This story details explicit gay sex between men, teens and boys. If you find this kind of thing distasteful, or if you are underage wherever you live, then stop reading this now, and delete this file. The story is completely fictional; the author does not condone or encourage any of the acts contained herein.
By: Tim Keppler
Edited by: Bob Leahy
Once Bryce gets settled in, he seems to do well. We put him in one of the spare bedrooms at Evan and Joaquin's, and he seems to flourish. He's quite a good cook, it turns out, specializing in what I'd call American comfort food. Things like Tuna Noodle Casserole, Mac and Cheese, and Stroganoff, stuff your Midwestern mom used to make. How does that make him a good cook? Because he doesn't make it the way your Midwestern mom made it. There's always a twist. He adds curry powder to the Tuna Noodle Casserole, and Jalapeños to the Mac and Cheese. It doesn't take him long to figure out what we like. The spicier it is, the better we like it, and he likes that too. He's a wonderful friend to the boys, all of whom love him, especially Thim, who likes to crawl up on his lap for a cuddle two or three times a day. He's also very helpful in the garden, watering and pruning the plants. This has traditionally been Jason's purview. He's the only one who enjoys gardening, and therefore the one who's gotten stuck with it as an ongoing responsibility, albeit one he loves. Bryce is quite knowledgeable, Jason tells me. He knows his plants. He knows how to care for them, how much water they need, and how and when to prune them. He seems a good nurturer. What he basically does is spend a couple of months burrowing his way into our family, and becoming a part of us. We become the family he lost because he left Exodus International. He helps the boys with their school work, Nathan with food preparation for the B&Bs he supplies, and Kenny with the occasional game. He majored in Computer Science in college, it turns out. How he thought that would lead to medicine I've no clue, but he's not a bad programmer. Computer Science is not typically the stuff of pre-med degrees, but I have my doubts about the pre-med thing anyway because I haven't seen him do anything about applications to med-schools. What he has done is ask to work at Youth Renewed, my center for gay youth. I find that...interesting.
"I'd really like to help," he says one day over breakfast. "I have life experiences that'd be helpful, wouldn't they?"
"Umm...yeah, definitely. I just didn't know you'd be interested. I can't exactly pay..."
"I don't want to be paid. You're already paying me by letting me live here, by feeding me. I'd...umm...just like to help if I can."
Well, god knows, he can. We need all the help we can get. We can't exactly fund it, but most of what we do, we do with volunteers anyway. He can be another of those, and he presents himself so well. He's so...humble. I can think of any number of sessions he could host, and as a speaker, oh, my god, he'd be great. He comes with such credibility. All he has to do is tell his story. In fact, as I think about this, I realize that I've been a little myopic. I think it's time for a heart-to-heart with Bryce.
We have that heart-to-heart after dinner one night, sitting in the office sipping my favorite mint tea. "So, what are your plans, Bryce?"
Several emotions pass across his face. I see embarrassment, concern, a little fear, and a lot of sadness. I realize that I've probably been a bit too abrupt with this question. "I...umm..."
"Let me frame the question differently," I say. "We love you. We love having you here. The boys adore you, and the guys enjoy the help you give them. You can stay with us for as long as you want. You can stay with us forever. I'd give anything for you to work with us at the Center. You'd be so good, but when I first met you, you were talking about med-school. Is that still your plan?"
Bryce looks uncomfortable. "I don't know," he says. "This whole thing with Exodus has sort of left me...confused. I'm confused, and...umm...I'm sort of...afraid."
"I don't know, and that adds to the fear. I just feel really...uneasy. And...umm...really emotional. I feel really uncomfortable. I don't know what I'm afraid of..."
"Well, you have a number of things you could do right now. The
quietest, the most sedate, is to come work for me, and I will find a way to pay
you for that, because I think your contribution is going to be enormous. But,
given your background and experience, your impact on the gay community could be
huge. `Reparative therapy' is snake oil. It's a cure for a disease that doesn't
exist, and the cure itself doesn't work. Alan Chambers, the head of Exodus admits it doesn't work. He's
still gay. He admits it. He still longs to be with other men. John Paulk, the former head of Exodus, was caught in a
Bryce is teary-eyed. "I don't...umm...know...what I...umm..." He fades. I reach over and hug him, and he hugs back. "I...umm...don't want to do a national thing. I...uhh...don't think I want to be that...public. And, I don't know if I want to go to med-school. I...uhh...just...don't know. Can I just come...umm...work for you for a while...while I figure it out?"
