In an earlier story I wrote here, 'Wanting Jack and Confiding in Adam' I told about my first real, deep and painful crush on another boy my age, and detailed the ritualistic high-wire dance I did with him to try to find out if he might be interested in me, without betraying the fact that I was hopelessly attracted to him. I won't retell the original story, but urge you to follow the link below to read how I acted towards him, and the teasing and semi-interested way he responded to me that made me literally crazy throughout my early years of high school.
I really met Jack for the first time at Little League baseball practice. He had just moved to our town and was added mid-season to my team. Almost 13, I was starting to feel a newly strange, highly confusing, intoxicating kind of desire and excitement growing when I was near certain boys, and I didn't yet understand why. I also didn't know enough to be ashamed of these feelings yet... and I'd find myself fixated, sometimes forgetting to breathe while watching Jack intently as he put the catcher's equipment on. He'd glance up and see me looking; I'd smile and he'd smile back. I liked to be close to him and soon I would be waiting and ready every inning to help him strap the gear on his legs and chest. Crouching beside him and reaching under his legs to snap the hooks, reaching around from his back to strap the chest protector on, lingering while touching his body just a little more than was necessary, especially enjoying feeling the taught firmness of his beautiful muscles in his arms, shoulders, thighs, chest and legs, smelling his sweet, salty sweat, handing him his helmet with the face mask attached that was always damp from his hair. I liked this better than any other part of the game, I decided, as I stood far out in right field like a spectator while I intently watched Jack catch every pitch. I couldn't wait till the stupid inning was over so I could help him dress again.
Jack was a boy whom I had been magnetically drawn to since I first laid eyes on him, then standing glistening soaking wet and nearly naked in his tiny tight blue swimsuit while silhouetted by the sun at the neighborhood swimming pool. At eleven, he was a year and a half younger than me, but far more athletic, more handsome and well muscled, popular-kind and friendly to everyone. It was through my curiously unexplainable attraction to Jack that I first began to truly suspect I was not normal... that my feelings of affection for him that wouldn't go away must be stuffed down and hidden from everyone in the world, lest my life be completely ruined. This childish nonsense would pass with time, I prayed with all my might, as I would certainly soon be attracted to girls like I was supposed to be. But when I was near him I felt dizzy and couldn't breathe properly and I suddenly couldn't talk right. When he so much as smiled at me my blood pressure would shoot for the sky, and even when he wasn't nearby I'd think about him constantly, against my will. Jack was the crystal-clear vision in my mind's eye the overwhelming majority of times I masturbated at that age, and I desperately wanted to have a relationship with him that would somehow be both acceptably innocent yet also hot and sexual, which was for me an impossible riddle without a solution.
I couldn't fit all the little teasing pseudo-sexual experiences I had with Jack into that earlier story posted here; it was quite long enough as it was! So, with just an example or two I tried to give you a flavor for how he and I acted when together. But there were a few more events I could relate that might underline that I was not imagining his playful teasing when it came to sex, and his obvious awareness of the way I was excited by him, erotic excitement which as a barely pubescent boy was utterly confusing to me. He seemingly enjoyed teasing or tempting me in so many little games he played. I truly don't think any of this was mean spirited on his part, as I don't think he could possibly have comprehended the deep feelings of confusing desire I harbored inside for him. But he I suspect he sensed that he affected me in a way that gave him an uncommon amount of power over me, despite the fact that I was older and bigger than he was. He was probably just playfully, idly fooling around, but his antics often left me highly aroused and sexually frustrated, ready to be scraped off the ceiling.
Like that time in the locker room after track practice. He had quit the baseball team by ninth grade and had joined the track team instead to try out pole vaulting. (POLE VAULTING. I couldn't have done that if my very life had depended on it. Amazingly to me, starting the next year he was also the field goal kicker on the football team... there was seemingly nothing this kid couldn't do.) I was still in baseball, and our teams' afternoon practices would often coincide. I'd grab a seat next to him on the locker room bench, even though I knew it was considered quite odd by my teammates. After all, baseball boys stuck together in their part of the locker room, and the track boys dressed together in theirs, that's just the way it was. But I didn't care a lick... there was nobody on the baseball team whose body I craved seeing unclothed more than Jack's.
