Dr. Cody's Office

         You would have thought that Dr. Cody had been hoping and praying that I would get it by the smile on his face when I arrived to his elective class. I wondered how I got in, but Randy told me that Dr. Cody usually has older students taking his class and he wanted to open it up to some younger kids. Basically, the class took place in his office with three other boys. Jake was 17 and was Dr. Cody's intern, so he was above me. Wesley was 15 and just started the class too.

         The first lesson was about how the office ran. Dr. Cody took us around on a tour letting us meet the staff of the office. Of course, I met Dr. Dickson, the director of Prosperity. This time, he seemed nicer than before, but I soon realized just how similar Todd's face was to his father. That soft, skinny look was just as much a part of his dad as it was Todd. It almost made the mean director seem somewhat attractive in my eyes, but then again, I was probably only seeing the sweet, innocent boy I met in the woods a week ago.

         "Jake is my intern," Dr. Cody said, so he will be showing you the ropes. I will be working with you also, but Jake will spend most of his time teaching you the ins and outs of the clinic and the screening processes.

         Jake didn't seem very happy to have me in the group. I didn't realize it then, but I think he was concerned about my age. Dr. Cody, on the other hand, thought I was going to be a regular "chip off the old block," as he put it. I wasn't sure myself. I mean, after all, I only signed up for the class because I knew Dr. Cody and thought he was sweet.

         The things I learned about the clinic illuminated a lot of things to me about the school. First of all, Jake put me in charge of the paper work. Basically, I had to alphabetize everything and file it in the correct drawers. The problem was, though, that it was the only task Jake gave to me. Instead, he took the other boy to learn how to practice checking patients in and out.

         There were folders for every kid in the school. The charts had a lot of personal information about them and their histories. One form looked like something that was completed by a parent that required a reason for checking the child into the school. One box was "Rehabilitation," another was "Socialization," yet another was, "Career Opportunity." The one that drew the most attention to me was "Psychosexual Development." I suppose the reason that one drew the most attention to me was that for one it had the word "sex" in it.

         Once I got through the folders of the new students, I began sorting and alphabetizing the folders for the students who were veterans to the school. Each folder has a series of nude pictures, one from each semester they had been enrolled. It was interesting to look at some of them because, first of all I was finding it titillating but also because you could see how much they grew from 12-year-olds to 18-year-olds, which many had.

         My cousin Alex's folder had a lot of information in it. I couldn't bring myself to look at his photos, though I wanted to. Instead, I read his chart. Apparently, he had physicals every month because he had a condition called "enlarged prostate." I wasn't sure what that was. I was immediately worried because, at that point, I thought "prostate" was "pancreas" and I knew that was bad. But as I kept reading, I realized that Dr. Cody was seeing him monthly to do check ups and exercise the prostate, which I didn't understand. How could he have done that when your pancreas is in your stomach?

         I saw an excess of folders. Some were on kids who had hurt other kids or gotten arrested for crimes and some were psychological reports about kids who had fantasized about having sex with their fathers. I was so confused about it, but when I found my own, I hesitated. I sat there, most of the files sorted and some even filed away, looking at the manila folder with the label that read "Manheim, Nicholas" and wondered if I wanted to read what my father had written. The paperwork that was involved in each of the folders was extensive – parents basically signed their parental rights away to the school and wrote essays about why they were doing so.

         When I finally got up the courage to look at it, my heart sunk with deep emotion. In essence, my father had written that he wanted me to be there for psychosexual development and that he was giving me up to the school because he couldn't handle me on his own without my mother. Tears welled up right when Jake walked in. I shoved my folder underneath my butt quickly so he didn't see, but he could see the tears in my eyes.

         "Are you finished?" He paused and looked at me concerned.

         "Yeah. I'm all done." My sniffles gave it all away.

         "What's wrong?" He walked over to me and knelt down on my seated level, looking into my eyes. He was another young guy who came across as very powerful and confident. He had light brown eyes with hazel light streaks, big bushy eyebrows, and especially reddish lips.

         "I'm fine. Just allergies, I guess." I wiped my eyes and looked over at him.

         "I'm sorry." He drooped his head down to the floor as he placed his hand in mine. "I've been harsh on you. I just was concerned that you are too young to deal with everything we deal with here."

         "I am!" I wanted out at that moment. Immediately. I would have taken any open elective class, even if that meant working with the animals in agriculture. At that point, I didn't care.

