When Tom Met Jim
I have finished the latest chapter in an inspiring gay love story and thought I would do the seldom completed task of readers and send a belated e-mail explaining the wonderful loving feeling that was in my heart brought to the surface by the writer, Jon.
I am Tom of "Tom & Jim," the quiet ones in a group that seldom has time in all our daily schedule to gather and just be ourselves with each other. Our group has diminished due to deaths and moves but the core of this group still lives in all our memories.
I grew up in a small town in West Virginia during the 40-50's and was graduated from the local high school at the age of 17 in the summer of 61 and found myself in Uncle Sam's Army two weeks later and the amazing thing about me up to this point I was still a virgin (in all aspects) in a small town of raging male teen hormones bragging among themselves about last nights conquests with the girls and I was not about to offer last nights conquest of my hand. Not only was that closet door shut, it was locked and bolted, too. I think the guys kept the profits up at the local drug stores with all their condom purchases. Needless to say I kept quiet and in the background as I was wrestling with my mind why I was not attracted to the opposite sex like my male friends. I would look at them wondering why???.
I learned early I had to be careful of my public and private life due to the occupations of my Dad and Mother. In our town the best gossip mill was the barber shop for the men, and the time honored beauty shop for the ladies. My Dad was a barber and my mother worked the afternoons in the corner drug store, the second hottest gossip post for the ladies in town.
After my first time `doing something I knew better than try' my Dad knew about it before I did <grinning>...and the worst punished would not be from mom (she would hear about it too). My father never struck me with his hands or any other object, although there were many threats of the leather strop that hung off his barber chair. At the end of the day we would have one of those `fatherly talks' that made me feel no taller than an ant and muttering a `sorry' as tears were shed down my face at the end of the conservation. He never raised his voice, either. He knew how to get my attention--and keep it. Sometimes I wish it had been that leather strop. He died the summer of my 14th year and oh, how I now miss those `fatherly talks.' The best `gift' I ever got from my dad was an uncut cock. He did not let the doctor circumcise me when I was born.
I seemed, otherwise, to be accepted by my school class and even though I did not participate in the sport programs, I enjoyed being a member of the school chorus. I sang tenor the four years I participated. The guys were friendly; I now wonder if then they knew my sexual preference and would oblige their sexual fantasies as the girls thought I looked `handsome' and wondered why none could capture my attention. I need to re-read some entries penned in my school yearbooks.
So, at age 17 I was off to see a wide wonderful world and experience life on my own as a gay male virgin.
My first experience with the glory hole was in Augusta at the local movie house one week-end while in the Army. I really had to go and was in the booth taking care of business when a thick foot long hard cut penis jutted through the hole as well as his massive balls. Okay, so it DID look big to me, then! This was my first experience. I looked at my `equipment' then that monster, did a double take and hastily finished in the stall and rushed out the rest room as I could feel my heart beating though my chest cavity and I was sweating buckets. My pulse musta been 100+. I was really shaken, because I realized I didn't know what was expected of me with that penis or understand the excitement of the unknown rushing through my mind and body. I had several sessions in that locked closet during the week remembering that theater experience.
So, next weekend, I found my self in that booth, wondering what I would do with another person's organ. I needn't have worried, for as soon as one was presented, it was a repeat performance of last week and again I left, frustrated and wondering `what's wrong with me.'
Being 18, I wanted to act knowledgeable in such affairs of the heart but without anyone to talk to and being embarrassed to talk with anyone I struggled with my mind, hand and pent up sexual needs for the next two years till I was separated from active duty. This was before the `don't ask, don't tell' era. Yep, there were many countless session held in that locked closet...
I'd always, since time remembered, want to fly. Well, that dream came true towards the end of my active military life as I searched for employment. I applied with several airlines and tested with a few less, always hearing the dreaded phrase, `we will call you." In the mean time I found a job with a local company in West Virginia and settled down or so I thought, thinking `you ain't getting any job with any airlines, so--get over it, Tom.'
About a month later and shortly after my 21st birthday, my aunt (I was living with an aunt, mother's sister and her husband and family,) told me I had a phone call and this was the number to call back on a note she handed to me when I came home from work one evening.
I called, and was advised by the gentleman on the other end that Eastern Air Lines was interested in hiring me part time to work at the local airport and wanted to know when I would be available for their `testing and interview.' I think I had no sleep that night thinking about all the possibilities this job was offering to me. It was the key to my wide wonderful world. I did well on the `personality tests' and good on the interview and started a week later, working on the ramp. I was on my way.
