Two Boys

Rocco Paperiello


This story is about relationships between and among teenagers. This includes intimate relationships between young males. If you don't approve or are offended, then how come you're reading this? Go to some other Internet Site. (Of course some people actually cultivate being offended; if that's the case, read right on). As far as detailed descriptive sex acts, I think you may find some good ones in other stories right here on Nifty, but as of now I do not envision a lot of explicit detail in this one.

If, for some legal reason, you are not allowed to read this in your area of the world because of illogical laws, again I will not ondone (publicly) anyone breaking the law, so either move or read sentence four. I definitely don't want the thought police after either of our keisters.

Please, this story is sort of my property, so if you ever want to quote some of it (whatever for I wouldn't know), please e-mail me and also give proper attribution. As of now no one has permission to put this story on another Internet Site.

This story is almost entirely fictional, and autobiographical ONLY in the sense that many of the incidents in the story really happened, but in some cases to different people and under different circumstances. In other words I've simply adapted things that happened in my life to a fictional story. In fact, some aspects of both main characters are in part modeled from my own experiences. Some of my family members are also in this story, and perhaps (definitely) distorted a bit (a lot) at times and sometimes approaching caricature, but since I really don't expect them to sue, I'm taking the chance. All other characters are fictional, except as noted).

I welcome any feedback. Constructive criticism appreciated.

Rocco Paperiello


PART I -- Beginnings

Chapter 25 -- Sometimes Parents Aren't Fair Either

I can't believe how fast things can change. Yesterday Rocco was ecstatic. He got his General License.

"I did it! I did it! Look! My call letters are K3HNC." He explained that the 3 meant the Pa & NJ area. I think I was just as excited at he was.

"I passed the test with a 96 %. And the code test was easy. I just breezed through. Thanks Jade, I really mean it. Somehow it would hardly mean anything if I couldn't share it with you. And without your help I think I wouldn't have had the stick-to-it-ness to finish the plan."

"What page in the dictionary did you get that word?"

As we went back to his house I had to tie a rope around him so he wouldn't float off.

Rocco remarked: "I don't know how I'm going to do this. I was going to spring this on my Dad and Carl tonight at diner. But maybe I should wait for tomorrow and see what Carl does. What do you think?"

"I think your Dad would HAVE to pay more attention if he just finished congratulating your brother."

"I think that's how I'll do it."

That was yesterday. But today is today. Rocco is in my room and refuses to go home. I'm not sure what to do. I'm downstairs at the phone trying to decide if I should call his Mom. He came over an hour ago and barely could stop crying long enough to tell me what happened. How come parents can't be fair? I had to almost sit on him before he started saying what was wrong.

"Damn. White-boy! What's the matter?" Rocco looked as bad as I felt when Mama died.

He finally answered: "I hate him! I hate him! I hate them both! And Mom wouldn't do anything."

"What happened?"

Finally. "Well as soon as Dad sat down at the table Carl pulled out his temporary license, and showed my Dad. His call letters are K3HNG. But he didn't even get a General License. He didn't do well enough with the Morse Code. He only got a Technician License." Rocco had trouble getting his breath. "But Dad looked at it like it was the Holy Grail. Then Dad pulled out his wallet and tossed him a hundred dollars. Just like that. All those twenties flying through the air. I thought now was my chance."

And Rocco explained what happened through an occasional convulsive sob.

"Dad, I got a surprise too." I finally got my chance. I waited until every one was looking. "I got MY license too. And it's a General License; unlike Carl I passed the more difficult Code test. My call letters are K3HNC. Here. Do I get a hundred dollars too?" And I showed the temporary license to my father in triumph. NOW he would have to congratulate me!

"What's this?" He briefly glanced at it. And then he actually got mad. "I don't like you lying just to get my attention." THEN HE RIPPED IT UP! "I don't know how you got this but I don't like you lying like this just because you're trying to make yourself look better than your brother."

Everyone started talking at once. I was literally in shock. I looked at Mom but she was the only one NOT saying anything. I started crying and jumped to the floor and started picking up the pieces. For a while all I could think to do was try to put the pieces back together again. And then I lost my temper. I started screaming.

"It's a real license. It's REAL. I'm NOT lying. It's REAL!" I screamed at the top of my lungs.