One afternoon I heard him curse softly under his breath as he dressed. 'Shoot!' he muttered.
'What's wrong Jack?', I asked, always overly-tuned in to anything he said or did.
'I forgot my T-shirt,' he said. We are supposed to wear a plain white t-shirt to practice and I forgot mine.'
'You can wear mine,' I offered eagerly, 'I'll take it off so you can wear it.'
The prospect of having Jack wear my T-shirt as he pole vaulted, sweating in it and then returning it damp and soiled to me was totally intoxicating to my lust-filled brain. I wanted to get it back from him right away after practice, smelling richly of his body, already planning to sleep with it that night, breathing deeply from it and ensuring a fantastically powerful self-induced orgasm without question. I was fourteen and my sex drive had never been more highly supercharged. I could climax three or four times a day at that age, and often did.
I quickly stripped off my shirt as he stood and waited, and handed it over to him. Standing bare-chested beside each other we were a study in contrasts. At 15 I was broad shouldered and barrel chested, with no hair on my chest and very little muscle definition to see. On the other hand, Jack was not so broad shouldered but was built like a weightlifter, a top-heavy triangle, with well defined pecs and lats, and every one of his six abdominal muscles clearly visible to view, his waist tapered to half the diameter of his shoulders, with a shallow and perfect belly button. Newly 14, his muscle-banded chest was hairless and smooth, and to me he looked like the artist's rendition of Batman as he was drawn in my comic books, he wearing his skintight costume with every muscle visible underneath.
Jack took my offered shirt and raised his arms, exposing small tufts of golden brown hair in his armpits. Wriggling into my shirt he smoothed it down over his flat belly. 'You look fine', I said, getting ready to finish dressing myself. But as I turned, I noticed him grimace, touching the damp armpits of my worn garment, and obviously this displeased him. He quickly took the shirt off and threw it back to me. 'No thanks,' he said. I'll figure something else out.
I was bummed out, and even sad. God-if he had given me HIS shirt to wear, damp from his sweat I probably would have grown a bulge in my pants right there, and I certainly wouldn't have thrown the shirt back! But where Jack's sweat was unexplainably highly erotic to my twisted mind, my sweat was distasteful to his more normal way of thinking.
Another afternoon when his and my practices ended simultaneously, he and I sat in the locker room, and he said, 'Gosh, I feel sweaty. Maybe I should take a shower to feel better'
'Oh yes!', I urged immediately, and far too eagerly. 'Let's go, I'll take one with you!' I had no problems about showing my nakedness to another boy, as long as I could have his unspoken permission to gaze at him in return. It was all fair.
'Hmmmmm....' He mused, a smile playing on his lips, glancing in my direction. He reached inside his gym shorts and stretched them far out from his belly. 'I sure am sweaty down THERE,' he teased, looking first down into his opened shorts and then looking up at my face.
I practically lost control of myself with desire, lunging as gently as I could in his direction, trying furtively to look down the front of his pants to see the same view was obviously seeing at that moment. But he deftly spun away as I came close, allowing me to see the fringe of brown hair but preventing me from seeing his naked genitals inside his shorts. He smiled up at me, and said, 'Nahhhh... maybe not.'
'Oh please, Jack!' I begged almost desperately, 'please take a shower with me!' in a way that must have sounded oh-so-unbelievably-gay to anyone who might have been in earshot. But at that desperate, brief, split-second moment-of-truth, I didn't care at all whom might have heard. I was so, so close to being naked in the showers beside Jack that I might have sliced off my pinkie finger if I needed to, to complete the deal.
'Nahhhh...,' he concluded letting his elastic snap back against his tight belly, re-concealing his privates as he looked up into my face and smiled mischievously. 'I'll wait till I get home.' He smirked at me, and I'm sure my face bore an expression of incredibly sad sexually charged frustration. And I'm sure he noticed.
