by Rafael Henry

The Uncertainty of Life

'Why don't you darling? You'd be so good at it…….and he seemed such a nice boy. Really darling, you should think very seriously about it.'

I was thinking very seriously about it.

Where can I start with this story. I know…….the beginning might be appropriate. Very briefly then, which is never easy because so much depends on so many things.

My father had moved from Folkestone to Brighton. I won't go into all the reasons why, but it meant my moving schools aged thirteen because I had won a scholarship which made the fees much more affordable, plus the fact that my father was in a better paid job with an auction house in 'Town' [London]. Living in the more fashionable Brighton appealed to him, and the social opportunities that it offered to a gay man. My parents split ages ago, before I knew my mother properly as a real person. Luckily I see her when she comes to England from her home in France. She's happily married, as far as I know, with three children who usually come with her to England. We all have a good time together when we go up to the flat she hires in London…….always the same one in Marylebone. Dad comes with me and stays nearby just for one night to have dinner at the flat with everyone, while I'm there for the best part of a week. I love my cousins dearly. It's lovely to see them, and my mother of course.

Growing up, I needed an explanation of our family circumstances, which my father gave me. He was completely honest about it all, for which I am grateful, and I respect him for it. I was the result of a university friendship. They lived together for a year before getting married. Five years later, they lived apart. My father's sexual orientation became a problem for a young woman. Not that my father did not love my mother. I know he did, and still does, in 'his own way'. Fair enough. Since the age of eight, he's cared for me, doing everything that a parent should do. It was about that time that he explained everything to me, and the reason why his men friends, usually just men, came to stay for weekends or longer. Most of them I liked very much, and they all made a fuss of me. Looking back, I think they found me an attractive boy. I remember vaguely some of their comments. Now they are very careful what they say and do. My father has had sex with some of them……..and one in particular. I just had to know, so on more than one occasion I listened at his bedroom door. There was no doubting what was going on. They were having sexual intercourse. Despite the fact that it was my father doing things with another person, I looked down to see that I was fully aroused inside my pyjamas. I didn't know whether to be worried about that or not.

When I was twelve…….it was on my birthday…….I asked my father some very specific questions about his sexuality. As ever, his answers were honest, and detailed. I enjoyed listening to his slightly alternative offering about sex, man on man, and for boys like me who might meet other boys, and how to handle certain situations. I was in the bath, with him sitting on the side. Again, I was aroused by what he was talking about. We just laughed about it, after he had had complimented me on possessing a rather lovely penis.

'Thanks Dad. Is it ok then?'

'Perfect my son. I'm quite sure you will be in demand……..when the time comes, and not before if you don't mind.'

'When's that Dad?'

'When you're ready for such encounters, and when the other person is ready too.'

Ok, that's fair enough. Anyway, I love him and I think he's mentally and physically beautiful.

As for me, I've no real ideas as yet about what I'll turn out to be, but as of this moment, I think I would enjoy a physical relationship with either sex, preferably around my age. I'm fourteen and very much a virgin, apart from the occasional casual 'fiddling'. I'd would really like to get started on this project. I should add at this point that no adult has ever touched me sexually, although one or two of Dad's friends gave me the impression that they would like to, no doubt under the influence of several large gin and tonics.

Working for one of those famous names in the West End of London, my father always encouraged me in the Arts. He's a good musician, but my forte was for something more visual.

When I won a prize at the local art society show and it made the local paper, in fact Southern TV as it was then, they did a two-minute piece about me. The next week, a woman phoned the Brighton flat. I was out walking on the seafront……it was a Saturday in term time…..but picked up the message later on the answerphone and returned her call. Essentially, she wanted a tutor for her son. The boy showed promise, and like me, she thought he might be good enough for an award at the school I now attend just up the road from the flat. The boy currently attends another school in the own, but their provision for art and design was minimal. She thought that my input might be helpful. The boy had seen the short television interview as part of the local news, and told his mum that he thought I 'looked nice'. That gave her the idea of contacting me. Well, I'm rather flattered……definitely. But who is this boy? I'm more than intrigued.

I saw it in the car park right in front of the flat…..quite nice……some sort of Volvo. I was expecting them at eleven on the Sunday morning. I didn't get much of a look at the two figures as they got out of the car and made their way to the main door of our building. Making my way downstairs, the intercom buzzed….then silence. I opened the heavy door a few seconds later.

It was one of those moments when about a hundred thoughts flash through your mind.

