A Younger Orogeny
This story was first hosted by It's Only Me from Across the Sea, and is copyright 2002 by Mihangel. If you copy it, please leave the credits and the web address of http://iomfats.org present, and also my email address of email@example.com. Feedback is very welcome.
A draft has been read by RAL and by Grasshopper, and I am deeply grateful for their comments. Jack Rowan has kindly vetted the procedure in the cathedral choir. Geologists will find that I have taken a liberty or two when talking about orogeny, for which I apologise, but not very hard.
Some may find this tale larger than life. If so, it is deliberately so. When one has a message to put across, it can be more effective that way.
He was pretty sharp, was Dad, and we were close, close in a way perhaps only a single parent and a single child can be. He understood me as well as I did myself, or better. He trusted me, and I knew it. As far back as I could remember, hed talked about things that really mattered. Not obsessively, but as they cropped up. Not preaching, but dropping hints from his store of wisdom. About ones responsibilities as a member of society, to oneself and to others. About emotions, and love, and sex, at increasing depth as my comprehension grew. Here he never probed. He just gave advice, and let me know that his ear was there should I need it. I never responded much, not because I was embarrassed but because Id experienced nothing of what he was talking about, or nothing directly. I simply stowed away what he said in the lumber room of my mind.
Until, that was, last April, when I broached the subject myself because I was getting worried. There I was, just turned seventeen, realising at last how much I differed from my friends at my all-boys school. Most of them spent most of their holidays socialising at clubs and raucous parties, awash in pop music, in some cases bedding their girls, in one case bedding his boy. They spent much of the term reliving it all.
That wasnt my scene. I was quiet by nature, happy with my own company. My holidays I passed with Dad. Or by myself, listening to my music: classical music, especially baroque. Or playing it or singing it, mostly with older people. I did go to parties, occasionally quite rowdy ones, but they had a different agenda from my school friends parties. During term, I got on well enough with my contemporaries. We were thrown together willy-nilly and for the most part we shared no interests, but we respected each others qualities. The authorities saw fit to give me responsible jobs. I spent most of my spare time on music and acting, and whenever I wanted I could talk shop with other musicians and actors, staff and pupils alike. In this respect, I was content enough.
Yet I had this problem. What I told Dad at Easter was that I liked my friends, at home and at school, some of them very much. But never anything more than that. Id met plenty of girls in the holidays, but none had turned me on. Nor had any boy. Id never lusted for either. I had no preference for either. I wasnt a prude, mind you. No way. My sense of humour was earthy. I listened to racy talk with interest, even envy. In swapping dirty jokes or playing with bawdy words I could more than hold my own, and enjoyed it. But it was all detached and theoretical. The only time that sex of any practical sort entered my mind was when I jerked off. Yet was even that sexual? I did it purely for the physical pleasure and, believe it or not, neither girls nor boys nor men nor women entered my fantasies. And all that, as I listened to my mates explicit prattle, made me feel an asexual freak. It began to worry me silly. But I told not a soul about it, until Easter.
Dad listened quietly. When Id finished, he said, "Joe. I see why youre worried. Compared to you theyre brash, theyre shallow, they wear their hearts on their sleeves, they expect everyone else to be like them. Youre under peer pressure, as the psychologists would say. But youre too wise to imitate them, thank God. Im not saying theyre wrong. Just different from you. Thats the point. Dont think of yourself as different from them. Think of them as different from you. Much more positive. Because youre not abnormal. Youre quiet and gentle, you care, you think, you dont do things in a hurry. There arent so many of you around as there are of them, and not so obvious. But there are still plenty of you. Youre not alone. You know that.
"And dont worry about sexual feelings coming late. Its like physical development coming late. Its not in your control. You cant hurry it. Up to a point, I reckon the later ones sexuality awakens the better. When it does come, itll be maturer. Same goes for love. But a word of warning. If youre not looking for it, love can come down out of the blue and knock you extra hard for six. And your sexuality, if its lagging behind, may struggle to catch up with the demands of love. But one day you will find your sexuality. It may be straight, it may be gay, it doesnt matter, so long as you get it right. And one day, I hope, youll find love. It may be a girl, it may be a boy, I dont give a damn as long as its the right one. It may be tomorrow, more likely itll be years ahead. So dont be worried. Not yet. Im not."
He reassured me, and the summer term was easier.
