DISCLAIMER: The following story is a fictional account involving gay teenage boys who are trying to cope with love and homophobia in the American Midwest. Although no sexual activity takes place in this story, there are references to gay sex and anyone who is uncomfortable with this should obviously not be reading it. All characters are fictional and any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental. Although the story takes place in actual locations and establishments, the author takes full responsibility for all events described and these are not in any way meant to reflect the activities of real individuals or religious establishments nor school or corporate policies. The author retains full copyright of this story, and of stories based on these characters.
Please note that this is the eleventh in a series of short stories known collectively as Naptown Tales. The series of stories can be found on my GayAuthors Page and on the Naptown Tales Page at Awesome Dude. Slightly modified versions of some of these stories that are suitable for younger teens can also be found on the Altimexis Page at Codey's World. Please see the Introduction for important background on the series.
This is the FIRST PLACE winning entry in the Gym Incident writing contest. The events described herein are a prequel to those of the other stories in the Naptown Tales Series and area an alternative version to those described in the second place entry.
The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual people, dead or alive, or actual events is fully and completely intended; hey, it ain't a science fiction novel. I didn't pull all this stuff out of thin air. Most of it all happened (or at least could have) to somebody at some time. It's a conglomeration, but not an actual depiction. The names of the principal characters are fake, well, at least I don't know anybody with those names. The work contains adult language and maybe some descriptions of sexual acts between persons sometimes of the same gender. In order to keep the author out of jail on obscenity charges, it's also intended to contain a certain amount of serious artistic and literary value, maybe not a lot, but just enough.
David of Hope
"Even a minor event in the life of a child, is an event of that child's world, and thus a world event." ....Gaston Bachelard
Ya know, actually there were some things that happened to me in the gym long before `THE INCIDENT'. Yeah, actually it was about a year before when I was in grade seven.
It was just before that grade seven event, that I started writing a journal. Yeah, things started to affect me that much that spring after I'd turned thirteen.
I guess a lot of people would say I was lucky to have hard-working professional parents that made scads of money and could provide me with anything I wanted or needed. When I started grade six, the first great thing I was given was a key to the front door. Mom was going back to work and I was to become a latch key kid. That was cool at first - having the house to myself until Mom got home from work.
The downside to that was that I became lonely, gradually at first, but time was going to take its toll. We used to go to church as a family every Sunday. Now with Mom's sometimes very long hours as a surgeon at the hospital, and trying to keep up with all the household chores that moms do, attendance at church became a `once in a while' thing. Sometimes though, I'd go alone; sometimes I'd skip going too.
In the spring, just as I was finishing grade six, my parents bought me a new computer of my own. They said that I was maturing and that it would free up theirs, so they could look after the household and professional stuff they had to do. I didn't care what their excuse was - now I had my own computer in my own room. It was like a new piece of freedom. It was like a new friend. Actually, once I got a few e-mail addresses from a few of the guys I kinda hung around with at school, it was like having a whole bunch of friends.
Ya see, I was what you might call the lonely rich kid. The kids at school knew we were more well off than they were, so they didn't really invite me into their little cliques. Only child - hard working parents that were hardly ever around and it was kinda hard to make real friends at school. I guess they thought I was a snob. BUT - they didn't mind talking to me after school with a lot of e-mails. That helped fill the void that I felt at school, although a lot of them only complained about school and homework. Me: I liked school; it was a chance to have people around me; a chance to speak up when the teachers called on me. The things they were teaching us were easy to me. I enjoyed the challenge of researching the subjects ahead of time.
However, it was easier to talk to my school buddies on line than it was in person - especially when it came to sex. I was twelve at the time and after overhearing a few of the guys at school use the term `jerk off', it wasn't long before I learned through a few e-mails that it was fun. Well yeah, I got scared the first time I blew a load; I was damn near unconscious and thought to myself - what have I done - never again. But then, I just had to try it again. Then after the third time - the guilt. Why hadn't my parents or someone told me about this? It must be bad. The next day one of my online friends set me straight. `Any guy that says he hasn't jerked off is probably a liar' or something like that. That eased the guilt a lot. Anyhow, now I understood what the hell the teacher was talking about in that lesson on sex when he talked about urges.
By the time I started grade seven, I thought I was a pretty macho sexy guy with all my new experience. I started to notice the girls. Some, one in particular, was developing much faster and earlier than the others. Her name was Pauline. What a cute and, comparatively speaking, well-breasted girl. Looking back, I think she had some embarrassing times. Sometimes she would very quietly, yet quickly, leave class. Didn't have to ask for permission - yet everyone else did. When she'd come back, she'd be all flushed in embarrassment. Although I didn't realize it at the time, I guess now, she was in the throes of having her first periods.
Now I can understand her embarrassment - I was sitting there with a hardon, hoping like hell that it would go away before I needed to stand up for whatever reason.
It was about that time that I started my journal. I guess I needed someone to talk to about my most inner thoughts - thoughts that I couldn't share even with my e-mail buddies. So, from the back of my mind, Hank was invented. Having said that, now it sounds so immature and juvenile. It's like when you're a little kid and you get a new toy truck. You know it - brrmmmm, brrrrmmmm - all over the floor. The girls at that age: well they'd talk to their dolls and have their imaginary tea parties with them at their little tables. But now - my new toy was my new iMac.
