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 five. I definitely don't want the thought police after either of our derrieres.
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.
I hope to complete final drafts of at least 2 to 4 chapters a week.
Chapter 9 -- I Know You Boy, What's Up? . . . and More Secrets
I think a lot of people are finally used to seeing Rocco and I together. We don't get all the stares anymore. It seems like we've known each other forever. I keep thinking about him all the time. I'm starting to wonder if my feelings are more than friendship. He said that I should become Catholic and have Mama send me to his school so we can be together more. I'm wondering if his parents think about our being together all the time. Mama said that we were joined at the hip. I was confused for a second or two before I understood the comment, and then started worrying again if anyone suspected how I really feel for him.
I can't believe that it's almost Thanksgiving. With Rocco helping me with my school work, and my renewed determination, I am doing a whole lot better. (Rocco actually does much of the writing). I think I might even get over a B average this semester. Mama sure would be pleased. I can't believe my English teacher, Miss. Doum (we pronounce it Doom) actually threatened to give me F's if the assignments weren't in my own handwriting. God I barely HAVE a handwriting. But now we are typing them out on the new typewriter that Rocco's family just got. I actually smirked when I handed in my last paper. It was about the lack of provisions in our schools for the handicapped. Let Doom digest that one! But most of my teachers are just glad that I'm doing better.
I'm trying to get White-boy more interested in History, but so far. . . He said he wondered how many lies we were being taught. I guess he has a point. There's essentially nothing about black people in our text book, almost as if History really didn't include Africa (I mean black Africa) or its people.
I'm doing a bit better lately but every once in a while, well its hard. I can't believe that Mama is actually going to die. I start to cry (when nobody can see) when I think that this is probably the last Thanksgiving Mama will have. What do I have to be thankful for? If I didn't have my White-boy I'd crumble. But Mama's been pretty good the last number of weeks.
But she HAS been acting funny. So when she came into the living room before I got up this Sunday morning and said she had breakfast ready, I knew something was going on. On her days off she always slept late. And I just fixed some cereal.
"Noel, please sit down, we have a couple very important things to talk about."
I couldn't help it. I got up and grabbed her and started bawling my head off. We then both knew that we both knew. I finally cried myself out and sat down again.
"So I guess this means that you read the things in my dresser?" I started to say a million things but nothing came out. "Don't get defensive, it doesn't matter. I had to let you know soon anyway. My blood test are getting worse. I'm sorry but I probably have only a few months left. And DON'T YOU DARE GO BLAMING GOD!"
She was always able to read my mind. "But Mama it's just not fair!"
"Listen up good. First, are you more upset for yourself, or for me? I know that's a harsh thing to say, but it's important. And before you start blaming God, maybe you should start thanking Him for putting your new friend in your path. I'm certain that is part of God's plan. You just dwell on that. Your White-boy has a beautiful soul. And don't gawk like that. You think I don't know your pet name for him? And stop being embarrassed."
"Mama, I'll try, I promise, but it jus' hurts so much."
"I know boy, but we all must do God's will. Please know that I'm sad having to leave you but I'm sure the Lord will take care of you if only you let Him."
"I'll try Mama."
We talked a whole lot about Mama dying and what will happen, and all her plans for me. She had already arranged for me to live with Uncle Mike. Then we talked about how I was doing and school work and possible future plans as I got older. White-boy got into the conversation from time to time.
"I think it's nothing short of amazing the influence that friend of yours has already had. That's the best report card you've had in years. And you're starting to mix with people again. And the hate you started building up has largely gone." "Mama, . . . (I didn't know how to answer).
"And that brings us to the other thing we need to discuss. And this is just as important I suspect. I'll start with a question: "Are you in love with that boy?"
I almost stopped breathing. She CAN'T know. "Sure we're really close. He's like the brother I've never had."
"Stop pretending you don't understand the question. Are you in love with that boy?"
I thought I would pass out. "Mama, I can't talk about this. I can't bear you hating me."
