This story details explicit gay sex between men, teens and boys. If you find this kind of thing distasteful, or if you are underage wherever you live, then stop reading this now, and delete this file. The story is completely fictional; the author does not condone or encourage any of the acts contained herein.


Chapter 30

Five months after Vijay's departure, we've seen him on average twice a week, either alone or with Christophe. He is so much...happier...than when he was with us, so much more comfortable in his own skin. "What have you done?" I ask Christophe. "He's just so different."

"Not much different from what you were doing, I think. He is spanked regularly, and we talk constantly. I think it is love. Remember that you were trying to not fall in love with him. He loved you, but could not open up to you fully because he knew the relationship would end, and that he would be hurt if he allowed himself to be too...vulnerable. The reason you have been so successful with Kenny and Jason is because they know you love them...totally, that you will never stop loving them, and their feelings are the same. You are bonded. Vijay could not bond with you because you were not...umm...totally invested in him. I am. That, I believe, is the difference."

I chose Christophe for this mission because I trust him to take care of Vijay, but also because I think he is very wise about the feelings of others. I wasn't wrong. He has lead Vijay out of his morass of sadness and toward a level of self-confidence that's really a joy to see. I'm so happy for Vijay -- for both of them, actually, because Christophe has also been transformed. He is clearly much happier, much more engaged in life. He has stopped working sixteen hour days, a fact that caused his employer so much consternation that they gave him an ultimatum. He called their bluff and quit, finding another job within a week that pays him more and is less demanding of his time. He is aglow every time we see them, and so loving toward Vijay, so kind. "Love is a very precious gift. One of my biggest regrets," he confides to me one day, "is that I did not tell Rajan more often that I loved him. I showed it, I think, but I did not tell him. Instead, I took him -- and his love -- for granted while I poured myself into my job. I think that may have caused him to...despair of me, to look elsewhere for love. I will not make that mistake again." I'm so happy for them, and the boys are delighted with Vijay's "make-over." The insecurity they saw before is gone. He has become happy-go-lucky, and has started to sculpt in clay, a skill I didn't know he had. He's actually very good, and Jason is happy that Christophe found him out rather than me, remembering his ordeal when I discovered that he could play the violin and piano. He's probably right.

In the intervening five months between Vijay's departure and today, we've been to LA five times to visit Alejandro and Ian. We've been to London once -- a combination of business and pleasure. And we've been to Mountain View countless times to visit Jason's mother, his father having moved back to Hong Kong, disenchanted with life, with his marriage, with his son, and with all things American. It's from his mother that we learn that Kenny's sister, May, has cancer. Starting in her breasts, it spread rapidly, and she's now riddled with it. They've tried radiation and chemo, but it has continued to spread. There is probably no hope. This is especially disconcerting because May's husband died of cancer shortly before the birth of their second child, who is now three. His cancer originated in the prostate, and also spread rapidly. He died within four months of his diagnosis.

Kenny is devastated. He and his sister have been close, and have kept in touch, despite the distance. Why she didn't tell him about the cancer is anyone's guess. I chock it up to shame, but I don't know her at all, and so I have no right to make assumptions like this. She lives in Michigan, in Kalamazoo, her husband's home town. It isn't long after we hear the news that Kenny asks if we can visit her. "She's all alone now, Tim. Her in-laws are long dead, and now her husband. I'd like to see her."

"Of course. When would you like to go?"

"As soon as possible."

I chat with Jason about his schedule, and we decide to leave the next day, a Friday, and to stay (tentatively) through the weekend. We can stay longer if need be. I call the airline and arrange for the flight, while Kenny calls his sister to tell her we're coming and to arrange to stay with her in her apartment. She is overjoyed, so excited.

We leave the next day at 6:42am from San Jose. There's absolutely no way to get to Kalamazoo directly, so it doesn't matter what airport we use. We fly into Chicago initially, and then take a puddle-jumper into Detroit where we rent a car. I'd brought the GPS, so it's fairly easy to get from Detroit to her apartment in Kalamazoo, which isn't a dump, but isn't very inviting, either. When we knock on the door, a woman close to Kenny's age answers, accompanied by two really cute little boys. The eldest appears to be about five, and the youngest about three. Both cling to their mother's legs, and are really shy, hiding behind her as Kenny bent to greet them.

