Thursday, February 26, 2015

Episode 04-II | I'm not gay

nudity and sex

The night on the island grew to a cold statement of silence and solitude. Twisting and turning like acrobats, the last autumn leaves passed by the window next to my bed, blown by the wind. A few would hit the glass and flutter against it for a few moments, before taking flight again. I could hear wavelets hit the shore, as the sea, starting no more than ten meters from the front door, was increasingly rippling. Inside the old cottage, though, it remained cozy and warm. The crisp and snapping sounds of the logs crackling in the fireplace, and the sweet scent they liberated, would have been enough to keep me awake -- but there was something else burning in me, now.

I had avoided thinking of Angelo for almost a decade -- but running away from a shadow hadn't helped me get rid of it. The insight I had had at a retreat was clear -- I would only heal if I faced my illness. The illness named Angelo, a high fever with delectable deliriums that had carried me through eight years. And the end of that fever, when Angelo had dumped me without further explanations other than that he had a woman -- and she was pregnant, I'd later find out --, hadn't brought any healing. 

On the opposite, that's when suffering had begun, a suffering so great that I had to pass it on to other men.

I hadn't been ready -- nor willing -- to face my suffering before. When I tried,  I had been dragged by my sorrows like quick sand. But Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh had answered my question about how to heal years of suffering by sweetly saying that, if I was to enter the dark cave of my sufferings, I should first light the torch of my mindfulness. Otherwise, I would get lost in the darkness. 

Being aware of my own feelings but not succumbing to nor being burdened by them was the first step to heal -- the torch of mindfulness represented that. Feel to heal, instead of kill to heal. With that torch in hand, I would be able to wander in the cave of my sufferings without falling into holes or traps, peacefully noticing and avoiding them. 

And my uncle Armand, whom I knew was a dedicated practitioner of meditation, seemed to be giving me that precious opportunity of silence and isolation -- and the gift of having nothing to do and nowhere to go -- so that I could confront what needed to be confronted. Peacefully confront it all.

Angelo's bold love declaration at the table would have accelerated everything -- but when I became responsible for our approximation, it went really slow.

I guess one of the obstacles was that things were happening in my house. I mean, Angelo was always stunning at the fact that we would spend our weekends away from any adults, but I could not share his joyful sense of freedom.

That house had separated me from the sea. In that house, I had lost my father. In that house, I had come back from school terrified, after having been ambushed in the toilets, and daily dragged to the back of the school to pay my tool -- in that house, I had hidden from my parents about being mocked, beaten, humiliated. In that house, I had lied to my parents about the bruises and the watch I had to sell to collect money to pay my bullies, when I could not longer find small change to steal from Carlo's wallet and Catherine's purse. And all the Belgian chocolate I had not eaten, but used to save my own skin. And even if that time was past, at fifteen I still feared it could revive. In that house, I had come back from the country club burdened with shame, filling dirty and guilty, and I had lied to Catherine about the reasons why I wanted to quit the swim team. In that house, I had entertained suicidal thoughts, I held fear as my only constant companion, and I had practiced being a liar and an impostor about my sexuality.

Angelo was unaware of all that, and I wasn't willing to share any of it with him.

Ours was a happy friendship, and I don't think my friend would have been pleased to hear about all the suffering I had gone through. I had suffered on my own and I would continue to do so. But now there was Angelo as an antidote, listening loud to American songs and making me sing and dance along, impersonating characters from a few popular American sitcoms broadcasted in France, whom I'd have to guess -- and to my greater joy, there was Angelo being utterly handsome and sexy, running around in his briefs and sleeping naked -- The Hottest Boy in School only to myself.

To add to the anxiety I usually experimented at my house, there was the sexual tension of two 15 years old horny boys who, I feared, had lost their chance to come out to one another -- and the poking games that we played at the bus prolonged into our weekends.

But all that accumulated strain and stimulation, as if it were water, was to overflow one afternoon at "The Sources", our beautiful hideaway and our private garden of Eden.

"Come on, Laurent. The water is not cold!" Angelo teased me. 

I knew the water was incredibly cold, springing from among rocks under the trees like it did. Being a tropical boy, I preferred to stay in the sun, watching Angelo bathe. I was still amazed that I could watch and marvel at the body and face of such a beautiful boy so openly. Angelo was aware that I was constantly checking on him, and he seemed to enjoy it. Every chance I had, I would gladly sit as his audience. With the secret fear that something or someone would take him away from me, I just enjoyed watching him, specially at the Sources where he was only in his trunks -- until the moment he would drag me into the water and move me around at his own will, holding me tight by the waist. It was a bit humiliating, but I didn't care since I loved being held tight in his arms.