"Go to your room until you can behave. RIGHT NOW! And don't come out until you're ready to apologize to your brother." My Dad was furious.

And then Carl started laughing. "How did you forge it?"

I turned to my Mom. "MOM PLEASE! I'm NOT LYING!"

"Look, your Dad said to go to your room. We'll talk about this later."

Then my Dad added. "And you're grounded. We'll talk about this later."

I was in shock. I even stopped crying. I couldn't move. Both my sisters tried not even to look. My brother kept smiling.

I finally screamed: "WHY DOESN'T ANYONE EVER BELIEVE ME!?!" And I ran out of the house.

Rocco was up in my room. I was downstairs in the hall, still standing by the phone tyring to decide whether to call his parents. Before I could make the decision, the phone rang, and I answered. "Hello?"

"Is this Jade?"


"This is Rocco's Mom. Is Rocco there?"

"Yeah." I was a real conversationalist. I actually wanted to say a lot of things but couldn't.

"Please put him on the phone."

"OK. He's in my room. I'll get him."

I barely avoided strangulation by phone cord as I disengaged from the phone and raced upstairs. But Rocco refused to budge no matter what I said. A moment later I was back on the phone slightly out of breath.

"Mrs. Papariello, he won't budge. I can't get him to the phone."

"Well please tell him if he doesn't want to be in even more trouble, that he has to go home right this instant."

"I'll try."

"Tell him I'll be waiting for him." His Mom hung up.

A half hour later Rocco said he was never going home. I couldn't budge him. And all that time I was getting even more furious at his parents. Sure life isn't fair but this was too much. I told him I would be out for a while. He seemed exhausted. He stopped crying a while ago, and was now just staring at the wall.

About five minutes later (well maybe eight minutes later) I was at his house. I dropped my bike at the steps and ran to the door out of breath.

His Mom answered: "Hello Jade. But where's Rocco?" His Mom looked more concerned than angry. Maybe she'll even listen to me.

"Please, can I come in and talk to you?"

She just stared for a few seconds, then said: "Why isn't Rocco here?"

What a one track mind. "PLEASE. I REALLY NEED TO TALK TO YOU. PLEASE."

"OK, but please make it fast."

Mrs.Papariello asked me to come into the kitchen with her. His two sisters were watching some show on TV. Dolores said "hi." I didn't see any one else. When I got to a chair I tried to figure out what to say.

But before I could say anything, Mrs. Paperiello asked her own question. "I don't understand why Rocco didn't come himself. What's the matter?"

I seemed to be having trouble catching my breath. I finally answered: "Rocco is right now lying on my bed after crying for an hour. I have NEVER seen him so upset. In fact the last time anyone was that upset was me when my Mama died. This is serious. Please believe me."

"I know he must be upset, but he brought it on himself. He should not have tried that trick on his father. It was typical of him but his father is very angry with him."

"Trick?" she said? What trick? Then I finally realized what she meant. Rocco said that they didn't believe him about the Ham Liense. I tried to say as calmly as possible -- which wasn't that calmly: "But you don't understand. I WAS THERE WHEN HE GOT HIS LICENSE. HE DIDN'T LIE. IT'S REAL. HE REALLY GOT HIS LICENSE. HOW COME YOU DON'T BELIEVE HIM?" I couldn't believe I was almost shouting at an adult. A white adult at that.

I think I was starting to get through. She stared at me with what looked like she was pretty scared herself, although I couldn't understand why. "What are you saying? Are you in this with him?"

"Please, Mrs. Papariello. I am NOT lying. I have no reason to. Rocco got his license because he told me he wanted his father finally to be proud of him. To finally listen to him. He said he couldn't understand why his father didn't like him and mostly ignored him. He said he never had the courage to ask his father this. Please. The license is real. He was only trying to get his father to pay attention to him."

"Oh. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! It's real?"

"Yes. Honest. Rocco said he could never go home. He's really REALLY upset. Please."

She got this look that Rocco gets at times. "I never realized it was this bad."

I didn't understand what she meant. And didn't know what to say.

"What's your phone number?" She asked. I told her. She went into the next room for the phone and dialed but no one would answer. By this time Dolores walked over to us. She had been listening. "I told you Mom. He showed me the license yesterday, but said he wanted to surprise Dad."