"Sure," I say, smiling. "I'd be a fool to refuse you that." Then, glancing down at his hand, which I'm now holding, I notice the ring. It's a class ring of some kind, probably college, or high school I suppose. There's a cross in the middle of it, a crucifix. Sometimes, my stupidity truly astonishes me. Sometimes I feel like the biggest idiot on the face of the earth. I look up at this boy, who's trying desperately to control his emotions, and I smile, gazing into his green eyes. "Where'd you go to college?" I ask him.
"I went to Ouachita Baptist," he replies, "It's in
I giggle. "There really is a place called `Arkadelphia'?"
"Yeah," he says, wide-eyed. "You haven't heard of it?"
"Nope. Haven't had the pleasure," I reply, smiling. "Do you think of yourself as religious, Bryce?"
He stares at the rug for what seems like the longest time. Finally he looks up, and he's teary-eyed again. "When I left Exodus, I gave up a lot."
Oh, fuck! The depths of my stupidity are unfathomable. I should have known this. I should have planned for this. I should have understood this. My intention in getting him out of Exodus was to extricate him from something that was going to destroy him. But, what if the cure is as bad as the disease? He thinks he's abandoned both his family, and his church. He thinks he's abandoned Christ. He probably thinks he's going to hell. God doesn't love him anymore. We have some serious work to do, and I'm not sure where to start. I've tried to keep my face blank as I've thought through this. Kenny and Jason will tell you that that's when they start to worry. When my face isn't expressive, they get very nervous, because my face is almost always expressive. You can almost always tell what I'm thinking, and when you can't, well... I look back at Bryce. "Well, if you're going to work at the Center, you should talk to Thao," I say, trying to be chirpy. "He's been with us a long time. He runs a couple of spiritual sessions. He's a former catholic priest. Did I tell you that?"
Bryce shakes his head.
"Yeah, he left the church when he realized that he was gay, and when he came to terms with what that meant to him. He's a really-interesting guy. You should talk to him. He can fill you in on how the...sessions work."
"And, umm...I'd like you to see a therapist we use occasionally to sort of vet our instructors. Dr. Jacobs. I'll call her and make an appointment for you. She's really good. I've used her occasionally on my own to just...unload. Sometimes, when I'm feeling blue, I'll use her to vent. She's good for that."
Dr. Jacobs is our next-door neighbor's therapist. I've been to her several times. She's very good at sorting out your feelings, and I have used her in the past for employees, and even for some of the kids at the Center. I tell her what I think I know about them, and then she takes over. She tells me nothing, which is fair. She's on a retainer to the Center. We get her cheaper that way. We don't end up paying the astronomical hourly fees that shrinks charge these days.
Bryce nods again, smiling. I hug him, and we adjourn for the evening. Jason is playing a Shostakovich Prelude, the 5th in D-major. "Do you like music?" I ask Bryce.
"Umm...yeah...but I don't usually listen to stuff like this."
"Well, you will now, because my little Jason can seriously play. He plays for us often. He's the Concertmaster for the San Francisco Symphony. That's one rung down from the Conductor, and in fact, he often does end up conducting. He's an amazing musician." Shostakovich is probably not the best thing to start with if you're just getting started listening to serious music. Chopin, Beethoven, or Mozart would probably be better choices. But Shostakovich is what Jason is playing. It is just so fucking beautiful, just so carefully phrased, that I can't keep it together. Bryce goes and sits next to Kenny on the couch while I pace behind them, sobbing. Bryce is initially concerned, but Kenny pats his leg. "Don't worry," he whispers. "He's always like this. Tim loves music, and this is what it does to him. Always."
Bryce glances back at me. Then he looks back at Kenny, smiles and shrugs. I am who I am. I've given up trying to hide it.
The next morning, I catch Thao before breakfast and drag him into the office. "You need to talk to him," I say, having described my discussion with Bryce from the evening before. "He needs to be okay with being a fag and a christian at the same time. You need to work him through that." Thao nods.
"This is hard. It was hard for me," Thao says. "But, I was thirty-five when I went through this, and wasn't dependent on a social structure based on my parents. He's twenty-three, and his parents are all he has. This will be very hard for him."
"Yes. You need to help him. I'm also sending him to a psychiatrist I know, and I'm going to be talking to him as well. He needs to work this out." Thao nods again.
Dr. Jacobs, it turns out, has a cancellation today, and can see him regularly multiple times a week if need be. I confirm the appointment. "What issues are we dealing with?" she asks.
I take her through Bryce's history as far as I know it, his issues with Exodus, with faith, and with his sexuality. "Ah," she says, "yes. This is why homosexuality was removed from the American Psychological Association's list of mental illnesses back in the 1970s. It's why reparative therapy programs have proven so harmful. Not only do they reinforce in the patient's mind the feeling that they're somehow flawed or inadequate, but they suggest that if that inadequacy isn't `cured' that the patient will be damned for eternity. These programs are very destructive. I'll do what I can. By the way, has this boy been tested for HIV?"
