The Garden











In the last four years I had been working hard to make my life simple and clean especially amongst the confusion and grit of New York City, before that I was just trying to figure out who the hell I was.


I knew by the time I was seven years old I was gay.  Although I didn’t actually understand what that meant until I had sex education classes in junior high.  I was devastated at that time by the implications of what being gay would have on my life.  All of my thoughts and dreams about my future were tossed into a state of confusion.  It was going to be nothing like what was portrayed to me on the TV.  The world had lied to me; what was I going to do for a family of my own?


The first couple of years of high school were the toughest.  I think they are tough on anyone:  going through puberty, becoming independent and dealing with the whole social structure crap that was high school and how to become part of it.  Emotionally I felt on the outside of it all.  Any hope of expressing the fact that I wanted to have sex with another guy was stuffed.  There were just too many social taboos to overcome and I was too chickenshit at the time to stand up for myself.  I never knew anyone else who felt like I did then.  I know now that they were just as chickenshit as I was.   I also had no idea how to tell my family either.


I’m the middle child of an eighth generation German-American family of five kids. Well an American family with German ancestry would be more accurate. I had two older brothers and two younger sisters who surrounded me.  I began to tell myself that I was halfway in-between!  Our parents were loving and supportive and didn’t push any of us to be anything we did not want to be yet encouraged us to be more than we thought we could. 


My dad was a quiet, rational, extremely intelligent, straightforward and honest man who hardly expressed his emotions or feelings.  It was through his humor that you knew what was going on in his soul.  He owned a construction company, more precisely, an excavation company.  One of my earliest memories was going to watch all of his huge earth moving equipment transform acres of farmland into the runways of Princeton Airport.  It taught me that it was possible to build amazing things from a series of simple tasks.  Not much later, at another job, I had my first remembered life changing shiver as I stood in the shell of a soon-to-be office building; I realized that being an architect was something that you could do with your life.


My mom was always there for all of us, Dad, kids, neighbors, dogs, cats; it didn’t matter.  She was there with all of her feelings and energy for whoever was in need.   She filled the house with fun, laughter, music, food and talk to bind us together; determined to make us all happy and “normal”.


 Although our family discussed most matters of life openly and with a great deal of pragmatism, the subjects of emotions and sex were generally avoided. So my options for relating my thoughts and questions about my most inner feelings were almost nil at that point in my life. My biggest outlet was my beagle, Joker and the plants that lived in my first Garden. I took over the care of the flowerbed that faced the kitchen windows the spring I understood what being gay meant to my life. I found solace in nurturing plants. My mother and grandfather taught me the basics and they spent many a day helping me.  My grandfather was so proud of the way I cared for an English Yellow rose bush that he had helped his father plant more than sixty years before.   They became the world that I lived in and my family.  Joker always sat or lay near me as I worked.  I talked to the plants and my beagle about all of my hopes, dreams, joys, troubles and sorrows. They both were damn good listeners, provided lots of attention and comfort but weren’t any good for advice.  Still, I don’t think I would have survived without them.


It wasn’t until the end of my freshmen year of high school that I began to get tight with a small group of friends. These were all people I hadn’t known in grammar school.  One, Kevin, went to the local Catholic school before coming to the public High School. The two others, Ed and Egil, had gone to the other neighborhood grammar schools in town.  We were all bright, independent, and rebellious in some form or fashion.  Kevin was out to push the envelope of the accepted, whether it was his hair, his clothes, or his humor.  Ed wanted to experience everything at least once and was a fountain of acceptance for all people and behaviors. Egil was the most cerebral.  Our conversations saved my life.  He always wondered “what if” and was always being the devil’s advocate.  He continually made us think of all of the alternatives before deciding what we really believed.  As for me, my contributions came into play when we all needed to turn something into reality.  I could always come up with the plan of action to get whatever idea we hatched done with the materials at hand and with whatever money we could scrounge together.  The greatest gift we got was our shared experience.


I never brought up my homosexuality with them then.  It was a subject we discussed in general from time to time, but from our talks and their actions I figured they were straight.  I had no experience at it, just feelings and dreams, so I couldn’t speak with any certainty.  I really wanted some experience but I figured being patient and having friends was more fun at that point in my life.   I figured being Pete Langer and enjoying my life was a hell of a lot better than being “Pete the Fag!”  It bothered me at times that I wasn’t being honest to my friends or myself.  Yet, in retrospect it was probably the better decision.  My friends were still there when I did come out to them during college and have continued to be my friends.