"When your father comes home, tell him if he asks where I am that I'm over at Jade's house." She went to a closet and put on a light coat.

I was quite surprised. She's never been over to my house before. And we both headed back out of the house. I was walking my bike. She didn't look too good herself, and was quiet most the whole way. Just before she got there she started talking. "Rocco has always been different. A very sensitive boy. But his father could never understand. I tried to explain, but he could never understand. Rocco's father was always so physical when he was young. And self reliant. And he was so good at all sports. But it isn't just that. Heaven knows that Carl isn't any better than Rocco. I think it's because Rocco just stayed so small and gets so emotional when he's upset. His Dad just couldn't understand. And I just let it happen. But I never realized it was this bad."

Once she started talking she didn't seem to want to stop. She kept saying things like that all the rest of the way to the house. A neighbor stared at us as we went up the walk. "Yes, Mrs. Baxter, this is a white woman I'm with." Mrs. Papariello and I went upstairs and I brought her to Rocco who was still in my bedroom. I was suddenly ashamed of how messed up it was but she didn't seem to notice. I left and went downstairs. I tried to listen in at the bottom of the stairs but she closed the door.

And I just realized. There was a white woman in my uncle's house. Holy smoke! I was really glad that my uncle wasn't home. I hope it stays that way a little while longer.

Chapter 26 -- A Lot of Things Get Better

I couldn't figure out where I was right away. But as soon as I saw Jade asleep next to me it came back with a rush. And I was instantly VERY self-conscious. I NEVER slept in a bed with someone else before. At least since I was in diapers. And I actually don't quite remember that. My Mom said that I could stay there for the night, but to call some time next morning.

I think, not only had hell frozen over, but the place was now a ski area. My Mom would NEVER allow me to stay at someone's house overnight, and especially not without an adult there. Uncle Mike never got home before I was in the land of Morpheus. (We were reading mythology in my English class).

And as I watched Jade next to me I suddenly had to get up. I had gone totally stiff. Well I was a bit stiff myself, but I mean my penis was rock hard. It was embarrasing. And that brought back to mind my PROBLEM. I sort of snuck off the end of the bed trying not to wake Jade, and made tried to make my escape to the bathroom. I sure hoped that Jade's uncle wasn't around. Being a Saturday though he might be sleeping late. But Jade awoke before I got to the door. I stopped to say good morning, trying to hide my poking out part.

He sat up in bed as and aske: "Hello, how are you feeling?"

"I'm not sure. Mom REALLY surprised me last night. With a LOT of things. I don't think I would EVER had the nerve to talk about some of those things under normal circumstances."

"I'm glad. You look a lot better than last night."

"But I'm still mad at my father. I still can't really understand why he's like that. Mom tried to explain last night but . . . I don't know. And he wouldn't even believe me. It NEVER even occurred to me that that could happen. . . and my brother wasn't too nice either." My feelings were in such a termoil, I wasn't too sure how to feel.

We both wound up in the bathroom and typical teenagers, we played games while peeing. It's strange. Sometimes I'm so self-conscious and other times, well . . . I just ain't. I was also fascinated by how big Jade's penis was getting. As we started downstairs we could hear his uncle snoring in the other bedroom -- snoring pretty loudly. We started breakfast.

Jade asked: "Eggs and bacon, and orange juice OK by you?"

I asked: "Do we have time?"

Jade understood what I meant. "Sure, My uncle won't join the land of the living 'till probably noon."

I remarked that I really din't eat much breakfast except when my Dad makes it for everyone on Sundays. I added: "And as long you don't even think `grits'. I don't know how anyone can eat them."

Jade smiled. "No wonder you don't grow."

"What do you mean? I'm now up to 5 feet. A regular growth spurt." I laughed. "And I just remembered. I was supposed to go to the dance last night with Dolores. I wonder if she even got there?"

"Probably not. She wasn't dressed for any thing like that when your Mom and I came back here. And when we left, she had her face glued to some TV show. I think it was 77 Sunset Street. Never cared to watch it myself."

"It's her favorite show. And gees Jade, I don't know how to thank you. I don't think I would have had the nerve to do something like you did."

"I HAD to do something. It's the only thing I could think of."

