The summer it was hot, real hot, at least for Baltimore. I remember it so clearly because most of my friends didn’t wear a shirt all summer and I spent most of my time looking at the soft skin of their bare chest. And there was the time we slept outside in our sleeping bags with nothing on after we went skinny dipping.
That past year in school I’d been thinking about this war my insides were having and about Albert Finney talking about homos at lunch and looking at me kind of funny when I got up from the table. And how I heard the other boys whispering Jason Clarke’s a homo after Albert had told them “It’s when two guys are in bed doing what a guy does with a girl.”
It made me think about it too, trying to prove I wasn’t.
Kissing, no I had never kissed another boy, feeling them up, no guys don’t have boobs, even though I did enjoy looking at other boys chest.
But that was as far as I could go. I couldn’t answer no any longer. But then again it was only with Matthew. And how about the first time I stayed over at his house. Yeah, that did it; I must be a homo.
But one part of me still wasn’t convinced and that afternoon I was in my room looking at the books on the shelf when I figured it out. I saw my dictionary and knew the word homo should be in there. I opened to the H’s and turn the pages until I reached the column that was headed homoeomorphous. I read down the page and there it was homo-the same, equal. Well that was right we were all boys. But I knew that couldn’t be what they were teasing me about.
I continued to read the page of every word that began with homo. None of them made any sense to me until I reach homosexual-sexual feelings for one of the same sex. I knew that’s what it must be. The other boys thought I was homosexual. I knew they were right. But even with all the proof the conflict inside me continued.
I tried to convince myself I wasn’t a queer. I dated girls, but was afraid to even hold their hand. I had held Matt’s hand and touch everywhere else, but then I felt ashamed. What if my parents found out? OK, I’ll never do it again. Who was I kidding? And that’s the way it went over and over again. Each Saturday I’d be with Matt and when he left I swear I’d never do it again. Next Saturday or maybe even before we were naked together in my bed…
My parents, I thought about what they would do if they had caught Matt and me: my father beating me real good until he broke another chair or busted my head open again, and my mother locking me in a closet because I was a “pansy.”
I remember telling Matt what Albert had said and about me looking homo up in the dictionary to make sure what I heard was right.
Matt seemed so laid back about all the stuff we had done and then he dropped the bomb shell, his parents knew about us!
Yeah, when he told his parents about the boys calling him a homo they weren’t surprised and get this, they even said if he liked being with me better than a girl it was OK and they would love him no matter how he was!
After I thought about it I knew. If my parents were like that the war inside me would be over.