He'd brought several sketch books with him, plus several attempts at acrylic landscapes and beach scenes…….a notoriously difficult medium as it dries in seconds. I hate the unforgiving habits of acrylics, but all painting is difficult. You need someone to get you started on the right road, especially at that age as it's so easy to lose heart and give up hope. I was lucky. I had a wonderful teacher who kept things simple with 'achievable targets' as he would say. Gradually the confidence grows, and will bear fruit ultimately. I knew that the advice I had been given would be useful to Jute. Within five minutes I was completely hooked on the idea of helping this boy. Obviously he was a little anxious about the meeting, and what I would say, or be like even? I had to be realistic. I couldn't give him the impression that he could achieve something that was beyond him. It's a risk for both of us.

My father made coffee in the kitchen for Jute's mother while he and I sat and discussed his work and what might be done. It's all in his eyes. I had never seen eyes like his. They were full of wanting….…fearfulness mixed with hope……anxiety…….not knowing…….and a profound beauty. I found his gaze unnerving…….disquieting, not so much in the challenge that might present itself working with him, but what it was all doing to me now, and all before anything had been decided.

By the time Jute and his mother left the flat, it was decided. His mum had a couple things to do in the town. Did Jute want to go for a stroll on the seafront perhaps, until his mother came back?

Of course he did want to walk. He's terribly excited because I've told him. It's good news for both of us I'm sure, and I love the idea of taking on a 'pupil', as artists say. We are both going to learn so much. Between us, we can raise his standard way above where it is now. The potential is there, but his energy is poorly channelled, undisciplined and uneducated.

I'm so excited, I cannot tell you! I'm going to train him in how to think about art, and how to work with purpose and routine. I'm going to show him what to look at and how to see it. I will show him a wonderful new world full of light and hope…...and I'm afraid, a good dose of disappointment. But that's the world that we people inhabit who have 'the illness', the absolute need to paint.

It's a two-minute walk to the beach from the flat, making sure you don't get run over as you cross the main A259 into Brighton. Once across that, it's down the flights of stairs and over another quiet road below at sea level, then over the Volks Railway line and onto the pebbles of Brighton beach, with the Palace Pier about a mile to the west, and the new harbour construction a half mile to the east.

I look at my new pupil as he faces me, his face alight with……something nice……nice thoughts……..good feelings hopefully.

'Are you excited Jute?'

'Umm. Are you?'

Of course I am, and I tell him.

'Thank you Ollie.'

'What for? This is for me too. This is for us.'

He'd taken a step forward which left just inches between us.

'Shake on it then?' I say.

He lifts his right hand and I take it in mine.

'Other one too?'

We spent a fun ten minutes chucking pebbles into the sea. That's an activity that is bound to amuse boys, at least for a while. It was a diversion away from the tension of our first meeting, which frankly could have been a disaster. The whole thing may still be a disaster. Anyway, we've agreed to give it a go on a weekly basis. It's term time now, so we agreed that Jute would show up at ten each Saturday morning for a month. We would spend the mornings exploring different drawing techniques and materials, and learning to 'look' properly…..to make each mark relate to something we can see……and notice. Once we have established some discipline, then colour and paint can rear its ugly and complicated head, but not yet! No, not yet. His application for a financial award at the College had to be submitted by next March. It's mid-September now. There's time. No need to panic.

I went to bed that night thinking I wouldn't sleep the whole night. Jute was due to start working with me on a trial basis the following Saturday…….just six days away. I need to work out a strategy which means analysing the work he had left with me…….a means of drilling into him what he's not seeing at the moment. I need to instil good habits into his brain, and to get him to understand what he's looking at. I need to think back…..to remember how I was taught. First things first. Walk before you run.

Jute had gone home with instructions to get himself a couple of new sketchbooks……an A3 and a pocket sized A5 which he would keep with him, and use, whenever possible. Seawhites of Brighton have them, and they're excellent. A good soft pencil, say a 4B, sawn in half and sharpened one end would complete the essential kit. The other messy stuff I have here. One other thing…….don't come in clothes you don't want to spoil.

I lay in bed looking at Jutes drawings. There were landscapes, bits of his garden, and one or two attempts to draw himself. They were energetic and whole-hearted attempts full of interest and commitment. He's excited by making marks, which is exactly what excites me. The problem is that there is a lack of observation. He's not 'looking'. That's it in a nutshell…….I have to teach him to 'look'! Right now, he's putting down what he 'feels'. When he can combine what he's feeling and seeing, then we're in business.

It's not easy to be told certain things about your parents when you are twelve years old. I guess it had to be done at some time, and when a boy starts asking questions, then that's the time I suppose. It was shocking in some ways, and no doubt it has changed me from that moment on. Dad, whilst being truthful, wanted to leave me a stronger person afterwards. He tried his best, but the truth is the truth. He's entitled to a way of life of his choosing provided, as he put it, that his responsibilities to me are fulfilled. I have accepted that he will make love with another man, and not with my mother. I know his love for me is unconditional, and that's what really matters to me. That night after my meeting with Jute, I thought long and hard about the boy who had unexpectedly come into my life. I'm so glad he has, for more than one reason.