I started helping Jade with breakfast, lighting the gas burner on his stove. The pilot light didn't seem to work right. I also started thinking about my "problem." I looked at Jade as he was there working and finally got up to courage to say: "You know Jade; you keep asking me what's bothering me. Well until several months ago I was able to just tell myself that I really don't have to think about it for now. I kept telling myself that as soon as I matured things would be different. But lately I've started getting scared. Little things keep happening sometimes that are starting to make me get really worried." I guess that after all the turmoil of the past night, I needed to focus on important things and not just keep deciding to think about them later. "Sorry Jade, I kept putting you off. Well. . . I think I want to talk about it. It has to do with maybe being homosexual."

Jade sort of sighed and looked right at me. "I thought it was that. Anywhere near puberty yet?"

"I don't think so. Or I guess maybe I'm not too sure. But I'm starting to wonder. Am I going to look like a sixth grader forever? Look at you. You must have grown 4 inches this year."

"Three and a half. But I'm 16. And I've gotten so much better looking too." Jade was trying to inject some humor.

"Give it another 20 years, and at this rate you'll almost be as good looking as Nestor."

"Don't you know the new saying: `Black is beautiful.' And you still got it bad for him? You hurt my feelings."

"Well, if you're the example, I agree. Black IS beautiful." I know, I pride myself about being logical but maybe in some things I'm not. I ignored the remark about Nestor. I finished up cooking the eggs, wishing that we had a really good iron frying pan like at home. This thing will take a lot of cleaning. I got out the salsa. Jade got me using it on my eggs. I had poured off most off the bacon grease, and cooked the eggs in what remained. I finally called home. Mom must have been hovering near the phone. We talked about what happened last night. Mom again said she was sorry she didn't believe me. Finally I asked, "How about Dad?"

I could tell by her voice that my Mom was pretty upset. I was worried that she and Dad might have had one of their big fights. She said: "You know how he can be. He won't talk about it."

I sure did. I couldn't stop getting angry again. Jade could easily see it. "I'll be home after lunch. Did Dolores get to the dance?"

"Totally forgotten. Please find me first when you get home. You hear me? First thing."

"Will do. Thanks Mom. See you." I hung up and tunred toward Jade. "Darn! Dad's doing it again."

"Doing what again?" I could see Jade was wondering exactly what I meant. I tried to explain.

"Every time he doesn't want to hear something he just walks away. He won't talk about it. They probably had one of their fights. They're always fighting, and I can't stand it. It really hurts. And he sometimes gets my mom crying, and then just walks away. The problem though isn't just him. My Mom don't know how to say anything when they disagree without accusing him of everything. Gees, she starts talking about things that happened a century ago. And this just gets him fuming. And that makes it worse. I can't wait `till I can move out. It hurts so much just living there. At least Mom now knows I wasn't lying. And she promised I wasn't in any trouble."

Jade just sat there and listened. I haven't said this stuff to ANYONE before. It was good to get it out. And we wound up talking about a lot of other stuff. Especially my big fears about how I was getting real scared that I might be like Jade. I said I was still hoping that after puberty I'd start getting interested in girls. Then he brought up how I felt about Nestor. And he even asked if I was attracted to him. I was afraid to even think about that let alone answer him. Nothing got resolved but at least I felt better just talking about it. We finally got onto other things.

We finished breakfast and then cleaned up. I kept wondering how Jade put up with how hard it was for him to do so many things. He showed me a couple things that helped including his prised electric can opener. I used to think that you had to be stupid to pay good money for something so unnecessary. I was thinking differently now. I suddenly wanted to forget all my immediate problems and do something normal. "Jade, let's call Jimmy and see about challenging him and Stan to a game. I feel like just doing something normal so I won't keep thinking about this stuff."

"Sounds good. I'll call."

We wended our way to Stan's house. Jimmy said to meet him there. The ally just behind Stan's house worked perfect for the game. The alley ends in a `T' and if you hit the row of houses at the top of the `T' its either a triple or a home run depending on how high up the ball hits. You get a single if you get the half-ball passed the pitcher. If it reaches about 2/3's the way to the houses in the air its a double. Of course anything caught is an out. One swing per out, not three. Foul balls are also outs. As I said it's a difficult game. In nine innings, a common score would be say 10 to 8.

