Sometimes it's good to reflect on the past. You know the old saying, "Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it." I'm not sure who said it, but it makes a lot of sense. But there I was, not learning from the past and preparing for a foursome with Andy, Colt, and Thomas. I began to think maybe it was time to return to Dr. Walker.
But in my head, I kept thinking, I'm gay. Yes, I finally admitted that I'm gay and asked myself what's wrong with having sex even if it is a foursome? The answer to that could be examined from a variety of points of view. Of course, there's the moral view. Gay sex is wrong. God hates fags. I didn't believe that. I believed and still believe that God loves everyone. There's the view that sex is only right when you're in a relationship and for some, if you're married. I wasn't in one and wasn't getting married anytime soon. So that didn't qualify. There of course was sex for fun, and I guess that's what we'd have to call the sex we were planning on having that Sunday. But this sex was different than when we were prostituting ourselves. On Sunday we'd be having sex with friends and not someone we picked up somewhere. We weren't old enough to go to gay bars and pick guys up, and I wasn't sure I would do that even if I was old enough. I didn't think that was the kind of life I wanted, but it sure sounded tempting. So in the end, our foursome would be sex for fun, and to be honest, I had no idea if there were any consequences to fucking around whenever we wanted. It seemed a lot better than fucking around with strangers and taking the chance of getting an STD. In fact, I decided we all needed to get tested. Yes, we used condoms all the time, well, most of the time, but it just seemed like a good idea to know for sure. We had always used protection when we were prostituting, but you just never know. And of course, Randy was a wild card who we'd only messed around with a few times, but he sure wasn't Thomas, who was so careful about everything, so who knew what he'd been doing. Randy had fallen off the map, and we didn't know where he was. For all we knew, he was doing porn again or prostituting himself. But who was I to judge?
I told everyone we needed to get tested before we had our orgy. They all complained but agreed to go on Thursday because it was a short practice day since we were having a game the following day.
Matt got all philosophical on me. Sex for fun? That's the way he described it. It was true, but hearing him say it didn't do my ego much good. I'd had enough sex for fun and wanted sex with meaning. The group sex thing was one of convenience because I figured I'd still be with Matt, Thomas, and Colt. It was better than being on the outside watching. Thomas felt the same. I was anxious to have sex with Colt. Yeah, I was ready to have sex with him because he was hot. But I didn't have the same feelings for him as I did for Matt and Thomas.
We put off our group sex until Sunday because we had a football game on Friday. I had an appointment with Dr. Walker on Saturday. Matt hinted that he might join me on Saturday. I figured it might not ever happen, but at least he was talking about it, and that was a step in the right direction.
I decided to see Dr. Walker with Andy on Saturday. I wasn't sure if he'd see me, but Andy was willing to have a session with me or even give up his session if it meant I'd go. Looking back on it now, I realize I was just a coward. I didn't want to hear what Dr. Walker had to say because I was afraid he'd put the brakes on what I wanted to do. But hell, he could do that with Andy too, and of course, Dr. Walker never told us what to do. He made us think, and I didn't want to think about consequences or if what we were doing was right. But of course, all the kinds of questions Dr. Walker might ask were going through my mind anyway.
I was still fighting for my quarterback job. Greg Johnson took my place when I was benched and was still the starting quarterback by the end of the next week. It appeared Coach Gilbert was trying to teach me a lesson. It pissed me off and made me think about how much I wanted the job and how badly I wanted a football scholarship. I was spending too much time thinking about sex and not enough time thinking about something that could make a big difference in my future.
Sex is one of those things in life that usually doesn't move your life forward. Yes, it's fun. It can make you feel invincible and believe that everything in life is right. But my experience with sex was that it caused me more frustration and stress, and it may have been better if I waited to have sex until I was in a committed relationship. Sometimes I thought it would be easier to just swear off sex, but I liked it too much to do that. I remember thinking that I wished I was one of those virgins that was always thinking about sex but never getting any. Or some guy in a committed relationship where sex was just one part of their relationship. Andy and I had that at times, but I couldn't settle with him. I was damned either way. Either I felt tied down, or while thinking I was free, I was controlled by my dick. There was no freedom for me.
The only way I could find freedom was to focus on school and football. At least they would move my life forward. Some guys don't have those things to lean back on, and I'm not sure how they handle life if sex is the only thing they have. It was like that movie I mentioned in Knots 1 or 2 where the main character said "Fucking is my life. If I couldn't fuck, then I'd have nothing." That's what my life had come to. I didn't want it to be that way. I wanted to be able to say that "Football and basketball are my life. If I couldn't play football or basketball, I'd have nothing." On the other hand, I'd want my life to also be more than football or basketball. Some of my classmates are good in art or music or science. I always wished I could play the piano. I was so desperate at the time, I began to think maybe I should take piano lessons to change my focus. But I never did. Dr. Walker would have to do.