"Umm...not that I'm aware. Why?"
"Self-loathing leads to pathologies that... We find that people that have entered these programs are more likely to have had unsafe sex in the past, and are more likely to have it in the future. You may want to have him tested, especially if he's going to be dealing with the kids at the Center. Even if you're reasonably sure that he's negative, it still may be a good idea from a legal perspective to ensure that you know all about him."
Hmmmm... I think this boy's a virgin. He basically told me that. But, I make an appointment for him for this afternoon with Dr. Cohen's office. It'll be just lab work. We'll go there right after his appointment with Dr. Jacobs.
Right after his appointment with Dr. Jacobs, however, Bryce seems very...pensive, and very...quiet. Dr. Jacobs has set up another appointment for him tomorrow, and has scheduled him for three visits a week, which seems like quite a lot to me. It isn't until after dinner that I get some sense of what he's feeling. We're all sitting in the living room with our tea. Bryce has Thim on his lap, and is just stoking him, caressing him, and softly rubbing his back. Jason is playing Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11 in A-Major, one of my favorites. It starts out slow and lyrical with a repeating theme that is just so simple and elegant, just so utterly perfect. Thim is rapt, and Kenny, who may never have heard this piece before, is fascinated by the theme and variations of the first movement. I'm in my favorite chair next to the couch where Bryce and Thim are sitting. Suddenly, Bryce starts to cry, to sob. He hugs Thim, and Thim looks up at him and just stares, hugging him close. At the end of the first movement, Bryce is still sobbing. I nod to Jason, and he gets up and lifts Thim out of Bryce's lap. I move to the couch next to Bryce, and the rest of the room clears. It's just us, just Bryce and me.
I reach over and hug him, and he collapses into my lap, hugging me around the waist. "What's wrong?" I ask, softly.
He doesn't respond for many minutes. He just continues to sob. Finally, "I feel so lost."
I nod, and stroke his hair. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"No," he chokes "I've talked about it enough for today. Thao has helped, and Dr. Jacobs. I just feel irredeemably lost. Lost forever..."
I squeeze the back of his neck. "There's no forever, Bryce. There's only the here and now. Sometimes we all feel lost in the here and now."
"No, that's not it," he sobs. "There is a forever, and I won't be in it, and it won't be because I left Exodus. Leaving Exodus was a symptom. Leaving Exodus was just an admission to myself that nothing would change. I'm lost. I'm lost forever. That won't change."
I stroke his back, his hair, and then I realize that I'm caressing him in much the same way as he was caressing Thim. I'm giving comfort. "This will get better, Bryce. You have to believe that this will get better. No one is `lost forever'. Everyone can be found. They may not be the same as they were before, but isn't that the message of the evangelicals? To be found, you have to be lost, and what's found is different than what was lost. You may not be the same Bryce you were two years ago, but maybe the Bryce you become will be more authentic than the Bryce you were before."
"But authentic to who?" he wails.
I know exactly what he's asking me. I've had this discussion over and over before. "Authentic to yourself and to your god. Can god create imperfection?"
"Noooo," he whines, "but we can become imperfect. Or maybe we're just not god's best work."
"But, if god can't create imperfection, how can you not be his best work? And when did you decide to become imperfect? When did you choose this? Your mom and your dad brought you up to be a certain way in one of the most socially-restrictive states in the country. You went to a church every Sunday, and to a baptist college. When'd you decide to become gay?"
He just keeps sobbing, sobbing and hugging me, lying in my lap. It's as though he feels that if he lets go of me he'll fly straight into the maw of darkness. I'm sure he's been over and over these arguments before. I'm not going to belabor them. This is Dr. Jacobs' job, not mine. Mine is to give comfort, so I just keep stroking his back, and caressing him. After almost an hour, he finally stops crying. He raises himself off my lap, wipes away his tears, and looks into my eyes. "Thanks," he says. "I think I'm okay now." I give him a hug, and he heads out the back door and across the garden to his room at Evan's place. I have a lot of trouble with tortured souls.
In the Myers-Briggs taxonomy of character types, INFPs, which is what I am, are considered "Healers," and, in truth, healing is my neurosis. My relationship with my mother was rocky at best. I had to heal that, but I was only maybe five when that compulsion started.
