and tried to pull my shorts down but they were too tight. He took his belt off and started hitting me over and over. That's when you came in Mom. You finally got him to stop hitting me and I remember you telling him to get out and not come back."
Pieter was sobbing at this point. He hadn't noticed that Carl had wrapped his arms around him and had drawn him to his chest. Carl held and rocked Pieter until his crying eased. Carl's mouth was right next to his ear as he said soothing words to him. Once his emotions were under control Carl said, "Can you go on now?"
Pieter's head dropped and he started shaking. He tried to talk but then he just shook his head no. Carl leaned forward and said softly, "It's alright mate. Nothing's going to happen to you. I won't let it. I won't let anything happen to the one I love."
Pieter's head snapped up as he turned around to look at Carl's face. "Wh what did you say?" Pieter asked stunned.
Carl smiled at him again and said, "I won't let anything happen to the one I love."
It was then that Pieter's head dropped as he said, "You don't want to love a schwule. That's why I can't ever sing again."
Now I was confused. I looked at Pieter and said, "What does singing have to do with being gay?"
He took another mouthful of his drink and said, "It's what my father said. He said if I were to ever sing again, Klaus would die. He said as soon as I sang my first note he would be struck dead."
I had my answer but it was nonsense. I turned Pieter around and said, "If you sing here, how is your father going to know? Did he say he would kill Klaus?"
Gertrude came around and took his hand and said, "Your father was an evil man. He beat you because he didn't understand a thing about you. He could never see the love and goodness in you and in your heart but you saw that in Klaus. Now he tells you that Klaus will die if you sing. Only God and the angels know when it's time for someone to die. Not your father."
"I don't know," he said trying to make sense of what we're saying. "I want to believe you all but I don't want Klaus to die. I can't risk it Mom."
Pieter looked exhausted from telling his tale of woe. She looked at Carl and said, "Can you take Pieter down to his room? He needs a rest and it looks like you could use one yourself."
Carl helped Pieter to his feet and together they headed to Pieter's room. I looked at Gertrude and said, "How can we get him to believe his father's ranting is nothing but rubbish?"
We sat there for several minutes trying to come up with some way to prove to Pieter nothing would happen to Klaus if he were to sing again. I was pleased with the developments and what we'd learned but now I was feeling a little down at the possibility that Pieter would no longer come to my music class in the afternoons. She looked up at me and said, "I think they look good together. He makes my Pieter laugh and smile again. I can see that my boy cares for him too."
I looked at her and said, "Have you thought of sending Pieter to a private school?"
She looked up at me and said, "I know he would get a lot out of it and he makes very good grades but I can not afford it."
I thought for a few minutes then said, "I think there might be a way he can come at no cost to you. Each year we offer scholarships to students who are outstanding in one or more subjects. This year there wasn't one given for music. We're not that far along that I don't see a problem with Pieter transferring to St. Josephs. If I could get him a scholarship, would you let him attend? He gets along well with a few of the boys in my afternoon music class and Carl is there also."
"If Pieter wants to go there then it is fine with me," she said smiling.
I noticed it was almost time for tea. I got Carl and said I would talk with the Headmaster in the morning. I told her to get copies of Pieter's records in case they wanted to see them but I really didn't think there would be a problem.
The next day I was in the Headmaster's office bright and early. I handed him a scholarship application on Pieter and he said, "It's rather late to award this don't you think?"
I just looked at him and said, "It's never too late to see a boy gets a proper education."
The Head asked when would he get to meet Pieter and I told him he would be in my room this afternoon before my choir rehearsal. I was glad Pieter was there for the rehearsals because little did he know but he was now a member. I needed to see if I had a robe that would fit him so after my last class I went looking for one. I finally found one in the last box of extra robes.
I was heading back to my class when I heard someone playing the piano. I quietly opened the door and I was shocked who I saw playing. I eased inside and listed to a beautiful rendition of Beethoven's 9th being played by my Pieter. I walked into the room as quietly as I could while I listened to him play. As I got closer I could see Pieter's eyes closed as his fingers seemed to drift over the keys like magic. I was lost in his sea of music when I heard the door to the classroom close again. Pieter stopped playing and my eyes shot open as the music stopped. I saw the Head coming over and he said, "I see why you gave the scholarship to this young man. He is truly worthy of it."
I hadn't had the chance to tell him yet but Pieter seemed to grasp some of what the head was saying. I smiled and said, "Pieter, this is The Headmaster Mr. Reasoner. Sir, this is Pieter Stoltz."
The Head shook Pieter's hand then said, "Carry on gentlemen."
