EMERGENCE OF AWARENESS The Story of Me In Free Verse.
I have two dads. They're gay. They're loving, And lovable. They're great parents. I didn't think so once.
I was a little boy when my dads met. They fell in love, And united as partners. I felt betrayed. Did my dad no longer love me? Who was this stranger, Who burst into our lives, And invaded our family? He seized my first dad's love, And stole my dad from me, Stole the love he had for me. I was my dad's son. The stranger was just another man.
I felt abandoned. I shouldn't have. My dad still played with me: Monopoly, Baseball , Building model planes, All the things a little boy liked. He still helped me with homework, Patiently, Encouragingly. He praised my successes. He said he was proud of me. He said he loved me. But I wondered, How could he love me AND the stranger?
The stranger was nice to me. He and my dad played with me. They took me to T-Ball games, Cheered me. They both seemed pleased with my batting, And fielding. They helped me though disappointments, And failures. I began to realize they both cared for me, Were proud of me, And loved me.
I learned to like the stranger, In spite of myself, In spite of my selfishness. The stranger was no longer a stranger. He was my dad's friend, A very good friend. He made my dad happy. That made me happy. My dad's friend became MY friend. I realized my dad still loved me, As much as before.
I had two people who loved me! Life was good again.
The stranger moved into our house. I was glad. Steve was fun to be with, Almost (but not quite) like my dad. Yes. Life was good.
That soon changed. When I was ten. In the fifth grade, Friends at school asked questions, About Steve, About him and my dad living together. I said they were good friends so why not? Older kids asked harder questions. They used words I didn't understand. I got confused. What's a queer? What's a fag? What is homosexuality? Their faces told me they didn't approve. Is it wrong to be whatever that meant?
I asked my dad what the questions meant. I'd always felt free to ask my dad about stuff. He always helped me understand things: How can a bird stay up in the air? Why does a mosquito bite itch? What happens when people die? Even personal stuff: Why did my willy get stiff sometimes? Why must I never go around naked? Why do girls sit down to pee?
We had a long talk. He talked, I mostly listened. He said he loved my mother, They got married, And I was born. But my mother died in childbirth. That much I already knew. That's why grandma took care of me, When I was a baby, And after school when I got older.
Then came the hard part, But he was patient, And helped me understand, Even though what he said was weird. Very weird.
Usually men love and marry women. A few men prefer to love other men, But it's the same, Love is love. Those men are called homosexual, And called mean names, By those who don't understand: Queer, Fairy, Fag, Cocksucker, Cruel people use those names, Naughty names, Like the N word for blacks, Or the S word for Latinos, Or the D word for Italians.
But it's worse for homosexuals, Because many religions claim it's sinful, And homosexuals will go to Hell. That's not true, he said. Most religious beliefs are helpful: Compassion, Honesty, Charity.
Did I see the conflict? He asked. I didn't. He helped me by asking questions. Then I understood: Love thy neighbor, And being mean to others, Are opposites. You can't do both; You can't preach both.
Then he said he loved Steve, Just like loving a woman, Except Steve was a man. Their love for each other was the same; Love is love. I love you, son, he said, And I love Steve. They're two kinds of love: Different. And special, And precious.
It made sense to me, Especially when he said I was lucky. My mother died but I now had two dads. That pleased me. I liked Steve, No. I loved Steve. Not the way dad loved him, But the way I loved my dad. Different loves for different people; Both of them special.
I hugged my dad, He hugged me back. When Steve came home. I hugged him, And called him dad. I didn't understand why he cried. I didn't know then about tears of joy.
As a freshman in high school. I was teased. By ignorant bigots. Who didn't know what I knew. That my dads loved each other, And love is beautiful, And precious, And fulfilling.
The morons tormented me. They called my dads cruel names: Queers, Fairies, Fags. Their hate was ugly. They hated my dads, Just for loving each other. I felt their hate, As if they hated me. It hurt, A lot. I was embarrassed; I was ashamed; I was miserable.
I began to regret having two dads, Until I got home, When I felt their love, For each other, And for me. Home was an island of contentment; School was a stormy sea of hate.