"To the INFP, healing means mending those divisions that plague one's private life and one's relationships. It means treating oneself and relating to others in a conciliatory manner, helping to restore lost unity, integrity, or what INFPs call `oneness'. These Healers present a tranquil and noticeably pleasant face to the world, but while to all appearances they might seem gentle and easy-going, on the inside they are anything but serene, having a capacity for caring not usually found in other types. Healers care deeply – passionately – about a few special persons or a favorite cause, and their fervent aim is to bring peace to the world and wholeness to themselves and their loved ones."
In other words, being a Healer can be a pain in the ass. After a while, the need to heal consumes you. You start to feel guilty when you can't get your relationships right. I know I have this problem, but the knowing doesn't help me. I'm still compulsive. I still internalize the guilt that comes with not being able to "fix" those I love, and make no mistake, I do love Bryce. He's sweet. He's endearing. I am mystified at the notion that two parents could discard him, as his have done, for being as he is – sweet and endearing. Would he be the same boy if he were heterosexual? Would he be snuggling with Thim, or out in the garden helping Jason to prune the roses? I think that's doubtful. I think there'd be way too much straight testosterone coursing through his veins, way too much bravado. As he is, he is perfect, but I don't think he knows that. I think he'd like to be someone else, someone he doesn't know and probably wouldn't like. I find that tragic, profoundly sad. Hence my need to heal him, to fix him, or at least to fix his outlook on life. This is supremely egotistical, isn't it? Because what I'm really saying is that I want to fix him so he'll stop trying to fix himself. I want him to accept who he is, because the odds are slim to none that he can become who he wants to be, and who his parents want him to be. Do I have the right to do this? I hope so, because I really don't want to lose this boy as he is right now. I don't want to lose the sensitivity and the vulnerability. But, I have a real sense that he's almost too sensitive, too vulnerable. Some of that's going to have to be sacrificed if he's going to get well.
Thankfully, Dinh is well, but I haven't treated him very well lately. I've been focused on other people and things – on Thim, on Bryce, on the Center, on Kenny's latest game, on the whole Proposition 8 repeal issue, and on recruitment work I've been doing for the ACLU, the closest thing we have to gay advocacy in California. I owe little Dinh some time and attention, and he reminds me of this with a gift. And, it's some gift! He's bought me a toy. How do I even describe this? This toy is seventeen inches long and made of soft rubber. It has five balls spaced about two inches apart. The balls are about one and a half inches in diameter. It's what's called an "insertable." It's something our local toy store, LeatherMasters, calls an "Extra-Large Anal Toy," and my goodness, it is...umm...extra large. This is like...anal beads for Godzilla. "I'd...umm...like us to...uhh...play with this...next time." I look at the toy, and stare into his warm eyes, and what I see is a mixture of lust and longing, along with a bit of innocence. Dinh is such an odd combination of personality traits. He's a very-demanding lover, and you have to work to please him. I'm okay with that. It adds spice to my relationships. He's like a bit of cayenne tossed into the spaghetti sauce. But, he's also...just...so...cute. He's petit. He's shorter than Jason, and very slim. He looks a lot younger than he is, and he has these brown puppy-dog eyes. When he looks at you, he can melt your heart. He looks so sweet, and so...innocent. But, he's not, and that's what I have to keep telling myself. As I look at this toy, seventeen inches of pliable rubber that Dinh wants me to stuff up his ass, I just have to laugh.
"Okay, sweetie," I say. "How about tonight?"
He nods enthusiastically. He's ready for this. He wants this.
We meet in the basement about two hours before dinner. He's already naked and waiting. The only way I'm going to get this thing inside him is if there are no...obstructions. So, we're going to have to start with a little...cleansing. I motion for him to sit on the table while I prepare an enema. I fill an enema bag with two quarts of warm water, and hang it from an IV stand, clamping off the hose so it doesn't leak. I attach a double-balloon nozzle, lube the nozzle, and roll the apparatus over to the table. "I want you lying on your left side, Dinh, and I don't want you to move until I tell you to. If you move, if you try to get up before I tell you to, I'll punish you by not punishing you. Okay?"
He nods, lying on his side, and curling into a fetal position.
I insert the nozzle slowly into his ass, and then pump up the internal and external balloons. Then I release the water in a gush. The intention here is to clean him, not to cause him a lot of pain, so the water is warm. There will be some cramping, of course, but it should be minimal. But, he has to hold this long enough so that the water can actually circulate, and that'll take probably fifteen minutes. Even minimal cramping over the course of fifteen minutes isn't likely to be pleasant. There will be pain, and sure enough, after barely two minutes he starts to squirm. "No moving, sweetie. You have to stay in this position. This will ultimately be the most comfortable position for you. Just stay still," I say, gently stroking his belly. He looks...umm...pregnant. He's so slim that enemas always look really...bloating. He groans, but I sense that he really loves this, even if he is close to tears. "Please, how much longer?" he finally asks.
