It was late… past 2:00 am late. David had dropped him off and didn’t want to stay the night, obviously. The air was unusually crisp for the city which made walking around in downtown that much more stimulating in appreciation. James was quiet not to disturb the house.
Six months. Tick, tock. It’s all about to rock.
Or maybe not. He thought it might take him that long to permanently find a way to silence the gay inside him screaming like a horny beast to get out. It seemed so fucking unfair that straight guys in their teens raging with hormones and overexcited levels of testosterone were allowed an ‘occasionally slip-up’ and it will be forgiven with nothing more than a reprimand or even a publicly announced reproval.
In Victoria, his best friend as a child was Donald whose father used to hit or in other ways physically abuse everyone in the large household. It didn’t matter if there was company present or not. On two occasions where James spent the night he remembers cowering under the covers of the top bunk of the boy’s bedroom because Donald’s father had to scream and yell at Dawn in a method that justified the shaking of the house. The next time it was something his brothers Efrain and Chauncey were up to that would be considered ‘typical boy behavior’ by running through the house tracking mud everywhere and for that they were not only physically attacked, but were assigned the chore of washing every car in the parking lot of vehicles that evening as the mother had already cleaned the floors which they so superficially damaged.
James refused to go back over to that house again. How is that level of anger acceptable and even promoted (as the father was a well respected elder) but desiring the touch of another male is sinful? Donald had an older friend named Stephan who fucked every girl in school. Then he fucked every girl in the neighboring school. Each time he got caught he would be talked to by the elders… repent and get a small announcement that he had been talked to, and off he went to fuck the next girl and after a few weeks was back with responsibilities in the congregation running microphones or at the helm of the sound system at the Victoria Kingdom Hall until several months went by and he was caught again.
That went on for years.
But Tony, in the past year, get’s caught fucking a guy and he is disfellowshipped immediately because it was unnatural. As it was a recent event James could close his eyes and remember his father, Steve stepping into the RV camper the family had on site in his welding gear and visibly distraught. James and his mother were in the dining bench/living room area waiting. All they knew what that something happened to Tony and an emergency elder’s meeting was called. So emergency, his father didn’t even have time to change.
Tony is being disfellowshipped and being escorted off the property.
You know, he doesn’t really have family to speak of, where is he going?
It doesn’t matter. He was caught… (collects himself) … he was caught having sex. With another man. He… is a homosexual.
James’s thoughts were then consumed with a hybrid of relief and despair. All those times Tony flirted with him and patted him on the ass… he thought the assistant welder was just trying to test him, but come to find out it was real… very very real. Not only that, had he decided to pursue any of the dreamlike fantasies to the slightest degree, he would likewise be in an elder’s meeting with no where to live as Tony would be required to reveal everyone he has ever had sex with, on and off the construction site.
A homosexual. In MY welding shop. I shook his hand. I ate with him. I took him in. I thought of him as a son. (Distraught.) Who knows what he could have done to James if given the chance.
Steve turns his attention to his son and approaches with the force of a billowing wind.
Did Tony touch you in any way?
No, dad. I am as shocked as you are. But no. I am fine. Our friendship is… was normal. I promise.
If you hear anything or find out about anyone else, you let me or one of the elders know immediately.
It appears being a homosexual and acting on homosexual desires is tantamount to “roving rapist lurking in the corners ejaculating fantastical whims at unsuspecting closeted gay passers-by.” James feels suddenly overwhelmed with grief at the missed opportunity but is then brought back to reality that in a witch hunt, he would have been the next person hoisted up to the stake.
It wasn’t his father’s anger that took him by surprise. In fact he knew that Steve was probably displaying only a fraction of the enmity-fueled exasperation filling the folding corners of the RV trailer. It was transference from exasperation to heartbreaking disappointment that stunned him – partially because an infestation entered the building site via his welding shop on his watch, and partially because he was so consumed with work he didn’t notice the signs before this happened. He was doubting everything and everyone by that point. James hated seeing his father like that and had to leave out the back door to get some air even though the breath of a mile radius was thick in condescending disgust.
The maniacal comparisons of ‘this-sin-is-greater than/less than-that-sin(s)’ would send anyone paying attention to the Organization into a lunacy coma. Plus, if a year of high school debate had taught him anything, comparison arguing may win the immediate brawl, but it doesn’t make one correct. What is correct? He didn’t know.
According to a large red hardcover book entitled “Sex” that he had found at one of the houses his mom cleaned things like masturbation, arousal, erections, ejaculate, precum, etc. were all explained in a fairly straightforward, non-sexual format. There was a picture of a penis with semen dripping from it what was intensely close, even in the black and white presentation.