May is a delight -- very bubbly, despite her fatal illness. She feeds us -- very well -- and shows such gratitude for our having come. She is a very Asian hostess. And she is clearly so excited to see Kenny, hugging him and crying. They haven't seen each other in almost eight years, Kenny tells me later. It was his sister he came out to first. She'd told him that she didn't care, that she'd always love him. It's a pity that his parents weren't so supportive.

A couple hours of after we arrive, after she has put the children to bed, a very animated discussion begins in the kitchen between Kenny and May in Cantonese. I picked up a paper at the airport and am perusing the news in the living room, trying to give them the space they needed to reconnect. Jason is reading a book, also in the living room, but is clearly tuned into to their conversation, judging by his periodic looks of surprise. After their conversation's gone on for most of the evening, we all decided to go to bed. It has been a long trip, and I, for one, am tired. Kenny and Jason just look shell-shocked.

The apartment has only one bedroom, but there's a hide-a-bed in the living room, and May gives us sheets and blankets for it. We make the bed, and finally pile into it. It's worth noting, here, that it's not at all unusual for multiple straight Asian men to find themselves sleeping together in the same bed. They have no problem with it. A good friend of mine from Hong Kong told me about going back to Hong Kong with his Caucasian boyfriend to visit his sister, who had no idea he was gay. He'd billed his boyfriend as "just a friend," and she was happy to put them both up, but with the children and the nanny, she had little room. Would his "friend" mind sleeping with him in the same bed? "No," he'd giggled. "I don't think he'll mind."

As usual, I'm in the middle, and ready to fall asleep, but Kenny isn't turning off the light.

"Umm...Tim...can I...uhh...talk to you about something?"

I read Kenny pretty well. There's something going on. I open my eyes, prop myself on one arm, and stare at him. "What's up, Kenny?"

"Umm...May's dying...as you know. She...umm...needs to make arrangements for her kids."

"Okay. And...?"

"She...umm...doesn't want them to go to my parents. They're not...close."

I can feel my eyes narrowing, and immediately open them wider, trying to assume a passive expression. "Okay. And..."

"She'd like...umm...me to...take them."

There's a long, long pause as I parse this statement, trying to work out all the permutations, but I'm a little lost. "Uhh...Kenny...you live with me...in California."

"Yeah," he says. "She knows that. She doesn't care where we live."

I'm still parsing furiously. "'We?' So you're proposing they live...uhh...with us?"


I'm in fucking outer space, staring vacantly at the wall above his shoulder, trying to work this out. But, I can't. This is out of the blue. I'm lost again. Finally, Jason comes to my rescue. "She'd like us to take her kids rather than giving them to her parents because she doesn't think her parents will be good for them. She loves Kenny, trusts Kenny. She thinks her Mom is too judgmental, too...what was the word she used?"

Kenny says it in Cantonese.

"Too...old-school," Jason translates.

Kenny starts to chatter in Cantonese, and Jason becomes momentarily angry, and whispers back. Kenny is apparently reproving him for eaves-dropping, I later learn, but Jason is the one to clarify this for me.

"Okay. I need to think my way through this, Kenny, but I'm open to it. They're clearly very well-behaved. It could work."

"Umm...Tim...there's something else," Kenny says.

Now my eyes do narrow, and I become instantly "focused." I you can see Kenny start to get nervous.

"Umm...she's been to a free legal clinic. The only way she can make sure that her kids go where she wants them to is through a second-parent adoption."

I'm sort of following this, but it's getting away from me. "So, she wants you to adopt her kids?"

"Well, the courts apparently aren't really happy about a brother adopting his sister's kids, at least not before they become a part of the social service system and can be monitored, which is something she's trying to prevent. She's been advised that that's a nightmare. You remember Ian, right?

Oh, yes. But I'm lost again. "What about Jason?"

"He's her first cousin. In Michigan, they don't like to do that either. Same reason."

I'm totally blank. Totally lost. I'm usually pretty good about jumping ahead on this kind of discussion, but not tonight, apparently. "What are you trying to tell me, Kenny?"