"Another five minutes."
"Sure you can," I say, stroking his belly again, and running my finger along the underside of his dick. His dick is rock hard, and has been since we started this. There may be pain, but he's clearly very excited. Finally, at the fifteen-minute mark, I deflate the retaining balloons and remove the nozzle. Then I lift him off the table, and he runs to the toilet in the corner, releasing the enema. After about ten minutes of draining, we're ready for the more challenging part – getting seventeen inches of rubber up his ass. I asked him how he wanted me to do this, and he gave me a dirty look. "That's not my problem," he snapped. "It's not for me to say. Be creative." So, I've been creative. Once he's expelled the enema, I tell him to lie back down on the table. I attach padded ankle cuffs, hook those to cables from the ceiling, and winch him up. He's now hanging upside down, with his legs spread wide apart. Oh, and one more thing. I attached a parachute ball-stretcher to his scrotum. This is hooked by a bungee cord to another cable from the ceiling. It's winched pretty tight. Bungee cords are great, aren't they? You can use them for nearly anything. You can use them to keep your bicycle in place when you hang it from the bike rack on the back of your car, Or you can use them to apply a great deal of pressure to your husband's balls, ensuring that any twitch, any movement he makes, will cause him excruciating pain. You can see that pain etched on Dinh's face now as he begins to cry...upside down. The tears are running from his eyes, down his forehead, and onto the floor. "Be creative," he said. "It's not for me to say," he said. Well, here's what I came up with.
Getting the first one-and-a-half-inch ball on this cute little sex toy to pop inside him is going to be the challenge. I'm tempted to just apply pressure, because as I press down on the ball to get it to pop into his ass, it's going to press his body downward which will increase the pressure on his own balls. But I come up with something even better, something even more evil, something I show him, demonstrating its functionality, something that looks so terrifying that he actually gasps – my little Dinh gasps. It actually frightens him.
A speculum is a medical device designed to dilate an orifice. Used by gynecologists for years as a standard instrument to facilitate pap smears, they're also used by proctologists to open the anus for examination. The proctological instrument is slightly different from the vaginal version. Rather than having just two "tongues" to spread the orifice vertically, the proctological version has three "tongues" to spread the orifice vertically and horizontally at the same time. The anus is, after all, a bit tighter than your run of the mill vagina, or so I've been told. (Doncha love this terminology? I know I do.) The object here is to stretch Dinh so that he can accommodate a one-and-a-half-inch ball without...umm...hurting him...well...without damaging him. A speculum will stretch him, and it will do so in the most terrifyingly medical way I can imagine.
"What do you need, baby?" I ask.
He's sobbing. "I...need...to cum."
"'S'not time yet. Soon, though."
"Please!" he begs.
This is my moment for gratification, because I'm not going to get to fuck him today. He's going to get fucked with a seventeen-inch pliable rubber "dildo". So I want something else. I take off my clothes and slip my dick into his mouth, and as he swallows me, I lick him. I lick the inside of the orifice that I've dilated. I don't know how to be much clearer about that. I've been licking ass for a long time, but it's really hard to get your tongue in there, isn't it? It isn't hard today. He's opened to an inch and a quarter. I stick my tongue in and slither it around the inner lips of his sphincter, and he screams. With every lick he screams. "Oh, fuck...Jesus...oh...god...oh, fuckingjesu..." He's now officially incoherent, and I'm nearly ready to cum. I pull my dick out of his mouth, reduce the dilation of the speculum, and remove it. Then I lube the seventeen-inch rubber monster of a sex toy, and begin to slide it into him, and as every rubber ball slides past his sphincter, he screams. He is in absolute fucking ecstasy, and so much pain. As each of the five balls enters him, as each of those seventeen inches slide into him, he screams. He screams, and he screams.
And then I stop. "What should we do now, baby?"
"Please...please...," he begs.
"Would you like to cum?"
