we got back to Sackville things very quickly returned to normal. My
friends (both male and female) would come over to my house, we’d
play video games, talk, laugh, and smoke, and eventually the puberty
games would start. More and more I was watching these games and wishing I could
participate, but I was not thinking about going into the closet with
Amber, Stacy, or Michelle. Instead I was fantasizing about going in
there with Aiden, Ian, or
Brian. It was agonizing. While they were having fun and being carefree and
was alone inside my head, wishing like hell I could be like them, but
knowing instead that I would be alone
before the start of the school year Aiden's family moved into
apartment in a house
right on the shore of First Lake. The
landlords lived in the upper two levels and had turned the lower
into an apartment. The lot sloped away sharply toward the lake, so
the basement entrance was at ground level behind the house. The living room, kitchen,
master bedroom, and second bedroom were on the bottom level with all
of the windows facing the back yard, while Aiden’s bedroom and
the bathroom were
up a flight of stairs. Aiden’s
onto the street, looking
out over the roof of the front part of the house. Aiden's moving there turned out to be
extremely convenient for us, because we could now collect up the beer
bottles and put them in his shed until we could cash them in. I would often spend Friday and Saturday night at his place so
we could hit the lake early.
Junior High was a whole new world to me. I was used to being one of the older kids, being in grade six, but now I was one of the younger ones, along with the other grade 7’s. The guys in grades 8 and 9 looked a whole lot more mature than I was used to! It was a window shopper’s paradise! Unfortunately window shopping was all I could do, as I did not dare outwardly express any interest in any of these new guys. I had to learn to watch the ground instead of looking at people out of fear of another “Peter” incident.
Aiden and I were becoming very close, and I was actually starting to develop a bit of a crush on him. I was honestly hoping that the feelings went both ways. Sometimes, when I looked at him I’d catch him looking at me, and he’d promptly blush and look away. Other times he’d look at me and catch me looking at him, and I’d look away (though I always made it a point to linger just a moment). I was spending nearly every weekend at his house by now. His mother was often working and his six year old brother, Richie, was content to sit in front of the living room TV set and watch cartoons. Aiden and I would stay in his bedroom and play video games on his portable TV. We’d talk about school, cars, fishing, and beer bottles. We were just two normal friends doing normal stuff until, suddenly, one night we weren’t.
I will remember that night for as long as I live. December 30, 1984. I had just celebrated my 13th birthday on the 26th . We were on Christmas break and Aiden wanted me to spend the night at his house. His mother would be working that night so he had to look after his younger brother Richie. We’d stay up and watch movies on his new VCR all night. When I got there his mom was still home and she ordered us pizza. As she was getting ready to leave we ate the pizza, popped in the first movie (Police Academy), and sat down on the couch. We all laughed our heads off through the whole film.
After the movie was over Aiden sent Richie to bed and we popped in the next movie: Beverley Hills Cop. With Richie in bed we were free to smoke, and Aiden even sneaked a beer from the fridge. The movie progressed, we smoked more smokes, and Aiden finished his beer and went and grabbed another. Finally Beverley Hills Cop ended, so he popped the final flick in: The Karate Kid.
During the “Wax on, Wax Off” scene, Aiden said “Yeah, I’ll bet Daniel-san whacks off all the time!” and we both laughed like idiots. I was thinking it was just the beer talking, when toward the end of the show, during the big fight scene, he drops a bombshell: “Daniel-san is so pretty.”
Aiden quickly but lamely recovered: “I mean he’s just such a pretty-boy. Don’t you just want to smack him?”
Aiden laughed, took another swig of his beer, and we finished watching the movie.
As the credits rolled he
got up and swayed a little (could those three beer have really gotten
him drunk?) and stopped the tape. “Bedtime”, he said, and started heading up the stairs to
his bedroom. I got up and followed. Whenever I spent the night there
before I would sleep on an inflatable mattress on the floor of his
room. When we went into the room he headed straight for his bed and
jumped in. The inflatable mattress was nowhere to be found.
trace of moisture left my mouth. My heart was doing back flips in my
chest. Surely this was some kind of joke? My mind wanted to pretend I
was sleeping and didn’t hear him. My heart and my crotch had other
plans, though, and the two of them conspired to take over control of
my body. “OK”,
I said, and got up and took my clothes off down to my underwear. Beet
red, I glanced over at Aiden and was shocked to see that not only was
he not pretending to look away, but he was making it quite obvious
that he was looking. It was also very obvious what he was looking at,
especially when he lifted his eyes from my bulge, looked me in the
eye, smirked, and said “Nice”. I turned even redder, and he
laughed and rolled on his side to face away from me. I was both
perplexed at his turning away and eternally thankful that he did,
because a world of fantasies started filling my mind which resulted
in blood filling the vessels in my pecker. I was rapidly getting
hard, so I climbed back into the bed and laid down on my back again.
