A Fish Out of Water

A Novella by Altimexis

Posted January 30, 2010

Bar Mitzvah Party

5. Paint Job

“HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY!” we were all shouting as we hoisted my younger brother in the air in an old tradition - it’s a wonder the poor kid didn’t fall out of the chair he was seated in. We were all running around the large room in the basement of our synagogue, singing traditional Jewish folk songs and doing our best to hold my brother Shimmy way up high, where he could be seen by all.

Earlier in the morning, he’d successfully led the Shabbat service, chanted his Torah portion, given his bar mitzvah speech and taken his place among the ‘men’ of the Jewish community. He was now deemed capable of participating as a full member in prayer services and could be counted toward the ten necessary to form a minyan - the quorum needed to join together in prayer.

Shimmy was also now officially a teenager, leaving only my youngest sisters, Shoshanah and Rachel, who were still in their pre-teens. Having a brother or a sister turn thirteen was always a reason for celebration, but the real reason I was excited was that my boyfriend, David, was visiting from New York. Yes, I was definitely thinking of him as my boyfriend now, although I was really going to have to be careful not to let that term slip from my lips to anyone else. No one could know, especially in his family.

David had hitched a ride down with my Uncle Mortie’s family, saving himself the trouble of a train trip, and he’d be heading back with them to ‘The Big Apple’ on Sunday night. He was staying with me in my room along with my brother, Izzy, and my cousin Joshie, with whom I was sharing a king-size air mattress on the floor. I’d have rather been sharing it with David, but as my guest, it was only right that he get the bed.

So the whole family was there in the basement of the schule, along with all of Shimmy’s friends, and we were doing our best to keep Shimmy in the air as we all sang traditional Jewish folk music while we all danced around the room. It was pandemonium. It was insane. David was by my side, and I loved it.

One thing I have to say about being gay and being an Orthodox Jew - you can dance openly with your boyfriend and no one will be the wiser. In fact, you can do a lot of things openly with your boyfriend that would be considered scandalous with your girlfriend, and get away with it - so long as you’re careful.

Between the food, the music and the dancing, David and I had a great time at Shimmy’s bar mitzvah reception. With four of us staying in my room, we couldn’t exactly make out or anything, but we were certainly enjoying our time together.

After the party was over and we all returned home, we were quite surprised to find a package from Federal Express waiting for us there. It’s rare to get a Saturday delivery, particularly in our neighborhood.

“It’s from Beth Israel,” Dad said as we entered the house. “I’m surprised they left it without getting a signature,” he added, “but then the person making the delivery probably knew they wouldn’t get one until after sunset, anyway. The person sending this at Beth Israel should have known better than to send it on a Friday afternoon.”

“Aren’t you going to open it?” I asked, my curiosity getting the better of me.

“We’ll open it after Havdalah,” he answered, indicating that we would not break with tradition, even for something this important, and the package would have to wait until after the concluding service for Shabbat. I looked at David and he actually rolled his eyes. We were on the same wavelength.

Because Shimmy’s birthday was just two weeks before the longest day of the year, we weren’t able to open the package until nearly ten o’clock that night.

“Well?” I asked anxiously, wondering if it contained what I hoped it did.

“Yes, it’s a contract, Danny,” he answered me, “but you know I’m going to have to have our lawyer go over it with a fine-tooth comb before I can sign it,” which caused me to audibly sigh.

“For what it’s worth, it looks like they finally removed the language that was the real hold-up,” he said. “I just need to be sure they didn’t add anything that could be a problem. Assuming they didn’t, we can probably sign, seal and deliver this early next week,” he added as he looked up at me.

“REALLY!” I shouted.

“Yes, Danny, really,” Dad confirmed.

I ran up to my father and grabbed him in a tight hug, and practically danced in a circle with him.

I was so excited, I could hardly lie still in bed that night - so much so that Joshie finally demanded that I trade places with Izzy. Yes, this probably meant that my prayers had finally been answered - we would be moving to New York!

After a family brunch on Sunday, David and I snuck away to a nearby park where we could skate and shoot the shit for a while, before he had to head back with my uncle’s family. We were both incredibly excited about the prospect that our move to New York might finally become a reality.