He doesn't answer. He just sobs. He's so cute. I take him in my mouth, and I start to suck him, retracting his foreskin with my tongue, and then running my tongue very slowly around the dickhead. Next, I lick along the underside of the shaft, again very slowly, and once I get to the dickhead, I just slather my tongue around. A good blow job is all about the dickhead, isn't it? That's where all those wonderful nerve endings are, and my experience with uncircumcised men is that their dickheads are even more sensitive than mine, sensitive to the point of pain if you're not careful how you suck them. I'm being very careful how I suck Dinh, because I'm not willing to let him cum yet. I'm not willing to let him cum for a good long while. I want him to enjoy the seventeen inches of pliable rubber that he contains for as long as possible. This massive "butt plug" has a handle of sorts, but it also has a little string attached to the end of it, and that string makes me laugh. The manufacturer knows what you're going to do with this thing. They know you're going to stuff it, handle and all, up there. You'll need that little string later to get it back out. So, each time Dinh gets close to orgasm, I back off him, stand up, and give that string a jerk. I don't want to dislodge anything, I just want to remind him that it's in there. I want it to move a little. He needs to remember that he has seventeen inches of pliable rubber up his ass. When I jerk that string, he shrieks. Then I go back to his dick.
We do this for nearly half an hour, until he's sobbing and begging. "Please, Tim...please...let...me..."
Finally, I relent. Finally it's time. I take him in my mouth and swirl my tongue around his dickhead while at the same time tugging on the string attached to the "butt plug". The idea is to pull this thing out of him while he cums, rubber ball by rubber ball, all seventeen inches of it. What is it about anal beads (or in this case anal rubber balls) that's so...erotic? No, "erotic" is the wrong word. "Erotic" implies that the idea of them is hot. Here it's not the idea that's hot. It's how they feel as they're pulled out of you. I think it must be something about the control of your body. The sphincter muscle is pretty active when you're having an orgasm. But, what if you lose control of the sphincter muscle because it, too, is being over-stimulated by the removal of these balls? I don't know.
Dinh has been on edge for a long time, for nearly an hour, so it doesn't take long before he's firing in my mouth. As he fires, I pull the rubber toy out of him, ball by ball. I don't think he's ever screamed this loud. He's sobbing, and screaming, and filling my mouth with spunk. He tastes good. He tastes really good.
It takes him a good long time to come down from this. I release the bungee cord from his balls and the clamps from his nipples. I remove the ball stretcher, lower him to the ground, remove the ankle cuffs, and carry him to the chair in the corner where we cuddle. After forty-five minutes or so, he starts to recover. "And?" I ask.
Wrong question. Wrong time. He starts to cry again, but soon recovers. And, when he does, he looks into my eyes, smiles, and locks his lips to mine in a very passionate kiss, a kiss that lingers, a kiss that goes on for several minutes. Finally, he breaks the kiss. "Oh, my god. I can't even begin to describe that! It was amazing! When you showed me that metal thing, that stretching tool, I was so scared. I don't think I've ever been more frightened in my life. I was just... I really can't talk about this, yet."
I look at him, concerned. Have I gone too far? Have I done something he didn't enjoy? I guess I look a little...anguished. He hugs me, and kisses me again.
"No, baby," he whispers, "this was the best. I just can't quite get my mind around it, yet. It was the best ever!"
Bryce seems to be doing well. He's amazing at the center. I've
assigned him to take over the session of someone who's leaving us. Corrie is
The popularity of these sessions, I think, is based on Bryce's sincerity. He's a very humble guy. He's not trying to proselytize or convert anyone. He's just telling a story, his story, and sometimes his story is profoundly sad. When he talks about his how his father responded to being told by his mother that he's gay, for example, there are a lot of tears. During one session, talking about his nephew, even Bryce breaks down. He has to pause, to regain control. The other thing, though, that makes his sessions so popular is the interaction. He invites the kids to participate. This is not a lecture. He wants to hear what others have experienced, and when you have a room full of better than 175 others, that's a lot of experience. He's very good at bringing people out, at coaxing them to tell their stories, and the stories are often...heartbreaking. One boy tells of coming out to his parents, and being beaten by his father for that admission. "Don't you ever tell anyone that!" the father shouted at him. A girl, Amanda, who's been coming to us for a year or so, admitted that she'd been raped after coming out. "My parents knew," she said. "They probably invited the boy to do it. They thought I needed a `heterosexual' experience." Another boy, a mormon, tells of having been discovered in his bedroom kissing another boy. He was ostracized within his family. Good christians that they were, the family wouldn't disown him. They wouldn't put him out on the street, but neither parents nor siblings will speak to him, and they walk the other way when they see him. He's one of the few whose family knows that he comes to us. They don't care. He's dead to them, apparently. They don't care what he does.