I left the small New Jersey town of my youth and ran away to go to college. Well, I considered it my way of running away from home.  So, I was being chickenshit again!   I chose Tulane in New Orleans for two reasons.  One; they had a school of Architecture and two; it was far enough away so that my parents wouldn’t show up for a weekend visit!  Ever since having that shiver as a five-year-old I had planned to be an architect, now began the first major step towards that goal.


Then I got so involved in school and learning about architecture that I forgot all about being gay, except when I got horny, which was every morning before class, every evening and sometimes during class too.  Pursuing it didn’t seem to be a good option, I knew there were other gay students and I knew who some of them were, which was reassuring to me, but I still kept to myself.   Yet there were forays into the world of sex.  I was too curious and too horny to stay celibate, so on occasion I acted upon it.  It was sex, spicy, hot and delicious like the food down there!


My first time ever was with a kid down the hall in the dorm.  His name was Derek.  He was a bit of a goofy character but had a body that would have rivaled any gymnast.  He had smooth soft skin, sandy white in color, which stretched over an almost unbelievably crisp set of muscles.  He had no tan lines at all; I never knew him to go out in the sun.  I never even knew how he maintained his incredible physique.  The only reason I knew him was because he lived down the hall and I would see him most often in the bathroom. 


About twenty-five rooms on our floor shared a large bath.  An almost constant stream of people flowed through as they took care of their needs at whatever hour of the night or day. Of course there were always busy times before the morning classes and late in the afternoon toward evening but invariably there was always someone coming through the door at the oddest hours. Derek was one of those people whom you could find shaving at 4 am on a Friday night as he sang softly to himself.  I think he made up his own songs because I could never recognize a single thing he ever sang; some of them were hauntingly beautiful. 


It was the middle of the night and I got up to relieve a painful piss hard-on.  Wrapping a small red towel around my waist I headed down the hall.  I pushed the door open and stood along the row of urinals. Finding the room empty, I flung the towel over my shoulder and just let it go with a loud sigh.  I closed my eyes trying not to become any more awake than I had to. I never heard the whoosh of the door opening but I felt the breeze of someone moving up next to me.  Cracking open an eye, I looked to the side to see Derek standing there naked, with a hard-on, beginning to pee. He hadn’t even grabbed a towel to come down the hall. 

He smiled at me and said, “Hi, Pete.”

Then he looked down and stared at my cock.  I couldn’t help but stare at his too.  I had seen it quite a few times before as he certainly wasn’t shy about his body, but I had never seen it hard.  It complemented the rest of him. It was perfectly proportioned with a set of balls that hung down low in balance of the whole package.   Any hardness that I had begun to lose because of pissing came right back as I continued to stare.   As I finished I looked up at his face.  He was already staring at me.  A tight grin crossed his face.  He winked and then reached over and grabbed my dick.  As he began to stroke it, my knees grew weak and my legs started to shake.  He turned to face me and turned me to face him.  His hand reached around to support me.  Even as my mind spun with disbelief that reality was finally supplanting fantasy I became involved.  My arms reached around to the small of his back and I pulled him to me.

Mmmmmm, cool,” was his response.  