It all started, as so many of these stories do, with the new kid next door. I was drinking coffee and getting ready to face a sunny Saturday in late July. From the CD of the Messiah, the bass was informing me and a glorious omen it turned out to be that the people that walked in darkness had seen a great light. Suddenly he was joined by another low-pitched rumble, and a glance out of the window showed that our quiet and neatly-trimmed suburban street was being invaded by a monstrous removal van and a more modest carpet-fitters van. Number 34 was about to be empty no longer. I went round to see if I could help. Partly out of curiosity, I admit, and partly because our street was a friendly community which took a genuine interest in its neighbours.
A woman was coming out of the front door. A striking woman, with a flaming mass of dark-carrot-coloured hair. In her late thirties, I guessed, with a capable but worried-looking face. "Hullo," I said, "Im Joe Atkinson, from next door. Would an extra pair of hands be any use? Im at a loose end today."
"Joe Atkinson!" She inspected me closely, and seemed satisfied. "Thats very kind of you, Joe. Well, if youre sure, it really would be a help. Im Sue, by the way. Sue Clayton, but please call me Sue." She dodged two removal men trundling a washing machine on a trolley. "Theres only Luke and me at the receiving end. Our prioritys the furniture and house stuff, and weve got to concentrate on that. So have the men. But theres masses of small things for the garage garden things, and the mower, and tools, and paint pots, and whatever the men will show you where they are. Could you take them in and put them in some sort of order? There are plenty of hooks and shelves in there."
"No problem, I can manage that."
"Bless you, Joe. For this relief much thanks!"
A literary lady, it seemed, if she quoted Hamlet to strangers. And I could cap her quote. "Well, at least its not bitter cold, and I hope youre not sick at heart!"
She gave me an odd look. Appreciative of my reply, yes, but also wary of it. She couldnt be cold, not today. So perhaps she was sick at heart. But not much I could do about it, on so short an acquaintance..
My job was straightforward, and I set about it happily. I assumed Luke to be her husband or partner. But on my third trip in from the van, as I struggled with an unwieldy armful of gardening tools, I almost bumped into a boy of maybe twelve, small and slight. He was very obviously his mothers son, with an arresting face not unlike Sues, a curly thatch of hair of an even brighter red, and eyes large and grey. He struck a faint and distant chord in my memory, and I found myself staring.
"Hi?" he said, in a treble voice with a question in it.
"Hi to you. Im Joe, from next door. You must be Luke."
"Sright. How did you know? My flashing eyes, my floating hair?"
Good grief, an infant prodigy who knew his Kubla Khan. I laughed. "What else? Ill weave a circle round you thrice, and close my eyes in holy dread. But not till Ive dumped these things."
The grey eyes lit up. "So you know it too! But how did you know my name?"
"Actually, your mum mentioned it."
At that point a rake slid out of my grasp. "Did she rake you in to help? Haha pun was intended." He grinned a cheery grin.
"Very clever. No. Im a volunteer, not a conscript." I grinned back, hugging my burden tighter, so that a broom handle flipped in and hit me hard on the forehead. "Oh, bugger it! Sorry, pardon my French."
"Well, shouldnt use, um, naughty words to strange boys."
"Strange, am I? Hmmmm. Not sure I like the implication. Anyway, I use, um, naughty words like that all the time." He was grinning provocatively now. "Well, in the right company."
"So Im the right company, then? How can you tell, so soon?"
He paused, looking at me speculatively. "Obvious at first glance that youre OK. But I think its more than that."
"What dyou mean?"
He evaded the question. "Im going to like it here, with you next door. Already better than our last place."
He picked up the rake, but so clumsily that the head swung in and the prongs hit him on the shin. "Oh, bugger it! Sorry, pardon my French."
I laughed out loud at his cheek, which caused a spade to escape my grip and clatter to the ground. "Dammit. Id better take these in while there are still some left."
He picked up the spade as well, and followed me into the garage. As I unloaded my armful he gave me another long appraising stare which ended in a smile of what looked like relief. "Yes, Im sure thats right."
"That you fit. But theres a long way to go. You dont even know yet that two halves make a whole."
Though I didnt understand him, he seemed to be getting at me. "Bollocks!" I retorted. What was I doing? I might use words like that to my contemporaries, but never to boys his age. I did have some sense of responsibility.
"Exactly what I mean," he said mysteriously. "See you later, alligator," and off he scampered. A likeable lad, I thought as I gazed after him, but strange indeed. Hed left me disconcerted three times over. I felt Id seen him before, but couldnt pin the memory down. Then he talked allusions, which I ought to be able to pick up but couldnt. And I had this nebulous and wholly unaccountable feeling that someone important had just swum into my life.
