I don’t know what I was thinking. Why did I have to stand there and look at Scott’s cock? Why did I have to tell him I wanted to suck it? I’d never done anything like that before. It was just he was so cute and he acted like he liked me. Now I knew he was just playing me.
I left Mr. Olsteen’s house without even getting paid. He hollered out to me as I raced down his driveway. Something about getting ice cream. I don’t think ice cream was on my mind at that moment. I was worried what Scott would do next. Fortunately, he was new to the neighborhood and I hoped he hadn’t met any of my friends. I’m sure he would before summer ended, however. Would he tell them about me?
The house was empty when I entered. My mother was working at the restaurant today. She always worked long hours on Saturday. Amy was babysitting the Donovan’s child. She probably wouldn’t be home until after 6:00. I looked at the clock. It was a little after noon.
I lay down and looked up at the ceiling. I went back over everything in my mind. Where had I gone wrong? Since Scott first saw me he flirted with me. He laughed when he knew I was awed by his appearance when we first met. He noticed me adjusting my dick when I was looking up his shorts. It didn’t seem to bother him at all. We’d been laughing and joking like we’d known each other for a long time.
It was his idea that we use the bathroom together. He’s the one who pulled out this dick and started playing with it. All I did was watch. But why in the world did I have to tell him I wanted to suck him? Damn!
I think he’d been setting me up all morning. He probably hated gay people and suspected I was gay. He figured he play along and then-wham- embarrass me. If that was his goal he’d succeeded. Now I was scared what he’d do next. Someone like him always tries to do more. I’ve watched bullies pick on kids at school for years. They are like piranha. Once they smell blood, they go in for the kill.
I lay there for about a half hour when I heard the front door bell ring. My heart stopped. I was afraid it was Scott. I wasn’t going to answer it, but it kept ringing. Whoever it was, wasn’t going to leave.
I got up and went down the hallway to the door. I crept over to the window and pulled back the drapes and looked out. It was Mr. Olsteen. I looked closer to see if Scott was with him. He seemed to be by himself. I didn’t know what he wanted. He kept ringing that damned bell. I finally walked over to the door and opened it.
“Here’s your money, Mark,” he said angrily, shoving crumbled up money into my hand. “Don’t go near Scott again. He told me you made a pass at him.”
“Mr. Olsteen, it wasn’t…” I started to tell him what happened, but he sharply cut me off.
“I don’t care what happened. Just stay away from him. He’s already been through enough!” he shouted. “Tell your mother to call me when she gets home.” He turned and stormed off down the sidewalk. I slammed the door and my body dropped to the floor. I sat there with my head in my hands.
I didn’t know what to do. This morning I was so glad that summer was here. I was really going to enjoy it before I turned sixteen. Next year I’d probably be working all summer. Now my summer was ruined. My life was over. Once Mr. Olsteen told my mother what had happened I’d be ruined. I wanted to cry, but my fear was too overwhelming for tears.
I went to my room and began packing a gym bag. I was going to run away. That way I wouldn’t have to face my mother and my sister. Amy would be glad. She’d love to watch as my world collapsed around me. If I were on fire, she’d probably pour gasoline on me.
I couldn’t even imagine what my mother would do. We’d never talked about sex or gay people. I once heard her click her tongue when we were in the mall and two gay men were walking in front of us with their arms around each other. She didn’t say anything, but she pushed me in another direction so we wouldn’t follow them anymore.
Half way through packing I decided that I couldn’t run away. I had no money and I didn’t have anywhere to go. I didn’t know how to fight, so what would I do if someone on the street picked a fight with me? I would be able to defend myself.
I thought about running away to my mother’s sister, Aunt Janice. She was a few years older than my mother. I heard my mother call her an old maid once. I learned out later that she had never married. I’d visited her a few times, and she always seemed friendly. I’m sure she’d take me in if I asked. The only problem was I didn’t really know where she lived. Now I wish I’d paid more attention when we went for a visit.
I went into my mother’s room and found her number in my mother’s address book. I wrote it down and stuffed it in my pocket. “Just in case.” I said to myself. According to her address, she only lived about fifteen miles from us.
I unpacked and then lay down across my bed. I fell asleep for about an hour when the phone suddenly woke me up. I was afraid to answer it. I thought it might be Mr. Olsteen trying to call my mother. The phone continued to ring about every fifteen minutes. I got up once and checked the caller ID. It was the Olsteen’s number. I was doomed!
Amy came home around 6:15. She was complaining because the little girl she’d been babysitting was acting wild all day. She had a lot of trouble getting her to settle down. The girl kept crying because she said she didn’t like my sister. I laughed inside when she told me that. Smart kid, I thought. The girl also refused to take a nap. She finally fell asleep just minutes before the Donovan’s got back. They thought my sister was a wonderful babysitter and even asked if she’d be available next weekend.
I was sitting in the living room watching television. I really didn’t know what was on. I had been sitting staring absentmindedly at the screen for an hour. I heard the phone ring and jumped up to answer it before my sister did. Too late; I heard her talking from my mother’s room.