The man left my room as Pieter said, "Am I coming to school here?"
I smiled at him and said, "Yes Pieter you are. I know hidden in that body of yours is a wonderful gift. You totally surprised me today with another that I didn't know you have. My hope is that one day you will let your voice ring out in song again."
He thought about it then looked at the keys and started plinking. I eased over beside him and he said, "I want to sing but I won't let anything happen to Klaus."
I could understand his dilemma but I knew he was wrong about something happening to Klaus. I was still thinking when the boys started coming into the room. Pieter started looking for Carl but he snuck in through the other door and put his hands on his shoulders. Pieter lifted his head up and saw Carl standing there with a smile on his face. "How'd you get in here?" He said smiling. "I was looking over there for you."
"I'm sneaky love," he said giggling.
I patted Carl on his back and motioned him to his seat. I decided that I would introduce Pieter as our newest choir boy. I stood up from the piano and extended my hand to Pieter. I led him out from around it then said, "Alright boys, listen up. I know you've seen this young man here before. He was here last week with me and his name is Pieter Stoltz. Pieter is our newest choir member. He starts classes here at St. Josephs tomorrow."
The boys started coming down from their seats to greet him. I stepped back and watched as they all came up to him and shook his hand and talked with him briefly. As they started returning to their seats one boy stopped and raised his hand. I waited for everyone to take their places then said, "Yes Raymond."
"Sir, does Pieter have a school uniform yet?" he asked.
"No Raymond," I started. "He doesn't have one yet."
I was about to continue when he said, "Well Sir, I have a jumper that's still good but it's too small for me. He's welcome to it if he'd like."
All the boys started offering to help him and I said, "Ok boys, hang on now. Pieter how does that sound?"
"I don't know what to say," he said slightly choked up.
I put my arm around him and said, "I think you boys have made a truly wonderful gesture here to Pieter. Talk with your parents and bring what you have that is too small for you with you tomorrow. You can put it in the music room and Pieter can try it on after classes. Would any one happen to have a blazer?"
Carl was the first to raise his hand. "Sir, I have two that don't fit and they're both like new. I also have a pair of trousers I'm sure he can wear."
"Thank you boys very much for your generosity," I said. "Now let's get to work.
I pulled out a set of music and handed it to Pieter. He looked at me funny so I said, "If you're not going to sing then you can play."
We had a good rehearsal and before we knew it we'd gone over time by fifteen minutes. All the boys said good bye to Pieter when they left and Carl said, "Can you give us a ride to my house so I can get Pieter his things?"
The Head knew I was working with Pieter so I said, "Alright Carl, let's go. It took about 5 minutes to get to his house and he invited us in while he talked with him mum then ran up to his room. "Pieter, come up here will you?" A voice called down from upstairs.
A few minutes later I saw a little angel decked out in a St. Josephs' blazer, shirt and tie. "Don't you look sharp?" I asked smiling at him.
He blushed and said, "I feel funny Herr Joest."
"It will take a few days to adjust to wearing a tie son," I said rubbing his hair. "It's Sir now, Pieter."
Mrs. Phillips came down with the other blazer, a jumper and two more trousers for him. Pieter went back upstairs and got out of his uniform and put his other clothes on.
When the boys came down stairs Pieter looked at Mrs. Phillips and said, "Thank you very much for these."
She leaned down and kissed him on the head and said, "You're very welcome Pieter. Come back any time."
It was almost tea time so I hustled Pieter home where Gertrude had a hot cup waiting for me. When we walked in she saw Pieter carrying clothes and she said, "What's this you have son?"
"Carl gave them to me," he said smiling. "School uniforms but they feel a little weird."
Pieter took his clothes to his room when Gertrude said, "I don't know what to say Herr Joest."
I looked at her and said, "You should have seen him this afternoon. He was out of his shell and all the boys in the choir made him feel welcomed. Don't be surprised if he has a few more things tomorrow. The boys all want to give Pieter uniforms because they want to help him."
Over the next weeks Pieter became like a new boy. He was an excellent student and made friends quickly. He and Carl were inseparable in choir and after school. The concert was getting closer but still he wouldn't sing.
Pieter was in my morning music class and I used him as a pianist. I convinced him to hum the notes to the songs he was playing so he could keep his voice in shape. I was hoping he would get brave and hum loud enough where I could hear him but he wouldn't.
Two weeks before the concert I went to talk with Gertrude while Pieter was spending the night with Carl. I was sitting at the table with her and I said, "I don't know what to try now to get him to sing. I've had him humming the pieces hoping that would work but nothing."