I talked to my dads, Both of them. I told them of the hate at school. They listened compassionately. They shared my pain, They apologized, Not for what they were, But for causing me to suffer, It made them sad. I apologized, For making them sad. I hugged them, And said I loved them. They said they loved me. I knew that.
Steve, my other dad, gave me advice: There's hate in the world, And ignorance, And persecution. It's unfortunate but it's reality. We can let the hate poison us, And make us bitter, Weaken us, And blind us to joys in life.
But we have an option, A choice to make. We alone own our feelings, We can be in command of our feelings, Just as we are with what we do, With what we think, With our aspirations, With our hopes, With our will power, And more. The choice is yours, Steve said, Allow others to control your feelings, Or be the master of them. We can let the seeds of hate grow inside us, Until they infect our happiness, Pollute it, Turn happiness into hate. We can blame others for our suffering, Or we can ignore the insults, Weeds of hate won't grow, Flowers of joy can flourish, It doesn't make others' hate go away, But it makes it tolerable. It isn't easy. He warned. Insults and hate will assault you, But you can choose: Let them eat away at you, Or defend against them. No. It isn't easy. He repeated, But you can do it! Strength is not attacking others; Strength is resisting attack. Who you are and can become... Depends on your choice. You have the power to choose, Choose to be a victim, Or a survivor, Choose to be miserable, Or happy. It's hard but you can do it.
Then my first dad spoke, Steve is right, he said, There's ignorance and hatred in the world, But there's also love, We both love you, Never...ever...forget that.
I hugged both my dads. My love for them was never greater. My tears of joy flowed freely. They cried, too. We were in a comforting cloud of love.
Throughout high school I dated girls. I enjoyed their company, Some more than others. We went to dances, And movies, And dinner. Everyone considered me "normal," But I began to have doubts. Watching my dads made me wonder. They showed their affection, By kissing, In private, Inside the house. I was not naïve about gay sex, I knew they did stuff in bed, I didn't think it was perverse. No. It had to be beautiful, It was loving each other.
Sometimes I was jealous, I didn't want to be in their bed, But I envied what they must enjoy. What was it like? Was it all physical gratification? Was it mostly emotional? Or both? I didn't know. I would never know. Or would I? Could I? Could I experiment? YES! My dads told me it was okay. Just be careful, they warned.
I wanted to know what it's like, To have sex with a guy. It wouldn't be the real thing, No love, No emotional bonding, No commitment. But at least I'd know what it's like, To have sex with a guy, Like my dads. Well...almost. My dads were in love. My experiment would be loveless, But I would know one part, The sex part.
But how? With whom? REGGIE! Reggie befriended me, When others avoided me, Or teased me. He understood my situation; He didn't judge or condemn; My having two dads didn't worry him. He just might be willing, His steady boyfriend was gone, Left with his family for Europe, Because his dad got a promotion. Reggie was devastated, Maybe he was also lonely, Or should I say horny? YES! I would ask him. What's the worst that could happen? He'd say no, We'd still be friends, At least I hoped we would.
There was no school on Friday, Some sort of teachers' meeting, My dads would be at work, We'd have all day to be alone, He could show me what it's like. Then I'd know, At least about the physical loving, But not the emotional loving. IF... If he was willing.
I saw him at lunch on Wednesday, I asked to meet him after school, I needed a favor. No. I said. I can't explain now. After school. I told him what I wanted, And why. He was dumbfounded, Because I was straight, He said he'd think about it, Which left me to worry: Would he be willing? Had I asked too much of him? Could we still be friends?
Wednesday evening was torture. My dads asked what was bothering me. I shrugged it off. I blamed my mood on an English test. Thursday morning dragged on, I couldn't concentrate, I almost skipped lunch Because I had no appetite, I'm glad I didn't. Reggie came up behind me as I ate, He leaned over and whispered in my ear, He asked: Still on for Friday Fun?
I felt like leaping from my seat, Hugging him, And thanking him. I'm glad I didn't, Everyone knew he was gay, They would assume I was also gay.
Thursday afternoon was like the morning, I couldn't concentrate, But the reason was different, HE AGREED! I was elated.