After brooding for a moment, I shrugged the puzzles aside. There was work to do. Three trips later I met Dad coming up the road laden with shopping bags, and I put him in the picture. "Good work, Joe. Quite right. Look, its coffee time. I think Im best employed in feeding the army, dont you? Ill dump this stuff and put the kettle on, and bring things round here. Coffee, tea or OJ. Will you take orders?"
I did. Sue was grateful. "Just what we all need. Thanks a lot, Joe."
"Including us, Dad, five teas, three coffees and an OJ," I reported through our kitchen window.
"Five, three, one. Righty ho. Here, take these biscuits back with you."
A few minutes later he came round with a large tray, and I made the introductions. "Sue and Luke Clayton. This is my dad."
"Colin Atkinson. Welcome to Sherwood Drive." They shook hands, and drinks and biscuits were distributed. The other men retired with theirs to their vans, no doubt for a smoke, Sue and Dad commandeered a couple of chairs that were loitering on the front path, and Luke and I collapsed on the unkempt lawn.
Our small-talk roamed around the neighbourhood, the local shops, the previous occupants. The Claytons said little about themselves, except that theyd come from south London and had made a killing on their former house. "I cant believe how cheap houses are up here, compared," said Sue. "The difference has made my bank manager smile for once. Well, wed better be getting on. Thanks a lot, Colin. Dunno about Luke, but thats saved my life."
"Youre welcome. But thats only starters. Im manning the cafeteria today. Drinks whenever you want them. Bit of lunch in a couple of hours? Easiest at our place. And an evening meal. All included." Dad never did things by halves. "No, no protests. I remember the pains of moving, all too well. The troops have to be sustained, but the last thing you can be bothered with is cooking, or remembering where the crate of crockery went."
"But, Colin, we cant impose that much on new neighbours."
"Youre not imposing," I stuck my oar in. "Were insisting. Weve been here longer than anyone else in the street. Oldest inhabitants have the privilege of insisting." Sue gave way gracefully and, one could tell, gratefully. "Were not accustomed to such kindness," she said. And again I caught Lukes considering gaze on me.
From time to time Dad lent a hand too, and by one oclock things were progressing well. We had an al fresco bread-and-cheese-and-fruit lunch in our garden, Dad and I with a can of Boddys apiece while the Claytons plumped for OJ. But Luke eyed my glass. "We dont have beer at home. May I have a sip?"
He took a gulp, not a sip, wrinkled his nose, suppressed a burp, and took another swig. "Thanks. Interesting. Watch out. I might become addicted."
"Have a can of your own," suggested Dad, raising an eyebrow at Sue, who merely smiled.
"No thanks, Mr Atkinson "
"Oy, no. Call me Colin."
"Oh. Right. No thanks, Colin. Id better stick to OJ. Today, anyway." And the polite but faintly conspiratorial smile he gave Dad pinned down my elusive memory. A few months back Id seen him giving that same smile, at lunch, to my housemaster, though beer would not have been the subject then.
"Hey, Luke, I was sure Id seen you before, but couldnt remember where. Its been puzzling me all morning. Ive got it now. It was at Elliotts, last May. You mustve been taking the scholarship exam. Right?"
"Oh my gawd! Youre at Yarborough? And in Elliotts? Thats totally weird!" He was gaping in astonishment and obvious delight.
"Yup. And did you get your scholarship?"
"Course." He said it matter-of-factly, not with arrogance.
"Well done. So youre going in September? Youre thirteen, then?" He hardly looked it.
"Sright. How old are you?"
"So youll be starting your last year? At the top of the house?"
"Yup. For my sins, house captain. And captain of the school. Youd better watch out!"
"Wow! And youre good at games too?"
"Well, Im in the cricket eleven and the rugger fifteen."
He smiled as if hed been proved right in something. Dad and Sue were smiling too, in surprise, amusement, and maybe pride in offspring. They fell to swapping tales of other extraordinary coincidences that had come their way, while Luke, his bread and cheese and Branston forgotten, plied me questions about school. Intelligent questions, too. Not superficial ones like getting-up and going-to-bed times, or how much prep one got, but the questions of someone who thought. I answered as honestly as I could, though I probably sounded a bit like the publicity bumph.
"How much does your, er, standing depend on how good you are at games?"
"Oh, only moderately academic and artistic types get proper respect too So do ordinary blokes with no special talents. Its reasonably egalitarian."
"Is there anything against younger boys talking to older ones?"
