It's Not Easy Being a Tree
The church became quiet as the organist played a few songs. I kept glancing up at
Lucas as he sat in the middle of the choir section. He was wearing a purple robe
that the choir wears for Sunday services. He appeared nervous. He kept wiping his
hands on his robe as if they were wet with sweat, and he bounced his legs
nervously. I’d been observing him for several years and I’d never seen him so
The organist stopped playing and Reverend Sparks came onstage and stood before
the altar. Everyone stood and he said an opening prayer. After a chorus of “Amen,”
everyone took their seat and waited for him to continue.
“As a preacher,” he began, “It is my duty to administer the word of God to
everyone. Sometimes we get so caught up in the things that we think should be,
that we forget about the things that ought to be.” He held his Bible high into the air
and then waved it in front of him. “Sometimes we forget what is the true meaning
He turned, looked at Lucas and nodded his head. Lucas stood and walked to the
center of the stage. “My son has asked to sing a song today. It’s not a traditional
religious hymn, but a song that has a special meaning to him. He and the choir will
now sing Seasons of Love from the play, Rent. He nodded at Lucas, and then he
went and sat down in his seat.
I sat forward in my seat and watched as Lucas closed his eyes and took a deep
breath. He turned and nodded to someone offstage. A music track began to play
and the choir started to clap their hands softly as they began to sing.
“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?”
Lucas then began to sing.
“In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?” **
The congregation stood and started clapping and swaying as he sang with so much
emotion. He kept his eyes closed, but he would open them briefly. When he did,
they appeared to be wet with tears.
By the time they were singing the last refrain, everyone was applauding. I don’t
think a song had every moved me so much. When I sat down, I had to wipe a few
tears from my eyes.
My mother looked at me, leaned over and whispered in my ear, “That was
amazing.” I looked at her and smiled.
When I looked back at the stage, Reverend Sparks was embracing Lucas. Lucas
made his way back to his seat with the choir, looked down at me and smiled. I
gave him a thumbs up to show him that I truly enjoyed what he had sung. His face
reddened as he nodded his head.
A hush came over the congregation as Reverend Sparks stood behind the podium.
He looked out over the assemblage before speaking. “How do you measure the
year in a life?” He peered out at us as if he was waiting for us to answer.
“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes,” he said softly. “How do
you spend them?” He began to preach his usual morning service about love. I sat
back expecting him to go on and on about loving your fellow man and treating
everyone with respect. My eyes were almost closed when I heard him say,
“How about love?” he asked. “And who defines love? What is the measure of love?
How does God measure love? Does he look into our hearts and measure love
based on the traditional values that we have defined as a society?”
I sat forward and listened to his words. “Is loving God and hating your neighbor
because of his race a true measure of love? Is hating a man because he is gay or a
woman because she is a lesbian a true measure of love?”
I looked behind Reverend Sparks at Lucas. He was sitting listening attentively at
his father. Reverend Sparks stepped down from the podium and walked to the
center of the stage.
“Is the true measure of loving based upon what is in your heart? Does it matter if
you love a man or a woman, as long as it is love?” He paused and looked around
the congregation. “Look around you,” he said softly. “There are people here from
all walks of life. Some are black, some are white. Some are Asian and some are
African.” I watched as people looked around the church at one another.
“Some are gay and some are lesbians. Some are transgendered.” Many people
looked over at Britany Elders who used to be Brian Elders. He had joined our
church last year after being ostracized from the church he had attended when he
decided to live his life as a woman. I had always tried to avoid him because I found
it kind of weird. Today I looked back at her with a different feeling.
“I want each of you to stand and hug five people around you,” he exclaimed
enthusiastically. Everyone rose to their feet and began to hug those nearest them.
My mother hugged me first, whispering in my ear that she loved me.
“I love you too, Mom,” I whispered back. I pulled away before she could see the
tears in my eyes. I hugged several more people before I made my way over to
Britany. Tears were flowing down her face and her mascara was running as people
surrounded her. She smiled and opened her arms when she saw me standing
before her. She thanked me politely as I gave her a hug.
As I made my way back to my seat, Lucas was standing in the aisle hugging my
mother. When I approached him, he gave me a hug. I held him tightly. After
admiring him for so many years from afar, I was cherishing the embrace he was
giving me. After several seconds, he pulled away. “Thanks, Woody,” he smiled and
then walked over to an elderly lady and hugged her.
This went on for about ten minutes before everyone returned to their seats.
Reverend Sparks was beaming down at us when we finished. He continued to
preach about living our lives five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred
minutes. He even talked about gay couples and gay marriage.
For several years I’d regretted who I was because I was gay. My knowledge of the
gay world was negative. All my life I’d heard my classmates talking about fags and
cock suckers. They made it sound filthy and disgusting. Even when I surfed through
the porn sites admiring other young men, I felt I was doing something perverted.
