Two Boys

Rocco Paperiello


This is the final Part IV of a four part story. (See Part I for Index). It is a story 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? Find a different story. Or perhaps read on; you may be persuaded to think differently.

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 condone (publicly) anyone breaking the law, so either move or read sentence six. I definitely don't want the thought police after either of our butts.

Please, this story is sort of my property, so if you ever want to quote some of it, please e-mail me and also give proper attribution.

Note that an author welcomes any feedback. Constructive criticism is appreciated, and all e-mails will be answered.

Rocco Paperiello

PART IV -- Graduation and College

Chapter 97a -- A Love Story (part a)

We were both sitting in World History class; it was right after lunch. Someone came into the room without even knocking and the teacher was annoyed. But then the guy whispered something into his ear, and the teacher went white. The professor just picked up his books and notes, and left. No explanation, . . . nothing. We all started murmuring about what was going on. I thought maybe he was told something happened to his wife or something. A minute later, as we were leaving the classroom, we found out what had happened. Kennedy had been assassinated. The assassination and speculation on who had done it was all the talk. There were no more classes that day.

I was upset, but I knew Rocco really liked Kennedy as president and he seemed almost in shock. At least definitely in a daze.

"OK Rocco, I know you liked Kennedy much more than I did but you seem in shock."

"Jade, I really liked Kennedy that's for sure. And I feel an immense grief. Even when my grandmother died I didn't feel like this."

"What we need White-boy is a good diversion."

I talked Rocco into our going into Spokane that afternoon. Mike had a date that he was NOT going to miss, but Pat agreed to go with us so we had a ride. (We borrowed Mike's car, since he and his girlfriend were just going the few blocks into "down-town" Cheney). Rocco started driving and Pat got a bit worried when I told him it was only the second time he had ever driven a car.

Pat turned into his serious mode, looked at Rocco and asked: "You mean you don't have a license? Maybe I better drive."

Rocco answered: "I have a license from Pennsylvania. I got it two summers ago."

"But how could you get a license if this is only the second time you've driven a car?"

I was in the back seat and I could see Rocco smiling. I explained: "Well, Rocco borrowed a friend's car to practice. It was me, him, and our friend Dan in the car. Rocco had just gotten his learner's permit the week before and this was the first chance he got to drive. Well, he drove down to the testing place and said that it was so easy that he'd see if he could pass his driving test right then and there. And he did."

Pat asked: "Just like that? Well I guess these newer automatics with power everything are easier to drive."

Then Rocco added: "The car was a gear shift. I thought it was pretty easy. Although I had to practice parallel parking a couple of times. I tried to talk Jade into getting a license too but he said he had no way to hold onto the steering wheel. I told him I'd do the steering for him."

Pat glanced back and saw me smiling. "You guys are full of shit. I don't believe a word you guys just said."

Except for the part about Rocco steering for me it was true. Or mostly. Rocco said he just found driving to be almost automatic. I remember when we drove those little cars at the amusement park a couple of years ago; Rocco floored it all the way around the last time we went and he claimed he never hit a barrier once. I believed him. And I sure saw him zooming around on those forklifts both summers if you can call that driving experience. And the rare times at a site where he had to use one of the work trucks and chain to get a fork unstuck.

We did look into my getting a license. The state cop said that there were attachments we could fit onto the steering wheel that would allow me to drive and that he didn't think there should be any problem. But I decided we would wait until we got our own car. We never did try to convince Pat that all we said was true.

We got to Spokane and drove along the river and found a parking spot just across from the new (just opened) specialty movie theater. It showed a lot of foreign films and old classics.

As we walked along the river I was wondering why they left the area so ugly. Remnants of old buildings, and a conglomeration of a half century of city detritus littered the area that could have otherwise been very pretty. Especially with the river and the island and the fairly large falls as a backdrop. When you dropped down to the level of the falls, you could get a view which eliminated seeing a lot of the unsightly areas.


Spokane Falls

Later we drove to the lower portion of Spokane River Park where you could almost imagine you were no longer in the city. It was quite pretty. We got back to the downtown area late, browsed the shops along the riverfront, and then finally went to a diner for an inexpensive dinner. I had to leave the tip because Rocco refused, saying that the waiter would never shut up about Kennedy.


Spokane River Park

During that dinner our meandering conversation got back to Pat's older brother. Pat asked us: "So Tom said you finally wrote to him again last week. I think he writes to you guys more now than he does me."

I answered explaining about Tom complaining about there being almost nowhere to go, except maybe some bar somewhere, where he could socialize with other gay people. "He desperately would like to find a partner but all the people he sees in the one bar he knows about -- all they want is some quick sex. Not a relationship. He's getting a bit discouraged. And he even tried to talk the pastor of the local Unitarian Church into putting up some kind of announcement about forming a group where gays and lesbians could meet each other. The answer he got was no."