I have very little faith in humanity these days, very little hope for the future of civilization. I find Bryce's sessions both incredibly uplifting, and profoundly depressing. They take a lot out of me, but I find that I can't stand to miss a single one. They're just so...touching. I learn so much about the kids we serve, about their lives, about their realities. I've had a sense that his sessions take a lot out of Bryce as well. He seems very pensive at the end of them, very...thoughtful. He's still going to Dr. Jacobs three times a week, and those sessions, too, seem...tiring for him. They seem to weigh on him, and I realize just how much after one session. His sessions with Dr. Jacobs are at 3:00 P.M. He typically gets home at 4:00 P.M. This day, he gets home at 4:45 P.M. and his eyes are red – really red. I'm sitting in the living room reading the results of a new survey on bullying in schools. There are some disturbing trends. Bullying of gay teens appears to be on the rise, and a lot of that bullying is physically abusive. It's becoming more abusive. Bryce comes in from the entry hall and plunks down on the couch next to me. "'Sup?" I ask, not really looking at him.
"I...umm...need to talk to you."
Then he starts to cry, and that's when he gets my attention. "What's wrong, Bryce," I ask, setting the report on the end table. "What's going on?"
Bryce falls into my lap, clutching me around the waist, weeping. I stroke his back and wait. Finally he stops crying enough to talk. "I need to tell someone what they did to me. I've told Dr. Jacobs, but it isn't enough. She thinks I should tell someone else. She suggested that I tell you."
"I'm a little lost, Bryce. About what who did to you?"
Ah. Now I've got it. "Umm...okay. So, this is a confession...sorta?"
"Sorta. It's a confession of what I let them do to me. Magda...Dr. Jacobs...thinks that telling the story will make me stronger. She thinks I should tell it a lot. She wants me to relive it...but...I'm so...umm..." I wait. I'm not putting words into his mouth. "Can I tell you?"
"Of course you can tell me."
"My parents flew me from
"We found you in
"Right. How'd you find me, by the way?"
"A very well-paid private investigator," I say with a smile.
"Hmmmm... They sent me to
"The therapy sessions, both the private therapy and the group sessions, concentrated a lot on demons. The therapist asked a lot of questions about...possession, and I came to believe that I was actually possessed." He's sobbing again, and it takes him several minutes to calm down. I stroke his back and his hair, trying to comfort him. "I started to have dreams about demons. I started to think that demons had possessed me in my sleep. I started to feel as though this was hell, and that the only escape was...umm...heaven."
This statement stops me in my tracks. "What's that mean, Bryce? What's `heaven'?"
He sobs for several minutes. Finally, "Heaven's anywhere that's not here."
I lift him off my lap and look into his eyes. "Do you still think that?"
Sobbing, "Nooooo," he wails.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes," he says quietly, lying back down in my lap. We pause for several minutes. "Ultimately, the therapist started to ask about my relationship with my father, and after a while I realized that he was saying that it was my father's fault that I was gay. He was trying to tell me that my father was distant and...uncaring. But he wasn't. We were close. We were very close. As a child I felt...loved."
We pause again, for probably ten minutes. Bryce lies in my lap, and I continue to stroke him. He's staring off into space, very pensive.
"And..." He starts to cry again. "There was...umm...what they called `aversion therapy'. It started with a rubber band on my wrist. When I had `inappropriate sexual thoughts,' which means when I saw a...boy...I was attracted to, I was supposed to snap the rubber band to remind myself that those thoughts were...umm...inappropriate, that he was off limits. But, ultimately, it went beyond that. The aversion therapy...went...beyond...that..." He's sobbing again. "I can't believe I let them...," he chokes. It's a good five minutes before he gets this out. "My...umm...therapist asked me to...umm...tie a..." He's sobbing inconsolably. "He asked me to tie a shoelace around my..." Sobbing...sobbing...sobbing... "He asked me to tie a shoelace around my balls, and to jerk it when I had inappropriate thoughts."
Bryce is absolutely attached to me, and is hugging me so tight
while he sobs. "I'm so sorry," he wails. I have to admit, this admission shocks
me. I'm no stranger to pain, to causing it, and to enjoying it, but not in the
pursuit of humiliation, and certainly not to degrade. But this...this is
unforgiveable. This is monstrous. I don't know what to say. I can imagine
telling Dinh to tie a shoelace around his balls, and to jerk it occasionally,
to cause him pain. But, I don't want to change him. He's perfect as he is. I
love him just the way he is. This brings me back to a question
"I wish you'd told me this earlier, baby! I didn't know what they put you through. There's no reason to be sorry. I think you did what you had to do. You did what they forced you to do." He squeezes me tight, and continues to sob. I think this is what Dr. Jacobs was looking for. Why else would she want him to tell me this? She was looking for someone credible to forgive him, someone besides her. She's paid to forgive him. I'm not. She was looking for an understanding ear, for someone who would understand the importance of letting Bryce off the hook. But, it...umm...just hurts me so. Years ago, while lecturing Ian about drugs, I sent him to ask Kenny about Andrew's death. This forced Kenny to relive the night that Andrew overdosed. This caused Kenny such anguish that he asked me later never to do that to him again, never to make him revisit those memories again. I understand why Dr. Jacobs wants Bryce to come back to this, but...