As soon as I set eyes on Jute, I knew there was something special about him. I think it was his poise………the way he held himself. Boys that age tend to stand in a way that suggests they don't know what to do with their bodies. They haven't learnt how to present themselves physically. Jute does know. Down on the beach we just fooled about, throwing pebbles and 'skimming' the flatter ones we could find. I had taken him on as a pupil and he was thrilled. That was enough for now. I would find much more about him once we had started working together. I didn't want any more information at this point. I think he's into gymnastics, or something like that. His drawings show spirit without discipline. That's fine. I hope I can teach, or rather show him, how to harness all that energy, and focus it into something meaningful.

But the way he holds his body is very different. His body has already been subjected to something rigorous. Although he was wearing a pair of blue denim jeans when I met him, his arms were exposed from just above the elbows. If his legs are like his arms? As you may have guessed, I like to look at boys' bodies. I find them beautiful……and at this point in my life, more interesting than girls. That's the way it is with me. The only boy's body I have committed to paper is my own. I have drawn myself in a mirror many times and learnt from it. My art teacher suggested I do it. At my age, it's the only way one gets to see nudity I'm afraid. You can't ask a chum to come around and pose nude for you. It might well be an efficient way to lose friends!

I had told Jute to wear something he didn't mind getting messed up with charcoal dust. I plan to take him through some materials that will be new to him, and then go out into the world around us……and record it our way…or rather his way.

Jute was due to arrive for the first session at twelve thirty. He said he had to be in Brighton earlier, but didn't mention why. He got here at twenty-five past twelve, carrying two bags. One was a Waitrose carrier bag with the sketchbooks in it. The other one was slung over one shoulder.

'What's in that one Jute?' I ask, just checking the contents of the carrier.

'My stuff.'

'What stuff?'

'Nothing. Just stuff…….that's all.'

'Oh. Secret stuff is it?'


Jute looks decidedly uncomfortable. He clearly doesn't want to tell me what's in the bag. I'm not going to push it, but after a few seconds, he relents…….

'You can look if you want. Here.'

He hands me the bag, and pulls the zip across to open it. I pull out a white sleeveless top, a pair of black shorts, a pair of white ankle socks, and two black ballet pumps. It's not a gymnastics class he goes to……it's a ballet class. How wonderful! No wonder he holds himself in the way he does.

'I had no idea Jute. How lovely.'

'You think so?'

'Yes I do as a matter of fact. I think it's a great thing for a boy to do.'

'Not girly?'

'No, of course not! Anyway, so what if that's what some idiots think.'

'They do. They think it's weird.'

'Well I don't. I think you'd look amazing in your ballet gear.'

'Do you?'

'Yes. I've noticed how you stand.'

I had embarrassed him, and myself. Neither of us knew quite what to do next. I decided to apologize.

'Sorry, I shouldn't have said that. It was a bit personal, sorry.'

My apology went unnoticed.

'I liked what you said. What do you think of what I have to wear? Do you think it's embarrassing?'

'Not at all. It might be if you walked down the street in it though, but not where you practice, obviously.'

'Not in here either.'

'No, not in here.'

'Would you like to see then?'

Would I? Oh well, if you must.

Jute's wearing his 'art' clothes as I suggested……an old pair of beige shorts which had seen better days, but looked rather charming on him, a grey tee shirt under what looked like a school jumper, and a pair of walking sandals.

'You won't look while I change will you?' Jute says.

'No, not if you don't want me to. Are you a shy boy then?' I say, smiling at him.

'No. Ok, you can look if you want to……but don't laugh.'

He's beautifully formed. There is no discernible muscle yet, as one would expect in a twelve year old boy, but all the potential is there, just waiting. His legs are long and lean, and the most developed part of him. The shorts and underpants come off in one piece. Then he takes the black 'shorts' from the back of the chair where I put them, and hauls them up his legs into position.

'Don't you wear anything underneath those things?'

'No. He says not to. Not until we need to.'

'So when is that?' I'm wondering.

'I don't know. When he says. Does it show?'

Time for a not entirely honest answer……..and who is he?'

'No, nothing shows, not really. Can you show me some moves?'

I can see the point of it. It's all about control of the body, and it looks like very hard physical work. Jute showed me a range of 'positions' and what in my ignorance I referred to as 'moves'. He looks good, this boy. I'm hugely impressed, not just by his demonstration, but by his attitude to the whole concept. At the end, Jute assumes 'first position', and I gently clap my hands together in appreciation. But that thought is still lingering in Jute's head……..