I started bawling again. Mama came over and hugged me tight. "Don't talk nonsense Noel. You know that I can never stop loving you."
Finally I stopped crying. I was totally wrung out. "But Mama how can you when you know about me? That's why God hates me and is punishing me."
"Oh you poor boy. We really need a big talk."
"Let's go into the living room. I'll bring out some hot cocoa."
I went into the living room in a daze. I didn't know how to feel. I always assumed Mama would never find out, so she wouldn't hate me too. Now I was totally confused. She handed me the big handled cup and I collapsed into the big chair.
"Look boy you obviously need to straighten up all those bad notions you have swirling in that head of yours. First, you know I've never been big on church, and I don't know many things. But I know one thing with my whole heart. God loves you boy, and if he made you how you are than that's what he wants you to be. Do you understand?"
"But everyone says it's wrong. And I'll be damned! And how did you know anyway?"
"Look, I'm your Mama. I've seen how you act around people. I've suspected it for a couple years. But I got certain when I've seen how you look at your White-boy. And I think that's a cute name. You're in love with him, that's what I know."
"I'm sorry Mama. I can't help it. I tried not to be that way, but. . ."
"Tush boy. And listen to me. God MADE YOU THE WAY YOU ARE. That's what I know. And I know you love that boy. And LOVE CAN'T BE WRONG. Do you know if he's like you?"
"No Mama, I don't, but I was hoping he was. I'm sorry. I know it's wrong, but I can't help it."
"How many times I got to say it. It's NOT wrong."
"But all the churches say it is."
"I don't care if every minister in the world says it is. You know I tried for years to show why you must decide your own rights and wrongs. I believe that about this they are wrong. They all assume you choose that path, and we know different. I've seen it. You're a good boy. And if your friend is the same way, than look what the Lord has done for you. He brought the two of you together."
"But the bible condemns it."
"And the bible also says that slaves should obey their masters, and you know what I think about that one. The bible says a lot of things. And we read the bible a lot together. And try to remember all those questions you kept asking. And the answers we tried to learn together. As far as I know the bible never actually talks about love between two men. Only wrongful sex. And as I said before, love can't be wrong. Are you hearing me?"
"Yes Mama. If what you say is true it relieves my mind a whole lot. I can't help being the way I am. I'm not sure if I'm actually in love with Rocco but I know I love him a lot. If that makes sense. Also I don't know if he's like me. I'm too afraid to find out. I think it's possible though. He never talks about girls."
"Look, take a chance on your own heart. It will tell you what's true. If you really find out what real love is you'll know what's right and what's wrong. Your own heart will tell you. Don't worry too much about what preachers say. They used to say lots of things all through the ages. Like slavery is part of God's plan. That women should be under the domain of their husbands. We talked about these things before. But only love really matters when everything is said and done. Please think about this Noel. I love you so much and can't bear it if you keep feeling guilty when you have no need."
I got up and hugged Mama again. I had tears dripping again. "Yes Mama. I love you, you know."
"I know Noel." . . . "And just a few more things for now. I'm certain Rocco is part of God's plan for you. I've seen how he is around you. You and he are pretty young for a real relationship right now. Just take things slow. Even if I'm wrong and he isn't like you, I do know he feels a great deal for you and am sure he'll be a life long friend. Two more things and we can relax and do something else. One, don't you ever confuse love with sex. Without real love, sex can be destructive to a relationship. With two people who love each other it can be beautiful. And I'll give you one way to measure your love for someone. If you really love the person you will be more interested in his enjoyment when you have sex than your own. Remember that. Your father and I really loved each other at one time and I treasure those years."
"How come you never talk about Dad? And what's the last thing?"
"It's painful to talk about your father the way things turned out. But that's not important right now. Here's the name and address and phone number of someone I want you to talk to. He is the pastor of Holmesburg Unitarian Church. He can help you understand and help you accept who you are. He's also the same way and has a partner he's been with for over 30 years. And he's a minister." I couldn't believe it. I never really believed deep down that I could actually live with another boy like that. I guess I was so focused on it being wrong I never got that far with my thinking. I know I always hoped that White-boy could love me that way but for some strange reason my thoughts took an abrupt halt right there. I felt amazingly better just thinking of the opening possibilities. I hugged Mama again and couldn't let go.