“Is that apartment still yours?” he asked.

“Last time we checked, it was,” I answered, “and besides, they have to give us a chance to remove the contingency if they get another offer.”

“So I bet you’ll remove the contingency as soon as your dad signs that contract,” David stated, rather than asked.

“You bet we will,” I confirmed.

“And you’ll have a bedroom to yourself, just like now,” he added.

“Yup,” I agreed, “with my own bathroom, just like now. It won’t be nearly as big, but at least I’ll still have some privacy.”

“I think it’ll be a lot quieter studying at your place than at mine,” David said with the cutest wiggle of his eyebrows, just before he did a flawless back flip.”

Much quieter,” I agreed, “so long as we’re careful that no-one thinks we’re doing anything besides studying,” I added.

“Why Danny,” he mocked me in the most innocent voice, “whatever would we be doing besides studying?” and then we both broke out into a fit of giggles. We were in heaven.

School was out, but other than attending Driving School, I had no other responsibilities for the summer. If it hadn’t been for our potential move to New York, I would have gotten a summer job, but with everything being so up in the air, I didn’t want to commit to something and then have to back out to help with the pending move. It turned out I was on the money when it came to my summer plans.

By Thursday, our attorney had signed off on my father’s contract with Beth Israel, and he sent it back to them that day by Federal Express. That Friday, we removed the contingency on the apartment on the Lower East Side and agreed on a closing date in early August, which left plenty of time to get settled in before the start of the school year. That Sunday, we had our realtor over to look at our house and make a first assessment of what needed to be done before we could put it on the market.

Going through the house, room by room, she finally said, “You have a wonderful house, and in this neighborhood, it should sell quickly. It has everything an Orthodox family would want… lots of room for a large family, a double kosher kitchen, walking distance to multiple Jewish schools and synagogues. This is a prime house.”

“What about the fact that there was a murder next door?” Mom asked.

“Honey, this is Baltimore we’re talking about,” she answered. “If people can’t handle the murder rate, they shouldn’t be living here. I don’t think it will affect the sale at all.

“Now the one thing I did notice is that it looks like it’s been a while since the interior’s been painted,” she said with a touch of irritation in her voice, and I immediately knew that a good chunk of my summer was now spoken for. Yeah, all of the little scuff marks and scrapes on the walls that had accumulated over the past several years were now glaringly obvious, as they would undoubtedly be to potential buyers. In this economy, little things like that could make a huge difference in what we would ultimately get for the house.

The smart thing would have been to hire professional painters to do the job, but with three teenage boys and two teenage girls, it hardly made sense to do so. I was just glad the exterior of the house was stone! In any case, Dad offered to pay each of us $7.50 for each ‘honest’ hour spent painting. All three of us boys were more than happy to pick up a little extra spending money, but the girls made it clear they had better things to do to get the house ready - washing the windows, the floors and the bathrooms - for which they demanded equal pay. Call it sexist, but we boys were more than happy to let them handle the cleaning tasks.

Since the girls wouldn’t be helping us paint, however, I suddenly had the crazy idea that there might be someone else who’d be willing to help us out, and I figured that the sooner we finished the job, the better. And of course, I did have an ulterior motive - anything to spend more time with my boyfriend. Texting him that evening without even asking my father if it was OK, I asked David if he’d be interested in earning a little money spending two or three weeks helping us to paint the interior of our house.

Rather than text me back, David called me back on my cell phone. “I’d pay you to be able to spend a few weeks with you this summer, but seriously, are you sure it’s OK? I mean, your parents are gonna have to feed me and all, besides paying me. Did you actually ask them if it’s OK before you asked me?”

“I hadn’t thought of that,” I admitted, sheepishly.

“Maybe you’d better ask them, then, before I ask my father if it’s OK. I’m supposed to be doing my summer studies, but I can prolly get out of it for a good reason like this, particularly if I’m helping you guys out and if I’m getting paid to do it, too,” he explained.

“Let me go ask right now,” I told him as I ran down the stairs, cell phone still in my hand.