Nonetheless, I liked Hank - he was a good listener and never argued. I kept Hank and my journal well secreted into the multiple folders deep inside my computer. When I felt the need, I'd write my thoughts to Hank. I always thought of Hank as a big brother, maybe five or so years older than me. My real brother, Dennis, and sister, Mary were in their mid-twenties and had moved away from home when I was about eight. I guess I was part of a second family that Mom and Dad started and never finished.
It wasn't until yesterday that my boyfriend of five years, David... David Reynolds, found my journal. His computer was downloading a large software upgrade off the net, so he was using mine for an emergency thesis he had to complete. My journal was the only secret I'd kept from him and now I'm petrified of what he'll think, even though they were thoughts from long ago - at a time before we became a couple. What would happen to our relationship after he read it.... but that's another story....
Yeah, your name is Hank 'cause I don't know anyone with that name. I think that talking to you this way is kinda like talking to myself, only I get to think a bit slower and straighten out the muddle of my thoughts. You know who I am, or who I think I am - Jeremy Kimball. Sometimes things happen - sometimes someone looks at me, maybe with just a smile or grin - and I get flustered - embarrassed with prickly skin burning at every other pore across my back - and a second later, I wonder what I should have said or did. Later, after I've had a chance to think about it, it comes to me, but the episode is long gone and my comeback is too late. Then I wonder for sure - do I really know who I am?
Hank, I gotta learn to just go with my first gut reaction and speak up.
Like at lunch today - I was eating and day dreaming a bit about what I wanted to ask Henry online after I got home. He doesn't talk to me at school except to maybe say hi. He's always sitting with Pauline at lunch. Sometimes I hear him talking to the other guys when Pauline isn't around. He keeps giving them the lowdown on how far he's made it with her. Ya know he's got the best looks and the best build of anyone in our class and Pauline, she's the one with the biggest tits and sexiest slim body - yeah, and she has a pretty face too. I guess it's only right that they would be the two that would be together. I doubt Pauline would ever want to be with a guy like me. Compared to Henry, I'm a bit of a loser. Maybe I'm not ugly, but I'm not as cool or as good looking as Henry. Sure, I do better on the exams and tests than he does, but he's great at sports and athletics.
Anyway, there I am, day dreaming looking down at the table in the cafeteria munching on a piece of egg salad sandwich with a big spoon of broth from the chicken noodle soup in the other hand ready to slurp it into my mouth.
Henry bops me on the back of the head as he's walking by, and says in a quiet voice, "Hey Featherhead," yeah, that's what he calls me since I got my blond hair spiked, kinda short and the tips dyed black, "How's the piss on a spoon?" I guess he wanted to gross me out.
Looking back, I should have said, `it tastes like chicken shit,' in a quiet voice, but he'd surprised me and the spoon splashed its contents all down the front of my shirt and then I wanted to scream at him, `it's chicken, you shit'. Instead, I came out with, "Aw FUCK!" louder than I should have.
By this time, Henry was passed me as he just chuckled. That was the only thing I heard 'cause as soon as I said it, the room came into a total hush. Everyone heard my outburst and before I had a chance to be embarrassed, Mr. Gladcombe came up behind and grabbed the back of my shirt, and said, "With me NOW!"
He took me to the principal's office still hanging onto the back of my shirt, and made me sit in the reception area while he went in and spoke to the principal.
Turns out I had to come back to the principal's office reception area for a half hour every afternoon for three days after school let out; and that would be my detention and punishment.
Nobody spoke to me this afternoon. I didn't even put up my hand to answer a question, even though I knew the answers and the teachers didn't call on me with any questions. Somehow, that made the embarrassment even deeper.
After school at the principal's office, I had to listen to a lecture on the use of profanity and the use of proper English from the principal. Boring. Hell, I'd never used or written the word FUCK until right now. Well yeah, I'd said it a few times while the guys at school and I were waiting for the school bus. Just one of the things we said to prove we weren't wimps I guess. I don't know how mad my parents would get if I ever said it in front of them.
Bummer - big time. I had to walk home instead of taking the school bus. It took almost an hour for the whole walk and all I could think of was what my Mom and Dad would say if they ever caught wind of what happened in the cafeteria. That and how much I hated Henry and how I hated the principal and Mr. Gladcombe too 'cause they didn't ask what happened - not that I would've really told them anyway. I walked as fast as I could, hoping that I could get home before Mom, and I wouldn't have to explain why I was so late.
OK Hank, I was lucky; I got home before Mom. I was exhausted - but more than anything, I was soooo hungry. All I'd had since breakfast, which was only toast and cold cereal, was two bites from an egg salad sandwich and three spoons of chicken soup - one of which was still evident on the front of my shirt. Soon as I got in, I grabbed a big piece of pie from the fridge - Mom always has something for me in there for after school - and a large glass of milk and came up to my room just as Mom came in the front door and called me. I yelled back to let her know I was home. It was later; I guess after she'd started getting supper ready, that she came upstairs and popped into my room. She commented that it was a pretty big piece of pie that I'd taken and asked what happened to the front of my shirt. Told her a kid bumped into me when I had a spoon of soup in my hand. She said something about careless people. I think I'm off the hook so long as I can still get home before her for the next two days.
Checked my e-mail - message from Henry - it just said, `sorry'. I replied, `dickhead'. I was still kinda mad. He replied, `u'll feel better after you j.o.' I didn't reply; I couldn't remember what I'd been thinking about before he bopped me on the head.
Hank, I'm sleepy, talk to ya later.
Hank, this was not an outstanding day. I still stayed quiet during this morning's classes. At lunch, I picked a table that was against the wall and I sat sideways so I could keep an eye on anyone approaching me. Henry walked by and gave me the finger and a smile. I glared at him. Some of the other kids that I have classes with said hi as they walked by. That made me feel a bit better I guess.
