Black Eyed David

by It's Only Me from Across the Sea

I like it here. Last year, not so much. Last year I was lonely, knew no-one, and, to be fair, was somewhere different. It wasn't that different, it was just round the corner, but it could have been on the moon. We'd been on holiday to Pwllheli that last couple of years.

Now, some folk love the place with its stinking inner harbour at low tide, its shingle beach and the sewage bestrewn Abererch Sands, and I did learn to sail there, but it failed as a holiday destination, well except for my father's obsession with beach fishing. He was in his element annoying those who wanted to swim. He also loved the stinking mud. "Great source of bait," he said.

Me, I like fishing well enough, but I'm not obsessed by it. For me it's an excuse to stand somewhere beautiful as the sun sets and to stand there longer that you do if you've just gone to look at the sunset. I prefer sailing. Not this year, though. I'd like to be sailing, but I don't own a boat, there's no-one to sail with who owns one that I know. And I asked for a decent sandy beach.

Abererch was sandy, yes, golden sand, yes, with an underlying layer of rotting seaweed, and the crazy Victorian engineering that created a tidal lock and weir to keep water in the inner harbour, and put the sewage outfall in the outer harbour to be taken away with the tide. I suppose it worked well back then. Sea bathing wasn't fashionable, and this is North Wales. What tourist industry was there on the Lleyn peninsular back then? Just pilgrims heading for Bardsey.

They tried. There's a row of seafront houses a bit like Tenby's Esplanade, but the beach is stones, and holidaymakers like sand.

Anyway, the sewage system must have been vomiting onto the beach for years before the lock and weir failed, and then it flowed into the inner harbour with the tide. At least I learned what a condom looked like last year, not that I could have filled one! I mean with flesh! Come (ha!) to that, not with sperm either. I get a whole half teaspoonful on a poor day, and by my own unaided efforts!

So, this year we're in Abersoch, and the beach is all anyone could wish for. There's sand as far as the eye can see, cool, well, freezing, blue sea, puffy white clouds in the sky, and a pleasingly distant view of Pwllheli across the bay.

The downside, though, is that I don't get sailing lessons this year, but I go sailing in the summer term at school so it's not a huge disaster.

We've rented a place in the village, town, whatever Abersoch is. That's a bit upmarket for us. We usually rent a static caravan somewhere . The beach isn't as good for fishing, but there are Bass in the bay if only Dad can catch one. And he is still traipsing off to Pwllheli mud to dig for bait, a sport I am most certainly not taking part in.

"Mum, are you sure you gave Tony's parents the right directions?"

"You've asked me that every twenty minutes for the past week!"

"For the millionth time, stop exaggerating!"

"Well, at least twice a day, then, and only since Saturday. And yes, I have. They're due to come up on Wednesday, drop him off here, probably spend Wednesday night on the sofa-bed, and then go to their relatives in Rhyl. I can quite see why Tony wants to stay with us, too. Rhyl's almost the Welsh Blackpool!"

"Wish he could have come up with us on Saturday. I know it's only Monday, but I'm bored ." I managed to put a teenage whine into my voice. It drove Mum nuts! Well, she said it did.

"Go and find someone to play with on the beach, little boy," she smiled at me. "Maybe you could find a pretty girl to talk to?"

"Like that's going to happen!"

"Why not. You're handsome in a teenaged kind of way."

"I'm all pasty white, alabaster. Who's going to look at me except to giggle. Anyway I've no idea what to talk to girls about."

"Nor did your father! He tried to impress me with football and cricket and his motorbike. I admit that was impressive, but that wasn't what impressed me."

"What was it?"

"It was his good looks and manners."

"No, the bike ! What was the bike?"

"Boys! The same the world over. I tell you how your dad impressed me and you want to know about his bike!"

"Well, duhh!"

"You've seen the pictures. It wasn't new by any means, but he'd saved up for a Velocette Venom ."

"What happened to it?"

"You!"

"Huh?"

"We'd been everywhere on it, even with his blasted fishing rods, camping. Then I found I was pregnant. It's hard to ride pillion with a bump on your front, so we sold it and got a rather clapped out Hillman Minx . Our concession to our motorbike days was that it was a convertible."

"I don't remember that car at all."

"Why would you? We sold it again when you were two. It kept breaking down." She paused. "And here we are talking about bikes and cars!"

