|An Extra Year In The Dorm, Part 2
by Greg Scott
All the usual stuff about you must be old enough in your jurisdiction, etc. In other words, if you are underage, don't read this unless you have a really cool teacher who assigned it. Otherwise, come back in a few years, when nobody will yell at you.
------------------------------By the time I went to bed that night, I still hadn't made a decision about my coach's request. When I awoke the next morning, it was much clearer to me.
While my adjustment to college life in a large city had gone smoothly, I had met other guys from farms or small towns who had not handled it as well. They seemed to go in one of two directions.
Some of the guys, the smaller group, seemed to be afraid of everything; the sound of the traffic bothered them when they tried to sleep or study; anybody who looked the slightest bit "street wise" scared them.
The other group consisted of those for who this change was a liberating experience - at times quite a bit too liberating. Many of them forgot their main reason for being here and became lost in all of the social options that this environment provided. A lot of those weren't around for sophomore year.
The freshman girls seemed to handle it better. Maybe that was because girls are better at looking after each other than guys are.
I decided that I needed to accept the coach's challenge and room with this soon to be new member of our team. It was important to the soccer team's future that this guy succeed in school. To be truly honest, though, I figured it was my duty to help another small town guy mature in the way that only overcoming new challenges can allow.
I knew all about small town guys overcoming challenges, although my obstacles had not come during college but rather a year and a half before. To be more precise, my biggest challenges of my life so far had come exactly ten days after I had lost my virginity (if it can be called that) with Adam.
On that day, a Tuesday if it matters, I arrived at school and went straight to my locker, a perfectly normal event. I didn't really think much of it at the time but I later realized that as I walked down the corridor saying hello to practically everyone I passed, most of them just nodded their greeting. I even passed Adam, and he didn't say or do anything to recognize my presence. He was talking to another guy, so I just figured at the time that he was distracted. No big deal.
If I had paid any attention at the time to the greetings I received, or more accurately didn't receive, it would have been clear to me when I reached my locker more or less in the middle of the school's main hallway. My locker door was decorated with huge letters running vertically from top to bottom spelling out
That wasn't a word that was heard a lot around my school. Sure, students would playfully say, "That's gay" or "You're such a queer," but this word was clearly meant to be anything buy playful. In fact, I don't think that I have ever heard anyone actually say the word out loud. That attitude, that depth of disrespect just didn't seem to exist at my high school.
Upon seeing it, before I did anything else, before I opened the door, before I even wondered about who might have written it, I instinctively licked my thumb and began to rub vigorously. I didn't even partially smear the lettering on the door's surface.
I thought of running to the bathroom to wet a paper towel, but it was too close to first period. I don't really know why I thought that water would succeed where my spit had failed.
As soon as I got to my first period class, Mr. Alexander called me to his desk.
He whispered so that only I could hear, "You can go find the cleaning people to get rid of the graffiti, if you want. You won't miss anything important in here."
I had actually thought about Mr. Alexander a few times during my solo, private times before going to sleep. Now I just stood in front of him with a red face and nothing to say. I walked out of the room silently after he handed me a pass.
By the time I got back to my locker, a very nice woman who was part of the cleaning crew was spraying my locker with fresh paint.
She looked at me and said, "I'm sorry, Jim. This wasn't here a couple hours ago. The paint will dry in about half an hour."
"Thanks," I said weakly as I headed for the school exit.
As I walked home, I began to wonder who had written the message and why. I thought of two explanations. Either Mom or Dad had told someone and it had gotten back to one of my school mates, or, the more likely scenario, Adam had told what I had assumed was our secret. I guess that there was one more alternative that I definitely didn't want to think of. That was that Adam had written it.
I figured that I had to explain everything to my parents once they were home from work. As I suspected, they hadn't told anyone about me coming out to them. They also told me that I had to go back to school the next day and pretend that nothing had happened. They assured me that everything would blow over. I know they were more upset than they had let on to me, though, because I could hear them talking in whispers after they went to bed.
Not surprisingly, I barely slept that night. The more that I worried about how my life had changed, the more convinced I had become that it would get even worse. I knew that my social life had come to a crashing halt and that none of my friends would want to be seen talking to me, especially the guys. I wondered if I would be tossed off the soccer team.
I never got into a deep sleep the whole night, yet I was somehow startled awake by my alarm. Later I couldn't even remember showering or getting dressed. I must have been following my regular morning routine without even thinking about it.
When I walked into the kitchen to try to eat something for breakfast even though the thought of food was completely unappealing, my mom was on the phone with her back to me.