I was pitching. It was where I was best at. Stan just whiffed. He complained: "How the hell'd you do that?" I was perfecting a pitch which just floated in and suddenly raised slightly and then dropped just over the plate. (There were no balls or strikes if the person didn't swing).

"Just a new pitch I've been working on." I replied. My smile was almost a snicker.

And Stan looked out at Jade. "And Jade, that's not legal. No one agreed that you could use a net."

"Look man, you have a hand at the end of your arm. I just decided to even the odds. This net is no bigger than the size of your hand. I tell you what. You lose your hand and you can use it too. Besides, blame Jimmy. He made it for me."

We are always bantering about things like that or whether a ball actually hit somewhere. But it was always in fun. No one was really mad. Jimmy said: "Come on Stan, we'll kill them anyway."

I threw the same pitch to Jimmy and he hit a home run. I moaned. Maybe I could get it to curve a bit also. We lost 10 to 5. The second game we lost 11 to 8. The third we lost 11 to 9. Darn. So close. Jade hit three homers the last game and was ecstatic. I had two homers and two broken windows. The bat slipped out of my hands, hit just at the edge of the first window of a garage door, and it flipped around and also broke the last window. We went around to the front door to let Stan's neighbor know what happened to his garage windows. Fortunately he just laughed and said just to make sure they were fixed before it rained again. I knew what I'd be doing that afternoon. I was sure glad that Stan's neighbor was pretty easy going. In fact, almost all the neighbors around there tolerated kids playing and running all over the place pretty well.

It turned out that we didn't have to go to the hardware store for the glass, so we got the windows fixed right away. Stan's Dad had some on hand that we cut the two small windows from. After Jimmy helped me fix the windows, we made our way toward his house. We got to the subject of the scouts right off. I told Jimmy that I was happy about how his Dad handled the fight at the scout meeting. "Hay Jimmy, tell your Dad thanks."

"I will. Dad's a stuffed shirt sometimes, but he always listens and always tries to be fair."

Jade just about lost it. "That's just what Rocco said about him also, including the stuffed-shirt part."

"JADE!!" Now I just about lost it. I must have turned bright red.

Jimmy said: "Hay! I can say that about my Dad but you can't." But he was smiling. He was always praising his Dad. They got along really well. I had tears in my eyes and tried to hide them. But Jade noticed.

"I sure wish my father was like yours." I didn't even realize I said it aloud until Jimmy said thanks. Jimmy was a year behind me in school but he seemed more mature. He already knew what he wanted to be -- an Engineer just like his Dad. We said bye at the end of the ally and Jade and I headed alone to my house. I thought about Dad being a welder. I didn't want to do anything like that. And I wanted to be the opposite of my Dad about almost everything else. I was determined to be the best father there ever was. And then I remembered my PROBLEM again. Damn!

"Damn! . . . Damn!" This time I deliberately said it aloud.

Jade knew I was upset but not why. "OK, White-boy, out with it."

"Jimmy wants to be like his Father. And I want to be the opposite. I mean opposite from mine. I was just thinking that I wanted lots of kids and then was remembering my PROBLEM." I paused and tried to stifle my emotions. I was close to crying. "That's what I started talking about earlier."

"Well, White-boy. I've pretty well come to terms with being what God made me -- homosexual. I'll try to help. At least I can listen."

"Thanks. But one problem I'm having. How can you be sure God made us that way?"

Jade smiled. "Let's get lunch. I think I'll need a full stomach."

We went to my house. We went into the kitchen but nobody seemed to be around.

"Hay look! . . . My Mom made us lunch." Some sandwiches on the kitchen table, wrapped up in waxed paper to keep them fresh. There was a note. "There's more in the refrigerator." I got it out. "I'm going to look for Mom. Dig in. Here, let me unwrap everything."


I finally found Mom in her bedroom looking at a photo album.

"There you are. How are you feeling?"

"A lot better." Not a total lie. "Has Dad said anything yet?"

"Well, yes and no. I finally convinced him that you really got a Ham License. But he still won't talk about it. I'm really sorry. You know we need to talk about this. I never realized you felt that way about your father. I knew he was somewhat distant, but I never realized you felt such a need to prove yourself to him."

"Mom, please. I've felt that Dad hasn't really cared about me nor even liked me for a couple years. It's always hurt -- a lot. But what could I do about it? I'm afraid to even mention it to anyone."