'Really Oliver, does it show?'

'Of course it does. You're a boy Jute. You've got boys' things down there. There's nothing wrong with what you've got. There's no reason why you shouldn't show them off.'

'But they're tiny……and my voice isn't like yours.'

'No….and no.'

'What do you mean……no?'

'I mean, no, they are not tiny.'

'Yes they are. Look.'

Jute, before I can tell him not to, has his black shorts half way down his thighs, to show me his 'bits'. I've seen a few examples along the line, but there's no way I'm an expert. They look fine to me.

'What's the problem Jute? They're fine. They do everything don't they….everything they should do?'

'Like what?'

'You know…….all the things that they do. It doesn't just sit there like that all the time does it?'

'No.' Jute answers, smiling. I think he's finally got my drift.

'Well then. You're fine.'

We finally got the art lesson going. It felt like an anti-climax after Jute's performance which I was finding difficult to get out of my head. If he can impose the same discipline on his art work as he does on his body, then we can succeed…….no, we will succeed.

I showed him the qualities of various materials that we would be using in the weeks ahead. He took to it all like the 'natural' that I think he is. His enthusiasm is a total delight. At half past two, we were tiring.

'That's it for today Jute. Do you want to 'phone your mum?'

'No, I can get the bus back. They go every twenty minutes or so. Anyway I might walk.'

'Can I come…..if you walk?'

The walk along the cliff path is stunning. It's something I've done dozens of times before, and walking with Jute I knew would be rewarding in itself.

He talked about his life and family…how he got into ballet, and his art work too. He's really good company. About a half mile into the journey back, we stopped for a rest….not far from the very posh girls school across the road that inspired the rather rude songs, renditions of which I've heard on the coach coming back from matches.

'Do you want a rest Jute……just for a few minutes?'

I don't know why I said it, but Jute looked at me blankly, and nodded his head.

We turned off the very short grass of the official path, onto the longer stuff between the cliff and the main Brighton to Newhaven road, suitably distant from anyone else walking the path. I felt tangibly nervous, like I was expecting something might happen. I hadn't rationalized my thoughts, or had any kind of plan. It was a spur of the moment thing.

It was a relatively warm late afternoon, but breezy, which made it feel more chilly than it actually was. I walked just in front of Jute.

'Here ok?'

Jute nods his head again. No words. I sit down amid the long grass, with my hands around my bent knees. I look up at Jute. His legs are just inches away. He looks around. I'm not sure why. Then he drops to his knees, and lies on his side next to me propped up on one elbow. I do the same so that we are facing each other. I smile at him.

'Have you had fun today Jute?'

For the third time, he nods his head, the breeze ruffling his mid-brown hair.

'Good. Not too tired?'

Jute moves his head from side to side in a very deliberate way, as if to suggest he's definitely not too tired. I'm lying on my shoulder now with my head peering through the strands of grass at Jute who has done the same. I'm feeling nervous…..and excited, but I need to carefully assess Jute's mood.

'How are you feeling?'


'Good. What sort of nice?'



'In my tummy……mostly.'

'Other places too?'


'Can't tell me exactly where then?'

'I could, but I won't.'

'Why not?'

'You'd think I'm weird.'

'No I wouldn't. Are you cold?'

'A bit. Can I come closer?'

Our arms touched. Then my fingers found his shoulder. We moved closer together until I could feel his breath. When he felt my hand on his back, he smiled.

'Is that ok Jute? Are you warmer now?'

He responds by moving his hand around my chest and asking……..

'You know what you asked me this afternoon. That question about……boys things, and did mine do everything it should do?'

'Yes. You said it did. Is it doing that now?'

'Umm, a bit. Is yours?'

'Yes. But it's a bit stuck.'

'So's mine.'

'Would you like me to un-stick it for you?'

It was all rather inept. Two boys not in the habit of doing such things with one another. Anyway, we got there in the end, whilst keeping a look-out for any curious passers-by. There weren't any. I played with Jute while he played with me. We must have carried on like that for a good quarter of an hour…….just feeling each other….thighs, tummies, chests, faces and ears, and so on. Finally we got around to the best part, without anything getting undone. Despite the thickness of the material of his shorts I could tell he was excited. Then it was over just as quickly as it had begun. Everything back to normal. I left him a couple of hundred yards short of where he lived, and we said our goodbyes. I watched as Jute made his way along the path, turned and waved one hand.

That evening, I worked out several locations where I could take Jute to develop his drawing. Later in my bed, I felt warm and safe……and glad.

Five months later.

'How many people in the world love you Jute?'

'Dunno. A few maybe.'

'Like who….exactly?'

'My mum and dad….and my brother. And my dog.'

