From 4 to 14
- a memoir and a reflection - Part 5

This story contains detailed reminiscences of childhood sex play between boys. If you do not wish to read such material, go away now.
I am happy to receive correspondence as (take out the nospam.) - please do send your comments and your own stories.


The days shortened into a long winter, and then broadened into a dark spring, and Easter came and went, and it was summer again. I effected a reconciliation with Andrew, and we were friends again, but Roodery was ancient history, not something to which one would even dare to allude: the playground had taught that the only options on such matters were silence or rejection and ridicule. I assumed that he would reject me and mock me. He assumed the same. So by that summer I had accepted that arse was history: it would never happen again. It had been wonderful, but boring boring adulthood was all around. If I ever dared to dream of better things, the dream was soon ruined by the knowledge of the inevitability of rejection and ridicule - and so that was that. Arse was over, for ever.

I was eight. Stephen was nine. I was playing in the street. Stephen came out. "Do you want to play indoors?" he asked.

I was so flattered. Stephen wanted to play - only the second time in two years. "Yes."

"Let's go to your room."

He made a few sentences of small talk until we were on the steps of my house, where he declared his hand with one of his most gorgeous wicked knowing smiles. "I want to play your favourite game. Rood."

He knew he had me. I was weak at the knees straight away. I actually did stumble at the step. I was breathless. I was gagging. I was desperate. Take me take me take me. And we stumbled to my room and closed the door.

"Right. I'll be the doctor and you come to see me." Stephen in charge. "Now, you'll need to take your trousers down." And we both did. We sat bare-ass on the carpet. The promise. The fulfilment. "Now. I'm a very special kind of doctor. A bottom doctor. Now let me see..." - ponderous looking and touching - "...I think we are going to have to have a very thorough examination. Get up and lean over the bed." And it was just like the very best of old times as he admired and fondled and spread and planted his nose and even brushed with breathy lips and then inhaled: a very lengthy, very thorough examination indeed.

It was like a holy miracle. Like losing all your faith and then bumping into its deity. Here was my lost god present fully incarnate once again. When the story line brought it about, he leaned over the bed with his trousers round his ankles, that most wonderful sight, that most prized vision, ever more sumptuous, ever more graceful, ever more mature, and I shuffled up behind him, still bare-ass myself, and I touched that wonderful arse, fondled that idolised flesh, nuzzled those cheeks and the top of that valley, and planted my nose at the heart to inhale: elixir of life, my pheromonal ecstasy.

We were together for hours. He got what he wanted that day, and so did I. And more: it was a long creative day. And yet he never came again.

Back once again into our leisurely, calm friendship - reconciled and restored and yet so painfully celibate - Andrew and I were often happy just chatting. I dared to tell him - in the disinterested third person, you see - about Stephen's strange behaviour, watching him to catch every nuance of his response, to miss nothing, and so to judge how to carry on.

"Stephen came to see me."

"Really? What did he want?"

"He wanted to play Rood." Watching. Pause.

"Did you play?"

Watching, judging. "Yes." Pause.

"Would you do it again?"

Watching. "Yes."

"Would you do it with me?"

My God. "Yes."

"Should we?"

Hesitation. Invitation: "Do you want to?"

"I've wanted to for ages. I just haven't dared to ask. I didn't know if you still wanted to." Astonishment.

"Let's go to your house to do it."

We positively skipped along the road. Eight year old boys do not skip. Unless they are really, really happy.

"If only we had realised that we both still wanted to do it."


This exchange spoke for months of longing and unmeasurable relief. We had been back together for about three months. Before we fell out, we would never go anything like three months without playing. If only! If only we had realised that we both still wanted to do it.

We reached his room, I shut the door, he pushed down his trousers and underpants, he knelt on the floor and bent over the bed. "You go first." And I did - at leisure: the simple, favourite things, looking, touching, drawing the scent. And in time I was over the bed with my arse exposed, and he was looking, touching, drawing the scent, at leisure. Two junkies had rediscovered their source - in each other: pheromonal ecstasy.