"Oh no. Though youre inevitably thrown together with boys of your own age, specially in class and at meals."
"So the place isnt full of silly rules and restrictions?"
"No, were pretty liberal and tolerant. We try to rule with a light hand the staff and prefects, I mean and we encourage people to do their own thing."
"Its a happy place, then?
"Oh yes. I cant say there arent any disruptive types there always are a few but on the whole people get on very well with each other."
"So its a, um, civilised place?"
"Yes, that sums it up very well."
Luke seemed relieved. "Good. Very good. Im looking forward to it now." Sue chipped in with more queries, this time about clothes and suchlike practical matters. Then she declared it time to get back to work.
"What nice people," remarked Dad as we washed up. "Much nicer than the Fittons" (their grumpy and unsociable predecessors). "And how extraordinary that Lukes going to Elliotts. He seems a very competent lad. And how handy, come to think of it. Perhaps we can share transport."
I went back next door with Dad, whod volunteered to mow the grass. As I finished the garage, the last boxes were coming in from the van, and Sue put me to work with Luke distributing kitchen equipment to appropriate shelves and cupboards. His method impressed me: he was decisive, neat and efficient, and he didnt talk in riddles as he had in the morning. He was quiet, as if thinking hard, and I caught him stealing occasional glances at me.
The kitchen done, we went to work on his bedroom, heaving furniture into the right place, making up his bed, and dealing with his clothes. Modest in quality and quantity, and no sports gear. I unpacked, he stowed away. Then came his computer. We set it up on the desk, plugged it in, and set things rolling. Once wed sorted out a few problems with btinternet, everything worked fine. He breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank goodness for that. Couldnt live without it."
"You use the net a lot, then?" I asked.
"Yes. Not for emails, much. Dont know anyone, hardly. But I use the web a lot."
"You can go where you like, then? Your mum hasnt put, um, a nanny guard on?"
"Lord, no. I go to all sorts of sites."
"Well." I responded to his implication, not his words. "Youll find things different at school, you know. All kinds of blocks there. Its one area where they are restrictive suppose they have to be, but theyve got dirty minds. Last term for a Shakespeare essay I asked Google about Coriolanus. No hits. I asked about textual analysis. No hits."
"Oh, I see." He giggled. "Anus and anal. How petty. Its going to take me a while to get used to school and routine and other boys again."
That sounded a bit odd. "Again?"
"Oh, I havent been to school for three years, and even then it was only a local primary. Rather different from Yarborough."
"Whatve you been doing the last three years, then?"
"Oh, Mums been teaching me at home." His tone discouraged further questions. "And of course I havent done any games. Ive never played rugger, or cricket. Its going to be interesting, picking them up from scratch."
"Well, I can fill you in on the rudiments over the holidays, if you like."
His eyes lit up again. "Cool, Id like that. Thanks."
"No problem. So youve never lived away from home, then? Yes, it will be a major change of lifestyle. Does the prospect scare you?"
"It did, rather. Not much, now. Just hope the other new boys are OK with me. Itll be a challenge, but Ill cope."
"You will. Dont worry about that. And Ive got to confer with Glad soon about who shares rooms with who, and Ill make sure we find somebody suitably laid-back for you."
"Why, Mr Bear, the housemaster. But dont go calling him that to his face."
"But why Glad?"
"Short for Gladly. Get it?"
"Well, hes got a bit of a squint, didnt you notice?"
"Oh I see! Gladly the cross Id bear! Thats funny!"
"Well, we have a lot of fun. As I said, were really quite civilised."
"Bound to be, with you in charge."
Ho! Compliments! Touch of hero-worship? I wasnt too happy with that. But, possibly feeling hed gone too far, Luke dropped the subject. "Hey, were getting on well. Theres only books left to unpack. And CDs. Whereve they gone? Oh, theyre still on the landing." He went out to collect them.
I opened a cardboard box full of books, and there on top was a collection of unexpected reading for a thirteen-year-old. Pullmans Dark Materials trilogy OK, but impressive if he understood it, though it was supposedly a childrens book. But Forsters Maurice? Angus Stewarts Sandel? Platos Symposium? As Luke came back with his box of CDs I noticed my watch. "Lord, its half past six. Afraid Ill have to leave you to it, Luke. I must grab a shower and give Dad a hand with the tea. You come round in an hour?"
"K. Thanks, Joe. For all your help. And for being here. I like you." For once, he sounded very young.
"And me you." It was no more than the truth. "See you soon."