         Shocked, Jake stood up and opened the file drawers. He saw how I had sorted them by age and perfectly alphabetized them by last name. Then, he walked back over to me. "Listen, sport. I'm not letting you off the hook. If you can do this good a job on folders, you can do anything. Hell, you may just be assisting with physical exams and drug tests before you know it.

         He wanted a smile, so I gave him one but inside I wished I had never read my file. My father gave me up so strangers would love me like he couldn't. How would any kid feel about that?

         When I got back to the suite I saw Randy lying in his white briefs, arms stretched out with his dark armpit hair sticking up toward the ceiling watching one of the medical dramas on TV. I didn't pay much attention. Instead, I just walked in and nodded to him as I shed my clothes piece by piece and headed into the shower. I could feel Randy eyeing me, as I am sure he was surprised I undressed in front of him. When I showered, I didn't even close the bathroom door or completely close the curtain. I could see him lying in bed glancing over at me from time to time through the mirror and the crack in the curtain. If there was any time, now was the time I wanted him to love me.

         "What's going on?" Randy stood in his underwear, his penis was unusually flaccid, and he stared me down with his muscle-toned arms crossed.

         "Nothing's wrong." I said, lying. I stepped out of the shower and shamelessly dried off as the bulge in Randy's underwear began to grow. I wanted him to get excited, I wanted him to touch me. I felt like this completely different person. "Don't lie, Nick!"

         "Nothing's wrong. I'm just not so shy any more." I walked over to him, naked, and lightly touched his thigh. "I guess I just realized how badly I want all those things we talked about."

         "No!" Randy walked away from me and got dressed in his nightclothes in the bedroom. Then, he plopped down on the bed, turned away from me until I dressed, which I did.

         I sat on the other end of the bed, somewhat ashamed and embarrassed and not entirely sure why. I felt like crying again, like I did in the office when I read the papers, but then I felt numb too.

         "It's not going to work, you know?" Randy's voice was muffled from facing the opposite direction. He soon fixed that by moving over to my side and sitting next to me. "I'm on to you, okay?"

         He looked deeply into my eyes and could see my anger. He knew why I was so open so suddenly and he hated it. "Listen to me," he began. "Sex is something we should share when we're both ready and we have feelings for each other." He paused and stood up to face me. "Honestly, I love you and I would make love with you tonight if I thought that's what you really wanted, but for some reason I think you're trying to prove something and that you'd regret it. I don't think you love me the same way that I love you."

         "No, it's not..."

         "Let...me finish" he said. "It's okay that you aren't. It's only been a week. This takes time, okay? We're living together but we hardly see each other. We haven't had the chance to have those conversations that will take our relationship to the next level. Partially, that is my fault."

         "How long did you wait until you and Alex...you know?" I looked like a pathetic, beaten dog when my eyes met his.

         "It was summer before we went all the way." He smiled. "But it's not a competition, okay?"
         "No, I don't think it is...see..." then, I paused. I realized I had probably broken a very important rule and I didn't want to get into trouble.

         "What is it? You can tell me anything. Honestly." Again, he sat next to me and lied his hand gently on my thigh and worked the other one into the muscles in my shoulder.

         "I saw my file."

         "Oh." He looked somewhat disappointed but mostly concerned. "It's not what you think..."

         "My dad didn't want me anymore." I began to cry as I sat there with the man I felt most attracted to in the world holding his naked chest against mine.

         "That's not true." He paused. "You know, sometimes parents make these decisions because they don't want to hurt you."

         At that point, Randy went into a story about a boy he used to mentor whose father sexually molested him. He talked about how it took him years to mentor him and build a positive sexual relationship with a man that wasn't based on power or anger. It reminded me of what Alex had said and I wondered: is this what this school is for? So I can learn to have positive sexual relationships with men? Why would my dad want me to be gay?

         Later, as we got ready for bed, Randy told me another story. He told me his story. By the end, I understood. As men, we had lost our own personal male connectedness and we needed to rediscover how we can have positive male relationships that are both physically and emotionally pleasing. Randy was going to be the one to teach me. At that point, I felt like I got it. Perhaps Dad didn't want to get rid of me but instead wanted to stop ignoring me and make him hate him. The only thing was, if I hadn't discovered that, wouldn't I hate my dad? Man, he took a huge risk.