Knots, Book 1
by Elias Scott
Andy and I were fourteen the summer before our freshman year at Edison High School, a school of about 750 students located in the small conservative town of Canby. That summer, and the year that followed, are as clear as a high def digital movie in my head.
It's no secret. Andy was my best friend and I loved him.
Looking back on that time makes me think of knots. You know, those knots that seem to come from nowhere when it's usually because we were a little careless and weren't paying attention. Andy and I tied knots in our lives that year we thought could never be untied. But as anyone knows, who has patience enough, every knot can be undone. But for some, the knots remain forever.
Andy and I are in our twenties now and look back on that time as one where we were searching for who we were and our place in this crazy world. Our hormones were as active as atoms. Anything could start a chain reaction that could change our lives forever.
Andy and I mowed lawns to make extra money during that summer. We'd take our shirts off as the temperature rose. I couldn't help but look at Andy's slim, tanned, and toned body. He'd catch me looking at him and would smile. His smile drew you in and made you feel loved. The blue-gray eyes, nose, ears, and sandy hair formed a perfect head. He was slender, but not skinny. He was my best friend and I loved him, yet I often felt nervous around him and didn't know why. There were times I wanted to hug him like a brother, but I never did. Andy made my insides spin like a tornado. Everything in the world seemed right when I was with him. I savored our days together.
Girls didn't do that to me, but then I was only fourteen and most of my friends were guys. But of all my friends, only Andy made my insides tumble. We were tied together in a square knot. But anyone who knows anything about knots knows a square knot gets its strength under tension. It clamps down on itself. Yet, when the tension is released, it's easily untied. Wouldn't it great if our lives could be like that?
Unfortunately, the tension made my life feel like it was all in knots. I often wondered if Andy felt like I did, but was afraid to ask. And if he said yes, then what?
We played basketball and rode our bikes out into the country on weekends.
That summer we still thought of ourselves as the big boys who'd just graduated from the 8th grade. The reality of being freshmen hadn't hit us yet.
Andy came by my house on a warm Saturday in July while I was mowing our lawn. He had a rope about an inch wide looped around the both ends of his handle bars. He flashed his smile and jerked his head toward our secret place. "Let's go," he said. "I finally got some rope for the tree by the pond."
I yelled, "Mom, we're headed to the pond."
She'd grown used to this and yelled back, "Don't stay too late."
I slapped the rope that lay across Andy's handlebars. "I can't believe we finally got the rope."
"What do you mean, we? You didn't do anything but talk about it. I did it."
Andy was right. He was a doer, and I was jealous that he'd beat me to it. But I didn't care. We had the rope and we'd soon be swinging high in the air like trapeze artists and falling into the cool water of Davis Creek.
The entrance to the woods was about a mile out of town. We hid our bikes in the bushes just off the main rode. The rope was so big and heavy I figured it would take two of us to carry it. But Andy drug the rope over his neck and under his arm, listing some as a big grin spread across his face. He's awesome, I thought.
I followed him into the thick woods down our secret trail where we'd discovered what we called Our Swimming Hole. Davis Creek flowed rapidly until the stream bed leveled off and the water slowed and formed a small pond. Andy turned and smiled. "This is just too cool?"
I nodded as he stripped down to his shorts, tied two big knots at one end of the rope, and started up the tree, his muscles moving like snakes under his skin.
I wanted to be him. It made me think of the book we'd read in class called A Separate Peace which was about two friends. One was jealous of the other, and when his friend was on the branch, he shook it and the boy fell and broke his arm or leg. Can't remember which. He was a good athlete and couldn't finish the football season.
I envied Andy for his courage, good looks, and for what he did to me inside. My envy was not jealousy and that's why I could never do anything that would hurt him. I was greedy for his courage and everything that made him special. But even then, I couldn't tell you what it was.
Andy climbed out on the tree branch. "Can you believe we're really doing this? I thought we'd never do this Matt. We're always talking about it. I finally decided it was time."
My heart thumped when he said, "we're really doing this." And I guess we were. He got the rope, but we were putting it up together.
I stripped to my shorts, jumped in, and tread water under the branch, waiting for the rope to fall. The water was cool, but the during the warm summer days was no worse than a swimming pool.
Andy tied a huge knot at one end of the rope and dropped it so it hung three or four feet off the water. He used the rest to tie the rope to the tree using whatever knot came to him. "I'm tying this into so many knots there's no way it's coming loose," he yelled as he looked down at me.
I just looked up at him and saw Andy grinning in amazement. I squinted in the sunlight that flashed from behind him, making him look like some supernatural being. "How we going to get the rope to the bank?"
