I know, my story, although important to me, is a story like so many others; I often ask myself how many other men lived the same experience, the same solitude, the same desire to cry out to the world: There is nothing wrong witm me!! At 19 I had already experienced enough pain for a lifetime.

When I was 8 years old I already felt attracted to other boys; at that age I certainly did not know or understand what all this meant, and , on the contrary, I used to be very happy when, hand in hand, I would accompany Mariuccio home from school, he too had special attentions towards me, and many times, before I would leave him he would kiss me on the lips: I liked that very much. If I only had known then what these innocent acts meant and what they would have brought later in the years.

At 19 I knew, there was no coming back, and all I tried to "change" failed, I was bitter towards life, the world, and angry at that God who chose not to listen to me. And then I met Marco.

I already knew that this encounter would have brought only troubles, and unhappiness, but I let it happen anyway. Marco looked up to me, I was everything he dreamed to be: I was going to college, he never fineshed high school, I had a nice car, money, I dressed well, and I was devilishly handsome. My friends used to ask me why was I associating with this kid, a construction worker, certainly not the type we would have included in our group, of course, they did not know, to me Marco was everything.

Every day, after classes, I would rush home, take a shower and go down to the Square. Standing in front of the Ruby Cafe' waiting for Marco, I would talk to the other guys as a matter of habit, sometimes I did not even know what they were saying, all I could think of was Marco appearing from around the corner and there he would be, showing off the whitest teeth I have ever seen. There would always be a moment of embarrassment , we both knew that our friends could not help noticing the attraction we felt for each other. We always shook hands, and the moment we touched, my heart would pound so loudly I was afraid anybody around us could hear it.

We would talk of this and that, nothing important, but so happy to be together, and never missing a chance to steal a touch or a special look.

Fast farward; this routine lasted for the following five years. I lived only for the moments we could spend together, nothing else was important or mattered. It was not a happy time, always longing to be able to tell him how much I loved him, how life without him meant nothing. I wanted to touch him, to hold him close to me forever. But we were so shy and so afraid, terrified, of what the other might have said.

One day, at the beach, after swimming, we laid on the golden sand of Muriano, with us was a mutual friend, Giancarlo. We started horsing around, and lo and behold, everytime Giancarlo would look away, Marco would kiss me, if briefly, on the lips! I thought I would die, I was so happy, I could not describe, in a million years, the feeling that came over me. I thought we had finally overcome our fears, but after that day, we never spoke obout it.

More years filled with heartache, emptiness, nothingness, I was now 28, and still not able to go to him and say: "I love you, and I KNOW you love me too, why can't we at least talk about it??!!" and finally it happened.

One evening we happend to sleep at his aunt's, together with his older brother, in the same bed!! I don't know how in the world it happened, but there I was, next to him in the bed, his brother was sleeping on the other side of him. In the quietness of the night I could hear him breathing, and I knew he was not asleep; my heart was ready to explode, and then I did it: I reached out and touched him, and after a moment I could feel him getting excited. I was so scared, I thought he was going to scream at me and call me names or whatever. Instead he turned towards me and, instinctively, we started kissing and touching, still being very discreet (even now I wonder why didn't I touch him where I really wanted!!). For hours we kept kissing, with all the rage and desire surpressed for so many years. I am not really sure what happened then, it was almost like an out of body experience, I don't remember much about it, did we finalize or not? I don't know.

The first light of the morning was already coming through the window, and all I can remember is Marco saying: "Ok, now we should sleep a little". Nothing else.

At about seven, Marco got up and went to work, I did not go to classes, I was too happy, confused, but I was sure that now we would open to each other and free our love. That evening, there I was, in the Square, sitting in my car and waiting for him. I had decided to ask him if he wanted to come to my house by the sea and continue what we had interrupted that morning. But once again I lacked courage, so I wrote in a piece of paper: would you like to go to my house and be alone with me? When he arrived, he got into the car and barely said hi, he was pretending to listen to the music coming out of the radio. I gathered all the courage I could manage and gave him the note; he simply said: "No".

The whole world collapsed around me, I don't know how, but I managed to ask why, and he said: "I don't feel like it".

I wanted to hit him, hurt him, for making me feel so bad, all I could think was: so, what happened last night did not mean anything to you? and, if it is so, why in the hell are you sitting here with me once again!!

We never spoke of this again. I was still so in love (and so was he!!) but I could not take that pain any longer: a few weeks later I left the country.

I am 51 now, I have had two partners in my life, both named Robert, the first one quietly disappeared from my life after 15 years, the latter is still with me. Did I love them like I loved Marco? No!! Do I still love Marco? Yes!! But not the Marco I occasionally see when I go back to my country, I love the Marco of long time ago.

Even now, when I see Marco, I can see the same embarassment of so long ago when our eyes meet. Marco is married and has two daughters. As much as I would like to forget, I often dream of him, and in the dream we are always about to get into each other's arms, but something always happens, and the moment flees.

My name is Ruggero