The sermon this morning made me feel like a different person. For the first time in
my life someone had talked about gay people loving one another. Reverend Sparks
talked about it like it was something wonderful and special.
I looked up at him with tears in my eyes when he closed his sermon by saying,
“Remember, in the seasons of love, it’s not who you love, but the measure of your
As we stood and joined the choir in a hymn, I couldn’t help but wonder what had
happened. Why did Reverend Sparks pick this day to talk about gay love? I
wondered what he would think about me if I told him how much his message had
meant to me- how much it had transformed my thinking about myself.
I looked over at my mother as she sang. How would she react if I told her what
was in my heart? Would she still love me? She seemed to be moved by the
reverend’s sermon, but would it be different if she knew that one of her own
children was gay.
It didn’t take me long to find out that answer. On the way home she remarked,
“Wasn’t that a wonderful sermon?” I looked over at her and nodded. “I don’t have
a problem with gay people,” she said,” but as a mother, I’m glad I don’t have to
worry about that.” I pressed my head to the car window and stared out at houses
as we drove home.
So much for the measure of love.
When we got home, Mom said it would be about an hour before we’d eat. Jon and
Connor were in the bedroom, but they headed to the basement as soon as I
walked in. I went over to my computer and turned it on. I wanted to see if
Indyboi91 had left me a message.
There wasn’t one from him, but Bidad38 had left me a message:
Bidad36: ill be on later if i can get away
I really wasn’t interested in this Bidad36. It was fun last night when Indyboi91
wasn’t on, but I really had no desire to continue watching him. I just wanted to
chat with someone my age; I didn’t realize when I started that older guys might
want to chat with me too.
I left the chat room without answering his message. I decided to go to my regular
site to see if any new guys had been posted. There were a few that were hot. One
guy looked to be about twenty. He had on nothing but a cowboy hat and boots. He
had a lasso wrapped around a huge cock. My own started to harden.
I was afraid to pull my shorts down for fear that Jon and Connor might come
barging into the room. Jon was already being a prick. All I needed was for him to
see a naked guy on my screen.
That was something that had been bothering me for over a year. How would Jon
react if he did find out I was gay? He’s my brother, so I don’t think he’d physically
hurt me. But I don’t know if it’s something he’d keep quiet. I know he’d tell Connor
and Ross. They would probably tell someone else. Everyone they know is athletic
and muscular. I’d been around locker rooms enough to know what is said in them.
To them, weak guys who don’t measure up to their standards are fags. Jon has
even started to let the word drop occasionally when I’m around. He’s never come
right out and called me one, but sometimes I think he suspects it.
I’m not sure how he would react if someone asked him if his brother was gay.
Sometimes I think he’d probably join in on their cruel bantering. Probably
overnight I’d go from being ‘Runt’ to ‘Fag.’ I do know one thing, however. I’d be
less of a human being in his eyes than I am right now. It’s not like I’d care,
anyway. He’s never really been much of a brother. Truthfully, I can’t wait until he
goes away to college and I don’t have to share a room with him anymore.
I listened carefully to the hall outside, and then I crept my hand inside my shorts.
Cowboy had excited me. My cock was hard and I needed to jerk off. Hey, I’m
sixteen. A good hard-on means only one thing- a good wank. No sense in letting it
go to waste.
I had been looking at the screen and jerking off when I heard people coming up the
stairs. I quickly removed my hand from my shorts, stood and straightened out my
cock so it wouldn’t look obvious that I was hard. Just as I shut down the site I’d
been watching, Jon and Connor entered.
Jon started laughing. “I know you were looking at porn!” He turned and gave
Connor a playful shove.
“I was not!” I shouted as I sat down in my chair.
He gave Connor a mischievous grin. “Let’s go see.” I screamed when Jon came
running at me.
“No!” I yelled as he picked me up and stood me on my feet. He then reached down
and pinched my hard cock.
He looked over at Connor and laughed. “See, I told you so.” Connor was staring
down at my cock bulging out of my shorts.
Jon started laughing and looked over at Connor. “Let’s pants him!”
“Don‘t!” I screamed as I held the top of my shorts while he tried to pull them off
He stopped when Connor hollered out, “Jon, stop it! It’s not funny.”
Jon stepped toward him and threw up his hands. “Hey, It’s cool. I was just having a
Connor stepped around Jon and stood before me, creating a barrier between me
and my brother. “It’s not fun, Jon. It’s bullying.”
“Bullying?” He pointed at me. “It’s not bullying. He’s my brother.”
Connor gave him a disgusted look. “You’re a fucking moron.” He stepped around
my brother and headed for the door. “I’m outta here.” He left the room, slamming
the door behind him.
My brother started to chase after him. “Hey, wait up!” he shouted. “What did I do?
I was just trying to have some fun.”