The person that did the hiring unfortunately was not the station manager. I did my job to the satisfaction of the person hiring me, but for whatever reason, the station manager was not satisfied and I was told two months later that at the end of the month I would be `laid off.' With no job prospects in the immediate future I felt smaller than that preverbal ant and really withdrew and became depressed with myself. My former employer actually got me out of this rut.
Wouldn't you know it, the person that hired me at the airport called again and asked if I would consider returning to the company, but in Charlotte, NC, where they were opening a new reservation center as he thought that work I was better qualified. They flew me down and back for the interview. The best part of this trip was while I was waiting for the taxi to return me to the airport after the interview. One of the interviewers was approaching me with a smile on their face and an offer to return in two weeks and begin training.
Oh joy, wonderful joys. I know the smile and jubilation of my happiness was on my face for the following two weeks, getting ready to move my meager belongings and my first of many first, driving six hundred miles to a new city, new job, new life and many questions with no answers about what to do with that hard object hanging between my legs. I still had no one to discuss my sexuality that I could trust. Perhaps, just perhaps, I would find this person in Charlotte. Oh well, a gay virgin can dream, can't they?
I arrived in Charlotte on a spring sunny day with baggage in a car and no where to sleep that night so I found the local Y and it became my home for the next week or so. During class we were given the `grand tour' of our new facility and I meet some co-workers that offered a place to hang my hat rather than the Y. For some reason, they thought the Y was inappropriate.
That lasted for a week or so. They were party animals and although they had bedrooms the only action was male sex, or so I thought at the time. Yep, these guys were `as gay as a goose." Only problem was, they thought I was straight. Ain't that funny??? During this time I did learn about the `square' downtown, as well as other locations `you could get some action.'
I was determined to learn what `you could get some action' was and the next day off I took off to get an education. I was hungry for food as well as we know what, and finding my self downtown and just so happens that the local bus terminal (okay, no snickering guys!) was a block away. I knew that I could probably get a decent cheep `burger and fries;' I entered the restaurant and ordered my food. Well, what does one do after they eat? I went to the bathroom (downstairs) and saw a room with at least 20 stalls along one wall and fifteen or so open urinals on the opposite wall, adjacent to the sinks. Oh damn, just my luck. I picked a stall that has the `popular glory hole.' `Is this going to be a repeat of Augusta' I think.
Unfortunately, due to time of the day, I sat alone and had no visitors. After reading the comments scribbled on the walls in the cubicle I decided since I went this far, try the rest. That night I was putting miles on the car driving around a couple of city blocks, top down, and tempting fate. Oh, how little did I know what the night would bring to me.
I was on the last lap for the night when a sedan, windows down, pulled up next to me at the next red light and the cute driver casually looked at me, my car (a 66 black Stingray) and asked, "Would you like to have a drink with me?" What did I have to loose? Just my virginity!
Later, after following him to his apartment and over drinks introducing ourselves to one another I learned his name was Charles and he was unattached. He implied he played the field and was interested only in `scoring' just for the night, he said. Before long I found myself being undressed and caressed in places and ways I never thought about. My introduction to male on male sex was a `Trip Around the World" and I would have gladly bought another ticket, except I was floating in mid-air, my well was dry as a bone (no pun intended), and I was thoroughly relaxed two hours later after I landed and my erection was no where to be seen. My orgasm seemed never to end. `So, this is what I've missed,' I asked myself. I guess I did okay for a virgin, for he asked me back for the next weekend and "let's see what develops."
Over the months our friendship grew and we found ourselves in our own apartment. The sex was good, I thought, but a silent wedge was beginning to grow and become a problem. Charles could not get me to the point of orgasm with any means he tried. I could get very excited and many times reached the boiling point, but never erupted unless I was pumping with my hand. He thought it was him and slowly over the next several years our sex life became nonexistent. He still loved me in his own way but I wanted more, but didn't know at the time what `more' was. I guess my problem was I found myself on that "trophy pedestal' where I could not do as I saw, only what Charles wanted. He returned to `turning tricks' almost on a nightly basis. I finally realized I needed to take control of my life.
After two years with Charles I decided the way to get control of my life was to relocate. I discovered I could transfer, my expense, to Miami...the Gay Mecca at the time. Now, what and how do I tell Charles? Other than clothes, some furniture and a car, it should be easy.
While the next 2 years passed with Charles I finally got him to take some college courses to enable him to obtain a better paying job to give him financial security when I left. He went for a 2 yr degree in accounting and no one was more proud of him than I on graduation night. I even began taking courses with him. His graduation present from me was a five night trip to St. Thomas, USVI. We left that night on the `midnighter' and he very much enjoyed the trip.