She was sitting there silent and I could see she was deep in thought. I sat there silently then she looked at me and said, "I have one idea. I don't know if I can do it so I won't say anything now. If my idea works, I think he'll be singing at the concert. Can you bear with him until then?"
I've stood by Pieter this long so I'm not about to turn my back on him. "I'll stay with him for as long as it takes," I said looking her in the eyes. "I'm not leaving the school and I sure don't want to stop seeing him either."
The concert was getting closer day by day; I was rehearsing the boys 90 minutes a day and I had a two hour dress rehearsal on Saturday. The concert was scheduled for the last day of classes before the start of the Christmas holidays.
The day of the concert, classes ended at 2:00 and I wanted the boys to go home and rest before it began. The concert started at 8:00 and the boys were due back at the school by 6:00.
I was sitting at my desk going over last minute plans when the phone rang. I answered it and Gertrude was on the other end. I sat there and listened intently. "I will talk with Carl when he gets here tonight," I said. "What was their favorite song to do together?"
"O Holy Night," she said. "Why?"
I explained what I had in mind. "I have a few things left to finish before the concert. I'll see you tonight."
I had another student slated to play the piano and I was going to have Pieter in a robe with the rest of the boys. Pieter arrived with Carl and when I saw him I called him into the music room. I sat him down and said, "I'm not having you play this evening son."
Pieter looked up at me and said, "Why not Sir? Have I done something wrong?"
I smiled at him and said, "No son, not at all. You're a member of the Performing Choir and this is one of our biggest concerts. I want you in a robe with the other boys. You've earned that right."
"But Sir, they are singing," he said.
"I know son," I said smiling. "But you've earned the right to be there with them too and that's where I would like you to be tonight, alright?"
"Alright Sir," he said.
I handed Pieter his robe and he went and joined the others and got changed. I had the boys come out and take their places and then I put Pieter in his place with the other first sopranos. The first two places on the front row is where I usually put the soloists so they could easily step up to their microphone. Pieter was so short that I had to do some adjusting so he could see and be seen so I had him to their left.
I adjusted the altos so Carl was standing behind Pieter in case he started singing. I looked at my watch and we had an hour before the doors were due to open.
I wanted to go over two pieces then let the boys go to the music room and rest. The first piece we went over was O Come All Ye Faithful. I had to remind them not to slow down when they were singing without the accompaniment. The next piece we went over was Ave Maria. I had been working with them on two versions. They knew the Latin version pretty well so I decided to have them learn the song in German. It took some work but their diction got much better so after hearing them run through it, I decided to go with the German version.
I had the boys go back to the music room and just relax. As the boys relaxed I had them get their music folders out and I went over the order of the program. I did this every time just to be sure they had their music in the proper order so we could move easily from one song to the next. I got their attention and said, "Listen up guys, here is the order of songs, Silent Night, Carol of the Bells, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Angus Dei and Ave Verum Corpus. We will take a short 15 minute break so you guys can use the bathroom and rest and get some water. I don't want you getting dehydrated on stage and passing out. When we go back for the second half we will be doing a family sing along with the audience then O Holy Night followed by Ave Maria. The finale will be O Come All Ye Faithful. Every year they audience wants us to do one more song so we will do Joy to the World. Does everyone have their music in order now?"
I heard "Yes Sir" from everyone. Carl was sitting by Pieter softly talking with him and I was seeing Pieter smile. I knew he was nervous and frankly so was I.
I looked at the clock and it was 7:50. I stood up and moved towards the door. The boys saw this and they quietly got up and headed for the stage. I was using the string section from our orchestra for two pieces. They were setting up tuning their instruments as the boys were taking their places.
The curtain was closed and I saw the lights in the auditorium were still on. Once the boys were in place I nodded my head for the lights to be dimmed and the curtain to be raised.
When the curtain was up I stepped forward to the microphone and said, "Merry Christmas. Welcome to St. Josephs annual Christmas Concert. I would like to welcome the parents of our new choir members. I've had the chance to meet a few of you and I look forward to meeting those I haven't. So, without further a do, I now present The St. Joseph's Boys School Performing Choir."
A second curtain opened and the audience could now see the choir. We did our first three songs one after the other but waiting for the audience's applause to stop before starting the next piece. I stepped back up to the microphone and announced the next two numbers. I said, "Thank you, thank you for your applause. The next two numbers were written by Wolfgang Mozart and are from his Requiem Mass. They are Angus Dei and Ave Verum Corpus."