"Umm...she'd like...you...to adopt them while we're in Michigan, before she dies. This is the only way she feels she can ensure their disposition without pinging Social Services. She told me she was going to call me about this, but when I told her that we were coming out, she decided to wait. She says that, because their dad is dead, she has the legal right to approve a second-parent adoption herself. The only roadblock in Michigan to these adoptions, apparently, is if both parents are of the same sex. They don't do second parent adoptions to gay couples. But, in this case, you're not of the same sex. You're not a gay couple." How fucking hypocritical is that?

He gets all this out at lightening speed, so nervous that his voice is quivering. I stare at him blankly, thinking my way through what he's just said. After maybe five minutes of staring at him without seeing him, I lower my head to the pillow, turn onto my back, and ask him to turn out the light. He does, looking at me very, very worried. It's 9pm, and we're all tired, but there's no soft snoring in this room tonight. I notice the outline of light coming from around the edges of the bedroom door, the bedroom in which May and her two sons are housed, until about 2am. At 3am, I reach across Kenny and turn on the lamp nearest the bed. As I thought, he's wide awake.

"So, let me play this back to you to see if I understand. Your sister is dying, and doesn't want her kids to go to her parents because she doesn't approve of how they parent. She wants her kids to come to us, to you, but she believes that Michigan won't approve your adoption, or Jason's without getting the Social Services guys involved because you're both too close to her by blood. And, she believes that if the disposition of the kids isn't settled by an adoption prior to her death, that either her parents will get them, or that you'll -- we'll -- be so dogged by the Social Services crowd that her parents might get them anyway. Is that the gist of this?"

He nods. I nod, and reach over him, turning off the light.

At 5am, there has still been no heavy breathing. I haven't closed my eyes. I reach over Kenny and turn the light back on. Kenny is still awake and alert. I look at him for a long moment. "What do you want me to do, Kenny?"

There's a long pause. "I'd like you to adopt my nephews."

I look at him pensively. "Why?"

"Because they're sweet, really nice kids, and because I don't want them to go to my parents either, where they'll learn to hate me because I'm different. I think we can give them a much better life than they can. And because I love my sister, and want to do what's best for her, what she wants me to do."

Jason, I can hear, is sniffling back tears, and as I turn to him, he's nodding. I look back to Kenny, and finally reach over him and turn out the light. "Get some sleep," I say, with no inflection. Five minutes later, I'm out.

We awake at 8am. Our eyes are all red, and so are May's. She feeds us a bowl of rice porridge, "Chuk," -- the Cantonese word for what is called "Congee" in Mandarin -- with assorted pickles and savories. It's a modest breakfast, but hits the spot. She never takes her eyes off me, except when glancing furtively at Kenny, who shrugs. Her eldest son is warming up, and comes over to me and begins asking questions, apparently, questions which Kenny attempts to translate, filling in the blanks for a five-year-old. "He says you don't look like us. He says you're very...umm...I guess what he means is pale." He says this with a giggle and then he laughs, as the boy continues. "He also says that your hair is a strange color." I smile at him, and ruffle his hair, and he scurries to Mama, giggling furiously. She smiles indulgently. He's a very cute kid.

At 11am I call Bob Titus, my attorney, on my cell phone and explain the situation, and he laughs briefly. "I'm really sorry for your...sister-in-law's illness," he says, making the leap, though Kenny and I aren't officially married. "You bring me the goddamnedest problems. I can't really advise you on Michigan law, but I can give you a name of someone who can. He's very good. I went to school with him about a hundred years ago, and we've kept in touch. The relationships will present interesting questions here in California, probably test-case questions. If you adopt the boys, Kenny, of course, will have no officially-sanctioned relationship with them. But will Jason? He's your husband, after all. Your pre-Prop 8 marriage still stands. Will he inherit your relationship? We have no precedent for this. I've no idea, frankly. I wouldn't advise you to tell anyone of your marriage to Jason, because I think that would probably derail what you're trying to achieve faster than anything else. Call George Wood in Detroit, the lawyer I went to school with. Tell him I sent you. Tell him everything but that you're married in California and that you're gay. See what he says. The California side of this we'll work out if you get back here with two adopted sons."

George Wood is my next call, and I make an appointment for an initial phone consultation an hour and a half from now. His receptionist is very cordial, but he's in a meeting. She takes my name and number, and promises that he'll call me back.