Our necks intertwined and he began to tickle my ear lobe with the tip of his tongue.  My eyes were now as wide open as possible; all of my senses were as heightened as they had ever been.  I could feel his pubic hair pressed lightly on my hips and tightly across my dick and felt the wet warmth of his breath on my neck, hear and feel his heartbeat.  The hum of the fluorescent lights resounded around the tiled walls and floors.  I could feel the coolness of the matrix of gray and green tiles against my feet.  It was the only thing grounding me at the moment.  Our hands began to caress and explore in ever widening circles. Our lips slowly moved towards each other and became locked in a passionate kiss.   I closed my eyes and relaxed into the heat of this sensual pleasure.  All the dreams, the instincts and intuition of sex that my body and mind possessed blossomed that morning.  We broke from our kiss when I felt a shiver run through my body.  Derek sensed it too.  He looked me in the eyes and nodded towards the showers.  We moved to the furthest stall, next to the windows. We turned on the water but didn’t enter.   Derek got down on his knees and took me into his mouth.  I felt like the top of my head was blown off by the exquisite feelings coming from my hips.   This was so much more than I had ever imagined.  It wasn’t long before I erupted down his throat.  I had given him fair warning but that just encouraged him.  I fell back against the stall trying to regain my breath.  Derek stood up and kissed me, flooding my mouth with my own juice.  I was completely taken aback and then turned on even more.  I pushed him against the other side of the stall and began kissing him on his cheek, then down his neck, to the junction of his collarbones and across his chest.  I circled my tongue around each of his nipples, gently nibbling the ends before kissing them goodbye as I continued my journey. I was off to the soft skin of his belly, the kisses tickling him, causing his six-pack to twitch.  I stuck my tongue into his belly button causing him to burst out into laughter.  He grabbed my head with both hands and gently forced me to move on.  I followed the soft flowing blond hairs down to his bush and inhaled.  Oh how that smell sent me into an altered state.  I drew back my head and focused on his cock and balls, photographing that image into my mind for the rest of my life.  Then I rested my nose on the end of his cock head and breathed slowly.  I then opened my mouth and plunged his shaft as far down my throat as possible, gagging myself.  Soon the rhythm and pleasures of sucking cock consumed me.   I was enthralled by what I was doing.  I would only stop to slither my tongue down his shaft to his balls and cradle them on my tongue in my mouth, all the time caressing his firm dimpled butt in my hands.  My hands began to explore the crack between them and my fingers found his soft velvety hole.  As I circled my middle finger around it Derek’s legs began to shake and his knees weakened.  My mouth surrounded his cock once again and as soon as I placed a bit of pressure on his hole he exploded into my mouth.  I desperately tried to keep up with swallowing the volleys of semen flooding my throat.  I could feel it begin to dribble down my chin.  I kept him in my mouth until he began to soften. Then he lifted me up by the armpits and kissed me.


We finally moved under the shower and let the water fall down our bodies as we stayed in our embrace.  Derek picked up the soap and gently started lathering my back and moving down to my ass.  I took the soap from him and followed his lead.  Soon we were one white foamy mass of bubbles.  It wasn’t long until we were both hard again.  Derek began to stroke my dick as he ran his hand up and down the crack of his ass.  He slowly turned around and cocked one leg.  He guided me into him.  It took all of my control not to plunge into him too quickly.  He inhaled strongly as I became fully engulfed inside of him.  We were pressed up against the stall wall as the warm water cascaded down my back.  I slowly began to stroke in and out of him.  My pace quickened over time.  My thrusting became harder. My balls began to slap against his cheeks.  Our moans got louder.  We both came in a crescendo of motion and sound.  We fell back into the corner of the stall and the water flooded down our rosy cheeked faces.  I softened inside of him.  Our breathing slowed to normal.  Derek pulled away and turned. We kissed and held each other in our arms, our necks intertwined. 


Reality began to return.  We smiled and started to shower and clean up.  We laughed at trying to share that one little towel I had brought.   The sky was beginning to brighten when we headed for the door.    BANG, the bath door opened in front of us, a half-asleep soul staggered in to take a piss.  He didn’t even notice that we were both naked as we went out the door, the towel flung over my shoulder.   We didn’t care if he did.  Walking down the hall we said goodnight to each other with a quick peck of a kiss before we went into our separate rooms and back into our separate lives.


Our experience was never repeated.  We never spoke about it.  We never even became friends.  We would see each other in the hall and say hello with a smile and a wink.  We would have an occasional chat about nothing at best.  I would always get hard whenever I saw him in the showers, but after our freshman year on that hall I never saw him again. 


Slowly, I began to meet people who would become my friends.  Some are still friends to this day.  I built a social structure around myself, somewhat quiet and reserved as college kids go, but we still raised hell now and again.  It’s natural in New Orleans.  I had a core group of friends inside of architecture school and had another outside of architecture.  It was schizophrenic in the way that I had two sets of friends that rarely mixed. Yet it says something about those who involve themselves in architecture that the outside world only wants to take them in small doses.  My outside friends’ eyes would glaze over anytime I got going on the subject.  So this two-tiered system of friends worked for me.  I could openly discuss the fine intricacies of architectural theory and practice with one set of friends yet still have fun and be able enjoy the typical aspects of college life.  I did the same with the other set too, just minus the talk of architecture.   The only thing consistent in either set was having fun and dating, and I just didn’t date at all.  The majority of my friends were straight and dating was a part of their life.  I got quizzed about it here and there but I avoided the obvious answer.   I still wasn’t ready to come out. I hated to act like that and I guess they wondered but as long as we all had fun and enjoyed one another’s company everybody’s idiosyncrasies were accepted. 