Some students have nothing in their lives, and I couldn't help wonder what goes on in their minds when they look at their lives. At least I had choices. I could have sex, play football, play basketball, and be a good son to my loving parents. How about those who don't have any choices or who only have sex in their lives and nothing else. Talk about being locked into a small cell, tied down to a life without a future to look forward to?
We got tested for STDs on Thursday after practice. We set up walk-in times so that we didn't all go in at once, but I'm sure they knew what was up. Everyone's came back negative, and while I shouldn't have been worried, I was still relieved. That meant we could have sex on Sunday without condoms. How hot was that going to be? Yeah, I wasn't thinking about football. I wasn't starting anyway. But I should have been fighting for my job. I remember telling Frank Kutcher he was a loser last year when I was fighting him for a starting position and took it away from him, and here I was in the same place as Frank. Shit, I felt like a loser. I've always known that I'm the one in charge of my life, and in the end I either had to take control of it or keep going downhill. I didn't want to be like Frank.
I walked up and down the sidelines on Friday and would sometimes stand next to Coach Gilbert so he'd notice me. He'd glance at me every once in a while, smile, then walk off. If this was fiction, then Greg would have gotten hurt, and I'd get a chance to play and be the hero. But Greg Johnson didn't get hurt and led the team to a 21 to 7 victory over one of our toughest rivals. I didn't play one minute. Greg looked great. It was probably a good thing because I was so pissed off it made me determined to earn my job back.
Coach Gilbert was in his office after the game and motioned for me to come in. My heart jumped as I entered. He pointed to the couch across from his desk. "I hope you've learned your lesson," he said as I sat. .
"I have, Coach."
"Matt, you're screwing up your life. A couple of college coaches took notice of you when you started as a sophomore and just contacted me to ask how you were doing. I told them it was a bit early to tell and said I'd send them some game film. But of course, there's no film to show."
"Coach, I've messed up."
"That's not news to me. The question is, what's wrong, and what are you going to do about it?"
I looked down at my folded hands. "I wish I knew what's wrong."
Coach sat on the edge of his desk. "I think you know. You're not focused on football. Your focus seems to be somewhere else. What is it?"
There wasn't any way I was going to tell him. "Like I said, Coach, I don't know. But I promise to be focused on Monday. I'm going to act like Monday is the first day of the rest of the season."
"Matt, it takes more than words. And what's with you and Andy? You're best friends. What the hell were you fighting about?"
"I'd rather not say."
"I know what I heard. It was something about Colt. What's going on?"
"Like I said, Coach, I'd rather not talk about it. It's private."
He got up and sat in his chair. "I know about your past, so you can trust me."
"Coach, I don't want to talk about it. I promise to do better."
"I understand, but I'm here if you need to talk."
I stood and headed to the door because I just wanted out of there.
"Where are you going? We're not done yet."
"I told you I'll do better. What else can I do, Coach?"
He pointed at the sofa. "Sit."
I flopped on the sofa. "Coach, there's nothing to talk about."
"We need a plan. I want to see you succeed. But there's a problem. Greg Johnson looks good, and it would be unfair for you to start over him if he keeps doing as well as he is. Do you agree?"
This was just the problem. While I was thinking about fucking and having fun, Greg Johnson was focusing on taking my job. It's like a race where you are in the lead, slow up, and the other guy passes you. You have to play catch-up. I had no idea if I could catch up. All I could say was, "I agree, Coach. It's my fault. I don't expect any favoritism. I want to earn it."
"Matt, you know me. I never play favorites. You'll have to earn the job. Greg is good and has the respect of the team. I'm not the only one who's noticed you've lost focus. Your teammates have seen it too. I hate to sound negative, but it could be too late."
My heart sank. I wanted to just walk out of the office and tell him to fuck himself, but I knew he was right. For the first time in a long time, I knew that I had to see Dr. Walker. It was possible that I'd tied too many knots to get myself out of the situation I put myself in. All I could do was give it my best. I've decided that while the Bible said, "There is faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love," that is was only partly true. Yes, love is important, but without hope and faith, I don't think it's possible to love. It's only my opinion of course, but it seems that way to me. How do we function if we have no hope in the future or faith in ourselves? It all became clear to me when I realized I'd lost my starting QB job and began to wonder if I'd ever have the future I'd always dreamed about. I wasn't sure if I had faith in my ability to do it.
I called Dr. Walker on Thursday while I was waiting to be tested, to tell him Matt might come in with me on Saturday.
"No problem, Andy. Is it definite?"
"I don't know. I just wanted to give you a heads up."
"Thanks. See you on Saturday."
Matt walked the sidelines during the game, but Coach Gilbert never put him in. Greg Johnson played a great game. Matt looked depressed. I got more playing time than I expected. Greg gave me the ball for a few short runs and then threw a pass that landed right in my hands for a thirty-yard gain and a touchdown. Thomas ran for two touchdowns.
Coach Gilbert called Matt into his office after the game. Matt didn't look like a happy camper. All he said to me afterward was, "I'm going to see Dr. Walker with you tomorrow."
I patted him on the back. "Good decision. It'll be like old times."
"Sorry. I should have said, it will be good for us to be there together again."
