Copyright© 2013 – Nicholas Hall
Gif's Island – Chapter Eight –"In the intercourse of social life, it is the little acts of watchful kindness recurring daily and hourly by words, tones, gestures, looks that affection is won and preserved." – (Sala)
That's the one question no one, and I mean no one, ever asked of me! Oh, I asked it of myself many, many times, especially when I was young, before Cameron and I became friends and then lovers. Those times when my thoughts shifted from myself to other boys, while they were engaged in joking conversations concerning some "hot" girl, I was concentrating on what was inside the zipper of some "hot" boys pants. Each time I asked myself the question "when did I become gay?" the answer came back the same; I don't know- it always seemed I was so, just not accepting what I am or who I'd always be. That acceptance, of one's self, seemed the hardest, yet the most logical thing to do, I now see in retrospect.
Stony sat, a silent plea on his face, seeking an answer from me which, I presumed, might either affirm or deny his own struggle with his sexuality. I really had a couple of choices in delivering my answer; either question him concerning why he wanted to know and for what purpose or merely relay to him my own journey through a turbulent, slippery, precarious, and shadowy slope in a bigoted and sometimes hostile world. He could extract from that story what he wished and finally draw his own conclusions, determining whether he perceived himself as a gay, straight, or bisexual male. Perhaps he already knew and was seeking confirmation of his own conclusions, I didn't know. I wouldn't force him, criticize or belittle him; I thought too much of Stony for that. My feelings for him had grown deeply since he came to the Island. His laughter, gentle nature, his sharing of life's chores, acceptance of me and my companionship was cherished dearly by me. I'd fallen in love with this young man and as much as it might pain me, should he choose a different path or someone else, I'd have to bear the loss and release him although part of my heart would travel with him wherever and with whoever he went.
The silence seemed so pronounced, it was loud, at least in my mind, but was shattered even more as I cleared my throat and began,
"You already know some of what my relationship with Cameron was so I may repeat myself, but it's all part of who I am and what I am. Stony, I don't know when I said to myself, `I'm gay,' `homosexual,' or whatever we were called in those days. It was a time and place when and where I grew up, over on the mainland, when little boys and big boys didn't come out announcing to the world they'd rather look at boy's cocks instead of girl's boobs. I think I knew early on I was different; different enough to realize it was something I didn't want to talk about. It was pretty obvious, even in grade school, I had to be careful and so I was."
"Cameron and I knew, early on, what we liked so we tried our best to conceal our love for each other when in public. Guys just did not hold hands or kiss each other where others could see them. Momma and Uncle John knew of our affection, but I don't think many others did."
"Before Cameron moved into the neighborhood, I was pretty much alone, by choice more than anything else, I think. I had older cousins, one you met at the sheriff's office, and playmates while at school, but in grade school it became apparent little boys didn't stare at other little boy's dicks while peeing in the school restroom. Boys did of course, but if their gaze lingered a bit too long and it was noticed, someone would shout "queer" or something and the thought of having that label attached to me was more than I thought I could take."
"I wasn't a very big or brave lad growing up, Stony, and I don't like fighting. I saw no value in it, but I'd defend myself when forced to. Older or bigger boys in school would single me out, shove me around, knock my books from my hands, call me names, and I suppose I just let them, trying to avoid a confrontation and getting the shit beat out of me. I thought it was better to avoid trouble then seek it out or confront it. In those days, I suppose you could say I was `cute,' `huggable,' and definitely vulnerable."
I remember very vividly one day after recess, in second grade or so, I was in the restroom and a couple of bigger boys, sixth graders, came in. They began snickering and saying things behind my back, but I didn't turn around and look; I concentrated on peeing into the urinal, wanting to finish before they did something to me. I couldn't understand what they were saying, but I figured they meant trouble for me. Just as I finished and was going to tuck my pecker away, one of them reached around the front of me and grabbed it. I remember he said, `Move or scream and I'll yank your cock off of you by the roots, you little queer boy.' I was petrified, nodding my head in acknowledgement, fighting to keep the tears from streaming down my face resulting from the painful grip he had on me. Next he said to his buddy, "Pull down his pants and help hold him so I can fuck him." Now I was more than petrified, I was scared shitless; I knew very well what he was going to do and once he was done, his buddy would take sloppy seconds. What was going to happen to me was going to be brutal and painful and my butt was going to ache, like, forever, I thought. Fortunately one of the female teachers hollered in the door for us to hurry up or she was coming in and get us.