Dad had things well under control, so I took my shower before laying the table and things. I was glad to see hed had been generous with quantities, as I suspected Luke would have the appetite of a carthorse. Promptly at 7.30 they turned up, clean and shiny but obviously weary. I steered them past the smells emanating from the kitchen and into the living room for a drink.
"Just what were dying for," said Sue. "Joe, youre an angel girt with golden wings." Milton this time, I suspected. "And Colins right. I couldnt have faced cooking."
I offered her a sherry, which she accepted, and paused in front of Luke, asking an unspoken question. Luke looked expectant, and Sue nodded. "Lord, yes, hes earned it. Not too much though these glasses are whoppers. Matter of gradual education, isnt it? Cant have him under the table." Luke grinned happily. "What about you? Dyou have free rein?"
"Oh yes." I poured one for him, one for myself, and one for Dad. "Dad trusts me not to go over the top. I only ever did once. At a party. Threw up, and was in hell next day. Best lesson possible. But I confess I sometimes pine for it at school. Scuse me, Ill just take this to Dad."
But at that moment he came in, brandishing a spatula and glorious in his Wallace and Gromit apron. "Evening," he said, grabbing his glass and raising it in salutation. "God, I need this." He swigged half of it and dashed out again, complete with glass. "Five minutes, folks!"
It was a simple meal, but good. Chicken breasts in a spicy sauce, rice and salad, followed by cheese and fruit. Sue ate well, Luke (as Id foreseen) even better. I lost count of how many times the wine went round, though Luke, after one glass, stuck to Coke.
"If you want," I told him, "I can lend you a hand with the rest of your room, or anything else, tomorrow afternoon. But not in the morning or evening, Im afraid. Got to go and sing."
"Stow Cathedral. Im in the choir."
"Woweee! Bass?" I nodded "Dyou know, till last Sunday I was a treble in Southwark Cathedral choir."
"Well, Im damned!" He must be good. "Look, dyou want to carry on singing? Were desperately short of trebles. Thing is, its one of the least-known cathedrals in Britain, and Stows no more than a village. No choir school. And no girls, yet, though it might be forced on us. Fred Dr Markham, hes the choirmaster would welcome you with open arms. Were not a patch on the big cathedrals, of course, but were not bad, though I say so myself. And a friendly lot too. Youd be at home."
"But Im not sure Id be good enough."
"Hey, if youre good enough for Southwark, youre good enough for Stow."
"Cool!" He looked at Sue pleadingly, and she slowly nodded. "Great! Thanks, Mum. Its something I thought I was going to miss out on. But its some way from here, isnt it?"
"About fifteen miles."
"How dyou get there, then?"
"Oh, I drive," I said airily, but thought Id better be honest. "I passed my test last week, by the skin of my teeth. Tell you what. Come to matins with me, listen in, and if you like the look and sound of us Ill introduce you to Fred, and hell probably audition you on the spot. You could be in your cassock for evensong."
"No chance of joining for matins?"
"Well, I doubt thered be time beforehand. No, wait. If youre that keen its Stanford in B flat and Palestrinas Stabat mater tomorrow morning. Can you manage those?"
"On my head."
"Right then. Ill give Fred a ring first thing and see if he can get in early. If he can, wed better leave at, oh, say quarter to ten. OK?"
Luke glowed. "OK, Mum?" Sue nodded, smiling. "Its a deal," he said. "Wheeee, thanks!"
We spent the rest of the meal comparing musical notes, and got on together like a house on fire. Our tastes coincided. And we both played as well as sang. I wasnt at home long enough at a time for any serious music, but I played the trumpet in a local amateur baroque group, the Avison Consort, just for fun. Luke had been an oboist in a youth orchestra in London and was at Grade 7. And he was enthusiastic. The Consort would welcome him.
Over coffee they were yawning, and soon Sue made their apologies. "Its been a long day," she said. "Thanks, Colin, Joe. Youve been an absolute tower of strength, and we couldnt have asked for a happier landing. But right now, Im dead."
Yet she sent Luke ahead with the key and lingered for a minute. "Joe, Im enormously grateful for the help youre giving Luke. But please dont feel you have to spend time on him. Four years is a big difference, at your age."
"Dont worry about that, Sue. Weve so much in common, in spite of the age gap. And I like him, very much. And Im only too glad if I can help cushion the shock of his going to Yarborough. And his music needs encouraging."
"Yes, he is good. Though I didnt hear him often enough when he was at Southwark. Joe, could I ask a favour? Could I cadge a lift with you tomorrow and hear him sing again? Assuming theyll take him?"