"Remember, even if your White-boy is the same way as you, if he can't get past believing it's wrong to be that way, I don't think a relationship could work. And whoever you find, a relationship can't withstand the guilt if one of you still thinks it's wrong."
"You're amazing Mama. Thank you."
"Why don't you clean up. I need to show you something. And tell you more about your Dad. And why your Uncle Mike and he never got along."
"You said you didn't know why."
"Well that's literally true. But I've made what I think is a really good guess. Now go clean up."
Chapter 10 -- Rockets, Horses, Singers, and Other (un)Important Things
I hadn't seen Jade all weekend. Saturday he called saying his mother and he were going somewhere, and that on Sunday he was to go with his Uncle Mike for the day. I couldn't believe how much I missed him for just two days.
I went to a movie Sunday instead. Dolores and I did. The new Alfred Hitchcock movie, North by Northwest was playing. It had one of my favorite actors in it. It was pretty good, but would have been more interesting if Jade had seen it with me. We met as usual on Monday. Jade was now in a habit of waiting in the small park across the street from my High School for me to show up. He got out of school earlier than I did. I just got out of gym -- and ran into the park. I hated gym. Actually I liked gym. I'm not as good as many of my classmates, but I was good enough at sports that I could actually enjoy it. It was the shower afterwards. I get too embarrassed and can't chance all the comments. I simply CAN NOT stop getting hard when I see the other boys. And I DEFINITELY wasn't going to put on that display.
I was carrying my grip with my school books. Jade always got a few stares simply because he was black. There were no black kids in my school. Jade seemed very preoccupied. I tried to find out what was bothering him but this time he kept saying he had a lot of thinking to do and when he figured things out he would tell me.
"White-boy, I promise I'll tell you everything soon. My Mama and me finally talked about her being real sick. We cried a lot. And we talked forever. My Mama also told me some interesting things about my Dad on Saturday, then we went to a graveyard and she showed me two graves. They were my Dad's two aunts, Alisha, and Elspath. There was quite a story my Mama told about them. You'll hear it soon, I promise."
I looked at Jade but he turned away. Something was really wrong here but I decided to wait. And for me that took about two year's worth of will power.
"What did you and your uncle do yesterday?"
Jade groaned. "If Mama hadn't insisted, I wouldn't have gone. She knows I'll be living with him after she's gone, and she is pretty insistent that we quote "get along." (I watched as a mixture of emotions could be read on Jade's face). That's also something Mama mentioned Saturday. The reason Uncle Mike was never really close to our family had a lot to do with how he felt about my father who was his brother. I promise I'll tell you but I have to think about things first."
I turned toward at Jade but he would not look at me.
"But Uncle Mike took me to the new race track just past the Northeast Airport. He gave me a couple dollars to bet and I had a lot of fun. I fell in love with the horses. I got up close to them at the paddock, and never realized how big they were."
"OK, how rich are you now?"
Jade pulled out two dollars, and a couple coins. "I made only three bets, won the first and lost the next two. I made sure I left with some money."
"I should have known. You've always been too profligate." I was being facetious. (Another word I just learned).
"White-boy, I'm impressed. That is, with your erudition, but not your humility."
We both looked at one another and started laughing. Because of his extensive reading Jade, every once in a while, comes out with one of these words. So I started looking up some words now and then and try to put them into my conversation. But so far he is ahead in points. It was a game I had us start playing. The rules state he must make a direct comment using another word I probably don't know. We each get a point when the other doesn't know what the word means. So far he's way ahead. (OK, even Jade says I'm weird).
"And I guess I'm another point behind. What does erudition mean?" He explained.
I then started telling Jade about the movie Dolores and I saw. And other things.
"By the way, I need to fill you in. The president was on TV last night."
"Now I'm glad I was with my uncle."