Was I affected by this experience? Good lord-I must have been, as these images I've described are still laser-etched in my mind THIRTY YEARS after they all happened. I wanted to see him naked one more time up close so much, to somehow make love to him so much more, so much that I could taste it in my addled, confused, burning-with-desire twisted and clearly defective teenaged brain. But all Track season he never undressed all the way to the buff in my presence even once... and (as I related in that earlier story) in my life I saw him naked only once, when he was weighing in for a wrestling meet that Winter just past. My God, then he was as beautiful naked as I ever would have imagined in my most erotic wet dream. My heart pounded as I stood inches away from his beautiful nude, slim, tight body.
Before practice, I would usually hang around him as he dressed far, far longer than was necessary and I wonder what the other boys must have thought-they must have noticed my highly unusual behavior. Sure, I got the added bonus of watching all the other ninth grade members of the track team undress and shower, which was fun and admittedly gave me some neat thrills. But nothing compared to what it would have done to my psyche if Jack had agreed to shower with me that day. I wonder if this had happened, if I would have been able to keep from having a public erection as I soaped up beside him. I'd like to think I would have remained in control, but I have to face facts as I tell this story: I was hardly in control of anything related to my sexuality in those days. Maybe it's just as well it never happened. Glenn and the other boys from the baseball team would have found out and made my life a living hell after that, I can conclude with relative ease.
Here's a little update that I can't resist sharing: I stumbled across Jack's gorgeous twin sister at a wedding several years ago (See the earlier story- she was the one I had dated to have more opportunities to be closer to Jack while in High School, the same one who had been a state-winning contestant in the Miss USA pageant some years later) She was still as beautiful as before, and was now married to a prominent politician. I asked her about Jack, and learned that we are all living spread all over the USA. Jack was married with six kids and lived in the deep south, she told me. She told me that he 'was very active in his church'. Then she told me that his wife home-schools all six kids. The she told me again that Jack 'is very active in his church'. Then she told me that he is a prominent heart surgeon. And again she mentioned, 'he is very active in his church'. I found this curious, and asked for his email and phone number to contact him, mostly out of curiosity.
So I called him. And I found out what her repeated references to 'active in his church' were about. My social, open minded, innocent, mischievous friend whom I had adored so much seemingly had transformed completely into a religious zealot. Our conversation was difficult. He said he was glad to hear from me. We talked about our lives so far, our families and kids... and then he launched into a speech. In his acquired southern, drawling accent (Who was this? The Jack I knew didn't sound THAT way at all) he told me that he had been an evil person till he had accepted Jesus Christ and had then been saved. I laughed and assured him that when we were kids he was one of the kindest, gentlest most well balanced guys I had ever known, and how much I had always looked up to him. He disagreed and threw this complement off, telling me again that he had been saved by his acceptance of Jesus Christ, and that before that his evil life had not been worth saving.
He reminded me about his 'relationship with that little girl', referring to his wild 10th grade exploration that I wrote of earlier, and told me again and again about how 'his acceptance of Jesus Christ had saved his life'.
I was thunderstruck. I could not reconcile the person I had known and adored with this babbling person on the other end of the phone. Almost in spite, I told him of a good friend of ours from school who had realized he was gay, had settled with a male life-partner for the past 25 years, and had adopted two orphan babies to build a happy family together. After a pause, he drawled on about how unfortunate and evil this was, and that homosexuality was a sin in God's eyes, unnatural and would sadly damn our friend to hell.
My mind reeling, I ended this silly conversation and said good-bye.
I am a spiritual person, but not a religious one. I find this sort of thing frightening in a way. How could a boy who once seemed to be so open minded, compassionate and willing to listen to others, have changed so much??? One who once solemnly and sincerely professed to me his desire to be a child psychologist when he grew up, because he said, 'Adults don't understand kids and how they think. I'll be able to help kids when I grow up because I will remember and be able to relate to them.'
I think that people who have overwhelming sexual issues deal with then in many ways. I eventually found my path, one of acceptance and growth. If Jack had issues back then, (and really, who knows if he did.) he found a way too, through dogma and oppressive structure of mindless fire and brimstone based religious discipline.
One of the benefits of being my age, 45, older than most who contribute here, is that I can add an epilogue to my stories that tells what happened twenty or more years later. This is the true story of Jack. I hope he is happy. If he knew my story, where I have been in my life and where I have come to today, he'd certainly never accept me as a friend today, and to that fact I feel a little sad.