Finding my parents still together in the kitchen, I asked, “Mom! Dad! Would you be willing to pay David to help paint if it’s OK with his parents?” I could only imagine how pathetic I looked standing there, cell phone open and in my hand and a forlorn and anxious look on my face. When neither of my parents said anything, I added, “Having another set of hands could really speed things up and help to get the house on the market faster.”

“So could having help from any number of your friends without the added expense of train tickets and feeding him for however long it takes,” Dad noted, “but it wouldn’t be David,” he added with a chuckle. He can come if his parents say it’s OK, but we need to talk when you get off the phone, OK?” Somehow, I knew what that meant.

Speaking into my cell phone, I said, “They say it’s OK.”

“Great! I’ll let you know what my father says,” David answered. “I hope he says yes. I can’t wait to see you. I’d love to pick up where we left off.”

Feeling myself blush, I said, “I’m still with my parents, and they want to talk to me when I get off the phone with you.”

“Oh shit,” he said. “I have a feeling that can only mean one thing.”


“Promise you’ll let me know how that goes?” David asked.

“I promise, and let me know what your father says.”

“You know I will. Goodnight Danny,” and then David whispered, “I love you.”

“Same to you,” and then I hung up my phone.

With what I’m sure was a look of embarrassment on my face, I slipped into one of the kitchen chairs opposite my parents and asked, “So you wanted to talk to me?” Even I could tell there was a hint of nervousness in my voice.

“Danny, there’s no reason for you to feel nervous around us, son,” Dad said to try to calm me down, “although I’d always figured it would be Sarah I’d be having this conversation with first rather than you. After all, you usually expect it’ll be your daughter who brings home a boyfriend, rather than your son.”

There it was, out in the open. Suddenly, I found the pattern on the kitchen table to be extremely interesting.

“We want you to know that we don’t in any way believe there’s anything wrong with homosexuality,” Dad continued. “We’re Orthodox because we believe strongly in Jewish traditions, but science overwhelmingly supports that being gay isn’t a choice… please, look at me, Danny.”

Finally, looking up at my father’s face, I saw nothing but concern, and compassion as he continued, “You didn’t choose to be gay, Danny. No matter what they may teach at Yeshiva, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay. You were born that way, and your being gay doesn’t change how your mother or I feel about you in any way. We love you no less, and we will love the man you eventually commit yourself to, no less than if you had married a woman.”

I’d always thought my parents would be OK with my sexuality, but this was as good as anything I could have hoped for.

“Of course I don’t need to tell you that David’s parents and particularly his father won’t see things that way at all,” Dad went on to say, “and you’ll have to do a much better job of hiding your relationship from them than you have with us. All of your brothers and sisters know about it, Danny. They all do.”

“I knew that Izzy did,” I admitted.

“They’ve all talked to us about it recently,” Mom chimed in, “and we’ve explained how important it is for them not to discuss it with anyone else. They all love and respect you, Danny, and they’d never do anything intentionally to hurt you. We’ve made certain they do understand that being gay isn’t a choice… that it’s just a part of who you are, but that others might not see it that way, particularly those in the more extreme elements of the Orthodoxy.”

“You have made things a bit more difficult for us with your invitation for David to help with the painting, however, Danny,” Dad added. “I imagine you were expecting him to stay in your room with you.”

Actually I had been, but now that my parents knew the score, I could understand how that might not be something they’d condone. They certainly wouldn’t let me have a girlfriend stay in my room, nor would they let a boyfriend stay with Sarah. Shit, I really had opened up a can of worms.

“Ordinarily, we’d suggest he stay in the guest room,” Dad continued, “but because we’ll be painting, we’re going to be shy one bedroom at all times, so we’ll need the guest room until we paint it, too. In other words, we can’t spare the guest room for David. We could split you boys up and have David room with one of your brothers and one of your brothers room with you, but that seems kind of silly, doesn’t it? David isn’t just your boyfriend… he’s also your best friend, and you’ll find a way to sneak some time together if I try to keep you apart.

“I think I’m coming to appreciate that a boy-boy relationship is a little different than a boy-girl relationship. You do, after all, have the same equipment…”

“Dad,” I interrupted, “Mom’s here.”