Friday morning came, I was a nervous wreck. The doorbell rang at nine, An hour early! I ran to the door, But stopped, Gotta be cool. I told myself, Not too eager, Not like a kid on Christmas morning, Not like a little old lady, Who hit the jackpot in Vegas. I calmed myself, Opened the door, And invited Reggie in.
We chatted awkwardly for a time, About school, About sports, About the weather. Gawd! Did neither of us dare, To take the lead, To mention the purpose of the visit? I was impatient, But afraid to be too eager. Did he feel the same way?
He asked me, are you having second thoughts, If so, I understand, You being straight and all.
NO! I blurted out, I want to do it, Whatever it is you do with a guy. I stood and lead him to my bedroom.
I was nervous, He was composed, I was tentative, He was deliberate, I was shy, He was confident, I was--to be honest--afraid, Afraid of appearing stupid, Afraid of offending Reggie, Afraid of disliking what we did.
I should have been afraid of something else: LIKING what we did! That could change everything!
He was patient, He was kind, He was considerate, Just like my dads, I thought. I appreciated that, I respected him for that. Respect? Or was it emergent affection?
We removed each other's clothes, He must have sensed my anxiety, He spoke soothingly, Reassuring me, Comforting me. It helped me calm down, Although there were remnants of excitement, Quickening my pulse, Clouding my thoughts, Of anything beyond my bedroom, And Reggie, the good Samaritan, Would be my guide, On my voyage of discovery.
Seeing him naked, Made me stare, I couldn't resist, I was transfixed, Rendered immobile, And mute, In awe of the sight before me.
Nor did I feel guilty doing so; I was free to imbibe, In the intoxicating awe, Of the wonder of maleness, I admired his physique, His trim yet solid frame, His fluid movements, And, of course, his dangling manhood. I was as a boy in the candy store, Wanting, Wishing, Anticipating. But this was different, Very different, My feelings were intense, More exciting, More enticing, Not like in the shower after gym class, With dozens of naked boys. It was idle curiosity there, Constrained by peer prohibition, Still, I discretely investigated, The variation in bodies, The variation in genitalia, The variation in modesty, Fearful, prudish concealment, To bold, uncaring display. I would steal glances, Carefully, Secretly, And above all, quickly, Lest I be labeled queer, I compared myself to others. It was detached curiosity, Not attraction, Not arousing, And not dangerous, If I was careful.
Seeing Reggie naked, Was distinctly different, It wasn't craving or lust, But anticipation of what was ahead, On my voyage of discovery, With Reggie to lead the way.
He told me to relax and enjoy. I hoped I would enjoy, But I couldn't fully relax, It was exciting, Because it was a new adventure.
He proceeded slowly, Gently, Tenderly, ...Lovingly? He explained what he was about to do, At each step along the way, And why, He was always aware of my feelings, His hands roamed over my naked body, Exploring every inch. The massage was magical, It relaxed me, His mouth joined his hands, Surprisingly, that aroused me, My cock inflated, My mind was overwhelmed, With wonderful sensations,
He fondled my aching cock, Toyed with my balls, Ran a finger into my crack, Rubbed my pucker. All I could do was close my eyes, And ride the erotic wind, That sent me soaring, To the stratosphere of delight.
His warm, wet mouth enveloped my cock, It was the second stage of a rocket, Propelling me to the moon, To Mars, To the most distant galaxy, To new heights of ecstasy. Waves of pleasure engulfed me, I was delirious with delight, Aware of nothing beyond my body,
Then came the tsunami, Extraordinary pleasure rode the pain, Of a massively intense orgasm, It's trite but I saw stars, Swirling chaotically in the ether, Vaguely, I felt my heart, Pounding in my chest, Like a blacksmith's hammer on an anvil, Just in time I remembered to breathe, I gasped for air with rapid breaths.
Slowly, the fog in my head lifted, I found Reggie lying at my side, A leg atop my own, An arm draped across my chest, He was smiling. Impulsively, I kissed him, On the lips, Passionately, Gratefully, I'd returned safely, From my flight of discovery, Having experienced the wonders of gay sex, (Or at least one of them.)