“Yes, Mr. Olsteen. I’ll have her call you when she gets home.” I heard her say politely.
“What did you do today?” she asked as she came walking into the living room. “Mr. Olsteen sounded mad. I thought you got along with him?”
“Please don’t tell Mom he called,” I begged. She immediately saw the panic in my face and jumped at the opportunity.
“It’ll cost you,” she said with a sneer. “This must be really good.”
“How much?” I knew she was enjoying this.
“Twenty bucks.” She held out her hand. I removed the crumpled bills Mr. Olsteen had given me and handed her a twenty.
“Remember, don’t tell.” She grinned at me.
“Yeah, sure thing.” She turned and headed for her bedroom.
I was still sitting on the couch watching a baseball game when my mother came through the door.
“Hi, Honey,” she said. I waved at her. “How was your day?”
“Alright,” I responded.
“Mom!” I heard my sister shout from her room. “Mr. Olsteen wants you to call him. He says it’s about Mark and it’s important.”
My first thought was to go into the kitchen and pull out the largest butcher knife I could find. Then go into my sister’s bedroom and slice her into tiny pieces. After all, spending the rest of my life in prison would be worth it. However, my mother’s voice brought me back to the horrible situation I was about to face.
“What’s he want Mark?” she asked me. Just then the phone rang. She walked over and answered it. “Hello, Mr. Olsteen.” I didn’t even wait around to hear the rest of the conversation. I knew I would hear all about it soon. On the way to my room I stopped by my sister’s and looked in. She was sitting at her computer instant messaging someone.
“I hate you,” I said angrily. She looked at me and smiled. She then gave me the finger. I slammed her door and went into my bedroom and lay across the bed and waited for my future to come to an end. Several minutes later my mother appeared at my door. She had tears falling down her cheeks.
“We’ll discuss this later. I’m too upset right now.” She walked across the hall and slammed her door shut. I could hear her crying. I don’t think I’ve ever been so ashamed of myself. I had hurt her. How could I ever explain this to her? I saw the look in her eyes. She hated me. Tears began to form in my eyes, faster than I could wipe them away with my sleeve.
I pulled back the covers and climbed under, pulling them over my head. I just wanted this to go away. I wish I could turn back the clock 12 hours. But I knew I couldn’t. I’d have to live with the consequences of my actions. I fell for a pretty face and now I’d have to pay. The tears were still falling as I cried myself to sleep.
I awoke the next morning to the smell of bacon. I could hear my mother in the kitchen. I knew she was still upset because she only cooked breakfast for us when she was mad about something that had happened at work the day before. Usually, we ate cold cereal and toast.
I got dressed and walked cautiously down the hall. I knew I would have to face her sooner or later. There was no use in putting it off. I walked into the kitchen. She was sitting at the table drinking a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper. She didn’t even look up when I entered and sat down across from her. Her eyes were still red from crying all night. The thought of getting up and running away crossed my mind again.
“Good morning, Mom.” She didn’t say anything to me. She got up and walked over to the refrigerator and poured me a glass of orange juice. She came back and put it before me then continued reading the newspaper. We sat in awkward silence for several minutes. My sister walked into the kitchen and hit me on the back of my head.
“Fag,” she hissed as she took her seat beside me. Before I knew what had happened, my mother jumped up from her seat and came around and yanked my sister to her feet.
“As long as I’m alive, don’t you ever let me hear you call your brother that again.” She started shaking her, and Amy began to cry. “Go to your room. You’re grounded for a week.”
We sat again in awkward silence. She got up and walked over to the oven, then returned with a plate of bacon, eggs and toast and put it before me. She didn’t fix anything for herself. She returned to her seat and continued reading the paper while I picked at my food.
She put the paper down and briefly looked over at me. She started to say something but stopped. I could see tears in her eyes. She walked over to the oven and prepared another plate. She left the kitchen and headed to Amy’s room. She closed the door and I could hear them arguing. I sat quietly pushing my food around on my plate.
I got up and headed out the back door. I got on my bike and took off down the road. I rode past the Olsteen’s house and saw Scott talking to Bobby Owens. Bobby lived across the street from me. We’d known each other since we were little, but we had never been friends. That sounds strange. To know someone your own age and never really talk to them. We’d speak on the school bus, but it was never a very long conversation.
Bobby was a lot like me. I guess that’s why we never became friends. We were both shy and uncomfortable around people. He was considered the school nerd. He was a computer expert. He’d read a story once about how Bill Gates had been a computer whiz in high school, so he was modeling his life after him. I don’t think he’ll be worth fifty billion dollars some day, though.
He’d be cute if he would dress better. He always wore a white shirt and black pants to school. What made it worse was he always wore white socks with black shoes. The kids teased him endlessly. It never really seemed to bother him. He’d just ignore their comments. He always had an attitude that he was better than them and they could not get him to stoop to their level of immaturity. I think that bothered them more than anything else.
Scott pointed me out when I rode by. Bobby looked over and waved timidly. I just looked at them and rode on. I knew he was probably telling him about his gay neighbor. At least I didn’t have to worry about Bobby. He had no friends that I knew of, so he wouldn’t be telling anyone. I just wondered if Scott knew that.
