As it turned out, I was in a health class with all newbies. All the kids were new to the school and had just moved in, so I didn't feel awkward about it at all. Coach Vester was the teacher and he was definitely your typical swimmer. He told us everything about himself. He said that he was a professional swimmer and that was his passion but he loved teaching health to kids because it was important to be in pique physical condition to swim or do anything in life. He was 5'3, 120 pounds with smooth bronze skin. He said he was originally from Spain, and you could tell by his accent that he was definitely foreign. He told us a lot about himself. He said he was not married but was committed to someone at the school and that he was "completely devoted to this school and the students." To top it all off, he told us that he too used to be a student here before he left and swam professionally. Then, he said, "I came right back so I could teach everything I learned from here to the new generation, which is you." His accent was intoxicating yet he was almost as small as us, which was odd.
When we had to choose our semester partners, I immediately sat next to Todd. He was gleaming with excitement knowing that he had a friend. When Coach Vester talked about the class, Todd and I exchanged uncomfortable smiles.
"This class is about you. As young boys, your bodies are changing and there are many things you will be discovering about yourselves and your sexuality. In this class, we will learn all of these things together and you will do projects where you experiment with the things you've learned."
Then, as each and every boy in the room looked bashfully down toward the floor, Coach Vester quickly unzipped his shorts and pulled out his penis. "This, boys, is my penis." We all stared, jaws dropped, mesmerized. It was smooth and uncut and it hung well below where the inseam in his shorts began. Tucking his penis back into his pants, he moved around the room and locked eyes with each and every one of us.
"In this class you are going to have to forget about being shy!" he looked at the front row. "You're going to have to be willing to explore your own bodies." He zigzagged and stared down the second row. "You're going to have to examine my body," he stared us down in the third row. Then, as he weaved around back to the front of the room, he said: "You're going to have to be willing to explore your partner's body."
Todd and I looked at each other. It was hard to make eye contact, but I forced myself because I wanted to make sure he didn't feel awkward. Then, as I stared at him in that moment that I realized we would be touching each other and looking at each other naked, I saw in him something beautiful. Behind his glasses and blonde complexion, there were these innocent, round eyes, a tiny point nose, and thick, pouty lips.
The first exercise we did in class was to stare at ourselves in the mirror and write about what we saw. Coach Vester said we had to use descriptive words and describe our faces so well that he could tell it was ours without reading the name on the paper. I took the mirror and stared at my reflection. I had always saw myself as the average boy, but when I had to start talking about how my shaggy mousy brown hair hung over my eyes, how my eyes were slanted upward towards my triangular eyebrows, how my nose was pudgy and short, and how my lips were thin like paper and blended into my complexion, I found that there were many unique things about me. I suppose that was the point of the lesson.
Coach Vester helped me improve my descriptions by making me add that I had a soft jawline and a tiny dimple in my right cheek but he said it was only the beginning of our writing piece. "By class on Friday," he said, "you will have described your entire body. That means from the hairs on your head to the toes on your feet."
I was nervous about the assignment so I talked to Todd at lunch. "What do you think about health class?" Todd was, of course, preoccupied reading the rest of his Harry Potter book and shoving spaghetti in his mouth.
"I think it's cool, I guess." He paused and looked up at me. I could tell he was sizing me up. He didn't want to tell me his reaction any more than I did.
"I mean..." I started, taking a bite of spaghetti, "I'm glad you're my partner." I keep my gaze on the plate before me.
"Really?" He smiled shyly.
That evening was the first time that Randy slept in the same bed as me. For the first few days, he tried to give me my space by sleeping on the pull out sofa in the common room of the suite, but tonight, he made no bones about it as he came out of the shower and pulled a fresh pair of underwear out of the drawer. I was lying in bed reading the first few lines of the book Mr. Thatcher gave me over and over again, trying to not stare at Randy drying off and dressing. In my head, I had memorized the first few sentences: "In the summer of 1951 I was a virgin. By the end of that summer, I was not. Summer camp gave me much more than a sun tan."