Her intervention saved my ass, literally, since no grade school boy wants the teacher to walk in and see your pecker hanging out. The bigger boys took off, I stood and cried a couple of minutes and left, hoping they were long gone. I was very careful after that, never going in the restroom alone and more than watchful walking to or from the bus before and after school.
When Cameron moved in to the neighborhood, across the street from us, I watched them, that day, unload their furniture and other items from the U-Haul truck pulled up in the driveway. They had a huge family, I thought coming from a family of one child, and really didn't seem to have a whole lot in material wealth or possessions; not that we had any more, but there were fewer of us. Cameron's dad had been offered and accepted a position as custodian at the same elementary school where my Mom worked. As they unloaded, I saw Cameron standing at the end of the sidewalk, catching his breath after carrying a heavy box to the house, hands on his hips and the saddest look on his face. I thought he looked a lot lonelier than me and more vulnerable, so I walked down the street, stood beside him for a minute, and when he looked at me, I said, "Hi, I'm J.T.", to which he responded "Cameron" and that started our friendship.
We became great friends, inseparable, comfortable in each other's company, and lost without the other. Cameron and I didn't become lovers or boyfriends from the start; but I became his protector, his knight in shining armor, and he became my liege lord, to whom I owed my fealty. We had that summer together getting to know each other and to be with each other. When school started in late August, we traipsed off to school like any other seventh graders did, apprehensive about leaving sixth grade and, for Cameron, a new school in a new town.
Junior High School can be pretty formidable for a small sixth grade boy or for a pair of them for that matter, and it didn't seem to take long for a couple of bully boys to zero in on Cameron. During lunch recess, when a jillion kids all crowd out on the playground in unsupervised mayhem, one of the bully bastards cornered Cameron when he was away from me, grabbed him in the crotch, squeezing his balls, and shouted, "Hey, everybody, Pussy-boy ain't got any nuts." Cameron screamed in pain, agony, and terror, calling my name to come help him.
Prior to that time, I'd never been inclined to violence, avoiding it at every opportunity, but that scream of pain from my best friend, tipped me over the edge. There were a couple of boys playing pop-up catch with a softball and bat and as I ran by them, heading for Cameron, I grabbed the bat from them. It was one of those metal bats that makes a "thoink" noise when it contacts the ball rather than a "thunk" noise like a wooden bat. It went "thoink" when I hammered the bully in the middle of the back with it and when he turned around it made a "thunk" noise when I hit a homerun to his balls, dropping him like an infield fly.
As he lay there sobbing, I quickly gathered Cam into my arms, offering him my protection and comfort. Two of the bully's buddies started toward him, either to help or after me I wasn't certain, but when I pointed the bat at them and said "Back off, assholes, or you'll get the same inning," they turned and went hunting for help. I then turned to Cameron's attacker as he lay writhing on the playground, poked him in the gut to get his attention, and announced, "If you so much as come near Cameron again, I'll find you and you won't have to worry about your balls hurting, because you won't have any."
One of the female playground supervisors, summoned by his buddies, came screeching at me, calling me a "bully," a "nasty little boy," and other such nonsense. I looked at her, pointed the bat at her, and said, "Back off, lady; they started it and I finished it! Now, if you'll excuse us, we're going to the principal's office and get these pricks punished."
Well, I'd like to say all's well that ends well, but even though Cameron's attackers got suspended from school; I received a week's detention for threatening the supervisor. It was worth it; she looked over her shoulder the entire time we were in Junior High, I guess thinking those two scrawny, little nerds were going to attack her. Cameron wouldn't go home without me and sat in the detention room with me the entire week. It was then I knew I loved Cameron and the way he looked at me, told me he loved me in return. I think it was that year, our seventh grade year together, that we both admitted what we already knew; we liked boys better than girls and one boy in particular.
I stood, stretched my legs, rubbed my aching and stiff arm, picked up our empty glasses, went to the kitchen and returned with fresh drinks for both of us.
"Stony, I think many gay kids go through all sorts of torment and anguish trying to come to grips with who they are and what they'll become. Society doesn't make it easy and, unfortunately, some don't survive the humiliation and taunts heaped upon them by the bigots and bullies of the world. They often feel they have nowhere to go for help, but they do, if they'd just seek it out. There are groups and individuals out there who will reach out and help, if they only knew who these kids are. For me, Uncle John and Mom were my rocks. They never said anything concerning my sexual preferences or my relationship with Cameron, but readily accepted whoever I was and Cameron too. We were lucky!"