I rode on not knowing where to go. Where does a gay boy ride his bike when he’s just been outed by a complete stranger? I didn’t want to go to the mall or a park. I didn’t feel like being around people.
Suddenly, I remembered my Aunt Janice. I reached in my pocket and pulled out her address. She only lived fifteen miles away. I could be there in about an hour. I rode my bike out of town and headed for the next city. Fortunately for me they were back roads with very little traffic on a Sunday.
It took me fifty minutes to reach her town. I stopped in the small downtown area and looked around. Things looked familiar because I’d been here many times over the years. It was just that all the streets looked the same. Most of the homes were large with a lot of shade trees lining the road.
I rode around for a few minutes until I noticed something very familiar- an ice cream parlor. I could remember my mother and aunt walking Amy and me about a half block down the street to get ice cream. I looked down the street and saw Aunt Janice working in her yard. I rode my bike towards her house. She was digging weeds out of a flower bed. She had on bib overalls and a straw hat. This is exactly as I always remembered her. She looked up and saw me coming down the street. She stood and walked over to the street smiling.
“Mark. What brings you here? Where’s your mother?” she asked me with a worried looked.
“Hi, Aunt Janice. Can’t I visit my favorite aunt?” I replied jokingly.
“I’m your only aunt.” she laughed. “Come in the house and I’ll get you a glass of lemonade.” I loved her lemonade. It wasn’t from a package. She squeezed real lemons to make it. It was delicious.
I rested my bike beside the house and then followed her into the kitchen. She poured two large glasses of lemonade and handed me one. I took a sip and smiled at her. She smiled back and ruffled my hair. I followed her onto the back porch. She pointed to the porch swing and we both sat down. We sat there quietly sipping our drink without speaking. Finally she broke the silence.
“You want to tell me why you’re here?” she asked. “Does Rita know you’re here?”
“No, Ma’am,” I replied politely. We continued swinging in silence.
“Want to tell me what’s wrong?” she asked quietly.
“No, Ma’am,” I said again. Just then the phone rang and she excused herself. I sat on the swing and enjoyed the beautiful view of her backyard. She had a green thumb and the yard showed that. It was a kaleidoscope of color. She returned after about fifteen minutes and took the seat beside me. She had two fresh glasses of lemonade.
We swung for several more minutes in silence. She kept looking over at me. I knew she wanted to talk but didn’t know what to say to me. I hadn’t exactly given her the opportunity.
“She still loves you.” she said, taking me by surprise.
“What?” I looked over at her.
“Your mother loves you.” She put her arm around me and pulled me into her side. I put my head on her shoulder and began to cry. “She just wasn’t prepared for this. You have to give her some time.” I nodded my head. She didn’t say anything else for a long time. She continued to let me cry while she gently stroked my hair.
“She hates me,” I was finally able to speak. “She wouldn’t even talk to me this morning.”
“I told you she doesn’t hate you. Why don’t you tell me what happened.” she asked. I spent the next few minutes telling her what had happened with Scott. It was very embarrassing, but it felt good to be able to able to talk to someone about this. I even told her how my mother had reacted to Amy’s comment this morning. She listened carefully and held my hand the entire time I related the story.
“He sounds like a nasty little boy,” she said angrily.
“Nasty, but cute,” I said blushingly. She smiled at my embarrassment.
“What am I going to do?” Tears began to well up again in my eyes. “I don’t want to be gay.”
“You’re not the only one in our family who is gay, Mark.” I started to ask her who else, but then it dawned on me. My mouth fell open. She started laughing.
“You?” I asked surprisingly. She nodded her head. “But you live alone.”
“I didn’t always,” she said as tears formed in her eyes. She looked out onto the yard and I could tell she was remembering her past.
“What happened?” I asked. I wasn’t sure she really wanted to tell me.
“It was long before you were born. I was deeply in love. Mary and I bought this house together. She loved flowers. I’ve continued to grow them even today.”
“Where’s Mary now?” I didn’t like the way this story was going.
“She died in a car accident four years after we moved in here. A drunk driver ran a red light.” She started to cry. I held her hand and rubbed it gently. I didn’t know what to say.
“I wanted to die. I didn’t feel like living after that. Your mother saved my life.” A surprised look came on my face. “She moved in here for awhile and stayed with me. She hadn’t married your father yet.” She got up and disappeared into the kitchen. She emerged minutes later with two more glasses of lemonade.
“She helped me through the hard times. I cried constantly. She was afraid I was going to kill myself. I probably would have if she hadn’t been here. After a few months I began to get better. I was able to face the fact that Mary was dead. I’ve never been with another woman since then.” We sat quietly for several minutes before she spoke again.
“You know why I make lemonade?” I looked at her and shook my head. “Mary had a saying. It wasn’t easy back then being gay, especially for women. When things got really bad, she’d say, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ We’d always laugh and pour us a cold glass.” She looked at me and smiled.
“You’ll be alright, Mark.” She ran her hand through my hair. “Just make a lot of lemonade.” I rested my head on her shoulder and soon fell asleep.