This afternoon at history class I got into the subject and I put up my hand to answer something the teacher had asked. No one else did, so I felt it was up to me. For me it was simple answer, and so was my answer when the teacher asked me why.
That got some of the other kids interested and they started to join in. At least they were thinking.
Detention - 2nd day - write for a half an hour, all the words I could think of that were pleasant. The example I was given was `pretty'. I went through the alphabet and started with adorable and ended with zeal. My hand was sore at the end 'cause of all the words in between. Borrrring.
I got home before Mom again. Whew!
Checked my e-mail - Henry asked, `feel better?' - I replied, `yeah but I hate havin' to walk home.'
`How long ya gotta do it?' he asked. `3 days' I replied.
`Ya gotta get a girlfriend, get her to j ya o.' he said. `Does P do it for u?' I asked.
`Soon,' he replied. `Lucky u.' I replied. That was it.
Hank - I don't know how to say it. When I was j'n'o last night - all I could think of was Henry gettin it into Pauline even though I know it hasn't happened. I'm getting hard just thinking about it. What was he feeling? I know his dick is bigger than mine - I've seen it in the dressing room. I could just imagine it going in. What was I thinking?
I kept my spot against the wall in the cafeteria. Henry or Pauline didn't even look at me. I was kinda glad.
Detention - last day - Mr. Gladcombe and the principal sat on each side of me in the reception office. For fifteen minutes they went through the list of words I'd written and gave me a lecture on how I knew all the right words to use and hoped that I wouldn't ever use profanity in the school again. They handed me my list and said I was free to go.
Great! If they'd kept their lecture to only five minutes, maybe I wouldn't have missed the school bus again. At least I didn't have to walk quite so fast to beat Mom home.
Checked my e-mail - Henry said, `TGIF. I wanna feel her tits tomorrow night - not just on the outside of her blouse.'
`Ha,' I answered, `Then go home and jo after you've already blown a load in your pants.'
`Getting more than you Featherhead. Keep ya posted.'
Hank, sometimes I sit here giving you my thoughts and I think of Grandma. I was nine when she died. It was sad to see her lying in the casket. She was the first person I knew in the family to die, and of all the old people in my life, I liked her best.
My older aunts, Gertrude, Martha, and Henna would all come rushing up to me, squeeze the crap out of me against their scrawny bones and pinch my cheeks, and tell me what a cute, darling, big growing boy I am, calling me honey and sweetheart and a lot of other BS - but Grandma was very special.
Her voice was pleasant when she'd say, `Hi Jeremy, you're looking good.' Then she'd hand me a candy or mint from her handbag. She was a stocky lady with some meat on her bones - it was always a pleasure to give her a hug. When I did, she'd say, `I love you Jeremy.' It was an easy comeback for me... `I love you too Grandma.'
It didn't matter what we talked about, when we could that is, she always took an interest in what I had to say - whether it was about school or a different bug I'd found in the back yard. She'd laugh at all my silly `knock, knock' jokes, but she'd never laugh at me if I told her about something stupid that I'd done. She'd just give me comfort and say it was a good experience for me, and now that I'd done it, I wouldn't have to do it again. She had a quiet, comforting smile.
It became a habit - as soon as I'd see her, I'd run up to her and hug her. I didn't have to be coaxed.
Sometimes when I sit here like this, I can close my eyes and feel her - just wrapping me in the comfort of her arms.
Hank - Grandma was special.
I know it's been a few months since I talked to you 'cause nothing special has happened. Just the usual routine. Breakfast - off to school - nothing special at lunchtime (the kids are getting over the `Aw fuck' incident) - come home - do my homework, which is a piece of cake - then wait for Mom to come home so I can go for a swim in the pool.
Hank, ya know, it really sucks - we got this huge heated pool, but the 'rents won't let me use it unless there's someone else around or at least in the house. I love swimming - I feel so free doing my laps. Sometimes when I'm angry about something, I force myself to do laps of nothing but the breast stroke. It's the hardest one of all. Backstroke, freestyle - no sweat. Love it! BUT most of the time, there's no one here but me. I really wish I had a friend that could be here with me.
At school this morning, we had a double period of gym just before lunch. I don't know where the teachers get their ideas from, but today was a wild one. They put all the kids from our class, boys and girls, into the boy's gym. Square Dancing! THEY WANTED TO TEACH US SQUARE DANCING!! Right from the beginning, we were laughing and goofing around wondering why.
There were almost thirty of us in the gym together with this man and wife team all dressed up in their square dancing outfits, who called out the steps and showed us what we were supposed to do.
Once they paired us up and had showed us how to dosey-doh, promenade, (yeah, left and right), and alaman left and right, they started calling out the moves with the music.
Henry was lucky - he got paired up with Pauline. I didn't have a choice; I was paired up with Heather. Now I don't mean to be mean, but Heather's a bit on the homely chunky side - not grossly fat, but not as shapely as Pauline either. Heather just has a couple of little bumps for tits. I've seen guys with bigger tits. Actually, Heather's a bit taller than me, I guess only half an inch, but I felt like me and a smaller kid of five would be able to fit comfortably inside her. Eeeyuuu! Why did I think of that? Anyway, that was the luck of the draw.
Henry and Pauline were to my left, which made Pauline `my corner'.