I think I embarrassed him, With my excessively profuse thanks, But he seemed pleased, To have helped a friend in need.
`Tis better to give than receive, I said, May I do what you did for me? If you want, he replied, But you don't have to swallow my cum. Suddenly, I realized, I had given him no warning, I don't think I could have, My mind had been captured by pleasure, A hostage to carnal gratification, I apologized. He said it was okay, He claimed he wanted my cum. Was he being gracious? Or serious?
I tried to duplicate his actions, He was tactful in correcting my mistakes. His...what do they call it?...pre-cum, Teased my tongue, It was sweet as could be.
He climaxed, But surely not as intensely as I did. He had swallowed my cum, So that must be what gay men do, It's part of the experience I sought, So I swallowed his. I'd never tasted cum, It was not pleasant, Not like the pre-cum, It was bitter instead, Except for one thing: It was a gift, A sweet gift from Reggie to me, A meaningful gift, To be welcomed, And appreciated. Part of him was inside me, A very precious part, That made me feel good, And warm all over, And sweaty, As if my body could not contain, The thrill of it all.
We lay in bed for a long time, Cuddling, And talking, About the varieties of gay sex, About discrimination, About bigots, And those who foster bigotry, About coping, And various support groups, He was very knowledgeable, I learned a lot.
After lunch. I boldly asked to be fucked. Another time, he replied, It's best to prepare for it, Use an enema, And a condom, And proper lubrication. He explained the reasons, And suggested we get together again. I happily agreed.
I was a junior in high school, and I saw Reggie often, At times for enjoyable companionship, As amiable friends, At other times for my further exploration, Of gay sex, As passionate partners, In lust-driven gratification, Of primal urges. It started as an experiment, To learn, To understand what gay sex was like, To investigate. What did my dads enjoy, In private. intimate activities?
Sexual encounters with Reggie transformed, From discovery of the unknown, To pleasurable events, To be eagerly anticipated, To be impatiently awaited, And to be enthusiastically welcomed.
I continued dating girls. My dads approved. In fact. they were pleased. I asked them why. You won't be a target, they said. I didn't understand. They explained: Bigots hate gays, Bigots attack gays, With insults, With sanctimonious condemnation, With hate born of ignorance, Or of self-righteous arrogance. As a gay. you're prey. For their blood-thirsty egos, You're a target, For the poisonous arrows in their quiver. So we're happy you're straight, And won't have to suffer.
I see. I said. Have you suffered? I asked.
Yes...but not as much as other gays, Because we're discrete, You'd call it being in the closet. It's dishonest but it evades persecution, Sadly. you've suffered, Others taunt you about us, Even if it's only suspicion, And conjecture, And unjustified speculation. They assault you with their hatred, We're deeply sorry for that.
Not to worry. I said, I followed your advice, I learned to control feelings, To ignore the venom they spew. Gradually. the bigots relented, They realized they can't hurt me, With their insults, And abuse. They're impotent, But they'd never admit it.
What I said was true. But fate dealt a blow to my defenses, To my resolve to ignore their malice.
I was on the school bus, When two seniors taunted me, They accused my dads of molestation. Which father fucks you? They asked. Or do they take turns? That was the lowest of blows. I responded with rage, To defend the dads I loved, I was shouting, They laughed, And continued their barrage of trash talk.
The bus driver stopped the bus, He came back to quell the argument, And take names. The bigots fell silent, As did I, But I was seething inside, I forgot to own my feelings.
The bus driver resumed his route, But must have reported the incident, The two seniors were suspended, As was I. I explained my infraction: I was defending my dads. It didn't matter, Policy mandates suspension, Bureaucracy allows no deviation, Rigid rules reign supreme.
I told my dads, The what and the why. I was always comfortable telling them, Of my actions, My feelings, And my opinions. This was different, I'd violated a rule, And was being punished, They had a right to know, They empathized, Which was typical for them.
They were proud, That I confronted bigotry, Head on, Forcefully, Courageously. But they were saddened, That their relationship caused me pain. They apologized, For subjecting me to collateral damage. I don't mind. I said, I'd do it again, Because I love you both, You don't deserve to be hated, Even if the hate is channeled through me. They hugged me. Transporting me into a cloud of love.