“And I’ll remind you that she used to change your diapers, but I guess I see your point,” Dad admitted. Looking at Mom, he said, “Rhea, I need to talk to Danny, man-to-man.”

After Mom had left the room smiling, Dad asked, “Danny, I want an honest answer from you. Have you and David had sex?”

I know I must have colored up red when Dad asked that. He could always tell when I was lying, and I wasn’t about to lie now. “I could try to say it wasn’t real sex, Dad, but we both got off, so I guess it was. I just… I can’t talk about this, you know?”

“Believe it or not, son, I was once a teenager, too. No, I wasn’t gay, but I do know what it was like to be horny all the time, and to be in love. I understand that you’re in love with David, and that it’s natural to want to have sex with him. Naturally as a parent, I think you’re too young, but I remember being sixteen once and wanting more than anything to get laid, so I can’t fault you for being human. As a parent and a doctor, my number one concern is that you be safe. At least I don’t need to worry about either of you getting pregnant, but I worry sick about you getting HIV or an STD.”

“But Dad,” I cried out, “we were both virgins before we met!”

“And I know you’d like to think you’ll be true to each other, and I can’t tell you how many CT scans and MRIs I’ve read from kids who thought their boyfriends were true to them, and yet they ended up with toxoplasmosis, or lymphoma, or PML, or any of a number of brain lesions that are characteristic of AIDS. We all are capable of making mistakes, Danny, and I’m not willing to let you be one of David’s mistakes, even an unintentional one.”

“But he’d never do that to me!” I practically shouted.

“Nor would you to him,” Dad said, “but things can happen. You’re both young and still learning, and growing, and subject to much stronger urges than most adults have to face. That’s why I’m willing to give you a lot of latitude on this, and to trust you if you’ll promise me you’ll always be safe. I won’t tell you what you can and can’t do if you’ll just promise me that you’ll always use protection. I just need to be sure you always know when you need to use protection.

“I’m not sure I want to know the particulars of what you do, Danny, but for your safety, I need to know what you’ve done so far. Have you, ah… had oral sex?”

I know I colored up completely with that, but I sheepishly admitted, “No, we haven’t gone that far. We’ve done little more than make out and… God… this is sooo embarrassing… feel each other up.”

“Did you engage in frottage?” Dad asked.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“That’s where you hump against each other until you experience an orgasm,” he explained.

“That’s exactly what we’ve done so far… and nothing more,” I replied.

“Frottage and mutual masturbation… what you’d probably call jerking each other off… are perfectly safe as long as you don’t have any open cuts or abrasions,” Dad added. “I’d like to think you’ll stick to that for now. Not that this is a green light for you to have sex, but not much can happen to you from these things.

“Now Danny,” Dad asked, “what do you think about the safety of oral sex? I know a lot of kids today think it’s safe to have oral sex, but what do you think?”

“Well,” I said, “I know it’s dangerous if you have an open sore in your mouth, you can get HIV from that, ’cause sperm contains HIV, obviously, and I’ve heard that swallowing increases the risk of contracting HIV, but I think if you don’t swallow, it’s safe,” I said.

“That’s not far from the truth, Danny, but the problem is that you don’t always know when you have a co-infection in your mouth, such as a small abscess next to a cavity in a tooth, that leaves you vulnerable to HIV. And even swallowing a small amount of semen can result in infection, so although it’s low-risk, it’s not ‘no-risk’. But the thing of it is that there are other STDs besides HIV that are contracted through oral sex, some of them nearly as serious, some of which can even be fatal.

“The bottom line is that if there’s an exchange of body fluids, you need to use a protective device such as a condom or a dental dam.”

“A dental dam?” I asked.

“A dental dam is like a condom, but goes inside the mouth and is designed just for oral sex. It has the advantage of being able to be used for other things gay men do, such as rimming.”

“Rimming?” I asked with a high-pitched, embarrassing squeak.

Laughing, Dad said, “If you have to ask what it is, you’re definitely not ready to do it. Actually, I have some pamphlets on all this stuff. Will you promise to read them if I give them to you, and if I keep a drawer in your bedroom stocked with condoms and lubricant, will you promise always to use them?” Dad asked.