"Looks like they did impress you, though."

"Cheeky brat! I suppose they did. I loved the wind in my hair. No crash hats back then. Rather stupid when I look back, but it felt great!"

"Beach then. Mind you, the only bike I've got to talk about's the one I go to school on, and that's me powered with that awful Sturmey Archer three speed gear thing. No girl's going to be interested in that! No-one is except to laugh at it."

"Go and get a bit of a tan. Another couple of days you'll look just fine. We're here for four weeks this year, though Dad's got to go back to work for the middle two."


The beach was good. I didn't go to the main beach, not at first. I went over to the little harbour on the road back to Pwllheli and wandered round the beach there, or what there was with the tide in. It was pretty empty. Truth to tell, we'd driven 170 miles in one go on Saturday, up at crack of sparrow's fart to avoid the traffic, and I was still tired.

Of course, I met five girls all of whom wanted me so badly... Or not. I wasn't quite in the mood for company.

Grumpy, that was it. I think it was a birthday thing. We'd driven up on my birthday, and, even though we were here for four whole weeks and it was a decent place, I was put out. Birthdays are meant to be special. I'm not sure mine have ever been.

The harbour beach wasn't helping. I could've walked along it towards Llanbedrog, but I changed my mind. Went back to the cottage for a drink


All was quiet when I got back to the digs in Lon Rhoslyn. I wasn't wearing sensible things for the beach anyway, so I dumped my shirt, and swapped my cut-off jean shorts for bathers. Not a lot of difference in length, but I like the near nudity of the bathers better.

It was a fair walk to the 'real' beach. I've got those Dr Scholl Homicidal Sandals that make a huge slap, slap on the pavement, and that your feet slip off when you get them wet, twisting your ankle, hence 'homicidal' instead of 'exercise' like it has on the box. Mine are the black, leather look ones, not the wooden slabs. Still can't walk quietly, and anyway I quite like the noise.

They don't work on sand, though. I carried them.


I was in a better mood once I'd got to the far end, all the way past the golf course. I love the way the Welsh have taken English words. 'Clwb Golf' makes me laugh every time I see it. I also like the way 'public conveniences' translates to 'cyfleusterau cyhoeddus' coz it looks like a 'ker-flush-tery'. I'm still not sure if I'm a 'merched' or a 'dynion' though. I think they do it just to confuse the English visitors!

The sea was warm. We're having a scorching summer right now. A drought's been declared. Apparently the government is menat to do something about it! I went in to the sea for a while. Can't wait for Tony to get here. Holidays on your own aren't as much fun as with a mate.


How?

What makes girls so different?

I can talk to boys easily. I bump into boys on the beach, and boys I can talk to. I saw two gorgeous looking girls today on the beach, though. Long blonde hair, slim, bikinis, probably my age, identical twins, or at least identical bikinis, but I had nothing to say to start the conversation.

Maybe when Tony gets here, maybe we can talk to them then, if they're still here. Well, people come on holiday from Saturday to Saturday, so they should be.

What do girls talk to boys about? School's no help. At ours the girls and boys seem to be separate out of choice. Lunch tables are boys sitting with boys and girls with girls. We don't seem to have anything in common apart from lessons.

I was lying in bed trying to imagine what I'd do with a girl.

No, that's not right.

I was thinking about the two beach girls. They looked perfection itself. It's just that something was missing, only I couldn't put my finger on it.

It wasn't sex. I don't do sex, not yet. Listening to the other boys in school I think I'm unusual. They don't talk about much but it's always that they've just shagged this girl or that girl. One even has the nickname 'The Vacuum Cleaner', something I don't understand. I asked, once. Never again. They told me I'd know when I knew, and sniggered.

At least in the digs in Abersoch I could have a wank! The caravan in Pwllheli made it impossible. Every movement in those makes the entire structure vibrate!

Wanking, though, was pretty much a means to getting to sleep easily. I knew about real sex, but the whole wank and finish business took about ten seconds followed by blissful sleep.


Tuesday was, pretty much, similar. Went along the beach. Saw the girls. One's called Sarah. The other one isn't. They're with their parents. I know one's Sarah because the other one called to her and she answered. I tried to pluck up the courage to say hello, but no ideas came.