The orchestra started playing and on cue the boys started singing. I could see Pieter following the music and I could also tell he was humming along with the sopranos and not missing a beat. When the second number was finished the curtain closed. The boys set their folders on their spots and headed for the bathrooms. I saw Pieter and Carl come out of the loo and he looked up at me and just smiled. "How are you doing little one?" I asked returning his smile.
"Fine Sir," he said. "I'm having a good time."
I was pleased that he was enjoying himself. I turned and Sammy was standing there rubbing his throat. "Sir, my throat is getting real scratchy. I don't know if I can do Ave Maria."
This was his only solo of the evening so I said, "Alright Sammy, don't worry about singing on the sing along or O Holy Night. If you rest it, do you think you can do Ave Maria?"
"I'll really try Sir," he said.
I got the boys heading back on stage and now it was time for the rest of the concert. The audience was talking quietly then the lights were dimmed letting them know we were ready to begin. The curtain opened and I went back to the microphone. I smiled and said, "Now is the time we all love here and that is the audience participation. The songs are there in your programs so please sing with your choir."
Once the sing along was finished we went into our next song, O Holy Night. Joey and Carl took their places then the organ started the introduction and the choir started singing as Klaus started singing and walking down the center isle. About half through the second line Pieter saw him and immediately started singing.
Klaus continued on the stage as Sammy nudged Pieter to join him. Joey and Carl stepped back and I had the organist continue playing while I directed the choir to stop so Klaus and Pieter could do the second verse as a duet. Both boys had huge smiles on their faces as they sang together like old times. Klaus joined us for the rest of the performance.
The audience applauded and when I went to go to the microphone to announce the next number I saw Sammy rubbing his throat and shaking his head no, telling me he couldn't do his solo. I had to think quickly so I motioned to Pieter.
He looked at me and started shaking his head no. Klaus saw this and gently put his hand on Pieter's shoulder as I stepped over to them and said, "Are you alright now, Pieter? Do you think you can continue?"
As he felt Klaus' hand his confidence returned then he nodded his head saying, "I think so Sir."
I turned and went to the microphone and said, "Our next song is one you all know. It's done on many occasions and it's one of my personal favorites. It's not normally done this time of the year but it gives the boys a chance to learn a song they know in a different language. Our soloist for this song was Sammy King but a sore throat has kept him from performing it. In his place will be a first year chorister Pieter Stoltz. The song is Ave Maria."
Pieter stepped forward and sang his heart out for everyone there. I was in awe of this boy's voice. His mother was correct when she said he had the voice of an angel. The feeling he put into the words had me almost in tears. The chorus did the second verse and Pieter had the last verse solo again. I didn't have to conduct him nor did I want to. When the song ended the place erupted in applause. After a few seconds everyone was standing as they applauded him for his effort.
I let them clap for a few minutes then I turned around and asked for quiet. I announced our final song on the evening and made a point of saying it in such a way they knew there would not be a curtain call tonight. When Pieter took his place with the choir Carl was beaming with pride.
I moved to the organ and played the introduction to O Come All Ye Faithful. The boys all put their hearts into that song. They sounded like I've never heard them before. As I played the chorus for the third verse I saw Pieter smile and nod his head to me so I played the final line one more time and seven boys jumped a full octave on the final "Lord."
The audience stood and applauded the boys for their hard work. During the applause I turned and smiled to the boys then motioned for them all to take a bow and that brought on more applause. I stepped back to the microphone and said, "Thank you ladies and gentleman for coming out tonight to see our Performing Choir. Please drive safely and have a very Merry Christmas."
I stepped back so the curtain could be lowered when Pieter jumped into my arms crying. "How did you do it Herr Joest?
I set him down on his feet and said, "I didn't do it son, your mother did."
He looked at Klaus and they immediately hugged each other. Pieter broke the hug and said, "Klaus, this is my best friend Carl. Carl, this is Klaus. He's my best friend too. This is Herr Joest. Herr Joest, this is Klaus Shultz."
"Nice to meet you Klaus," I said smiling. "Why don't you three go over there and talk for a few minutes?"
"Nice to meet you," Carl said as they headed for the risers. "Pieter's told me a lot about you."
The three boys went over to the risers and sat down. Pieter and Klaus started talking catching up on some of their past. I stepped through the curtain and saw Gertrude with Carl's parents and a woman I presumed to be Klaus' mother standing together talking. I walked over to them and said, "Your boys are still on stage."
They followed me through the curtain and saw all three boys hugging and crying together. I let them talk for several more minutes then I had to check on the boys in the back. I took everyone with me so Pieter and Carl could hang up their robes. As soon as the boys saw Pieter they surrounded him saying, "Pieter, Pieter, Pieter."