'And a few more no doubt….do you think….or one or two more?'

'Yes, one or two more. I love them too. All of them.'

'Good. Me too.'

It was a sort of code….to avoid actually saying the words that I wanted to say, and hoped that Jute wanted to say too. We can only go so far with words that we barely understand…..words not to be used lightly.

Every week he had come, tired after his ballet session. We wouldn't go anywhere until he had eaten something and rested. It was a routine we established from the second week. Talk and rest. We were comfortable with what we did together……no anxiety or stress, discomfort or fear. Not so my father.

'You seem to be enjoying each other's company Ollie'.

'Yes Dad.' is my rather basic answer. I'm fairly sure where this is going.

'Just the art is it?'

'What do you mean Dad……just the art?'

'I mean…….there seems to be a bit more to your friendship.'

'Oh, really?'

'Yes, really. If it was a girl you were very friendly with, and disappearing into your bedroom with for long periods of time, I would be having a few words with you about appropriate behaviour and other things…….like taking precautions. We've had frank discussions before haven't we?'

'Yes Dad.'

'So it's not a girl. It's Jute. He's twelve.'

'Almost thirteen actually.' I interject.

'I'm not going to ask direct questions about what is going on between you, but it's blindingly obvious that something is……..in addition to your mentoring the boy. That side of it is all very laudable, but I'm concerned about the other side. Do you want to tell me? Of course you don't have to, but you might just want to talk about Jute, and how you feel about him…….and how he feels about you? Neither you nor I, or Jute and his people for that matter, want any difficulties over your friendship. Do you get what I'm saying?'

Yes, I got what he's saying. My relationship with my father has always been great. I just need some courage right now. So, to precis……

'I don't mind talking about it Dad……and yes, I'm really fond of Jute.'

'Very fond of him?'

'Yes….very very. He's…….nice. Really nice.'

It went on from there. At the end of it, he said he would give me something to read. It was for boys and girls who were experimenting with gay sex, and might be anxious about their sexuality. I was to make no assumptions about myself or Jute, or anything else. I was to look at the situation objectively. Fair enough. That evening I found a tube in my bathroom that wasn't toothpaste, and a small box containing another essential for safe sex. In bed I read the booklet all the way through. I have to admit it was very sensitively written, and pulled no punches with regard to the practicalities of sex between a boy…….and another boy……..or as can happen apparently….a group of boys.

Jute and I do have sex, up to a point. We have never attempted anything remotely penetrative, apart from our tongues which we think is an essential of life. Ironically, reading the stuff Dad gave me, has given me ideas on the subject, which I'm sure was not his intention. That subject has never featured in our conversations. I imagine that Jute would be horrified at the thought of something being shoved unceremoniously into his bottom. Perhaps not? Perhaps he would prefer to do the shoving? Thinking about it…….in my case……I'm not sure. In bed I tried to imagine the sensation whilst 'feeling my way' a tad. Of course I have a photographic image in my mind of what Jute looks like when he gets excited. With that in mind and what I was touching, I developed in time the mother and father of a very demanding erection.

Anyway, my father knows now. Not every detail of course, but he has the gist of it. I make Jute come, and he makes me come too. We enjoy playing together, and there's no pain or anguish involved. It's what we want and like. The kissing didn't happen straight way, but about three weeks after Jute's first visit. That's what led to……how can I put this……an escalation of our activities. It started with mouths of course, then tongues entered the fray, and then it spread to other places like tummies and backs, necks and ears, and then one afternoon Jute guided my head below his gorgeous tummy. It was like ducks to water. The other way about, it was more problematic as I, well into puberty, produce a respectable volume of boy's stuff. It starts a couple of seconds before I climax, and continues thereafter for……..I don't know exactly…….five seconds maybe? Jute was a bit concerned about what sort of experience he was letting himself in for. The first couple of times he heeded the warning. I knew if I didn't give him the chance to let me go before the inevitable happened, it might put him off permanently. Finally, he convinced me that he would be ok with it. He was indeed fine with it. I think that first time, knowing he would go all the way to the finishing line and beyond, was one of the most exciting events of my life thus far. It was simply exquisite, but probably not the best moment to choose to tell the most beautiful being in the world that you love him. I told him over and over again……in between extraordinarily deep kisses. It made him cry, poor boy…..and needless to say, I joined in. Why should I miss out on such deep joy?

I didn't know whether to share the printed matter 'advice' on gay relationships with Jute. One afternoon, he found it beside my bed. We talked for a long time about the contents. After our usual play session and the subsequent rest time, we decided, not before time, to actually do some art work on the seafront.