The five years of school were an evolution of my life.  I went from a somewhat reserved, nerdy and confused teen to a somewhat reserved but well adjusted, fun loving gay man.  It all fell into place and I truly became comfortable with myself once I did come out because all of my pent up desire to be honest with the world came out too.


It was in the spring term of my fourth year of school.  The majority of friends, those who weren’t in architecture, would be graduating in a couple of months.  Mid terms had just ended, Mardi Gras had already been substituted for our spring break and we were all chomping at the bit to cut loose.  My best friend and roommate, Steve, in his nonchalant wisdom, declared that the two of us were going to have a party.  We were always the ones who were invited to other people’s parties.

“We have just never thrown one ourselves and we must,” he declared to me through the bathroom door one morning and we had to “rectify this deficiency before graduation.” 

I got this garbled reasoning about “karma and the energy of the…” something or other from the far side of the door. Yet, I whole-heartedly agreed and we soon set about the task of planning what he called “our shindig.”


It wasn’t going to be an extravagant affair but it was to have lots of all the necessary items: multiple cases of beer, three 50 pound sacks of crawfish with all the corn, small red potatoes and spice bags needed for a proper boil, snacks and munchies, prepared and store bought, soda, music, the gate to the neighbor’s pool left open with their permission, lots of places to sit and lie out and best of all granted to us by the gods was beautiful warm sunny weather.   I invited both sets of my friends, Steve invited his, and we told everyone to bring anyone else they wanted.


It started at noon and would run until we all gave out.  People began to arrive soon after twelve and it didn’t take long before the party was in full swing and the engine of fun was humming along on the fuel of sun, water, laughter and beer.  I was amazed at how well my two sets of friends got along.  I guess when we didn’t talk about architecture we were somewhat normal.  Bill, one of my best non-architecture friends, brought Dan, his high school best friend who was visiting from Houston.  Dan was tall, at least six foot four with dark brown wavy hair, deep blue eyes, a long aquiline nose, and was incredibly handsome.  He had the build of a basketball player, lanky with strong shoulders and arms.  He also had the a wonderful sense of humor with a wicked twist toward the ironic.  He and I hit it off from the first moment we met. I had one of my shivers when I first saw him standing at my back door.   All day long we would share a smile if we caught the other’s eye.  We found some time to chat and Dan would continually pop up to help me out in the chores of keeping the party up and running.   Dan was a tremendous help to Steve and me when it came time to get the crawfish boil going.

 Finally, Steve said, “Pete, why don’t you go relax for I while.  I’ve got this under control.”

 I was still busy trying to plan everything out so that it would run smoothly.  I told him that it was OK; I was having a great time. 

He looked at me and said, “Bullshit, you haven’t even been in the pool yet!”  

Before I could react Dan said to Steve, “I’ll help you with that,” at which point he picked me up, one arm under my knees, one arm under my back and marched across the back yard, through the gate, continually gaining speed the whole way, and then leapt into the pool.  

We came to the surface a tangled mass of arms and legs laughing as hard as we could.  I still had my beer in my hand, now slightly fuller than when I went in.  I lifted it over Dan’s head and began to pour.  He opened his mouth and swallowed it all.   I tossed the empty can to the side and we spent the next 45 minutes enjoying ourselves and fooling around with the rest of the gang in the pool.


People started to filter away as it began to get dark.  Too much sun, or food, or drink, or fun, or combination thereof contributed to the decline to about fifteen people from a high of over fifty.  This core group was definitely in the mood to continue for the long haul.  We all knew that the occurrences of times like this, part of those carefree days between childhood and adulthood that are called “your college years,” were coming to an end.  We were trying to get them to last forever. 


By midnight, we were all on our way to being seriously drunk, silly and sloppy.  There were twelve of us left.  I forbade anyone to drive home at that point.  I told them Steve and I would find room for all to crash.  Everybody agreed and the party went on, laughing all the way.   By two, more than half had passed out on the couches and the lounges we had brought inside.  Steve had staggered off to bed too.  The five who were left awake sat in between the bodies strewn around the living room and continued a drunken banter.  With sitting space at a premium Dan had ended up squeezed in with me in a big old La-Z-Boy that Steve’s father had given us, his arm was over my shoulder.  I could hear the ticking of his watch in my ear, the sound was comforting.  I felt in absolute heaven, a drunken one, but heaven nonetheless.  Here I was snuggled in with this handsome man. His best friend and one of my best friends, who I knew was straight, sat across from us and wasn’t saying a damn thing about it.  It seemed natural to all including Dan and me and I was thrilled.  I hadn’t really considered if Dan was gay.  I had thought about it, but had not obsessed about it at all when out of the blue, while I was commenting to him about something; he looked me in the eyes and kissed me on the lips in front of everyone.  Without thinking, I kissed him back with passion, which he returned. My chest tightened into a knot over what I had just done in front of a group of my friends. 