"Well I was all set to see that really neat new show, Twilight Zone. It's really weird but good. But was I really peeved to see it preempted by Eisenhower's speech. And I didn't get really interested until he showed a new ceramic nosecone of a ballistic missile and said that it allowed its reentry without burning up in the atmosphere. When he mentioned the space program I almost killed my brother when he tried to change the channel. Fortunately it was on the other channel too."
This was what we mostly talked about until we reached my house. I disagreed with Jade, however, about how long it might be before a man would walk on the moon. I thought Jade way too optimistic when he believed it could be done within the next 20 years. We were pretty argued out by this time.
As we were going up to my room, I said: "Speaking of the Space Program, I thought. . ." I didn't get to finish. Jade's ESP finally kicked in.
He was talking about the model rocket kits and small solid fuel engines I had sent for from Estes Industries in Colorado the week before. (I was occasionally sending for all kinds of things, finances permitting).
"They came Saturday in the mail. I got to the package before my brother saw it, so he can't blackmail me about it." One of my brother's favorite past-times was blackmailing me about all the things I do that I wouldn't exactly want my parents to know about. Such as the package with the model rockets. Not quite legal in the city. (OK already, so they were downright totally illegal). We were discussing assembling them and then how to actually get away with launching them as we came downstairs.
Dolores was home from school by then. "Hi Jade, are you going to let my brother have enough time so he can go to the dance with me next week?"
There was a dance at out school a week from tomorrow and my mother always wanted me to sort of "chaperone" my sister. I still hated going, to me they were very boring. And I usually hated the music, and I couldn't dance at all. And no one would want to dance with me anyway.
But I answered: "Don't worry, I'll be going. You know I always do." My sister and I mostly went our separate ways, but when we were together we pretty well got along. I actually liked her, but was sometimes frustrated. I may have gotten a good share of brains, but she got most of the common sense.
Dolores the "Thanks Rocco, I knew you would. By the way, have either of you heard the new song out by the Bobby Darin? It's called "Dream Lover," and it's fantastic. And I think Bobby Darin's a dreamboat."
For once I agreed with my sister about a song, or rather about Bobby Darin. I thought he was kind of . . . ah . . . good looking. As for his singing, I thought it barely listen-to-able. This one I hadn't heard yet. Of course that isn`t too notable since I didn`t give Rock & Roll too much attention anyways.
But Jade did. He answered my sister: "I heard it just the other day. You have the record? And by the way, I just borrowed that new album by the Platters I was telling your brother about. I owe this girl at school my soul for the next eternity for lending it to me. I was hoping to listen to it on your record player. You have to hear." And there they went. They might not come up for air until dinner. I turned on the TV. I could still hear them talk. And now it was about Elvis Presley. He was the current hot singer but I don't think he'll make it really big like Frank Sinatra, or Bing Crosby, or Perry Como. I do have to admit though that I also liked the Platter's music. "Earth Angel," was a classic. At least Tony Williams could really sing, unlike many of the other so-called "artists" today. But I haven't admitted this to Jade yet. And I won't until he admits that Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player that ever lived and not Satchel Page.
I was mostly distracted by the TV until my ears picked up: "Hay Jade, I just got an idea, why don't you go to our dance with us? Melva says your very tall, very dark, and very handsome." Dolores smiled as she looked at Jade, and then started to laugh as Jade's eyes went wide. I was glad that Jade felt more at ease being at our house. It was now a regular thing. And Dolores felt comfortable teasing him. Man, what a thought!.. A black boy and a white girl actually going to the dance together. There could even be a riot.
Jade appeared a bit discombobulated. (OK, a whole LOT discombobulated). "Thanks, but I can't dance," was all he said. Gees, I think he took my sister seriously. I knew his looks, and knew there was more there.
When Dolores left I gave him my most earnest look. "All right, out with it."
Jade had that small smile acknowledging that he knew what I was asking about. "I promise that I will eventually tell you everything, but for now lets just say I'm definitely NOT going to a dance where no other black person will be seen. You know, that unlike you, I don't like bringing attention to myself."