We were so excited about this second reconciliation that we did want to talk about it: memories, dreams, likes and dislikes. So excited that we stopped after just one drag each to talk and to talk and to talk: at last, a new beginning.

But some of the words still sounded embarrassing. Some of the "likes", in Adult English, rang with adult disapproval and playground hatred. Their hatred was right there with us, in the words we had to use. And so the next thing we did that same day was to make our own language: a systematic code for these things which we loved, versatile enough to discuss all options and all our likes and dislikes, and yet totally free of the baggage of Adult censoriousness and playground spite; our own language for our own experience.

Nouns and verbs: body parts, and the things that we might do with them. Neutral words: simple shapes and simple numbers. A complete language: able to express concepts liked, or disliked, or even never before imagined.

The five senses became the verbs, matched with numbers counting in fives (very sophisticated). The system thus wholeheartedly embraced all of our favourite Rood recreations, including the one which sounded most awful in Adult English but was in fact our favourite of all: to smell. So five was to look, ten was to smell, fifteen was to feel. Twenty was not the largely meaningless 'to hear', but 'to put your ear against', as in the familiar and delightful sensation of laying ones head on the soft but firm buttocks of a fully prone partner, sensitive flesh of the ear and the face finding pleasure in the softness of arse. We did not need to speak our revulsion at the thought of taste, so by a similar analogy to the number twenty, the number twenty-five became to kiss, though we worried that even that might be dangerously sissy - it was certainly something the two of us had never done before. At least the language was complete, so we could say in it whatever we liked: five senses, five verbs.

The nouns were all the rude body parts, matched not quite randomly to the basic shapes: circle for arse, oblong for dick, square for what girls had there, triangle for breasts. The scheme was complete.

We had eliminated all value judgements. We had a new language, just for ourselves, undefiled by the sick worlds of adulthood and playground hatred. We could speak from the heart and not feel condemned by their words. And we did: we spent most of the day exploring the possibilities of our newly created linguistic world.

We tried out all five verbs on each of the nouns in turn. At most suggestions, heads were shaken or noses were turned up and we simply moved directly on.

Unintentionally, the verbs had almost become a point scale of approval ratings for each body part in turn. Oblongs made an easy five and a cautious ten or fifteen: twenty sounded intriguing and twenty-five was possible but extreme. Triangle scored a definite fifteen: yes, we both thought fifteen a triangle would be an experience worth having. The others were options but fifteen sounded good. Squares, in contrast, only just made five. And then all of the lengthy and enthusiastic talk was of circles, over and over again: definitely all the way to twenty, through five and ten and fifteen - with a special prize-winning merit award at every single level - and then, though without any precedent, there was the solemn award of a twenty-five. Yes, having come top of the class in every single category, confidently ahead of the field for every human sense, circle would today receive the formal presentation of the top score of twenty-five.

It was a full day. We had had our revelation conversation just after lunch. We had spent three hours devising and using a new language all of our own, indoors and out. Now it was time to use the language: to go somewhere private and actually request and do what it enabled us to ask and to do.

Five, ten, fifteen - mainly five - oblong, both ways, took less than a minute. Now I provided the circle and Andrew slowly, gently and affectionately worked through all the scores: five, at leisure, ten, with no hurry, fifteen, enjoying open-ended time, twenty, a peaceful thing, more comfortable than any manufactured pillow, and concluding for the first time ever with a sensitive near-silent pursed-lips twenty-five, one in the centre of each cheek: presentation of the solemn top scoring award.

And then Andrew provided the circle and again the temperature rose pleasantly from zero to twenty-five: first moving from covered to uncovered, the better to be adored; then giving up its treasures of pheromone, the better to satisfy and dominate every cell of my being; then, fifteen and twenty, being embraced and held close with a longing to give and receive profound and intimate pleasure; and then, and this was new, the tentative maximum.

In frequency of usage, as days and weeks went by, one noun - you know which one - outscored all the others put together by a factor of several. Only one other noun received regular use, and on the score chart of verbs it probably averaged not quite six. The one phrase which rolls off the tongue even now is "ten a circle": the language was made for this. And totally dominated by it. In its commonly spoken form, the language's only noun was circle and its score was pretty consistently ten. We had not given a name to the game as a whole. "Ten a circle" effectively served, as in: "Would you like to...".