I suppose girls are like boys, really, only with breasts. Well, these two weren't overly gifted in the breast department. I think I prefer that. They're sleek, with legs that remind me in a bizarre way of a thoroughbred colt.

That fails on so many levels. They don't have a horse's legs, colts are boys, and I've never actually seen one anyway. Only I know what I mean, but it's hard to describe. Their legs were to be admired; long and sleek and well toned is what they were, and they seemed in perfect balance and proportion.

I wonder if that's what my schoolmates look for in girls?


Went fishing tonight, spinning off the beach for mackerel. I almost wrote that as 'sinning'. Go me! And I was in luck, caught two, dad caught three, so that was breakfast taken care of. I gutted and cleaned them there and then on the beach, been doing it for years. At least that means something goes back to the sea for something else to eat. Well, so it does in Pwllheli, too, out of the stink pipe, but this is, well, more palatable! Fish heads, tails and guts seem clean. Poo, not so much! And yes, I know fish eat poo as well.


Bed time, and I was still mulling over what made girls different. I get the penis and vagina part, I'm not entirely stupid. I suppose it's like belly buttons, and innies and outies. A boy's penis is an outie and the vagina is an innie. So what's a clitoris, then? So that doesn't work.

Playboy, Penthouse, Mayfair, seen those. I'm still not sure from them what a vagina looks like. And those line drawings we got in the school books, those just fail. The pictures don't do it for me. The models are so ancient compared to me. I like the stories, though. Maybe I should think of one of those when I have a wank.

I wonder if I over-analyse stuff?


It was late when Tony arrived with his folks. They suggested I come with them to Rhyl, spend a night there after seeing the sights and come back to Abersoch by bus the next day. Tony's keen, and I'm up for an adventure. There's a bus from Rhyl to Pwllheli, and then another to Abersoch. Takes a while, but it'll be fun. I like the sound of the funfair, too. Actually, that's pretty much all I like the sound of! And coming back by bus.

Wanking was off the agenda. Tony and I were sharing a room. I'd forgotten about that. There's always the loo.

We talked about nothing for ages, so getting to sleep wasn't too hard, even wank free. He's excited about being on holiday with us. I told him about the blonde twins. He's up for trying to talk to them. Won't be until we get back the day after tomorrow, though.


You'd think Rhyl, just being along the north coast of Wales, would be nearby! We left after an early breakfast, but only arrived at lunchtime. I've never been to Blackpool, but, tower apart cos there isn't one, Ocean Beach was just like I imagined the big funfair at Blackpool would be: big, old, noisy, even from inside the car, and screamy!

Tony's folks dropped us off there. We went straight onto the Mad Mouse coaster, followed that by the Big Dipper. Those rides had a load of shake, rattle and roll about them. I love roller coasters almost as much as I love dodgems. Those are fun in a totally different way, which is the way I like driving round them! I target a car and go for it. Do I dodge 'em? I do not!

He and I only had just so much money to pay for the rides. I just had enough left at the end for us both to go on the Rotor. Tony's cash had run out. I'd never been on one before. When the floor dropped away and we were stuck to the wall it was amazing. A kid opposite squirmed round to be upside down! I made the big mistake of trying to sit up, head towards the middle.

I am so not going to do that again. I almost blacked out, and my Barfometer was at 11 out of 10 when the ride stopped!


Fish and chips with scraps for supper out of newspaper on the sea front made the day a total success. Tony and I are really good mates, almost inseparable. We've grown up together, pretty much. We met at primary school when we were both five. In the ten years we've been friends we've never fallen out seriously over anything. We have silly fights, and we piss each other off every so often, but we're friends through and through.

We'd shared a bed before, so that night wasn't a big deal. We often end up tangled up together, too. "Shouldn't we have girlfriends by now?" We'd turned in for the night, tired out.

"Not sure," he said. "Maybe we haven't found a girl we want to be with?"

"So, what do you think about when you wank?" We'd discussed wanking before, how long it took, how much sperm, best techniques, that sort of stuff. We'd even wanked together. I mean at the same time, not actually touching each other, though not often and not recently. It was more a 'let's compare' thing

"Not much; it's more of a thing I need to do to go to sleep easily than anything to do with realio trulio sexio stuff. How 'bout you?"

"It does work rather well at that! I try to think about stuff, you know, like the stories in PlayHouseFair, but it's too remote. And I haven't seen any girls our age with no clothes on. Wish I had. I'm not in to those huge breasted 'Busty Babes' we're meant to like when we get older."