We had purchased a house and after I relocated to Miami, I signed over my half to him and paid all the fees involved. His only retort after the signing and him realizing that he did indeed own a house (something his relatives thought impossible) said to me, with tears in his eyes, "You know you made me grow up, Tom." I turned and hurriedly walked to my car so he would not see my tears of happiness for him. A couple of years ago he retired from one of the national banks located in Charlotte after many years of gainful employment. I am very proud and happy for him. He truly became the person I knew was there.
Oh yeah, Jim eventually was introduced to Charles. Jim and I stay in touch with him and he truly is considered `my best friend.' We exchange occasional e-mails and I send him most holiday greetings throughout the year. I guess I should say to Charles, `you made me grow up.'
After arriving in Miami I was staying with a friend I met in Charlotte before her move to south Florida. I was driving distances that soon became a chore rather than pleasure. One of my new friends in Miami noticed that I was `unattached and gay' and needed some one to fill the vacancy. Smart girl! And, all the time I was thinking I was Mr. Straight Guy. Oh well, I never could act...
One evening Wanda saw me `checking out' the guys in the office (we worked the late shift) and noticed the guy I was watching in a hall. She calmly walked over to me, punched my `unavailable button' and grinning with a smile ear to ear, asked, "Want me to introduce you?"
My heart was doing flip flops! I could not answer, my feet felt glued to the floor as I was thinking to myself of the first time I saw him and I was thinking, "MAN, oh boy, he's MINE, ALL MINE! I came back to reality, hearing Wanda asking, "Well, do you want an introduction?" I grabbed her hand as she took me to the lounge to meet MY MAN. Wanda introduced me to Jim and the others at their table. However, I never heard anything else said or remembered any name but Jim. He was of slender build, six feet tall with brown hair/blue eyes and the most sensual hands and fingers that one can imagine. His eyes sparkled and I still think I'm the reason, even after 30 years.
I didn't know of the friendship `tween Wanda and Jim. Apparently Wanda had told him I was new in the office and looking for a place to live closer to the office. The next evening at work, Jim found me and we took our breaks and lunch together. I left the office with a key to his apartment. We were a couple of hours off between shifts and I left first. Much to my dismay at this complex, I tried the wrong door and the next thing I knew the police arrived thinking I was `breaking in.' Fortunately, for all concerned, when I explained my situation, the policemen knew the correct location I needed and told me where I needed to be. Jim still gets a chuckle when he reminds me our first night together could have been a jail cell.
A short time later we were living together in his apartment and my mother was a guest for a week. She was recovering from a stroke and Jim was taking her shopping one day that I had to work. When I got home, supper was cooking on the stove, the apartment was obviously recently cleaned by my mother and Jim was no where to be seen. My mother casually informed me, "Jim is taking a nap. He came home tired." Jim later told me he was the one stopping to catch his breath while mother shopped. About this time my sexual orientation finally came to a head with my mother. She always had accepted me as gay, though not 100%. She was always wondering what she did to make me gay. Finally, she confronted my brother and he asked her after her comments a couple of questions and asked her to think before she answered. An hour or two later she came to the kitchen with tears in her eyes. She told my brother "No, I've not seen Tom this happy and healthy in years and I can't remember the last time he asked for help or assistance. If he is happy and well, then I can be happy for him and not question his choice."
My brother told me of this conservation months later. Whenever I called mother, it was only a question of minutes till she ask for Jim and they would spend the next hour on the phone. Mothers! After then, my relatives thought of Jim as another son of Gladys, just as she wanted. As time passed we realized our love for one another as it grew stronger as the months and years came and went. We did all the usual things couples do. We moved, bought cars and houses, sold cars and houses, disagreed, as well as traveled when we could. The one thing we've never done is go to bed at the end of day, mad at the other. I had a pet dog, Tinker, the silver mini schnauzer; Charles had kept till I `got a home' in Florida. I gave Charles a couple of years later a colored charcoal life size sketch of Tinker for a birthday present. Our current child, Rascal (yep, mini male silver/white schnauzer) is 1 year old and the joy of our life.
Later in my mother's life, with a full blown case of Alzheimer's disease and living in a nursing home, the day arrived I was not recognized until Jim walked into the room and mother became motivated and tried very hard to carry on conservation. Her eyes would light up her room and the sparkle was bright that glowed from recognition. That only endeared Jim to me only the more, and to my brothers that think of Jim as a brother.
Well, on the fifteenth we are celebrating 30 years of love, devotion and companionship that I wouldn't trade for anything you can name. Oh yes, the fireworks are still as bright as the first time we were discovering each other's body!
Come to think of it, there is just one thing--another session of the trip around the world, with Jim the love of my life and this time, outside that closet!