They offered to protest my suspension. I rejected the idea, Emphatically, Insisting that I made a mistake, And would pay the price. They said that made them proud, Were they diplomatic? Or honest? Abundant experience gave me the answer: Honest!
Afterwards, the goons that harassed me, Ignored me, Or avoided me. I figured they were scared, Of more punishment, If they bothered me again. I was glad for that; I wouldn't have to defend my dads again.
But the incident's repercussions continued. It was mentioned at a School Board meeting, In the context of bullying. An extremist pastor was in the audience. He saw it as an opportunity, To reinvigorate his campaign, To purge the schools of homosexuals. He ranted and railed in his next sermon, Angrily, Bitterly, Hatefully, Against the homosexuality, That was rampant in schools. He urged protests, Letters to the school board, And to newspapers. He demanded that the schools expel sinners, Until they can be cured, of their sickness, Or repent from their evil behavior. Start, he insisted, with the homosexual, Involved in the fight on the school bus.
Verifiable facts didn't matter. Homosexuality was not rampant in school; It cannot be cured, By prayer or psychotherapy; The argument on the school bus, Was not a fight, Nor did it involve a homosexual (me). But the congregation was incensed, Overcome with righteous indignation, That bordered on or became, HATRED! They had been manipulated, By the minister's charisma, And authority, As a "man of God."
There was an outbreak of protest, On radio talk shows, On television newscasts, In letters to the editor of the newspaper, By a crowd (mob?) of protestors, At the schools, And the courthouse.
Fortunately, the storm soon weakened, When the school board responded, By saying religion has no place in school, And bullying will be detected, And corrected. Government leaders urged: Calm, Reason, And tolerance.
Unfortunately, gays were intimidated, By the vocal homophobes, And were driven to despair, Over being victims of bigotry, Forced to hide or deny, Their fundamental nature, To avoid persecution.
My dads and I discussed it often, And in depth. I was grateful for their insight, And empathy, And wisdom, They suggested how I might cope, With being known, (at least by friends at school), As the suspected homosexual, Who argued on the bus. I treasured being able to talk to them, About anything and everything, ...except one thing that troubled me, One secret I didn't dare disclose, Even to my dads, Who loved me, And whom I loved, And always seemed to understand, And were always willing to help.
I continued dating girls, Partly because I enjoyed it, Mostly to maintain my image, As a thoroughly straight guy, The son of two gay dads. Janet was my favorite, She was bright, Fun-loving, And very attractive. We became known as "steadies," As in "couple," She and I never discussed it, It was just assumed, That we would go together, To dances, To movies, And parties.
I continued seeing Reggie, Usually after school, Before my dads came home. We took advantage of those times, To kiss, To suck, To fuck, And to cuddle together, Blissfully, Our naked bodies entwined, Luxuriating in togetherness, Companionship, Contentment, And (dare I say it?) affection.
When with Reggie, I was in a sphere, An infinite sphere, Whose center was everywhere, And circumference was nowhere, It was boundless bliss. We were not two bodies, Two minds, Two souls, But one entity. The outside world faded, And disappeared, While we were together. Was it love? What IS love?
I was intimate with Janet, Kissing, Petting, Penetrating her love canal, But only with my finger. She was responsive, Fondling my crotch, Finding my cock, My hard cock, That begged for relief. She asked me to go to bed with her. I agreed. We planned how and when.
We left a dance early, Got in my car, To take her home. Instead, I drove to a State Park, In a canyon, With a secluded clearing, Out of sight of the road. I parked. We were both horny, So wasted no time, Getting to the back seat, Undressing, And putting on a condom, Over my hard, eager cock.
We kissed, Explored each other's bodies, And fucked. She freely gave me her virginity, Thinking that I gave her mine, And perhaps, to be technical, I did -- since I'd never fucked a girl. It was MAGNIFICENT!
Later, I would wonder: Was it because it was merely sex? Physical gratification? What emotions were involved? Was there an element of love? I liked Janet, But I also liked Reggie. Were the feelings comparable? Were they identical?
