Learning to Feel

         The next project in health class was to feel your body. We got a lot of instruction about the penis, its parts, and the other parts of the reproductive system. I specifically remember Coach Vester pointing out the "prostate," so I immediately raised my hand.

         "Coach? What is the prostate?" I asked, intent on writing down all he said.

         "It's this gland that produces the fluid called semen that is mixed with your sperm when it comes out of your penis." He pointed to all the correct parts on the reproductive map, but I still didn't get the answer I really wanted.

         "Coach? Why would someone's prostate be enlarged?"

         The coach thought about this for a moment. I think he was unsure of how to approach the subject with me not that he didn't know the answer.

         "Most likely, it is hereditary, which means you get it from your father. Otherwise, it may be extreme exposure to objects."

         "What objects?" This time Todd asked, I could tell he was trying to impress me. Lately, I hadn't hung out with him much. It wasn't because I didn't want to, I just felt like I needed to get closer to Randy for a while.

         The coach went into a lecture about how some men like to put things in their butts to give them pleasure. When it was asked how it gives them pleasure, which was when he introduced the next project by saying: "It's all about knowing your own body and what you enjoy."

         The assignment was this. We were to go home and spend two hours in solitude. Randy had already made sure I would have the time. We had to completely undress and lie on the bed. Then, we would explore our bodies with our fingers and hands.   We were told to focus on how our bodies felt when we touched ourselves. He instructed us to touch every part of our bodies to get a full picture, and we needed one, because the next part of the assignment was to videotape ourselves doing it.

         Randy left me alone and set up the video camera on the tripod. I had intended to do it once without the video camera, but I figured I ought to go ahead and tape it so I can watch it later. I felt weird, knowing that I would have to watch the video and reflect on it and know that the coach would be doing the same. But, despite my nerves, I stared at the glass lens as it shone a pretty purple in the light as I pulled down the elastic waistband of my uniform and yanked off the tee, throwing both on the floor in front of me. Then, I looked down on myself, looking at the curves of my chest and abdomen and the solidity of my stance. I stared at my white briefs, the thin layer of cotton separating the world from my most intimate places and I realized the point of the assignment – to no longer feel ashamed or embarrassed of those intimate places; to be willing to share it with others.

         I used the remote of the camera to cue the red light as I sat planted on the side of the bed. I closed my eyes as I slowly pulled my briefs down, rolling the elastic band into the cotton until they fell down to my knees like a big knot and then I used my feet to guide them the rest of the way. I kept my eyes closed because, I figured, if I didn't look at the camera, it might as well not be there, right?

         Then, I lied down on the bed, concentrating, as we had been told, on the feeling of the sheets against my skin. I tuned into my body and felt every discomfort, even warmth, every chill, and every tingle. Starting with my head, I gently scanned my short mousy hair and used my short nails to playfully scratch at my scalp. Then, I let me hands move down to my face where I envisioned the thickness of my eyelids (had they really ever been that thick?) and the length of my eyelashes (I didn't realize the were so long). As my hand made its way down my face, I was creating a mental picture of my face. Coach Vester had told us to do this – he said that what we see in the mirror is often a distortion of our own insecurities and presumptions about our looks and that by feeling without sight, our mind is free of these distortions. I felt like the picture in my mind was cuter than the boy in the mirror who had freckles in the summer and a pointy nose that looked square at the end. I felt like my lips were perfectly smooth and shaped like a heart. My chin was tight and defined – I could feel the definition of my jowls and chin and it made the image in my mind seem manlier. Had I ever really envisioned myself to be less attractive and more boyish than I truly was?

         When I reached my neck and chest I paid attention to every curve and every texture. I could feel the dip in between my ribs, something I never saw in the mirror. I always saw a huge blank white canvas when I saw my chest, but in my mind, I had pectorals that were thin but defined. I had nipples that were tiny but rougher than they ever looked. I had ribs that didn't stick out but that bulked up my manly chest.

         Moving down, I could feel the V-shaped of my abdomen and I explored my naval. To think that a doctor just cut a cord and then tied it didn't seem right to what I was feeling because, in my mind, it seemed like a work of art. My entire body was becoming something I was just discovering thought something I had been seeing for years.