Mom hugged me tight. "I'm sorry Rocco. I never realized it was that bad."

It felt really good that I've finally talked to Mom about this. And that Mom really cared. "Thanks Mom. What are you looking at?"

Mom had our big photo album open to a page closer to the beginning then to the end. "Here's you and Dolores at six months old. You were still pretty small yet. Being twelve weeks premature they weren't sure if you and your sister would make it. And here you two are about a year old. You were starting to get a little pudgy by then. You stayed heavier than your sister until you started school."

And we started going through a lot of pictures and memories. I suddenly remembered Jade.

"Jade's downstairs eating."

"Good. I bet he'd really like to see you at six months and naked."

"MOM! You can't."

She smiled. "Oh yes I can. Let's get downstairs." She brought the book with her.

I hurried down ahead of her. "Jade. If my Mom puts some photos in front of you are hereby commanded to close your eyes." He laughed. And then laughed even harder when he saw my baby pictures.

All three of us started through the album again. I was feeling a lot better. Finally we were done and all eating when Jade said: "I just remembered. Mama gave me this picture a while ago. It is a smaller copy of one I have at home. And then he showed us a picture of a young woman and a small baby. The baby was quite small. "That's my Mama and me!"

"Wow." I leaned closer and whispered. "And your butt was cute then too!"

"Watch out. I'll let your Mom know what you just said." And he laughed.

And then I noticed something. "Gees. How can that be you?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, that baby's white! Well maybe not white, but definitely not colored."

Jade laughed and Mom looked at Jade. Jade said to me: "And here I thought I told you everything there was to know about black folk. I missed telling you about what makes someone black. Well there's some chemical produced by the pituitary gland. That's back here." And he pointed to the base of his head in the back.

"I know where it's at, but what has that to do with anything?" I could tell he was enjoying this. I was usually the one explaining things to Jade.

"Well at least this is how Mama explained it. There is the chemical that tells your skin cells to produce melanin. That's the pigment that makes you black. And it doesn't really start very much until after you're born."

"OK, that's interesting. Now explain why I'm not growing?"

I meant it as a joke, but my Mom suddenly looked concerned. "I didn't realize you were so worried about that too."

"Not too much. But it's very frustrating being the smallest kid in an entire school of four million -- OK, not quite 4000 -- but I'm not actually worried. I guess I'll grow -- sometime. . . .I hope. And how come I'm not even close to. . ." And I stopped. I was embarrassed to talk about this in front of my mother.

But Jade wasn't. He finished for me. "Puberty?"

Holy smoke! I looked at Mom and she had this conerned look. But as usual in our family we never seem inclined to talk openly about anything that had to do with sex. I looked at Jade and wondered how come he wasn't in excruciating pain. At least he should have been if I was projecting my thoughts effectively. But there was still this big question in the air. I finally said: "I even talked to Dr. Krazenski about this. He said that some kids don't go through puberty until they're 15 or sometimes even 16, though that's rare. I guess it's nothing to worry about."

I could hardly look at Mom, I was embarrassed.

We finished lunch. "Mom. I'd like to just talk to Jade about some things. Like scouts and summer camp, and other stuff. It's OK we just walk around a bit?"

"That's fine. Be home for dinner. Your father will be home by dinner time. He and Carl went somewhere." She must have seen my expression. "What's the matter?"

Twenty-four hours ago I wouldn't have answered. But now. . . "Yeah. It's never Rocco and Dad went somewhere."

"I'll see if I can talk to him."

"OK Mom. Thanks."

"Come on White-boy, let's go." My Mom looked at Jade with a strange look.

When I realized what Jade just called me I realized why. "Don't worry Mom. That's just what Jade calls me for fun. It's like a private joke."

"Good. See you at dinner."

I finally got the nerve. I just realized that Jade NEVER ate with us. I mean with the whole family. Only at a rare lunch. Come to think of it, none of my friends ever ate with us except at a party which was still rare. "Mom, can Jade eat dinner with us today?"

Mom seemed to take a moment to think about what this might mean. "That would be OK as long as his uncle knows where he is."

"Thanks Mom."