"Yes, he'll be there this morning. Okay, good bye," I heard her say quietly.
"What was that?" I asked startling her.
"Your coach," she said as she went about her usual routine.
"What did he want?"
"He just wanted to make sure that you're going to school, today," she replied matter-of-factly, as a morning greeting from my coach was a normal event.
I was sure that meant that he would call me into his office to let me know that I was no longer on the team. I just hoped that he would keep it quiet for a while. After all, the season was over and spring practices were still five months away.
I pulled into the school's student parking lot earlier than I normally do. I wanted to avoid the crowded halls by already being in my first period class room when most of the students start arriving.
I locked my car, something I never do at school and wondered what might be written on the windshield by the end of the day. The possibility of more vandalism had been one of the things that I kept thinking about during my fitfull night.
I walked around the corner of the building on my way to the entrance and suddenly found myself facing what appeared to be a mob.
"Here's Jim," someone shouted.
Everyone in the group turned to face me grinning. "Welcome back," someone said. "Good to see you," said another. They were little more than a blur to me. At first, I didn't even see them as a group of individuals.
As everything started to become clearer to me, after I realized that I wasn't going to be pummeled by an angry posse, I noticed that my entire soccer team was there. Eventually, as I started to look at the girls who were mixed into the group, I knew that the whole girls' soccer team was present, too, along with probably six or ten other friends of mine or friends of friends.
They each shook my hand or hugged me as I was sort of shuttled through the crowd. They treated me as some sort of hero returning from some great accomplishment. I was confused by the apparently spontaneous outpouring.
Then, in the background I saw my coach standing with a big smile on his face. When he saw that I had noticed him, he simply nodded his head in my direction. I understood that my welcoming party was not a coincidental event at all, but a carefully executed demonstration of solidarity. That probably goes a long way in explaining why I find it difficult to refuse a favor to any coach.
In the days between me being outed and winter break, sometimes everything seemed as it had been before. But there were other times when I felt as if I had become part of a surreal movie that somebody else had written.
Most of my friends never mentioned what had been written on my locker. Most didn't ask or talk about my sexual orientation so recently made public in such a hateful and upsetting way, even if my dismay was fairly short-lived.
Over that period of time, three notes were anonymously shoved through the vents of my locker. I read each and pushed them into my pocket until I could safely dispose of them as soon as I got home. I never mentioned any of them to anyone else.
One of those read, "You're going to hell for your sins." It had a rather poorly drawn crucifix below the words.
"Suck my cock, faggot," said another. I probably don't need to tell you about the art work that accompanied that one.
The third one was very different, and considerably longer. I won't tell you everything that the correspondent had written. It was a mini autobiography that closed, "I wish I had your courage," and was signed, "a secret admirer." I almost decided to hang on to that one, but I eventually tossed it into the trash, too.
I notice the unintended irony of his use of the word, "courage." I had done nothing courageous at all. I had simply been victimized and effectively gone into hiding for a day.
One friend asked me what gay guys do together. I explained that he needed to find someone who was more of an expert than I am. Another buddy asked me when I knew that I was gay. I tried to answer that in a little more detail, but I'm not sure that he understood. For me it was more of a gradual realization, so I really couldn't pick a specific time or age when it was suddenly clear.
Several female friends asked me if I had a boyfriend. I felt as if I was disappointing them when I told them that I didn't. One girl offered to fix me up with her cousin, who was a year older. She even showed me his picture. My only objection to her plan was that her cousin lived more than a thousand miles away. It just seemed like a long way to go for a date!
Meanwhile, Adam continued to avoid me. He was the only one, though. In fact, I felt more like punching him than talking to him anyway, but that is not my style.
On the morning after Christmas, a bunch of us had decided to meet at our town's most popular sledding hill to make good use of the snow that had fallen on the day of Christmas Eve. When I got to the designated area, I found the early arrivals of my friends gathered around one of those artificial propane fire rings drinking coffee or hot chocolate. Family groups had assembled near us at the bottom of the hill. I loved watching the children scamper around, falling purposefully onto the soft snow and rolling gleefully. I wondered if it would ever be possible for me to have children and a family of my own.
My high school group pretended to be more mature than the little kids, but as we made more and more trips up the hill to ride speedily down again I discovered that our behavior started to mirror that of the little kids. A good friend of mine and soccer team mate, Juan, tackled me from behind taking me quickly to the ground with the snow breaking my fall. We wrestled playfully for a while before just rolling away from each other giggling on our backs. That was the most physical contact that I had ever had with Juan, except for the fairly frequent fantasies that I had enjoyed in which he played a leading role.