Angelo owned our place. He would jump from the rocks into the pools, but I refrained, fearing accidents. 

"Come on, Laurent. We know where the water is not shallow. Come on, don't be such a coward!"

The only pool I wasn't afraid of was 'The Swirl Pool', as we had named it. We could never understand nor explain it, but at the center of that pool, which seemed to be the deepest, there was a swirl strong enough to drag us both into it, and make us spin around. Angelo pondered that the swirl might come from a fissure in the ground, and though we never actually saw it, because the bottom was dark, he thought it was the only dangerous place to dive. But I was so confident about my swimming skills that had turned me into a junior champion and had some people predicting that I was destined to be an Olympian. 

Angelo was always tense when I got into 'The Swirl Pool'.

"Why do you have to do that, Laurent? Don't be a jerk! Were you one of those kids who would spin in the washing machine?" He tried to stop me.

It might have been really dangerous, but I missed the club. I missed swimming for many hours and training hard everyday. I missed my aborted career. Risking myself was the redemption of my personal failure. Whenever the swirl was about to drag me to the bottom, I swam as fast and vigorously I could to escape its force. A symbol of my own adolescence and the suicidal thoughts I had avoided? 

And that's how my cowardice diminished at Angelo's eyes. I did not enjoy the cold water, I did not like jumping from slippery rocks, and did not want to linger in the pools after sunset, when animals seemed to take over the place -- but I wasn't afraid of the swirl. Clearly, Angelo had to down rate my bravery, saying it was foolish. 

"And don't you think I'm jumping into the water if you are drowning, Laurent. No one could save you from that swirl, and I'm not going to try!" Angelo threatened me. Yet, I always felt he would risk his own life to save me. Though maybe, in face of how our relationship ended, it might have been just wishful thinking from my part, as the teenager in love I was. Because no, now I think he would not have... saved me.

"What do I do with you, Laurent?" He asked one afternoon, when again I refused to stay in the pools after the sun had gone down.

I loved watching the sun set, and how the landscape was bathed in a beautiful golden light that somehow reminded me of Punaouilo, rather than go on with our water wars.

"What do I do with you, Angelo?" I had answered back, defiantly.

That's when Angelo approached me, and asked "What do we do with each other, then?"

 He had the answer. 

He kissed me.

Our first kiss did not last longer than a few seconds, because I startled at some noise near us.

"No one comes here, Laurent. Come on, what are you afraid of?" Angelo was breathless, and eagerly seeking for my lips.

Our second kiss lasted some good minutes, until Angelo and I exploded inside our shorts from rubbing our bodies against each other. We collapsed, with Angelo on top of me.

For days, we just kissed, pretending everything was normal and we remained just best mates -- who would also kiss. Neither Angelo nor I could take the next step -- but after a couple of weeks, while we kissed we started actually touching the other with yearning, skilled hands.

Again, we remained some time at that stage -- kissing and mutual masturbation. Time enough to neglect our studies. On weekends, we wouldn't even open our books -- we undressed instead, and spent long hours edging, in what seemed the natural development of the poking games we played at the bus. 

It was a beautiful period of intimacy, as Angelo and I lost our inhibitions and, next, were going down on one another. To prolong our pleasure, we dissolved the sexual tension with laughter, and sometimes engaged in crazy itchy duels that reduced us both to tears -- while some other times we just wanted to explode as fast as our horniness demanded.

Then I failed my first test, and Angelo failed it too. 

He proposed that we hide it from our parents, and just study harder to recover. But I had never hidden anything about my education from Catherine. Having hidden already too many intimate things from her, I showed her the lowest grade I ever got in my years at school.

"Mérde!" She was off white, when she told me I wouldn't be seeing Angelo on the weekends anymore until I again excelled at school. It worsened when I got low grades on another two tests from that same period, and Catherine grew very strict on me.

"I'm very disappointed with you, Laurent! I have trusted you, and you have betrayed that trust!"

 I cried when I heard Catherine bitterly expressing her disappointment, and my heart sank twice as deep when I saw I was losing my mother and Angelo at the same time.

