You will always remember your first authentic sexual experience. Mine happened under the sheets at an AmeriSuites hotel (the hotel chain has since been bought out by Hyatt and does not exist anymore). It was the middle of the night.
There was no orgasm, from him or me. The whole experience was very quiet. I was thirteen. I remember the dark room, the spinning fan, the green hill and highway outside the window. Several other guys from the church youth group were sleeping in the room around us. I was randomly paired in the bed with some guy a few years older than me, and I didn’t know his name.
He brushed his hand over my boxers.
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 and someone called my father’s name. He turned around and spoke to someone he apparently recognized. I was looking the other way until my father put his hand on my shoulder. I turned and looked at an older man, and my dad asked if I remember him. I shook the man’s hand.
He said to me, “You probably remember my son.”
The son was standing behind him. I shook the son’s hand. As we shook hands, I realized whose hand I was shaking. The same hand that first reached under the covers to feel my cock. The same hand that took mine 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 maybe fifteen minutes before he slid close. My legs were in his legs, my breath was in his breath. His heart was beating fast. Mine was too.
Then I turned over. I don’t know if I did it or if he turned me, probably a bit of both. And then we were spooning with our underwear on. And then I felt it. He had added some spit and it felt wet, and he pressed in, and it hurt. I’m not sure he was able to slide in any more. I don’t think his dick was that big, but in my memory it is huge.
He didn’t fuck me. I don’t think he knew how. He just held his cock halfway in my ass. He seemed like he was still trying to pretend he was asleep, breathing as quietly as he could.
After a few minutes — an hour? who knows — I turned him over and tried to stick my dick in him. He made a wincing sound of pain (I may have forgotten the spit) and the experience was over. We both pretended to fall asleep, but I knew we were both just laying there, throbbing, barely able to breathe.
Years later, in the church, I shook his hand. Ours was a relationship born in darkness. He knew who I was, and I knew him.
A silent energy burst there. Churchgoers 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, not once.
The moment lasted only a second, but in that second was the fire of brotherhood. How many gay men before me 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 family members and listen to their problems. We go on pretending our lives, unable to speak the words echoing through us.
How can they be so selfish as to rob us of our time and identity? Straight people — my family, my friends — want to smooth things over. They want me to be less confrontational. They don’t want to hear about my sex life.
I was witness to their personal struggles for years. I attended every Sunday service and kept my mouth shut until I could leave. I get to be loud now. This is the joy of coming out, the joy of being able to pursue sex freely. This is what I was waiting for. I hope he gets to experience it too.
The last thing I heard about him: he was dating a girl at the school he transferred to the following year. He became an MVP on the football team there. I don’t know if he went to college. I don’t know where he lives now. I don’t know where he works or if he’s happy. I don’t know if he’s come out of the closet, but I know that when I was finally out and had been for two years, he was still in.
The last time I saw his Facebook account, years ago, it said he’s interested in women. His religious views are Christian. His political views are conservative. His pictures are with groups of men holding rifles and red cups.
I could reach out, but I choose to keep him in my memory because that’s where the truth of his inner life, his true self, lives.
My brother, if you’re reading this, here’s my message: No one can save you. You have to do it yourself. You have to defy them. You have to claw your way out.