As soon as we left Jade asked how I could invite him to eat at my house without even discussing it with him. I had to confess I didn't even think about that. I guess I should have. We walked all the way to Pennypack Park to our rock. I'm not sure why we didn't ride our bikes. Neither of us thought about it. We didn't even realize where we were going until we were almost there. We just smiled at each other when we got there. Our ESP was all subconscious. Eventually we got back to what we had started to talk about on the way to my house.

"OK, now what was that about God making us the way we are? How can you know that?"

"Well, I sure as hell know I didn't. You know that as well as I. I know what everyone says. Homosexuality is a sickness, or some type of arrested development. People normally pass THROUGH this stage. But that's malarkey. I think some people have a need to explain it this way, other wise they have to admit it's normal. Well, how come Joey didn't quote `pass through this stage.' He skipped it altogether. Don't I know. And a number of other guys I know the same thing. And I sure as hell know I'm not neurotic or psychotic. Of course who knows what happens to some people after hiding all their life. Or if you don't hide then everybody treats you like your a pervert or something. I was always worried how my Mama would react if she found out. But I was pretty lucky. Mama pretty well convinced me to just be the best person I can be, and that being homosexual wasn't bad or good. Only people are bad or good."

"But I always heard that something happens as you grow up that causes you to be this way. And it's a sickness."

"If that's so, then no one seems to agree what causes it. And look at us. We grew up so different. Yet we are both this way. And I started to think something was wrong as early as 10. So if something made me this way how can I be responsible for it?"

"But that doesn't mean that God made you or us this way. Or that it's not a sickness. So something happened as we grew up."

"You can believe that but I don't. Mama thought it might even run in families. And that means it's genetic. But even if it isn't I know I'm a good person. And I'm not sick."

"Well, I have to think about it. And you said it ran in your family. It's just you and your Dad."

"Well, also my father's aunt. Mama, the same day we talked about this stuff, also brought me to a graveyard. She showed me two graves of two of my father's aunts. But one was actually only a friend that lived with his aunt. They were sort of a couple."

"Women? Wow. I really hadn't thought about that too much but it only makes sense that they could be that way too."

"And look, even if it's not genetic, which I still think true, still many people are the same way and wind up being that way through no fault of theirs. So Mama still believed then it must be God's plan."

I had a lot of things to think about. I wished I could find out more. "How common do you think this is? Until I found out about you I felt so alone. Like I was maybe the only one for miles."

"I don't really know. I'm not sure if anyone knows. I don't think people like us make it public too often."

"Yeah, I guess you're right. But it's certainly much more common than I had thought. That is somehow a bit comforting. What I can't understand is why nobody wants to talk about it. I mean like in school the subject isn't even breathed about. Why not? To tell you the truth, I'm not even sure how I learned about homosexuality to begin with."

"Well most of what I learned at first was from some friends. But it was always talked about as if the people were perverts and people to be despised. I even hated myself for quite a while for being that way. Just like people are taught to hate black people, they are also taught to hate homosexuals -- only more widespread for homosexuals. I don't know completely why. And damn it I'm hated now for two reasons. I'm both black and homosexual."

"Well it is something that's wrong. I keep hoping that I can be fixed somehow. Or that when I go through puberty maybe I'll start being attracted to girls."

"Why does it have to be something wrong? That's what white people say about us black people. That we are somehow inferior. Not exactly the same but similar. Do you feel inferior? Or wrong? And how can it be wrong if it's God's plan?"

"I don't know. But I've thought that something was somehow might be wrong with me for so long it's hard to change me thinking that way."

"That's what's so terrible. People are taught that something is wrong with homosexuals, or they're evil, or perverted, or something even worse. And then they find out they are that way. It's insidious. And tragic. Mama gave me some things to read. Did you know that Alexander the Great was homosexual? And Leonardo deVinci? And Michelangelo? And Alexander Hamilton? And President Buchanan. And Walt Whitman? And some people even say William Shakespear; his love sonnets are to a man."

"Wow. How do you know all that? They sure don't teach that in school. I got a lot of research to do. And a lot of thinking. But if this is God's plan, how come my Church says that it's wrong?"

"I don't know. But they were wrong about slavery for centuries. And probably about a lot of other things. That's what Mama said."

"Damn. You sure an actual president was homosexual? And who is Walt Whitman?"

