Some homos say your first gay experience is the most powerful.
I jumped straight into fuck mode — anal penetration under the sheets in the middle of the night at an AmeriSuites hotel (AmeriSuites has since been bought out by Hyatt and you can’t find them anymore).
There was no orgasm, from him or me. It was very quiet. I was thirteen. I remember the dark room, the spinning fan, the green hill and highway outside bathed in white light from the parking lot. I was awake and looking out the window.
The guy next to me brushed his hand over my boxers. He was one of the guys on the church youth retreat to the North Georgia mountains. He was a few years older than me. I didn’t know his name. The other guys snored in the bed next to us, and the adult chaperone, a blonde Bible thumper in his thirties, was asleep on the sofa.
I knew some of the other guys. They went to my school. I did not know (and had never spoken to) the blue-eyed boy who started touching me in the middle of the night.
The next time I saw him was in passing, four years later. My family had started going to a new church in Athens. One day we were leaving the service in the dark (megachurches dazzle you in light and then leave you to scramble your way out in pitch black) and someone called my father’s name. My dad turned around and spoke to a man he knew.
I was looking the other way. Dad touched my shoulder and asked if I remembered so-and-so — the man’s name. I shook his hand.
The man said to me, “You probably remember my son.”
The son was standing next to him. I shook the son’s hand. As we shook, I realized whose hand I was shaking. The same hand that first tremulously reached under the covers to feel my cock. The same hand that took my hand and gently pulled it to his shorts. I felt the warmth and hardness of his dick beneath the fabric. I found the edge and slid my fingers in.
I waited, then reached in and felt the base. He was hard. I gripped it.
We touched each other back and forth for an hour maybe before he slid close. My legs were in his legs, my breath was in his breath. His heart was pounding and mine was too.
And then I turned over. I don’t know if I did it or if he turned me, probably a bit of both. And we were sort of spooning with our underwear on. And then I felt it. He had added some spit and it felt wet, and then he pressed in. And it hurt. I’m not sure he was able to slide to the base. I don’t think he was that big but in my memory he was huge.
He didn’t fuck me. I don’t think he knew how. He just held it there in my ass. He seemed like he was still trying to pretend he was asleep, just breathing there as quietly as he could.
After a few minutes — an hour? who knows — I turned him over and tried to stick it in him. He made a wincing sound of pain (I’m not huge either but I may have forgotten the spit) and it was over. We both pretended to fall back asleep, but I knew we were both just laying there, throbbing, barely able to breathe.
Years later, in the church, I shook his hand. I couldn’t see his face clearly, it was too dark, but I knew who he was. Ours was a relationship born in darkness. He knew who I was, and I knew him.
A silent energy burst there in the rows of seats. People filed out around us. These poor ignorant people, fresh from songs of praise, debating where to go for lunch. I would not be able to eat. I would look for him after every service from that day on and never find him.
The moment lasted only a second, but in that second was the fire of brotherhood, the fire of repression. How many homos had burned with that same miserable flame? How many of us have swallowed it, turned around, silenced it, barely able to walk away? We rejoin our clueless heterosexual family members and listen to their problems. We eat their food and wear their clothes and listen to them bemoan the struggles of groceries and mowing the yard.
Our moans, our struggles, are shut out from their world. We are homosexuals. We carry our desires for years like a muzzled dog, foaming at the mouth, day in and day out, through their church services and lunches and family dinners.
We do so much for them. We play their game. But when it’s our turn to speak out — our turn to live — suddenly we’re perversions. Suddenly we’re asking too much. Suddenly we are problems that must be righted.
How can they be so selfish to rob us of our time and identity? Every bit of counseling, every meeting with the pastor, is their attempt to squash out anything that isn’t theirs. Straight people — my family, my friends from that time in my life — want to smooth things over. They want me to be less confrontational. They don’t want to hear about my sex life.
I listened to theirs for years. I attended every Sunday service and kept my mouth shut until I could bear it no longer.
Mother, father: I crawled through his arms like church pews. Like the families stumbling to the exits, I groped him in the dark.
Last I heard, he was dating a girl at the school he transferred to the next year. He became an MVP on the football team there. And then his narrative stops. I don’t know if he went to college. I don’t know where he lives now.
The last time I saw his Facebook account, years ago, he’s interested in women. I’ve never sent him a friend request. His religious views are Christian. His political views are conservative. His pictures are with groups of men holding rifles and red cups. He wears a Bass Pro Shop baseball cap and ivory khaki shorts.
I could reach out to him, but I choose to keep him in those sheets. I leave him in his life of discoveries, and I wish him the best.
My brother, if you’re reading this, here’s my message to you and to everyone in the closet: no one can save you. You have to do it yourself. You have to defy them. You have to claw your way out.