"So how does a boy know he's gay? I think he knows, inside of himself, but it takes guts and support of loved ones to admit it, even in today's world. When he enjoys looking at males instead of females; when he masturbates with images of guys instead of gals in his fantasies to bring himself off; when he falls in love dozens of times but is fearful of expressing it because it's another guy and he is fearful of rejection or being ostracized and; one day looks in the mirror, sees who he really is, admits it, and accepts it, then he's gay. Finally, one day, someday, he falls in love and if he's lucky, the other guy falls for him and they're able to make a life together. Does that answer your question?"
The moon, now full, large and white after transitioning from its amber rising color, illuminated the porch as we sat silently, each of us absorbed in our own thoughts, those special reveries reserved for the inner self, stored for retrieval at such times as these. It was growing late and I was tiring, but I was reluctant to bring the conversation to an end and call it a day. Stony sat quietly, as he often did, in the darkness, jiggling the ice in his glass, deep in thought as if he was slowly digesting, assimilating, and compartmentalizing all he'd heard from me and was in the process of formulating a response. The moonlight was soothing on the soul and romantic if lovers in its glow were entwined in sweet embrace, setting the mood for our discussion and for the peace I now felt in my heart.
Stony finally turned to me again, asking, "How do you know when you find someone and fall in love and how do you know when that person loves you in return?"
Now, that was a more difficult question for me to answer than his first one, although "falling in love" applies to all couples, gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, but cannot be easily defined I thought, since each situation is different. There are those who claim to know otherwise, but I'm not one of them. If I thought I was, I'd go on television or write a book and make some big bucks, but I'm not.
I thought a moment, responding, "Stony, it's different for every person so all I can do is tell you how I knew when I fell in love; at least with my limited experience as a guide. With Cameron and me, it was not sex at first, although it became an integral part of our relationship as we grew closer and closer, but friendship and the joy of being together. Granted, we did all of those things little boys are wont to do, all the way from comparing and measuring each other's dicks, to pissing together, and sleepovers where we finally ended up jacking each other off, but it was more than that."
"Falling and staying in love with Cameron was a fulfillment of myself; a completion of all I wanted to do in life; caring for and loving another person, sharing my joys, sorrows, triumphs, and defeats with him. We could sit together on a couch or a porch, such as we are this evening, enjoying each other's company, holding each other in an embrace, and without a spoken word between us, feel that deep satisfaction and warmth of being loved by someone, just by their very presence."
"When you love another, you walk into a room and instantly seek each other out; at night, you reach a hand across the bed toward the other seeking his closeness or pulling him to you for his warmth. You find their voice soothing, a comfort to hear, giving you reassurance and support even in the most difficult of times. Cameron had a habit of laying his head on my chest when he slept and when he wasn't there, I'd always search the bed with one hand until I located him. For several years after his death, I caught myself seeking him in my bed, only to find the spot empty and my heart would ache."
"Those little idiosyncrasies you have or your lover has are ignored, but those special, unique, personal traits such as his scent, his goofy fucking smile, his upbeat and gentle laugh, everything about him brought joy to my life, even when he swirled his ice in his glass, rattling the cubes against the side, driving others around him nuts, brought happiness to my heart knowing he was there."
I stopped, suddenly remembering Cameron never did that, but Stony does. Stony is the one with the goofy, fucking smile, not Cameron. I must have hesitated too long, because Stony interrupted by asking, "Is it also when you look at someone and see not the flaws or roughness, or damage caused by others, but only the kindness, the gentleness, the caring and warmth of a person that others might not see?"
Nodding my head slowly, numbly, I felt my stomach begin to tremble and my heart quicken.
"Is it when," Stony continued, " even though someone may be older, you feel you want to protect, shelter, and comfort them and share your life with them, but you don't know if they feel the same way?"
Again, I nodded my head in affirmation, fearful of releasing my gaze on the moon, knowing full well Stony was doing the same.
"Is it," Stony said softly, "when you finally work up enough courage to say `J.T., I love you?"
To be continued.
Thank you for reading "Gif's Island – Chapter Eight –"In the intercourse of social life, it is the little acts of watchful kindness recurring daily and hourly by words, tones, gestures, looks that affection is won and preserved." – (Sala)
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