Eyes wide open, heart pounding, mouth completely devoid of moisture,
and afraid to move, I continued staring at that ceiling.
Aiden rolled over onto his back for a moment, then rolled over again to face me.
“Carmen?” he asked
My mouth was now so dry I was surprised I was able to answer.
“Remember back in summer, when you almost got into that fight with Peter?”
I’m almost certain my heart stopped. Certainly I don’t remember hearing it pounding anymore. I had to answer, and worse, I had to be truthful because I knew he already knew the answer. I mustered up every bit of courage I had, and through very dry lips I squeaked “His crotch”.
Silence. I was dying inside. At the same time, I figured out where the moisture in my mouth had gone, because it suddenly started trickling out of my eyes. I felt my whole world was going to end. Aiden’s silence was killing me, and I was just about to get up, put my clothes on, and run home, but instead remained perfectly still staring at the ceiling, trying to keep my composure.
He spoke again.
“Are you gay?”
The trickle of moisture suddenly became a torrent. I just couldn’t help it. But I had to answer.
“Yes. No! I don’t know! I think so!”
Then I lost it and started crying like a baby. Even more than before, I wanted to throw my clothes on and run home. No, that wouldn’t work. Once Aiden told everybody and I was labelled as a fag, I couldn’t even go home. They wouldn’t want me there. I remembered how Mom & Dad had talked about gays. Instead I rolled onto my side facing away from Aiden, hoping in vain that he wouldn’t see me crying. Everything Aiden had done that evening was gone from my mind: The comments about Daniel-san, the invitation into his bed, the invitation to get nearly naked, the way he looked at me – all of that was a distant memory, surely just me misinterpreting his actions out of faint, desperate, pathetic fantasy. I was certain that he would tell everyone. Nobody would want me around. I would be picked on at school. The life of loneliness I had been sure that I was condemned to had just started. The only reason I didn’t get up and run away right then was because I truly did not know what I was going to do.
I was sobbing away when Aiden reached over, put his arm around me, and pulled me closer to him. I didn’t know what to do, so I tried my best to stop crying as he held me. He didn’t say anything, he just pulled me close and held me until I got it out of my system. After I got the torrent of tears reduced to a few sniffles Aiden said “What do you mean, you don’t know?”
“I guess I meant that I
really don’t know. I mean, I think I am. I find myself attracted to
guys, but can’t force myself to be attracted to girls. Believe me,
I’ve tried. But I don’t know because I don’t think I look or
act like gay people are supposed to act, and I don’t want to be
“But you like guys.”
thought about this. I had
to admit, it
sense. I could be the same guy I’ve always
been, only with this one part of me that is different. A warmth
started spreading into my heart again, and a huge affection for Aiden
was welling up inside me that had absolutely
to do with sexual attraction. As I started realizing this I also
realized that Aiden still had his arm around me, and was still
holding me very close.
“What about me?”
“No, I don’t think so. I do like guys, but I also like girls. I think I might be Bi”.
I thought about this for a few minutes. What he was saying sounded too profound for a half drunk 13 year old to be saying, so I asked him, “Wait, how do you know about all of this?”
“You know my mother’s boyfriend Bryon? He still lives at home, and he has a gay brother. When I noticed you ‘noticing’ Peter, I asked Bryon’s brother about it. All through the summer, when you refused to play those games, I talked to him. And I also noticed you looking at the guys, and I could almost see the longing in your eyes. At the same time you were showing no interest in any of the girls. I was feeling worried for you. I had a feeling that you were gay, and I was worried that you might hurt yourself. Not suicide or anything like that! I was just afraid you’d make a pass on the wrong person. Sort of like what happened with Peter, but worse. I also noticed that you were trying to get closer to me. I know you’re afraid to try anything, but I know you want to. And even though I’m attracted to the girls, I also feel attracted to you. I really began to notice it when you got home from vacation. You seemed more confident in what you wanted, or more accurately, what you didn’t want. You looked far more mature and I started seeing you in a new way. And this was confusing to me, because I was interested in girls. So I asked Bryon’s brother about this, and he told me that I might be bisexual. The more we talked, the more I realized he was right. You are gay and I’m bisexual. But at the end of the day you’re Carmen and I’m Aiden. Carman actually told me to say that to you. It was him who suggested I steal a few beers tonight so I’d be brave enough to talk to you about it. If mom knew she’d kill him.”
“Wait, who told you to say that?”
“Oh, didn’t I mention it? Bryon’s brother is also named Carman. Weird, isn’t it? I know two gay guys in the world, and they’re both named Carmen!”
I laughed. For what felt like the first time in my life, I started laughing. All of that sadness and depression from just a few minutes ago felt like a million years ago. As I was laughing Aiden also started laughing.
We were still laying there giggling when something clicked inside my head. I pulled away from Aiden and rolled over so I could face him.