“You’re like me!” he squeaks. Well, his voice hasn’t really changed yet. Something else I am dealing with myself, waiting patiently. “I got hard, too, taking off my underpants,” he says. “It feels really amazing being outside naked like this.”
“Yeah,” I agree, feeling his happiness. “I’ve been swimming naked since we moved in a couple of weeks ago, and I still get this way—or mostly this way—every time.” I feel like I’m blushing. “I was kind of hoping I wouldn’t this time. It’s embarrassing, you know, you seeing me like that.”
“I’m glad I did! It makes us equals. I’m hard, too, and not just from being naked. From seeing you that way.”
“Let me see. Fair’s fair,” I say and sink below the water line. He is indeed hard. I like that he doesn’t try to cover it with his hands.
I rise to the surface smiling. “I guess it’s just the magnifying effect of the water, making it look that big,” I say—and laugh.
He laughs, too. “I don’t know about big. Never seen anyone but you, and that was about one second. I think I’m about the same size you are. We’ll have to compare later. I see we both have just a little hair. I’m glad we’re the same.”
I feel my face turn red again. A sudden rush of blood. Compare? Later? “Uh, what do you mean?”
Grinning, he says, “Well, only if you want to. I assume you’re like me in more ways than only getting hard easily. I think about sex all the time. I think boys our age do. We all get hard a lot, I’ve read. You know I read a lot. I read stories on the internet, and there are some sites that have stories about boys our age. Sexy stories. About how horny boys are and the things they do together.”
We’re in the pool and seem to be moving closer. I’m not aware of moving toward him or him moving toward me, but that must have been happening because were now only about a foot apart.
“That’s one of the reasons I fought to go to a regular school,” he continues. “My mom wanted me to be a priest. She’s really into all that Catholic stuff. It’s her life. Not me and Dad, but her. There’s no way I want to be a priest. Or want to be celibate. You know what that means?”
“Well, I don’t want a life like that. I like sex! Well, I mean, I like to think about it. I only know what I do by myself. You do that, don’t you?”
I’d never had a conversation with anyone about any of this stuff. While I am astonished he can talk so easily and openly about it, I also love listening to him and watching him, too. He is bubbling over; his eyes and body language and that part of him I can see below the surface—all show his excitement. I wonder if he’s been bottling all this up. His eyes are really bright, and all the skin I can see above water is flushed.
He wants to know if I jerk off. I never would have expected I’d admit that to anyone. But talking to him like this seems so, so… so right, I guess. Easy. Natural. So uninhibited and free. “Sure,” I say again and feel a distinct tingle in my whole body, saying that.
“We were told in Catholic school to never do that; it was sinful and good boys don’t do it. My classmates never talked about it with each other. Maybe we would have, but it seemed there were always nuns around monitoring us. Like they didn’t trust us. I don’t know if those other boys did it or not. I was sure from my reading that boys going into a public high school would be more open talking about sex and maybe even experimenting. I wanted to experiment. I still do. If you don’t, that’s fine. I like you, Rob, and hope we can still be friends, even if you don’t want to . . . I mean, we don’t have to do anything like that together. But if you want to . . .”
He gives me what I expect is supposed to be a sexy smile. It just looks hilarious to me. But I don’t laugh. I know what it feels like to be laughed at, and it’s the last thing I want to make him feel.
“You mean you want us to experiment?” I want to be clear about this. And I am so hard it almost hurts.
“Yeah!” He is so eager that I feel like jumping him right then and there.
Well, why not? And so I leap forward and grab him and we both sink under the water, full body, front-to-front contact. I don’t hold onto him; I don’t want to drown him in my own sudden ardor. But he doesn’t wriggle to get to the surface. He must have taken a good breath before going under. He pushes himself forward into me. I push into him, too. Our bodies touch all over.
We’re only under the water together for a few seconds. Those seconds count as my first sexual encounter with another person. With another boy. It only could last a few seconds because the way my heart is beating, I have to have more air quickly. Lots and lots of air.
We both gasp after coming up. We both grin. And he says, “Let’s get out and go to your room.”
I grimace. “Daniel will be home soon. Can’t risk it right now.”
“But, but . . .”
I laugh; he’s so eager and frustrated. “Yeah, me too, just as much as you. I didn’t know this was going to happen! I really like that you want to see what it’s all about, just like me. And with me, too! I really like that you’ve never done it before with anyone. Me neither! We’ll do it together, whatever it is. I’m ready to explode right now, like you are, but we can’t!” I laugh again. It feels so ridiculous, wanting more and knowing we can’t right when we want to the most.
He does, too. Laugh. I really like that. I really like Terry. Again, he’s probably not gay. But he is a boy and horny and wants to do things with me. How great is that?
I was a little surprised how well things were working out. How Robin—who now wanted to be called Rob—was fitting in well at school. He was doing much better than I’d thought it likely he would. He’d made a friend right off, and with that, his self-esteem had improved one-hundred percent. He told me that had happened because of me. Me! He even hugged me. Said he’d done what I’d told him, looked the boy in the eye and smiled, and that was probably why they’d connected. I told him it was because he was a good-looking, friendly boy who had a lot going for him and the other boy could see that.