Randy turned off the TV and grabbed the book from my hand. He pulled on his pajamas and landed himself on the bed facing me, his legs crossed over each other and he held out his palm for a high five.
"Come on, Nick. Let's talk." He smiled and my heart melted. I tried to not imagine his penis underneath the plaid print of his baggy PJs, so I tried focusing only on his voice. Oh, but that, I thought, was even worse because his voice was deep yet animated, which also seemed to arouse me.
"Okay. What do we talk about?"
"Well, first off. How was your day today?" He grabbed both my hands and held them in his. My body shivered.
"It was good." I felt unsure of what to say. I was feeling all these things and I was wondering all these other things, but I wasn't going to dare say anything to anyone – what if I was wrong? What if Randy would hate me for feeling this way?
"Okay...how about this? We'll play a game." I shook my head in agreement. "I ask you a question and you have to answer it honestly. Then, you get to ask me a question and I have to answer it honestly. Okay?" I shook my head again. "There are only two rules, okay? Number one: you have to be honest. Number two: you have to be accepting. Alright?"
"Sure. Let's play!"
"Okay," Randy began, "my first question is: do you like it here?"
"Well, honestly? Yes, I do but I feel a little weird too."
"Okay," Randy said, smiling. "That's a fair answer. Your turn."
I had a hard time thinking of a question, so I looked down at my book. "Have you read this book?"
"I have. It's a very good book about a boy growing up and learning to love someone." He paused. "Okay, my turn again." He took a breath and leaned in closer. "Remember – honest answers only. Do you like looking at my body?"
I felt flustered. I tried to think of a way around answering, but I couldn't because Randy was staring me down with this geeky smirk on his face that told me I couldn't lie and that he'd know if I did. I shook my head in the affirmative. He gleamed and put his hands on my shoulders. "It's okay. I told you that you don't have to feel ashamed, remember?" I shook my head again.
"Randy," I started. "Do you like being my mentor?"
"Of course I do!" Randy smiled again, his hands still sitting gently on my shoulders.
"Ah!" He said, "That's another question. First, you have to answer another of mine." We both giggled. "Do you like having me as your mentor?"
"Yeah," I said. "I really do. You're cool."
"Okay," he said, "now I will answer your question. I like being your mentor because I think you are the sweetest, cutest boy and I am excited to help you grow into a man." Now Randy was massaging my shoulders a little, sending shivers throughout my entire body. "Now, you tell me this – why do you hide from me when you dress?"
"I don't know," I said.
"Honest answers only!" He scolded me but it didn't seem as much like a scolding as a gentle correction.
"I feel embarrassed."
"Okay. Fair enough. Would you do me a favor and try to not feel embarrassed around me? I would like to look at you the same way you look at me. We are all so special and our bodies are beautiful. We should share that with others and let them get pleasure from our bodies."
"My turn!" I tried to change the subject because at that moment, I could feel my penis growing through my PJs and I wanted to make it go away."
"Where are you from?" I tried to change the subject to something really different to distract my body from reacting the way it was.
"I'm from here. I started school here when I was thirteen and I have been here ever since. I have had the opportunity to know many boys and see them grow into men and I have gotten so much pleasure from pleasuring them."
It was at that point that I realized where this conversation was going. My erection did not subside; instead, it grew more to the point where Randy could see it. Randy looked down at it and smiled slyly.
"Look, Nick," he began, as his hands softly caressed my arms, "I know you aren't ready for that." I could feel his breath against my skin and it gave me goose bumps, but I wasn't afraid or weirded-out. I was calmed and even more aroused. "You have a lot more to learn about your own body and interests before we become intimate. That's what your health class is for." His fingers brushed through my hair, "but I sure am looking forward to it."
Then, Randy stood up and adjusted his own erection before he asked one more question. "Nick, do you feel truly comfortable with me?" I looked up and gazed in Randy's eyes and knew in my heart that I was. There was something about feeling loved by him, something I hadn't felt since my mother was alive that caused me to nod in agreement. Then, Randy turned out the light and tucked me into bed before crawling in next to me and giving me a gentle kiss on the cheek.