“But God, that means you’ll know…”

“What if I just restock it every month and throw out whatever’s in there without looking at what’s left. Would that meet with your approval? At least that way I’ll know you have what you need, but it’ll still be on the honor system, and you won’t have to suffer the embarrassment of buying the stuff yourself… at least not until you’re ready,” Dad suggested.

“That’ll work,” I said, “but believe me, I think it’ll be quite a while before David and I are ready for anything like that… just so you know.”

“And that’s fine with me,” Dad answered, “in which case, a lot of perfectly good condoms are going to get thrown out, but better that than you not having them when you need them.”

Suddenly, for no good reason, I burst into tears. I didn’t know why - it just happened. I guess all the emotions of coming out and my Dad’s understanding - doing all of this for me - had just caught up with me. When Dad saw this, he shot around the table in a flash and engulfed me in his arms. When the tears finally subsided, I gave my father a smile and said, “Thanks, Dad. I love you.”

“I love you, too, Danny… and I’m very proud of you son.”


“It’s too bad we can’t just paint right through Shabbos,” my boyfriend said as he carefully painted the east window frame in my parents’ bedroom.

“You know I’m all for skipping the observance in favor of getting the job done,” I agreed, “but look at it this way… the longer the job’s drawn out, the more time we have to spend together,” I said as I looked over my bare shoulder and smiled at David. God, he looked hot, dressed only in a skimpy pair of shorts and a painter’s cap. There was a smudge of paint just over his left nipple and one on his right cheek that made him look incredibly cute.

“True that, and that’s reason enough to be glad your folks are observant,” he said with his trademark grin.

Working together, the two of us were actually making excellent progress on the master bedroom. We’d completed all the prep-work the previous day and had finished painting the ceiling. We were nearly finished painting the trim, including that in my parents’ bathroom and walk-in closets. All that was left to do was to paint the walls and the doors, and once everything was dry, to re-hang all the artwork and pictures on the walls and move the furniture back in place. Of course we’d also have to put all my parents’ clothes back in the closets, but it was getting late and pretty soon we’d have to stop for Shabbat.

As if she’d been reading my mind, Mom called up to us from downstairs, “BOYS!”

“Yeah Mom?” I yelled back.

“You’d better stop and start cleaning up!” she called out. “Pretty soon, it’ll be time for Shabbat.”

“Sure thing!” I shouted back down.

“How long to finish that window?” I asked David.

Shrugging his shoulders, he said, “’Bout five minutes.”

“Same for me with this one,” I told him. “Let’s make quick work of these before we call it quits. OK?”

“Zounds good,” he quickly agreed.

“You make such a good slave,” I said, teasingly.

“Oh I do, do I?” he replied. “Well, we’ll see who’s the slave tonight,” he said rather suggestively.

“Tonight, on Shabbat?” I asked with incredulity.

“You should know by now that with me, nothing is sacred,” as he wiggled his eyebrows.

God I loved him.

Minutes later, we were both standing side-by-side at the bathroom sink, cleaning our brushes as we bumped shoulders with each other. He was so sexy, I couldn’t stand it - I even found his increasingly apparent facial hair to be a real turn-on. His torso was surprisingly well-developed, probably from years of balancing on a skateboard, and his arms and shoulders positively muscular. And when he smiled at me, it made my heart melt.

I was already hard as a rock, when David suggested, “I think we’d better shower together. That way, we can make sure we don’t miss any paint we may have gotten on ourselves.”

That sure got my attention. “And I’m sure that’s the only reason you want to shower together, perv,” I laughed, “but I certainly agree, it is the practical thing to do.”

“Of course it is,” he giggled.

Well, we certainly did get clean, although the parts that got the most attention in the shower hadn’t even been exposed while we were painting. We sure had fun familiarizing ourselves with each other’s body, though.

Whereas what we did in the shower was largely a matter of playing around, the mood turned serious once we returned from services and the Oneg Shabbat later that night. Once we said our goodnights and closed my bedroom door and it was just the two of us, particularly after what David had said earlier in the afternoon, I somehow knew we were at a major crossroads. David and I were perfectly happy with things as they were, but we could be happier still by taking things to another level. Once we did so, however, there would be no going back. Either way, the decision would have to be a mutual one, and I was scared we’d think with the wrong heads when it came to making it.