There was a good light sinking behind the Palace Pier. Thick sticks of charcoal seemed an appropriate material. I don't know if you're familiar with that stuff, but in certain hands, it can make a serious mess. In Jute's hands, it's even worse. The results are awesome, but his face, arms, and even his legs are covered in a thin film of black dust. It amuses a few passers-by who stop to see what 'those two boys' are up to.

'You're going to need a bath when we get back.' I say jokingly. Actually, he is going to need the bath.

Despite having a little romp earlier, Jute got very excited as I undressed him……me sitting on the bed with Jute standing before me. I knew my father would be back from his Saturday afternoon game of squash in an hour or so, thus some alacrity was necessary.

Jute is lying on his back in the bath, knees raised, with me kneeling on the floor, and gently soaping his front. It's a nice sensation for both of us. I get down to his middle and feel him. He's up and ready to roll. His head is to one side. I think about it, but decide that this is the wrong time and I let go of him. As I soap his inner thighs and around his balls, he takes over with his own hand. I continue my ministrations, painfully hard and trapped awkwardly inside my underpants. Suddenly Jute turns onto his back. The bath isn't long enough to accommodate his body full length, so he's up on all fours, with his 'slim Jim' pointing downwards.

'Do my back please Ollie.' Jute demands rather breathlessly.

My tummy turns over. I realise what the possibilities are, and the perfect opportunity to try something new is there for the taking. I soap his back faster than I dealt with his front. I'm at the base of his spine, so I move to my left. It's the first time I've seen it close up, let alone felt it. I touch him lightly with the pad of my middle finger.

'Can you do that bit please.'

'Ok, but you'll have to help me Jute.'

'I can't. Do it please Ollie.'

I'm gentle with him. Of course I am. Jute is perfectly aware of what I'm going to do. Both he and I want to know what's possible, and I've thought ahead. The tube is in my pocket.

'Are you ready Jute?'

'Yes. Do it please.'

It was as simple as pie.

And so to some statistics. It's a bit of a boy's thing I suppose, being interested in measurements, but in a way it is quite interesting. It's sixty millimetres around my middle finger. Around my fourteen year old penis when fully erect and at its widest point, it's double that………one hundred and twenty. Jute insists that I measure his. One hundred exactly, and just for the record, very slightly longer than mine, and this is news which is received with great glee by Jute. Apart from all this nonsense, at least he's a very clean boy now.

Reaction from Jute? On my bed, he goes all 'gymnastic' on me. Ballet is not so far removed from gymnastics. Muscles are stretched and bodies become more elastic. Jute turns on to his back, and moments later his legs are almost behind his head, held in position by his hands behind his calf muscles.

'What does it look like Ollie?' he asks, grinning from ear to ear.

'Like a bottom I suppose.'


'No, not horrid. Sort of bottom like.'

'Can you see inside?'


'Can you now?'

'A bit more.' I say, as Jute's hands prise his buttocks further apart. Then…….

'Lie on me Ollie.'

I remembered my father's advice. I'm a virgin and I'm confronted with an opportunity to embed my very moderately sized penis into my twelve-year- old art buddy [very nearly thirteen], and in due course after some huffing and puffing, ejaculate hard into his rectum. I doubt it would have caused Jute any significant discomfort. I remembered my father's words……

'Just stop to think about any consequences of what you are about to do Ollie. Try to take a second or two to think about it…. weigh it up. It may be a hurtful and rash decision that you are making. You could be hurting someone, as well as yourself, not necessarily physically but in other ways. Often the 'other ways' bit is more serious. That's all I'm asking of you.'

He said this to me on more than one occasion, and looking back, of course he was right. A wrong decision may stay with you for a long time. We've all made them.

I asked Jute to turn onto his front. He was expecting me to enter him that way because he gripped his buttocks with both hands to pull them apart and reveal the now slightly open shadowy target. I lay down on him, wedged between the two firm muscles, toned by constant balletic exercise. My hands rest on the back of his shoulders and my face lies next to my boy's. I hear his words…….

'That's not right Ollie……..that's wrong.'

Yes it was wrong, but not in the sense that Jute meant it. But I can use Jute's shoulders to pull myself up, and then release, and then pull up again to establish my rhythm, hard and sliding nicely between the now generously lubricated mounds of flesh. And then what was just a possibility becomes a certainty…..that point of no return. Then there is the wetness from the cooling stream…….the comfort…….the words of love……..and the guilt, and the return to the uncertainty of life.

Jute and I talked for some time afterwards, the usual formalities done with and disposed of. Jute likes to see to those matters. But there were things to get straight……more things to understand between us…….reassurances given……..apologies to make……guilt to be assuaged……..a few tears to be shed……..loving words to be exchanged…….and sweet kisses to be shared.

Two years later.