May has been watching my activities with great interest, but doesn't dare ask where this is going or what I'm thinking. Jason and Kenny know better, and May is taking her cues from them. 90 minutes later, I'm on the phone with George Wood, outlining the situation, and he tells me that this shouldn't be a problem. Yes, the state of Michigan doesn't like to approve adoptions to close family without the right of Social Services to monitor the environment, but if the surviving parents or parent approves an adoption by a third-party (it could be a significant other or soon-to-be-spouse), they usually have no objections. They prefer that a marriage be in place...

"No, I'm not going to marry her. She's dying."

"Fine. Would you like me to handle this for you?"

"How fast can we get it done?" I ask.

"Clean sailing, it shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks. It seems pretty clear cut. We're going to play this as though you're a prospective spouse. We're not going to talk about her illness."

"Yes. Please handle it." I give him a credit card number for expenses, answer about a thousand questions (many of them answers I'm getting from the children's birth certificates,) and we complete the call. I'll need to be in Detroit in two days to sign a raft of papers. No court appearance should be required. I'll need to bring the father's death certificate, and May will have to come along with me. Fine.

Finally, I move to the living room where everyone is sitting, and tell them what I've done. I will adopt the children. We should conclude the process in a couple of weeks. May and I will need to appear in Detroit in two days to get things rolling.

Kenny is ecstatic, and May is beside herself with joy, throwing herself into my arms. Jason is beaming. "Okay, boys," I say. "I think it's time we take a walk." I have the "focused" look in my eyes, which makes the boys intensely nervous.

We leave the house and begin walking aimlessly, probably in circles. After maybe five minutes of silence, I finally look at Kenny.

"Kenny, my love, I have no fucking idea what to do with a five-year-old and a three-year-old. Do you?"

He looks really sheepish, but Jason bails him out. "I do. I love kids that age. Kenny and I will take care of them. And aren't they cute?"

I can feel my eyes narrowing. He's trying to finesse me, and I know it, and he knows I know it. "Umm...yeah...cute. Don't fuck with me, Jason. I'm on to you." He cringes -- theatrically. "I like that we can keep these boys in the family -- your family -- and I like that they will end up with someone other than your Mother. I like that May trusts you enough to entrust them to you. But...I'm not great with children. I'm worried."

Both Kenny and Jason hug me spontaneously. "Don't worry, Tim. We'll take care of them," Kenny assures me.

But then Jason chimes in, more authoritatively than I've ever heard him. "I think this `not great with children' stuff is crap. I think you'll fall in love with them in the first week." And then, he realizes what he said and looks very, very sheepish.

I glare at him -- theatrically. And then I smile. "We'll see, but, fair warning, I don't do diapers."

They both giggle. "They haven't worn diapers in a while, Tim."

What the fuck do I know about kids?


It's almost a photo-finish. We make it to Detroit, but May's condition worsens thereafter, and she's dead within three weeks, just days after the adoption becomes official. Jason was right. I do fall in love with them quickly, and they fall in love with us. We bond, thank god, because their mother's death is devastating, and because I'm unwilling to feed them the bullshit that their mother has gone to "a better place."

"Mommy was very sick, and died," I tell them instead, with Jason translating. "Do you know what that means?"

Kar-Ming, the eldest of the two, shakes his head. Kwok-Wing stares at me.

"It means she can't wake you up in the morning anymore, and she can't make your breakfast, or dinner. You won't see her anymore." They both begin to cry, and I move in to hug them, to hold them. "But, we'll wake you up, and make your breakfast and dinner. She loved you so much that she asked us to come and take care of you when she couldn't, to take you somewhere you'd be happy. I know it's hard for you, and sad," I say, giving them a squeeze, "but I love you, and so does Jason, and so does Kenny. Is that okay? Can we love you, too?" They both nod, and, as I stand up, Kwok-Wing is hanging from my neck while Kar-Ming hugs my leg. I ruffle his hair. He doesn't run away.