After we finished a couple of the dances, everyone started to get into the spirit of what we were doing. A lot of us were laughing about the experience, shouting out `yeehaw' `yahoo' and actually enjoyed whoopin it up in time with the music. Yeah, we were all laughing and having a lot of fun once we got into it.
I guess there's a good and bad side to everything. I was having fun and overall, at the time, I was able to overlook the bad part.
When the caller directed us to swing our partner, it was a real challenge. I had a hard time getting my arm around Heather's waist, and it felt all soft and spongy, but she had no problem getting her arm right into the middle of my back. There I was trying to swing her around, but my hand kept slipping 'cause I couldn't get a grip unless I grabbed a handful of flesh - which I didn't. Touching a girl like that didn't feel good - or right - at all. It turned out that Heather had more momentum than I did, and she was swinging me around instead of us swinging each other around. Hank, I was hoping that was all there was to the bad side, but later, there was more.
On the good side, when the caller directed us to swing our corner - aah, Pauline. She was smiling, her eyes were twinkling, and she was so cute. When we swung each other, we were in balance - both of us putting the same energy into the swinging twirl. Physically, we really fit together well. It felt so right - well, if not right, at least better than I felt with Heather. Although Pauline's flesh was firm, there was a delicate softness to it as well.
Any other time I'd have felt really terrified to touch Pauline - she belonged to Henry, and as far as I was concerned, that meant `hands off'. But here, I had no choice - the school said I had to touch and dance with her - even if it was just for a moment.
Square dancing - well it sure wasn't like the DDR system I had at home, but it was fun.
After the double period of gym, it was lunch period. I'd moved away from my guarded spot in the cafeteria a while back and usually sat at the other end of the same table. I really didn't like being against the wall.
When Pauline walked by, she smiled and said hi. Henry - he paused, pursed his lips, squinted his eyes, and said quietly, "Just remember Featherhead, she's mine." Then he smiled and said, "but it was fun." I said, "yeah it was a hoot". He caught up to Pauline and they sat at their usual table. That made me feel good inside.
The feeling didn't last more than a minute, when Heather sat down in front of me. She'd NEVER said boo to me before this. She was all smiles and giggles. Yeah, a bit of an air head. She didn't speak up too much in class, and when she did answer a question, it was usually wrong or at best, half-right. I was still embarrassed by her size and the way she'd mauled me when we were swinging during the square dances. She went on and on about her family; brothers, sisters, her Mom and Dad. I gobbled my lunch the whole time she was babbling away. All I could say to her was, "Yeah it was fun," and when I'd finished my lunch, "I gotta go to the washroom and get my stuff together for this afternoon." She picked up her tray of fries, mac and cheese, then went back to her usual table and joined the girls she usually hung around with. On my way past, I overhead a lot of giggling and comments like, `he's so cute', and, `I think he really likes me.'
Oh SHIT Hank! What was I supposed to do? I didn't want anyone to think the impossible - that she was my girlfriend. Even Aunt Henna had more appeal.
At dinner tonight, I told Mom and Dad about the square dancing and how uncomfortable I was with Heather and what she'd said at lunchtime about me being cute and that I liked her. WHICH IS A LIE! I don't hate her, but I don't want her as a close friend always giggling in my ear without anything intelligent to say.
After dinner, Mom came into my room and told me that if I didn't want Heather for a friend, I still had to be considerate of her feelings. That was all good to say, but how could I keep her at bay.
After I finished my homework, I went down and swam nothing but the breast stroke for five laps - I was exhausted.
Checked my e-mail: message from Henry - `Heather's got the hots for u. No tits. u'll never find her puss in all that fat. Bad choice Featherhead.' I read the message over and over again, getting a sick feeling inside. This time Henry had grossed me out. Then I had an idea.
I wrote: `I heard what she said about me when I walked by. I DON'T like her. Honest. Need a favor. I want to sit with you and Pauline at lunch tomorrow. If she shows up, I promise I'll leave. I gotta let her know I don't care about her and I have to ignore her. Please pleeeezze help me.'
Henry replied, `OK - guess I still owe ya for soup detention. Pauline be OK with it - but if H shows up at r table - u split right away.' I wrote, `Will for sure. Thanx again, again, & again.'
It's time for bed Hank.
Why - why - why do I still think of Henry when I'm j'n'o every night?
When we got to our table, we kept our voices down. It turned out that Pauline really did not like Heather and would stop at nothing to put Heather in her place - AND, she had a few times in the past. We went on to talk about a few of the classes we were going to have that afternoon until Henry excused himself for a trip to the washroom.
Then - IT - happened.
Not Heather, but Pauline. In a very quiet voice, she said she was noticing some things about me. She said her older brother was gay and she thought that maybe I was too.
I guess my mouth fell open as I stared at her in disbelief. She kept assuring me it was OK, she would never tell anyone, whether she was right or not, even Henry. That was a real promise because she knew what her brother had to go through before he went to college. I told her she was wrong.
Hank - How the hell could I be gay? Oh shit, NO WAY!.
She said, `Maybe, but.....' Then she went on to tell me that when we were square dancing yesterday and other times too, that I always looked at her eyes, never her chest. Not like Henry, he'd talk to her and always be looking at her tits. Thinking about it - I guess she was right.
The other thing she noticed from time to time, was that I was a crotch watcher - not the girls - the boys. She said that girls notice different things than guys, and that she was no different except that she had a gay brother and knew other things to look for too.
Then she told me a secret of her own. Her gay brother understood what was going on with Henry's puberty urges and that if the time ever came for the big one, she was to use protection. HE GAVE HER A CONDOM! - but Henry didn't know AND I wasn't to tell him. I laughed, but I also promised. Then as Henry came back to the table, she said something about even though I had a lot of smarts in class, I was an interesting person.