"Not much doubt about that. Yes, of course, no problem. See you then. Good night."
"Thanks, Dad," I said as we cleared the table. "That was a great evening, and a great meal."
"And great revelations about young Luke."
"I like him a lot, already, Dad. I reckon theres more to him than meets the eye."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Oh, I reckon hell become a very useful member of society, at school. Cant tell in what way, yet. But hes got the intelligence and seems to have the confidence. Sues taught him at home for the last three years did you know that? yet hes raring to get to Yarborough. Most boys whod never been away from home would be scared stiff."
"True. But havent you noticed anything unusual about his attitude to you, Joe?"
"No. Well, I thought I spotted a touch of hero-worship at one point. But he doesnt seem to go in awe of his house captain" I grinned "as most new boys would. Thats his confidence, presumably."
"Thats not quite what I meant either. You say you like him a lot, already. I reckon he likes you more than a lot, already. Look, Joe " he paused, picking up the empty glasses with four fingers. "Ive been watching Luke today. Yes, there may be hero-worship there, but I think its more than that. And Ive been watching you too. With interest. Unless Ive got completely the wrong end of the stick, youve been almost making eyes at young Luke. Ive never seen you do that before, to anyone. I get the impression that Sues noticed too, and is going tomorrow as a chaperone. So it crossed my mind to wonder if this might be what we were talking about last Easter. Yet you seem unaware of it. Search your soul, Joe."
Caught by surprise, I sat down again at the table to think. True, Id had that strange sensation in their garage this morning, that inkling of the meeting of souls. But there hadnt been a chance to analyse it. Were Luke and I really exchanging signals, which Dad had spotted but I was barely conscious of? Not impossible. As Ive said, he was pretty sharp. Of course I remembered our conversation last April, about sexuality and love. But it had been general. Now that hed raised the question again, with a specific gender and a specific name attached, it caught me on the hop. I hadnt thought of Luke as an object of desire. Maybe I would have done before long, even without that prompting. But I hadnt yet. In my inexperience, my lack of sexuality, had I simply failed to recognise the vibes coming from him and, even more blindly, vibes that I was instinctively radiating myself?
"Dad. I wasnt aware of anything more than a liking, either way. Till you mentioned it. But now that you have, I begin see what you mean. I dont know. I just dont know. Its too early to say. Ill have to think about it. He may prove to be no more than a precocious brat." But it felt suspiciously like a betrayal, saying even that. Was it another symptom?
Then the thought of precocious brats made a connection in my brain. "Dad, wait. There was something, this morning. Luke said he liked me, and something mysterious like But I think its more than that. You fit. But theres a long way to go. You dont even know yet that two halves make a whole. I didnt understand him then. But this evening I saw that hes got a copy of the Symposium. Isnt there something similar in that?"
Dads eyes widened. "Precocious indeed. Yes, there most certainly is. About lovers originally being two halves of a whole, then being separated and searching for their other half again and, if they meet him or her, becoming whole once more. Yes, it does sound as if hes got a crush on you already. Maybe more than that. Look, Joe. If it is a one-way crush which you dont return, I suggest you play it sympathetically but firmly. Dont encourage him. Distance yourself, if you have to.
"But if you find its two-way, that you lets be blunt love him too, its a different ball-game altogether. If it was someone your own age, my advice would be to play it carefully. Take your time. First make sure youve got your sexuality properly sussed out. Then make sure that particular love is right. If it is, then away you go, and good luck to you.
"But with Luke theres a crucial difference hes so young and vulnerable. OK, hes mentally a prodigy, and it sounds as if hes sussed his own sexuality out already. If it is love, proper love, sex usually goes with it, as part of the package. But is he really ready for sex, even if its sex with love? Im not at all comfortable with that. If he werent so intelligent, it would be totally unthinkable. Quite apart from the fact that its illegal. OK, no doubt Im jumping the gun. But whatever happens, if it is two-way love, it demands a great deal of extra care. Its a much bigger responsibility. Follow me?"
"Yes, Dad, I follow you. And I agree, totally." We hugged, not something we did every day, only when we were specially close.
I went to bed very thoughtfully. Could he be right? Was this really my turning point, my awakening? I reviewed the relevant parts of the day, and it didnt take long for my mind and body, in tandem, to supply the answer. For the first time in my life, as I attended to my nightly erection, my mind was filled with an image. An image of Luke. At first, in choirboys cassock and surplice. Before long, nude.