They're very confused. They don't know what any of this means. What does death mean to a three year old, or even a five year old? They keep asking for Mommy. Finally, we fly them to San Jose, Kenny liquidating his sister's few assets, all of which were left to him, and closing down her apartment. He hasn't contacted his parents, yet, which I insist he has to do when we get home, but by the end of the week we have the kids ensconced in a new state, a new house, a new room, and new IKEA bunk-beds. They're still very depressed, still asking about Mommy, but are acclimating, and are learning English at lightning speed. Kar-Ming can even carry on rudimentary conversations with me.

A week after we get home, three days after Kenny has had a shouting match with his mother on the phone, I ask Kenny if the boys have English names. I don't want to impose western culture on these obviously very Asian children, but they'll be teased in school if they go by their Chinese names. The names are just a mouthful -- and rhyme, which is bound to be confusing to non-Asian ears. He tells me that May never gave them English names, but agrees that we should. I assign that task to him, and he decides that Kar-Ming should be called Kevin, and that Kwok-Wing should be called Kai. "You're into `K's' I guess. Where's Kai come from?"

"It's Finnish. It means `Rejoice'."

I snicker. "Someone's been Googling name sites." He smiles and giggles.

Kevin and Kai they become, and Kenny (another fucking `K' -- I should have known) explains their new names to them. Kevin is happy, and learns to pronounce it instantly. Kai stares at him, but smiles. What does a three-year-old care what he's called? We start to use the names, and they start to respond. Very cute.

The rules we establish are that Jason will speak to them only in Mandarin, which they understand a little, but don't speak well; Kenny will speak to them only in Cantonese, their primary language; and I, of course, will speak to them only in English. Loss of culture and language in this great melting pot of ours absolutely infuriates me. I'm Dutch, but was never allowed to learn the language, despite the fact that my grandfather spoke it fluently, and my mother spoke it semi-fluently. It was not okay to be Dutch. One had to be American. What a huge fucking loss. I want to maintain the cultural identity of these boys while easing them into the homogeneity that is America. This'll be a trick, but it is doable. Research has shown that kids who learn a second language before they're around six learn subsequent languages much more easily than those who don't. Their brains gets re-wired in some fairly interesting ways. An American friend of mine, who took her son to live in Belgium when he was four, told me that her first conversation with his Kindergarten teacher had revolved around language. After being in Belgium for six months, she'd asked if she should get her son a French tutor. "Pourquoi, Madam? (Why would you do that?) He is fluent for his age in both French and Flemish." She was stunned, but that's how it works. Hit `em up young, and they have the capacity learn anything. He ended up speaking seven languages by the time he was 17 -- all fluently. I'm hoping these boys will do the same.

They're certainly fluent in their understanding of Kenny, Jason and me. When they're hungry, they go looking for Jason, who gives them slices of fresh mango and cantaloupe, or chunks of pineapple to snack on. When they need help of some kind -- to get dressed, tie a shoe, take a bath, or fix a broken toy -- they go to Kenny, the most patient of us all. When they're afraid or sad, when they need comfort, they come to me. During their first month, I can't count the number of times that I see my office door swing slowly open to reveal these two little imps standing on the threshold, hand in hand, looking frightened. They always seem to travel together, and I think it's mostly their missing Mommy that causes them such distress. I swing my chair around, pat my lap, and suddenly I have them attached to me, one on each leg, Kai usually sucking his thumb, Kevin just leaning against my chest. We all hug, and they stay with me until they're more confident, anywhere from ten minutes to half-an-hour. Then they're off again, running through the house, playing with Kenny, laughing, tickling each other, giggling endlessly. They melt my icy heart and I realize, after that first month, how lucky I am. I had not looked forward to this. Faced with May's illness and the certainty of her death, I wracked my brain for alternatives to bringing these kids home. I never wanted my life disrupted in this way, never wanted toddlers running through the corridors of my heart, but here they are, and I feel incredibly lucky, blessed. I love them with a passion you can only understand when you have kids, and I didn't have to go through any of the infancy shit -- no puke on my shirt, no diapers, no squalling infants at 3am. They are so well-behaved, and so adorable. May did an incredible job with what she had, which was damned little. They are a gift that someone has put under my christmas tree fully formed. I adore them, and so do Kenny and Jason. They become, in the course of the first month, the center of our universe, the two little planets around which we all revolve.