Henry sat down and said I was a featherhead. I was still scared, I guess from what Pauline had said about me, and I just went into a daze and stared at the table. I think Henry said, `See what I mean.'
Pauline said it'd be OK if I had lunch with them every day from then on. Henry said something like, `yeah, we gotta keep tubby in her place.' Hank, I didn't like that remark, but I felt better about the thought of not having to eat lunch alone anymore.
When I got home, there were two messages on the answering machine. Mom had an emergency operation to do and wouldn't be home until nine or so. The other was Dad - he had a meeting to attend to and wouldn't be home until seven. I really wanted to go for a swim right then and I couldn't. I wasn't angry - I just wanted to let the water swirl around me and gently lose myself and see if I could float all of the thoughts and sounds of Pauline's voice and what she'd said, out of my head - but I couldn't. I had to face all the thoughts alone without anything else to distract me.
I finished eating my snack thinking, GAY! Hank, how could I be gay?
I sat there knowing that what Pauline said was right. I was a crotch watcher. Not so much the kids in my class, but the guys that were in grade eight and yeah - definitely the younger male teachers. What did it look like? How big was it? What would it feel like if I touched it? Even before yesterday's square dance, I really wasn't that interested what a girl's tits looked like. Yeah Hank, after touching and feeling both Pauline and Heather at the dance, neither one of them felt special.
I continued to sit there, kinda giving the back of my hand a hickey, trying to imagine that I was kissing Pauline. I closed my eyes and started to undress her in my mind, just looking at her naked in front of me. I reached out in my mind and touched her tit. It was squishy and soft. I kept my eyes closed and quit the hickey and in my mind, I looked into her eyes. There were beautiful - they ARE beautiful - pale brown, green, grey. I guess they call it hazel. Her body, her face - adorable - yes, sweet - so long as I didn't touch her. She was too soft - too tender.
I opened my eyes and started to run my hand slowly over my arm, then my chest and down my leg. It felt firm, even strong. I closed my eyes again - Henry stood before me as I touched my lips to the back of my hand again. In my mind, his clothes slowly disappeared. Then as the thoughts swirled around, I watched as his cock became erect. I was breathing real heavy - I was hard as a rock - it felt so good - I touched his erection; it was solid - I could hardly catch my breath as I sucked on my hand - THEN I blew a full load into my pants. I hadn't even had my hand near my crotch or my dick.
Aw FUCK! There - I said it again.
I got up from the table, put my dishes in the dishwasher, came upstairs, had a shower and changed my clothes before I started searching the web. `Gay' `Gay Sex' `Gay Teens' - on and on I googled. Hank, they sure don't teach us this stuff in school. The guys were handsome, beautiful, gorgeous. By the time Dad came home, I was drooling at some of the images. I read a lot of stuff too - maybe - just maybe - Pauline was right. Maybe I am gay. I emptied the computer's cache and history real quick.
Everything seemed so mixed up inside me and inside my brain.
Dad suggested we should go out for a pizza. Hank, I wanted to go for a swim, but I was too hungry. While we ate, I told him what Pauline had said about not liking Heather. Couldn't dare tell him about our secrets. He told me that Pauline's Dad worked with him. That was a surprise.
We got home and parked the car just as Mom was driving up. I told Mom what happened at lunch with the Heather situation and she seemed happy about that.
Checked my e-mail: Henry said: `Its OK. Pauline still likes me best. ur still a loser Featherhead.' I said, `Yeah and ur a dickhead. Lunch tomorrow. Thanx again and lots of agains again.'
Pauline said: `A secret is always a secret.' I answered, `Thanx and a promise is always a promise.'
Hank, there's only ten days left before schools out for the summer. Maybe this summer I'll find a friend to hang out with. I gotta go to bed and j.o.
I'm gonna let my hair grow - maybe Henry will quit the `featherhead' thing. It's starting to bug me.
Hank I should love summer, but I don't. It's so quiet around here. Mom and Dad say we aren't going on vacation this year - they're too busy at work.
First weekend in August, Dad's going to have a great huge BBQ here with all the families of the people he works with. I guess he's the big boss. Mom says it's going to be catered.
Mom also told me she was going to get a housekeeper to come in twice a week to clean house. Permanent arrangement she says.
That means I get to have more swimming time. GREAT!
Checked my e-mail: Pauline and her family are coming to the BBQ. Henry's going with his folks to Disneyland and tour a few of the parks in California.
Today was the big day of the BBQ. It was great. Everyone started to trickle in at one. By three, the yards - front and back - were loaded. Dad said that seventy-five people came. The caterers were great and well organized. I guess they were the life of the party - everyone had plates and plates of food at five and were still going back for refills at eight.
The adults got to drink the booze, some of them got a bit loud, but there were no disagreements.
The only kid I knew in any age group was Pauline. It seemed strange to see all those people here, the pool full, almost all the time, I had a great time, even though I couldn't remember all the names. Volleyball in the pool was a lot of fun. Dad took a lot of us out on the lake in the boat around six. I think he made five trips so all the others that wanted to, could go too.
Pauline and I were in the food line at eight, actually getting a bit more of the sweet stuff. She grabbed the sleeve of my shirt and directed us both to the bench at the back of the yard.
When we'd finished slurping down our drinks and food, she asked, "Sooo, what'dya think?"