I knew there was more to it than that but let it go.
"OK. Now put your brain power to bear on the problem at hand. Where can we launch the rocket?"
"It's legal outside the city. I was thinking we could take the trolley to the end of the line and go to City Line Park."
"Well we'll see." We did decided to take the rockets to Jade's house later. He said his Mama wouldn't mind.
"OK, it's time for the Rockey and Bulwinkle." We frequently watched this show after school.
And then I remembered something else. How could have it slipped my mind. Our financial futures depended on it.
"I just remembered, I also got other exciting news. You know that grocery store at the corner at Rawn and Frost? Formica's Market? Well I got us a job delivering circulars for them every Thursday night. And we get a dollar an hour -- each!" I was excited for both of us. This was a lot of money. We could make eight to ten dollars each week! I kept thinking about Jade's bike.
"Real money! How did you swing this?"
"The son of the owner of the store is in my class. He used to deliver the circulars, but now works in the store itself and told me about the job. I went to the store on Saturday evening and talked with the owner. He said we could have the job and to see him Thursday after school."
We talked about some more and got all excited about what we could do with all that money. As we watched the show I leaned back against Jade's legs, so comfortable in the sort of emotional link I felt as we touched. I simply accepted this feeling and never allowed myself to think about its significance. It's strange how the mind can deliberately refuse to see things it does not want to deal with.
We had the habit of my walking as far as the park which was a little more than half way to his house, when he went home. We had been talking about the upcoming dance. "I really DON'T want to go to that dance. I just wind up standing around bored most of the night."
"I'm glad I'm not in your situation."
"And you would hate to be around all those white kids." I joked. I was wondering lately why Jade never talked about girls. I just wondered but never had the nerve, in spite of how close I felt to him, to talk about it. My SECRET was still that. It was nice though that I didn't have to act out the BIG LIE when we were together.
"OK, new rule. White-boy is no longer to make remarks alluding to the fact I ONCE maintained I hated white boys. You have more than convinced me to judge people as individuals. OK?" And Jade looked very earnest. He was serious this time.
"OK. No sweat. How's the situation going in school?" Jade had mentioned that he had been hassled a bit by the group of black kids at his school since he had been mixing in with some of the other white kids in his class. He mentioned that the black kids had a few large groups that kept mostly to themselves. This was easy to understand. What wasn't was that they actually objected when one of their number started mixing in with the white kids.
"Well most of the kids really couldn't care less. It's just a few of them. Of course most people don't hassle me because I have the hooks. And this for a whole range of complicated reasons. Partly I'm already mostly segregated since I haven't really paled around with them for years already. Partly because they really didn't want to hassle someone with a disability. And partly because they are mostly into sports and I really can't play. But those two that I talked about are starting to get very militant about being black and they think I'm being an Uncle Tom. Fortunately they've been told by the Vice Principal that the next time they get caught physically hassling me they would be suspended. So I guess I'm getting along pretty well."
"So I'm glad to see your opening up to people more. Have you thought about joining any of the clubs or other activities?"
"Well the only one I am really interested in is the school newspaper, but I have an obvious handicap."
"You very well know I'd be glad to help, if you could just take notes."
"Well I'll think about it."
We talked about this a bit more but came to no conclusion.
"Just one last thing. Would you want to come over tomorrow evening for some ice-cream and TV? It's The Case of the Jilted Jockey, tomorrow on Perry Mason, which is one of my favorite TV shows."
"Thanks. I'll be over."
November 14, 1959
Jade and I are ALWAYS together outside of school. I REALLY wish he went to my school. It would be so great, and I'd be able to help him more.