Robin was still fragile. I felt most anything could knock him off the ledge he’d been on, but he was in the process of widening that ledge, building supporting braces beneath it. I was so proud of him, I could just glow thinking about it.
I wondered what part Nosy played in that. Robin played with her but worked with her, too. I’d signed them up for a dog-obedience course. Eight weeks of once-a-week, in-class training followed religiously by six days of working with the dog implanting the lesson they’d just had. Nosy was a natural. She wanted to please Robin, and she was smart enough to see what he wanted right off. She seemed to enjoy it! Especially because it was just her and Robin. That’s what she liked best. Robin said she was the star pupil in the class, and his pride in her, as well as his love for her was obvious.
All young boys should have something to love and something that loves them unequivocally.
She’d bonded with him as some breeds do stronger than others. Labs do that; Dobermans and Weimaraners do, as well. I’d thought a Lab would be the best fit for Robin among those three. There were more downsides with the other two breeds than with Labs. A Lab was perfect for Robin. She was sleeping on his bed with him. Wouldn’t stay off. We’d bought her own bed for her and put it next to his. If Robin put her in it and was firm about saying ‘Stay’, she obeyed until he was asleep, then got up on his. I wondered how she managed that until one morning in his rush to get up and to school in time, he forgot to remove the box and chair he’d moved close to the bed. Stairs. Put there by Robin, not the dog. Used by the dog. They were in cahoots!
Okay, this Rob vs. Robin bit. I did what he asked. I called him Rob, but only when other people were present. That name just wasn’t how I thought of him, so I used Robin when we were together. Rob was way too solid and powerful and adult a name for him. He wasn’t that. Not yet. To me, he was Robin, and maybe he always would be. Even though he was much stronger now mentally, his personality not so ready to crack at the least setback, I could see that Robin, my Robin, was still there underneath. I was simply hoping he’d continue to get stronger so that someday, that Rob moniker would fit him like a glove, that he’d grow into it.
He was continuing to share cooking duties with me. I’d always enjoyed cooking. He didn’t ask me if he could help; he simply joined me in fixing dinner at night. Like it was expected of him. No, that wasn’t quite it at all. It was more like it was a given that we’d make dinner together. As a team. I could see that he did it because he liked doing it. I think he still liked to be with me, do things with me. Which was fine because I loved having him with me, too.
As I imagine all people did who are cooking at home most every night, I had some favorite dishes. One I was really proud of was my red pasta sauce. I’d spent quite some time experimenting and getting it right. I had it down to a T now.
Robin had watched me make it a few times, and when it was time to make another batch, he told me to move aside, he was going to make it that night. I hadn’t known he was planning a usurpation. I mean, this was my sauce. “Really, Rob?” I’d asked. Skeptically.
“Yep. My turn.”
I grimaced, faking it a bit, and told him with pretended reluctance to go ahead. I said I’d watch.
First, Robin sauteed a pound of hot Italian sausage in a very large pan. It was actually five large link sausages that weighed a pound in total. While they were cooking, he peeled and quartered half of a large brown onion and put half of those pieces into the food processor bowl.
When the sausages were about half done, he took two of them from the pan and dropped them into the bowl with the onion. Then he processed them till he had a crumbly onion/sausage mixture. That went back into the pan to finish cooking, and the rest of the sausage was processed along with the rest of the half onion in the same way, and that was added to the pan with the rest. The cooking continued on low heat while Robin got on with the rest of the recipe.
“Why do you use San Marzano tomatoes?” he asked while opening the first of two 28-ounce cans of Centro tomatoes.
“I’ve tried several different kinds. These are more expensive but taste better. They’re less acidic and more flavorful and so are great in sauces.” I was watching him closely. Didn’t want a whole batch of sauce screwed up. Okay, okay, so maybe I felt a little proprietary about the sauce, but that was measured with my pride in him. Watching him just made sense. I mean, I wouldn’t be watching him so closely if he were, say, washing my car. Anyone could wash a car. You couldn’t really screw that up too badly. But spaghetti sauce, my sauce? That was another matter entirely. This needed to be done right.
He dumped both cans of peeled tomatoes into the processor. I stopped him. “Whoa! Hold
on! One at a time, remember. You want me to take over?” I intruded into his
He laughed and pushed me aside. Damn, he did a lot of laughing now. And this, right now, was laughter directed at me, teasing me. I didn’t mind at all. I just wanted the sauce made correctly.
“Knew you’d react that way,” he said. “Chill.” Then he poured half of what was in the processor container into a different bowl. To what was still in the processor bowl, he added a whole lot of fresh basil leaves, some oregano, five minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne, and a sprinkling of dill weed. He ran that till it was a uniform, slightly lumpy blend; the red color had been darkened by the basil. That he dumped into the pan with the sausage. Then he repeated with the second can of tomatoes all of what he’d done with the first.