"Nor me. So you just race for the finish line, too?"

"Pretty much. Still not found anything to beat Mrs Palm and her daughters."

"Race you? I really need to. I'm not at all sleepy, and I want to be."

"We haven't for ages..."

"True, but it's not as if we're queer and having sex with each other. It's just a wank."

"We're nowhere near the loo, no loo roll to deal with the stuff?"

"Do what I do, then."

"I've pinched it off so it doesn't come out, you know, by pressing hard behind my balls, but that ruins the entire wank?"

"Not that. I'll show you?"

So, covers back, jim-jams down, tops up, we did. And, in under ten seconds: "Ewww, that's gross! How can you do that?" He'd shot into his spare hand and licked it off. I was stuck with sperms all over my belly and chest.

"Tastes fine, odd texture, but nothing much special."

"You might have told me about that! I'm stuck with my front coated with the stuff."

"True, that!" he was giggling. "I hope you don't expect me to lick that off for you?"

"Maybe I'll just pull my jim-jams up and the top down and let it soak in."

"At least taste it. It's not that bad."

"But it came out of my cock... It'd be like drinking pee or eating poo?"

"God, you can be so thick at times! Go by the smell! Pee just tastes a bit salty, and there's no way I'm going to taste poo coz it stinks. Once food's been eaten and passed through I've got no interest in it at all! Anyway, how can you ask a girl for a blow job if you don't know what it tastes like?"

So I tried it. Can't say I liked it much, but it didn't kill me. "Well... It's not special, and I'd not order it in a café, but it's ok, kind of."

"See!"

"What gave you the idea? I'd not even have thought of it?"

"Mum asked me what I'd got on my pyjamas. I went red, thought fast and said 'must be toothpaste'! I'd heard someone describing what The Vacuum Cleaner did to get her name and thought that'd solve it. And it did. No more toothpaste stains!"

"At least I won't have to have the toothpaste inquisition now."

"No-one expects the Toothpaste Inquisition! Our two main weapons are a cock, a right hand, and a load of sperm... Our three main weapons are a cock, a right hand, a load of sperm and a pyjama jacket... Our four main weap..."

"Oh gawd. You're a total arse!"

"I am. Now sort your mess out and go to sleep, oh slimy one!"

"Two points. One, I am not slimy, and two, you just got pregnant by yourself by mouth!"

"Love it! Now shut up and go to sleep!"


The bus back was scheduled at somewhere around 6 o'clock. After breakfast, the full works, but, luckily, no black pudding, our day was our own. We'd got sandwiches for supper on the bus, some ham, some cheese and pickle, and lunch we had a bit of cash for. We'd spent all our Ocean Beach money yesterday, but we still went in to wander around in the afternoon.

Yesterday I'd seen a hitchhiker, about our age, asking folk in the traffic that was going past for a lift. Looked far better than using a thumb. It's hard to say no when asked directly, I should think. Only he was there again today.

So, if he'd got a lift yesterday, why was he asking for a lift again now?

We were dressed pretty much the same, though his shoes looked the worse for wear, and were about the same age. He had a plastic carrier bag at his feet and was talking to the driver of a Renault 4 van, a white one. Me and cars, and vans, come to that! I can recognise pretty much anything from any angle. He got a ride in that one, so I put it aside. Just seemed odd.

There were a couple of other lads who seemed to be following his example, too. And they each got rides. Some of the traffic was moving really slowly there, Looked like a good spot for hitching.

"We could hitchhike?" I'd never done it, so wondered what Tony thought.

"Not me. You wait ages and then only get a bit of the way. I'd rather take the bus."

"Just seen three lads get lifts just like that, though."

"Still not for me. We've got a definite bus to Pwllheli at around six, and another bus from there to Abersoch a bit later."

"True. I'd like to, though, some time. It'd be an adventure."

"How many adventures do you want in one day? Anyway, I asked mum once. She said there are men who kidnap boys who hitchhike and do nasty things to them."

"Well, that I am not up for. Don't mind someone doing nice things for me!"

"Mum would have a fit if I hitched. And they'd kill me if we split up. Let's get some candyfloss?"

"How much cash have we got?"

"Enough for the bus with a little over and I've got an emergency stash I mustn't touch."