I couldn't play innocent, 'cause I was pretty sure I knew what she was asking. I said, "I hope you're wrong," hoping that would be the end of the topic.
"Jeremy, what do you see when you look at me?" she asked.
I was honest as I looked directly into her eyes. "Pauline, you're very pretty... you have the sweetest face, goood bod and the most gorgeous eyes."
"Jeremy, you don't realize it, but that's what people, at least the girls, see in you too. What else do you see when you think of me?"
I looked at the ground. This was making me nervous.
She whispered, "Be honest, at least with yourself."
My voice was shaking when I said it. "Hen.... Henry. I.... I know it's wrong." I thought I was going to cry.
"Well let me tell you something.... I'll bet Henry is thinking of me right now. I doubt he's thinking of you."
"I know. Please don't ever tell him."
"Never! Never! 'cause I know you and him are a never, never thing as well."
"Yeah, I know. He REALLY likes girls, but I feel so trapped."
She was very quiet. "Henry doesn't know about my brother. Henry's told me that he doesn't like gays. He gets kinda mean when he talks about it. Other than that, he's really a nice guy and I think I love him. Kinda too soon to tell though. Jeremy, maybe you're not sure yet, but be careful. OK?"
"Yeah, I will... I..."
Hank, right then and there, I wanted to tell Pauline that I loved her in a special way, but her parents called her; they were going home. I wish I had a sister like her. I hardly know my own sister 'cause she's lived in Chicago for almost ten years.
When everyone had left, we were cleaning up a bit and Dad said, "Pauline's a nice girl."
I said, "Yeah, but she belongs to Henry and he's my friend too."
Sometimes it hurts so bad.
It's 2am and I've never been up this late before.
Today wasn't too special Hank. The housekeeper came and I was able to have a two-hour swim. It was OK. Played the new computer game I got down at Broad Ripple yesterday. It's gonna take some time before I get good at it though.
Checked my e-mail: Pauline said: `School on Tuesday.' I said: `Yeah, kinda looking forward to it.'
Henry said: `Had good summer. Disneyland a blast. i luv Pauline. Missed her.' I replied: `Bet she missed you 2. See ya Tues. Lunch right?' He replied: `you betcha.'
THANK YOU GOD! The summers over and I'm in Grade Eight. Hank - it feels so good.
The schedules have changed and I have a few new faces to get to know in some of my classes. Still having lunch with Pauline and Henry. That's nice, although they talked on and on about what they did during the summer. All I had time to talk about was the BBQ. Just as well Hank - that's all that really happened this summer.
Christmas Day: Actually I guess I should say Merry Christmas Hank.
Today was good. Dennis, Mary, all the old aunts and uncles came and we had the usual feast. All my cousins are eight or ten years older than me, but we had fun with the DDR and the video games. I beat them hands down.
I got Mom a good necklace and earrings and Dad a very special custom made belt buckle that had his initials scrolled on it. I liked it when I saw it and I think he did too.
Dad and Mom got me a new bike that I'd seen at the mall. I'd told them about it a long time ago, but I wasn't expecting it now.
Yeah Hank - it was a happy day.
Hank, today I turned fourteen. Yeah - one more year up the rung of life. I suppose I should feel different, wiser, older, and maybe one day I will - but today - just feel like I did yesterday.
When I sat down for lunch with Pauline and Henry, he said, "Happy Birthday Goldilocks!" Yeah, that's his new name for me since I let my hair grow and had the black tips trimmed off.
I enjoyed Earth Sciences this afternoon. The teacher asked a question about the ice age and after I saw that no one knew the answer, I put up my hand. The answer to me was simple, but then one of the new kids, David Reynolds, put up his hand and started to take the opposite view to my answer. Man, can he ever think on his feet. I was still standing and the teacher allowed us to banter our views back and forth on the subject for a while. As usual, the teacher told us to sit down and went on to explain what was right and wrong with both our answers, but I was impressed with David's gutsy manner.
Checked my e-mail: Henry said: `u were right. kissed her deep, touched her tits, but couldn't get my hand past her panties. blew it right in my pants.' I replied: `Do u still love her.' `very much.' he replied. `Lucky man. She must love you 2,' I replied. `hope so. think so.' I let it end there.
Hank, I don't feel jealous, but I'm more happy for Pauline than I am for Henry. I gotta go to bed and think about that.
I still see Henry, I can feel him at night, pressing solidly against me. it feels so right, yet when I see him at school, I know it can never be. Gay? Oh God, maybe Pauline's right.
Hank, I'm the asshole who thought he knew it all this morning and tonight, I feel like I don't know shit.
It's spring and the weather is warm, but we're having a bitch of a spring storm. Normally at this time of the year, during gym period we'd be going outside and doing track and field things. Not today - it was raining too hard. Instead, today in the gym, we had a game of basketball. I didn't mind - it's fun 'cause it's one of things I'm OK at. I like soccer better, but this wasn't the day for that.
All in all, the game was going great until something happened. I don't know how, but it did. I know it was an accident. If I think of it instant by instant, it might have happened to anyone. It was a game of shirts versus skins and I was a shirt.
I was at the sideline and we were at the opposition team's end of the court and a guy from my team just got the ball. I knew he was going to tear down the court, so I automatically turned quick, but kept my eye on the guy with the ball as I kept pace with him. Then bang! Right into Henry. I guess he was doing the same thing as me, but in the opposite direction. We weren't looking at each other and I guess instinctively my hand went up and pushed against his bare chest and the other hand pushed up against his stomach. With him being heavier than me, we hit the floor, him on top of me, and on the way down the hand that was on his stomach slipped down and I really don't know how, but my sweaty palm slid under the elastic of his waistband and inside his shorts. The whole thing took less than a second. My head hit the floor a bit hard and I saw a few stars before I could move.