One of the girls in our group came over to dump snow on my face. A nearby child saw what she had done to me and, laughing uncontrollably, did the same to Juan. In almost no time, the four of us had formed a circle, each running hands through the powder and tossing it into the faces of the other members of our little band. As is the case with such spontaneous joy, our play came to a natural end with my friend and her new playmate playfully chasing each other around the other groups of winter enthusiasts.
Juan said, "You want to grab some lunch?"
"Sure," I replied. "What do you feel like eating?"
"Mexican, of course," Juan laughed.
"Me, too," I agreed knowing that Juan would not catch the double entendre that I had used, smiling inwardly at my lustful joke.
That narrowed our options because our town had just one Mexican restaurant, so we shared a lunch of spicy tacos, rice, beans and chips with the world's best salsa. It was late enough in the afternoon that we had the place to ourselves. We talked freely about our mutual friends, school and of course soccer.
As we were finishing the last of our food, Juan asked, "Has Adam apologized to you, yet."
"So it really was Adam, then?" I asked my friend.
He nodded, then added, "But he wasn't the one who wrote on your locker."
"Who did, then?" I asked him. This was the first that I had talked directly to anyone at school about the incident itself.
"I think it was Julie," said Juan. "Or maybe one of her bitch friends."
Julie was Adam's girlfriend, the prudish one who Adam pretended was more adventurous. She was very good looking but not very popular except for her group of holier-than-thou friends.
"Why would she do that?" I asked. "How did she figure me out?"
"Then Adam really hasn't explained it to you?" Juan confirmed.
I shook my head.
"Well, here's the story I hear from Mike who heard it from Sarah," Juan began, after glancing around the restaurant to make sure nobody from the staff was near enough to overhear his tale.
"Adam was trying to get Julie to give him a blow job. Of course, there was no way she would do that. I mean she's never even seen it; there's no way she's going to wrap her lips around it."
"Yeah," I agreed. "He's pretty stupid to think he's going to get anything from her."
"Right," Juan went on in agreement. "I guess he was pretty frustrated that she wouldn't even think about the possibility, so he told her that he knew someone at school who would blow him anytime he wanted. Of course she thought he was just bluffing again, so she asked him who."
"So he gave her my name?" I asked, feeling my anger starting to build again.
"Yeah, plus he told her that you had already given him one and it was great."
"That fucker," I said, as much to myself as to Juan.
"I'll bet he came onto you first, didn't he?" asked Juan.
"You'll have to ask Adam about that," I replied wondering why I was trying to protect him.
"That's what I thought," said Juan, reading between the lines of what I had said.
"What makes you think that?" I asked.
"Adam tried to get me interested in having sex with him," Juan said.
"You?" I was amazed at Adam's stupidity. "You're like the straightest guy at the school."
"Well you would be wrong about that, but Adam is definitely not someone I'd be interested in."
It took me a moment to digest the sentence.
"Are you telling me something?" I asked Juan, my hopes unexpectedly rising.
He nodded smiling.
"I'm as queer as a three dollar bill," he confirmed, removing any doubt about his meaning.
"Yeah, well Adam's not really my type either, but I guess I wasn't thinking too clearly," I said.
"Your first time?" he asked.
"No wonder, then," Juan said. "You can't turn down your first time no matter who the guy is. Sometimes you just have to get off!"
"Tell me about it," I said, thankful for his expression of understanding. "What is your type, then?"
"I don't know," he said, clearly giving it thought. "I think it's more about what the guy is like on the inside. No, that's not true, looks definitely matter. I guess a guy has to have it all for me to really think of him as my type."
I figured that with Juan's looks and personality, he could afford to be picky.
"I will say this, though, if a guy is my type one thing I would definitely do is have a hearty Mexican lunch with him," he grinned.
I didn't say anything, but I felt my cock hardening, which gives you a pretty accurate explanation of my reaction.
But Juan's revelation did more for me than merely arouse me that day. It also lifted an enormous weight off my shoulders. Just to know that there was another gay guy at my high school helped overcome the loneliness that I had felt deep inside me since the hateful incident, a loneliness that I had probably felt longer than that even. I guess that probably we all like to know that there are others who are similar to us in important ways.
It could be like that too for a guy from a small town coming to college at an urban campus, especially so if he is living in the athlete's dorm populated primarily by big city (and often inner city) guys who are often so culturally foreign to those of us from more rural environs. I picked up the phone to let the coach know that I would perform the role that he had asked of me. I would endure an extra year in the dorm.
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