"Same here. And the stash, too!"

"We've ages to go. Beach?"

"Beach."


The route to the bus stop was past Ocean Beach. "That's weird," Tony said.

"What is?"

"I'll swear that boy got a lift here yesterday and got one earlier today. Look, him." He pointed out the same boy I'd seen. Blue top, tan very brief shorts with white stripes, tatty shoes and a black plastic carrier bag. Only he had a black eye now.

"I think we should go and say hello."

"That black eye wasn't there earlier."

Black eye boy was looking pretty miserable when we got over to him. "You ok?" I asked him. "Saw you here earlier. That's quite a shiner."

"What's it to you? You competition or something? This is my patch!"

I'd no idea what he was talking about, not then. "If it's not my business that's fine, you just looked pretty fed up. And I'm not competing for anything."

"My fucking face hurts. I need to make some money to eat and I can't looking like this." And suddenly he began to cry. "Oww! That hurts too. Fuck!"

"Not sure what you mean?"

"No-one wants a boy with a black eye... I won't be able to work for days... I've nowhere to sleep and I'm starving."

"Tony, can we solve that last one?"

"Just about enough cash," he said. "There's a Wimpy Bar up the road. And we've a good while before the bus."

"We've twice as many sandwiches as we need, though. Let's save the money in case we have a real emergency."

"You'd do that for me?" The lad was still sniffling.

"Sure, why not. Swap the food for knowing more about you. And what the heck is this 'patch' thing?"

"You don't want to know." Only his voice sort of said he wanted to talk about it.

Over the next few minutes he told us a lot, and also not much. His name, his first name anyway, was David; he wasn't saying his last name. He came from Manchester, and he couldn't go home again, not ever, though he wouldn't say why. He'd been living rough in Rhyl and Llandudno for quite a while and all he owned was in the carrier bag, and he did 'what he had to', whatever that was, in order to survive. And someone had blacked his eye an hour or so ago, and he had no idea what to do.

"I do," I said. "You're coming with us. My parents'll know what to do. And we haven't time to go to find Tony's before the bus goes. I'd head a clock strike a quarter to."

"Don't know why you're being so nice to me," David said.

"Because you need help." Tony obviously agreed with me. We've got enough money for the bus fare for all of us.

At which David burst into tears again. "Sorry, I'm not usually a cry-baby."

"Can't see a cry-baby," Tony told him. "Just someone our age who needs help. Now, come on, we need to catch the bus."


The bus, being a bus, was late. Half an hour late, and a light drizzle had started, the way only a North Welsh drizzle can. It was so late we started to wonder if we'd already missed it. I was surprised when David took his shirt off and put it in his bag. "It stays dry that way," he said. "Skin's skin, so I may get cold, but I'll have the dry shirt to put on later. You should do the same. You learn a lot when you live rough. Can't take my shorts off, though, but there's so little of them it doesn't matter."

"How come you've got next to nothing?" I was curious.

"I didn't when I ran away from home," he said. "I had a rucksack, a sleeping bag, a tent, changes of clothes, the lot. I'd planned it all. I was going to live in my tent. I'd no idea what to do for money, hadn't thought that far."

"So...?"

"Nicked, all nicked. I was fine for the first week, it was just like the Scouts. When I couldn't pay the camp site they threw me out. I was stupid. I went to find something to eat, and when I got back there was an old bloke in my tent with a knife."

The bus arrived at last.

Three tickets to Pwllheli broke into our reserves, but this was an emergency and we'd decided that was what the stash was for. The back of the bus was empty, and we settled there.

"So I was left with what I stood up in." He was putting his shirt back on. We hadn't taken ours off. We were wet. "And I had to fend for myself for the last few weeks."

"How?"

"Begged a bit, but that didn't get me far. Thought about trying to go home, but my parents don't want me anywhere near them." There was a real sneer on the word 'parents' as though they were things that had crawled out from under a stone and were disgusting. "Maybe they're right. Maybe I am as disgusting as they say. I've had to do some disgusting things to survive."

There was a long pause, one neither Tony or I knew how to fill; maybe we knew not to try to fill it.

"If I tell you you'll probably wish you hadn't helped me."