“You are so fucking amazing, Danny,” David began. “The more I get to know you, you have a depth that none of my other friends have. My friends are content to spend their lives studying scripture. They feel they are doing God’s work, and they’ll get married, right out of Yeshiva, have humongoid families, live on welfare, and collect food stamps. They feel society owes them that ’cause of God’s commandment to provide tzdakah… to provide charity… like it’s their due or something.

“Don’t get me wrong… I have nothing against people who go to university to study and then teach theology, or against those who go into the rabbinate… those are people who give back to society, but so many of the Lubavitchers are content to sit around all day and do nothing but read and debate religious law without actually contributing anything to society. Tzdakah should mean going out and asking for charity… not getting a free pass. My friends are pathetic.

“’Course my father would love nothing more than for me to become a rabbi, just like he is, but I’m not interested in religion at all. I’m not sure what I want to do, frankly. I like music, math and science, but whatever I do, I intend to make something of my life. I sense that in you, too, Danny. I sense that you’re gonna make something of your life. You’re so fucking amazing.”

“The feeling’s mutual, David,” I replied, “which is one of the reasons I love you so much.” Then before he could say anything more, I covered his mouth with mine. As we kissed, I ran my hands through his silky red curls. I could never get over how soft they were. Even his scant facial hair, barely visible as it was, was as soft as the finest mink.

Coming up for air, David suggested with a sly smile, “We really should take these clothes off. We wouldn’t want them to get messed up before services tomorrow, now, would we?”

“You’re right,” I coyly agreed. “We certainly wouldn’t want that to happen.”

It probably took twice as long as it should have as we tried to help each other get undressed, but we were soon standing naked, our throbbing members dueling for position with each other. Pulling David to me, I absolutely loved the feel of his smooth skin against mine, but the feeling was more than a sexual one. Sure, we were teenagers with raging hormones, and we were filled with lust, but I loved David more than anything. He was such a deep, sensitive boy who embodied everything I admired.

Yes, we had our differences, and in many ways, David complemented me. In spite of his scientific approach to life, David was still a believer, whereas I was an atheist. We helped ground each other in slightly different realities and that, I felt, was a good thing. More than anything, we loved each other more than life itself. No, this wasn’t teenage lust. I might be just sixteen, but I was completely convinced that David was going to be my partner for life. Perhaps someday we’d go to Connecticut and get married, or even get married in New York if it was legal by then.

The passion we felt that night was unrivaled as we made our way to my bed and slipped under the covers. Making out with my boyfriend was wonderful, but tongues sliding against tongues soon became nibbling of lips, our ears, our necks and our nipples. It was when I had my face on David’s chest and was teasing his right nipple with my tongue while I gently kneaded his balls with my left hand, that I noticed how I was, literally, eye-to-eye with his glans.

Just the instant before, I had been content to do nothing more than make love the way we had been in the past, but in that instant, I had an overwhelming urge to taste David. He was right there, and for an instant, my little head got the better of me and I scooted down and licked his precum up with my tongue. I knew I was breaking a promise to my father when I did it, but I trusted David implicitly and, at the time, I wanted nothing more than to find out what he tasted like. Actually, it didn’t taste like much of anything, but because it was a part of David, it excited me no end.

For his part, David flinched when I made contact, then he whispered, “I can’t believe you did that.”

“Did you like it?” I asked, somewhat tentatively.

“Hell yeah, I liked it,” he answered. “It was just too short,” he said with an evil grin.

That was all the encouragement I needed, and I scooted down further in bed and tried going down on him all the way, but quickly discovered my gag reflex, and that I had back teeth, and with only a few times of bobbing up and down, my neck muscles quickly tired. Damn; what seemed so simple in principle was actually hard - no pun intended. David was sure appreciative, though, and I quickly learned that he enjoyed being licked all around the balls and perineum, which I enjoyed doing almost as much as sucking him. Eventually, we learned together how to get into a rhythm, and before long he was warning me he was about to cum.