In school, he and I no longer sat together -- we had been separated because of our constant chit chat. We didn't see much of each other for a couple of weeks -- Angelo was occupied with a group that wanted to include new sports and even have a gymnasium built in our school, and he hadn't much free time to spend with me. His father wasn't as strict as Catherine about grades, but Angelo himself decided we had to do better in school -- not because he cared about his education, but because he wanted to graduate in just the right amount of time.

"You know, it's like... I don't want to waste any day longer than necessary in this fucking hole, Laurent!"

I was in agony during our separation, but my torment increased one school break when he asked "Have you ever kissed a girl, Laurent?"

"No, of course not!" I shrieked, "I have only kissed..." I lowered my voice, so that no one in the patio could hear, ""

"Don't you want to kiss a girl, Laurent?"

To be quite sincere, I hadn't approached nor been approached by any girls yet. Opposite to Angelo, who had his own fan club of girls who were constantly flirting with him.

"Because I think I want to kiss a girl. And I think I want to kiss a girl today!" Angelo sprang to his feet. "Who do you think it should be, Laurent? You can come with me. I'll ask her to kiss us both." When he swayed his body in the direction of the other students, Angelo had instinctively bit his lips to make them redder. He broadened his chest, his eyes were flashing blue, and even his nostril dilated, and were trembling. It was the first occasion I observed Angelo getting ready to attack -- but not the last time, in our joint life.

At that moment, I couldn't fathom why Angelo announced that to me. Why did he want me to watch him kissing a girl? As far as I knew, he could have kissed many girls already -- there were plenty throwing themselves at him. Only years later, already in Vice City, when he told me he was having sex with other guys, did he give me his reason for that.

"Don't you think it is exciting, Laurent? When you enter me, and other guys have been there before?" But that's way ahead in years, when Angelo moaned in sheer pleasure while I was so disheartened and disgusted.

I'm just mentioning this because it might have been the same ground for him coming to me after he had kissed a girl in the patio -- one of those that, just like him, kept being elected The Hottest in School, and that everyone thought was the perfect match for Angelo --, and trying to kiss me.

"You know, it feels exactly the same. Just another kiss." Yet, I had noticed how he had grabbed her butt and tits, and how she hadn't resisted him. "But she is such a sissy, and I don't like her perfume. And I had never noticed before... You know, it's like... her arms are hairier than yours!" He grimaced. "And her skin is not as smooth as yours... Kiss me now, Laurent. I want to be sure that your lips feel so much better."

I hadn't wanted to kiss him, not when he still smelled to that girl's perfume. But I wouldn't want to contradict Angelo and risk losing him either. 

That's when I understood I would have to act it out with him, were I ready or not to lose my virginity.

It was hard to convince Catherine that Angelo would help me with my studies more than not, but maybe because she had her own errands on that weekend, she agreed to it.

Just like our first kiss, our first time was at "The Sources", on a beautiful afternoon. We weren't ready for that next step, and with our forced separation we had lost all the intimacy cultivated in our long mutual masturbation sessions. First, Angelo tried to penetrate me -- and I might have warned him it wouldn't work out that way, but I thought he might as well try. I tensed, and though he was comparatively small, he simply wouldn't break in. 

For a second, as we exchanged positions and I placed myself behind Angelo, the thought that I might have Aids crossed my mind. But I pushed it away like I would do with my suicidal thoughts, and the fear of never seeing my father again. Then, I slipped into him -- and I almost at once withdrew, when he started laughing. 

"No..." Angelo moaned, as he drew me tighter against his body, "Don't stop now, Laurent... This is... just awesome!" 

Only a couple of years later would Angelo be able to explain why he often burst laughing as I penetrated him.

"It's like... My legs all spread, as I open to you... And in doing this I'm doing what most men think is shameful... You know... I know I can actually do this... Offer myself to you... And it's soooo liberating! To be fucked, I mean. Gosh, I feel so free!" 

It was truly a privilege that our first time, and the subsequent times, were at 'The Sources'. Our sex did not seem wrong nor forbidden to us, once we were doing it in the open air, surrounded by nature, in a beautiful environment, under the day light. It was all so pretty and natural, in accordance to our budding love.

 "Oh... You're sooo fucking big! Ah!" Angelo was a moaner, which turned me on. "You make me feel sooo free, Laurent... Now melt me!" At each of my thrusts, Angelo moaned and seemed to languidly melt in my arms, and thus in our private language we referred to sex as "melting".