I looked at Sammy and said, "Sore throat, huh?"
He looked up at me and smiled then giggled and whispered, "Carl told me."
Sammy was one of the boys I saw do the descant on the final 'Lord.' He looked around and then said, "When I heard Pieter sing, I knew he could sing that better than me. His German is so much better than mine."
Pieter heard this and said, "Sammy you gave up your solo?"
"Yeah," Sammy said. "I've done Ave Maria before. I normally do it in Latin and I wanted to hear you sing it in German. I really loved the duet you guys did. You were wicked mate."
The parents started making their way to the music room and getting their boys so they could go home. The Shultz's and the Stoltz's and I were invited over to the Phillips' for tea and some light refreshments. I saw Pieter with his mum and I walked over and wrapped my arms around both her and Pieter. "Nice plan," I whispered in Gertrude's ear.
"I'm just glad they were able to come on such short notice," she replied.
I left and joined in the caravan to the Phillips' house and had a wonderful time watching the three boys together. Pieter was a little sad when Mrs. Shultz said they could only be there for two days. Carl looked up and said, "Pieter, how about you and me show Klaus around town tomorrow?"
I could see Klaus quickly look over to his mother but she just smiled and nodded her head in approval. Just then Pieter looked at his Mum and said, "Can Carl spend the night?"
Gertrude looked at him and said, "Son, you have company."
"I know Mom," he said. "But Klaus is only going to be here for two days and I would like Carl to have the chance to get to know him too. Please?"
Gertrude looked over to Mrs. Phillips and she nodded her head in approval. "Alright son," Gertrude said. "Carl can spend the night."
"Thanks Mom," Pieter said running over to give her a hug.
I was getting sleepy so I said my good nights and stood up to leave. Before I could move Pieter jumped up into my arms. "Thank you Sir," he said hugging me tightly. "I can't thank you enough for everything."
"You're welcome Pieter," I said. "But I didn't do it."
"I know," he said. "Mom told me what she did but you didn't give up on me. You got me into St. Josephs and now I have friends and maybe even a boyfriend."
I kissed him on the head then set him down. I knelt down to him and said, "Friends don't give up on friends. I told you I knew you had a talent waiting to get out and tonight it did. You just needed your confidence back so it could."
I gave Carl and Klaus hugs then went home to bed. Up in Pieter's room the boys were still talking and Klaus said, "Pieter, I don't know if you ever knew what happened after I got home that day."
"No Klaus, I didn't," Pieter said sadly.
Klaus looked at Carl, then Pieter and said, "The day your father caught us hugging and threw me to the floor, I went home devastated. Then when you moved to England I had all but given up too. I also stopped singing and refused to sing again. My mother would sit and talk with me about the time we had together and finally I admitted to her that I loved you. She looked at me and said it wasn't at all unusual for boys to have feelings for other boys. She also told me that she still loved me and always would. After that, I was finally able to return to singing. Just before I came to visit, I finally met someone who cares deeply for me and I hope to continue seeing him."
"I'm so happy you found someone Klaus," Pieter said. "You see, I have someone too. I really care a lot for Carl. I was wondering how I was going to tell you."
"I sort of thought so," Klaus said smiling. "You guys look at each other the way Dietrich and I look at each other."
I didn't see much of Pieter and Carl until after Christmas. I went around and delivered small gifts to all the boys in the choir as my way of saying thanks for all their hard work over the past 3 months. My next stop was Pieter's house and as I expected Carl was there.
When Gertrude let me in I saw the boys were cuddled close on the couch. When they saw me I had my usual greeting of two gigantic hugs. I was pulled over to the couch so I sat down then Pieter started telling me about his visit with Klaus.
Carl looked at me and said, "Sir, I have great news. I told my parents how I feel towards Pieter. They said they weren't surprised."
"I'm very happy for you son," I said. "You remember what I told you, don't you?"
He nodded his head then leaned over to hug me. Carl turned and looked at Pieter and said, "Pieter, you are a great friend and I love you more than I can say. Would you be my boyfriend?"
Pieter leaped across my lap and jumped into his arms. I thought I heard Pieter say something but all I saw were tears of happiness streaming down his face. I rubbed the crying boy's back as he got his emotions under control. Pieter sat up and said, "Carl, I love you with all my heart. Yes, I would love to be your boyfriend."
I didn't see much of the love birds over the remainder of the holidays. When classes resumed the Performing Chorus started work on their Spring Concert and everyone there was pleased that they could again hear our littlest angel.