Now I had a dilemma. I’d promised Dad I’d always use a condom, but in our passion, I’d neglected to use one on this, our first time. Swallowing David’s semen was somewhat higher risk, but I knew David was a virgin, and I absolutely trusted him. He was going to be my mate for life, and there was no reason not to swallow as far as I was concerned, and so I held on for dear life as the first volley of his semen hit the back of my throat.

I gagged on it at first, and there was no way around it - it was slimy - and I guess it’s an acquired taste.

Once he finally recovered, David whispered, “That was fucking unbelievable. Fucking unbelievable. We’ve gotta do that again… and again and again! But Danny, you promised your father you’d use a condom,” he added.

“Yeah, I know,” I sheepishly admitted, “but I know you’re a virgin, and I trust you.”

“I appreciate that, Danny,” David said with a grin, “but for all you know, maybe I fooled around and never told you.”

When a look of panic spread across my face, David quickly added, “Don’t worry, I didn’t, and I would have told you if I had. The bottom line, Danny, is you made a promise to your father and you just broke that promise, and I’m a little disappointed in you for that.”

David was right. I did make a promise to Dad and in the heat of our passion, I’d neglected that promise. Now, I felt guilty. Now, I felt remorse.

Continuing, David said, “Now that I know how totally fucking awesome it feels to get a blowjob, I’m gonna give you one, but I’m gonna make sure you wear a condom, ’cause I’m not gonna be responsible for breaking your promise to your dad.”

David was right - as incredible as it was to give a blowjob, it was totally fucking awesome to get one. I’m sure everyone in the family knew we’d had quite a night by the time we struggled into schule the following morning. I just hoped none of my friends knew, but at least I’d be leaving them all behind before the summer was out, so I wasn’t all that concerned about accidentally outing myself, anyway.

The one thing I wasn’t expecting was for our rabbi to approach me after services. “Danny,” he said, “I’ve watched you grow up from the time you were barely three feet tall, and you’ve become a fine young man. Soon, I hear, you will be leaving us…”

“Unfortunately so, rabbi,” I acknowledged.

“You’re at a very impressionable age, Danny,” he went on to say, “and I see you’ve already made a good friend in New York, but friendships are a funny thing. A lot of boys your age become… confused by their feelings. It’s perfectly normal for boys to develop a close bond of friendship… maybe even something one might call love… but some boys may confuse these intense feelings with something even more. They may even think it’s equivalent to the bond that forms between a boy and a girl.”

Oh, I didn’t like where this was going. I didn’t like it at all. What the hell business of the rabbi’s was my sexuality, anyway? Who did he think he was to take me away from my parents and discuss this? Oh, I was gay all right, but that was none of his fucking business. He had no right to meddle in my affairs!

Turning abruptly to the rabbi, I said, “Rabbi, you don’t need to worry about me. My parents and I have already discussed this. Believe me, I know the difference between being gay and being straight. I know the difference between a close friendship and true love. I would never mistake one for the other,” I assured him. “My parents and I have discussed all of this at length and I am not confused…”

“I just wouldn’t want to see you go down the wrong path, Danny,” the rabbi interrupted.

“Trust me, rabbi,” I responded, “I’m on the right path for me.” And with that, I walked away. I didn’t discuss my conversation with the rabbi with anyone else.

The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of David of Hope in editing this story and Low Flyer in proofreading it, as well as the support of Gay Authors, Awesome Dude and Nifty for hosting it. I would also like to thank Rigel for correcting some of my errors with respect to traditional Orthodox Judaism. This story was written as part of the Gay Authors 2009 Novella Writing Contest.

Disclaimer: This story is fictional and any resemblance of characters to real individuals is purely coincidental and unintended. Although a number of the locations, businesses, institutions and residences described in the story are real, the author in no way implies the actual behavior of the owners, managers or other individuals at these establishments. Some of the characters in the story may discuss or engage in homosexual acts, some of whom are underage. Obviously, anyone uncomfortable with this should not be reading the story, and the reader assumes responsibility for the legality of reading this type of story where they live. Opinions expressed in the story are those of the characters and they do not necessarily reflect those of the author, nor of the hosting website. The author retains full copyright, and permission must be obtained prior to duplication of this story in any form.