And revolve we do. We take them to the Oakland zoo and show them the lions, tigers and bears (Oh, my!); we take them to the Monterey Aquarium; we take them to San Francisco and have pizza at The Sausage Factory on Castro, where they both have their hair ruffled by more fawning leather-daddies than I've ever seen in one place. They are much admired. And, at Paramount Great America, in Santa Clara, we take them on the roller-coaster, where they cling to me with a mixture of terror and absolute adulation, excited beyond words, and beyond continence, apparently, because we have to change little Kai's pants after the last ride. He is so happy, and so wet at the same time. And, my god can these boys scream!

Our routine evolves pretty naturally. I get them up, and put them to bed. Kenny gets them bathed and dressed. Jason feeds them because Jason cooks the foods they're used to. We find day-care for Kai, and Kindergarten at a local elementary school for Kevin. Separating them is a major ordeal. When I said they travel together, I wasn't kidding. Anywhere that Kevin goes, Kai is sure to follow, but, of course, that isn't a manageable plan. Kai's first week at day-care is traumatic. I bundle him into the car, and he starts to cry the minute Kevin is out of his sight. I hug him, and kiss him, and he slowly calms down, only to start crying again the minute we get to his day-care. The director is really good with him. She'd takes him out of my arms, hugs him, and whisper in his ear, biting his earlobe, and he starts to calm down, to giggle. And then she sets him on the ground, and he's off, playing with all his new friends. "He just needs a little reassurance," she'd says. They're really good with him.

Kevin, too, has his share of trauma. The first week is hysterical. I'm the first to take him to school, and he cries inconsolably for probably fifteen minutes. "Please...Daddy...please can I go home?"

The Kindergarten teacher, an Asian woman that looks a little like May, and speaks accented English, finally lures him into the classroom, waving me away, and I realize that as long as I'm here, he'll want to come with me. I resolve to make my escape more quickly next time.

But, the next time, it isn't me that takes him to school. It's Jason. Again, Kevin's sobbing, begging Daddy to take him home, but this time in Mandarin to a different Daddy. And on the third day, it's Kenny who takes him to school, and the trauma continues, this time in Cantonese. On the fifth day, it's me again, and Kevin is much more subdued. He knows that he isn't going home, and he knows that he actually enjoys his time here, playing with friends, learning English. The Kindergarten teacher comes out to lure him into the classroom, and he takes her hand right away, giving me a wistful look. "How many Daddies does he have?" she asks with a grin.

"Just the three of us," I reply with a wink.

She laughs, and they're gone. The ordeal is over. After the first week, both boys are acclimated. They know they'll have fun for several hours, take a nap, and then come home to loving and stable parents, and to a brother they adore. They still travel together, hand in hand, and still visit me in my office at least once a day for hugs. Life is quite idyllic.


And, it is idyllic for Kenny, Jason and me as well. I didn't think my love for them could deepen, but as I watch them with Kevin and Kai, the sheer delight they take in these kids, I find that I am more in love than ever before. Watching Kenny explain to Kevin how a toaster works makes me laugh. Watching Jason try to teach Kai how to tie his own shoes has me sobbing. These four guys are mine. This is my world. Kenny, Jason and I sleep together, of course, like we always have, but the sex is so much better for some reason. In part it's better, I guess, because it's harder to carve out time for ourselves, so we have it less often. This is not to say that we're trying to be more private than we ever have before. I know that Freud had his theory that seeing one's parents having sex is somehow traumatic to the child. I think that's bullshit, and Freud's theories have been largely debunked in the last thirty years, anyway. I subscribe more to the theory of an English professor of mine, who told me that he'd been a subscriber to "Playboy" for years. He liked the pictures, he said, in a refreshing twist. He left them in a pile in the living room, and his four boys were free to browse as they pleased. His eight- and ten-year-olds, he said, flipped through a couple of magazines, and were then off to their video games. His fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds were much more interested, and his wife was likely to find an edition or two next to their beds, along with a wad of Kleenex. Sex is interesting when sex is interesting. It's interesting to a fourteen-year-old, but not to a ten-year-old. Isn't that how you want it to be? Freud be damned! Kevin walked in on us one evening while we were all fucking, sat down in a chair (unbeknownst to any of us) and watched. And then, after a while, he wandered back to his room and went to sleep. Coming down for breakfast the next morning, he asked what we were doing.