"You've come this far with us," Tony told him. "Unless you've hurt or killed anyone I don't think we're going to wish that. You're coming to see Peter's parents, you'll have a bed to sleep in, and a bath. One of those you need, rather, and we'll all try to work out how to get you back to some sort of normal."

Tears again. It was almost contagious. I nearly burst into them, too. "They won't want to help me." The words forced themselves out between sobs, one at a time, as though they were drowning and trying to reach the surface of the water. "They'll hate me. You'll hate me."

"Nothing to hate so far. Well, except the smell. Mate, you stink!" Tony was laughing.

"Sorry." Small voice, sobbing easing.

"Teasing!" Tony took him by the hands, awkward on the bus seat. "I'm teasing. Yeah, you pong a bit, but that'll wash off. I don't think I could survive a day on the streets and you've done a few weeks. I'm not impressed, not exactly, but I'm amazed, and I reckon you must be pretty brave to do it, and pretty desperate to run away from home."

"I was." Suddenly the whole story came tumbling out David had been a boarder at a posh school in Yorkshire, and had been expelled in shame. "I'm queer!"

"Ok, that's different, but it doesn't make me hate you, David." I was sure of that.

"I was caught with another boy, in his bed. We were doing queer things. My parents went mad when the collected me. They went on and on and on about how dirty and disgusting I was, how I'd brought disgrace to the family, how I'd never get a decent job, and how nancy boys like me were ruining the country."

He told us how they'd taken him to the family doctor, a man he'd known for years and whose sons he'd played with, and how they'd asked for him to be cured. And how embarrassed he'd been having to talk to the man about it, especially in front of his mother.

Then he described what was going to happen next. "It's called aversion therapy," he said. "They strap you to a chair and show you pictures of naked boys and men and give you electric shocks that are meant to cure you."

"I don't know about being queer," I said, "but that sounds awful. It's inhumane. Do you want to be queer?"

"Not much now, but I didn't feel queer when I was with my Harry, the boy I was caught with. It all felt so normal, and so lovely."

"Do you want to be cured?"

"I don't think it's a cure. I think it's torture under a different name. I thought about killing myself when I learned about it. It seemed like the only way out. Only I want to see Harry again one day, if he'll see me, and I'm too much of a coward to do it anyway."

"So you left home?"

"I hitched over to Chester and then couldn't get another ride and did some serious walking to get to Rhyl. I'm a mess, but you are the first people to make me feel human again."

"You're ok with us, isn't he, Peter?"

"And you don't mind that I'm queer?"

"Don't have an opinion," I told him. "I kind of know what queers do, and it doesn't do anything for me, and I don't fancy boys, nor girls, come to that, not yet, but I seriously don't care one way or the other who or what you fancy."

"How did you survive?" Tony asked as we ground our way into Bangor.

"Did you see the others where you met me?"

"Yup."

"I did what they did. I picked up men who wanted a boy with long tanned legs and short shorts for sex."

"Shit!"

"Wasn't my favourite thing to do, but sometimes it got me a hot meal, sometimes money, sometimes even a bed for the night. I got used to being pawed by fat old men. More than pawed. I got used to sucking them and being fucked by them, sometimes pretty much being raped. I did what I had to do. And all the time I was trying to think it was my beautiful Harry... Only it wasn't. It was bloody awful. It was disgusting and dangerous..."

"But you made it!" I squeezed his hand. "You made it."

"Got this black eye and a sore arse to show for it."

I squeezed his hand again. "Can't take any of that away. We can try to make the future right, though. Starts when we get to Abersoch."

"Used to go there on holiday, back when I had parents who loved me." He was crying again.

I had no idea what to do. I had a sudden impulse, and kissed his cheek. "I can't promise it'll all be fine, but my folks are going to hate what's happened to you."


We snoozed or stared out of the window until Pwllheli. There wasn't a lot else to say. I'd never knowingly met a queer boy before, and David didn't fit any of the television stereotypes. He was just an ordinary boy, so far as I could see, with legs that many girls would kill to own.

At Pwllheli we had a surprise. As we got off the bus mum and dad met us. We hadn't expected that.

"Hi boys, surprise!" Dad walked towards us.

Tony and I looked and David was hanging back. "David, this is Peter's dad."

"Wow, David, that's one heck of a black eye," dad said.

"He's had a rough time, dad. He needs a bath and a bed and some food. Please can he stay with us for a few days? He's got quite a story to tell."