I tried to compare: Being with Reggie, Which was wonderful, And being with Janet, Was also wonderful. Which was better? I couldn't decide.
Oddly, I remembered something: When I was little boy, Dad offered me a candy bar. I could only have one, A Milky Way, Or an Almond Joy. I liked them both, I wanted both, But could have only one, Because I couldn't decide, I got neither.
One thing seemed clear: I could not be true to Reggie, And to Janet, At the same time, Because fidelity was important. I would worry about that for days, Without solving my dilemma.
Confused, Frustrated, Worried, And desperate, I worked up my courage, To seek advice from my dads. They always understood, They were always helpful, But this was a problem like no other.
After dinner one night, I asked if we could talk. Sure, son, they both said, But asked how long it would take, Because they'd planned on going to a movie. Another time, then, I said, Unintentionally showing disappointment.
The movie can wait, Steve said. What's troubling you? My first dad asked, You've been in a funk for a while, I figured you'd say why, When you were ready, Seems like now is the time.
This is tough, I began, But I've always been honest with you, And I have to be honest now. Reggie and I have been... Well...intimate, When you weren't home.
We knew that, my first dad said, With no hint of disapproval. Burdened by my immediate problem, I didn't ask how they knew. Instead, I forged ahead, With the script I had planned.
That's not all, I continued, I've also been intimate with Janet, And don't worry, I took precautions.
I like them both...a lot, But I have to choose. How can I give up one, To be with the other? Will it be Reggie? Am I gay? Or will it be Janet? Am I straight? I just don't know what to think, My mind is all fucked up. SORRY! My mind is all messed up. What should I do?
They didn't answer my question, They said they couldn't, And wouldn't, Because I had to decide, On my own, And own the decision.
We talked for almost two hours, Which was not wasted time. They empathized, As I knew they would. I also knew they'd support me, In whatever decision I made. I respected them for that, I loved them for that, I was lucky to have two dads, Who were perfect parents.
They wouldn't tell me what to do, Although part of me wished they would, But I knew I asked too much. I wasn't a child anymore, I was grown, And had to take responsibility, For my actions. I knew that, They knew that, But we continued talking. About consequences.
We talked about a gay's life: Persecution...Discrimination...Bigotry, Courage to be what we are, And satisfaction in meeting basic needs, That transcend physical sex, That must include love, Commitment, Fidelity, Sacrifice, Compassion,
We talked about a straight's life: Acceptance and respect of others, Commitment, Fidelity, Sacrifice, Compassion, Subduing latent gay yearnings, Joy and pride in having children.
And an absolute necessity, For whatever my decision might be: Genuine love, That demands constant nurturing.
I didn't have a solution to my dilemma, But I did receive one piece of advice: You don't have to decide right now, Or tomorrow, Or next week. You have time, As much time as you need, To thoroughly evaluate your options, The benefits, And the risks.
I continued dating Janet, And continued fucking her, Whenever I got a chance. I continued seeing Reggie, To engage in erotic sex, Whenever I got the chance. I was getting plenty of sex, The best of both worlds. I was fond of Janet, I was fond of Reggie, I eagerly anticipated seeing each of them, For the sex, of course, But also for the companionship, They were a delight to spend time with, Talking, Joking, Having fun.
Others would say, And did say, You and Janet are made for each other! A few would comment, It's nice of you, To be good friends with a gay boy.
Others, however, taunted me, About Reggie, About my possibly being gay. Why do you hang with a queer, they'd ask. I resisted challenging their condemnation, Their bigotry, Their ignorance. I responded with restraint, Why not? I fired back, He's a nice guy, Who happens to be gay, What's the big deal? My implied tolerance had no effect, They hated gays, Hate is immune to logic.
My dads liked Janet, And liked Reggie, But understood my dilemma. I know they felt my pain, The awesome pain of having to choose, But they didn't ... couldn't ... appreciate it fully, Because it was tearing me apart, As if I was being drawn and quartered. How could I give up one of them? I loved them both. YES! I loved them both!