He stirred the entire batch all together in the pan, brought it up to a medium boil, then covered the pan and reduced the heat to a just-barely-boiling simmer. “Let it cook for an hour and a half, then turn it off?” he asked. Well, he actually made it sound more like a statement than a question. The smirk was a dead giveaway that he knew he’d done it well. I think he was proud of himself.
“Yes,” I said, a little stiffly. “And don’t forget to crack the cover after a while to let some of the excess liquid steam off.”
He winked at me. Any day now, I expected he’d become a normal teenager and start giving me all sorts of shit. I was almost looking forward to it.
Not really. I loved who he was now and didn’t want him to change.
I’d been quite nervous starting school. Sure, I’d practice-taught with a supervising teacher while still in school getting my certificate and master’s degree, and I’d substituted a few times all by myself. This was my first real full-time job teaching, however. I wanted to do really well. I of course had the conflicting concerns all newly fledged teachers had. I wanted the kids to like me. I wanted to be their favorite teacher. I wanted them to come to me for advice and support. I wanted to be that guy.
At the same time, I knew I couldn’t be all that, that teaching my subject well and making sure they learned the curriculum came before all else. I had to maintain a consistent and workable level of discipline and be as stern as necessary to accomplish that objective. I had to preclude their walking all over me as they sometimes did with new teachers.
Everyone said teaching was hard; teaching very well was especially hard. They also said that meetings would drive me crazy. That getting along with the principal was vital, but if he/she was an asshole, you had to establish boundaries and not be a patsy and still remain employed.
To some, that last thing topped all others.
I wasn’t going to be like that. Just getting by and kowtowing to stay employed wasn’t going to be my goal. Yeah, I was a new teacher, and I knew it, and I knew the first year would be tough and stressful and a great learning experience.
As I say, I was nervous starting in.
I had a master’s degree as well as a teacher’s certificate in English literature. I loved reading; always had. I loved the idea of getting kids who didn’t read excited about some of the books I’d been so fond of at their age. I liked the fact I was teaching at a high-performing school. That had to mean the kids cared about their education. Still, they were kids. I’d have to keep them focused. To me, that meant keeping them interested. I was going to do that by involving them in class participation rather than just lecturing them. I’d ask them questions about the reading each day. If they knew they’d be questioned, they’d do the reading to avoid embarrassment. I’d get discussions going, arguing one student’s view against another’s. I thought that was a whole lot better than preaching to them while they sat still, hopefully absorbing my fascinating words. I mean, even though I love Dickens, who wants to hear a forty-five-minute drone about his writing, maybe comparing the villainy of Uriah Heep to that of Edward Murdstone? I think the most dedicated reader would fall asleep during that trial. Nope. I’d keep them aroused. There’d be no sleeping in my classes!
I found that ideals don’t work well in freshman and sophomore classrooms. The kids have things in mind other than dusty books and even exciting ones. They live in the now. They have their own worries and enthusiasms, problems and joys. Most of them have attention spans of about three minutes. Very few care about Mr. Dickens or what happened in the 19th century, no matter how vile. That was secondary in their minds to what was going to happen in the cafeteria ten minutes from now.
So I was doing as I expected: learning. Learning what worked and what didn’t. Lowering my expectations but raising my practicalities. I didn’t want to give up entirely on my idealism. But it had to be molded into kid-shaped pills. I wasn’t going to discover the best ways to do that overnight.
If I had one major disappointment, it was meetings, the ones I’d been warned about. We had staff meetings every week. After school, on what should have been our own time. All the teachers had to attend. Mandatory. Things supposedly of interest to us all, like which parking places in the teachers’ parking lot were reserved, and why Thanksgiving this year would be an entire week off instead of only two days, were discussed. But most of the meeting was given to us, the teachers, to talk about anything we had on our minds.
I didn’t have anything on my mind that I wanted to discuss with the teaching body. I had the head of the English Department for that. I got along with him fine. As far as I was concerned, these meetings should last just for things the principal had to say. And should last about five minutes.
But the older staff had complaints and suggestions and mostly whines, and we all had to sit and listen to them. I had to work not to roll my eyes at the really trivial ones. It’s hard to sit still and look interested when what’s going on is so, so boring and such a waste of time and you have papers to grade.
I did get to look at all the other teachers, though. I had met all of them, but there were a lot of them and I wasn’t all that great with names. So I looked around the room as a gym teacher was complaining about the lax hygiene of our students and trying hard to get the mandatory-showering rule reinstated. He was going on and on, and my eyes were going round and round the room, trying to put names to faces.
There were three of us first-year teachers. I knew the names of the other two: Betsy Mangold, biology, and Foster Lees, French. My eyes stopped on theirs. They were sitting next to each other, and both were rolling their eyes. The gym teacher had just said something about boys being too concerned with nakedness these days and how he’d never had such body shyness as a boy and being naked around his classmates had never caused him any grief.
Then, for some reason, at the same time they both looked at me. Didn’t take me much time at all to realize what I needed to do. I rolled my eyes, too. Then smiled. Hey, it had worked for Robin.