"Walt Whitman is a famous American poet. He even recited one of his poems at Kennedy's Inauguration. And you're suppose to be the Kennedy fan. And you're saying 'damn' a lot. I think you're being a bad influence on me." We both smiled.

We started walking toward the Pennypack Creek. We then started downstream toward the trestle. I suddenly realized the direction we were going. We rarely went that way before, at least not very far. "Jade?"

"Yes, I know."

We kept going. I was trying to figure out why.

"You know I've never been back there since it happened."

I looked at Jade very concerned. But he didn't seem upset. Just determined.

We finally got to where we could see it, but he didn't stop. I now started to worry. He never even would talk about it. Jade started even walking faster. And then started climbing up toward the tracks themselves.

I momentarily stopped and yelled: "JADE!"

He turned and looked back. "I have to do this. Please. And I need you with me."

We climbed up to the tracks. A lot of commuter trains went by here pretty damn fast. Fortunately you could hear them quite a while before they arrived. Jade stopped.

"It happened right here. This is where I lost . . . lost . . ." He couldn't finish. He turned and grabbed me. Hard.

". . .my hands." For some reason it felt right to finish it for him.

Then Jade started crying. "Damn! . . . It still hurts so much!"

After a while we moved apart, and both looked at the spot. Then we heard a train coming. Jade looked up in the direction of the train but we couldn't see it yet. We backed away from the tracks and stopped. Finally the train came and we watched it go by. I was hoping that Jade . . I don't know what. Then the train passed finally allowing one to be heard. "You know White-boy, I do feel better. . . And mostly because you're here with me."

We walked quite a ways back when Jade suddenly stopped and turned toward me. "You said a lot of stuff today. A lot of personal stuff. I think it's my turn."

"You don't have to."

"Yes I do. You know I said that it still hurts. But what's true is that a lot of things still hurt. I have no parents. My father couldn't accept who or what he was and left before I actually knew him. Then I lost my hands, along with all my friends. My Mama, who I loved so much, died. And my uncle, I don't know why, doesn't like me. All these things hurt. But you know what? A lot of these hurts are gradually not hurting as much. They will never completely disappear, but they are losing their power to control me."

I tried to say something but could barely just look up at him without crying.

"And then the other hurt. When I realized that I was homosexual. Well that is a whole different thing. That only hurt me because I was told that it was wrong. That I was wrong. But I realized just recently that I really AM a good person. Most people can look at me and probably not think much one way or the other. Most of my friends would see just a friend, or a neighbor, or whatever. Some white people would see something maybe a little inferior to themselves because I'm black. But almost all of these people would suddenly see something awful if they knew that I was a homosexual. But I don't care about that anymore. Because I KNOW I'm a good person."

I was astonished. I never heard Jade talk about these kinds of things before. I started thinking.

Journal of Rocco P

May 14, 1960
I can't believe everything that has happened. What I thought was going to be a really great thing -- getting my Ham License and impressing my father backfired, and almost ended in disaster. I can't believe Mom. She was really great. Thank you God. And Jade and I talked about EVERYTHING. I'm sure happy that Jade is doing so much better. I can't believe we went to the tracks where he lost his hands. Wow. And he gave me a lot to think about. I am so confused but at least I am now determined to find my own way. I was a lot happier about a lot of things. I've realized that I shouldn't let things control me so much. I need to start making more of my own decisions.

God, what is right? Can homosexuality really be your plan for us? It's so hard to rethink all those years of the Baltimore Catechism. Am I really homosexual? I really hope not. But the whole thing doesn't seem quite real. I will still hope that when puberty gets to me, I will find out all my worries were for nothing. But if I am really that way, how the hell can I ever let my parents know? I KNOW Dad would never look at me again. And as good as Mom is, I think it would hurt her SO much. How can I do that to her?

But what gets me really angry is why should it be this way? God, how can you let someone be homosexual, and then tell everyone it's so evil, so perverted that the person is then forever despised by almost everybody? And the people who still love you, you are so worried about hurting them if they find out about you. And then the Church tells you, you can NEVER fall in love with someone, NEVER find someone to be intimate with, and NEVER have sex!

Why should homosexuality define your entire existence?

Damn! It's so unfair! How can Jade say he's actually OK with it now?

Copyright 2006 by Rocco Paperiello