Neither of my loves knew about the other, Although Reggie surely suspected, Because I dated Janet. He never asked, But I knew he knew, And didn't object. Janet thought Reggie was a friend, My best friend, With whom I would never have sex. To her, I was completely straight, Normal, And true to her.
I was tormented with guilt, I was a cad, Dishonest, Unscrupulous. When with Janet I was cheating, On Reggie whom I loved. When with Reggie I was cheating, On Janet whom I loved. It was intolerable. I HAD TO CHOOSE! And risk hurting one, One who was dear to me, One who brought me joy, One whom I loved. The quandary had no acceptable solution.
One thing was urgently obvious: I couldn't live as two people, With dual personalities. I was approaching schizophrenia!
The resolution came unexpectedly, Giving me relief, But causing me sorrow.
It was summer, after my Junior year, When Janet went on vacation, With her parents, For two weeks. Reggie and I got together frequently, Including a camping trip, During the second week, For three days and two nights, In a forest twenty miles from home. We hiked the hills, Swam in the lake, Lounged by the campfire, And had frequent sex, In the tent, In the woods, In the water. It was glorious! We thoroughly enjoyed each other's company.
On the morning of the third day we were cuddling, Contentedly, Blissfully, Euphorically, After particularly satisfying sex, With plenty of erotic foreplay, And explosive orgasms. Reggie had been especially amorous, Doing everything he knew I liked, And arousing me to the limit of endurance. My love for him soared to new heights, And I told him so. He said nothing, While starring off into space, Which caused me to worry. What was wrong?
When finally he spoke, I saw sadness in his eyes. He said he liked me, A lot. He gave me specific compliments, On my personality, On my character, On my body, And on my sexual performance. And then it came, The news I didn't expect, The news that broke my heart. His words were tactful, But unambiguous, I appreciate the friendship, he said, And the sex, We've had some good times together, But we were in it for the sex. Isn't that right? It's over between us, he said, It has to end sometime. You're straight, I'm gay, You have Janet, And I wish you two nothing but the best. I'll find someone, Another gay man to love. I'm fond of you, he claimed, But it's not love, Not like what I had with my first partner.
I couldn't speak, The news was too much to accept. It was like a blow to my abdomen, That knocked the wind out of me, That stunned me, That immobilized me, And disrupted my thinking.
I'm sorry, my friend, he said, I'm sorry to have made you sad, But it was inevitable, I had to tell you sometime, We could never be a couple, It takes love, Deep, emotional love, From BOTH of us. It's the glue that bonds, You may have it, Or think you have it, But -- I'm sorry -- I don't.
I fought valiantly to quell my tears, Unsuccessfully. He embraced me tightly, Trying to comfort me, But nothing could comfort me, Not even his hug, His compassion, His empathy. I'd lost something precious: Reggie.
We broke camp, And started for home. I considered trying to change his mind, But knew it was impossible, He didn't love me, As I loved him. The burning flame of love, That captured my heart, Wasn't even an ember for Reggie, Nor would he change his mind. He didn't love me, Even after years of friendship, Not ordinary friends, But BEST friends, And after months of superb sex, No love ignited in him, As it had in me. We'd never been a "couple," But I had dared to hope, We could become one. My hopes were foolish wishes, We'd never be a couple! With deep regret, With searing emotional pain, I knew he was right, BOTH partners must love.
I said little on the drive home. He tried to soften the blow, That he had dealt. He was kind, Considerate, Empathetic, All the things I loved about him, But my disappointment, My anguish, My pain, Created havoc in my mind, And struck me mute.
At home, I went to my room. Boundless sorrow, Endless regret, And indulgent self-pity, Consumed me. My sobbing returned.
Hours later, I awoke, And began the long struggle, To regain my composure, To restore my "manly" self-control.
Days later, my dads confronted me, By saying, What's wrong, son? You're down in the dumps. Want to talk about it? I needed their understanding, Their love and support, And their advice. I told them what happened, And asked, What can I do? How can I cope?
I wanted answers! But they gave no answers. My dad said he understood my pain, And was distraught, Over my suffering. Then the questions began: Did I really love Reggie? Was it more than camaraderie? And enjoying sex? Was I really ready to commit, To a gay partnership? Forever! With one partner? Enduring the hatred of bigots? Was I willing to be loyal to one man? And deny my love for Janet?