I don't know how time went by so fast. It was just yesterday I started high school, about which I had been a little anxious. But it looks like High School really isn't much harder than Grade School. Just a bit more work and you have to learn how to take notes in some of the classes. Especially General Science, and History. But fortunately for me -- something I certainly did not appreciate enough -- I was pretty smart and had no trouble, with a little work, in getting straight A's. We just got our first report cards last week. Our grades were actually numbers, with an A through F equivalency scale on the side. 94 and above was an A. I had close to a 96 average. I wondered where I stood in our class of almost 700. Ours was actually the smallest class in numbers of all four years. I guess people didn't have as many babies that year. There was actually close to 4000 in the school. And all boys. I loved sports but there was no way you could make any of the teams unless you really excelled. As I usually said you had to be a "super-jock."
I've gotten pretty friendly with Abraham (I actually gave him a nick name when I introduced him to a few other kids about six weeks ago -- Twain). He seemed to always have one of Mark Twain's stories with him. And the name just caught on. He seemed pleased not to be Abraham to everybody. Now if I could only get rid of my name. (And I WILL NOT record here the nick name Stan started for me. It is too embarrassing and not worthy of being recorded). Neither of us have actually seen each other outside school but we pal around a lot in school. Another kid named James Raditzsky, also eats with us pretty regularly. We never see each other outside school either, but while here, we are frequently together. We were all non-jock, not very popular type of people. But one very nice thing about a school SO VERY big, there were always a number of students just like you. So school started to fit into a groove. I joined the Chess Team and had moderate success, winning or drawing about 4 of my 5 first games. Not really great but good enough to be an alternate for the school chess meets if one of the regular 5 team players can't make it. (Ok I'm supposed not to lie in a Journal. I've only played 5th board in one tournament so far and I lost).
Something has happened to Jade. Actually I think his Mama told him something that I think he hasn't been able to digest yet. Something concerning both his father and uncle, and maybe more. It almost certainly also has something to do with his Mama dying. That much we talked about. But what I have a hard time understanding is why he can't tell me about the other stuff he was alluding to. It hurts to think that he can't confide in me.
He said he isn't crying as much at night, perhaps he's figured out how to handle things better. I'm sort of surprised that he's still doing so much better in school. It no doubt has to do with him doing it for his Mama. We start working giving out circulars this next Thursday. We can get Jade a bike easily by Christmas. I wonder what else I can get him. It's pretty easy to find something since he has nothing. Maybe a record player. He's frequently getting Dolores to play records for him. He has almost nothing, and now he's loosing his mother. He never really knew his father. He looses his hands in a terrible accident which he hasn't even been able to tell me about. God, I will NEVER complain again!
I KNOW my mother loves me. OK so she and Dad keeps arguing a lot and this REALLY bothers me, but at least I HAVE parents. Of course I REALLY wonder why Dad has essentially ignored me for the past couple years? He does a lot of stuff with Carl. He even joined the Scouts for him. And I had to almost beg before he even let me join. I have to admit however, I find the scouts mostly boring. I've skipped a number of the meetings lately, and Dad didn't even ask why. I love being in the woods, and I was hoping to get into the mountains. But our scout troop hardly does anything, at least the things I want to do.
And Carl, I can mostly ignore. And Dolores and I actually get along pretty well. And Mariann, well she's still so young we really haven't much in common. Maybe I should actually try to be nicer to her.
I've been thinking about my SECRET some more. I'm still very worried. I keep trying to get interested in girls, but I simply can not. Sure there are some that I really like, but that's as far as it goes. Of course I'm still not near puberty. But I am still so very attracted to Jade. I CAN'T even let him suspect. And there are a couple guys in my class that . . . Well let's not even finish that thought. I wonder what I will do if it turns out that I can't fix myself? Maybe this is God's way of saying that I'm supposed to be a priest? But IT'S NOT FAIR! I REALLY want kids! I don't know how many times I've pictured what kind of house we'd have, maybe even in the country with a lot of trees and forest nearby. Sometimes I daydream about all the things I'd do with my kids. And I wouldn't be like Dad. I would be the best father there was. Sorry God, I guess I said I wouldn't complain. But how can it be fair? And well, I guess I won't get really worried until I go through puberty.
Gees, I'm over 14; what gives? I don't think I've grown at all this year so far. Maybe I should go to our doctor to see if anything is wrong.