But, he doesn't hesitate. He integrates this confession into one of his sessions at the Center. He tells better than 180 people this same story. As usual, it's a capacity crowd, except this time the press is there. Word has gotten out about Bryce and his story, and we have Brant Davison, the "Faith and Religion" columnist for the Merc (the San Jose Mercury News) in the room. Bryce is eloquent, as ever, but half way through his story...he loses it. He starts to sob, and it's a good five minutes before he can recover. He rehearsed this presentation. I heard him. He wanted to be cogent. He wanted to be calm. But there's still so much residual guilt. How could he have let this happen to him? How could he have let himself be so manipulated, and so humiliated?
The Mercury article comes out the next day, and one of the kids at the Center shows it to Bryce. Bryce is very stoic. He nods. He thanks the boy for showing him the article, and then, at about 5:00 P.M., he walks home. I get home at 5:35 P.M., and about fifteen minutes later Evan rushes into the house. He's frantic. "You've got to come, Tim. Please. I can't wake Bryce." I have absolutely no idea what this is about. Wake Bryce? I just saw Bryce, didn't I?
Evan pulls me out of my chair in the kitchen where I've been chatting with Jason, and I follow him through the back gate and into his house. He takes me to Bryce's room, where Bryce is sleeping. A nap, I guess. Except, my bottle of Ambien is sitting on the night stand. It's empty. I tear up instantly. This is Andrew all over again. I shake Bryce, trying to wake him. No luck. I check for pulse and respiration. He's alive. "Call 911," I tell Evan. "Do it now! Tell them he's overdosed on prescription sleeping pills." Bryce has taken eleven Ambiens. I know this because I've only ever taken four of these pills. He'll die soon. We have to get him help quickly.
And "quickly" is what we get. Paramedics are with us within five minutes. They respirate him, and continue to respirate him on the way to O'Connor Hospital's emergency room. They tell me he's pale and clammy. They take the pill bottle, so they know exactly what he's taken, and I tell them how many were in that bottle. His pulse is very slow, and his breathing is shallow. They're not hopeful. They have a tube down his throat and into his stomach by the time they get to the hospital, and have given him something to absorb the toxins, they tell me. I don't know what that means. I call Dr. Cohen, my G.P., and he's with us in minutes, or with Bryce at least. Evan is with me in the E.R. waiting room. He can't stop crying. I can't either, frankly. We're not sobbing, but we're dribbling pretty freely. Finally Cohen emerges from the E.R. followed, to my amazement, by Dr. Jacobs, Bryce's therapist. They plant themselves in chairs across from us. Cohen nods at me. "We're out of the woods. He's going to be okay."
"He's still very...subdued," Dr. Jacobs says "But we'll bring him out of that. He responded to all this...harder than I thought he would. I'm going to prescribe an anti-depressant, Prozac. I'm hoping this will reduce his...despair. He's very upset."
"Can I see him," I ask, urgently.
Jacobs looks at Cohen, and he nods.
Bryce looks very...slight. He's not especially tall anyway, probably about Jason's height. But he looks so frail and vulnerable at this moment. When I get to the room he's staring into space. His eyes are red. He's been crying. I sit next to the bed and wait.
"I'm sorry," he says. "I didn't mean to scare anyone. I didn't mean to..."
"What did you mean, baby?"
After several long moments, he turns his head to look at me. "I meant to die."
We pause. "Why?" I ask.
He stares into my eyes. "Because it hurt too much."
I nod. "Is it better now?" I ask.
He looks at me, blankly. "I don't know."
I stare into his eyes, probably more intensely than I should. Renaissance poets used to say that the eyes are the mirrors of the soul. I think they were right. You can tell so much from the eyes. You can burrow right into the core of a person through their eyes. Bryce's eyes are a dazzling green, a vibrant green, a green so pure, so luminous that they draw you in. "Bryce, you need to know something."
He focuses on me, abruptly. He looks into my eyes.
"You need to know that I...umm...love you."
He starts to tear up, and then to cry. "Somewhere I knew that," he chokes. "In some part of me I was sure of that. Could I...umm...have a hug?"
I crawl onto the bed next to him and hug him. I hold him. "Please don't do this again. Please... I don't want to lose you. I don't want the world to lose you."
Published first at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nemo-stories/
David, Please Understand Me II:
Temperament, Character, Intelligence,