I, or rather we, got the job done as far as Jute's Art Award was concerned. His people got the fees reduced by twenty five per cent. For a thirteen-year-old, as he was then, his folio was a strong one, demonstrating both acute observational skills combined with a rare bravura in his use of the different materials which included oil colour. That's an unusual medium to be used by one so young. Mr Parsons, the Head of Art and Design, as I was pretty sure he would, went for it big time. Jute was called in, having scraped through the academic stuff, for the result to be given to him in person, interestingly at that point without his parents. I was in lessons that morning, but about five that evening Jute was allowed to let me know what happened, via a short phone call.

When I say 'allowed', Jute and I are banned from seeing each other. His mother found a very compromising note Jute had inadvertently left in a trouser pocket. His mother always checks the pockets of shorts and school trousers before putting them in the machine. The note was intended for me, but I never saw it. He wrote lots of them over the year or so we were 'going together', shall we say. In the notes he would jokingly misspell words. For example, 'I can cum over today'….or 'can you cum over [me] tonight?' Stuff like that. His people put two and two together and too easily made four. He was sat down in front of mum and dad and spilt the beans. End of, as far as we were concerned.

That was soon after Jute had joined the College. He had already acquired a best mate in his year….year nine. I was two years above him, but witnessed the new love interest, a particularly gorgeous streaky blond-haired boy laughing and playing about with Jute at break times. But today, for the first time in two years, I'm meeting Jute after school at one of the shelters on the seafront opposite our flat. I see him approaching in his herring bone school jacket. The September weather isn't great, but we are alone, so we can talk.

'You ok Jute?'

'Yeah…thanks. You?'

'How's your best mate? What's his name…..Michael isn't it?'

'Yes. He's fine too……you know….good.'

'Good…is he?'

'Yes, pretty good thanks.'

Jute's looking down, smirking horribly, and I'm feeling very annoyed.

'All because of that ridiculously childish note you left in your pocket?'

'Yes, I suppose so. But that's me isn't it?'

Yes, that is him. It's one of the reasons I fell for him, hook, line and sinker. It's his unpredictability……the gloriously exciting uncertainty of a relationship with him. Even now, at this moment, I'm not quite sure what he'll do next.

'So how far have you got with Michael then?' I quietly enquire, but he's slow to respond.

'A fair way. Not as far as we got.'

'We almost got there. If it wasn't for your morality problem at the last minute. I don't know what came over you.'

We both burst out laughing, as we realised the unintended inuendo.

'You mean…over you don't you Jute?'

'Yes, you dirty bastard. That wasn't what I had in mind.'

We sat for ages looking at the sea. One can spend a long time doing that. The tide was advancing slowly up the shingle beach, and as so often happens with a rising tide, the wind was getting up. I looked at Jute, his hair flicking about in the ever-increasing breeze. He never fails to arouse me.

'So will you stick with Michael…..do you think?'



'He's nice…….quite sweet really.'

'Have you…..with him?'

'No! I don't think he's interested in that. Not really.'

I'm going to stick the knife in, if the right moment comes along.

'Bad luck Jute.'

'What about you?' Jute quietly enquires.

'No, nothing really. Well, there might be something. It's a bit of a long shot though.'


'Can't say.'

'Why not?'

'It's not one of the kids at school if that's what you're thinking. That's all I'm going to tell you.'

'Someone you've met at home then?'

'No….at school.'

'Oh bloody hell, who? One of the dinner ladies?'

'Very amusing, but I rather doubt it Jute.'

'Not one of the teachers?'

I remained silent. After a minute or so, Jute began a guessing game. After several attempts, he got it right. I said nothing when he said the name. There is no way on earth that Jute will ever know for sure. He can't ever know. No one can ever know.

I think in the end, Jute's silly error in forgetting to give me that note has done me a favour. I know what I am, and always have been, right from the beginning. I don't know what Jute will be. Not like me probably, despite his apparent interest in cute boys, but I hope he has fun with Michael. I can certainly see the attraction in that one. But at the end of the day, conversation is limited with a younger boy. I want a bit more now. I'm not stupid. I'm sixteen and I need stimulation…….something exciting and risky. I'm sure he finds me interesting…..the one who shall be nameless. I ask him questions…..proper questions about art and life, and he takes time to answer in that way of his, because he thinks I'm special. He thinks I'm interesting, but I'm not sure in what way. I may have got it all wrong, but all I have to do is wait.

That evening.

Dad made dinner this evening……fish pie, which he knows I like. About ten minutes into the meal he has a question…….

'What's the name of your teacher Ollie…..the new one in the Art Department? Nice looking fellow. The one I met at the last parents evening.'

'Mr Parsons.'

'Oh. I don't think I ever knew his name.'

'Why Dad?'