Rocco seemed to be in his own world and never even commented. When we started talking about Tom he seemed to get interested but still said little. After we got back to our dorm room that evening I asked Rocco if the problem was Kennedy's assassination.

"Not really. It's just, well, that has me down, but then I started thinking of all the other stuff that gets me down. And that last letter from Tom had me thinking. As I see it there are two main things that we need to do. One, we need to form some kind of social network where gay and lesbian people can socialize and meet each other just like heterosexuals can. And two, we need to take back our Christian religion that has been stolen from us."

That was an ever recurrent theme for Rocco. Religion was very important to him and he felt that the usual organized religions of at least this part of the world so unfairly condemned homosexual activity, that there's no place in them for members of the gay community.

He got onto one of his recurring themes: "What will happen to kids growing up that feel completely alienated from all the institutions of society that give support and strength to a young person growing up. And one of the worst things is the loss of their religion. Maybe almost as bad as losing their family."

"OK, White-boy. I agree. But what can WE do? I can't see what."

"I know. I feel so helpless sometimes. But someday I'm going to do something. I just don't know what yet."

And that's what partly led up to the next "Rocco-drama" as I started thinking of them. And I should have recognized the symptoms by now. It usually happens after Rocco has expressed a great amount of frustration about being "homosexual in a heterosexual world" as he liked to put it, an apparent take off on something I'd said (having heard it from my uncle) about being black in a white man's world. For about a week, he had been railing on about how our society drives the average gay person into a life of promiscuity by not allowing the normal development of relationships between two gay people. And this latest series of comments underlay his growing frustration and resentment. Not that he was very depressed or anything. In fact, when he gets manic like this he is frequently happy and very outgoing. He really does enjoy life and that helps me as I enjoy it with him.

But he has to have this tiny portion of his thinking and life devoted to "The Problem," which seems to have supplanted his obsession with "The Big Lie." I'd just rather go with the flow so to speak and enjoy life as I can. But this is what makes my White-boy the person he is, and I'd have him no other way. I just need to resign myself to these "episodes." And this one almost blew up into something that could have gotten us thrown out of school. What a storm was brewed up; fortunately the storm remained very localized. And to think Rocco maintained his declaration of innocence throughout. Well, from his perspective maybe he was. But damn it Rocco, think of the far ranging consequences for once in your life! (We had a big argument over this but our commitment to talk about things completely, got us through it. But I was probably as angry as I'd ever been with him).

Oh well! That's my White-boy. I was just trying to figure out if I love him in spite of these things, or because of them.

It started so innocently. The teacher in our English Class, a class which emphasized improving our grammar, vocabulary, and writing skills, told us to write a short story, about 2500 words, and it had to have as its theme an historical love story. This was not greeted with great enthusiasm but I thought it better than the last topic, a modern tragedy taken from the news. (Did he have some premonition of Kennedy's assassination)?

Rocco had this sort of fanatical glow about him as we were leaving class, but I got distracted and never followed up on it. But I should have investigated the next day when he said he had a ride to Gonzaga University and asked if I wanted to go. I had a huge paper to write for my Literature class and although uncommon, we did do our own separate things on occasion. I shouldn't have been so preoccupied.

The third instance when I should have suspected something was amiss was when I asked Rocco if he wanted me to go over his paper before he handed it in and he said that it wasn't necessary, that he didn't want to bother me when I was so busy. I was busy, but it wasn't `til later that I realized that this was the FIRST time he didn't have me go over one of his papers for English Class.

And I also regret not having paid more attention to Allen and Dan's last letter where Allen suggested we read a couple books he had recently discovered which included one by Raphael Patai, Sex and the Family In the Bible and the Middle East, Doubleday & Co, 1959. But in my defense, they were frequently giving us titles of books and articles to read and neither myself nor Rocco really had that much spare time. Even when Rocco said he had come across it in the school library and that I should read it, I didn`t connect it with anything. But it was from this very book that Rocco (I sure don't know when he had the time to read it) got his current idea. He wrote 2500 words about the historical love story between David and Jonathan as found in Samuel I & II in the Old Testament.

I even remembered us debating this. Rocco had mentioned a possible gay love story in the bible, and I had become very interested. I quickly scanned the few pages Rocco had asked me to read and I wasn't particularly impressed. I thought it a big stretch. He even talked to me about it a week ago and I merely stated I didn't see how you could be certain the story could be read that way. But I never delved into it as Rocco had. That trip to Gonzaga was to see if they had the Anchor Bible there for a more definitive translation. I only found this out later. And at the time I hadn't realized that this was to be the core of his English paper.