"You saw us?" Jason asked.

"Yeah," Kevin replied, casually.

Jason, to his credit, doesn't over-react at all. "We were showing each other how much we love each other. We were making each other feel good, feel loved."

"Can I do that?" Kevin asks, thoughtfully.

"Well, probably not now. It's more an adult thing. But, you'll do it someday. A lot of guys like to do it with girls."



Kevin wrinkles his nose, and giggles, and Jason laughs. And that, as they say, is that. Sex is interesting when sex is interesting.

This is not to say that children aren't sexual beings. They just aren't mature sexual beings. At the depth of their insecurities, both boys liked to pile into bed with us. We bought them a twin bunk bed arrangement, but mostly they liked to sleep together in the lower bunk. They travel together. And, if one of them gets scared -- a bad dream, creepy sounds, longing for Mommy -- he drags the other one out of bed and we find them snuggled in with the three of us. Everyone in the house sleeps naked, including the children. Why? I have no idea. We'd bought them pajamas, and dress them for bed, but when we wake up, they're naked, the pajamas tossed over the side of the bed. If the Social Services crowd ever found us like this, they'd crucify us, because a good two nights a week, at least, we wake up in the morning spooned together -- Kenny, followed by Kevin, followed by Jason, followed by Kai, followed by me, all clutching each other. All warm and snuggly. And more times than I can count, both Kevin and Kai have tiny little erections, just like the rest of us.

My mother, years ago, used to be a fairly strict disciplinarian. If I wasn't home on time, wasn't home for dinner, didn't do my homework, didn't do my chores, I was in serious trouble, and subject to grounding, spankings, or worse. She was very serious, very "focused" on grades, on punctuality, on obedience, and on respect for my elders. But, how many loads of Kleenex did she pick up off my bedroom floor and toss into the waste basket? She knew I didn't have a cold. They were coated in spunk, not snot, and she knew it. Not a word did she ever say. She knew she had a boy, and that boys are sexual animals. This was all normal, she thought, all part of growing up. She tossed the Kleenex away without thinking about it. And that's what I want for these boys. Sex is a part of life, a natural function, like breathing.


Things start to get interesting when Kevin's Kindergarten class is asked to draw their families. Kevin is apparently confused about who he should draw. "Should I draw my Mommy?" he asks in his highly accented English, an accent that the Kindergarten teacher is just starting to get used to.

"Yeah," she replies. "That'd be good."

"But...umm...she's dead."

"Oh," the teacher responds. "Why don't you draw the people you live with -- the family you live with."

So, he does. He draws Jason, Kenny, and me, and he labels each of us Daddy. Then he draws Kai and, with the teacher's help, labels him Brother. His classmates, who mostly have standard nuclear families (with the exception of those living with a single parent), are fascinated by his drawing. "You have three Daddies?" one asks him, and he nods. I don't think he really understands that this might be unusual. Nobody teases him, apparently. They're just curious five-year-olds. He actually seems rather proud of his difference.

When I come to pick him up that afternoon, his teacher pulls me into the now empty classroom and shows me the picture. "He seems confused about what a family is. He thinks he has three daddies and a brother."

I nod. "And...?"

"You might want to clarify for him who his family really is."

My eyes narrowed as I try to figure out where she's coming from. Is this homophobia, or just...surprise. It's not clear to me. Finally, I respond, with absolutely flat inflection. "Umm...he knows who his family is. He drew it. He has three daddies, and a brother. He's not confused at all."

She looks at me for a long moment, then at the drawing. Two of the daddies have black hair, and one has tan hair -- the closest he could come to blond. They're all standing in front of a green house, our house. Finally, she looks back at me. "Are the two Asian guys who bring him to school the other two daddies?"

I nod.

You can see her mind grinding away at this. "Umm...okay."

I realize it's time for me to come clean with her, to help her understand. "Miss Chau, I'm gay."

"Yes," she replies, "I surmised that."