I said, "Ahh Hank." before I opened my eyes, then I realized I had my hand on his jockstrap, kinda feeling his package, ya know. I looked up and the whole class was looking down at us.
Then Henry jumped up dragging my hand and wrist still stuck in his shorts. The front of his shorts kinda popped down exposing his jock strap at the same time as my hand came free. The kids started laughing. Henry's face was completely crimson.
"YOU FRIGGIN' QUEER!" he yelled down at me. "NO ONE CAN TOUCH ME THERE AND ONLY MY GRANDAD CAN CALL ME HANK!"
"Henry, it was an accident," I pleaded as I got up to my feet.
"STAY AWAY FROM ME FAGGOT!" he screamed and then shoved me away with his hands, turned and left the gym.
The other guys were laughing while they stared at me. I just kept looking from one face to the other and repeated, "It was an accident. It was an accident." Then the teacher broke up the crowd. I sat down on one of the bleachers looking at the floor while the game continued. I was still a bit stunned I guess.
Back in the locker room, the torment started, but for some reason I was able to take it - yeah, as they say - like a man. I just grinned and smiled as the some of the guys wiggled their asses at me. Barry Smith was the worst. `Ya ain't gonna get a piece of this, fancy boy.' I said, `Cute.' The others, well - I just kinda rolled my eyes at them.
At supper, I told Mom and Dad what happened in the gym. I kinda laughed when I was telling them. I couldn't tell them what Henry had said or what the other kids were saying to me later. Mom just said, `Well accidents do happen,' then she changed the subject and started talking to Dad about what shrubs she wanted planted this year. I thought, `Ho Hum.'
Checked my e-mail: nothing. No one. Sent message to Henry: `sorry'. He replied: `FUCK OFF FAGGOT'.
Why did I call him Hank? Are you, who I want him to be? His Grandfather - I'm confused when I think about that. What made him so soooo angry?
Oh God Hank, I'm hurting.
I had to start eating lunch alone again today. I just looked down at the table the whole time, my back, now against the wall again. As soon as I was finished, I left. All eyes seemed to be staring at me. A few of the kids were whispering - others said it loud enough for me to hear. `Pussy ass' `Dickey licker' `Queer' and a few more - mostly `homo.' The others - well they'd glance at me and look down - they didn't even want to make eye contact.
Another three weeks and summer vacation starts. For once, I can't wait. The time goes so slow when there's no one. Hank, I want someone in my life.
Damn it Hank, I just wish that we could go from one school year right into the other. To hell with summer vacation. But then maybe - maybe with the summer to forget - and I'll be starting high school - it won't be so bad. Maybe no one will know me there. Henry and Pauline will be going to a different high school up at their end of town.
Don't know why anymore, but I checked my e-mail: Pauline said: `I know it hurts. Me too. Brother says time will make the difference and I should keep trying and keep my chin up. I'm still mad at Henry. Who's Hank?' I replied: `Thanx but he's no one you should know about. Even I don't know who he is sometimes. He's invisible.'
`You OK?' she asked. `Yeah, I think I will be.' I replied.
Hank, I want it all to go away. It hurts. It hurts real bad.
Last night I cried. I hugged my pillow, but it had no arms to hug me back. Hank, I wish you were real.
This afternoon I went into algebra class and sat down. Henry came in after me and walked by my desk. His face was filled with anger and his free hand was clenched in a fist at his side. It scared me and it also brought back the hurt. I'd lost a friend and I wanted him back. I couldn't concentrate on anything that the teacher was saying. I kept my pen in my hand, but I didn't write a thing on the paper in front of me.
That scared, hurt feeling was still with me in a real way while I was making my way to my next class - history. While I was walking the corridor I had my head down, just glancing up every once in a while. The last time I looked up, I saw the sign to the Guidance Office. Instead of carrying on to my history class, I turned and walked into the waiting room. I saw Ms. Johnson's door open so I went directly in. I guess somewhere in the back of my mind, something was urging me towards help.
She smiled as she stood up, came around her desk, picked up the box of tissues that was sitting on the corner, handed it to me, then walked past me, shut the office door and said, "Jeremy.... Jeremy Kimball, right?"
I didn't realize I had tears running down my cheeks. I was crying. I choked when I said, "Yes."
She had me sit down and she took the chair beside me, not the one behind her desk.
"I guess I have something important to do for you today." Her voice was pleasant and calming. "First off, tell me what class you're supposed to be in right now."
It took a bit before I could catch my breath. I hadn't realized how upset I'd been and now the relief had set in. I took a deep breath and sighed, "History with Mr. Clemens."
She said, "Just a minute," and went to her computer and typed for ten seconds, and then sat down in the chair beside me again. "Jeremy, your probably one of the best students we have in this school. Tell me what's happened."
I told her about the incident - the accident in the gym and how Henry had changed and that now he hated me. She said, "And...."
Hank - it just blew into my head. I whispered, "I think I'm gay."
She smiled that warm smile again. "Jeremy, I heard about the incident from your gym teacher, but I wanted to hear your side of the story. Unfortunately, I can't start hauling kids into my office because of an incident that I hear about. The students have to come to me before I can help them. Henry - well - he hasn't yet and may never, so I can't do anything about that. As for you being gay, it's OK. There's a lot of people in this world that are gay. I think the hardest part of being gay, especially for a boy your age, is that you don't know how to be gay. Even if you're not gay, at your age, having any relationship is difficult to establish. Feelings of love and sex get all mixed up in your head and it takes a few years of puberty to straighten it all out. Not to worry Jeremy, you have a very analytical mind and I'm confident that you'll be able to work it out.