In the regular circular meal, five was hors d'oeuvre; ten the main course, fifteen the side dish; twenty dessert; and older, maturer now, we took a leisurely coffee as well: twenty-five. This was nervously at first, still slightly unsure, but our confidence grew. The language itself had given permission. Late that same day we tried it to see - what we thought, what the recipient thought. Now by taking a little more coffee after each and every meal, we were giving each other - and taking - consent to do more.

Andrew became reluctant to play during the day, but the tent was once again our conjugal place, having been neglected during the celibate months. It was there that we really learned how to kiss, with no clothes to inhibit the movement of either partner: the forms and folds of the flesh of the arse, never particularly close to the softest core, but all around. It was a new sensation to kiss; it was a new sensation to be kissed: both of them pure, if nervous, pleasures.

The days grew shorter, the evenings cooler. Camping was rarer. And tragically Andrew still mostly declined in the day, a fact which mystified me. He spoke of being "not in the mood", something I could simply never comprehend, as I was always "in the mood", morning, noon, or night. This actually became the new name for our game when Andrew wanted to play: he would ask me, "Are you in the mood?", and we would be well away within minutes. My answer was always yes, without exception, and the question from him was my young life's greatest delight: his "no" to my asking my greatest sorrow.

The tent was finally stored away for the winter. Andrew was increasingly often "not in the mood", to the point where I read his consistency to mean "stop asking", and longed for him to ask instead. After a summer and autumn of unexpected pleasure, it was in fact another celibate winter which ensued. And it felt, once again, as though it were permanent: too old now; that's it.

EIGHT (ii)

That winter had just one sudden and unexpected ray of light. We were having an extension built over the garage. It had its own stairway entrance, and its windows were well out of anyone's line of sight. I ventured up there one evening on hearing the voices of my brother and some of his friends. The windows and doors were in but there was no power yet: they were standing around and poking around and talking and laughing in the dark - in the shadows of street light. They were my brother, and two of his school friends, and our next door neighbour who was Brother's age, and who was rumoured years before to have got together with Andrew's older sister: they had taken off all their clothes, bounced naked on the bed, and put on each other's - crazy thrill to think of boy neighbour doing that.

As I arrived they had been flashing each other the sight of their bums across the room in the dark - just "mooning". Younger than any of them by fully two years, I was nevertheless happy to give them a flash. They reciprocated one by one to various catcalls, compliments and fake complaints. This took a while all together, and then there was an awkward pause, as there is late when doing mischief on a stag night, unsure whether to quit or go on. Neighbour decided it was a night to go on. "We could all pull our pants down properly and do this" - to each other, he meant - and he demonstrated over his trousers, one hand on his arse, one hand on his crotch, fingers meeting underneath, and both hands lifting. He pulled down his own trousers to do it; so did one of Brother's school friends; so we all got a rather more thorough look at them both, although nobody dared to touch with their hands. Briefly - to more catcalls, more compliments, more fake complaints - this fuller nakedness became the thing: Brother dropped his trousers and so did I, so there were four of us standing in the shadows with our trousers down. Neighbour again: "We could call it The Extension Nudists. We could do it every week. T.E.N.: Ten. As a code." That received several mumbled expressions of approval, but inhibition was overtaking bravery for the night, and people were retreating into shadowy corners, and trousers were being pulled up again and secured in the darkness: dull normality had swallowed up the moment and all of its potential. "TEN" never met again - so far as I know...

This episode in the extension completed one particular score chart of interest. I was not yet nine, and yet I had seen - in deliberate, pleasure-seeking circumstances - keenly and consensually - the arse of every boy in the street who was my own age or up to three years older. And, of course, they had all seen mine. It was not just a proportion of the boys in the street, not even just a high proportion, but every single one. Deliberate. And Pleasure Seeking. And pleasure found. The arse of every single boy in the street. Every one of us.

I tried to tell Andrew about that evening, as an opening, as a tempter; but he quite determinedly refused to take the bait - and that was that.