"I already thought of that." He reached into this shorts and pulled out a thin rope about eight feet long. "Here, tie this to the end of the rope and we can use it to drag the rope to the edge."
"Looks like you've thought of everything."
"Yep, I'm sooo cool."
I looked up. "Yeah, as cool as day old dog shit."
"Fuck you," he said as he moved off the branch and climbed down the tree. "Bring the rope over. Let's swing."
I grabbed the small rope and swam to the edge.
"Hang on. I'll pull you out." Andy took the end of the small rope and pulled me and the large rope on the edge of the pond. I scrambled up and stood next to him, waiting for him to take the first swing when he said, "Matt, I want you to go first."
"You did all the work. You should go first."
"I know, but I want you to go first."
"It doesn't feel right."
"Don't worry about that stuff. Get your ass on that knot."
I climbed out of the water, put the rope between my legs, sat on the knot, and swung out over the water holding on tight, a little afraid to jump off. The swinging tickled my stomach. "Andy, this is awesome."
"You don't get to ride forever. Jump off so I can ride."
I pulled back on the rope so my back was parallel to the water and slid off into the coolness with a small slap and a big splash.
He motioned with his hand. "Bring the rope over."
I handed it to him. He jumped on and walked way further back than I had and swung far out over the water, making me look like an amateur. He jumped off when the rope hit its highest point. The water splashed and hit me.
"Andy, that was awesome. You were flying."
We took turns swinging, challenging each other to ever-higher heights until we both got out and laid on our backs in the grass, breathing hard and exhausted.
I glanced over and admired Andy's smooth skin and nicely formed body. He and I were only fourteen, but he looked muscular for a fourteen year old. I felt inferior to him even though I was in good shape. But I didn't have muscles like Andy. He turned over on his side and looked at me. "Let's swim naked."
I hesitated. "What if someone comes?"
"Who cares? There's nothing sinful about swimming naked. I've done it before and it feels great."
My eyes followed his perfect body as he stood up. He pulled off his shorts and underwear, and his penis dropped. Of course it was bigger than mine.
I glanced quickly as his penis and his body and didn't move as he jumped in. "Come on Matt."
Modesty hit me as I turned my back to him and pulled off my shorts and rushed into the water. The coolness on my penis and balls was like being weightless. I'd never felt so in touch with my body. It didn't compare to being naked in the shower.
Andy swam across the pool, did somersaults exposing his butt, and then coming up and blowing water from his mouth like a whale. I did the same.
We swam around the pool like boxers preparing to fight. He swam over to me. "Isn't this just too cool?
"Huh, huh, yeah."
He moved closer to me and for a second I thought he was going to give me a naked hug and kiss. I moved back a little and he flashed me a devious smile. He just beamed with what I now know was the beauty and love of youth. Neither of us knew it then. My feelings for him were deep and wonderful and I didn't understand them. He was beautiful in a masculine teenager way, and what I thought was perfection in another human being. I wanted to hug him and let him know how much I loved him, but was afraid it would change our friendship, and at that moment, it was the friendship I valued more than anything else in my life.
Andy splashed water in my face. "What are you looking at?"
"Oh nothing. Just thinking."
"How great it is being here with you. My balls and dick feel so free. Let's do this every time we come."
He splashed water on me. "We can if you want. Is your cock hard?"
"None of your business."
"Mine is. You want to touch it?"
"Fuck you, Andy."
"I was just joking. Mine's hard though." He rushed toward me. "Let me see if yours is hard."
"Get away from my Andy."
He grinned. "Just teasing," he said as he grabbed the rope and climbed out.
I stared at him when his back was to me and noticed the perfect dimpled butt and the V shape of his back. He was tanned except for his butt. He had perfect fourteen year old legs, shaped in proportion to the rest of him. Jealousy and envy filled me as I again thought of the book, A Separate Peace. I swam to the shore as he jumped on the rope. "Give me a push and swing me out as far as you can."
I put my hands on his back and felt his smooth wet skin. I'd never touched another person like that before. "Let me know when you're ready."
I pushed him hard as he swung far across the pond. He pulled himself up the rope like an acrobat. I stared in awe. He threw his feet up the end of the rope, and on the next swing, let go and dropped head first into the water with hardly a splash.
I wanted to be him so much. I wanted everything he had. It may have been this that I felt inside. The love I felt was envy. I wanted to feel and sense everything like he did. It was impossible, but being with him was the only opportunity I had. I relished and savored it, hoping it would never end.
Andy walked to our clothes. "Got to go. Mom told me to be home before 4:00. Has some work for me around the house. Let's do it again tomorrow."
"Let's. This was the best day. I'll come by your house, K."
"No, let's meet here around 1:00."
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