"Jeremy, soon you'll be entering high school and although things may not seem much easier for kids in high school than in middle school, however one thing you will find is a very active group of gay and straight kids who are supportive of understanding and tolerance, and of one another. The group is called the Gay-Straight Alliance, or GSA. If you'd like, I'd be happy to set up an appointment this afternoon between you and the faculty advisor at the high school, Mr. Collins. I know he'd be pleased to talk to you on `what being gay' is all about."
So Hank, that's what I did. I always saw the walk across the parking lot to the high school as an impenetrable gulf between childhood and adolescence, but today, it felt really different. The high school no longer looked like a monolithic castle. Oh, it's a lot bigger than our middle school, for sure, but thinking about what I'd be leaving behind and the acceptance I might find going forward, I felt comforted. And you know what? Mr. Collins is a Hell of a nice guy.
After I told him about the incident and the way Henry reacted and the kids were kinda buggin' me, I told him I thought I could be gay. Somehow it was easier to say it the second time and talk to him about it. He told me it wasn't something to be ashamed of. Being gay was not a choice, but probably something I was born to be, and all the psychiatric treatments in the world weren't gonna change that.
He understood the hurt I was feeling about Henry, but that I shouldn't have tolerated the harassment by the other kids. He said I should have reported it sooner. There was a strict rule about bullying - verbal or physical - in our school and in the high school I'd be attending this fall.
He said he was glad that I'd been able to deal with it as long as I had and that I hadn't taken any serious steps to hurt myself.
As for Henry, he said, "Some people get angry when they're confronted with something they don't understand or when they've experienced something that hurts them. Such may be the case with Henry, but don't let that worry you; he'll have to come to terms with it in his own way and in his own time."
When I left Mr. Collins, I felt better. Yeah, I missed the bus again and I had to walk home, but Hank, it gave me time to think and be comfortable with myself.
After I finished my homework, and Mom came home, I went for a swim. I went slow - there was no rush. Sometimes I just floated. I thought of Henry and was relieved that his problems weren't mine. I knew I'd have to send Pauline an e-mail.
I did: `You and your brother were right.' She replied: `For sure? How?' I replied: `You & spoke to Mr. Collins at the high school. GSA comes into it.' She asked: `GSA?' I said: `Ask your bro.' She said: `Henry's getting counseling.' I said: `Good.'
Hank, when I think past the embarrassment, I get into how exciting it actually felt with my hand on Henry's jockstrap. That thought gives me a hard-on.
Is this what it's supposed to be like to be gay - always curious - always wanting?
Thank God schools out. I got all A's except for two B's. I guess David Reynolds won the debate in Earth Sciences.
I'm really going to miss Pauline - yeah - and Henry too. I wish it had never happened - but I can't change it.
Hank, yesterday I met David Reynolds in Broad Ripple. I knew he was a good guy and had some smarts - at least I might enjoy hanging out with him. He came home with me. HE'S GAY! I wasn't expecting that.
I got to spend the night over at his house. I got butterflies in my stomach almost all the time. Happiness - I never knew what it was really like - until now.
Hank, you've been my best friend for so long, but now I have a boyfriend who understands me. Hank, from now on, I think he'll be the one who's going to know all my thoughts and secrets. Somehow, it feels so right.
I think I love him real baaad. I can't stop thinking about him. He's my new reality - I think, my real happiness.
You've been a great part of my life Hank, but somehow, I don't think we need each other like we used to.....
I think Grandma just gave me a hug..... maybe she thinks so too.
The gym incident wasn't prolonged, but the repercussions of it were intense. That last month at school was the worst of my life. I really might never know how close I came to doing myself in. It was such an overwhelming sadness and as difficult as I remember it being to write to `Hank', were it not for that one outlet - that one thread from which I hung during my last days in middle school - I honestly don't know how I would have made it.
Now, here I was, five years later, watching as David finished reading the last page of my journal.
He lowered his hand that he'd been resting his chin on, while he read the last words of the journal on the screen. He sighed and blinked his eyes a few times still staring at the monitor. Then he looked down at the keyboard. I thought he was going to start typing something. He didn't. His head turned toward me with just a hint of that crooked smile that I've always found so endearing....
But like I said before, that's another story.....
I think each of us that submitted our story of `The Gym Incident' to Altimexis owe him a debt of gratitude for allowing us to use our imaginations in the hope that our thoughts would be successful in getting our creations published.
From all of us that participated - Thank you Altimexis. You're a good and generous person and one hell of a good author.
For me this story was about loneliness and as it turned out, I set up what it may have felt like to be a lonely rich kid without any hope for a happy, fulfilling future. The embarrassments of realizing you're a young gay teenager is just as difficult to endure whether you're rich or poor. It seems the emotional stress is comparable - rich or poor.
My personal roots - well, they say you should draw from life's experiences when you're writing. Yes I did learn square dancing at school and yes, a girl like Heather was my partner.
Been there - done that.
However, I wish I'd had a Pauline in my life to point out my reality.
(Editor's note from Altimexis - Don't we all?)
David of Hope
The author gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of David of Hope in editing and Trab in proofreading my stories, as well as Gay Authors, Awesome Dude and Codey's World for hosting them.