He was excited and it was the first time an understanding of his body, chemistry, and the journey through adolescence was explained in a non-naughty way. The bound collection of Shel Silverstein cartoons from his days at Playboy, not so much. And it confused him. Here is an explanation of what he was going through in one hand, and in the other hand was a book of comically erotic drawings and a stack of Hustler magazines.
I’m not having the response I am suppose to be having. Wait. Isn’t that the guy who wrote those poems we would read in elementary school?
By stark contrast every time he would turn to the Live Forever book where one of the collection of pictures showed two guys entangled against a wall in a dark hallway mid-way of disrobing each other, he would get an instant boner. Could this be Satan or could this just be a natural human response of a teenager… except with boys instead of girls?
The reason why he held so much guilt about his molester and the reason why it took until age 19 for it to come to light, is because it wasn’t the playing around that mattered, it was the holding, being held, the warmth of having someone masculine near. It was tranquil. Everything else was just mechanics, especially when one is physically too young to achieve an erection. As one gets older, they begin to recognize the touch, the closeness of an attractive energy that captivates a person so much it’s impossible not to have an immediate, physical response. How does one pray against biology? It is with that empathy toward the country farm boy that James never saw the true danger of what was being done.
Thankfully with David, there is this separation between a regular ‘bromance’, and something more erotic in nature. That separation was not only possible, but it had worked and is working. It was something he had to stumble through but it’s success gave him stability, like friends should. Where is that “so you think you might be a gay” pamphlet that says everything that he is feeling is normal? If he separates the sex from the companionship he is still required to “not practice”… anything. Yet, when he combines the two, he achieves unspeakable invigoration and peace.
This is ridiculous.
James throws his pants across the room and picks up The Houston Press. It’s not something his parents would approve of him reading as outside literature is generally frowned upon. The Press was how he found out about movies playing, bands, bars, clubs, etc. It is life going on and in some ways it was the hedonistic display that the Witnesses had instilled into his head, but in other ways it is an expression of life, love, appreciation, and creativity… it is a celebration. Yes, the gay community is still wrapped in the “eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we will die” mentality because it was only 10 years before they actually were dying.
As a young boy he sat in front of many televisions ending with the one in the corner of the living room at the hand-carved house on Crouch Road watching the world of AIDS unfold with such sadness and connectivity. It was the first time he understood what “homosexual” was while peering into the television wanting to help each and every lesion-laden man propping up news sensation and save them from this disease, from the unresponsive president, from this news person shoving a microphone in their face and using them as a coat of viewer ratings.
He was so young barely even grasping the remotest concept of sex, and yet he didn’t understand what the political or the sociological impact of the time frame would mean for years to come. Even as a child his heart would break with the idea of “the wages sin pays is death” that is the graciously polite way of saying “I told you so.”
What were these people’s crime? James didn’t know at the time. Slumping in the same location David was sitting the night before he could feel his friend’s lingering depression. He knew what their crime was, now. It was acting on their biological responses in the same way their straight counterparts are allowed to do. Sociological growth eventuality means this paradigm shift would suffer some disruption. Maybe it is on purpose, maybe it is just evolution.
There in The Press they were advertising films like JEFFERY playing at a normal theater, out in the open for anyone to see. Gay clubs were advertising right next to straight clubs. Witnesses going to straight clubs were reproved for putting themselves in danger, but Witnesses going to gay clubs were disfellowshipped for taking the first steps on acting on a vile sin.
Why? It’s the same exact emotion?
So much didn’t make sense because he didn’t know the other side of the argument. He recognized the eyes of those men cruising restrooms and such, men starving themselves of that which they emotionally and mentally crave to the point where they go mad with suffocation. At that point any passing stranger, the scent of any man, the touch of any hairy arm throws one into the bingo cage of justification to have any male-to-male contact no matter what the cost, location, or level of appropriateness.
Is that what I’m going to be at Bethel? Where the preoccupation of sex, whether having it or not having it becomes a more substantial weight then the rest of the world around me?
If he can justify one uncomfortable adventure, then he can certainly justify another. On the back of The Press there was an ad for a new, gay male fetish facility.
However, if it’s a legal business, they cannot be selling sex. So, no sex and a glimpse into the gay sex world? Maybe. More research is needed as he tends to be meticulously pragmatic in his planning, and there are few immediate decisions made unless one has time to sleep on it.
He curls into the still folded up futon and covers himself with a blanket while adjusting his pillow.
Five months, 29 days.
James P. Perez © 2013