I was beginning to like and trust the Radford brothers. Before yesterday, I just
thought they were egotistical, arrogant athletes. But twice yesterday, Ross stood
up to Jon because of me. Now today, Connor had done the same thing. I knew we
couldn’t be friends. Jon would never allow that. But at least I knew that I may exist
in their world.
Mom called me down to lunch about fifteen minutes later. Since she’d been to
church, Sunday lunch usually meant something quick. Today it was tuna fish
sandwiches and potato salad from the store. Dad complained, but Mom reminded
him that if he got up and attended church with her, then we could all eat at Bob
Evans after the service. He shut up after that.
Jon wasn’t at the table, so I guess he left with Connor. Glenn and Glenda asked if
they could take their plate into the family room to watch a movie on television that
they’d been looking at for an hour. Mom at first refused, but after Glenda sat at the
table and wiped tears away, she relented and excused them to leave.
Mom, Dad and I were eating quietly until Mom started talking about Reverend
Sparks’s sermon. She told Dad how beautiful Lucas had sung and about the topic of
“Gay marriage?” My father scoffed. “He actually said nothing was wrong with it?”
He gave my mother a disgusted look. “And you think that’s all right?”
“Well,” she replied meekly. “When he was talking about it, it sounded like it wasn’t
He looked at me and rolled his eyes. “You’d believe anything Reverend Sparks
“Now don’t start again,” she warned my father.
“You know I don’t like his style of preaching,” my father’s voice was getting louder.
“He’s too damn… what’s the word?” He shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know what
it is, but he doesn’t always go by what the Bible says.”
“But…” my mother started to speak but he cut her off.
“He doesn’t see anything wrong with anything,” Dad continued. “He doesn’t think
abortion is wrong, and he’s always preaching that lovey dovey crap.” He looked
over at me and frowned. “And now he doesn’t see anything wrong with two men
having sex with each other.”
“He didn’t say anything about sex,” my mother responded. “He just doesn’t see
anything wrong with two people, be they men or women, loving each other.”
“Bullshit!” he shouted. “Love, sex. It’s all the same.”
My mother looked out into the family room where Glenn and Glenda were watching
television. “The twins are going to hear you.”
My father’s face began to redden. He leaned over the table and spoke softly. “And
that freak, the one who was a man and now thinks he’s a woman. He shouldn’t
even be allowed in the church.”
My mother became angry. She tossed her napkin on the table, scooted her chair
back and rose from the table. “I’m not listening to anymore of your drivel.” She
walked over to the sink and started throwing dishes in the sink.
My father rose from his chair, tossed his napkin down and muttered, “Gay
marriage. Bullshit!” He then stormed from the room.
So the good feelings I had at church quickly dissipated. Mom’s comment about
being glad she didn’t have to worry about having a gay child, and Dad’s
homophobic reaction to Reverend Sparks’s sermon left little doubt in my mind that
I’d ever come out to my parents. At least, not any time soon.
I went up to my room and attempted to do some homework, but it was hard to
concentrate. Things were beginning to happen too quickly the past few days. I was
always just happy looking at pictures on my monitor and jerking off occasionally.
Now, I was becoming more aware of my sexuality.
I had admitted to Kate on Friday I was gay. I knew I could trust her, and I did feel
proud that I was able to do it. And unless Jeff is as dumb as a rock, which he isn’t,
then he had to have realized that our bantering in the mall was filled with sexual
innuendo. Like he said, a boy doesn’t just call another boy ‘cute.’
Then there are Ross and Lucas. Months ago I would never have been bold enough
to just stare at another boy. I may have snuck a furtive glance occasionally, but I
would never have let him see me. With Ross, I openly stared at his cock. I didn’t
even care that he saw me. I practically did the same thing to Lucas in the
bathroom of the church. I didn’t care that he noticed me staring into the mirror at
him. In fact, I think I wanted him to notice.
It seemed like it all started with Indyboi91. It was like an awakening of my
sexuality that had been dormant since I entered puberty. For the first time in my
life, I was thinking about sex. It is more than just enjoying a good orgasm by Rosy
Palms and her five sisters. I want to have sex with someone. I’m not happy
looking at boys on the computer screen. I want to feel a boy in my arms. I want to
hold him and kiss him. I want to suck his cock, and I want him to suck mine. I
don’t know if I’m ready yet for anything more, but I’ll know when the time comes-
if it ever does.
I took off my shirt and looked at myself in the mirror. I’m small and scrawny. No
one would want me. Everything is as it always has been- a fantasy. I’ll never know
what it’s like to hold someone. Who would want to hold someone like me?
I’m like that little Christmas tree that Charlie Brown tries to decorate each year.
No matter now much he adorns it, it still looks pathetic.
That’s me. It’s not easy being a tree.