And that's what sex for Angelo was -- his daily dose of freedom. He felt liberated and sexy. He mentioned he felt manlier, too, because I was big and he felt brave for taking me up to the hilt. And with times, he was to grow increasingly addicted to his freedom -- sex --, and I would not be able to thoroughly satisfy him, not in the variety of sizes and shapes he wanted to have. But that came later, when we went abroad.

Having sex and with good grades, we glided across our first year together at school. Angelo had his birthday in December, and we celebrated it, just the two of us. Catherine was away, again teaching in Belgium, I think, and dining with his father had sufficed as a family celebration for Angelo.

Since it was his birthday, Angelo had chosen the menu -- every type of junk food coming from the US, among them a few packages of snacks and biscuits Catherine had bought at the airport, as my gift for my boyfriend. 

Actually no. That night, when I toasted for him, I found out Angelo did not want me as his boyfriend.

"We are not boyfriends, Laurent." Angelo declared, after we had the celebratory love making session for his birthday.

"Then what are we?" it took me almost a minute to retort. I was shocked. We had been kissing and fucking for almost six months, and that made us what?

"Friends with benefits!" Angelo said it in English, and it took me a while to grasp what the term meant. I was so dumbfounded that he tried amending it. "Best friends with benefits! Best friends forever with benefits! BFFB! Do you like that? They have that a lot, in the US."

The US was Angelo's monomania, and his reverie. If his mother hadn't died, Angelo was sure that he would have convinced her to stay in America. The happily ever after that had never arrived for him.

"You gonna love it there, Laurent! Don't you say you like hot weather? Well, it is always hot in Vice City. It's like... Veeeery hot! Sultry even! Have I taught you that word already? Sultry! And don't you say you miss the sea? There are so many beaches in that town! It's amazing! You gonna love it! And there are huge supermarkets and shopping centers! The cars are huge, too! Everything is king size! We are going to live like kings, you'll see! Even when we order a Coke, it's king size!" He had laughed happily. Talking about the US and remembering the two years he had spent there put Angelo in the best, smoothest of moods.

I'm not sure why Angelo assumed right from the start that I was going to live in the US with him -- or that he would actually immigrate, for that matter. I tried to listen attentively to everything he said and explained about the country, but I wasn't neither enthusiastic nor convinced that I would like it there. I just didn't want to let him down, and risk losing his friendship, that was based a lot on the things we shared -- he shared -- about 'America'. I thought of America much more as South America, and the Carnival and beaches in Brazil. I couldn't help being the tropical boy I was at soul.

But when another year at school began, Angelo did start behaving more like my boyfriend. 

Not that we would kiss in public. Nor even hold hands. That would have been too bold in a rural community. But he did not hide the fact that our intimacy was greater than the usual between two boys, in the way he embraced me from behind, placing his chin on my shoulder, our ears touching. When he was feeling bold, he would capture me in his embrace for the whole duration of the break -- though I was the one trying desperately to hide my erection, since his was hidden, pressed against my butt. Angelo enjoyed teasing me, and wanted to shock the other students.

During the vacations, he had lost part of his popularity. Away from his presence that radiated authority, far from his charisma that enveloped people like an aura, and without seeing his beauty that instilled desire, some students had come to the conclusion that Angelo was an arrogant, overrated brat. He started having haters and detractors -- but his fan club still outnumbered them.

Some people mocked us, and I was so afraid that I would slip back into the dreaded times when I had suffered bullying. I had never had haters like Angelo -- most people just despised me and wanted to make fun of me; my active bullies were very few -- and I feared it would be even worse than before.

But Angelo confronted them all. 

"It's okay to be gay, Laurent. You're gay, aren't you?" Angelo had inquired, quite nonchalant, when he realized what my main social insecurity derived from.

"Aren't you?!?" I retorted, in dismay.

"Only when we fuck, Laurent." He shrugged. "No, I don't think I'm gay. It's like... I don't like Madonna... Or Cher."

"But they are all American, aren't they?" I retorted, but Angelo just shrugged again. "And I don't like them either!" Angelo didn't seem to care about my musical preferences, that were more inclined to Brit Pop. "Then what are you, Angelo?!?" What then, when he had been taking it from me for almost a year?

"I'm bi, Laurent."

"How do you know that? Have you ever done it to a girl?" I felt like fainting.

"No. Not yet. But I might. And I'll let you know when I feel like trying it, if you want to try it with me..."

"I don't want to try anything with any girl!" I shrieked.

'Well, you see? That's the difference between us. It's like... I love it when you melt me, Laurent, but that doesn't make me gay."

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