I didn't suddenly discover I was queer too. I probably ought to say 'gay' now that I look back. If I'd been gay I think I'd have fallen for David, once I got to know the person behind the pain. That person was, is, a real gentleman. He had a huge set of things he had to work through, and he stayed with us for a good while, so long that mum and dad looked at foster care so he could be with us as long as he needed. That wasn't to be, as it happened.

Dad drove up to David's parents' home right after we'd all come home from Abersoch and talked to them. They weren't what he expected. He'd expected posh folk since David had been to a posh boarding school. Turns out they were just like us, people doing the best they could, making their way in the world. They'd bust a gut to send David to the best school they could, and they really love him.

Dad said it was the shock of their dreams for him vanishing overnight that made them overreact. They also had no experience with gay people, thought it must be their fault, wanted to change it. But they never talked to David about it, never found out what he needed. They'd reported him missing after he left home, of course they had, but he'd vanished off the face of their earth, and the police hardly seemed to care.

It took until late November for David to be brave enough to go with dad to see his folks. He'd been in our school with me and Tony from September. He asked dad to stay at first. When David was comfy dad went for a stroll, then they drove back together. The plan is for David to finish the term here, and to go home for Christmas, and his parents are coming down to take him home again. He's a bit apprehensive, but looking forward to it. They're sorting out a school there for him. Dad's made friends with them. They're 'Our Friends in the North' now. Well, in Macclesfield, anyway

I'd like to report that David and Harry are going to be together, and so would David. Maybe that will happen, one day. They're in touch at least. Harry had his own rough time after they were surprised, but his parents hadn't almost thrown their son away like David's had.

Tony and I talked to the blonde twins on the beach, or did it eventually. David dared us to do it! They were nice, but both had much older boyfriends, with driving licences. Not a chance for us!

I'm still perplexed about sex. I've seen David's legs in my mind a few times when I've wanked. They've got a sort of 'no, not for me' feeling about them, although they look nice. That is what my English teacher calls a paradox, or it would be if I told her. I've seen Blonde Beach Girls' faces too. They feel too difficult. I'm interested in sex, but only with myself, really.

What I know for sure is, being homosexual or heterosexual isn't important. It just 'is'. David isn't a homosexual called David. He's David. The least important part of him is being gay. I wish more people knew that.

Voting

This story is part of the 2016 story challenge "Inspired by a Picture: May I Help You?". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The voting period of 18 October to 8 November 2016 is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the competition home page.

The challenge was to write a story inspired by this picture:

May I help you?
Please rate Black Eyed David with the impressions it left you with

Either while reading this story, or afterwards, I found it to be/had/made me (Tick all that apply)

Romantic
Erotic
Sweet
Gentle
Surprising
Realistic
Inspiring
An emotional read
Written with rhythm and pace
Thought provoking
Well laid out (paragraphs etc)
Technically well written
Written with good use of grammar and syntax (this does not mean pedantic use)
Easy to read
It invited me in
I could not put it down
Cheering (made me happy)
Uplifting
I identified with at least one of the characters
It felt like it was about me. I know it wasn't, but it felt like it
The plot was tough to read. (a tough [good] experience, not hard to read)
Not just prose, but almost a 'tone poem'
There could be spelling/grammar/punctuation improvements
Interpreted the picture well


Current Results

Apology to Pwllheli

I need to be fair to Pwllheli, a place that I enjoyed my own holidays in for many years. Yes, the sewage system was awful, once. I can't remember exactly when, but the water company made a great effort and installed a major poo processor. One summer everything changed. This was, broadly, the year the tale is set, the 1976 long hot summer of drought here in the UK

The old Victorian outfall was replaced with a holding tank just past the Gimlet Rock Club, and a pump system which emptied it into an outgoing tide outside the harbour mouth. The poo was finely divided and was swept away by the tide. Today that would also be unacceptable. The harbour mud stopped stinking because it was no longer re-plastered in poo every day, and the inner harbour became, well, not a lovely place, but acceptable. There's a posh marina there today.

It's still not a beautiful town, but I have a fondness for it, not because of the place, but because of the people I met there each year. Many of the things I do now, in 2016, I do because of seeds sown in me in Pwllheli from the summer of 1965 onwards. Not that type of seed! Please do get your mind out of the gutter! One may always wish, though!

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