"Kevin is the son of the sister of one of the two Asian guys, my partner. She died several months ago of cancer. Given the stupidity of family law in Michigan, her home, I ended up adopting Kevin to ensure that Kenny, his biological uncle, would raise him, and not his grandparents. Michigan law apparently looks dimly on uncles adopting nephews, or at least they make it very difficult. So, Kevin is technically my adopted son, but is also the nephew of one of the Asian guys, and is the second cousin of the other Asian guy, who is the first cousin of the boy's uncle. Does that help?" I ask, giggling.

She gives me a very long, very confused look, and then starts to laugh. I smile. "And you're related to Kevin because you adopted him, but also because his uncle is your partner?"


"And the other guy is your partner's cousin?"

It's time to blow her mind. I probably shouldn't, but I just can't resist. She seems open to this. I don't think it will have repercussions on Kevin. "Yes. That's true. He's also my...husband."

She was in the process of turning to hang the drawing back up on the wall, with the others. When I say `husband' she stops dead and turns to face me, a totally blank expression on her face. She is absolutely lost.

"Let me introduce you to the family, Miss Chau," I say, taking the drawing from her. "This," I say, pointing to the figure with the tan-colored hair, "is me. And this," pointing to the black-haired guy standing next to me, "is Jason. He's my husband. I married him in California during the six months that same-sex marriage was legal. And this," I say, pointing to the black-haired guy standing next to Jason, "is Kenny. He's Kevin's biological uncle, and Jason's biological cousin, and has lived with Jason and me since the day we were married. The three of us love each other, live together, support each other, and represent Kevin's family, along with his brother Kai, of course," I say, pointing to the smallest of the figures in the picture. "There are actually two more family members, another adopted son, and his partner, but they're off at school, and Kevin hasn't met them yet. Does that make better sense, now?"

She looks at the drawing, and then back at me. "Well, it's certainly unusual, but, yes, it makes sense."

"And you're okay with this? No specific...concerns?"

She pauses, parsing the question. Finally, she understands what I'm asking. "No. None. Families come in all shapes and sizes, Mr. Jensen, and it's not for me to apply some kind of litmus test to any of them. My only concern would be for the child, and for a boy who's recently lost his mother, Kevin seems remarkably well adjusted. He's happy, gets along with his classmates, is very well behaved in class, and, I have to tell you Mr. Jensen, he was very proud of his drawing. He got a number of questions from the other children about his three daddies, and was able to differentiate between the roles of the three of you with ease. He clearly loves all three of you. I gather from talking with him that yours is a multi-lingual household?"

"Yes, and we each speak to him in a different language. His primary language is Cantonese, and that's what he uses when he talks to his Uncle, to Kenny, but Jason, my husband, speaks to him only in Mandarin, and I speak to him only in English. We'd like to preserve his cultural identity if we can. I realize that that puts a burden on you and the school to help him with his English, but..."

"You don't need to convince me, Mr. Jensen. He's a very bright little boy, and I agree that preserving his heritage should be a primary goal. His English is improving every day, and his accent when speaking English is fading. When he's emotional, when he gets his feelings hurt, he switches to Cantonese, which I don't speak, but he's otherwise quite proficient in English. And his Mandarin, too, is quite good. We chat during recess...confidentially," she says with a wink. "He'll do fine."

I smile. She has just reassured me that there will be no repercussions from this conversation. "Thanks, Miss Chau," I say, grabbing Kevin by the hand and hoisting him into my arms. "I'm glad we had this conversation."

"Me, too," she says, ruffling Kevin's hair, eliciting a giggle. And as we leave, Kevin leans over my shoulder and waves to his teacher, a broad smile etched across his face. I think someone's got a crush.

On the way home, we chat about his class, his teacher (who he clearly adores) and his drawing. "I got more daddies than anyone," he exclaims, proudly.

"Is that good?"

He stares at me as though I'm from outer space. "Yeeeaaahhh," he says, imitating me.

I laugh. "But no mommies," I say, trying to gauge the reaction.

He pauses, and looks pensive for a few seconds. "I miss Mommy," he says, but then breaks into a smile and screams, "but I got three daddies."

I laugh, and ruffle his hair. He is just adorable. I think Kenny, Jason and I have done very well to get him past May's death with minimal emotional scarring. He remembers her fondly, remembers her sadly, but seems to focus on the here-and-now, on what brings him joy. And, apparently, his new family brings him a great deal of joy.

Published first at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nemo-stories/