         My hands followed the slight dip down to my crotch. The smooth skin that sat right above my penis was sensitive and I let out an unintentional moan. Coach Vester said that the places we physically react to (jerk, where we're ticklish, etc) were the places we needed to concentrate on the most because they were tension spots. I spent ten minutes just exploring this area of my body. I could feel a very light coat of peach fuzz as I moved my hands into the crevices between my thigh and my crotch.

         More moaning came as I explored that area further. My penis was rock hard and standing straight up, but I wanted to explore every part of my body. I tickled my inner thighs with my finger nails, sending shivers up my spine; I fondled my tight, wrinkly scrotum and felt the oval-shaped balls held therein; I fingered my perineum and scratched it lightly, giving me a sense of awkward pleasure as my other hands squeezed in underneath my back to my backside. I felt where my crack began and explored the skin there by pressing against it. As I explored, my anxiety slowly drifted away and I envisioned the body of a young boy with slim, tight features who does not give his body enough credit for its beauty.

         Then, after I spent twenty minutes massaging my perineum, I let my middle finger lightly circle the opening to my anus. My whole body tensed up and I could feel my sphincter seize up, but it left me curious, so I continued, feeling the spirally skin folds of my anal opening and rubbing my finger around the inside lining. It felt beautiful and it made my penis bounce up and down like it was having a seizure, which also excited me. I began to moan and groan. I was truly envisioning the body of a beautiful boy, the way I had looked at Todd's body – he was skinny, but his body held so many secret beauties just like my own did.

         My penis would not stop jumping as my hands explored my anus and more of my thighs and knees. I could feel my nipples harden and my breathing became labored and short. Before I knew it, a feeling of intense warmth came over me and I could feel a pulsating underneath my perineum that made my penis shook uncontrollably and sent my entire body into a seizure. I yelped out loud but not in fear, in pleasure. In an instant, as my heart raced and my entire body went limp with all energy lost, I was confused. Something amazing had happened that I wanted to happen again, but I wasn't sure what it was.

         Afterwards, I lay there in silence, my chest rising and falling with each deep, hearty breath. The exhilaration that had overcome me was tempting – I wanted to do it again, but somehow my body felt exhausted. I got up and turned the camera off, thereby completing my assignment. If Coach Vester wanted a video of self-exploration and discovery, I had achieved that for sure.

         After my video was finished, I got dressed and headed down to the pool to see if I could find Todd. When I arrived, I found a lounge chair and sat, staring out for a familiar face. I hadn't dressed to swim, I only wanted to look for someone familiar or meet someone new since I didn't really know anyone, but everyone there was dressed in the uniform navy blue speedo. In the hot tub was a group of older boys, probably from the building I worked in with boys from my own building. It was strange, actually, few of the boys together were from the same age group. I watched boys with smooth, straight bodies with tiny little bulges jumping around in the pool, throwing beach balls to boys who had beautifully etched muscles and hair on their chest. It made me wonder – were these boys with their mentors?

         Once I decided to leave, I saw Randy. He was there with another one of his mentees, Jeffrey, and they were competing against each other to see who could hold their breath the longest under water. When I walked away, through the fence, I heard a voice from behind me.

         "Nick! Hey Nick, wait up!" Then, from behind me I saw Juan, smiling and running toward me. Seeing him in nothing but a speedo accentuated everything about him that made him older. He had defined pecks and tiny dark brown nipples with stray hairs. Juan sported a rock-hard abdomen and a belly button that had a trail of jet-black hair that disappeared underneath the rather large bulge in his speedo. I couldn't stop staring down, but I forced myself to meet his beautiful mahogany eyes by which I was pleased. His demeanor the other day made me feel like an employee of his, but when he reached around me, resting his biceps against my shoulders in a big hug, I felt like he valued me more than I thought. That, or he had mistaken me for someone else.

         "How are you doing, compadre?" I loved his sweet, soft accent. His voice was like that of a child growing into manhood – a gentle manliness that felt welcoming.

         "I'm...pretty good."

         "Pretty good, man? You lookin' fantastico!" I could feel the beads of pool water against my skin transferring from his chest down my smooth, white torso and I began to feel my erection growing.