'Nothing really. I think it was him I saw the other evening……in Brighton.'

'Where Dad?'

'Oh, I can't remember now. Anyway, it doesn't matter.'

Really? I'm sure he's referring to last night. I know he was meeting a friend in a pub in Middle Street. It's a bit more than a pub actually. There's a small club upstairs. That's all very interesting because if it was our Mr Parsons, he's not averse to the occasional visit to a gay bar from what I've heard. And another thing. If I am right, the chances are that he's unattached. There may be a chance.

We finished dinner without much more conversation. I don't know what Dad was thinking about, but I can now see my Mr Parsons in an entirely new light. Did I say my Mr Parsons? In my dreams, you say. Yes, that too.

Friday, two weeks later, after school.

I'd nipped back to the Department to collect a few sheets of cartridge paper and some charcoal for the weekend. Something for the weekend you might say. The only member of the Art staff present was Keith Parsons. He was fiddling about with something in one of the store cupboards……stacking some square metal tins of powder colour in fact. To be honest, I knew he was there on his own because I'd observed the other two art teachers leaving a few minutes earlier. I approach the doorway to the tiny room with a small window at the far end.

'Is this ok Sir……if I take this?' I enquire, holding the large sheets of white paper.

'Of course Ollie.' he answers, without looking at me. He recognized my voice.

He's on a short pair of aluminium steps arranging the square tins of pigment on one of the top shelves. He's not a big chap, and very lean with it. As ever, I'm careful not to be seen to look where I shouldn't, but I sneak a glimpse while he's up on the steps. There's a nice little bump at the front of his trousers, exaggerated by the fact that he's carrying absolutely no excess weight. At the back……he's just like the boys I notice. He's not much more than a boy himself, at least that's how I think of him……plus all the things one associates with maturity. I instinctively scan for evidence of what he's wearing underneath. There is some evidence, and I like it. Suddenly he disturbs a pot of brushes on the shelf below, the top-heavy metal can tips over and some of the brushes fall to the floor. Moments later he's on the floor picking them up. So am I. It's a very small area so we bump into each other. I stand up holding most of the long-handled artists' brushes.

'I can put them back up Sir?'

He hands me the half-dozen or so brushes he has in his hand.

'Ok Ollie, but be careful on the steps….ok?'

'Will you catch me if I fall?' I say jokingly, looking down.

He responds by placing his hands on my hips. I pretend not to be confident on the steps. I can feel the ends of his fingers almost in my side pockets. I take my time re-arranging the brushes in the large tin can on the shelf. That done, I make the four steps down to the floor. Keith looks embarrassed. He acted on impulse just as I did. Both our actions were speculative, and we are both wondering what is going through the other persons mind. There's an air of certainty in the un-certainty if you know what I'm getting at. I can't remember the exact conversation, but here's the summarized gist of it. Brains in a whirl tend not to remember details.

'Thanks Sir.'


'For making sure I didn't fall just now.'

'You didn't mind then?'

'Of course not. It's what I thought you would do.'


'Yes. You want to look after us….in every way……not just our work……in other ways too.'

'That's a nice thing to say Ollie. I suppose that's true. It's part of it.'

'So that's why I thought it was nice…..what you did.'

Careful Ollie. Time to change the subject. The seed is sown, now leave it. A question on another subject is called for.

'Do you do your own work Sir……like paint or something?'

He's standing by the window, as I stand in front of him. He looks uncomfortable, and I imagine he's unable to get the 'hands on my thighs' moment out of his head. I certainly can't. After a few seconds……

'I try to, but there's not much time…….not after thinking about you lot.'

'I appreciate it Sir. I know you've put a lot into it…….the talks about art…….and everything. It's made me think more deeply about lots of things I probably wouldn't have.'

'That's good Ollie. Boys like you make it rewarding…….all worth doing. You're special…….I mean you are all special.'

'Is that all of us Sir?'

'Yes…….but some are more special than others I suppose…….if I'm honest.'

'Like teachers?'

We both laughed at the Orwellian reference while we stood in the middle of the small space, like spare parts.

It was a strange encounter.

Two weeks later, my father had one of his social evenings which needless to say didn't feature more than two females. The other twenty odd were men of varying ages. I was invited of course, mainly to go around with the drinks and nibbles, and make chit-chat Dad's guests, and look pretty.

'Than you very much Oliver. Nice nibbles don't you think? May I say how simply lovely you look tonight? You are such a handsome boy. Do you like nibbles Oliver?'

The cheeky bastard.

There was a late comer. The door bell sounded, and I went down stairs to open the main door to the building. The man smiles as I hold the heavy black door open for him.

'Hello Ollie.'

It was Mr Parsons.

The End.

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