Let Go. And Letting Go. Part Two

By Tom Nussbaum
Previously, high school Spanish teacher Nico Meyers was fired from a conservative Idaho school district. He relocated to Puerto Vallarta, near his mother’s home.

“Nicolás,” she often told him, “you have to go to Puerto Vallarta. I only went once as a child, but, oh, the freedom I felt running on its vast beaches and gazing at the enormous bay.” She sighed.

“I knew then I would leave my small town as soon as I could.”

Nico arrived in Puerto Vallarta in the middle of summer’s wettest, most humid months. While he had known the city attracted many members of the LGBTQ+ communities, he was surprised to learn how many. It distracted him for a while.

But once settled, he developed English classes for locals. Word got out, and his program grew into a thriving business.

Twelve years later, while Nico was sipping his Sunday morning coffee along the Malecón, scrolling and texting on his cellphone, he noticed a well-built,abundantly-inked man in a tank top surreptitiously eying him from a nearby table.

“Dude, leave me alone,” Nico thought. “I’m not looking for a one-night stand with a tourist.”

But the man persisted, his glances darting to and past Nico with nervousness. Nico shifted in his seat, facing away from the man, hoping to discourage him.

Moments later, a trembling, deep voice whispered near his ear, “Excuse me. Are you Mr. Meyers?”

Puzzled because no one in Puerto Vallarta called him Mr. Meyers, not even his English class students, he turned toward the voice, “Yes. I’m Nico Meyers.”

“Oh, my god, it is you.” A beat followed. “I’m so sorry. I’m so so… I’ve waited twelve years to apolo…” but his last word got cut off, drowning in a shaky swallow.

“Who are you?” Nico asked with suspicion, sudden memories of Idaho rising from his subconscious.

“I didn’t mean for you to lose your…”

“Are you the kid who reported me, who ratted me…?”

“No, Mr. Meyers. But I might as well be. I’m so sorry.”

It was then Nico noticed the tears in the mystery man’s eyes. “Well, who are you then?”

“Derrick Ramsey. But you wouldn’t know me. I didn’t take Spanish.”

“I’m confused, Derrick. Why are you, and not him, apologizing to me?”

“I was a junior. Ms. Gebhart sent me to your classroom to deliver a book. But no one was there. Then I saw your class through the window. You were outside on the field. It was a really beautiful day. So, I laid the book on your desk.”

Derrick rattled off his long-held tale with urgency and guilt. “But instead of leaving, I started to look around your room, at the stuff on the walls, on your desk, and I saw your closet. I don’t know why I did it, Mr. Meyers, but I looked inside.”

“Call me Nico.”

“And I saw that rainbow flag decal on the back of the door. And my heart began to race, and I knew I had to take Spanish the next year to get closer to you. And I knew I had to keep my mouth shut. But I didn’t.” Derrick took a breath. “Oh, god, I’m so sorry, Mr. Meyers.”


“And that afternoon, after baseball practice, as my bestie Mason Johnson was driving me home, I asked him, ‘Did you know that your Spanish teacher has a gay flag in his classroom?'”

Nico sat upright. “Oh. So, it was Mason Johnson.”

“But I shouldn’t have said anything. I fucked up big time, Mr.…Nico.” He smiled self-consciously. “I was just so excited to discover that I wasn’t the only … and I knew I had to take Spanish.”

“Why did you even think telling Mason was wise or safe? At that school.”

“Because he was always raging about his parents, how old-school they were, and how he hated the crap he heard at their church.” Derrick shook his head. “I shouldn’t have trusted that bastard.” Derrick’s demeanor changed. “But you know what?” He leaked a rushed chuckle. “By the end of the next year, Mason and that new Spanish teacher were having sex in her classroom. And she got fired, and he lost a baseball scholarship to Brigham Young University.”

Nico smiled. “Interesting. Wasn’t she related somehow to the district superintendent?”

“Niece. You think your rainbow flag was a scandal? That was a scandal.”

Derrick peered at Nico. “Again, I am so sorry. I have thought about this for twelve years, hoping I would find you one day.”

“I’m sorry you had to go through that, Derrick. But you didn’t need to…yeah, you had a role in my getting fired, but I was going to quit at the end of the next year anyway.”

Derrick smiled with relief. “Who knew I would find you in Puerto Vallarta?” He paused. A quizzical look crossed the table. “Why are you here anyway, Mr. Meyers? I mean Nico? Are you visiting?”

“I teach English to locals. “Why are you here?”

“Vacation. Working vacay. Tech work.” His eyes flashed with an unexpected thought. “Or that’s what I…” Derrick tilted his head. “Maybe I was supposed to come here to find you.”

“Maybe.” Nico exhaled. Unaware they’d been tight, his shoulders relaxed and lowered for the first time in twelve years. “So, what’s next?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” Derrick answered. “Maybe you could teach me some… Spanish?”



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