And in my own defense I will let you be the judge. Here are the main passages Rocco used to develop this theme of a love story between David and Jonathon. I will let you decide. I wasn't entirely convinced:

David and Jonathan's marriage covenant:

"Now it came to pass, when he [David] had finished speaking with Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house. Then Jonathan made a covenant (meaning a marriage covenant since this was the same Hebrew word used for marriage covenant throughout the Old Testament) with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, even his sward, and his bow, and his belt."

I SAMUEL 18: 1 - 4

At the time of David's escape into political exile:

"David rose from beside the stone pile and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He bowed three times, and they kissed one another, and wept with each other, David wept the more. Then Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, `The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever'." He arose and departed; and Jonathan went into the city."

I SAMUEL 20: 41 - 42

David's lament over Jonathan's death:

"Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely! In life and in death they were not devided; they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. How the mighty have fallen in the midst of battle. Jonathan, you were slain in your high places. I am distressed for you my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was more wonderful than the love of woman. How have the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished."

II SAMUEL 1: 25 - 27

Saul's anger over his son's relationship to David:

"You son of a perverse, rebellious woman (meaning that Jonathon's mother must have been promiscuous at the time of his conception -- he couldn't be Saul's son), for do I not know that you are an intimate companion to the son of Jesse [David] to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother's nakedness (meaning to the shame of your mothers sex act). For as long as the son of Jesse lives upon the ground, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom (meaning you shall not inherit the kingdom from me)."

I SAMUEL 20:30-31

But it didn't matter what I thought. Rocco got the paper back and it was covered with red ink. A lot of red ink. The teacher abhorred it. And essentially said it was the worst case of misinterpreting historical text ever perpetrated by one of his students. I thought that a bit strong, but it was obvious that the teacher's own bias against, and intolerance of, homosexuality could be seen throughout the red inked words. Rocco got an F. He was not happy. In fact he was quite angry. In fact he was enraged.

On the other hand I was appalled that he could have been so reckless about defending any position concerning a homosexual relationship. I mean so publicly.

"Look Jade, I neither defended it, nor condemned it. I simple reported it. I used the best sources we have today on biblical translations and interpretation and gave them in my paper. I used Patai, Bailey, and several other modern authors and just synthesized their conclusions. If the teacher has any squabble it should be with the authors of the references I used."

I looked at Rocco in extreme exasperation. When would I finally convince him that right or wrong didn't matter. In this kind of thing anyway. It was how people perceived you or the situation. And the consequences that followed. We talked about it (OK, argued) and I eventually asked: "Now, what will happen if someone investigates us, and we're thrown out of college?"

Sometimes Rocco's a bit immature, but his heart is usually in the right place. It really didn't take long before I was holding a crying boy. Rocco finally realized that our position could really be jeopardized. "Sorry, I promise that the next time I won't be so impulsive. And I'll try to think about consequences. I'd never forgive myself if I caused you to get thrown out of here."

Rocco decided not to make any more waves by challenging the grade or even arguing about it to the teacher. But unfortunately the teacher was not about to let the thing rest there. The next day a note was given to Rocco that the Dean of Students wanted to see him. He was almost in panic mode when he finally left to see him.

That same morning I went on a couple small missions of my own. It seemed that Rob, that kid from LA, wanted me to help with something concerning the Black Student Union again. Well I discovered he was a pretty earnest guy, but never could understand why I didn't stay with "my own kind" very much. After being with Rocco for so long, and mixing with white kids so much, I realized that I had quite a different idea of what "my own kind" consisted of. Besides, I was mostly just too blasted busy with school work most of the time. But he said Rob and some of the other "guys" -- meaning black students -- would be there so I decided to find out what they were up to and get all the latest slant on what THEY thought was going on both on campus and in the world. Rocco had even encouraged me to do just that so what the heck?

And I also had another problem which was just one more thing to be concerned about. I had a urinary tract infection which all the cranberry juice in the world seemed not to be able to clear up. I had been to the clinic a couple days before where they got a urine sample but I was back today to see the doctor. He was kind of surly and was asking all kinds of questions. The doctor finally spelled it right out. "This type of infection is much more common in women where there is a greater chance of contamination from feces."

I tried to pretend interest and at the same time started wondering if he could actually realize just how I probably got the infection.

Finally he came right out and asked: "Been engaging in anal sex?"

My reaction gave me away.

"College students! Think you know everything and that you're invulnerable."

I was waiting for the lecture about gay sex but it never came. Eventually he gave me some literature on safe sex practices. I started glancing through the stuff as he wrote out a prescription for Terramycin. As I was reading I realized it all involved men and women. Until then I never gave much thought to the idea of men and women having anal sex too. He finally advised me to always use condoms. Now I had to tell my White-boy just why we would not be having anal or even some oral sex for a while. Maybe we will start paying better attention to the precautions that Dr. Krazenski talked about.

Copyright 2007 by Rocco Paperiello