Bill, in his drunken wisdom, said with a smile, “I think we should all hit the sack so we can let these love birds go to bed.”  Then he staggered over to us and slurred, “It’s OK. It’s cool.  I care, but not in a negative way.”   He kissed us on the forehead and looked at his best friend; “I will love you always.”  The two of us had come out at the same time without ever intending to!


I put my arms around Dan’s neck and kissed him again. 

His eyes filled with tears and he said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to out you.  I didn’t intend to out myself either, but I’ve been wanting to tell Bill for I don’t know how long.”  

“It’s OK, I outed myself when I kissed you back…. and I hadn’t intended it either.  Come on, love bird, let’s go to bed.” 

And with that, we both, with difficulty, extracted ourselves from the recliner.  We almost tipped it over, twice.  I grabbed his hand and we walked off smiling and swaying down the hall to my room.  We shut the door, got naked and had the best sex two drunks could have. 


In the morning, I awoke snuggled up to this big handsome man who was stuck to me.  I was trying slowly, and without pain, to pull us apart but any movement was painful with the hangover I had.  All of a sudden, the door began to creep open and in popped Steve’s head.  His eyes doubled in size and I just smiled as he saw these two intertwined naked bodies sprawled in front of him.  Like a Jack-in-the-Box in reverse his head disappeared, the door closed and I could hear him hum to himself down the hall.   All I could do was laugh which woke up Dan, which made him pull back to see what was going on, which made us both cringe and scream “Ouch” as we became unstuck.  We both collapsed into a heap, laughing and moaning over our aching heads.


I pulled Dan’s bathing suit up his legs and then he finished the job.  Then I got my own on. 

“Come on, a quick dip is what we need at the moment.”   

What started as a slow walk became a run by the time we were at the backdoor.  We pushed, shoved and screamed with laughter trying to be first out of the door.  We bounded across the yard squeezing through the gate at a full gallop and flew into the pool hand in hand.  For the first time in my life I was in love.  We wrestled, played, and made enough noise so that it wasn’t more than fifteen minutes before the rest of the crew had at least made their way to poolside if not joining us in the chaos.


I got a chance to speak to Steve alone about a half an hour later as we made another pot of coffee.  

I just put it bluntly to him, “I’m gay, Steve.” 

“I sort of figured that.  I had wondered a few times.” 

“I hope you are OK with it.  I really am the same Pete, because I’ve always been gay.” 

“It’s cool.  It really is. I just wonder why you didn’t come out sooner.  We have a few gay friends.”  

“I don’t know.  I guess the timing or the reason to just wasn’t right. And I didn’t intend to last night, and Dan hadn’t planned to come out either.” 

“I know, I went to Bill and woke him up after I looked in your room.  He had to think for a moment whether it was all real last night or just a dream.  We both had to laugh.  You know it really is pretty funny.”  

“I know that’s why I smiled when you looked in the room.  The expression on your face was hilarious, and I’m very happy that it’s finally happened.  The load off my soul is tremendous.”  

We looked at one another and hugged.  Steve had always been a great and giving friend to me.  He’s the only one I had ever considered for a roommate. To share this with him made it mean that much more to me. 

“Oh, and one other thing Steve.” 


“I think I’ve also fallen in love.”


We all spent the morning cleaning up the carnage of beer cans, crawfish tails and cigarette butts. By early afternoon it was just Steve, Bill, Dan and I.  Bill and Dan had their long talk while raking the backyard.  I think they were closer than ever now.  Dan asked me what I was going to be doing the rest of the weekend.  He was going back to Houston on Monday afternoon.   I told him that I would like to spend the rest of my life with him, not just the weekend.

Dan smiled and said, “That’s what I was thinking too.”  

With that Bill said he would call later and we would all go to dinner.  At that moment, Dan and I became partners, no matter how naïve the decision truly was.