"It will, won't it?"
"Yeah. I already talked to Dr. Walker and told him you might come, so he's expecting you."
Colt and Thomas were joking and laughing together after the football game. They were also talking on Thursday before we got tested. You'd almost think they were getting back together. Thomas was unbelievable. Most guys would be pissed at Colt. He gently adapted to the realities in his life. I wondered what Dr. Walker would think of him. Thomas always seemed to be in balance. His life never appeared to be tied in knots like the rest of us.
Matt called Saturday morning and said he decided not to see Dr. Walker.
"What the fuck's the matter with you, Matt? Get your ass ready and be at my place in ten."
"It doesn't feel right yet, Andy."
"Matt, you're so full of shit. It's never going to seem right if you keep playing this game. Dr. Walker is the great un-tier of knots, so get your ass over here."
"Maybe I'll do it next Saturday," he said in a sheepish voice.
"No, you're going today," I said as I slammed the phone down and headed to his house. Mrs. Spence answered the door.
"Hello, Mrs. Spence, I need to talk to Matt."
"He's in his room."
I kinda stomped down the hall and found his door locked. "Matt, open the door."
"Go away. I'm not going."
"You're a coward, now open the door."
Mrs. Spence came up behind me. "What seems to be the matter?"
"Matt said he was going with me to see Dr. Walker, and now he says he's not."
"I was afraid of that," she said as she moved in front of me. She knocked. "Matt, open the door."
"I'm not going. Leave me alone."
She surprised me when she said, "Ok. You're almost an adult. You can make your own decisions."
I immediately thought of Dr. Walker's words, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."
"Okay, Matt. I agree with your mom. I'm leaving."
I was halfway down the hall when I heard the lock click on Matt's door. I turned and found him standing there with only his pants and socks on. I wanted to take him down right then and there. "Get your shirt and shoes on, and let's go."
He went to the closet as I entered his room. I gave him one last look before he grabbed his shirt and covered himself.
"What are you staring at?" he asked.
"I was just thinking I'd like to eat you."
That got a smile out of him. "I don't know why I let you and my mother talk me into this."
"What do you mean, talk you into it? I was leaving, and your mother had given up on you."
"I guess you're right. Is it cold out?"
"Yep, grab your coat."
I was all gung-ho to see Dr. Walker Friday night after talking to Coach Gilbert, but I didn't want to go the next day. If it hadn't been for Andy's persistence, I would have stayed in bed and slept the day away.
Dr. Walker greeted me like I'd been coming every week since my last visit. He escorted Andy and me into his office. We sat in our regular seats, and as usual, there was a glass of water for each of us.
"Matt, it's good to see you again. How have you been doing?"
Yeah, his usual question. "Not well."
"Why's that?" He glanced at Andy and then back to me. Do you want Andy to stay?"
I looked at Andy, and he said, "I'll go if you want."
"No, you should stay." I paused a couple beats before saying, "I've tied a lot of knots. I'm obsessed with sex. I feel like I have no control over my life. I'm screwing it all up, and I'm scared, Dr. Walker, really scared." I began to cry.
I glanced at Andy, and he looked down. Doctor Walker sat straight and waited until I stopped. "You say you're scared. What are you afraid of?"
"Doctor Walker, I'm afraid of me. I'm afraid that I'm hurting everyone including myself. It's like I don't know what kind of crazy things I'll do next."
"Crazy things? What kind of crazy things?"
"Doc, I've lost my starting QB job. My grades are slipping, I've lost the respect of my teammates, and I hurt Megan and Andy's feelings. I've had sex with a good friend's former boyfriend. I've become a real asshole. See what I mean? I don't think I ever talked like that in here before."
"You're right. You never did, but I'd say that's the least of your problems." "You're right. But it shows how far I've sunk."
He patted me on the knee, I looked at him, and he asked, "What do you think my next question is going to be?"
A smile broke through my tear-stained face. "Is this some new kind of therapy? I don't think you've ever asked me that before."
"You're more experienced now. What do you think it's going to be?"
"I think you're going to ask me, `What are you going to do about it?'"
"Yes, that's the question. What are you going to do about it?"
"I don't know, Doctor Walker. That's why I'm here."
"Yes, but you know the answer. My job is to help you find it."
Andy smiled. "Yeah, Doc. That's exactly it."
Doctor Walker turned to Andy. "So, how was your week?"
Frankly, I have always dreaded writing - there always seemed to be pain involved, unpleasant self-examination and a lot of fear. -- Trent Reznor
The biggest research of all when I do a character is self-examination. You look at yourself and you ask, 'How am I similar to this person and how am I different?' -- Vera Farmiga
I don't think we spend enough time in reflection and
introspection. We don't know who we are as individuals in this culture
anymore. -- Naomi Judd
If you like this story, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I answer all emails.
I'd like to thank Lisa for taking the time to edit Knots 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. As the author, I take final responsibility for all parts of the story, including any errors.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales, is purely coincidental and no slanderous intent is implied.