I went back to my bed and finished an assignment for biology. I had trouble with
two of the problems in the book, so I left them blank. Since I had Mr. Dewberry
fifth period, I could get Anna or Kate to help me at lunch.
I went downstairs to get an afternoon snack. Mom was still mad at Dad, because
she was in their bedroom and he was watching Shrek2 with Glenn and Glenda in
the family room. Normally, he would have had them leave the room while he
watched football. I guess he didn’t want them mad at him too.
I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and was heading back upstairs when he
hollered out. “What did you make?”
I went into the family room and showed him the sandwich on the plate. He
grabbed it and started laughing. “Mmm,” he said as he took a bite, “This is pretty
good.” Of course, the twins had to have one, so I spent the next fifteen minutes
making everyone a sandwich. Dad even asked me to make him another. While I
was downstairs, I made sure that Jon wasn’t around. I was hoping to get on the
computer for a while and I didn’t want to be interrupted.
When I went back into the family room I asked Dad if he knew where Jon was. He
told me that Connor had dropped him off at Debbie’s, and he wouldn’t be home
until dinner. I looked at the clock. It was only 4:12. Dinner wouldn’t be until around
6:30; that is unless Mom wasn’t still too mad at Dad to make dinner. Usually when
they argue, we go out to eat.
I took my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and headed upstairs. After locking the
door, I went over to the computer and opened up the gay site. Nineteen guys were
in the chat room but I didn’t recognize any of them.
One was Pat18, so I opened his cam. I was expecting someone young, but it
turned out to be some old guy. He had a fat belly and a small dick. I quickly left his
room. I then went to the room of Jazzr. I was sure to check his age before I
opened his cam. It said he was twenty-six and gay. He was from Chicago and had
a pretty nice body and an average hard cock. Nineteen guys were watching him,
encouraging him to cum.
Suddenly, my name appeared in the chat. It was Indyboi91!
Indyboi91: hey Elmer!
I looked to see if he was camming, but he wasn’t. I was hoping I could see his
Indyboi91: what r u doing?
ElmerFudd: just surfing
My heart started beating when I saw the icon light up that indicated he had turned
on his webcam.
Indyboi91: i got somthing u can surf on
I went to his room. He was naked, stroking his hard cock. Even though he had just
turned on his cam, there were already nine guys watching him. The chat started to
scroll with their comments. I reached into my pants and started stroking myself as
I watched him. The camera was lower than before, showing off his muscular
thighs. I thought I’d cum too quickly when he started rubbing his balls.
Indyboi91: u still ther Elmer?
Several of the other guys began to ask me questions. They wanted to know where
I was located and how old I was. I ignored them.
ElmerFudd: I’m still here
Indyboi91: u like what u see?
ElmerFudd: hell yeah ur hot!
Indyboi91: u stroking a hard one there?
Again, it was hard to keep up with the comments in the room. Most were
commenting on Indyboi, but a few were still asking me questions.
ElmerFudd: yeah, im hard as a rock
Indyboi91: can i see it? turn on ur cam
Shit! I wasn’t ready for this, not yet anyway. My cock started to go limp with the
idea of showing it to Indyboi91 and thirty-one other strangers who were now in the
room. The chat was scrolling quickly from the comments of everyone wanting me
to get on cam. My hands were shaking when I typed my next entry.
ElmerFudd: I don’t hve a cam
Indyboi91: bullshit Elmer u got a cam
Again, I was barraged with numerous comments to turn my cam on. I could tell
Indyboi was upset. I watched as he stood up and put on a pair of boxer briefs.
Indyboi91: gtg laters dudes
He turned off his cam and left the room. I stayed online a few minutes in the hope
that he would return, but he didn’t. Everyone’s attention turned to tommi99. I
briefly turned on his cam. He appeared to be about forty. I left the room.
I was mad at myself because I didn’t have the nerve to open my camera and let
Indyboi91 see me. I think he left because he was upset with me. He probably
opened his cam just for me to watch him, and he expected me to join him as he
Now I was worried that he might not return to the chat room. After everything I
had gone through to get a chance to talk to him, I’d blown the first opportunity to
actually cam with him.
I opened my desk drawer, took out my webcam and plugged it into the port. I
pointed the camera at my cock and turned it on. It looked huge on my small
frame. I already knew I was big, but the camera seemed to magnify its size.
Indyboi91 wouldn’t be disappointed when he saw it.
I continued to jack off, watching myself on cam. I was imagining Indyboi91
watching me as I stroked it. It didn’t take me long to cum. When I did, I watched it
coat my stomach on the screen before me. It was exciting to watch. Now I could
understand why guys got off watching other guys.
I wanted to watch Indyboi91 cum. I wanted him to watch me. The next time when
he asks me, I’ll turn on my cam.
Chapter 8 Return to TMJ
**Lyrics are from the song 'Seasons of Love' from the musical play, Rent.
Music and Lyrics by Jonathan Larson.