         "Naw, man, I'm serious!" He stepped back and looked me up and down. "You been working out?" I was shocked but I accepted the compliment. IN my mind, I thought of what Coach Vester had told us – "others will notice your beauty once you recognize it yourself." I guess he was right.

         "Well, kinda, I guess..." I smiled and looked down toward the ground.

         "Ah! Your doing Coach Vester's class, Tengo raz—n yo?" I shook my head. "You'll learn a lot from his class, compadre, I promise." He took me by the hand and led me on. "Come on, let's swim!"

         For the rest of the day, I took part in the stupid underwater breathing contests, learned how to do a backwards flip in water, and splashed Juan and chased him several times. I was always glued to him as he stepped out of the water and climbed up to the diving board. I watched his wet speedos as he pulled them up to cover the little bit of his crack that was showing. The more I watched him the more I wanted to touch him, to talk to him, to get to know him. The more I spoke to him and looked in his eyes the more I melted inside. I wasn't sure what it was that made me feel this way, but I was sure I felt something strong that I didn't want to wait on.

         When they closed down the pool Juan invited me to his suite. I saw Todd walking out of the woods with his Harry Potter book and grabbed him. I introduced the two of them, but Todd had no interest in coming with us to play board games, so I went along with Juan and left Todd to himself.

         Juan had three other roommates: Sam, Derek, and Chase. They were all the same age as him and all white. According to Juan, he was one of three minorities at the school - Michael, the black kid and Jason, the half-Asian kid. We all hung out together and played stupid games like Monopoly and Connect Four until curfew time came around.

Then, when I looked at the clock and decided I had to head to my suite, Juan followed me out. As we were approaching the stairs and getting far enough away from the common room, Juan pulled me aside.

"Man, I like you Nick." His smile was intoxicating and I wasn't sure why, but I wanted to just hang out with him all night long.

"I like you too, man!" I playfully nudged him on the shoulder as I said that, feeling corny but safe in doing so.

"Naw. I mean I really like you, you know?" He stepped up to me closer and grabbed my shoulders with both his hands. His lips were only inches from mine. "I want you and I to hang out more, okay? I think we both work the same shift next week on Wednesday." He checked for anyone around. "All the older kids they have classes then. Let's work together and get everything done and we can just hang out and be together, you know?"

As I walked back to my building, I knew what Juan meant and I knew that I wanted it, but what made me nervous was that I didn't understand what it was. I had to talk to Randy as soon as possible.

         When I got back to the room, Randy was upset. "You're past curfew!" He was red in the face and had been pacing the entire room. "I was worried."

         "Sorry, I just got..."
         "No excuses, man!" He paused and stood still, breathing in to keep his cool. "I'm your mentor. I have to keep watch over you, okay? If I don't know where you are, I have to report it. You know that right?" I shook my head. "You're lucky it was only 15 minutes because after 30 minutes I have to report you to the director.

         "Oh, no, please." I felt somewhat attacked and somewhat guilty. "I was just hanging out with a friend."

         "Who?" He calmed down and invited me to sit on the edge of the bed.

         "His name is Juan, he's..." Before I could finish, Randy looked at me and smiled.

         "Ah, Juan! Yes." He paused. "I know Juan. He likes to push the rules a little too much, let me tell you that." The expression on Randy's face was somewhat hard to read. He seemed like he was happy with Juan yet warning me of something.

         "You have to follow the rules here, okay?" Then, he took another breath and turned on the TV. Then, grabbing the remote, he played my video.

         I was so embarrassed, I wanted to run and hide, but instead I just threw myself flat-faced on the bed. "Get up!" Randy said, playfully.

         "No!" My voice was muffled, but he could hear my protest.

         Just then, Randy stopped the video and sat me up. "This is what I am talking about. I looked confused; I could tell by the way he reacted. "At this school we teach you to discover yourself in every way possible." He paused and put his hand on my thigh.

         I listened carefully as Randy went through the whole thing. Basically, he told me that I had to learn a lot of things about my body and what I like before I should have sex. He said that I should resist my desires to do anything right away with Juan because I needed to go through the process. He told me that I should have experiences with him and my class partner (Todd) well before I venture out to the older kids. Juan was my forbidden fruit for the time being.