I'd thought about all of that, But definitive answer eluded me, The questions were imponderable. I'd hoped my dads had answers, Or at least clues, To help me cope. But, of course, they didn't, They couldn't, They knew and I later realized, The answers had to be MINE, Not imposed on me by them.
But talking to them helped, It reminded me of their enduring support, And unqualified love.
Reggie and I remained friends, But largely due to his efforts, To greet me in school, To call me, Or visit me at home, And to ask how I was. Clearly, he was concerned, Because he still liked me, But only as a FRIEND, And perhaps he felt guilty, For causing me pain.
I misread his friendliness, And hinted that we get together again. His response was immediate, And unambiguous. Don't go there! he said, I'd like to, But it's not a good idea, It would never work out between us, Let's just be friends. Okay?
Meanwhile, I continued to see Janet, On dates, Hanging out together, And in bed whenever we could. It became a serious relationship.
Janet confirmed her suspicion, That my dads were gay, When she saw them kissing, During an unguarded moment, As she put on her coat, To leave my house. Later, she told me what she saw, And asked a question, Although she already knew the answer. Yes, I answered, They're gay, And deeply in love. Does that upset you? No, she replied. I believed her. Her sincerity was not in doubt, Nor was her honesty, Which was one of the reasons I loved her.
After graduation, I got a job, In my uncle's hardware store, Fifty miles from home, And an apartment, above the store. Janet soon moved in with me, We couldn't stand being separated, And were married six months later, In a simple ceremony, With no reception, Reggie was my best man.
Reggie! I thought of him a lot, With fond memories, Of the times we shared, But never when I was in bed with Janet, Making passionate love, And the infinite sphere engulfed me, As it had with Reggie, When I loved him, And thought he loved me.
I also thought of the tumult, That overwhelmed me, When I was torn between, Reggie, And Janet, Between being gay, Or straight.
Did I still long for male companionship, And intimacy? Yes! But my yearning was superseded by the joy, Of being the husband of a goddess, Whose incorruptible character, Sunny personality, And ceaseless love, Kept me in awe, And asking myself why? How did I deserve such a companion?
Two years later, I was store manager, Because my uncle went into semi-retirement. My first child was born soon thereafter, A girl, A precious bundle from heaven, Who won my heart instantly, And in perpetuity. She was the first of three children, And I loved them all, Was proud of them all, And tried to be as good, As my dads had been to me.
My dads became granddads, Who doted on my children, Lavished affection on them, And (I think) envied me, Because of my children, Although they never admitted it.
Over the years, I had opportunities, Or could have created them, To philander, With both women and gay men, But I resisted temptation. I was constrained, Quite willingly, Like an obedient dog on a leash, Or a horse to the reign. I held an unyielding belief in fidelity, That matured as a teen, Struggling with the conflict, Of choosing between two loves: Janet or Reggie, I could not -- would never -- betray my wife, And cause her pain.
Still, I wondered and worried: Should Janet ever leave me, Alone, With a void in my life, Through divorce, Terminal illness, Or fatal accident, What would I do? Grieve, of course, But carry on. How? Would I, like my first dad, Seek companionship of a man? Could I experience the love I felt for Reggie? Could I find happiness, As did my dad, In a gay partnership?
Questions I cannot answer, Not now, Maybe never. The future is unpredictable, Fate is fickle, We can control only the present, And resolve to make the best of it, By relishing the beauty around us, Being grateful for good fortune, And not letting the darkness in the world, Blind us to the light.
I will put away these scribblings, In a safe place, To be discovered when I'm gone, Whenever that may be, And to let those I leave behind, Know that there was a ME inside, That wasn't obvious from the outside, And to remind them, That the visible shell of a person, Conceals the whole of a person, That may often be flawed, But more often decent, And worthy of respect. Perhaps they'll be less inclined, To be intolerant of others, Based on appearances, Or beliefs, Or minority status, And strive to understand others' souls.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thank you, Iatia, For your meticulous editing, For your creative suggestions, For your continuing encouragement, And above all, For being a treasured friend.